Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Meryl Streep musical “The Prom” (Netflix), Rachel Brosnahan in the crime drama “I’m Your Woman” (Amazon Prime Video), the COVID thriller “Songbird” (Premium VOD) and the comedy “Yes, God, Yes” (VOD).
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Jennifer Burke to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Meryl Streep musical “The Prom” (Netflix), Rachel Brosnahan in the crime drama “I’m Your Woman” (Amazon Prime Video), the COVID thriller “Songbird” (Premium VOD) and the comedy “Yes, God, Yes” (VOD).
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 Meryl Streep musical “The Prom” (Netflix), Rachel Brosnahan in the crime drama “I’m Your Woman” (Amazon Prime Video) and the COVID thriller “Songbird” (Premium VOD).
“Songbird,” a new film produced by Michael Bay and now on premium VOD, feels ripped from the headlines.
Like, today’s headlines.
The first film to shoot in Los Angeles during the lockdown details life during COVID.
Set in 2024, during the fourth year of pandemic, COVID has mutated, leaving the United States under martial law were infected citizens are forcibly removed from their homes. Treated like walking, talking biohazards they are housed in concentration camps called Q-Zones.
Meanwhile, motorcycle courier Nico (KJ Apa) is immune. A recovered COVID patient, he has the antibodies to fight off the disease. When his locked-down girlfriend Sarah (Sofia Carson) is suspected of contracting the virus, Nico springs into action to save her from being taken away.
There are side characters galore, like Bradley Whitford’s sex-crazed record producer, a lovelorn veteran played by Paul Walter Hauser, Demi Moore’s protective mom and an over-the-top Peter Stormare as the evil head of the Los Angeles’ “sanitation” department–but most of them exist only to heighten the grim desperation of the situation.
“Songbird” isn’t a politicized screed about masks or the virus’ origin. Instead, it’s a star-crossed style romance—”You’ve never been in the same room,” says Sara’s mother, “but he loves you.”—set against the backdrop of the worst world event in decades.
It would be one thing if “Songbird” had something to add the conversation about COVID, but it doesn’t. Instead, it plays off our worst collective fears in clumsy and exploitative ways.
It’s likely to appeal to conspiracy enthusiasts who may finger their tinfoil hats in excitement at the mention of bracelets for “munies”—the immune—an unchecked department of sanitation who arrest at will, apps that will report you if your temperature is above normal and ever-present surveillance.
For those not inclined toward dystopian extremes, “Songbird” is a crass reminder of the real-life death, sickness, unemployment and heartache COVID has wrought. It feels tone deaf, and worse, it’s a bad movie.
A new feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the Dwayne Johnson reboot of one of the most popular TV shows of all time, “Baywatch,” the continuation of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and the travelogue “Paris Can Wait” starring Diane Lane.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the Dwayne Johnson reboot of one of the most popular TV shows of all time, “Baywatch,” the continuation of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and the travelogue “Paris Can Wait” starring Diane Lane.
On the surface “Baywatch,” the big screen reboot of the cheesy 1980s television show, is about beach bunnies who uncover a criminal plot that may bring with it trouble to the Baywatch lifeguards. That’s the logline, but in reality it’s actually about nostalgia, hard beach bodies and the inestimable charisma of its star (and possible presidential candidate) Dwayne Johnson.
Johnson takes over for TV lifeguard David Hasselhoff as Californian Mitch Buchannon, the gung ho leader of the elite Baywatch lifeguard squad. “Our team is the elite of the elite,” he says. “The heart and soul of the beach.” He’s a beach superstar, so beloved people curve giant sand sculptures in his honour. He keeps the waters safe but there is trouble brewing.
The Bay isn’t drawing them in like it used to and City Council has cut their funding. To stir up some publicity, and perhaps attract a few more bikini clad sunbathers, beach bigwig Captain Thorpe (Rob Huebel) hires troubled Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron). He’s the “Stephen Hawking of swimming” with two gold medals but he’s also a troublemaker on probation.
“That’s why we can afford him,” says Thorpe. “We got him on his community service.”
Brody butts heads with the Baywatch team—Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera), Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass) and CJ Parker (Kelly Rohrbach)—but especially Buchannon. The new guy may be one of the best swimmers in the world but he’s a loner and doesn’t play well with the team. “He’s reckless and insubordinate,” says Buchannon.
