Richard appears on “CTV News at 6” to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week he has a look at the violent and visceral Viking drama “The Northman,” “The Bad Guys,” a heist flick for kids, the documentary “The Automat” and season two of “The Flight Attendant” on HBO.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the Viking drama “The Northman,” the surreal Nic Cage homage “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” and the animated heist flick “The Bad Guys.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Graham Richardson to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Viking drama “The Northman,” the surreal Nic Cage homage “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” the animated heist flick “The Bad Guys” and the nostalgic documentary “The Automat.”
“We may be bad,” says Wolf, in “The Bad Guys,” a new DreamWorks animated heist flick now playing in theatres, “but we are so good at it.”
Wolf, voiced by Sam Rockwell, leads a criminal organization of anthropomorphic animals, safecracker Snake (Marc Maron), master of disguise Shark (Craig Robinson), an apex predator of a thousand faces, Piranha (Anthony Ramos), a loose cannon with a short fuse and eight-legged tech wizard Tarantula (Awkwafina), who use their frightening reputations to strike fear into the hearts of their victims.
“Do I wish people didn’t see us as monsters?” asks Wolf. “Sure I do, but these are the cards we were dealt so we might as well play them.”
The gang is riding after a particularly daring bank robbery, but the wind is taken out of their sails when Governor Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) shames them during a press conference, calling them second rate hacks, driven by anger, not intelligence. “They have all the classic signs of a crew in decline,” she says.
Her televised insults push the Bad Guys to plan the ultimate heist, the theft of The Golden Dolfin, a priceless award given to philanthropists and do-gooders. This year it will be awarded to Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade), a hamster with a heart of gold.
When their heist goes sideways, the Professor Marmalade, from the goodness of his heart, makes a deal with the Bad Guys and the Governor. He will teach the reprobates to use the skills they developed being bad, to be good.
“Being good,” he says, “just feels so good and when you are good, you are loved.”
Question is, can these bad guys be rehabilitated, or is it time to take the “walking garbage” to the trash and lock them up forever?
Based on the New York Times best-selling graphic novel series by Australian author Aaron Blabey, “The Bad Guys” is kind of like “Ocean’s 11,” but for kids. The emotional undercurrents that Pixar weaves into their movies are missing, replaced with a snappy, stylish story that is more swagger than substance. The movie’s singular message—don’t judge a book by its cover—is a good one for kids, but it is hammered home with the subtly of a Don Rickles one liner. It’s a movie about not accepting stereotypes, that is ripe with stereotypes.
The animation is stylish, but not as sophisticated as we’ve come to expect from big screen offerings like this. Wolf’s fur is rudimentarily rendered and the overall look doesn’t have the zip of Pixar or other computer-generated films.
Having said all that, “The Bad Guys” succeeds through sheer strength of the characters and the humor in Etan Cohen and Hilary Winston’s witty script. There are silly characters kids will get a kick out of, like the flatulent piranha, coupled with jokes parents will appreciate.
Despite its shortcomings, in the end, “The Bad Guys” does good for the audience.
You can tell Will Ferrell has a new movie coming out because he’s doing the darndest things.
On March 12 he played for ten Major League Baseball teams in five spring training games in one day. Since then he’s roasted Justin Bieber, walked red carpets at South By Southwest, dressed as a leprechaun with David Letterman, appeared in snack cake queen Little Debbie drag on The Tonight Show and traded barbs with Jon Stewart while wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with dozens of pictures of Zack Galifianakis.
He’s pulling out all the stops to make sure everyone knows Get Hard, his comedy about a rich man who hires a coach (Kevin Hart) to prep him for prison, opens this weekend.
A few years ago I landed in the middle of one of Ferrell’s outlandish publicity stunts.
In July 2012 he was stumping for The Campaign, a political satire co-starring Zack Galifianakis. The hot-and-steamy Toronto summer afternoon began with the actors riding down Yonge Street, throwing out campaign buttons to passers-by until they arrived at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Inside I hosted a press conference with them and Mayor Rob Ford. On stage actors posing as Mounties guarded the Stanley Cup as Ford, then most famous—and controversial—politician in Canada, gave the guys advice on how to campaign. Nothing was rehearsed and everyone was a bit nervous as I brought the three to dais.
Ferrell talked about what happened next on the Late Show with David Letterman.
