Watch Richard Crouse review three movies in less time than it takes to to jump backwards in time! Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the time travelling adventure “The Adam Project,” the panda-riffic fantasy “Turning Red” and the contemplative “After Yang.”
Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Zuraidah Alman about the Oscar nominations and the best movies and television to watch this weekend including the new Pixar animated film “Turning Red” on Disney+, the Crave sci fi adventure series “Star Trek: Picard” and Ryan Reynolds in the Netflix flick “The Adam Project.”
Richard joins host Jim Richards of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush for Booze and Reviews! Today we talk about the Ryan Reynolds time travel adventure “The Adam Project,” the Toronto set fantasy “Turning Red” and the contemplative “After Yang.” Then we toast Toronto with a drink, appropriately enough, called The Toronto.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. We zip through time with Ryan Reynolds in “The Adam Project” on Netflix, visit an animated Toronto in “Turning Red” and get contemplative with Colin Farrell in “After Yang.”
Richard joins CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to talk about the Ryan Reynolds time travel adventure “The Adam Project,” the Toronto set fantasy “Turning Red” and the contemplative “After Yang.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about Ryan Reynolds’s time travelling adventure “The Adam Project,” the panda-riffic fantasy “Turning Red” and the contemplative “After Yang.”
You can tell Pixar’s “Turning Red,” a charming new animated film now streaming on Disney+, was directed by someone who grew up in Toronto. Academy Award® winning director Domee Shi includes such staples of city life as a TTC pass and the CN Tower, but it is her reference to the Skydome, the original and only proper name, of the arena now known as the Rogers Center, that cements her Hogtown bona fides.
Meilin Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), the movie’s main character, is a free spirit in a traditional family. She likes to dance, hangout with her friends and she especially loves the boy band 4*Town. “Ever since I turned thirteen,” she says, “I’ve been doing my own thing.”
She is navigating the line between dutiful daughter to mother Ming (voice of Sandra Oh) and nonconformist. “Number one rule in my family is honor your parents,” she says, “but, if you take it too far you might forget to honor yourself.”
Everything changes for Meilin one morning after she has a nightmare and before you can say, “Poof!,” she changes into a giant red panda. Hearing a commotion upstairs, Ming investigates. “You are a woman now and your body is starting to change,” she says through the door to her obviously upset daughter.
When the truth of the situation is revealed, Ming is not surprised. Turns out the panda transformation runs in the family, usually following some kind of emotional episode. Unless Meilin wants to be a shapeshifter for the rest of her life, she has to listen to her parents. “There is a darkness to the panda,” says Mei’s father Jin Lee (Orion Lee). “You only have one chance to banish it. And you cannot fail, otherwise you’ll never be free.”
A special ceremony can cure her of the plight, but it must be performed under the red moon, which is one month away, the same night as the big 4*Town show at the Skydome.
“Turning Red” is an imaginatively animated movie that will make your eyeballs dance. Toronto is lovingly recreated and the characters have personality to burn. Mei’s alter ego, the giant red panda, is equal parts terrifying and adorable, a metaphor for puberty come to life, writ large. Topped off with great voice work from Chiang and Oh, it’s a Pixar worthy effort that can sit on the shelf next to the classics like “Up,” “WALL-E’ and “Toy Story.”
The coming-of-age story is equally well handled. The importance of family is a key message, like it is in many kid’s movies, but it is Shi’s sensitive (and very funny) lessons of asserting and being true to yourself that set it apart. Mei feels smothered by the overprotective Ming, but she sticks up for herself, even if it is scary. “I’m changing mom,” she says. “I’m afraid it will take me away from you.”
“Don’t hold back, for anyone,” replies Ming. ”The farther you go, the prouder I’ll be.”
It’s more touching and more nuanced than you might expect from a film about a young girl who changes into a panda, but “Turning Red” is that movie. It is unafraid to be silly, serious and heartfelt, often at the same time. It’s a lovely, insightful portrait of the chaos of being a kid and how respect, family and friends (and a little boy band music) can help smooth out the wild ride. Oh, and Toronto has rarely looked better on screen!
“After Yang,” a new sci fi film starring Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith now playing in theatres, is about a sentient robot life, but the firepower of humanoid android movies like “The Terminator” has been replaced by a slow, contemplative mood.
Set in the near future, “After Yang” begins with the loss of the artificially intelligent Yang (The Umbrella Academy’s Justin H. Min), an android purchased by Kyra and Jake (Jodie Turner-Smith and Colin Farrell) as a cyborg companion and “older sibling” to their adopted Asian daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja). When Yang suffers a core malfunction and shuts down, Mika mourns the loss of her “gege” or older brother in Mandarin.
Jake’s search for a way to repair the “technosapien” caregiver is trickier than you would think. It’s more complicated than taking a malfunctioning iPad back to the Apple store. The manufacturer will only fix the twelve most common problems, and warns Jake it is illegal to access the data stored in the robot’s memory banks.
Nonetheless, Jake accepts a tool to access Yang’s core chip from museum curator (Sarita Choudhury), only to discover he’s been refurbished several times and holds memories from his many experiences.
Director Koganada focuses attention on the meditative aspects of the story, not the mechanical, creating introspective sci fi that elegantly and subtly explores issues of existence, grief, love and memory. The film’s cold, detached exterior melts away as the running time clicks along, as the sci fi aspects of the story become a study of relationships and why we connect with the people and objects that we do.
Understated but heartfelt performances from Farrell, Turner-Smith , Min and Tjandrawidjaja add emotional resonance to a speculative story that is geared to appeal to the heart as much as the brain.
“Ultimately, the film Koganada has made is a poignant family drama with some sci fi elements. But just because “After Yang” is more interesting than exciting doesn’t mean it isn’t effective and memorable.
Richard joins Jim Richards, NewsTalk 1010 host of The Rush, to discuss the controversy surrounding a review for the film “Turning Red,” written by CinemaBlend managing director Sean O’Connell, that suggested the film’s story about a young Asian girl struggling through puberty, limited the film’s ability to connect with audiences.