Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including the childhood fantasy “Come Away,” the romance of “Ammonite” and “Freaky,” a body switch slasher flick starring Vince Vaughn.
Richard and CP24 anchor Courtney Heels have a look at “Ammonite” (in theaters 11/13, premium on demand 12/4), the horror comedy mash-up of “Freaky” (in theatres), the kid’s movie for adults “Come Away” (EST) and the serious slacker comedy “Saint Frances.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Lois Lee to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “Ammonite” (in theaters 11/13, premium on demand 12/4), the horror comedy mash-up of “Freaky” (in theatres), the kid’s movie for adults “Come Away” (EST) and the farce “Dinner with Friends” (VOD).
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the Oscar contender “Ammonite” (in theaters 11/13, premium on demand 12/4), the horror comedy mash-up of “Freaky” (in theatres), the kid’s movie for adults “Come Away” (EST), the farce “Dinner with Friends” (VOD) and the dramedy “Saint Frances” (iTunes Canada and on-demand).
“Come Away,” a new fantasy film for kids starring Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo and now available as a Download to Own, weaves familiar themes and characters into its uneven story of loss and love.
Jolie and Oyelowo are Rose and Jack Littleton, a married couple with three children, David, Peter and Alice (Reece Yates, Jordan A. Nash and Keira Chansa). When we first meet them, it’s a contented family, with a carefree mother, a model ship building father and happy-go-lucky siblings.
Cracks begin to appear when prissy Aunt Eleanor (Anna Chancellor) swoops in, teaches Alice “how to be a lady” and sends David off to a private school.
Soon after tragedy strikes, leaving David dead, and the family in tatters. Peter and Alice, who we soon come to understand are actually Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland try to fix things by selling a family treasure but instead are swept into a dangerous adventure that features a menagerie of fabled characters come to life, the Hatter (Clarke Peters), the Red Queen and the White Rabbit.
Themes of alcoholism, gambling addiction and death make “Come Away” a movie unmoored from any sort of pigeonhole. It’s not exactly a children’s film, although it contains many elements of kid’s entertainment but it doesn’t quite seem geared for grown-ups either.
On the upside, there’s nothing formulaic about the storytelling. Ideas that reflect real life issues are bashed into one another, held together with ribbons and bows. Even when the film takes an imaginative twist it is generally grounded in some earthly and very grown up concerns. Tonally, it’s an uneasy match that gives the film a wonky tone.
“Come Away” is a very handsomely appointed movie, with beautiful imagery and fanciful set decoration. There are interesting performances, particularly from Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the adult Alice, but the remix of two classic tales, “Peter Pan” and “Alice in Wonderland,” never achieves lift off as a flight of fantasy.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the college comedy “I Used to Go Here” starring Gillian Jacobs, the psychological thriller “She Dies Tomorrow,” the crime drama “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” the kid’s fantasy “The Secret Garden” and the biodoc “Howard: The Howard Ashman Story.”
“The Secret Garden,” the latest adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic 1911 novel, brings the classic story of friendship and wonder to VOD this week.
The tale begins in India in 1947 on the eve of Partition in India. Mary Lennox (Dixie Egerickx), born in India to wealthy English parents, finds herself orphaned when mummy and daddy suddenly pass away in a cholera outbreak. Sent to live with Archibald Craven (Colin Firth, who played a version of his son Colin in a 1987 TV movie of “The Secret Grden”), an aloof uncle she’s never met on his remote and rambling Yorkshire moors estate, the youngster has trouble adapting to life in the large country house under the strict housekeeper Mrs. Medlock (Julie Walters).
While exploring Misselthwaite Manor Mary makes some interesting finds. She meets Colin (Edan Hayhurst), her ailing cousin whose been locked away in one wing of the house. Both are stinging from the loss of a parent—his mother passed—and both feel like outsiders in the family.
When Mary discovers a hidden garden tucked away on the grounds, she and her friend Dickon (Amir Wilson) tend to the forgotten patch of land. Bringing the garden back to life also awakens the place’s natural restorative power that helps Mary, Colin and Mr. Craven heal, physically and spiritually.
Fans of the book should know liberties have been taken with the classic text. The shift to 1947 works, adding an additional layer of meaning to Mary’s story of distress. It helps base the tale in the reality of the situation but the movie allows magic realism to seep in.
That it is from the producer of the “Harry Potter” and “Paddington” movies means that it has a family-friendly fantasy gloss that the original text and other adaptations have done without. The magical elements may only exist in Mary’s imagination and not stem from the wonder of nature as the book suggests, but they are pronounced. There are ghosts and the garden’s trees respond to the kids, almost like Treebeard in “Lord of the Rings: Two Towers.” It adds a more whimsical tone to a story that had previously relied on the more grounded ideas of exercise and fresh air as a road to physical and mental health.
What it all means, really, is that the story isn’t quaint anymore. The new “The Secret Garden” is a handsomely made, big CGI movie that plays like “Masterpiece Theatre” for kids. Closer in tone to “Harry Potter” than author Frances Hodgson Burnett’s original ode to the healing power of love, kindness and nature, it isn’t as soulful as other versions but should appeal to younger audiences who are used to glossy adaptations of books for kids.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the Disney holiday fantasy “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the horror remake “Suspiria.”