Archive for the ‘Film Review’ Category

YOU TUBE: THREE MOVIES/THIRTY SECONDS! FAST REVIEWS FOR BUSY PEOPLE!

Fast reviews for busy people! Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to sew a button! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the pedal to the metal action of “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” the crime comedy “Hit Man” and the funny buddy flick “Babes.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA: 4 STARS. “action scenes pop the eyes out of their sockets.”

LOGLINE: A mix of Norse and Greek mythology set against an apocalyptic backdrop, and set 15 to 20 years before the events of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” is a high-octane origin story. Kidnapped from the Place of Great Abundance by Warlord Dementus’s (Chris Hemsworth) henchmen, young Furiosa (played by Alyla Browne as a child, Anya Taylor-Joy as an adult) vows vengeance for the death of her mother as Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme) and Dementus vie for supremacy of the Wasteland. “When things go bonkers,” says Dementus, “you have to adapt.”

CAST: Anya Taylor-Joy, Alyla Browne, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, Lachy Hulme, Nathan Jones, Josh Helman, John Howard, Angus Sampson, Charlee Fraser, Quaden Bayles, Daniel Webber. Directed by George Miller.

REVIEW: A pedal-to-the-metal epic, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” follows the big-block engine power of “Fury Road” with a film that brings a backstory to the strong-willed Furiosa (Taylor-Joy). As expected, Miller delivers a high-octane apocalyptic tale with a fierce Taylor-Joy and charismatic warlord Hemsworth, that features action scenes that’ll make your eyes pop out of their sockets.

The extended “Stowaway” action sequence, for instance, featuring all manner of souped-up vehicles blazing through the dusty Wasteland, makes Monster Trucks look like a Hot Wheels rally. Frenetic in the extreme, Miller’s restless camera is in constant motion, capturing the (mostly) practical stunts in his singular, propulsive style.

The actual revenge story is “Fury Road”-Lite, but the breeziness of the plot is offset by the scorching leads. The transition between Alyla Browne as the young Furiosa to Taylor-Joy, who is a reflection of the character played by Charlize Theron, is graceful and effective.

With a minimum of dialogue—she speaks maybe 30 lines in total—Taylor-Joy portrays the strong will, intelligence and furious emotion that drives the character on her hero’s journey, even if we don’t meet the adult Furiosa until roughly an hour into the action. As a warlord who snacks on human blood sausages, Hemsworth has a fake nose and the showier role. He’s an operatic villain who licks the tears of his victims and gets around on a grand Roman chariot powered by motorbikes, not horses. He’s entertainingly over-the-top, even in a bigger-than-life movie featuring characters with names like The People Eater and Rictus Erectus.

“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” is an experience. It doesn’t hit the heights of “Fury Road,” one of the greatest action movies ever made, but in its examination of love and hope in hopeless times, it is both ridiculous and sublime as it tears across the screen like greased lightning.

HIT MAN: 4 STARS. “gives Powell a chance to show his versatility.”

A very unusual thing happened when I saw Richard Linklater’s “Hit Man” at last year’s TIFF. After the movie’s best and funniest scene, one that shows the comedic chops and chemistry of leads Glen Powell and Adria Arjona, the audience burst into applause. It was a spontaneous, organic moment, the kind usually reserved for comedy clubs, not sold-out festival screenings.

Powell, who also wrote the script, plays Gary, a seemingly mild-mannered psychology and philosophy professor at the University of New Orleans. When he isn’t lecturing to bored students about breaking out of their comfort zones, he leads a quiet life, tending to his pet birds and two cats, Id and Ego.

On the side he works with local law enforcement as a sound technician, secretly recording undercover officer Jasper (Austin Amelio) as he entraps people who want to hire him to kill a spouse or a business partner.

When Jasper is suspended for bad behavior, Gary subs in.

Turns out, he’s a natural, and more importantly, it gives him an adrenaline rush he hasn’t felt for many years. With Jasper out of the picture, Gary dives in, wearing disguises to create a new hitman character for every meeting.

“I realized not everyone fantasized about the same hit man,” he says. “Every sting operation was a performance. And each arrest was like a standing ovation.”

When he meets Madison (Adria Arjona), a distressed wife who wants him to kill her husband, he immediately falls for her. In their meeting he gets her to stop talking before she incriminates herself, and soon, they begin dating. Trouble is, she knows him as self-assured badass Ron, not as the affable Gary.

