Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to tie a shoelace! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the MCU adventure “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” the hardboiled “Marlowe” and the documentary “Cat Daddies.”
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 MCU adventure “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” the hardboiled “Marlowe” and the documentary “Cat Daddies.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the MCU adventure “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” the hardboiled “Marlowe,” the “What’s-in-a-name” documentary “The Other Fellow” and the documentary “Cat Daddies.”
I sit in with CKTB morning show host Tim Denis to have a look at the MCU adventure “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” the hardboiled “Marlowe,” the “What’s-in-a-name” documentary “The Other Fellow” and the documentary “Cat Daddies.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the MCU adventure “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” the hardboiled “Marlowe,” the “What’s-in-a-name” documentary “The Other Fellow” and the documentary “Cat Daddies.”
“I intend to ask questions,” says detective Philip Marlowe (Liam Neeson) in the new gumshoe thriller “Marlowe,” now playing in theatres. And ask questions he does. This revisiting of the classic hardboiled 1930s P.I. Philip Marlowe, made famous on the big screen by Humphrey Bogart, isn’t so much a story as it is a very long series of questions strung together to tell the tale. Screenwriter William Monahan, adapting “The Black-Eyed Blonde,” a 2014 authorized Marlowe novel by Irish writer John Banville, must have burned out the “?” key on his typewriter.
Set in Hollywood, in 1939, the same year Raymond Chandler published “The Big Sleep,” his first Marlowe novel, the movie begins when Clare Cavendish (Diane Kruger) hires the detective to find her missing lover, Nico Petersen (François Arnaud). A prop master at one of the studios, he makes extra cash smuggling drugs into the United States in the props he imports from Mexico.
The police say Nico was killed in a hit and run outside a fancy private club, Cavendish thinks he is still alive and Marlowe has questions. Lots of questions.
When “Marlowe” isn’t in Q&A mode, it has, if nothing else, a collection of interesting characters. Jessica Lange makes an impression as a secretive former movie star who just might be her daughter’s love rival, Danny Houston redefines creepy bluster as a pimp at the upmarket Corbata Club but it is Alan Cumming who leaves a lasting impression. He is businessman, philanthropist and gangster Lou Hendricks, a chewer of scenery who delivers lines like, “I am entirely composed of tarantulas,” with the gusto of a Marvel villain.
Neeson gives the title character a world weariness that borders on ennui. In the Raymond Chandler books he is portrayed in his 30s and 40s. Neeson is 70 and, as Marlowe, is still able to take on a room full of bad guys with his fists and his wits, but he’s seen too much of the underside of life, and it has left him cynical, disengaged to the evil that men do. “I’m getting too old for this,” he says after dispatching a group of baddies, and given Neeson’s listless performance, he may be right.
“Marlowe” has the look and feel of an old time Hollywood noir, but is a pale imitation of the real thing. The golden haze that hangs over every frame can’t disguise the fact that this is a movie comprised of a series of questions with unsatisfying answers in search of a meaningful story.
Tired of good guys? The Captain Americas, ‘yer Iron Men or Wondrous Women? If their virtuous acts and heroic posing are wearing thin or not to your liking, along comes a crew of anti-heroes willing to bend the rules to protect the planet. “We’re the bad guys,” says Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), “it’s what we do.”
Based on the DC Comic of the same name, the Suicide Squad a.k.a. Task Force X, is a ragtag team of death row villains sprung from jail by a secret government agency run by ruthless bureaucrat Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). “In a world of flying men and monsters,” she says, “this is the only way to protect our country.” Waller’s counter-intuitive idea is to utilize their specific sets of skills—essentially creating mayhem—to quell large-scale threats against humanity. In return they are awarded clemency for their crimes. “I’m fighting fire with fire,” says Waller.
The all-star cast of baddies include assassin Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn, a crazed former psychiatrist with a love of beating people with baseball bats and Joker (Jared Leto), deadly boomerangist Boomerang (Jai Courtney), fire-conjurer El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and the reptilian Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje).
To keep the baddies on the straight and narrow they are led into battle by righteous team leader Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). Also they are implanted with micro-bombs to encourage them to do the right thing. Complicating an already complicated situation is the Joker’s plan to extract Harley from the group and the appearance of Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), an archaeologist possessed by an ancient evil force.
For the first forty minutes or so “Suicide Squad” is loopy fun. Zippy, it rips along setting up the story and the characters in an extended origin sequence that gives us all the information we need to understand the rest of the movie. It’s a catch-up that non comic book lovers will appreciate. It is also the strongest part of the movie.
