I appear on “CTV News at 11:30” to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People,” the surreal “Infinity Pool,” the Harrison Ford series “Shrinking” and the HBO reality show “The Climb.”
Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to drink a glass of water! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People” and the surreal “Infinity Pool.”
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 Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People” and the surreal “Infinity Pool.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People” and the surreal “Infinity Pool.”
I join 1290 CJBK in London and hosts Ken and Loreena to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People” and the surreal “Infinity Pool.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Jennifer Lopez action comedy “Shotgun Wedding,” the Jonah Hill comedy “You People” and the surreal “Infinity Pool.”
“Infinity Pool,” the new horror film from director Brandon Cronenberg, now playing in theatres, takes place in the beach resort of your dreams… if you are prone to nightmares.
The action in “Infinity Pool” takes place against a sun-drenched all-inclusive beach resort in the fictional country of Li Tolqa. The exclusive, and very pricey, vacation spot offers a safe and secluded place for the wealthy to wine, dine and have fun. Imagine a kinkier “White Lotus.”
Just don’t go beyond the barbed wire gates.
That’s a lesson James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em (Cleopatra Coleman) learn too late. He’s a writer, looking for inspiration; she is his wife, an heiress to a publishing fortune. Their lives take a turn when they meet Gabi (Mia Goth) and Al (Jalil Lespert), an adventurous couple who convince them to leave the compound for a beachside BBQ. “It’s one day,” James says. “Let’s mix things up a bit.”
Some grilled sausage and a graphic sex scene later, it’s night. Time to pile into the car and return to the resort. On the way James accidentally hits and kills a local man. Distraught, he wants to call the police.
“No police,” says Gabi. “Do you know anything about the police in Li Tolqa? This isn’t a civilized country. It’s brutal and it is filthy. We’re not getting picked up for this.”
They skedaddle, but soon enough the law catches up with them, questioning Em and arresting James for murder. After a night in jail, he is sentenced. “Here, the punishment for any crime committed is death.”
But even though Li Tolqa is an eye for an eye kind of place, the rules are different for wealthy tourists. By law someone must atone for the crime, but instead of putting James to death, they offer to make a clone of him. The replica will have his memories and will believe it is being killed for James’s crimes.
It is agreed the son of the dead man will even the score by killing the clone. Justice and vengeance will have been served. But there is a caveat. James and Em must watch the execution. After that, they’re free to go, with the clone’s ashes in hand. “Consider it a souvenir.”
Trouble is, James doesn’t want to leave.
“Infinity Pool” is a deep dive into depravity. Sensuality, violence and horror merge, as death becomes a spectator sport, sex becomes hallucinogenic as James becomes seduced by the hedonism of Li Tolqa and his new friends.
Fittingly, there is an unhinged quality to the filmmaking. In a story where anything could happen, and often does, director Brandon Cronenberg ups the debauchery with slick filmmaking, gorgeous cinematography from Karim Hussain and the kind of nihilism not seen since the days of Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games.”
By design it is an unpleasant movie, a Grand-Guignol commentary on the privilege of wealth and the evil men do. Blood—and other bodily fluids—spurt, cruelty is celebrated and the moral compass is left spinning. It is, in its reflection of the foulness of society, also kind of a singular cinematic experience.
We will see better performances this year, but I doubt that we will see two more committed performances than the ones handed in by Skarsgård and Goth. As James, Skarsgård has few boundaries, pushing the character to disturbing places. Goth is the personification of bored debauchery; a person who treats heartlessness as recreation.
“Infinity Pool’s” mix of sadism and satire will not be for everyone. The gratuitous grotesqueries on display will put many viewers off, but adventurous moviegoers may find something new and compelling in Cronenberg’s nightmarish vision.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the timely period piece “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “On the Rocks,” the re-teaming of Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola, the cerebral sci fi of “Possessor Uncut” and the unusual Gloria Steinem biopic “The Glorias.”
We have seen movies about assassins and we’ve seen movies about mind control but “Possessor,” the new film by Brandon Cronenberg (yes, he’s David’s son and seems to share some of his obsessions) now playing at select theatres and drive ins, mixes and matches the two in an unsettling, surreal hybrid of sci-fi and horror.
Anyone with trypanophobia—fear of needles—may want to cover their eyes during the film’s opening minutes as a young woman (Gabrielle Graham) impales herself with a long needle, right through the cranium. The needle is attached to a box with a dial. A twist of the dial and soon she is gruesomely stabbing a man in the neck, in public.
Turns out, it’s not really her brandishing the knife but a mercenary named Tasya (Andrea Riseborough), a mind control assassin who “possesses” people’s minds via brain-implant technology and forces them to do her bidding. Her handler, Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh), helps her find her way back to her own identity after sublimating herself in someone else’s brain.
Tasya’s latest gig involves parasitically getting into the mind of former cocaine dealer Colin (Christopher Abbott), a trainwreck of a man whose girlfriend Ava’s (Tuppence Middleton) father (Sean Bean) is John Parse, a high-powered executive. A rival wants Parse dead and Colin is the perfect patsy to do the deed.
From the film’s savage opening minutes through the sex and gore splattered landscape of the middle section to the climax “Possessor” is like a nightmare. Surreal visuals of Tasya and Colin as one hideous being or a severed hand unfurling its fingers are direct from night terrors, but Cronenberg takes pains to ensure that, unlike nightmares that are disconnected scenes that play in our heads, his psychodrama has depth and meaning. His highly developed visual sense—and a bloody colour palette that would make Dario Argento envious—is eye-catching and consistently interesting but it is the film’s ideas that linger like the unsettled feeling after you wake from a nightmare.
The movie’s exploration of how technology and humanity intersect is an increasingly timely question. “Possessor” takes that crossroads to a narrative extreme but Tasya and Colin’s technological melding is a terrifying vision of a future that feels like it might be right around the corner.
Cronenberg’s sophomore movie, after 2012’s “Antiviral,” is disturbing and ambitious with an icy, cerebral veneer that will linger in your mind for a long time afterward.