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 Netflix biopic “Rustin,” the music documentary “The Stones and Brian Jones,” the animated “Trolls Band Together” and the prequel “The Hunger games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the animated “Trolls Band Together,” the origin story “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the biopic “Rustin,” the sports comedy “Next Goal Wins,” and the rock doc “The Stones and Brian Jones.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies and television shows coming to theatres and streaming services. Today we talk about the animated “Trolls Band Together,” the origin story “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” and the Apple TV+ series “The Buccaneers.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the animated “Trolls Band Together,” the origin story “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the biopic “Rustin,” the sports comedy “Next Goal Wins,” and the rock doc “The Stones and Brian Jones.”
Three movies in you wouldn’t think there was that much story left to tell in the Trolls Universe.
And you’d be right. There isn’t.
But “Trolls Band Together,” the new animated jukebox musical featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justine Timberlake, and now playing in theatres, isn’t so much about the story as it is the frenetic, psychedelic experience of watching it all unfold.
This time around, the story begins years ago with Baby Branch (Timberlake) making his debut with BroZone, the all-Troll boy band consisting of Floyd (electropop sensation Troye Sivan), John Dory (Eric André), Spruce (Daveed Diggs) and Clay (Kid Cudi). The pressures of life at the top of the charts, of chasing the perfect sound, is wearing away at the band, and when their choreography goes wrong during a live show, they decide to call it quits.
“We’re not in sync,” says elder brother John Dory. “We’ve gone from boys to men, and now there’s only one direction for us to go… to the back streets.”
Cut to years later. Branch is now married to Queen Poppy (Kendrick), queen of the ever optimistic Pop Trolls, and hasn’t been in contact with his brothers since their last show. “My brothers walked out on me,” says Branch, “and never came back.”
Out of the blue John Dory shows up with bad news. Their brother Floyd is being held captive in a diamond prison by pop superstars Velvet and Veneer (Amy Schumer and Andrew Rannells) who siphon off his talent to enhance their terrible singing voices. “I want to be famous,” says Velvet, “but I don’t want to work for it.”
The only way to rescue Floyd is to put the band back together and create the one thing powerful enough to shatter a diamond, the perfect family harmony of all their voices singing together.
The experience of watching “Trolls Band Together” is not unlike watching a great fireworks display. They both distract the eye, are often super cool looking and may cause temporary elation, but as soon as they’re over, so is the thrill. The frantically paced film is all spectacle, glitter and musical dance numbers.
There isn’t a moment for the audience or the movie to catch its breath, as though director Walt Dohrn edited out any moments without action, leaving behind all peaks and no valleys. The razzle dazzle may appeal to younger audiences but parents, despite the addition of adult level humor, may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of imagery in every frame.
Still, it’s hard to dislike a movie that emphasizes the importance of family and community, has credible boy band songs (NSYNC perform “Better Place,” their first original song in 22 years) and 2D animation sequences inspired by “Yellow Submarine” and “Fantasia.”
A weekly 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 law and disorder comedy “Super Troopers 2,” the new Amy Schumer movie “I Feel Pretty,” the mother-and-son-and-a-trailer movie “Mobile Homes.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Merella Fernandez to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the cop comedy “Super Troopers 2,” the new Amy Schumer movie “I Feel Pretty,” the mother-and-son-and-a-trailer movie “Mobile Homes” and the drone romance “Eye on Juliet.”
From Fred Flintstone to Gilligan to Tarzan, many television and movie characters have had their personalities changed by a bonk to the head. It’s a comedy trope as old as time, resurrected for the new lumpy headed Amy Schumer film “I Feel Pretty.”
Schumer is Renee, a young woman consumed with feelings of insecurity. ”I’ve always wondered,” she says, “ what it would feel like to be undeniably pretty.” She works in IT for a cosmetics company far across town from their glamorous fifth Avenue headquarters, office to Renée’s idol, her boss Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams). Stung by a salesperson’s coded suggestion that she is too large to be shopping in store—“You could probably find your size on line.”—she spins away the blues at a SoulCycle class. “No matter how often we hear, ‘It’s what’s on the inside that matters,’” she says, “women know that it is what’s on the outside the whole world judges.” While her spin instructor chants, “Change your mind, change your body,” Renee takes a tumble, smashing her head against a stationary bike and is transformed. “Oh my God! I look beautiful.” The bump on the head fills her with the kind of self-esteem she has been missing, setting her free to live the life she has always dreamed of. “I get it,” she says, “modelling is an option for me, but it is just not me.”
Change-your-life movies like “Big” work because there is not only transitional hocus pocus but heart and soul as well. “I Feel Pretty” has plenty of sentiment and tries like hell to wring a tear or two out of weary eyes in its uplifting finale but ultimately it’s a sitcom stretched to feature length. It’s a movie about a woman who briefly gets what she wants only to discover (THE MILDEST OF SPOILERS) she always had it.
Despite hot button messages about anti-bullying, body positivity and “What if we never lost our little girl confidence” sentiments, the film is one joke driven into the ground, topped by the inevitable platitude, “Renée, I’ve always seen you.” Despite the good intentions the movie’s central gag, that Renée can’t be happy with herself until she sees a thin version of herself staring back at her in the mirror, feels tone deaf. The movie touches on issues of body image and Renée does eventually come around to the idea that loving one’s self isn’t about how you look but the idea of a movie star, with all the frills of Western beauty standards, complaining about the way she looks is a tough premise to pull off.
“I Feel Pretty” may have worked better if it was funnier or if Renée didn’t have to suffer a head wound to feel good about herself or if post bonk Renée wasn’t completely clueless and oblivious. Schumer has made a name for herself essaying this kind of material in her stand-up but on stage her underlying self-confidence comes through as strength, not arrogance. In the film it comes off as crass.
On the upside Michele Williams, who almost never does comedy, shines as the kitten voiced CEO.
“I Feel Pretty” is well intentioned. The “embrace yourself” message is ultimately a good one. Too bad the film has such a strange way of expressing it.