Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia McMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the sensory overload of “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” the silly fun of “What Men Want” and the revenge flick “Cold Pursuit.”
Richard has a look at “Cold Pursuit” and the Liam Neeson controversy, the outer space Lego adventure “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” the creepy kid movie “The Prodigy and the supernatural comedy “What Men Want” with Taraji P. Henson with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
Another Liam Neeson action movie, another father on the rampage. But “Cold Pursuit,” an English language remake of the Norwegian film “Kraftidioten,” is no “Taken.” There are special skills, piles of dead bodies and the story is as far fetched as Neeson’s deliberately trashy kidnap movies but the new film has something else, a dark sense of humour.
In the film’s early moments we see Colorado snowplough driver Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) honoured as Citizen of the Year for his efforts in keeping the roads clear and the townsfolk of his small community safe. On the heels of this civic honour comes the worst news of Coxman’s life, the death of his son by heroin overdose. Nels and his wife (an underused Laura Dern) are in disbelief. Refusing to believe their son was a drug addict Nels starts asking questions that lead him to a criminal network run by Trevor Calcot a.k.a. Viking (Tom Bateman), a second-generation drug lord with a hair trigger temper.
Seeking revenge, Nels changes from mild mannered snowplough driver to lean, mean killing machine. He stops ploughing snow and starts ploughing bad guys, making quick work of the Viking’s underlings—each eulogized in a title card that probably would have been more effective had the film stayed with the original translated name “In Order of Disappearance.” With several low level baddies dispatched he gets snowed in when he takes aim at the Viking himself.
The carnage continues, in part due to Nels’s brother (William Forsythe) and former gangster and an unintended drug war between the Viking and power First Nations trafficker White Bull (Tom Jackson).
“Cold Pursuit” is a faithful remake of the Norwegian film, keeping the slow burn of the original and the dark humour. It’s not slap-your-knee funny but it certainly has a lighter tone than you’d expect from a revenge drama. Neeson isn’t known for his comedy chops but his resourcefulness with a snowplough as weapon is ridiculous enough to raise a smile or two. It doesn’t feel fresh—the spectre of Tarantino hangs heavy over the proceedings, with title cards, surf music and a casual attitude to the violence—but the icy atmosphere juxtaposed with the hot-blooded thirst for vengeance makes for a diverting enough crime story.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the pure pop art blast of “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” the creepy kid movie “The Prodigy” and the Liam Neeson controversy.
For many performers playing the Metropolitan Opera alongside Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti would be a career crowning achievement. To Emmy (that’s short for Emmanuelle) Rossum it was just another day at work. She made $5 a night singing with the children’s choir. “There was a horse on stage in a Zeffirelli production that got one hundred and fifty a night,” she laughs, before adding that the experience taught her to never take a job for the money. “You really realize you’re there because you love it,” she says.
Rossum, the New York City raised star of Shameless (which airs on TMN and Movie Central this month), left the opera at age twelve, frustrated that solos were only handed out to the boys. She took with her a work ethic: Be prepared, be on time. It’s a privilege to perform for a living. “Those are the ideas I’ve taken to every set with me.”
Her early resume looks like a lot of New York City based actor’s. A stint on As the World Turns here. A guest shot on Law & Order there. But it was a role as gap-toothed Appalachian orphan in the film Songcatcher that made people stand up and notice her. The movie showcased the preteen’s acting ability—she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance—and gave her the chance to show off her singing skills, performing five tunes on the soundtrack, including a song with one of her idols.
“Having a chance to record with Dolly Parton was something I’ll never forget,” she says of When Love Is New, a country duet that appears on the soundtrack.
The low budget film—just 2 million dollars total—led to more work, including playing title character from ages 12 to 16 in the television movie The Audrey Hepburn Story and the small, but crucial part of Katie Markum, Sean Penn’s daughter murdered daughter, in her first major studio film, Mystic River.
“When I arrived on the set the first day, [director Clint Eastwood] was incredibly warm,” she says. “But before the day ended, he was yelling at me for calling him Mister Eastwood. He’s a very quiet man who doesn’t say much, but you better listen, because, if he says something, it’ll be damned important.”
Working with Eastwood was exciting, but every career has a moment, a crack in time when an actor goes from unknown to known and for Emmy it was yet to come. Her career had been a slow build, from small roles in big films (Mystic River) and big roles in small films (like the urban fairy tale-romantic comedy Nola), that lead to 2004, her breakout year.
First the 18 year old spent six months shooting the wild end-of-the-world epic The Day After Tomorrow. With a budget of $85,807,341 the global warming disaster movie probably cost more than all of Emmy’s previous films combined, but it gave the young actress a showcase for one of her pet causes. “One of the reasons I’m glad I did The Day After Tomorrow is because it opened a dialogue about the effects of global warming,” she says, despite the movie being listed by Yahoo! Movies listed the film as one of the Top 10 Scientifically Inaccurate Movies of all time.
The second part of her 2004 breakout took her back to her stage roots. Fresh from Day After Tomorrow’s grueling shoot she auditioned for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber who hired her to play Christine in the film version of The Phantom of the Opera. “Actually I didn’t think I would get it just because it was too big. They don’t normally give Hollywood ninety-million dollar budgeted musicals to un-famous sixteen-year- olds.”
Amazingly she had never seen the stage show before taking the role, but she put an indelible stamp on the character, but it wasn’t easy. “I was wearing corsets the entire six months which were insanely uncomfortable and prohibited me eating any solid food all day long besides ice cream which would melt and actually pass my esophagus. It had enough sugar to actually sustain me and give me enough energy.”
Since then she has worked steadily. Her CD Inside Out was a mixture of pop-rock electronica, new age and classical. She’s lent her name to causes like breast cancer awareness and Global Green USA and of course, has stared in high profile films like Poseidon and the wild action flick Dragonball Evolution.
But despite all her achievements she hasn’t let Hollywood go to her head. “I would say a big accomplishment is that I’ve stayed true to who I am and not let fame affect me.”