Richard and CP24 anchor Stephanie Smythe have a look at the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the Helen Reddy biopic “I Am Woman,” the gritty gangster flick “The Tax Collector” and the glossy rom com “The Broken Hearts Gallery.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the Helen Reddy biopic “I Am Woman,” the gritty gangster flick “The Tax Collector,” the glossy rom com “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” the Shakespeare update of “Measure for Measure” and the violent revenge film “Ravage.”
Heartbreak has been the catalyst for much great art. During a lull in her relationship with Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo painted “The Two Fridas” depicting herself on one side with a full heart and with a gaping hole in her chest on the other. David Levithan’s “The Lover’s Dictionary” told a tale of heartbreak through a collection of dictionary entries and Taylor Swift has made a career turning her romantic anguish into art.
In “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” a glossy new rom com starring Geraldine Viswanathan playing in theatres this weekend, a young woman deals with romantic upheaval by turning heartbreak into an art gallery.
Viswanathan is quirky Brooklyn art gallery assistant Lucy, a romantic hoarder, not of hearts but of trinkets from all the men who left her forlorn. The mementos, stuffed animals, bicycle locks, candlesticks and more, clutter her bedroom, acting as a shrine to love gone wrong. Her roommates (Phillipa Soo and Molly Gordon) tell her she can’t have a good relationship “because she’s always mourning the past.” An ex says, “Every time I came over it was like hooking up in a mausoleum.”
When her boyfriend Max (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who is also her boss at a tony art Manhattan gallery, suddenly dumps her at a work event, she causes a scene and loses her job. “I know we have 10 years before we all drown in the melting ice caps,” she says before being escorted out, “but I swear the most precious resource is not the ozone. Oh no. It’s honesty.”
Single and unemployed she calls an Uber, jumps into the first car on the block and, in the kind of meet cute that only happens in the movies, meets Nick (Dacre Montgomery) who isn’t an Uber driver, but gives her a lift anyway. Turns out he’s about to open a boutique hotel and it’s there Lucy find purpose as the curator of the Broken Hearts Gallery, a space where people can deposit the detritus of past relationships, leaving behind the pain and moving on to the future. “There are broken people out there who need help moving on,” she says.
“The Broken Hearts Gallery” is Generation-Y answer to “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and “Sex and the City.” It plays like a regular rom com with all the stuff we expect, the funny, raunchy best friends, the NYC setting (although whenever they step in doors it’s actually Toronto) and there’s even the predictable run through the rain as the beau declares his love.
What doesn’t feel conventional is Viswanathan’s performance. “The Broken Hearts Gallery” is a showcase for the 25-year-old Australian actress’ considerable charisma, sincerity and comedy chops. The story and the surrounding characters feel interchangeable with other rom coms but Viswanathan makes this optimistic ode to empowerment a cute, feel good diversion.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the gremlin-in-space drama “Life” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson, the reboot of “Power Rangers,” “CHIPs” with Dax Shepard and Michael Pena and Kristen Stewart’s ghostly “Personal Shopper.”
What do Point Break, Independence Day and Beauty and the Beast have in common? All are movies released in the 1990s and all have been remade, re-imagined or rebooted in recent years.
Brand happy Hollywood is in overdrive repurposing Saturday morning superhero cartoons, big screen hits and other touchstones of 90s pop culture and audiences have mostly lapped up the nostalgia from the Clinton years. Independence Day: Resurgence and Point Break tanked but Beauty and the Beast, to use a 90s term, was all that and a bag of chips box office wise.
Soon we’ll see a live action Lion King, a new Jumanji and even more Bad Boys. This weekend it’s morphin time once again as the Power Rangers are resurrected for the big screen.
Featuring familiar characters but an all new cast, Power Rangers sees the helmeted heroes rescue the world from a powerful witch, an army of stone golems called Putties and Goldar, a giant golden monster born on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.
It’s a blast from the past designed to draw in new fans while appealing to grown ups who came of age in the 1990s but is it possible to feel nostalgia for four actors in plastic helmets?
The dictionary tells us nostalgia is “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”
Science tells us more.
