Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch this weekend including “The Terminator” on ctv.ca to celebrate Linda Hamilton’s birthday, the Netflix “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” prequel “Ratched,” the meta-biographicxal comedy “Jann” on CTV and the Evan Rachel Wood dramedy “Kajillionaire.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Cristina Tenaglia have a look at the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the oddball comedy “Kajillionaire” starring Richard Jenkins and Evan Rachel Wood, the poignant Brticom “Misbehaviour” with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley and the second Richard Jenkins movie of the week, “The Last Shift.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the oddball comedy “Kajillionaire” starring Richard Jenkins and Evan Rachel Wood, the poignant Brticom “Misbehaviour” with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley and the second Richard Jenkins movie of the week, “The Last Shift.”
“Kajillionaire,” a poignant comedy from director Miranda July and now playing in theatres, is an absurdist tale of survival and control.
The Dynes, Robert (Richard Jenkins), Theresa (Debra Winger) and daughter Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood), are a crime family struggling to survive. They live in a low-rent abandoned office next to a bubble factory, where pink bubbles overflow through the vents into their space. Clip artists, they eke out a living by pulling low level scams that are often more work than they’re worth. Even their daughter’s name is part of a con job. They named her after a homeless man who won the lottery in the long shot hope that he would notice and write her into his will.
When Old Dolio wins a trip to New York they concoct a luggage and travel insurance swindle that could finally put them in the bigtime… or at least allow them to pay their back rent and avoid eviction.
Like all their stings, things don’t go as planned but they do meet Melanie (Gina Rodriguez), an outgoing young woman with the makings of a good grifter. Despite Old Dolio’s misgivings about bringing an outsider into their tightly knit group, the Dynes and Melanie set about to separate easy marks from their money.
What begins as an unconventional crime story soon turns into Old Dolio’s story of self-discovery as she comes to realize that her upbringing has left her unprepared for the world outside the petty criminality that has been her life.
Jenkins, Winger and Rodriguez bring something unique to each of their characters. Jenkins and Winger exude desperation as the rumpled, bumbling small timers, while Rodriguez is all charm and warmth as their protégée but it is Wood who steals the show.
Wood transforms completely to play Old Dolio. With waist-length straw hair obscuring her face she drops her voice an octave or two and adopts the physicality of someone who learned how to walk from reading books. It’s a wonderfully nuanced comedic character but there’s more to her than awkward behaviour and a silly name. Wood keeps Old Dolio’s emotions under wraps for much of the film, but there’s an apparent inner life that becomes more and more apparent as she begins to wake up and make a connection with someone whose last name isn’t Dyne for the first time in her life.
Intentionally stilted and oddball, Wood makes Old Dolio the beating heart of “Kajillionaire,” a story that derives its emotional stability from a character whose parents were never emotional or stable with her.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the Xenomorphic Alien: Covenant,” the whimptastic adventures of Greg Heffley in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul,” Liev Schreiber as the real-life Rocky in “Chuck” and the edgy rom com “The Lovers.”
It is surprising “The Lovers,” a new family drama starring Debra Winger and Tracy Letts, doesn’t use the Earth, Wind and Fire song “After the Love is Gone” as a theme song. The hit tune and the movie share a common question, “Can love that’s lost be found?”
Mary (Debra Winger) and Michael (Tracy Letts) are an old married couple going through the motions of having a relationship. Both are having affairs, she with frustrated Irish novelist Robert (Aidan Gillen); him with unpredictable ballet teacher Lucy (Melora Walters). They are a couple on the verge of a break up, teetering dangerously close to divorce. There’s no acrimony, just disinterest, as they slowly grow apart.
It seems, as Earth, Wind and Fire might have sung on the soundtrack had the orchestra score been replaced with mid-70s smooth R&B, “What used to be right is wrong.” Then something remarkable happens. They find their old spark. But what to do about Robert and Lucy?
The set up sounds rom com-y, like a Garry Marshall film starring Josh Duhamel and Katherine Heigl but it’s not that. It’s quirkier, more complicated, richer largely due to Winger and Letts. Both are gifted actors, both bring believable emotional baggage to a couple on the search for satisfaction.
Complicating the already fraught situation is the arrival of the couple’s son Joel (Tyler Ross), and his girlfriend Erin (Jessica Sula). The visit takes up the film’s final third and it is here where things go from understated to interesting. “They hate each other,” says Joel. “You gotta understand. I would love it if they left one another.” He uses them as an example of how not to live and asks Erin to punch him in the face if he ever starts behaving like them.
The true depth of their loveless dysfunction is revealed and it is here where the quiet desperation of their lives boils over. “It looks like you and mom are getting along,” says Joel. “Occasionally,” replies Michael.
“The Lovers” isn’t a flashy movie, like it’s suburbanite / cubicle setting it’s straightforward looking, but beneath the banal surface are bubbling, authentic emotions.
A surreal movie based on a short story collection by Mississippi writer Larry Brown. Arliss Howard directs and stars as Leon Barlow, a drunken writer who struggles with the demands of his ex-wife (Debra Winger), his children and his best friend (Paul LeMat). He is a failure on almost every level – certainly personally and professionally – and Howard doesn’t shy away from his protagonist’s shortcomings. The resulting film is a meandering look at the creative process, and how one man messed up his life. It’s a well crafted directorial debut from Howard who handles this quiet tale of an artist’s redemption with a firm hand.