When it gets down to the nitty-gritty of the team in battle against “non-human entities” the C.G.I. kicks into high gear, covering every inch of the screen, and “Suicide Squad” becomes considerably less interesting. Set to a classic rock soundtrack the large-scale action scenes are muddled, dark and rather generic, especially given the special skills of each of the combatants.
About the Squad. For a group of psychopaths they sure seem to be OK people. The worst thing they do—minus the wholesale carnage the government allows them to create—is go temporarily AWOL for a drink in between battles. Over cocktails they discuss life, love and motivations. There are rom coms with more edge.
Much has been written about Jared Leto’s commitment to the role of Joker, and I’m sure the stories are true—he apparently sent a live rat to Robbie and a dead hog to the crew—but it’s hard to see the payoff in his method. His take on the character is weird but not as wild as you might want, and considerably less present on screen than you might think.
Smith makes more of an impression simply through the sheer strength of his charisma. Like the rest of the team he isn’t given much to do but he makes the most of it. Robbie makes an impression in a dangerous and flirty role but her New York accent comes and goes with the frequency of a rush hour subway train.
The rest are placeholders, not given enough to do to actually be interesting and even when they are in action, it’s so dark it’s hard to tell exactly who is shooting/stabbing/punching who.
On the plus side “Suicide Squad” doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as “Batman v Superman.” On the downside director David Ayer took a premise that gave him permission to go as far overboard as he wanted and yet the movie feels familiar, like it is trying to echo the very movies it should be an antidote to.
To prepare for his role in Suicide Squad method actor Jared Leto went full Joker.
“I had to be committed beyond belief,” he says. As the third Oscar winner to play The Joker, after Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, he said, “We knew we had to strike new ground. There had been such great work we knew we had to go in a different direction.”
An adaptation of the DC Comics antihero series, Suicide Squad sees supervillains like El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) as well as Leto’s Harlequin of Hate perform perilous black ops missions in return for clemency. Director David Ayer describes it as a “comic-book version of The Dirty Dozen.”
Leto immersed himself in the role to the point his cast mates didn’t know where the actor ended and the Joker began. Jai Courtney said, “Let’s put it this way. I haven’t seen him, since we started working, out-of-character.” Margot Robbie and Scott Eastwood, who is Leto’s friend in real life, both say the actor’s on-set behaviour scared them.
To create his take on the Clown Prince of Crime he mixed-and-matched influences from the Batman comic Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth along with shamans and Mexican cartels. “The Joker is fantastic because there are no rules,” he says.
The only rule Leto subscribed to was to never break out of character, whether he was filming or not. His conduct made headlines when it was reported that he gave the cast and crew some Joker inspired presents.
“He did some bad things, Jared Leto did,” said co-star Viola Davis. “He gave some really horrific gifts.”
Robbie, who plays the baseball bat-wielding villain Harley Quinn, received a love letter and a live rat in a black box. She kept the rodent, which she named Rat Rat, for the duration of the Toronto shoot because, “If Harley got something from Joker, she’d probably cherish it.” When filming was complete Guillermo del Toro adopted the rodent renaming it Vestuniano.
Will Smith, who plays sharpshooter Deadshot, was also sent a letter accompanied by a bullet and Killer Croc portrayer Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje received a “used” Playboy magazine.
Leto’s first day of the shoot gift was an eye opener. He missed the first few days of filming, so to let everyone know he was thinking of them he sent over a dead hog and a video of the Joker.
“Basically, what he said was, ‘Guys, I can’t be there but I want you to know I’m doing my work as hard as you guys,'” Adam Beach said. “The video he showed is in character. It blew our minds away. We realized that day, this is real.”
Viola Davis was spared Leto’s twisted gift giving. “I did not receive any personally, or else I would have got my husband, who was called ‘Headache Ball’ when he played football, and I would have said, ‘Take care of the Joker,’” she said.
Did his methods pay off? Seems so. Ben Affleck describes Leto’s performance as “genius” and Ayer declares, “I think it’s going to be hard for anyone to ever imagine anyone else as the Joker.”
Leto thinks his process was worth it. “Other people can show up and are genius but I did what I needed to do to deliver. And we had a good time with it.”
From marilyn.ca: “If you love going to the movies, but you’re never sure what to see, Richard Crouse has the answer! Check out these sure-to-be blockbusters to keep you entertained all summer!” They argue about “Finding Dory” and preview “The BFG,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Jason Bourne,” “Suicide Squad” and “Ghostbusters.”