Despite their differences when they aren’t rescuing people from the briny depths the team is forced to come together to uncover a nefarious plot by businesswoman Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) to privatise the entire bay. “I’m not a Bond villain,” she coos. “Yet.”
Cue the wet and wild action.
“Baywatch” is one of the most popular TV shows of all time and it wasn’t because it was a searing examination of the human experience, tinted with dollops of wry humour or shrewdly pointed satire. It was because it featured SloMo teen dreams come to life, cleavage galore and cheesy action. The movie is a bigger budget version of the same. There’s no real stakes. We know things will get damp and dangerous for Mitch and Company but by the time the end credits roll everything will have sorted itself out and a sequel will be firmly in place. There’s plenty of action, gunfire and juggernauting jet skies but no jeopardy of any kind, just a generic crime story dressed up in a skimpy bathing suit.
Beyond the sea bound action is a crude sense of fun. The big screen “Baywatch” pokes gentle fun at its small screen sibling. “Why does she always looks like she’s running in slow motion?” asks new recruit Summer of CJ’s beach gait. “Do you see it too?” replies Ronnie. As the action bounces along the dumb and/or gross jokes begin to pile up threatening to crush the whole thing under their weight.
Johnson brings muscle and comic timing while Efron brings abs of steel and a willingness to do almost anything for a laugh. He doesn’t always hit the mark but you have to give him high marks for leaving his dignity at the door.
The supporting cast aren’t given much to do other than glam it up—in the party scenes—or strip down—in the beach scenes. Kelly Rohrbach it’s time for your (cleavage’s) close up. You get the idea. As the overweight and eager Ronnie, Bass is Josh Gadd Lite or maybe an echo of early Jack Black.
Depending on your point of view “Baywatch” is either a mindless summer diversion or a continuation of Hollywood’s exploitation of our collective nostalgia. Judge your interest level accordingly. Either way it fails to grab the raucous good times of “21 Jump Street,” another, more successful TV reboot.
Travis Parker (Benjamin Walker), the male lead of the new Nicholas Sparks tearjerker “The Choice,” only has one deck chair outside his North Carolina
Home. “A man with only one chair outside his house,” we’re told, “wants to be alone,” but does he really? This is a King of Romance® Nicholas Sparks, the man with a romantic plan so the whole movie is basically a countdown to Travis and his beautiful new neighbour, medical student Gabby (Teresa Palmer) have movie sex and experience a trademarked Sparksian tragedy.
Travis is a good ol’ boy who’s used to getting what he wants from women without ever falling in love. A combination of good looks and Southern charm—although some might call it Southern smarm—means that he is rarely without company. His on-and-off girlfriend Monica (Alexandra Daddario) boomerangs in-and-out of his life but mostly he goes it alone… that is until Gabby moves in next door. She’s cramming for her medical boards while working at the local hospital side-by-side her fiancée Ryan (Tom Welling) and future father-in-law (Brett Rice). She calls Travis a walking cautionary tale and has no interest but he is smitten and everyone around them thinks they have great chemistry.
“Are you two..?” asks Travis’s father Dr. Shep (Tom Wilkinson).
“Hell no!” drawls Travis.
“Gross!” spits Gabby.
Their lips say no, but their eyes say yes. When will they kiss? When will they walk in the rain? When will the inevitable tragedy that strengthens their love happen?
“The Choice” is all about decisions, the little determinations you make along the way that may have long-term effects on your life. I’m here to help you decide if buying a ticket for “The Choice” will have any effect, good or bad, on you.
If you know Nicholas Sparks movies like “The Notebook,” “The Last Song” or “Dear John,” you already know what to expect. There will be “witty” repartee that, I guess, is what passes for foreplay in the Sparks universe. The story will be tinged with tragedy and the main couple will hate one another at first. Someone will offer up old timey romantic advice like, “If you see a man sleeping on the cold floor there must be a beautiful woman nearby” and at some point something vaguely supernatural will happen. It’s a formula geared to make you well up and this movie has every Sparksism in spades. In truth, however, it is about as affecting as a Canadian Tire commercial.
If you enjoy being manipulated and cry easily you make (or may not) enjoy the movie. That choice is yours.