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It happens in pop music all the time: an era from the past is brought back and listened to again. The movies do it too. Right now they're drawing on the 1980s with a new Ghostbusters sequel and a Road House remake this week and a new Beetlejuice in September. (See below)

And in a completely unrelated matter, notice that the annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival is now on, in Toronto if you can get to the Hot Docs theater or anywhere if you go to this site There are four films to watch, all of them free.

They deal with suppression of the Yazidi minority in Iraq, Indigenous activists fighting to preserve the Amazon Rainforest, a summer camp for LGBTQ+ youth in the U.S. and the one film of the four that I have seen, Green Border. It's by Agnieszka Holland and shows how migrants are shooed back and forth between Poland and Belarus. It's so strong that the Polish government officially denounced the film.

And elsewhere, we have these:

GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE: My grandson declared this is as good as the last one (“Afterlife”) and since he knows what he's talking about, having seen it again just recently and also the three that came before, his opinion gets my backing here. After all, the film is aimed at fans like him but I'll add this: It's more fun than the last partly because of a new character, a wise-cracker played by Kumail Nanjiani, who you might remember from films like The Big Sick. He gets off some funny wry comments here and actually kicks off the plot when he brings around an ancient artifact that belonged to his grandmother. The Ghostbusters, who now have a secret ghost research facility, surmise there's a demon inside and try to open it up.

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

The film is back in New York in this episode, at the iconic former firehall, with some of the originals (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts) and all the new characters from last time (played by Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, from Vancouver, Carrie Coon, Celeste O'Connor and others). The mayor (William Atherton) is back too, still trying to shut them down after yet another bout of property damage from their anti-ghost action. Of that there is quite a bit. An age-old demon named Garaka is unleashed. He's got the power to freeze anything and anybody to death. There's also a curious plot line as teenage Phoebe (played by McKenna Grace) feels side-lined from the ghost-fighting but actually helps explore that world by talking to and playing chess against one. Except for Phoebe we don't get to care much about the characters and that causes the film to drag at times, at least until the action picks up again. Gil Kenan co-wrote and, like last time, directed it. (In theaters) 3 out of 5

ROAD HOUSE: I didn't see the 1989 original or the direct-to-DVD sequel of 2006 so I can't say how this version compares. But I can say I had a good time. The movie speeds along, develops great atmosphere and has a character you root for and a bunch you can hiss at. The fighting is more brutal than it needs to be but that's modern filmmaking, ably demonstrated by director Doug Liman, who has a Jason Bourne film in his resume. He gives us Jake Gyllenhaal as a nice guy (like Mr. Rogers according to one character) who also has a powerful fighting skill. He can take on 6 or 7 bikers at a time.

He's an ex-Ultimate Fighting champ. In the original, Patrick Swayze was into karate and had a PhD in philosophy which may help explain its status as an absurd cult classic. It had multiple Razzie nominations including worst film of that year and yet grew immensely popular.

Magnussen and Gyllenhall: Courtesy of Prime Video

This new one moves the story from Missouri to Florida (I.e. into eternal sunshine) and delivers fighting and kicking and head-butting with real impact. It's in aid of keeping the riff raff out of the road house bar that a villain (Billy Magnussen) wants to take over for his father to redevelop as a resort. Gyllenhall is hired to keep them out and ultimately battles a real UFC fighter (Conor McGregor) making a scenery-chewing acting debut. Jake takes a few stab wounds and connects with a local doctor (Daniela Melchior) for a little more than medicine. It's daft but fun. (Prime Video) 3 ½ out of 5

SHAYDA is a young mother from Iran who has gone, along with her husband, to university in Australia. She's become westernized (no hijab, shorter hair) and her marriage is breaking up. She wants a divorce but that's stalled. The Iran government has canceled her scholarship. Her husband wants to go home and a court has awarded him equal custody of their young daughter. In that impossible impasse she moves into a women's shelter at the time of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, and we get a very moving film actually based on a real story. It was the audience favorite at the Sundance Film Festival.

