Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the Apple TV+ darkly humorous series “Bad Sisters,” the Crave comedy series “Roast Battle Canada,” and the Lena Dunham coming-of-age story “Sharp Stick.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the Idris Elba vs. angry lion thriller “Beast,” the creepy kid movie “Orphan: First Kill” and the coming-of-age story “Sharp Stick.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Idris Elba vs. angry lion thriller “Beast,” “Sharp Stick,” the latest from Lena Dunham, the creepy kid movie “Orphan: First Kill” and the coming-of-age story “Carmen.”
Frank and provocative, “Sharp Stick,” the new film written and directed by “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham, returns to familiar ground with a sexual coming-of-age story.
Kristine Froseth stars as 26-year-old Sarah Jo. A sexually inexperienced woman who had a hysterectomy at age 17, she still lives at home with her mom (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and wannabe Instagram influencer sister (Taylour Paige). She scraps by, babysitting for Zach, son of Josh (Jon Bernthal) and Heather (Dunham). Heather is pregnant, and Josh has a wandering eye, which happens to land on the flirty Sarah Jo.
Their ”affair” culminates with a tryst on the floor of a cramped laundry room, setting Sarah Jo off on a journey of sexual discovery involving lots of pornography, a fixation on adult film star Vance Leroy (the ornately tattooed Scott Speedman) and carefully organized, random “educational” hook-ups.
“Sharp Stick” reverberates with echoes of the frankness of “Girls” and the edgy work of filmmakers like Larry Clark and Harmony Korine, but never rises to the level of any of those namechecks.
Dunham has woven some interesting characters to surround Sarah Jo, like her mother Marilyn, played by Leigh, a much-divorced Hollywood hanger-on and twerking sister Treina, but she hasn’t given her main character any real depth. She is thirsty for carnal knowledge, and approaches it like a job, with a check list to boot, but aside from the humor inherent in that, Sarah Jo’s arc simply isn’t that interesting. Her desperation to prove to herself and others is repetitive, her actions so naïve they suggest her emotional age is far less than her stated age of 26. Given her mother’s openness regarding sex, it doesn’t ring true that Sarah Jo is completely unfamiliar with anything to do with sexuality.
“Sharp Stick” does have a few funny scenes, an interesting character or three, and an uncomfortable but refreshing candidness about sex but, by the time the end credits roll, Sarah Jo’s journey is the film’s least interesting element.
Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including “Misbehaviour” starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Kiera Knightley, Ethan Hawke as the legendary inventor in “Tesla” and the activist doc “We Are Many.”
Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla (Ethan Hawke) was a man with an eye to the future. He’s best known for best known for his innovations in the transmission and application of electric power but his restless mind was always engaged, burning hot with new ideas.
If we are to believe “Tesla,” a fanciful postmodern biopic starring Ethan Hawke, now on VOD, he had the ability to project himself into the future, predicting what was to come, including x-rays and even the Tears for Fears hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
A knowing mix of fact and fiction, “Tesla” is narrated by Anne Morgan (Eve Hewson), daughter of financier and banker J.P. Morgan, who says after one flight of fancy, while scrolling through her MacBook Pro, “This is pretty surely not how it happened.” It’s a self-aware story, filled with authenticity but also anachronisms to paint a portrait of a man out of time.
Detailing the period in Tesla’s life from his early work with Thomas Edison (Kyle MacLachlan) at the Edison Machine Works on New York’s Lower East Side through to his encounters with the leading lights of the era, J.P. Morgan (Donnie Keshawarz), renowned French actress Sarah Bernhardt (Rebecca Dayan) and entrepreneur George Westinghouse (Jim Gaffigan). It’s a heady time that sees Tesla dream big and fail bigger, ultimately reduced to begging Morgan for money before dying penniless and alone at the age of 86 in Room 3327 of the Hotel New Yorker.
“Tesla” is not a tale for history buffs. Edison is seen with an iPhone and a gaggle of heiresses listen to electro-pop but these anachronisms aren’t for effect, like spotting the wristwatch on Matthew Broderick’s arm in the 1800s set “Glory” or the iPod Touch in “The Hurt Locker,” three years before the mobile devices were in stores, they’re meant to add to the poetry of the telling, as metaphors for the forward-thinking inventor. “Maybe the world is a dream,” says Anne Morgan, “that Tesla dreamed first.”
Tesla, the man, aimed high, hoping his inventions would set people free to enjoy pursuits of the mind. “That motor will do the work of the world,” he says in the film. “It will set men free.” Similarly, the movie aims high, and while it takes chances—see the above mentioned “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” scene—it is as idiosyncratic as the man it portrays.