Richard joins CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Wonder Park,” starring the voices of Jennifer Garner and John Oliver, “Gloria Bell” starring Julianne Moore, the morbid comedy “To Dust” starring Matthew Broderick and Géza Röhrig and the dystopian drama “Level 16.”
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the the animated “Wonder Park,” starring the voices of Jennifer Garner and John Oliver, “Gloria Bell” starring Julianne Moore and the morbid comedy “To Dust” starring Matthew Broderick and Géza Röhrig.
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the poignant animated fantasy “Wonder Park,” “Gloria Bell” starring Julianne Moore and the morbid comedy “To Dust” starring Matthew Broderick and Géza Röhrig with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
If nothing else the new animated film “Wonder Park” will teach kids how to use and possibly overuse the word “splendiferous.” Good lessons on self reliance and facing fears abound, but “splendiferous” appears so many times it’s as if the screenwriters earned a bonus every time a character utters it.
Precocious ten-year old June (Brianna Denski) spends most of her days hanging out in a world of imagination. Encouraged by her loving mother (Jennifer Garner), June is a mini P.T. Barnum, inventing a fantasy theme park, Wonderland, “the most splendiferous park ever,” using nothing but bendy-straws, stuffed animals like her monkey Peanut and her creativity.
When her mother falls ill and has to be hospitalized June puts away childish things, putting Peanut and all of Wonderland into boxes. Looking after her father she becomes obsessed with running the house. Concerned he cannot survive without her, she plays hooky from math camp, creating a diversion so she can get of the bus and cut through the woods to get home. On the way she discovers a discarded amusement park ride that transports her into the land of her imagination.
But things aren’t quite how she imagined them. Her beloved stuffed animal mascots are on the run from hoards of chimpanzombies determined to destroy the park. As the architect of the park her imagination will be put to the test as she searches for a way to restore harmony to her beloved Wonderland.
Even at just one hour and twenty-six minutes “Wonder Park” feels padded. Music montages and several frenetic action scenes stretch the story to feature length but there is much to like nonetheless. Good messages about the power of imagination to help work through life’s challenging moments and self-belief are sincere and powerful—“There is wonder in all of us!”—but it is the film’s willingness to expand beyond the eye-distracting action scenes into more personal territory that earns it a recommend.
The mother’s illness sub-plot is handled subtly and carefully but drives the entire story. “I got so scared of losing her,” June says, “that I lost myself.” It’s poignant and more heart-tugging than you might expect from a movie featuring a talking porcupine (John Oliver, doing some fun voice work).
“Wonder Park” is a movie that respects its audience. That understands children can handle complex ideas about real life and for that, it is splendiferous.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Gloria Bell” starring Julianne Moore, the animated fantasy “Wonder Park” and the morbid comedy “To Dust” starring Matthew Broderick and Géza Röhrig.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nick Dixon to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Skyscraper,” the animated Adam Sandler flick “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” the documentary “Whitney,” the biopic “Mary Shelley,” “Sorry to Bother You” starring LaKeith Stanfield and the comedy “The Death (and Life) of Carl Naardlinger.”
“Sorry to Bother You” is set in an alternative reality version of present day but feels like a throwback to the politically charged satires of the 1980s and 90s. Echoes of “Repo Man” and the like reverberate throughout but nonetheless director Boots Riley is never less than original in his telling of the tale of a telemarketer who trades part of his identity for success.
The story centers around slacker Cassius Green (LaKeith Stanfield), a young man who lives in his Uncle Sergio’s (Terry Crews) garage. “I’m just out here surviving,” he tells his performance artist girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson). In need of money—he’s four months behind in rent—he goes to a telemarketing job interview armed with a phoney resume and some fake “Employee of the Month” awards. Lies notwithstanding he gets the gig. “This is Tele marketing,” says his new boss (Robert Longstreet). “We’re not mapping the human genome here. You will call as many numbers as possible. You will stick to the script we give you and you will leave here happy.”
After a rough start Cassius gets some advice that changes everything. “If you want to make some money here use your white voice,” says the guy in the next cubicle (Danny Glover). “I’m talking about sounding like you don’t have to care. Like you don’t really need this money. It’s what they wish they sounded like.” The technique works (David Cross provides Cassius’s white voice) and on the eve of a strike in the telemarking office Cassius is promoted, bumped upstairs to the elite Power Callers floor. “Welcome to the Power Caller suite,” says his new boss (Omari Hardwick). “Use your white voice at all times here.”
The new job involves selling power—fire power and manpower, specifically the services of WorryFree, a service that offers lifetime work contracts to desperate people. Run by mogul Steve Lift (Armie Hammer), the company has been accused of selling slave labour, and now Cassius is their number one salesperson. His success comes at a cost, however. His girlfriend doesn’t approve and his striking friends call him a scab. The new job may be on the wrong side of the ethical divide but, at first at least, Cassius grins and bears it. “I’m doing something and I’m really good at it. I’m important.”
From here the story goes places that will not be spoiled here. Suffice to say Riley takes “Sorry to Bother You’s” viewers on a journey unlike any other. The film is an audacious capitalist nightmare, heavy on anti-corporate, pro-union rhetoric filtered through a kaleidoscopic lens. It’s risky and witty, edgy and inventive and unrestrained in a way that makes it utterly unique. Scathing commentary on the state of the world—“If you are shown a problem,” says Squeeze (Steven Yeun), “and can’t do anything about the problem you get used to the problem.”—is coupled with creative, confrontational filmmaking.
In “Sorry to Bother You” Riley has created an apocalyptic world that looks like ours but tilted 180°. He’s populated it with offbeat characters who forward the story but bring humanity to the strange world they inhabit. Their take on race relations, employment and relationships feels real even though nothing else in the movie does. It’s the peak of satire to heighten the situation but still make real, humanistic points. Riley does both in a way that is both experimental and entertaining.
Richard sits in with CP24 anchor Nneka Elliott to review the “legendary adventures of awesomeness” of “Kung Fu Panda 3,” the watery historical drama “The Finest Hours” and “JeruZalem’s” found footage thrills.
Richard and “Canada AM” host Marci Ien chat about the found footage thrills of “JeruZalem,” the “legendary adventures of awesomeness” of “Kung Fu Panda 3” and the watery historical drama “The Finest Hours.”