Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the “Little Women,” the war epic “1917,” the courtroom drama “Just Mercy,” the animated spy flick “Spies in Disguise” and Adam Sandler’s surprising work in “Uncut Gems.”
The animated “Spies in Disguise” features the voice of one of the biggest movie stars in the world and one of the strangest premises we’ve seen all year.
Will Smith voices Lance Sterling, the world’s greatest spy. “I’m out here saving the world,” he says. “That’s what I do.”
Back at HQ after a daring mission, he’s drinking from his #1 Spy mug when he’s taken into custody for stealing a secret weapon called the M9 Assassin. He claims he’s innocent, that a villain named Robot Hand (Ben Mendelsohn) stole his identity and made off the weapon. One daring escape later Sterling sets off to prove his innocence.
Trouble is, he’s easy to find so he tracks down the one person who can help him, MIT grad Walter (Tom Holland), a junior inventor in the agency’s Gadget Lab. “I need to disappear,” he tells the youngster.
Walter obliges, sharing his biodynamic concealment potion with Sterling. The spy disappears but not in the way he hoped. Instead of becoming invisible the next best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) thing happens. He turns into a pigeon. “There are pigeons in every major city,” Walter says. “It’s the perfect disguise.”
It’s a good way of going incognito perhaps but not practical in the hunt of Robot Hand. “I’ll come with you,” Walter says, “and show you all the advantages of being a pigeon. It might even make you a better spy.” Together they set off to find Robot Hand as Marcy (Rashida Jones), the agency’s head of security, tries to find and arrest them.
Featuring Pierce-Brosnan-era-007-style action and gadgets “Spies in Disguise” is frenetic, family friendly James Bond Lite. Directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane keep the pace brisk, pausing only to emphasize a gag but the movie works best not when it’s in action but when Sterling is adjusting to life as a pigeon. As his latent avian instincts come on strong, for instance, he finds he can’t resist eating garbage on the road. It’s goofy good fun that is more interesting than Sterling’s human form, which is all swagger.
The script, by Brad Copeland and Lloyd Taylor, also mines a considerable amount of humor from the odd couple pairing of Sterling and Walter. Sterling is a shoot first and ask questions later kind of spy while Walter favors unusual methods, like disarming the baddies with wild, glittery cat videos because, well, everyone loves a cat video. “You can do more by bringing people together than blowing them up,” he says.
“Spies in Disguise” is buoyant enough to entertain the eye but the messages for kids about the benefits of being part of a flock and celebrating our differences are expertly woven throughout.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including Brie Larson in “Captain Marvel,” Ben Affleck in “Triple Frontier” and a documentary about one of the most popular books of all time, “Invisible Essence: The Little Prince.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, Brie Larson in “Captain Marvel,” Ben Affleck in “Triple Frontier” and a documentary about one of the most popular books of all time, “Invisible Essence: The Little Prince” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
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 latest Marvel superhero flick “Captain Marvel,” Ben Affleck in “Triple Frontier” and a documentary about one of the most popular books of all time, “Invisible Essence: The Little Prince.”
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the twenty-first Marvel superhero flick “Captain Marvel,” Ben Affleck in “Triple Frontier” and a documentary about one of the most popular books of all time, “Invisible Essence: The Little Prince.”
The tagline for “Captain Marvel,” the latest Marvel origin story, is “Higher. Further. Faster.” but I would like to suggest another. “In Space, Everyone Can Hear You Scream Whee!” As Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) pierces our atmosphere, her banshee cry of sheer exhilaration pierces the soundtrack. “Whee!” She’s having fun and so should fans of the high-flying character.
There’s a bit of backstory. “Captain Marvel” begins, as all good superhero flicks do, on an alien planet. Hala is the home of the Kree, a race of powerful ETs ruled by an AI leader called the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening). Among the inhabitants of the planet are Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), mentor to Vers (Brie, not yet dubbed Captain Marvel). She is being trained as part of an elite band of space cops, who, shooting energy bolts from her wrists, tracks and hunts shapeshifting creatures called the Skrull. An insomniac, she is haunted by nightmares and mysterious images of another life.
To find context for her existence she travels to C-53—earth—during the Clinton years. There, while hunting down Skrulls who are searching for a weapon that would make them unstoppable in the universe, she meets Nick Fury, Agent of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. (Samuel L. Jackson), who becomes entangled in her hunt for the earthbound Skrulls—including the world-weary Talos (Ben Mendelsohn)—and her search for her true identity.
“Captain Marvel” begins with a trippy, time-warping introduction to Vers’s past. It’s an orgy of fast cuts and establishes the film’s spirited tone. There’s a lot going on here, maybe too much, but at least it rips along like a cheetah attacking its prey. Things slow down once the film lands in 1995 California and the “Terminator-esque” story of a benevolent alien with superpowers kicks in.
The high points are lofty.
Larson finds the right tone, playing someone grappling with two identities, otherworldly and stoic one moment, swaggering playfully the next. Vers is a total girl power hero, with no love interest, other than a female best friend, she kicks but while the soundtrack blares “I’m Just A Girl” and tell her male mentor, “I have nothing to prove to you.” Larson keeps her interesting even though through much of the film Vers isn’t quite sure who she is or where she belongs in the universe.
Further separating her from her superhero colleagues is a purpose driven mission not born out of revenge but by powerful emotions and a sense of loss. Those motivations alone give the film a slightly different feel from others in the Marvel family.
Visually Vers, harnessing all the hurt of all the times she was told she wasn’t good enough or that girls shouldn’t try to do boy stuff, is a powerful feminist statement that helps drive the story and define the character. That it’s visually stunning is a bonus.
Supporting actors Jackson (we finally learn the unlikely why Fury wears an eye patch) and Mendelsohn find a balance between the film’s dramatic, action and lighter scenes.
Co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, handle the character work with aplomb. Their previous films, indies like “Half Nelson” and “Mississippi Grind,” are studies in nuance, a trait lost in “Captain Marvel’s” larger set pieces. The action—and there is plenty of it, tends to be of a generic frenetically edited style. The convoluted origin story mixed with the cluttered action sequences suck some of the air out of the theatre but their take on the superhero character as both an outsider and one of us is as refreshing as it is unusual. “Whee!”