Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund talk about the weekend’s big releases, “The Light Between Oceans,” starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander and “The 9th Life of Louis Drax,” with Jamie Dornan and Sarah Gaddon!
Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at “The Light Between Oceans,” starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander and “The 9th Life of Louis Drax,” with Jamie Dornan and Sarah Gaddon!
There’s accident-prone and then there’s Louis Drax. After surviving eight near-death experiences, the young boy almost meets his end on his ninth birthday when he tumbles off a cliff. What is his secret to survival? More importantly, why do terrible things keep happening to him?
Louis’s (Aiden Longworth) latest accident has left his family in tatters and him in a coma. As psychologist Dr. Allan Pascal (Jamie Dornan) delves into the strange case, piecing together the disparate aspects and weird coincidences of Louis’s life that brought him to the coma ward, the good doctor also begins a romantic relationship with the boy’s mother Natalie (Sarah Gadon). The details surrounding Louis’s case not only defy medical logic but believability as well. “I think that some people don’t want to wake up until they feel safe,” Pascal says to the comatose boy. Determined to get to the bottom of the medical mystery Pascal and a colleague, Dr. Perez (Oliver Platt), take drastic steps to get inside the boy’s head.
“The 9th Life for Louis Drax” rides the line between reality and fantasy, pitting perception against interpretation. Director Alexandre Aja ambitiously tackles a complicated narrative, switching the point of view between Louis and Pascal perspectives as he balances the story’s three-pronged attack. It’s part psychological drama, part mystery and part police procedural. Add to that a creepy sea monster that visits Louis and you have a film that feels like a novel.
Dornan makes for a good looking, if bland leading man, but Gaddon and Aaron Paul, as Louis’s father, hand in solid, interesting performances. They bring the human touch the story needs to keep the fantasy elements from overpowering the gothic narrative core. The movie flirts with the supernatural but it is more a look at how truth can be interpreted.
“The 9th Life for Louis Drax” is a handsome film that feels like Guillermo Del Toro Lite. Aja’s film isn’t quite as deep or magical as it thinks it is, but it’s a nice, mostly entertaining adaptation of a complex novel.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s four big releases, including “Finding Dory,” the buddy comedy “Central Intelligence” with Duane Johnson and Kevin Hart, and a duo of documentaries, “De Palma,” an unflinching look at the films of Brian De Palma and the self explanatory “Raiders! The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.”
The key to “Central Intelligence,” a new action comedy comedy from “Easy A” director Rawson Marshall Thurber, will be the rapport between stars Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart. Physically they’re Laurel and Hardy, Johnson is at least one foot taller than Hart and weighs a hundred pounds more, but physicality aside, do they have the chemistry to pull this off?
Today Bob Stone (Johnson) is a CIA assassin who bears an uncanny resemblance to wrestler The Rock. He’s a mountain of a man but that wasn’t always the case. In 1996 he was a ninety-pound weakling so teased by his classmates even his principal says, “Well, there’s no coming back from that,” after one particularly humiliating hazing stunt.
On the other end of the high school scale is Calvin Joyner (Hart). Popular, he was homecoming king and voted most likely to succeed. He is, as the principal says, “Everybody’s favourite all round guy.” The future buttoned-down accountant was also the only kid in school to treat Bob with any humanity.
When Bob reconnects with Calvin on Facebook Calvin has a hard time remembering his former classmate. “You lost like two hundred pounds,” he says when they meet in person. Bob is now a CIA agent, but there’s a problem. The agency thinks he has gone rogue and is now a terrorist trying to hawk classified military secrets. To help clear his name Bob enlists Calvin. “Bottom line,” he says, “are you in or are you out?” Calvin wants out. “I thought you’d go, ‘I’m in Bob!’” says Stone, “and we would have a really cool moment but you kind of ruined that.” Of course Calvin is in, otherwise there’d be no action in this comedy.
The good news is Johnson and Hart have chemistry. They click. The bad news is the script doesn’t give them much to work with. There is the occasional funny moment but frankly, “Central Intelligence” rarely garners more than a titter from an audience who want to laugh, who want desperately for Hart to let loose or Johnson to display the kind of comedy chops he’s showed on “Saturday Night Live” and the kind of action aptitude he’s shown, well, everywhere else. Instead we’re handed a tepid action movie with badly choreographed fight scenes, few laughs and anti-bullying pop psychology better suited to an afterschool special.
