Freeze Frame: “Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (not rated), “Blow the Man Down” (R), “Big Time Adolescence” (R)

Due to the fact that most of our local cinemas are temporarily closing in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, this week’s Freeze Frame will focus on brand new movies that are available to stream on home streaming services.

“Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” is a 3-hour Netflix miniseries about America’s first self-made female millionaire. Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer takes the title role of the woman who used her tenacity and sales skills to build a business empire of hair care products for African American women. Based on a book by Walker’s granddaughter, the story focuses on the formidable personal and societal obstacles Ms. Walker had to overcome in the early part of the 20th Century.

Spencer is ideally cast in the title role. This enlightening, well-produced drama falters only when it indulges in some fantasy scenes that seem artificial and unnecessary.

“Blow the Man Down” is a wicked and pitch-black mystery new on Amazon. It’s a thriller that exposes the unseemly underbelly of a small, sleepy fishing village in coastal Maine. Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor plays sisters who unwittingly uncover their town’s dark secrets when one of them kills a man in self-defense and then they attempt to cover up the incident. The style and tone are very similar to the work of the Coen Brothers, so if their comically dark vision appeals to you, then “Blow the Man Down” is right up your alley.

Pete Davidson from “Saturday Night Live” stars in the Hulu comedy, “Big Time Adolescence,” the story of a charismatic but irresponsible man in his twenties who has the emotional maturity of a juvenile. Appropriately, his best friend is an impressionable 16-year-old, well played by Griffin Gluck. The duo gets into trouble through casual drug dealing. “Big Time Adolescence” is a slight but often amusing cautionary tale.

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