Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to drink a glass of water! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People” and the surreal “Infinity Pool.”
I join NewsTalk 1010 host Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “NewsTalk Tonight” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People” and the surreal “Infinity Pool.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People” and the surreal “Infinity Pool.”
I join 1290 CJBK in London and hosts Ken and Loreena to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People” and the surreal “Infinity Pool.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People” and the surreal “Infinity Pool.”
The new rom com “You People,” starring Jonah Hill, Eddie Murphy and Lauren London and now streaming on Netflix, has the frank social commentary of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” mixed with “Meet the Parents” family dynamics.
Directed and co-written (with Hill) by “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris, “You People” begins as unhappy, socially awkward thirty-something Ezra (Hill) wonders if he’ll ever find a woman who understands him. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a man who ever wanted to be in a relationship so badly,” says Ezra’s best friend Mo (Sam Jay), “besides Drake.”
The part-time podcaster and full-time office worker’s pampering mother Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) wants him to settle down, but there are no prospects in sight until he mistakenly jumps into fashion stylist Amira’s (London) car, mistaking it for an Uber.
It isn’t exactly love-at-first sight—“You’re a Jew from West L.A.,” she says. “What do you know about culture?”—but over time love blossoms.
“You’re dating a Black girl?” asks Mo. “I have never felt so understood by somebody in my entire life,” he replies.
It’s all sunshine and roses with Ezra and Amira, but this is a romantic comedy, so there have to be obstacles to their happiness. That friction comes in the form of the couple’s parents.
Ezra’s folks, Shelley and Arnold (David Duchovny) are rich, progressive and cringey in their attempts to prove to Amira that there isn’t a hint of racism in the family.
Amira’s parents, the devoted Nation of Islam Muslim followers Akbar (Eddie Murphy) and Fatima (Nia Long), do not warm to Ezra, and make no secret of their feelings over lunch at Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles.
“So,” asks Akbar, “do you hang out in the hood all the time, or do you just come here for our food and women?”
“You People” takes on hot button subjects, like cultural differences and racial divides, but this is, at its heart, a rom com, so at the end, hurdles will be overcome and happily-ever-afters will be had. That is a given, not a spoiler, just reality, but it is also the weakest part of the movie.
“You People” is at its best when it puts the seasoned cast on screen together. The scenes that gather the young couple and the two sets of parents are highlights, delivering laughs and plenty of situational humour. Subtlety is not on the menu, but Louis-Dreyfus and a deadpan Murphy milk every laugh out of the script, playing up the cultural and faith-based differences that open between the families like a yawning chasm.
“You People” grasps at cultural relevance, but does so with a heavy, although well-intentioned, hand. As the run time moves towards the closing credits, the misunderstandings and accentuation of differences becomes repetitive, miring down the story, despite the efforts of the cast.
The comedy pros keep it as fleet footed as it can be. Only Murphy could get a laugh with a line like, “You shat your slacks?” and I was happy to take the giggles where I could as the movie wound down to its Rom Com 101 ending.
“You People” doesn’t exactly waste its bold face name cast—there are some very funny moments within—but the film’s predictable finish blunts much of the edgy/awkward humour that came before.
“Infinity Pool,” the new horror film from director Brandon Cronenberg, now playing in theatres, takes place in the beach resort of your dreams… if you are prone to nightmares.
The action in “Infinity Pool” takes place against a sun-drenched all-inclusive beach resort in the fictional country of Li Tolqa. The exclusive, and very pricey, vacation spot offers a safe and secluded place for the wealthy to wine, dine and have fun. Imagine a kinkier “White Lotus.”
Just don’t go beyond the barbed wire gates.
That’s a lesson James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em (Cleopatra Coleman) learn too late. He’s a writer, looking for inspiration; she is his wife, an heiress to a publishing fortune. Their lives take a turn when they meet Gabi (Mia Goth) and Al (Jalil Lespert), an adventurous couple who convince them to leave the compound for a beachside BBQ. “It’s one day,” James says. “Let’s mix things up a bit.”
