Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the kid friend “DC League of Super Pets,” the B.J. Novak mystery “Vengeance” and the family drama “Ali & Ava.”
Richard appears on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week he has a look at the comedy series “Backstage with Kathryn Ryan” on Amazon Prime, the Young Adult mystery series “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin” on Crave and the BritBox reissue of “Eleventh Hour” with Patrick Stewart.
I join the hosts of NewsTalk 1010’s “The New Rush” with Scott MacArthur and guest host Deb Hutton, for a new segment called “Entertainment Court.” Each week I serve as the judge, Reshmi and Scott the jurors, and we render a verdict on the week’s biggest pop culture stories.
This week we ask, How much is it worth it to you to see the Boss? Do we need another cinematic universe in our lives? Are you growing tired of social media that feels like it is more interested in selling you things and its algorithm than it is in connecting you with friends?
I join CP24 to have a look at movies and television shows coming to VOD and streaming services. Today we talk about the psychological thriller “The Patient” on Disney+, the unusual reality show “The Rehearsal” on Crave, the Netflix competition show “Blown Away” Season 3 and the music bio “Sheryl” on Showtime.
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the animated superhero flick “DC League of Super-Pets,” the social media thriller “Vengeance ” and the British drama “Ali & Ava.”
I join NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about animated superhero flick “DC League of Super-Pets,” the social media thriller “Vengeance ” and the British drama “Ali & Ava.”
Watch Richard Crouse review three movies in less time than it takes to do a jumping jack! Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the animated superhero flick “DC League of Super-Pets,” the social media thriller “Vengeance ” and the British drama “Ali & Ava.”
We all know that Jor-El and Lara, sent their infant son Kal-El to Earth minutes before their planet Krypton self-destructed. Less known is the story of Kal-El’s Kryptonian Labrador Retriever, the boy’s faithful best friend, who leapt into the Earth-bound spaceship to start a new life on the little blue planet third from the sun. “Look after our son,” Jor-El says as the ship careens out of sight in “DC League of Super Pets,” a new animated movie now playing in theatres.
When we meet them on Earth they are now settled in Metropolis and are known as Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman (John Krasinski) and Bark Kent a.k.a. Krypto (Dwayne Johnson). “I’m his ride or die,” Krypto brags. They live the lives of best friends, sharing an apartment, watching their favorite cooking shows on the Food Network and fighting crime. “My only friend is Superman,” Krypto sings to John Williams’ “Superman” theme. They are inseparable, except for the time Superman spends with his girlfriend, and Daily Planet reporter, Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde).
Sensing that Krypto needs a friend, Superman visits the local animal rescue, just as Ace (Kevin Hart), is making a run for it. In the cage above him is Lulu (Kate McKinnon), a hairless guinea pig who was once a test subject for Superman’s archenemy Lex Luthor (Marc Maron). The supervillain is experimenting with orange kryptonite, a variation of the green kryptonite that saps Superman’s powers.
In a battle of the superheroes and supervillains, Superman and Krypto are hobbled by green kryptonite while the orange kryptonite empowers Ace, Lulu and the other rescue animals. “I figured out something Lex didn’t know,” Lulu gloats. “Orange doesn’t work on people. It only works on pets!”
It is revealed that Lulu is an evil genius who, with the help of her newly recruited injustice squad, plans on reuniting with Luthor and putting an end to the work of the Justice Squad, Wonder Woman (Jameela Jamil), Aquaman (Jemaine Clement), The Flash (John Early), Cyborg (Daveed Diggs), Batman (Keanu Reeves) and Green Lantern (Dascha Polanco).
Now, it’s up to Krypto, with the help of Ace and the other super pets, to rescue Superman and the world savers.
“DC League of Super Pets” tries hard to mold the superhero movie formula into a kid-friendly shape. For much of the movie director Jared Stern succeeds. Supes and Krypto have a good ‘n goofy relationship, punctuated by funny banter and antics. Everyday chores, like dog walking are given a superhero spin as Superman and Krypto’s daily constitutional becomes a supersonic flight around the world, powered by their extranormal abilities.
