Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch during the pandemic including some new movies on VOD including darkly comedic revenge story “Judy and Punch,” the home invasion “thriller” “Survive the Night” and the eco doc “2040.”
Richard and CTV NewsChannel anchor Andrea Bain talk about the latest movies coming to VOD and streaming services, including the darkly comedic revenge story “Judy and Punch,” the Hitchschlockian thrills of “Last Moment of Clarity,” a pair of home invasion movies, “Survive the Night” and “Becky” and the eco doc “2040.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the darkly comedic revenge story “Judy and Punch,” the Hitchschlockian thrills of “Last Moment of Clarity,” a pair of home invasion movies, “Survive the Night” and “Becky” and the eco doc “2040.”
“Judy and Punch,” a new film starring Mia Wasikowska and now on VOD, is set in mid-17th century. There’s lace collars and cuffs, petticoats, breeches and jerkins on display but make no mistake, this is a timely tale of ideology over logic, of justice, revenge and puppetry.
The action begins in Seaside, an English town the movie tells us is nowhere near the sea. It’s the first clue that not everything is right in this small settlement. It’s a place where women are stoned to death on the suspicion of witchcraft (one woman is killed because she stared “at the moon for a suspiciously long time.”) and law and order is administered by angry mobs. It’s here that Judy (Wasikowska) and Punch (Damon Herriman) eke out a living as puppeteers, making money by passing around a hat. She is clearly the more gifted artist but there is little room left for her in the spotlight as his ego takes up so much space. He is an ambitious but arrogant artist who craves attention almost as much as he thirsts for booze.
When his drinking leads to an unspeakable turn of events, Punch’s venal nature comes to the fore, and in a case of his Punch and Judy style art imitating real life, he puts his own self interest ahead of everyone, particularly his gentle-natured wife who must seek vengeance for his deeds.
“Judy and Punch” finally gives Punch his comeuppance after centuries of bad behavior. That’s not a spoiler, just the premise of the movie. The why and how of his punishment provide the subtext that makes the movie timely. A study in toxic masculinity, of abuse and misogyny, the movie mixes very dark satire, brutality and puppets to tell a story of addiction and domestic abuse.
Wasikowska grounds the story, playing Judy as a gentle soul pushed to extremes by tragic circumstances. Herriman—who played Charles Manson in both “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Mindhunter”—is a flamboyant Punch, a calculating drunk incapable of loving anyone as much as he loves himself. They are the movie’s yin and yang, and the conflict between them leads to a dark conclusion, equal parts magic realism and real life.
“Judy and Punch” is an impressive debut from actor-turned-director Mirrah Foulkes. Although uneven it cleverly balances everything from humour and tragedy to fairy tales and feminism, in a sly story of love and vengeance.
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 “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” the inspirational comedy “Uncle Drew” and a glimpse at the life of Vivienne Westwood called “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Jennifer Burke to have a look at the weekend’s big releases,“Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” the inspirational comedy “Uncle Drew,” the sci fi b-movie “Upgrade” and a glimpse at the life of Vivienne Westwood called “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist.”
The new thriller from Leigh Whannell, the co-creator of “Saw” and “Insidious,” is part ripped-from-the-headlines, part “Twilight Zone.” News outlets are reporting on the trend of implanting microchips to function as contactless credit cards and key cards in humans. Whannell took that premise, ran it through the RodSerling-izer™ and added a dollop of “RoboCop” to come up with a silly and sentient piece of sci fi.
Set sometime in the near future “Upgrade” sees mechanic Grey Trace (Logan Marshall Green), an “unaugmented” man in an increasingly augmented world. Microchips and other human upgrades are common, but Grey is old fashioned, favoring humanity over any kind of mechanization. In a world of self-driving cars and “energy walls” he’s a DIY guy. When four strangers murder his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) and leave him a quadriplegic he is wheelchair-bound and depressed until he is offered a unique opportunity.
One of his former clients, tech wizard Eron Keen (Harrison Gilbertson), offers to implant a chip called STEM, kind of an auxiliary brain, into Grey’s spine. The bio mechanic enhancement would leave him “ungraded, better, stronger and faster than everyone else,” and, of course, in perfect shape to get bloody revenge on the men who killed his wife and shattered his life.
Like Whannell’s other movies “Upgrade” is a dark, atmospheric and grim film. Blood flows but so do ideas about our addiction to computers and what happens when machines start thinking for themselves. But don’t worry, it’s not that heady. Like all good idea-soaked sci fi b-movies, it’s more about engaging your gut with visceral, i.e. violent, action, and even some humour. It’s gutsy and gory futurist Cronenberg-esque body horror made interesting by the speed at which technology approaches some of the film’s ideas about biotechnology.
“Upgrade” becomes conventional when the police procedural subplot kicks in but until then it is B-movie fun.