Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including “Misbehaviour” starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Kiera Knightley, Ethan Hawke as the legendary inventor in “Tesla” and the activist doc “We Are Many.”
You know how “We Are Many,” a new documentary about the 2003 protests against the Iraq War, now playing in theatres, ends. The Stop the War movement, which began on a grassroots level but spread like wildfire to almost 800 cities worldwide, didn’t prevent the US/UK led shock and awe, but it did unite the world in a single cause.
Director Amir Amirani pieces together a compelling portrait of the anti-war crusade using a combination of archival news and web footage, bulked up with new talking head style interviews from academics like Noam Chomsky, politicians Clare Short to David Blunkett and actor Mark Rylance who suggests former British Prime Minister Tony Blair should be tried for war crimes. Novelist John le Carré, who marched in the million strong London parade, doubles down, calling the Iraq War, “the crime of the century.”
It’s a vividly presented doc, nine years in the making, that rehashes much of what we already know—there were no weapons of mass destruction, for instance—with eye-opening new revelations. It’s claimed that billionaire Richard Branson tried to arrange a summit meeting between Nelson Mandela and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Baghdad, to convince Saddam Hussein to go into hiding.
Amirani effectively displays the callous attitude of the warmongers in a montage that cuts between President George Bush joking about the lack of “weapons of mass destruction” to a guffawing audience and pictures of the effects of war. The powerful imagery leaves an indelible mark.
“We Are Many” takes us back to the days, post 9/11, when the likes of Blair and Bush dominated the news with hysterical claims of the world ending threats of WMDs, but ends on a more upbeat, we won’t get fooled again note.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Montreal morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the ripped from the headlines drama, “Richard Jewell,” another trip into the videogame in “Jumanji: The Next Level” and the bonkers biopic “The Twentieth Century.”
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 “Richard Jewell,” Clint Eastwood’s 41st film as a director, the last video-game inspired adventure “Jumanji: The Next Level” and the bonkers biopic “The Twentieth Century.”
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the controversial crime drama “Richard Jewell” and another trip into the videogame in “Jumanji: The Next Level.”
There is nothing particularly “next level” about the second instalment of the all-star, rebooted “Jumanji” franchise. It provides pretty much exactly the same level of entertainment delivered by 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” a family-friendly action flick that offered up some good-natured laughs.
The last time around nerdy gamer Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff), mean girl Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman), jock Anthony “Fridge” Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain) and Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner) were assigned to detention. Stuck in a storage room, they found a dusty old Jumanji gaming console. They turn it and the game sputters to life. “A game for those who seek to find,” it says, “a way to leave their lives behind.” Each clicked on an avatar and were suddenly swept away into the world of the game, plopped down in the Jumanji jungle and in the middle of an escapade. They also looked different. Their teenage selves are gone, replaced by heroic videogame characters. Spencer is now Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), a buff hero, fearless with no vulnerabilities. Martha is warrior Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) while Fridge is zoologist Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart). The biggest change was reserved for Bethany who became cryptographer Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black).
The old gang is back, and when Spencer disappears inside the game they follow along, with some new faces in the form of Spencer’s cranky granddad Eddie (Danny DeVito), the old man’s former business partner Milo (Danny Glover) and a new avatar played by Awkafina.
Once back in the videogame world of Jumanji they must find Spencer and protect a scared gem, keeping it out of the hands of a merciless warlord played by “Game of Thrones’” Rory McCann. Cue a cacophony of close calls, mismatched body swapping, CGI and silly jokes that feel left over from the 2017 movie.
Like most real-life video games “Jumanji: The Next Level” is most fun when they’re actually playing the game and not standing around talking about playing the game.
After a deadly first half-hour that reunites the original cast the film briefly picks up speed when the characters land in Jumanji only to discover they aren’t who they used to be. Moose now looks like Kevin Hart but has Danny Glover’s grandfatherly personality. Eddie wound up as the muscle-bound Dr. Smolder Bravestone and Professor Sheldon Oberon has adopted Bethany’s former avatar, Professor Shelly Oberon. The switcheroos provide some laughs, particularly Hart’s take on Glover’s deliberate (i.e. glacial) dialogue delivery. He nails it, slowing down his usual mile-a-minute style to milk laughs from lines like, “Jurgen the Brutal. Is that Barbara’s boy?”
Johnson has a harder time replicating DeVito’s New Jersey twang, especially in the film’s rare dramatic moments.
The rest of the film is action, herds of ostriches and mandrills attack and there are improbable fight scenes but all are so CGI heavy that they don’t connect. Instead they offer up roughly the same level of thrills as a theme park ride, which, no doubt this will one day be if it isn’t already.
“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” appealed to audiences with a mix of charismatic actors having a good time in a silly story and inventive action. For the most part “The Next Level” goes the way of so many other sequels, replacing the original charm with a story that is larger and louder but not as engaging. “I can’t believe you came back here on purpose,” says Martha. You may wonder that yourself as the end credits roll.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” the pagan ceremonies of “Midsommar” and the poignant story-telling of “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Jennifer Burke to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the twenty-third instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” “Midsommar,” the creepy new film from “Heredity” director Ari Aster, and the captivating new drama “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”