“We step up to the mic. We’re supposed to say a few words, and I say, ‘How about a big round of applause for your mayor, Rob Ford.’ It was literally… not even a smattering of applause, just two people.”
“It was just so silent, that I actually had to comment on it. So I said, ‘Mr. Mayor, that’s a horrible ovation,’ and the press core burst out laughing. And he was just laughing. He didn’t care. Just sweaty.”
Ford was a good sport and played along. He gave them each a miniature Stanley Cup, pinned “Rob Ford for Mayor” buttons on their chests and handed out his famous business cards, fridge magnets and bumper stickers before imparting some sage advice.
“It’s very simple. Every person you meet hand out a magnet and business card and return people’s phone calls. Customer service is number one.” With a laugh he added, “and don’t talk to the Toronto Star,” the newspaper that had been dogging him of late.
It may not have been the smoothest promotional stunt of all time, but it certainly was a memorable one.
The next year Ferrell worked Ford into the promotion for Anchorman 2. By this time Ford’s scandal-ridden term in office, fuelled by admissions of drug use, had rocketed him into the international spotlight.
Ferrell, in character as ridiculous San Diego newscaster Ron Burgundy, came out in support of Ford’s re-election. “Ron doesn’t realize how much trouble Rob Ford is in,” said Ferrell. “He just thinks he’s a great guy. Gregarious. Fun. Life of the party. Ron’s advice would just be ‘keep doing what you’re doing, it’s obviously working.” He even wrote a campaign song to the tune of Loverboy’s Working for the Weekend.
As usual, Ford took it all in stride, tweeting, “I had to laugh at my friend Ron Burgundy & his take on my 2014 re-election campaign song.”
There’s been no mention of Rob Ford in the promotion for Get Hard, but if Ferrell ever makes The Campaign 2: The Re-Election perhaps he’ll give the former mayor a call.
Perhaps the original idea for “Get Hard” involved something about the class divide between the 1% and everybody else but there’s nothing funny about Bernie Madoff so maybe that’s why director and co-writer Etan Cohen juiced things up by adding in broad comedy elements about race, privilege and instructions for something called “Keistering.” Imagine a slapstick “Wall Street” or “The Defiant Ones” sucked dry of its social message.
Will Ferrell is James King, an aptly named but dim-witted hedge-fund manager. He’s wealthy beyond belief, engaged to his boss’s daughter Alissa (Alison Brie) and as self-indulgent as he is rich.
“How much money are you going to make today?” coos Alissa.
“Enough to choke a baby,” he says.
He has the world in his back pocket until he’s charged and convicted on 73 counts of fraud and embezzlement. Sentenced to ten years at maximum-security San Quentin he has one month to put his affairs in order before being sent up the river. “For the love of Alan Greenspan! My life is ruined.”
Terrified of life behind bars he hires a prison coach, someone who has done time and can prepare him for what lies ahead. Or at least, that’s what he hopes will happen when he offers his one African-American friend, Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) $30,000 to whip him into slammer shape. “Help me not be someone’s bitch.”
Trouble is, Darnell is a family man who has never been near prison but he’s trying to make enough money to buy a new house.
“Why did he think you were in jail,” asks Darnell’s sceptical wife (Edwina Findley Dickerson).
“I was being black,” he explains. “I’ll be the stereotype he already thinks I am.”
He creates a Prison Readiness Program that includes Mad Dog Face, picking a fight lessons and a simulated prison riot. The pair form a bond, and soon they put the lessons aside to concentrate their efforts on the men who put King in this jam.
It’s true that Ferrell, playing a variation on his trademarked clueless, arrogant guy routine, raises a few laughs and Hart is his usual high energy self—almost too much so in one extended and excruciatingly unfunny role playing sequence—but apart from several outrageous and funny physical bits, “Get Hard” prefers to lean back on tired R-rated comedy tropes.
Gay panic, check. Racial stereotypes, check. Raunchy jokes, check. It’s occasionally offensive—but what R-rated comedy in the last ten years isn’t?—but worse than that, it takes the easy way out and in the process wastes the opportunity to dig a bit deeper and make the class warfare comedy a bit richer. For a farce to be truly effective it has to have one foot in the real world. The characters here are too broad to truly connect, but the realities of economic disparity, class and race are in-your-face enough to provide a fertile vein of satire. Too bad they, by-and-large, go unmined.