Posts Tagged ‘Embeth Davidtz’


Richard appears on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week he has a look at Bard Pitt in “Bullet Train,” the real life drama of “Thirteen Lives” on Prime Video and the Disney+ social media satire “Not Okay.”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 36:57)

NOT OKAY: 3 STARS. “a breezy look at the social media manipulation.”

“Not Okay,” a new clickbaity satire starring Zoey Deutch and now streaming on Disney+, sets up an extraordinary situation to comment on an all too ordinary social media phenomenon.

Deutch is aspiring writer Danni Sanders. Her photo editor job at the Buzzfeed-esque website Depravity has yet to help her advance to writer status, as her story pitches fall on deaf ears.   Aimless, with no friends, she is desperate to catch the eye of Colin (Dylan O’Brien), the coolest guy in the office, even if he is constantly enveloped in a Vape cloud.

She’s invisible, even on social media.

“Have you ever wanted to be noticed so badly,” she says, “you didn’t even care what it was for? You wake up every day thinking, ‘I want to be seen. I want to be important. I want to have purpose. I want to be known. I want to be loved. I want to matter.’”

To find meaning, purpose and maybe get a few extra followers on social media, she concocts a goofy plan to post faked photos from an imaginary Paris trip to glam up her Instagram account. She photoshops herself in front of the Arc de Triomphe, creates a backstory about being invited to a writer’s retreat in the City of Lights and writes captions like, “Starting my morning right. Now where is my baguette?”

But then real-life tragedy strikes in the form of terror attacks around Paris and all of a sudden, Danni goes from zero to hero. Her account is flooded with comments. “I can’t believe you posted that photograph five minutes before the bombs hit,” writes a concerned follower. “I mean, what if it had been five minutes later? Could you even imagine?”

Danni enjoys the attention, and goes with the flow. She “returns” to the United States and her job as a “survivor,” with a new confident attitude and faux PTSD. As her online fame grows, she befriends school-shooting survivor Rowan (Mia Isaac), leeching off the activist’s popularity. Even Colin now finds her the most interesting person in the room.

Her dreams come true, but, she says, “be careful what you wish for,” as her lies spirals out of control.

“Not Okay” is a social satire that takes aim at the curated life of Instagram influencers and the dark side of the artificial fame of an on-line life. The attention starved user who fabricates a story for money or notoriety, is a ripped-from-the-headlines premise, one that frequently plays itself out in one way or another on social media, but it lays the foundation for the character work done by Deutch and Isaac.

Deutch doesn’t make Danni sympathetic, but somehow makes her actions understandable. Through the performance it is easy to see how this lonely, directionless young woman got caught up in the lust for acknowledgement. The story may be shallow but Deutch’s performance reveals layers.

Contrasting Danni’s wanton ambition is Rowan’s heartfelt crusade for awareness. As a school shooting survivor Rowan is a combustible combination of trauma and anger, and Isaac embodies the earnestness and fear that comes with that lived experience.

“Not Okay” isn’t as hard hitting as it thinks it is. As a breezy look at the social media manipulation it treads familiar ground, but its ingrained sense of humor and performances make it worth a look.


Richard makes a Gin Old Fashioned, the perfect cocktail to enjoy while watching the new M. Night Shyamalan thriller “Old.” Have a drink and a think about “Old” with us!

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the M. Night Shyamalan thriller “Old” (in theatres), the action flick “Jolt” (Amazon Prime) and the dramatic coming of age story of “Beans” (in theatres).

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard joins Jay Michaels and guest host Deb Hutton of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush to talk about the pirate who invented the Pina Colada and some movies, “Old” and the rock and roll biopic “Creation Stories,” to enjoy while sipping one of the creamy drinks.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Akshay Tandon chat up the weekend’s big releases including the M. Night Shyamalan thriller “Old” (in theatres), the action flick “Jolt” (Amazon Prime) and the dramatic coming of age story of “Beans” (in theatres).

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Andrew Pinsent to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the M. Night Shyamalan thriller “Old” (in theatres), the action flick “Jolt” (Amazon Prime), the rock ‘n roll biopic “Creation Stories” (VOD), the dramatic coming of age story of “Beans” (in theatres), and the throwback skateboarding movie “North Hollywood” (VOD) with Vince Vaughn.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

OLD: 3 STARS. “provides enough thrills to make it time well spent.”  

They grow up so quickly. That’s what everyone always says when you have kids. That old axiom comes to horrifying life in “Old,” the new film from director thrill meister M. Night Shyamalan, now playing in theatres.

Gael García Bernal and Vicky Krieps are Guy and Prisca Capa, parents to 11-year-old daughter Maddox (Alexa Swinton) and six-year-old son Trent (Nolan River). They are headed for divorce but before the ink dries on the legal papers, they want one last three-day family vacation at a fancy resort. “Can you believe I found this place on-line?” says Prisca, taking in the beautiful hotel.

Despite tension between mom and dad, the kids have fun, and when the resort offers an invitation to visit an exclusive beach, they eagerly accept. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience,” purrs the manager.

Coming along on the day trip is an assortment of other guests, including high strung cardiothoracic surgeon, Charles, (Rufus Sewell) and his family, rapper Mid-Sized Sedan (Aaron Pierre) and long-married couple Jarin (Ken Leung) and Patricia (Nikki Amuka-Bird).

A shadow is cast on the day of sun, surf and sand when a dead woman washes ashore on the beach. Trying to call for help, the panicked vacationers quickly realize they are alone, isolated, with no cell service or anyway to get back to civilization.

When the mysterious body decomposes right in front of their eyes, wounds heal instantly and their kids begin to age two years every hour, they realize, in a masterstroke of understatement that “there’s something wrong with this beach.” “It’s hard to explain,” adds Guy.

Is it mass hysteria or is something more sinister happening?

Based on the graphic novel “Sandcastle,” by Pierre Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters, “Old” has an intriguing premise, one that could sit on the shelf comfortably next to the “Twilight Zone” box set. But the ain’t-it-funny-how-time-slips-away premise is almost undone by painfully bad dialogue and the strangely muted reactions of most of the characters. When your six-year-old grows up and has a baby in a matter of hours I would expect some deep introspection alongside shrieks and confused looks. Instead, this group is unusually accepting of the beyond strange situation.

Having said that, Shyamalan is a stylist who creates arthouse horror in “Old.” He effectively builds tension—most of the movie is as taut as a tightrope—and finds interesting ways of showing, not telling, the character’s physical changes like blindness and hearing loss. In addition, the really terrible stuff is mostly off screen, an old school Val Lewton technique, that allows the audience to imagining things much worse than he could show us.

Beyond the horror are poignant messages about embracing the time we have and that a life that whips by without memories or experiences, is time wasted. As time passes, the movie suggests, leaving things unsaid and undone are the greatest crimes in the timelines of our lives.

“Old” is melodramatic and has a protracted ending that wraps things up without providing much satisfaction but Shyamalan provides enough thrills to make it time well spent.