Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the Matthew McConaughey neo-strangeness “Serenity,” the Arthurian adventure for children “The Kid Who Would Be King” and the Oscar nominated “Cold War.”
Richard has a look at looks at the mind-bending Matthew McConaughey film “Serenity,” the Arthurian adventure for children “The Kid Who Would Be King” and the Oscar nominated “Cold War” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the Matthew McConaughey head-scratcher “Serenity,” the Arthurian adventure for children “The Kid Who Would Be King” and the Oscar nominated “Cold War.”
“The Kid Who Would Be King” looks to two stories for inspiration. The fantasy film from director Joe Cornish finds its framework in the legend of King Arthur and the goofy camaraderie of “The Goonies.”
The story begins in the fifth century with Arthur proving his status as “the true king” of Britain by pulling the sword Excalibur from a stone. A warrior and creator of the Knights of the Round Table he is brave and popular with everyone except his sister Morgana. The powerful enchantress wanted power for herself and was summarily banished to the underworld where she could do no harm. Vowing to return, “when hearts are empty and the world is lost” and take back control of Excalibur, she languishes for hundreds of years, ineffective and lost. “Soon darkness will dawn and my time will come,” she says, optimistically.
Cut to today’s London. The world is a mess, “as unstable as it has ever been.” Things are so bad the headline of the Daily Star simply reads, ”GLOOMY.” In this world Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), a young lad just “twelve winters old,” and his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) try and do the right thing at school, mainly stand up to bullies like the mean spirited Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris). Alex is a sweet and sensitive kid. So much so that even his teacher pushes him to get a little more cynical. “It’s a tough world out there and it is getting tougher all the time. It’s not the world that has to change, it’s you.”
Chased to a construction site by some bullies a terrified Alex finds Excalibur embedded in an old chunk of concrete. Pulling the sword from the stone he defends himself from Lance and Kaye and awakens Morgana from her slumber. “Find the new King,” she commands. “The sword must be mine. The new king must die.”
A fight is a foot but Alex will not enter the battle with Morgana and her army of undead soldiers alone. At his side are Bedders, some school friends and Merlin the Magician, an ancient entity who appears in the form of a classmate. “I am a perfectly normal, contemporary British schoolboy,” he announces before morphing into an owl and flying away. Together they have just four days until a solar eclipse plunges the world into darkness and welcomes the return of Morgana. “This is the best and worst, the most excellent and frightening thing that has ever happened to me,” squeals Bedders.
Just as Lord Tennyson modified the Arthurian legends to comment on the issues of his day “The Kid Who Would Be King” places the story in a topsy-turvy world where the spectre of Brexit and Trump dominate the news. Like the old school retellings of the tale it values good over evil. It brims with important messages for kids—the most worthwhile path is rarely the easiest, embrace the things that are important to you—and offers an optimistic view of the future. “A land is only as good as its leaders,” says Merlin (played as an older magician by Patrick Stewart), and you’ll make excellent leaders.”
“The Kid Who Would Be King” is a good-natured, if puffed-up adventure for kids but at two hours and ten minutes it feels long and occasionally repetitive. Kids may enjoy the imaginative battle scenes—trees come to life as sparring partners for the wannabe warriors, etc—and the charming “Goonies” chemistry between the heroes but Rebecca Ferguson is wasted as the underwritten villainess Morgana and the CGI looks like a relic from another time.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the Matthew McConaughey neo-noir “Serenity,” the King Arthur adventure for children “The Kid Who Would Be King” and the Oscar nominated “Cold War.”
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the return of Newt Scamander in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald,” the political doings of “The Front Runner” and the arthouse heist of “Widows.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the continuing saga of magizoologist Newt Scamander in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald,” the political intrigue of “The Front Runner” and the arthouse heist of “Widows.”
If you already know what a ‘magizoologist’ is you’re likely a fan of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. If not, you’ve got some catching up to do before buying ticket to the second instalment of the Harry Potter spin-off “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald.”
When we last saw magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) he temporarily put aside his study of magical creatures to travel to New York City and help MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) bring the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) to justice.
The story picks up as Grindelwald escapes. Like all good villains he craves world dominance, but only on his own terms. He believes in wizarding superiority and sets in motion a plan to lead a new Wizarding Order of pure-blood wizards who will rule over all non-magical beings.
Enter Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), professor of Transfiguration at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and an influential member of the British Ministry of Magic. To stop Grindelwald’s diabolical plot Dumbledore contacts Scamander, a confidante and former student.
The film based on the second original screenplay from J.K. Rowling is more fantastical than magical. There are all manner of creatures and wizard’s tricks that could only have sprung from her fertile imagination but there is very little actual cinema magic. Sure Potter fans will love seeing Hogwarts and a glimpse of Quidditch again but that is nostalgia, and Alison Sudol’s Judy Holliday impression is as winning as it was the first time out but overall “The Crimes Of Grindelwald” feels like a placeholder for the films yet to come.
Non-Potter-heads will likely be confused by the barrage of names, the myriad of subplots and a deadly scene about the family tree of Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) that gives the word convoluted a whole new meaning. Part of the joy of the Rowling’s story weaving in the Potter series was its depth and complexity. Here it feels as though she’s being paid not by the word but by the character.
When director David Yates isn’t bathing the screen with blue digital flames and the like there are things to admire. The set and costume design are spectacular, appropriate for both the 1920s setting and the otherworldly characters. Also interesting are the messages, both timeless—the search for identity—and timely—unity, fear mongering and freedom through force—provide subtext that is more interesting than the actual story.
Ultimately “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald,” despite its grand face, feels thin, over written and under dramatic.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the kid-friendly Halloween flick “The House With A Clock In Its Walls,” the politics of “Fahrenheit 11/9” and the faux tear-jerkery of “Life Itself.”