Kids should also get a kick out of fun characters like McKinnon’s sarcastically sinister Lulu, the Natasha Lyonne-voiced Merton McSnurtle, the turtle with superspeed, and a cat who coughs up hand grenade furballs. Parents should appreciate the good life lessons about team work, sharing, learning by listening and being true to yourself to unlock your true powers, while getting a laugh out of the film’s more self-aware moments. “Every superhero struggles to learn their powers, “ says PB (Vanessa Bayer), a potbellied pig who can change size at will, “until they have their training montage.”
But, and there is a but, the movie eventually goes the way of all superhero movies and devolves into a loud, messy climax that feels as though it doesn’t line up with the kid friendly action that came before it.
“DC League of Super Pets” doesn’t have the same sense of fun as “The Lego Batman Movie,” and sticks too closely to the adult style of storytelling we’ve come to expect from superhero movies—there are even two after credit scenes—but it does deliver some cute characters and a handful of superlaughs.
“Vengeance,” a new satire playing in theatres, written, directed and starring “The Office” actor B.J. Novak, mixes-and-matches social commentary, the opioid epidemic and social divides, in a story that plays like a murder mystery wrapped around a journey of self-discovery.
Novak plays New York City writer Ben Manalowitz, a shallow, self-absorbed, know-it-all who wants to host an important podcast that will make sense of America and its current state of divide. “I don’t just want to write,” he says pompously. “I want to have a voice.”
When an unknown number pops up on his phone in the middle of the night, it sets him on the path to finding his voice as a weepy caller gives him the “bad news” that his girlfriend has died.
Girlfriend? Which one?
Turns out it was Abilene (Lio Tipton), one of several women he dated at the same time. The family believes they were in love but Ben has to look up her photo to put a face to the name.
Abbey’s good-old-boy brother Ty (Boyd Holbrook) insists Ben come to the funeral in West Texas. “I can’t do this,” Ben says. “None of us can do this,” says the grief-stricken Ty, “and face the future alone.”
Reluctantly Ben agrees to travel to West Texas and even gets roped into speaking at the funeral. “I wish I had known her better,” he says, looking at a picture of her and a guitar. “I wish I had spent more time with her. She loved music and will always be a song in our hearts.”
On the drive back from the funeral, Ty drops a bomb. “Abbey didn’t just die,” he says. “She was murdered. And we’re going to avenge her death.”
Why not just call the police? “In Texas we don’t call 911.”
Ben says, “As a personal boundary, I don’t avenge deaths. I don’t live in a Liam Neeson movie,” but a lightbulb goes off. This is the story he has been looking for.
He agrees to investigate Abilene’s death in the form of a true crime podcast. “This isn’t a story for everyone,” he says. “It’s a story about the need for vengeance.”
Working with his New York based editor (Issa Rae) to shape the story, his investigation leads him into murky territory, both personally and professionally.
The film’s title suggests a blood-speckled search for retribution but “Vengeance” is more interested in provocation than payback. Abilene’s death is the engine that drives the story, but it’s also a McGuffin, an ultimately not important detail in the overall scheme of things. Novak is more interested in our preconceptions about each other in the great red-state/blue-state divide, and how those biases color the way we behave.
It’s a heady backdrop for a neo-western noir, and it starts strong as fish-out-of-water Ben slowly realizes there is life outside his tiny bubble. Ben is a satire of east coast arrogance, looking down on anyone who dares to live outside the borders of New York City. As he digs into Abilene’s passing, investigating if she was murdered or took an accidental overdose, he begins to place old prejudices aside and actually becomes less insufferable. He is pointed in a new direction as his moral compass leads him to wonder if his own caddish behavior may have played a role in Abilene’s fate and, with the podcast, if he is exploiting her family.
Unfortunately, it is also at this point that the film begins to crumble under the weight of broad MAGA characterizations and juicy droplets of pop psychology doublespeak like “everything is everything so everything is nothing.”
As the story splinters off into a satire of true crime podcasts and social media in general, it gets mired in its own philosophies and the fleet-footed pacing of the early sections slows, dragged to a stop by a muddle of ideas.
“Vengeance” is an ambitious movie that bites off a bit more than it can easily chew and digest, but provides enough laughs and intrigue to be worth a look.