What could have been a vehicle that played up to its star’s strengths is little more than a generic action flick that fails to let us smell what the Rock has cooking.
Richard and “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson have a look at he weekend’s big releases, the bombastic “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’s” souvlaki slapstick and the terrific tension of thriller “Eye in the Sky.”
Helen Mirren trades in Queen Elizabeth’s tiara for army fatigues in “Eye in the Sky,” a drone drama that examines the legal, military, moral and political ramifications of an unmanned aerial vehicle bombing on some high value targets in the war on terror.
Mirren is Colonel Powell, an English military intelligence officer charged with tracking down and dispatching British national-turned-terrorist in Nairobi, Kenya. When the mark is located in a house in a residential area Powell weighs the value of eliminating the threat against the possibility of collateral damage—the unintended death of civilians. When it’s discovered the target is planning a suicide-bombing run, endangering the lives of dozens of people, she makes the decision to “prosecute” the target. Before she can engage, however, she needs the approval of a London-based panel—Attorney General Matherson (Richard McCabe), Foreign Secretary Willett (Iain Glen), Lieutenant General Benson (Alan Rickman) and politician Angela North (Monica Dolan)—and the Las Vegas based drone pilots Watts (Aaron Paul) and Gershon (Phoebe Fox). When an innocent nine-year-old girl sets ups a stand to sell bread just inside the kill zone questions are raised as to whether to pull the trigger or not.
“Eye in the Sky” is talky but also terrifically tense as life and death decisions are boiled down to public relations and political tactics. Wordy and pedantic, it asks the viewer to choose sides and then explore the reasoning behind their decisions. What is worth more, the life of an innocent young girl or the potential loss of life if the suicide bombers make it to a mall? It’s a complicated and morality tinged look at the kinds of choices that are made on an almost daily basis, decisions so common they barely rate a mention in the news anymore.
Remember the Mazda commercials that were on a few years ago? I felt like the kid from those ads was sitting on my shoulder whispering “zoom, zoom” into my ear for the entire running time of “The Hot Wheels Movie,” er…. “Need for Speed.”
Based on the most successful racing video game franchise ever, the movie is Aaron “Breaking Bad” Paul’s first lead in a feature. He plays Tobey Marshall, a speed-demon mechanic, jailed for a crime he did not commit. Out of the hoosegow with revenge against adversary Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) on his mind, he finagles a spot at the De Leon, a high-octane underground race that makes the Cannonball Run look like a kid’s Go-Kart sprint. You just know it’s only a matter of time until someone says, “We’ll settle this behind the wheel.”
Between him and the race, however, are miles of hard road, bounty hunters and police. Will his dreams of racing and revenge come true? Or will his need for speed go unfulfilled?
This is a fast paced car race movie that zips along as quickly as you’d hope a movie with the word speed in the title would, but character wise, it’s not quite as fast or furious as you might like. The cars are the stars, while the characters are largely left in the dust. The story and the characters feel like McGuffins to support the screeching tires and revving engines.
Paul, who brings a gruff Batman voice to the role, and his navigator / flirty love interest Julia (Imogen Poots) are charming and charismatic, but aren’t given much to do other than shift gears. That’s OK, this is a car movie after all, but when the story grinds its gears when it shifts from the action sequences to the human story.
Poots starts off strong, but is soon reduced to the hysterical girl role while Paul could have used a lesson or two from Jesse Pinkman in the passion department. It says something when the movie’s most interesting character—the eccentric millionaire The Monarch, played by Michael Keaton—never gets behind the wheel of a car.
I liked the race scenes. They feel authentic and by and large done by brave speed demon stunt drivers without the use of CGI. They’re exciting, pedal-to-the-metal sequences that put the audience in the driver’s seat. You may wonder about glorifying the romance of reckless street racing, but the movie isn’t a commercial for vehicular mayhem. There are some wild rides, but there are also consequences for many of the drivers and their need for speed.
“Need for Speed” isn’t “Downton Abbey.” It’s a car crazy story where characters take a backseat to the action, but if you know what a Two Lane Grasshopper is, then you’ll probably get a kick out of the driving scenes.