As a recent study showed when we get bad news or are feeling down nostalgic, misty memories of a simpler time almost automatically kick in. Call it protection. Call it wistfulness. Call it whatever you like; Hollywood calls it money and exploits it ruthlessly because movies are a natural nostalgic go to. It’s their very essence, that dreamlike quality that takes root in our subconscious, swirling around our brains to create happy memories. They are the stuff from which dreams are woven and the feelings associated with them can give us comfort when the going gets rough.
We now live in unsettled times so perhaps the neo Power Rangers will bring back recollections of carefree Saturday mornings spent watching the TV show. Or mom and dad buying candy at a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie matinee in 1995. Or a long ago Halloween costume inspired by Amy Jo Johnson (the popular Pink Ranger) but at the rate Hollywood is recycling ideas we’ll soon run out of things to get nostalgic about. Can you be nostalgic for nostalgia? We’ll find out in the years to come when another generation gets sentimental about the remake of the reboot of Power Rangers.
As I see it nostalgia is bad for the movies. It encourages lazy re-treads and reimaginings, not innovation and originality. If we demand new films to make memories with, to fall in love with, then Hollywood’s raiding of pop culture brands must stop. Romanian-American poet and novelist Andrei Codrescu says that in the grand collage that is art the “past and future are equally usable.” I’m just wishing Hollywood would look to the future more often.
To a degree all art is a combination of everything that came before, but interesting, original films like Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea and Get Out give me hope that some filmmakers have their eyes facing forward and aren’t simply wallowing in nostalgia.
What do you expect from a movie called “Power Rangers”? Multi-coloured, helmeted heroes, that’s what. Instead we’re treated to an hour-and-a-half of troubled teens before it finally becomes morphin time.
The new brood of Power Rangers are the most diverse group yet. After meeting at a Saturday afternoon detention filled with “Misfits, weirdos and criminals”—sort of like “The Breakfast Club” for aspiring superheroes—former football star Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Cyler), Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G.)—are turned into mystical earth-saving warriors after discovering ancient glowing coins at a mining site.
Trained by wise cracking robot Alpha 5 (Bill Hader) and ancient great big head Zordon (Bryan Cranston), the Rangers learn to battle armies of stone golems called Putties and perform some tricky martial arts, but will they be able to come together as a group and learn the most important Power Ranger trick, the mighty morph from teens to besuited heroes? If not the five Morph-a-teers and the world will fall prey to 65-million-year-old former Green Ranger Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) and her giant golden monster sidekick’s plan to spread fear and destruction.
There will be a certain portion of the audience made misty by mentions of the Zeo Crystal, Goldar and Megazord but those not so inclined may find the origin story rough going. “Go Go Away Power Rangers!” From an alien life form called Rita to the “milking” of a bull (don’t ask) “Power Rangers” is a strange mix of grounded character work with out and out bonkers story elements. Banks has fun chewing the scenery as Repulsa but the movie never fully embraces its cheeseball roots, so we’re left with a movie that is simultaneously sincere and silly.
When the main cast aren’t training in Zordon’s underground lair they have regular teen problems. In fact “Power Rangers” may be the first superhero movie to feature LGBTQ and autistic heroes. That’s good stuff but good intentions don’t make for good movies.
Painful dialogue—“The door is open,” says Billy. “That’s because it’s open, Billy,” replies Jason.—and a habit of repeating everything just to make sure we get it—i.e.: We see Kimberly cut her hair before a disembodied voice says, “Kimberly did you cut your hair?”—makes this a bit of a slog.
Add to that Krispy Kreme product placement that’s more annoying than the sugar rush that follows chowing down four Glazed Kreme Filled donuts at lunch and an orgy of cut rate special effects and you’re left with a movie that will leave you pining for the relative pleasures of the original 90s television show.
It takes an hour-and-a-half to get to the Power Rangers’ signature look, the red, pink, blue, yellow and black costumes and get to the good stuff—fights with people in rubber suits. The final thirty minutes delivers most of what you expect from “Power Rangers.” It’s a few minutes of good, retro fun that should provide an adrenalin blast of nostalgia but doesn’t make up for the ninety minutes of drudgery that preceded it.