Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including the childhood fantasy “Come Away,” the romance of “Ammonite” and “Freaky,” a body switch slasher flick starring Vince Vaughn.
Richard and CP24 anchor Courtney Heels have a look at “Ammonite” (in theaters 11/13, premium on demand 12/4), the horror comedy mash-up of “Freaky” (in theatres), the kid’s movie for adults “Come Away” (EST) and the serious slacker comedy “Saint Frances.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Lois Lee to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “Ammonite” (in theaters 11/13, premium on demand 12/4), the horror comedy mash-up of “Freaky” (in theatres), the kid’s movie for adults “Come Away” (EST) and the farce “Dinner with Friends” (VOD).
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 Oscar contender “Ammonite” (in theaters 11/13, premium on demand 12/4), the horror comedy mash-up of “Freaky” (in theatres), the kid’s movie for adults “Come Away” (EST), the farce “Dinner with Friends” (VOD) and the dramedy “Saint Frances” (iTunes Canada and on-demand).
A more accurate title for “Freaky,” the new Vince Vaughn slasher comedy now playing in theatres, might have been “Freaky Friday the 13th.” A mix and match of the classic body swapping kid’s comedy and the Jason Voorhees horror movies, it has laughs and a surprisingly high body count.
The film opens with a killer on the rampage. The Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn), part urban legend, part serial killer, is doing what he does best, finding interesting ways to murder young, attractive people. In an attempt to gain supernatural powers he stabs teenage outcast Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton) with a ceremonial knife called the La Dola Dagger. Something mystical happens, alright, but not the transformation the Butcher hoped for. As he stabs the high school senior, they switch bodies. The hulking serial killer’s body is now inhabited by Millie’s essence and vice versa. According to the legend of the dagger they have just twenty-four hours to reverse the curse or they will be trapped in the wrong bodies forever. “Look, I know I look like The Butcher. But it’s Millie.”
Part of the built-in fun of director Christopher Landon’s “Freaky” is Vaughn’s performance. His change from menacing killer to teenager is as ridiculous as it sounds, but it takes advantage of the actor’s comedy chops. He adopts Millie’s mannerisms in subtle ways and adds in other touches, like constantly bumping his head because her new body is a foot or so taller than the old one. He even brings a genuine lightness to a budding romance between his alter ego and her crush Booker (Uriah Shelton). By the time he proves that he’s actually Millie in the Butcher’s body by answering questions—“I tell people my favorite movie is Eternal Sunshine but it’s actually Pitch Perfect 2.”—the transformation is complete. It’s fun work from an actor whose recent resume doesn’t contain many laughs.
“Freaky” rides the line between slasher movie, dark comedy and satire. As it has fun with high-school stereotypes it delivers some genuinely creepy moments even if Landon has some trouble calibrating the humour and the horror. After a strong start, and some engaging moments, it gets trapped trying to reinvent the movies that inspired it.
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 Netflix animated movie “The Willoughbys,” the Netflix doc “Circus of Books,” the high school crime drama “Selah and the Spades” and a pair of big screen movies coming to VOD, “Bad Boys for Life” and “Run This Town.”
Part high school hierarchy drama, part crime tale, “Selah and the Spades,” now playing on Amazon Prime, is a study of power and teenage clique system at Haldwell, an elite Pennsylvania boarding school ruled by five “factions.” “The factions are realistic in the need for the student body to engage in their vices,” we’re told by the narrator (Jessie Cannizzaro), “and are pragmatic in facilitating them.”
The Seas “will help you cheat your way through anything for the right price,” while the Skins deal in anything students can gamble on. The Bobby’s are responsible for every illegal party thrown in a dorm basement after lights out and the Prefects keep the administration blissfully unaware of on campus shenanigans.
The dominant faction, The Spades, deal in the classic vices, booze, pills, powders and fun, under the iron fisted rule of Selah (Lovie Simone).
Like a teenage Costra Nostra the factions live by an Omertà, an inflexible code. Don’t be a rat ns the only consequences to be concerned with are the ones they impose themselves.
As an A student who will soon graduate, Selah has her mind of succession. Who will take her place to ensure the Spades stay the most powerful clique in school? With her first lieutenat Maxxie (“When They See Us’s” Jharrel Jerome) distracted by a new boyfriend, Selah sets her eye on Paloma (Celeste O’Connor) the new girl in school as her protégée.
Meanwhile, when the headmaster (Jesse Williams) cancels the prom over the misconduct of a handful of students, tensions erupt between the factions as they search for a rat in the ranks.
“Selah and the Spades” is a promising feature debut from director Tayarisha Poe. Visually stunning and filled with charismatic performances, it is a mix-and-match of high school movie tropes and film noir crime drama. Imagine if John Hughes, the great American portrayer of high school life, had ever tried his hand at gangster movies and you get the idea. It’s a study of how precarious life is at the top of the social hierarchy that saturates its story with elements of “Scarface” and female empowerment. “They never take girls seriously,” Selah says. “It’s a mistake the whole world makes.”
The story sputters near the end but is kept alive by the atmosphere of tension Poe infuses into every scene and the lead performance. Simone is equal parts power and insecurity, never letting her guard down except in a phone call to her mother. When her mom asks what happed to the other seven points on test where Selah scored 93, we immediately understand the weight this young woman carries around and her need to control her surroundings in the face of an uncertain future. It gives the character a much needed does of humanity that elevates her from extreme-mean girl to compelling character.
“Selah and the Spades” is an excellent debut for Poe, fierce and fascinating.