Courtesy of Mongrel Media

Noora Niasari, the writer-director, drew on personal experience. She was the young daughter in a similar case and that has created authenticity in this film. We get a clear appreciation of what life is like in shelters like this, how the residents support each other and how outsiders don't understand. “People are saying you must have done something wrong,” says her own mother by phone from Iran. On the other hand, her husband is not at all a one-note bad guy. He's old-fashioned and threatened by his wife's freer thinking. The acting is very good by Zar Amir Ebrahimi as Shayda, Osamah Sami, as the husband, and especially Selina Zahednia as the daughter. Also Mojean Aria as a new man just arrived from Canada who she sees, and all the Australians she meets. Cate Blanchett was an executive producer. (Theaters in Toronto and Vancouver now, Ottawa next week) 4 out of 5

STOLEN TIME: Here's another very potent documentary from The National Film Board. It exposes horrors of the long-term care industry, essentially how badly we take care of the elderly in our society. We put them into these homes and expect they'll be well-cared for. It costs big money but, as the film explains, much of it goes to corporations that have turned elder care into an industry. The homes are understaffed, even more so when workers take time off and aren't replaced. According to one observer “Systemic negligence” results. Others expand on that by listing dehydration, malnourishment, injuries and mis-diagnosis as problems that come up over and over. We heard much about this when COVID raged and it's good to get a reminder from Helene Klodawsky who wrote and directed the film. And from Melissa Miller who is featured in it.

Courtesy of The National Film Board

A lawyer specializing in elder rights, she take cases to court for relatives of the victims. And, in a really tough approach in this film actually names the companies that she's going after. One that really shocks her is a company that has been bought by the pension fund that covers all federal government employees in Canada. So the profit it earns from inadequate elder care goes into these people's pensions. Her words. And grim. As are some of the stories the film relates about what goes on in (some?) of these homes. (In theaters: Vancouver's VIFF Centre now, Montreal's Cinema du Parc tomorrow, Toronto's Hot Docs Cinema and Edmonton's Metro Cinema soon) 4 out of 5

YOU CAN CALL ME BILL: The title originally had his name right at the start, William Shatner. I guess it sounds more personal and intimate this way and that certainly describes this documentary. Throughout it, Bill is just sitting before a camera talking about his life and self-serving as it may be it's a most interesting recounting. What a life, this Montreal native has led. Capt. James T. Kirk on Star Trek is the best-known part of it but look what else: on TV the law-skirting cop T. J. Hooker and lawyer Denny Crane on Boston Legal (multiple Emmy wins for that), stage shows, record albums and three years ago a trip (the oldest person ever) to outer space.

Courtesy of Vortex Media

To do as much as that he says: "You have to be passionate." About everything. Climate change is one of the subjects that drives him. He's "in grief for the earth," he says. "It's all so fragile." Later on he gets a bit silly. "It want to be a tree. Plant me like a seed." He's planned out his funeral something like that. He was bullied as a child and became enthralled by the movies. What really delights in this film are the clips we see, not only from Star Trek but also many others, The Twilight Zone, TV series, movies, some of them obscure, and even a tiny role in Alexander the Great in 1963. His secret: Curiosity. School drives it out you but "Curiosity keeps us alive," he insists. (In theaters) 3 out of 5

IMMACULATE: If you're a devout Catholic you might want to avoid this one. If you hate the church, it just may be for you because it will surely back up everything you think. If you've been educated in a Catholic school, it might bring back harsh memories. If it's only an eerie horror movie you're after. this could your style. It's one that builds up dread relentlesly. Curiously, though, it's not really all that scary. I attribute that to the plot which is so nutty you're not terrified by what's in it.

Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

Sydney Sweeney plays a young American woman who is invited to enter a convent in Italy. She senses there's a long holy history there and is honored to be taken in. Later we learn the invite was not by chance and a goofy story happily proceeds. A friendly priest is trying to bring back Christ. There's a relic and a bizarre bit of science involved. No spoilers about that but Sweeney's character is soon told she's pregnant. Yes, still a virgin but soon to give birth. It's a miracle, say the nuns. In reality they're fanatics and are keeping her a prisoner for their own spiritual ends. Can she escape? A really shocking scene and some gore will answer that. Sweeney gives a standout performance amid all the hare-brained goings on. She auditioned for it 10 years ago, and now that she's a coming star on TV and elsewhere has produced it herself. (In theaters) 2 out of 5