Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the “Little Women,” the war epic “1917,” the courtroom drama “Just Mercy,” the animated spy flick “Spies in Disguise” and Adam Sandler’s surprising work in “Uncut Gems.”
The animated “Spies in Disguise” features the voice of one of the biggest movie stars in the world and one of the strangest premises we’ve seen all year.
Will Smith voices Lance Sterling, the world’s greatest spy. “I’m out here saving the world,” he says. “That’s what I do.”
Back at HQ after a daring mission, he’s drinking from his #1 Spy mug when he’s taken into custody for stealing a secret weapon called the M9 Assassin. He claims he’s innocent, that a villain named Robot Hand (Ben Mendelsohn) stole his identity and made off the weapon. One daring escape later Sterling sets off to prove his innocence.
Trouble is, he’s easy to find so he tracks down the one person who can help him, MIT grad Walter (Tom Holland), a junior inventor in the agency’s Gadget Lab. “I need to disappear,” he tells the youngster.
Walter obliges, sharing his biodynamic concealment potion with Sterling. The spy disappears but not in the way he hoped. Instead of becoming invisible the next best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) thing happens. He turns into a pigeon. “There are pigeons in every major city,” Walter says. “It’s the perfect disguise.”
It’s a good way of going incognito perhaps but not practical in the hunt of Robot Hand. “I’ll come with you,” Walter says, “and show you all the advantages of being a pigeon. It might even make you a better spy.” Together they set off to find Robot Hand as Marcy (Rashida Jones), the agency’s head of security, tries to find and arrest them.
Featuring Pierce-Brosnan-era-007-style action and gadgets “Spies in Disguise” is frenetic, family friendly James Bond Lite. Directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane keep the pace brisk, pausing only to emphasize a gag but the movie works best not when it’s in action but when Sterling is adjusting to life as a pigeon. As his latent avian instincts come on strong, for instance, he finds he can’t resist eating garbage on the road. It’s goofy good fun that is more interesting than Sterling’s human form, which is all swagger.
The script, by Brad Copeland and Lloyd Taylor, also mines a considerable amount of humor from the odd couple pairing of Sterling and Walter. Sterling is a shoot first and ask questions later kind of spy while Walter favors unusual methods, like disarming the baddies with wild, glittery cat videos because, well, everyone loves a cat video. “You can do more by bringing people together than blowing them up,” he says.
“Spies in Disguise” is buoyant enough to entertain the eye but the messages for kids about the benefits of being part of a flock and celebrating our differences are expertly woven throughout.
After twelves years of regular “Canada AM” movie reviews, Richard and host Beverly Thomson get together one last time to talk about the weekend’s four big releases, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” “Me Before You,” and “Into the Forest.”
Richard andCP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s four big releases, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” “Me Before You,” and “Into the Forest.”
Justin Bieber is a teen ream for many teen girls. He gets a decidedly more adult treatment in “Pop star: Never Stop Never Stopping,” the new parody from Andy Samberg, Kiva Schaffer and Norma Tacoma a.k.a. the Lonely Island. Rated 14A for coarse language, nudity and substance abuse it may be a nightmare for hard-core Bielbers.
Samberg stars as Conner4Real, a Bieber-esque performer and former singer for boy band Style Boyz (Schaffer and Tacoma, who also co-direct). Despite the title of his big hit, “I’m So Humble,” (“I’m number one on the humble list!”) he’s a pampered pop star with an entourage—including a turtle wrangler, a weed roller, a short guy who hangs around to make Connor look taller and a movie star girlfriend (Imogen Poots)—that makes Elvis’s Memphis Mafia look restrained. When we first meet him, he’s at the top of the pops but when his sophomore album—hilariously titled Connquest—stiffs he learns who his real friends are as he struggles to stay popular.
A loving, and sublimely silly look at concert films like “Katy Perry: Part of Me” and “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” “Popstar” features real-life musicians, Nas, Akon, 50 Cent, Seal, Pink, Snoop Dogg, Usher, Questlove, DJ Khaled as talking-heads as it skewers the more ridiculous aspects of its (mostly) fictional lead character. It’s a millennial “Spinal Tap” that takes aim at the excesses of pop life—clueless social commentary, absurd catchphrases, gratuitous nudity to cultural appropriation, it’s all here—but at its poppy heart its really about friendship and family.
The scenes of satire are often ripped from the TMZ’s headlines—there’s an incident at the Anne Frank House and a costume malfunction that derails Connor’s public reputation—which feel familiar while still drawing a laugh. Better than those are the sly comments on how fame works in the Age of Kardashian. “There is no such thing as selling out,” Connor coos. “These days if you don’t sell out people think nobody’s interested.” Much of the film is as deep as one of Bieber’s teen love laments, but occasionally it hits a little harder and the laughs get a little deeper. But make no mistake this is R-rated stuff that revels in its idiotically smart humour.
The targets in “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping’s” crosshairs are obvious and, frankly, easy pickings, but the film’s combination of catchy-if-ridiculous songs, appealing performances and fast-paced parody make it a chart topper.