Richard and CP24 anchor Cortney Heels have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “The Call of the Wild,” the alpha dog of dog movies, the homecoming dramedy “Standing Up, Falling Down,” the family drama “Ordinary Love” and the psychological drama “The Lodge.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to have a look at the “The Call of the Wild,” the alpha dog of dog movies, the homecoming dramedy “Standing Up, Falling Down” and heartfelt cancer drama “Ordinary Love.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the canine-coming-of-age story “The Call of the Wild,” the you-can-never-go-home-again dramedy “Standing Up, Falling Down” and the heartfelt cancer drama “Ordinary Love.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at “The Call of the Wild,” the alpha dog of dog movies, the homecoming dramedy “Standing Up, Falling Down” and the psychological drama “The Lodge.”
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the weekend’s biggest releases including the canine-coming-of-age story “The Call of the Wild,” the you-can-never-go-home-again dramedy “Standing Up, Falling Down” and the heartfelt cancer drama “Ordinary Love.”
Google “homecoming movies” and page after page of films, most of which are called something like “The Homecoming” or “Homecoming: Insert Name Here,” about a prodigal son or daughter returning home after a stay away. The newest entry to the genre, “Standing Up, Falling Down,” follows all the familiar “you can never go home again” genre formulas but is elevated by charming performances.
“Parks & Recreation’s” Ben Schwartz is Scott Rollins, a 34-year old failed stand-up comedian. Four years in Los Angeles chasing his dream have left him broke and dispirited. Returning home with his tail between his legs, he moves back into his parent’s place in Long Island. “The comedy world’s slowest rising star comes back home!” they joke.
Without much a plan on how to move forward, Scott looks to the past, most notably to his ex-girlfriend Becky Brookes (Eloise Mumford). He unceremoniously dumped her before leaving for L.A. and while he didn’t move on, she did, getting married and becoming a successful photographer.
His life begins to change when he meets Marty (Billy Crystal), an alcoholic dermatologist who seems to be the only person in town Scott can relate to.
“Standing Up, Falling Down” doesn’t add much to the homecoming genre as a whole but it doesn’t need to. Schwartz and Crystal are an appealing odd couple, trading quips with the ease of two seasoned comedians. More than that, though, they are believable and compelling when they aren’t being funny, when they are displaying the flawed sides of their personalities. Both have made mistakes that have hurt other people but both are working, in their own ways, to make amends. “Regret is the only thing that’s real,” Marty says as they work up the courage to face their failures.
“Standing Up, Falling Down” falls prey to some of the inherent clichés of the genre but, like its main characters, it works through its flaws with panache.
How do you make a movie for kids about monsters whose job it is to scare children without doling out nightmares along with the price of a ticket? That’s the fine line Pixar treads with their new film, “Monster’s University,” a very kid friendly mix of “Bad News Bears,” (without the drunk coach), “Mean Girls” (without the unadulterated nastiness) and “Carrie” (without the murderous rage).
Starring the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Helen Mirren, instead, it features strong messages and more complex characters than usual for a kid’s flick.
In this prequel to “Monsters Inc.” Mike Wazowski is a one-eyed–actually he’s mostly eye–green monster whose dream is to scare unsuspecting kids and capture their screams. Enrolling in the Harvard of Horror, Monster’s University, he’s a good student, devouring books on the five essential components of a scary roar and the like, but there’s a problem. He’s not as scary as his classmates, particularly Sullivan (Goodman), a blue beast with a family background in haunting kid’s dreams. In fact, he’s not scary at all. But determined to prove everyone wrong, Mike and the misfits of Oozma Kappa compete in the Scare Games, a spooky showdown to determine which frat house is the most gruesome.
There’s nothing particularly scary about “Monster’s University.” Very young viewers might be disturbed by the dramatic entrance of Mrs. Hardscrabble (Mirren), a winged dragon lady who scurries around on insect legs, but by and large the key word here is fun not fright.
The animation is top notch with creature designs that bring to mind plush toys. This campus full of multi-headed girls and tentacled boys, with blue, green and red skin that feels like Dr. Seuss gone wild. It’s fanciful eye candy that kids should love.
With the visuals comes messaging about perseverance, bullying and the virtues of honesty all set in an utterly unique world of Pixar’s creation. The story may be a prequel and have call-backs to other films but director Dan Scanlon pushes the story into unexpected territory. A predictable ending is avoided, and even though it forwards the iffy notion–MILD SPOILER!!!–that life experience is more valuable than school, it brings the movie to a satisfying conclusion.
“Monster’s University” once again exerts Pixar’s dominance in animation by giving audiences great characters and taking equal care with the visuals and the story.
There’s a scene in “Parental Guidance” partially shot from the perspective of a toilet bowl. There’s an easy joke in there someone, but frankly, I think all the easy jokes in the world have been used up in the script of this new Billy Crystal, Bette Midler comedy. “It’s not one of my better moments,” says Crystal’s character, and rarely have truer words been spoken.
Crystal and Midler are Arte and Diane. He’s a recently fired baseball announcer, she’s a former weatherperson and they’re long distance grandparents to Harper (Bailee Madison), Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) and Turner (Joshua Rush). When their daughter and her husband (Marisa Tomei and Tom Everett Scott) have the chance to get away for five days they reluctantly ask Arte and Diane to babysit the kids.
“Parental Guidance” is the kind of movie the studios hope will attract the whole family from the grandparents on down to the young’uns. It has something for everyone in the clan… which means the edgiest things in the film are the curly waves in Midler’s luxurious hair.
This is as safe and dull as it gets. There’s nothing wrong with intergenerational family entertainment but during this time of year when many people use the movies as a diversion from stress filled get-togethers, a film as predictable as Aunt Edith’s dry Christmas turkey and as cliché as Uncle Billy’s comb-over it hardly feels like a relaxing distraction. More like punishment.
Crystal and Midler are trying hard—it’s like watching old vaudevillians. Slap stick isn’t working? Well, here’s a song! Don’t like that? Let’s mug for the camera! Trouble is, this movie’s idea of high comedy is to play off of Arte’s old guy lack of technical know how. Jokes about being poked on facebook and tweeting–“I’ll make any sound you want!”–are the new knock knock jokes. They’re lazy and worse, not funny.
“Parental Guidance” is heartwarming treacle. A sitcom level film which, in the vocabulary of the new age parents made me want to put on my “exit shoes” and walk away.