Some grilled sausage and a graphic sex scene later, it’s night. Time to pile into the car and return to the resort. On the way James accidentally hits and kills a local man. Distraught, he wants to call the police.
“No police,” says Gabi. “Do you know anything about the police in Li Tolqa? This isn’t a civilized country. It’s brutal and it is filthy. We’re not getting picked up for this.”
They skedaddle, but soon enough the law catches up with them, questioning Em and arresting James for murder. After a night in jail, he is sentenced. “Here, the punishment for any crime committed is death.”
But even though Li Tolqa is an eye for an eye kind of place, the rules are different for wealthy tourists. By law someone must atone for the crime, but instead of putting James to death, they offer to make a clone of him. The replica will have his memories and will believe it is being killed for James’s crimes.
It is agreed the son of the dead man will even the score by killing the clone. Justice and vengeance will have been served. But there is a caveat. James and Em must watch the execution. After that, they’re free to go, with the clone’s ashes in hand. “Consider it a souvenir.”
Trouble is, James doesn’t want to leave.
“Infinity Pool” is a deep dive into depravity. Sensuality, violence and horror merge, as death becomes a spectator sport, sex becomes hallucinogenic as James becomes seduced by the hedonism of Li Tolqa and his new friends.
Fittingly, there is an unhinged quality to the filmmaking. In a story where anything could happen, and often does, director Brandon Cronenberg ups the debauchery with slick filmmaking, gorgeous cinematography from Karim Hussain and the kind of nihilism not seen since the days of Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games.”
By design it is an unpleasant movie, a Grand-Guignol commentary on the privilege of wealth and the evil men do. Blood—and other bodily fluids—spurt, cruelty is celebrated and the moral compass is left spinning. It is, in its reflection of the foulness of society, also kind of a singular cinematic experience.
We will see better performances this year, but I doubt that we will see two more committed performances than the ones handed in by Skarsgård and Goth. As James, Skarsgård has few boundaries, pushing the character to disturbing places. Goth is the personification of bored debauchery; a person who treats heartlessness as recreation.
“Infinity Pool’s” mix of sadism and satire will not be for everyone. The gratuitous grotesqueries on display will put many viewers off, but adventurous moviegoers may find something new and compelling in Cronenberg’s nightmarish vision.
Jennifer Lopez walks a similar path to Marie Osmond in “Jenny from the Block’s” new Amazon Prime action comedy. Marie is a little bit country, and a little bit rock ‘n roll, while “Shotgun Wedding” showcases Jennifer’s duality, a little bit of amore, and a little bit of adrenaline.
When we first meet Darcy (Lopez) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) it is the night before their elaborate Philippine destination wedding. Family and friends, played by funny people like Jennifer Coolidge, Cheech Marin, D’Arcy Carden and Sônia Braga, and Darcy’s hunky ex-boyfriend (Lenny Kravitz), come from far and wide to celebrate the big day.
“I’ve been looking forward to this moment,” says Carol (Coolidge), “since Tommy was cut out of my belly.”
Trouble is, Tom is too focused on the details. In his effort to make everything seamless, he overlooks the most important element of the day, his bride-to-be. “What if the wedding isn’t perfect? What if your parents never like me?”
As friction develops between the couple, on another part of the island the entire wedding party is taken hostage by pirates who want the fortune held by the bride’s father.
Separated from the group, the couple must play a dangerous game of till death do us part to save their loved ones and their relationship.
“This weekend hasn’t exactly gone to plan,” Tom says. “Pirates chasing you wasn’t on your vision board” replies Darcy.
“Shotgun Wedding” is a bit of a rollercoaster, and not in a good way. A jumbled mix of slapstick and action, of comedy and relationship drama, it careens through the story so quickly, with no tether to any kind of reality, that it becomes positively whiplash inducing.
Despite the likability of the topline cast, it feels as though it mixes the worst elements from the various genres that make up the story. A combination of the predictability of a rom com and some lame, light action (although a surprisingly high body count for a wedding movie), it has a bit of everything except suspense or deep laughs.