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.”
The Rob Ford Movie. That’s the shorthand being used to describe “Run This Town,” a film coming to VOD this week. It’s set during the tumultuous term of the late Toronto mayor but make no mistake this isn’t a Ford biopic or a study of his politics. It’s a film that uses Ford’s tumultuous time as a backdrop for an unconvincing study of millennial angst among other things.
Set in 2013, the film centers around Bram Shriver (Ben Platt). Fresh out of journalism school he’s keen to tackle the big stories, to write articles that will move the needle. His dream job of being a reporter at The Record, however, sees him writing Best Hot Dogs in the City clickbait lists instead of investigating city hall.
Meanwhile, it’s chaos at city hall. Rob Ford (Damian Lewis under a mound of Fat Bastard make-up), the popular 64th Mayor of Toronto, is making headlines for his erratic behavior. Keeping things on course is Kamal (Mena Massoud), spin wizard and special assistant to the mayor, who, it is said, “knows everything.“ A Greek chorus of Steamwhistle-beer-drinking communications folks provide the necessary exposition to explain how they spin bad news and behavior into good news and how to vilify the press.
Back at the newsroom Bram stumbles his way into the wildest political scandal in Toronto history when he happens to pick up the phone and become the first person to find out about “the crack video.“ Can he capitalize on the biggest break of his career and finally put his Frum Award to good use or will he be doomed to write lists forever?
Keep in mind Bernstein and Woodward he is not. The story runs parallel to the reporting done by Bram’s real-life counterparts at The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star. More pointedly Robyn Doolittle or Kevin Donovan, the real-life reporters who broke the story are nowhere to be seen or heard.
“Run This Town” is a mix of fact and fiction, of flights of fancy that live at the intersection of real reporting and fake news. A muddle of ripped from the headlines details, innuendo and fiction it takes on the Ford administration’s failings, the state of journalism, millennial angst, sexual harassment and more. Jam packed and lightening-paced it hop scotches around, pausing only long enough to linger on a grotesque caricature of Rob “Show me some respect, will ya?” Ford.
Ford, played by Lewis in a prosthetic suit, fake flab and a stereotypical “oot and aboot” accent, is portrayed as an incoherent buffoon. Misogynistic, racist, paranoid—and those are the good qualities the film grants him—he lurches about the office making inappropriate remarks, prone to fits of sudden temper. It’s an exaggerated interpretation of the mayor but it is also one that is all fat suit and no humanity. Say what you will about Ford’s behavior while in office, and there is much to be said about it, what we see here is larger-than-life without the enough life to make it feel real.
Richard and CP24 anchor Cortney Heels have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Run This Town,” Pixar’s “Onward,” the social criticism of “Sorry We Missed You” and the sports drama “The Way Back.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including Pixar’s quest flick “Onward,” the sporty you-can-never-go-home-again story “The Way Back,” the social commentary of “Sorry We Missed You” and the ripped-from-the-headlines “Run This Town.”
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the weekend’s biggest releases including Pixar’s newest, “Onward,” the new sports drama from Ben Affleck , “The Way Back” and the new social message movie “Sorry We Missed You.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to talk about the big releases in theatres, including “The Legend of Tarzan,” starring Alexander Skarsgård as the Lord of the Jungle and Margot Robbie as Jane, Steven Spielberg’s latest, “The BFG” and the John le Carré thriller “Our Kind of Traitor,” starring Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Stellan Skarsgård and Damian Lewis.
By default “Our Kind of Traitor” will probably be listed under the “thriller” section on Netflix and elsewhere simply because it was written by spymaster John le Carré but don’t be fooled. Labelling this Ewan McGregor film a thriller simply because of le Carré’s involvement is like calling “One Hour Photo” because Robin Williams took the lead.
McGregor and Naomie Harris are Perry Makepeace and Gail Perkins, an English couple on romantic holiday in Marrakesh. When she leaves him alone in a restaurant Perry meets flamboyant Russian oligarch Dima (Stellan Skarsgård) who takes the uptight poetry professor to a wild party resembling something out of a Fellini film. Inside a large mansion half naked women ride horseback and there’s enough drugs and booze to make Keith Richard do a double take. It’s a wild night that goes on until the sun rises, followed by a tennis match at Dima’s expansive villa.
Perry and Gail meet Dima’s family and nothing seems too odd until later that night at a cocktail party when the Russian asks Perry to smuggle a flash drive filled with very sensitive banking information to London. Turns out Dima is a money launderer whose usefulness to the mob has come to an end. He fears they may kill him and his family and his way out is to get the flash drive to the MI6 in return for safe passage to England.
Sounds like a plan until MI6 agent Hector (Damian Lewis) is less than entirely enthusiastic about the whole situation. Thus begins the intrigue, what little there is of it here, with Perry channelling his inner James Bond to become a Citizen Spy.
From buttoned down poetry professor to le Carré hero in a matter of days. It’s a leap, a gaping chasm even, which requires a well-oiled suspension of disbelief. The main problem is that the movie doesn’t offer up many clues as to why this couple would risk everything to come to the aid of a man they barely know. It’s a well-worn cinematic staple, the everyman as hero, but here it falls flat.
“I’ve BLEEPED up your life Professor,” says Dima. “Why are you still here?”
This would have been a good time for screenwriter Hossein Amini to offer up some kind of rational explanation as to why Perry has laid it all on the line. Instead we get this: “I’ve no idea.”
The rest of “Our Kind of Traitor” is about as riveting as that answer. Skarsgård’s boisterous performance is worth a look and Lewis is multi-layered enough to carry the whole thing but they are inexplicably pushed to the background behind the bland leads.