Complications ensue, culminating in the above-mentioned applause-worthy scene, a mix of slapstick and the pure chemistry between Powell and Arjona, where they know the police are recording them, but continue their conversation as though they don’t.

Very loosely based on the true story of Gary Johnson, as written by Skip Hollandsworth in “Texas Monthly,” “Hit Man” is a rom com with some thrilling twists. Light and frothy, it’s anchored by a smart script that acts as a showcase for the lead performances.

Powell pulls off a full-on leading man turn as a guy who embodies an ideal by creating a role-playing fantasy of what a hit man would be like, based on the wants and needs of the client. It gives him a chance to show his versatility and step away from the bland leading man roles that have marked some of his most popular work to date.

“Hit Man” makes the most of that performance. As the disguises get nuttier and nuttier, and the plot more pretzel-shaped, director Richard Linklater finds a balance between Powell’s showcase work, the script’s big laughs and the story’s inherent tension. It could have gone south very easily, but Linklater pulls off a bit of a magic trick and keeps it hilariously humming along on all cylinders.

THE GARFIELD MOVIE: 3 STARS. “simple, sentimental and predictable.”

LOGLINE: Lasagna-loving, comic-strip cat Garfield returns to the big screen with a new voice, courtesy of Chris Pratt, and a new adventure. After being abandoned by his street cat father Vic (Samuel L. Jackson) as a kitten, the orange tabby leads a life of leisure with easy-going Jon (Nicholas Hoult) and canine best friend Odie. When Vic reappears, Garfield and Odie leave the lasagna behind to embark on a risky, high-stakes heist.

CAST: Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Hannah Waddingham, Ving Rhames, Nicholas Hoult, Cecily Strong, Harvey Guillén, Brett Goldstein, Bowen Yang, Snoop Dogg.

REVIEW: “The Garfield Movie” is a big, action-packed (and product placement heavy) movie that doesn’t really feel like a Garfield movie. It’s a big, colorful action-adventure that will entertain kids, make their eyeballs spin and inspire a giggle or three, but the essence of the character, the sardonic, lazy cat with an obsession for sleeping, has been set aside in favor of a lively, fun character who has little to do with what made the comic-strip popular in the first place.

The new Garfield loses the simplicity of the strip, instead, filling the screen with rapid fire gags and frenetic action. The animation, which feels like a cross between computer generated and the comic-strip, offers up expressive character faces and fun voice work, particularly from Waddingham, who takes a generic villain character and gives her some oomph.

Aside from the father-and-son story, which touches on the importance of family, screenwriters Paul A. Kaplan, Mark Torgove and David Reynolds keep it simple, sentimental and predictable.

“The Garfield Movie” will likely have little appeal for anyone over the age of 10, but has a silly sense of mischief that the younger members of the family may enjoy.

CTV NEWS AT SIX: NEW MOVIES AND TV SHOWS TO CHECK OUT THIS WEEKEND!

I appear on “CTV News at 6” with Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. I’ll tell you about the wistful kid’s flick “IF,” the surreal film “I Saw the TV Glow” and the sweet and silly “Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala” on Paramount+.

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at )

CTV NEWS AT 11:30: MORE MOVIES AND TV SHOWS TO STREAM THIS WEEKEND!

I appear on “CTV News at 11:30” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend, including the the concert film “Queen Rock Montreal” on Disney+, the period drama “Shardlake”and the “mostly true” true crime series “The Big Cigar.”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 18:56)

CTV NEWS TORONTO AT FIVE WITH ZURAIDAH ALMAN: RICHARD ON WHAT TO WATCH!

I join “CTV News Toronto at Five” with host Zuraidah Alman, to talk about the biopic “Back to Black,” the sentimental “IF,” the horror film “The Strangers: Chapter 1” and the surreal “I Saw the TV Glow.”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 14:45)

NEWSTALK TONIGHT WITH JIM RICHARDS: DOES RICHARD CROUSE LIKE THESE MOVIES?

I sit in with 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 biopic “Back to Black,” the sentimental “IF,” and the horror film “The Strangers: Chapter 1.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FROM CP24! FRIDAY MAY 17, 2024.

I join CP24 to have a look at the biopic “Back to Black,” the sentimental “IF,” the horror film “The Strangers: Chapter 1” and the surreal “I Saw the TV Glow.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!