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 light-hearted Jane Fonda sports comedy “80 for Brady,” the new M. Night Shyamalan nail-biter “Knock at the Cabin” and the Anna Kendrick drama “Alice, Darling.”
I appear on “CTV News at 11:30” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the Apple TV+ drama “Dear, Edward,” the wild Netflix docu-series “Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?” and the Anna Kendrick filmn, playing ion select theatres and on VOD, “Alice, Darling.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the light-hearted Jane Fonda sports comedy “80 for Brady,” the new M. Night Shyamalan nail-biter “Knock at the Cabin” and the Anna Kendrick drama “Alice, Darling.”
Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to change a lightbulb! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the light-hearted Jane Fonda sports comedy “80 for Brady,” the new M. Night Shyamalan nail-biter “Knock at the Cabin” and the Anna Kendrick drama “Alice, Darling.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the light-hearted Jane Fonda sports comedy “80 for Brady,” the new M. Night Shyamalan nail-biter “Knock at the Cabin” and the Anna Kendrick drama “Alice, Darling.”
“Alice, Darling,” a new psychological drama starring Anna Kendrick, now on VOD and in select theatres, is a portrait of a woman who rediscovers both her essence and courage in the aftermath of an emotionally abusive relationship.
Kendrick is Alice, a young woman under the control of her emotionally manipulative artist boyfriend Simon (Charlie Carrick). In the film’s opening scene, she is out for dinner with best pals Sophia (Wunmi Mosaku) and Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn), but is anxious, agitated, repeatedly checking her phone and bristling when her friends joke about the waiter having a thing for her.
When the three plan a remote weekend get-a-way to celebrate Tess’s birthday, Alice lies to Simon and spends the whole time on tenterhooks.
“You can’t tell your life partner that you’re going on a trip with our best friends?” asks Tess. “I can’t think of a bigger red flag than that.”
“I don’t know how any of this is any of your business,” replies Alice.
Tensions between the friends bubble over during the time away until Alice comes clean about the nature of her relationship with Simon.
“You never know what is going to make him angry,” she says. “I spend all this time trying to be good. Trying to be better. I’m never good enough.”
Just as it seems the clouds have lifted and smiles appear on their faces for the first time in days, Simon, who has been unable to reach Alice, shows up at their cabin. “You look different,” he says. “She looks like herself,” say her friends.
In a brisk ninety-minute running time, “Alice, Darling” conveys the warning signs of Simon’s gaslighting, and the effect it has on Alice. Simon’s brand of abuse is insidious. “He doesn’t hurt me or anything,” she says. But he does get into her head, using his narcissism like a shroud to cloak her own feelings and desires. Simon’s actual role in the film, in terms of screen time, is fairly brief, but his presence is felt throughout.
Carrick personifies the kind of malevolent, arrogant jerk who demands to know, “Why would you hurt me like this?” at the slightest of provocation, but it is Kendrick’s work that gives the movie its power. In a performance that mixes the introspective with the physical, she portrays Alice’s turmoil. From pulling her own hair out, to her hollow-eyed stare, Kendrick is an authentic and believable victim of Simon’s brainwashing.
Director Mary Nighy (daughter of recent Best Actor nominee Bill) relies on Kendrick to carry “Alice, Darling’s” weight. The film wraps things up a bit too tidily at the end, but the power of Alice’s story remains undiminished.
As the first movie to jump ship from theatrical to VOD at the start of the pandemic, “Trolls World Tour” set a precedent. Dozens of movies have followed suit, but this will be remembered as the first. Unfortunately, that is the only groundbreaking thing about this Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake sequel.
Returning from 2016’s “Trolls” are Queen Poppy (Kendrick), and her best friends Branch (Timberlake) and Biggie (James Corden). They are pop music loving Trolls who pass the days singing, dancing and hugging until Poppy discovers that there are five other Troll tribes, divided by their musical taste. “The truth is we are not alone in this world,” says King Peppy (Walt Dohrn, who also directs). “There are other kinds of Trolls. They are not like us. They are different ways in you can’t even imagine. We love music with a hummable hook, a catchy rhythm, and an upbeat melody that makes you want to wiggle your butt. These others Trolls sing different. They dance different. Some of them can’t even grasp the concept of ‘Hammer Time.’”
The Queen and Company set off on a fact-finding mission to visit the other musical colonies. “I can’t stay home when I know there is a world of Trolls out there,” she says. On her journey she discovers sounds she doesn’t quite understand. “They must not know that music’s supposed to make you happy,” she says as a mournful (but not too mournful, this is a “Trolls” movie after all) country song fills the soundtrack. Later, after hearing classical music for the first time she wonders aloud, “Where’s the words?” But she also discovers a threat in the form of Metal Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) who plans to use “the ultimate power chord” to assert rock’s place as the official music of all Trolls. “By the end of my world tour we’re all going to have the same vibe,” says Barb. “We’ll be one nation of trolls under rock!”
“Trolls World Tour” is an update of the “Free To Be… You and Me’s” salute to individuality, tolerance, and comfort with one’s identity. Bathed in bright colours, set to kid friendly adaptations of pop, rock, rap and country hits (like “Trolls Just Wanna Have Fun”) and populated by vinyl creatures with DayGlo “Eraserhead” coifs and big goofy smiles, it’s a jukebox movie about finding the things that bring us together, not divide us, while maintaining the things that make us unique. “Denying our differences is denying the truth of who we are,” says King Quincy (Parliament-Funkadelic’s George Clinton).
Good messages wrapped up in a glitzy, frenetic package is the stock in trade of kid’s entertainment and “Trolls World Tour” delivers in those regards. The colourful visuals, seemingly designed by a Troll on acid, will make kid’s eyeballs dance and the messages are delivered with the subtlety of a slap to the face, so check and check. What’s missing is the wonderful weirdness that made the original “Trolls” film the strangest children’s entertainment since “H.R. Pufnstuf.” Story wise, this one feels formulaic with less of an edge, but it does deliver a blast of energy that will keep its target audience—kids and stoned adults—happy.