Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Bain about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) and Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the return Diana Prince in “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the existential animation of “Soul” (Disney+), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) and Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World.”
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 Gal Gadot’s return to superhero-dom in “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the existential animation of “Soul” (Disney+), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix), Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World” and “Chicago 10” (The Impact Series, VOD/Digital).
Guest morning show host Matt Holmes talks to Richard about the much anticipated superhero flick “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the existential animation of “Soul” (Disney+), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) and Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World.”
The release of “Wonder Woman 1984,” now available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on digital movie stores for $29.99, comes as an answer to one of the worst dad jokes of all time.
Do you know why Diana Prince was called Wonder Woman? Because we all wondered what she was going to do next.
I know, it’s a terrible joke, but there was a great deal of talk about what was next for the character and, in pandemic times, when and how we’d be seeing the finished film.
Now that we know what Diana Prince’s next moves are, I’m wondering about something else. Where did the wonder go?
Set seven decades after the events of the first film, “Wonder Woman 1984” sees Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) living the life of a part time superhero. During the day she works in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian. Occasionally she transforms into her alter ego and solves a crime, help humanity or, in the film’s most fun action scene, use her Golden Lasso to hogtie some bad guys at a local mall.
Still mourning the love of her life, World War II flyboy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), she leads a quiet life until one of her Smithsonian co-workers, Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), is tasked with identifying a slew of recently recovered ancient artefacts. Among them is the dream stone, a mystical crystal rumored to grant wishes.
The insecure Barbara is reeled in by Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), a flamboyant Gordon Gekko wannabe who charms her to lay his hands on the magical relic.
Turns out, the stories are true; the artefact can change lives, granting wishes and making the impossible, possible. But there are unforeseen, global consequences.
Diana’s wants to be reunited with Steve, but as their loves grows, her powers diminish. Barbara’s dream of having confidence comes true in spades, and she morphs into the villainous Cheetah. “I want to be an apex predator,” she says. Lord’s greed-by-the-way-of-wishes makes him the most powerful person on the planet, and with Cheetah at his side, his thirst for influence and authority may also be unstoppable.
“Wonder Woman 1984” has flashes of the vibrancy that made the original film so much fun but it isn’t as nimble.
A fifteen minutes opening Themyscira-set flashback to Diana’s youth starts things with an extended thud. The youngster competes against a bevy of older Amazons, learning an important life lesson in the process. It’s a blend of action and the film’s core message of honesty above all, but we’ve already seen Diana’s original story done better. As it is, it feels like a stall before we get to the main action.
Once there, things get off to a promising start as Wonder Woman does what she does best, help people in need. A quick montage of do-gooding introduces an inventive and action-packed sequence that sees Wonder Woman thwart crime in a way that could have been ripped from the comic books. Shot in vivid 1980s Day Glo, it’s the sequence that promises the rollicking good time to come. Except that the good times are few and are between.
There are some exciting moments. A car chase, expertly shot and executed, brings the closest thing to the kind of action established in the first film. It’s no run across No Man’s Land, but it gets the pulse racing. More aesthetic is a trip through the clouds, illuminated by fireworks down below. It’s a dreamy bit of aerial work that sets the stage for a lovely learning-to-fly sequence that is part metaphor for Diana’s life and part movie magic.
Those moments work and work well, but get lost in the film’s extended running time.
Gadot brings the same understatement and restraint that shaped her character in the original movie and she still shares great chemistry with Pine, but as far as messaging goes, why does Wonder Woman need a man to come to her rescue? Together they’re fun in the 1980s-fish-out-of-water scenes but his presence in the action scenes feels counter to Wonder Woman’s message of empowerment.
And I loved Wiig’s dig at a colleague who refers to her as Miss. “It’s Doctor,” she corrects, channeling her best Dr. Jill Biden, but the film also suggests that Minerva is only interesting when she dolls herself up with tight dresses and superpowers.
“Wonder Woman 1984” adequately fills the superhero pandemic gap but it isn’t wonderous. Where the first film pointed the way to where superhero movies could go, this one feels like a follower, not a leader.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the wild “Birds of Prey,” the #MeToo drama “The Assistant” and the giddily gory “Come to Daddy.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the boundary pushing “Birds of Prey,” the #MeToo drama “The Assistant” and the giddily gory “Come to Daddy.”
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 the emancipation of Harley Quinn in “Birds of Prey,” the timely messages of “The Assistant” and the father complex(ities) of “Come to Daddy.”
As “Joker” sweeps through Awards Season, scooping up a motherlode of Best Actor gold for Joaquin Phoenix, along comes the standalone story of the Clown Prince of Crime’s former female sidekick. “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” sees Margot Robbie revisit her unpredictable “Suicide Squad” character in an R-rated film that is part action, part comedy and all attitude. More in tune with the antics of “Deadpool” than the serious tone of “Joker,” “Birds of Prey” is a fourth-wall-breaking story that doesn’t feel like other superhero movies.
Picking up after the events of “Suicide Squad,” Gotham City has become a cesspool of crime. Batman has flown the coop leaving the city unprotected from the likes of crime lord Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). The baseball wielding Quinn has rid herself of her former “partner in madness,” the Joker—” I am so over clowns!” she says—and now travels with a new squad of vigilantes. “As it turns out, I wasn’t the only dame in Gotham looking for emancipation,” she says. Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) come together to help Harley protect Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a young pickpocket who had the bad luck of coming into possession of a diamond ebcoded with a valuable secret, a secret Black Mask desperately wants. “I’m back on my feet,” Harley says, “ready to embrace the fierce goddess within.”
“Birds of Prey” is a story of survivors, of feminism, of tough women out on the town and it is the most fun DC has offered up at the movies. The stripped-down story sheds “Suicide Squad’s” nihilistic nonsense in favor of empowerment and general kick assery.
It gets off to a slow start, establishing the characters and situation, but erupts in the last third with bombastic action choreographed by director Cathy Yan and “John Wick” fight maestro Chad Stahelski. Forget the CGI finales of the Marvel Universe, this is blood-soaked up-close-and-personal stunt action with a wicked sense of humour.
Robbie has a gleeful, cheeky commitment to the character that sets the tone for the movie’s 80s new wave kaleidoscopic aesthetic. With a habit of settling disputes with a baseball bat to the groin she isn’t a role model but is unpredictable, scrappy fun to watch on screen. Ditto McGregor who actually seems to be having fun wearing Black Mask’s hyped-up wardrobe after a series of movies that have left his charisma relegated to the backroom.
“Birds of Prey” is loads of fun but manages to weave some serious ideas about not needing men to survive into the chaos. Most of all, though, it feels like a welcome antidote to the monotony of so many comic book inspired films.