Posts Tagged ‘Dolph Lundgren’

CTV NEWSCHANNEL: “AQUAMAN” VILLAINS PATRIC WILSON & Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

Two “Aquaman” villains for the price of one! Richard sat down with Patrick Wilson, who plays King Orm in the film and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who plays Manta to talk about why it’s great playing villains. Is it just that they win all the fights (except for the last one)? Click HERE to find out!

Read Richard’s review of “Aquaman” HERE!

CTVNEWS.CA: THE CROUSE REVIEW LOOKS AT “MARY POPPINS RETURNS” & MORE!

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 Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns,” Natalie Portman in “Vox Lux” and Jason Mamoa as the underwater monarch “Aquaman.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S CTV NEWSCHANNEL WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FOR DECEMBER 12.

Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Lois Lee to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ness of “Mary Poppins Returns,” the Transformers prequel “Bumblebee,” the underwater adventures of “Aquaman” and Natalie Portman as a pop star in “Vox Lux.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

AQUAMAN: 3 ½ STARS. “every frame is decorated with eyeball entertainment.”

‘Tis the season for big budget Hollywood entertainments. “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Bumblebee” and “Welcome to Marwen” are all large dollar enterprises with hopes of raking in even larger box office cash. Add one more to the list. ‘Tis also the SEA-son for “Aquaman,” the sixth instalment in the DC Extended Universe.

Jason Mamoa plays Arthur Curry, the half-human, half-Atlantean superhero also known as Aquaman. With his father Thomas (Temuera Morrison) working hard at the lighthouse and his mother Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), Queen Of Atlantis, feared dead, he is an outcast reluctantly drawn into some crazy underwater action by kingdom of Xebel warrior princess Mera (Amber Heard). Just so we’re clear,” he says. “I’ll help stop this war then I’m done.”

Together they hunt for the mythical Trident of Atlan, an all-powerful weapon that can only be used by the true King of Atlantis. It’s hidden in the deepest, darkest part of the ocean and is the only weapon that can put an end to Arthur’s half-brother King Orm’s (Patrick Wilson) reign of terror and vendetta against the good people of earth. “The war is coming to the surface,” shrieks Orm, “and I am bringing the wrath of the Seven Seas with me!” With the fate of the world at risk Arthur teams up with Mera; high tide or low tide, they’ll be side by side.

Let’s face it, the character of Aquaman is ridiculous. The son of the sea, protector of the land talks to fish, rides dolphin jet skis and was a running joke on “Entourage.” “Aquaman, baby!! It is Spiderman… underwater. Boooom!” Director James “Furious 7” Wan has crafted a film that embraces some of the kitsch aspects of the character while form-fitting the story to sit alongside other DC superhero flicks like “Wonder Woman.”

From an octopus drummer to a dress featuring a collar of iridescent jellyfish the spirit of Hanna-Barbera’s TV cartoon “Super Friends” is very much alive in “Aquaman.” Add to that the usual save-the-world superhero plot and some big action and you have a DC movie that is equal parts peculiar and pleasing.

At the centre of it is Mamoa, a hulking presence with a light touch. The “Game of Thrones” veteran is comfortable in the action scenes but also seems in on the joke. Less comfortable is Willem Dafoe as Aquaman’s mentor, and speaker of endless pages of expoisition. Heard, as an underwater being who, inexplicably, is also a master of woodwind instruments, is a good foil in the buddy action comedy she and Mamoa have going on. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta is a suitable villain in a silly suit who I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of in the inevitable sequels.

“Aquaman’s” biggest achievement in a world crowded with superhero movies is its sheer size and spectacle. Wan decorates every frame with eyeball entertainment that grasps the sublime and the silly of the “Aquamen” origin story.

CTVNEWS.CA: THE CROUSE REVIEW LOOKS AT “CREED II” AND MORE!

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 Michael B. Jordan boxing drama “Creed II,” the on-line romp of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and the odd couple buddy film “Green Book.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S CTV NEWSCHANNEL WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FOR NOVEMBER 23.

Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Jennifer Burke to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the boxing drama “Creed II,” the on-line romp of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and the odd couple buddy film “Green Book.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

 

CREED II: 4 STARS. “another puzzle piece in the feel-good ‘Rocky’ saga.”

Whoever said history never repeats didn’t work in Hollywood. Remakes and reboots have taken over theatres, recycling ideas and characters in what can sometimes feel like a continuous case of déjà vu. This week we have “Creed II” a sequel to a reboot, which is also a remake of sorts of a film made before star Michael B. Jordan was even born.

When we last saw Adonis Creed (Jordan) he was a young man who never knew his dad, former world champion boxer Apollo Creed. He did, however, inherit the old man’s love of boxing and much of his skill. Working with his dad’s old friend Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) to get into ring-ready shape he, like his father before him, wins the respect of the boxing world.

In the new film he finds confronted by his father’s legacy in the form of Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of the man who killed Apollo in the ring decades ago.

