Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the return of Jason Statham in “Wrath of Man” (theatres this week, on digital May 25), the kind-hearted Tony Hale comedy “Eat Wheaties!” (VOD), the nostalgic documentary “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street” (VOD/Digital) and the family dramedy “A Bump Along the Way” (VOD/Digital).
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about the Jason Statham shoot ’em up “Wrath of Man” (theatres this week, on digital May 25), the quirky Tony Hale comedy “Eat Wheaties!” (VOD) and the nostalgic documentary “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street” (VOD/Digital).
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the return of Jason Statham in “Wrath of Man” (theatres this week, on digital May 25), the kind-hearted Tony Hale comedy “Eat Wheaties!” (VOD), the nostalgic documentary “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street” (VOD/Digital) and the family dramedy “A Bump Along the Way” (VOD/Digital).
Mild mannered office worker Sid Straw, played by “Veep”/”Arrested Development” star Tony Hale in the new V.O.D. comedy “Eat Wheaties!,” claims to be a close acquittance of “Huger Games” star Elizabeth Banks.
“There is no such thing,” says her manager (Sarah Chalke).
As the cringe comedy begins Sid is unlucky in love, an expert in saying the wrong thing, misreading signals and trying too hard. “I understand that I am not the most exciting person out there,” he says. When he is named co-chair of the upcoming University of Pennsylvania’s reunion it is the beginning of a spiral. Setting up a Facebook page to publicize the event, he repeatedly messages Banks, an alumnus he claims to have been acquainted with decades ago.
Not realizing the posts are public, he bombards her account with a series of personal notes inviting her to the reunion. His many messages go unnoticed by the star but not her team, who file a restraining order against him. When the posts go viral—“What does that mean?” he asks.—his life unwinds as he is publicly and personally humiliated.
Based on the novel “The Locklear Letters” by Michael Kun, “Eat Wheaties!” (that was Banks’ catchphrase in school), is a mix of tragedy and comedy, made human by Hale’s performance. Sid could have been a collection of quirks but Hale paints him differently. Sid is a lovable loser and Hale plays him as a sweet, lonely guy, oblivious to the hole he’s digging for himself.
Hale is supported by a great supporting cast, including Paul Walter Hauser, Elisha Cuthbert, Lamorne Morris and Robbie Amell, who play off Sid’s social awkwardness with good-natured sympathy.
“Eat Wheaties!” is a tightly paced comedy which is more about kindness and doing the right thing than it is about knee slapping jokes. It is occasionally knee-slapping funny but the laughs come from kind-heartedness, not cruelty and that makes this quirky comedy a winner.
Each week on the nationally syndicated Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to hear in-depth interviews with actors and directors, to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favourite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Recent guests include Ethan Hawke, director Brad Bird, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, Eric Roberts, Brian Henson, Jonathan Goldsmith a.k.a. “The most interesting man in the world,” and best selling author Linwood Barclay.
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Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Disney’s animated action flick “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Disney+ with Premier Access and theatres), the long awaited sequel “Coming 2 America” (Amazon Prime Video) and the look at the war on drugs “Crisis” (on digital and demand).
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including Disney’s animated action flick “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Disney+ with Premier Access and theatres), the long awaited sequel “Coming 2 America” (Amazon Prime Video), the biopic “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” (VOD), the legal drama “The Mauritanian” (premium digital and on-demand), the coming-of-age story “My Salinger Year” (VOD) and the look at the war on drugs “Crisis” (on digital and demand).
If you look on IMDb, there are dozens of titles containing the phrase “dragon slayer.” Movie dragons, by and large have been of the Smaug variety, a beast “The Hobbit” author J.R.R. Tolkien described as “a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm.”
There are exceptions of course, like the “How to Train Your Dragon” creatures and the wyvern in “The Reluctant Dragon” who would rather recite poetry than cause havoc. “You’ve got to be mad to breathe fire,” he says, “but I’m not mad at anybody.”
This week we can add Sisu the self-deprecating water dragon voiced by Awkwafina in Disney+’s animated “Raya and the Last Dragon,” to the happy dragon list
Five hundred years ago humans and dragons happily co-existed in the Five Lands of Kumandra—Heart, Talon, Fang, Spine and Tail—the fantasy land (inspired by several Southeast Asian cultures) Warrior Princess Raya (Kelly Marie Tran), Guardian of the Dragon Gem, calls home.
The dragons were fierce warriors, the only creatures capable of defeating the Druun, the nasty neighbors who turn everything they touch into stone. To save humanity Sisu the dragon imbued a gem with magic powerful enough to drive away the interlopers and bring the folks who had been turned into pillars back to life. With the work done, Sisu disappeared, leaving behind the gem and a deeply divided nation.
In an effort to bring the warring tribes together Raya’s father Benja (Daniel Dae Kim), head of the Heart Tribe, leaves the gem vulnerable and soon it is smashed, split into pieces, leaving the land open to further attacks from the Druun.
If the Druun are to be defeated once and for all Raya must track down the last dragon. That would be Sisu, a quirky pink and turquoise dragon with self-esteem issues. “I’m going to be real with you,” she says. “I’m not like the best dragon. Have you ever done like a group project, but there’s like that one kid who didn’t pitch in as much, but still ended up with the same grade?”
Disney’s first original princess movie since 2016’s “Moana,” “Raya and the Last Dragon” is a feast for the eyes. The backgrounds are beautifully rendered, with particular attention paid to the details that differentiate the five clans. The animation will make your eye balls dance, and perhaps leave you wishing this could be the big screen experience it was originally meant to be.
The clever backgrounds are populated with nicely realized characters. As Raya, Kelly Marie Tran plays the first Disney princess who is as good with her fists as she is with her wits. The combat scenes, including a fistfight with Fang Tribe meanie Namaari (Gemma Chan), sword fights and chases, are well presented, always allowing for the viewer to follow the action and not get lost in a blur of glinting swords or flying fists. In a film populated with lots of secondary characters, she holds her own with determination and a heap of spunk.
Awkwafina has more to work with character wise. As the quirky dragon she’s a scene stealer, bring humour and heart to Sisu. The movie wants you to root for her and you will.
“Raya and the Last Dragon” is meant for kids, so the main character’s journey isn’t overly complicated, but it does contain poignant, joyful messages of the importance of togetherness and trust. In an increasingly divided world comes a movie that promotes trust as a key to human relationships. Disney isn’t blazing new ground with the moral, but it’s not such a bad thing to be reminded of from time to time.