The year was 1985. Apollo Creed came out of a five-year retirement to give Soviet Olympic boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) a good old-fashioned American pummelling. Instead, with Rocky in his corner, Apollo is beaten senseless by the 6 foot 5 inch steroid-enhanced Russian. Just as Rocky drops the towel to end the fight Drago delivers the coup de grâce, a fatal blow that kills Apollo in centre ring. Determined to avenge Apollo’s death Rocky squares off with Drago in the Soviet Union in a Christmas season match. Journeyman Rocky shocks the world by winning, beating the statuesque Eastern Bloc fighter by knockout.

Flash forward to “Creed II.” The sting of that Reagan-era loss still bothers Drago (Lundgren, who else?). Shaping his son Viktor (Florian Munteanu) into a lean, mean fighting machine. Drago seeks to vicariously regain honour in the ring. “In Russia,”
Drago says, “no one will touch the Drago name. Everything changed that night.”

Father and son challenge Adonis, now the world heavyweight champion, to a match. “My son will break your biy,” Drago says, taunting Rocky. Despite Rocky’s warnings Adonis accepts the fight, looking for vengeance for a man he never knew. The showdown between the duelling sons brings into focus the shared legacy of the four men, Adonis, Viktor, Drago and Rocky.

“Creed II” isn’t really a movie about boxing. There are two brutal fight scenes but narratively this is about finding a sense of purpose, inside and outside of the ring. It’s about the why rather than the how. On that score it works. Director Steven Caple Jr. focuses on the characters allowing us to get to know them better, or in the case of Rocky and Drago, get reacquainted with them.

The film takes its time setting up the relationships before getting into the more traditional “Rocky” tropes, ie: unconventional but effective training methods and a rousing finale, complete with a riff on Bill Conti’s rousing “Rocky” theme song “Gonna Fly Now.”

This study of fathers and sons, of vengeance and reputation is really a look at brittle masculinity. These characters are all broken somehow, looking for something they are unlikely to find in the ring. “Why do you fight?” Rocky asks Adonis several times, sending him off on an introspective journey that leads him back to where his quest began, his father.

“Creed II” reverberates with the echoes of “Rocky” past but transcends being an exercise in déjà vu by amping up the emotional content to TKO levels. It is neither a rehash nor completely original work. It’s simply another puzzle piece in the feel good “Rocky” saga.

RICHARD’S REVIEWS FOR AUG 15, 2014 W “CANADA AM” HOST BEVERLY THOMSON.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 9.56.03 AM“Canada AM’s” film critic Richard Crouse shares his reviews for ‘The Expendable 3’, ‘The Giver’, and ‘The Trip to Italy’.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

THE EXPENDABLES 3: 3 STARS. “machismo floating in a sea of testosterone.”

expendables-3-wooMore people die in the first five minutes “The Expendables 3” movie than in any other two war movies combined. There is death by bullet, bazooka and bomb. It’s a wild but oddly bloodless beginning to the movie. Perhaps its because they have scaled back the rating to PG1the from the hard Rs the last two Expendables enjoyed, but removing most of the over-the-top violence leaves an absence of the over-the-top fun of the originals. Why arm Stallone and Company up the wazoo and then skimp on the fake blood and faux carnage?

A mission to stop a shipment of bombs brings grizzled mercenaries Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Caesar (Terry Crews) face to face with their toughest adversary yet, arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). Determined to bring down Stonebanks, Ross retires the oldtimers—“We aren’t the future anymore,” says Ross, “we’re part of the past.”— and recruits a fresh group of soldiers—Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz and Glen Powell—but just may find that his old dogs have some new tricks.

“Great plan,” says Luna (MMA fighter Rousey) of Ross’s old-fashioned bulldozer approach to mercenary work, “if it was 1985,” and this might have been a great movie if it was 1985. Despite the lack of overly gratuitous blood and guts, it feels like one of those direct-to-video action movies from the Reagan years. With no sense of nuance and clichés aplenty, it ploughs ahead, relentlessly reveling in its own stupidity. Kind of the like everything, but especially the action movies, in the 1980s.

But for much of the movie, that’s OK. How could you not love Wesley Snipes saying that his character was put in jail for tax evasion? It’s art imitating life! Or something.

Most of the other performances aren’t so much performances as they are action star posturing. Kelsey Grammar, as a recruiter for a new batch of Expendables, stands out because he does some actual acting. So do many of the obvious stunt doubles. The rest are all bulked-up chunks of machismo floating in a sea of testosterone.

Still, as an old-school action movie, it works well enough, despite the lack of gallons of fake plasma. I liked the attempts of creating new catchphrases—which are a must in these kinds of films—like Crews yelling, “It’s time to mow the lawn,” before spraying thousands of bullets into a dock packed with baddies. Also, the action scenes are shot clearly and effectively, and unlike last week’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” you can actually see who is shooting-punching-blowing up-kicking-garroting-etc who. It makes it easier to cheer for the good guys when you can tell who the bad guys are.