Richard and CP24 anchor host Nneka Elliot have a look at he weekend’s big releases, the psychological thrills of “10 Cloverfield Lane,” the grown-up children’s tale “The Little Prince” and the elephant-ejaculating glory of “The Brothers Grimsby.”
Richard and “Canada AM” host Marci Ien have a look at he weekend’s big releases, the psychological thrills of “10 Cloverfield Lane,” the grown-up children’s tale “The Little Prince,” Ethan Hawke in the Chet Baker biopic “Born to be Blue” and the toilet-clogging glory of “The Brothers Grimsby.”
The idea behind “The Brothers Grimsby” was to make an outrageous comedy with all the earmarks of an all-out action flick. “The Transporter” helmer Louis Leterrier knows his way around a car chase and can blow things up real good, but can Sacha Baron Cohen provide the laughs to go along with the action?
The “Borat” star plays Grimsby native “Nobby” Butcher, a lager-loving football hooligan from northern England, with a Liam Gallagher hairdo and eleven kids. He hasn’t seen his baby brother Sebastian (Mark Strong) in twenty-eight years and has no idea his long-lost sib is now a high-powered MI6 agent. When they do reunite Nobby inadvertently puts in motion a series of events—including almost killing a World Health Organization ambassador for peace in the Middle East—that see the estranged brothers team up to do battle with a deadly assassin, travel the world and hide inside an elephant (you read that right, that is NOT a typo) in an effort to save the world.
“Yesterday I was down at the pub having a regular day with my mates,” says Nobby. “Today I’m with my brother, running, swimming, jumping and doing all sorts of cardio.”
If “Borat” and “Bruno” made you laugh like a hyena on a nitrous oxide binge you’ll know what to expect from “The Brothers Grimsby.” The new film doesn’t have the same cutting edge innovation as Baron Cohen’s best-known work, but it still has plenty of edge. It’s the kind of movie that uses a blocked toilet as a plot point and finds delight in HIV jokes, registered sex offender gags and too many bodily fluid quips to count. It should be a bonanza for those who enjoy their humour on the gastrointestinal side.
Nobby is Baron Cohen’s least developed character yet, a comedy concoction who feels like he might not be that out of place in a particularly raunchy “Carry On” movie. He uses Nob’s idiot temperament to make some social comments—“I understand why you like guns so much,” Nobby says after shooting a gun for the first time. “They completely detaches you from the guilt of your actions.”—but the character has none of the danger and few of the interesting quirks that came along with his mockumentary creations.
Mark Strong waffles between his action man pose and wild slapstick and pulls off both but I’m afraid the image of him covered in elephant ejaculate will stay with me the next time I see him trying to play it straight in a dramatic role.
The guys are given plenty of screen time and some fun stuff to do, which cannot be said for the women in the cast. As Nobby’s wife the usually hilarious Rebel Wilson is wasted, reduced to a fat joke and Penélope Cruz’s character makes her recent turn in “Zolander 2” look like Lady Macbeth.
Like all the best spy movies “The Brothers Grimsby” has international locations like South Africa, Chile, Jakarta and some good action scenes, but like all Baron Cohen’s films it is outrageous lowest common denominator stuff. It may make you laugh, but those laughs come along with a certain amount of shame at finding some of this stuff amusing. At least at a scant eighty-five minutes it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
There is nothing precious about the movie “Precious”. Nothing twee or frivolous. If the word “heartbreaking” hadn’t already existed in the English language it might have been invented to describe the story of Clareece “Precious” Jones an inner city NYC kid with big problems.
“Precious” is about the power of the educational system to help lift a person up from adversity but it is much more than just an inspirational teacher movie. It’s a movie about victims—one who transcends and one who doesn’t. “To Sir with Love” this isn’t.
Set in 1987 Harlem it follows the progress of “Precious” Jones, a pregnant, overweight and illiterate sixteen year old. She lives with her welfare mother Mary (Mo’Nique) in a rundown apartment where she lives a life of constant mental, physical and sexual abuse. “I’ll be OK,” says Precious. “I’m always looking up… looking for a piano to fall. There’s always something in my way.”
The only thing that keeps her on an even keel is her rich inner life, but even that is filled with self hate. When she looks in the mirror she imagines a skinny, pretty blonde girl staring back at her. Despite her big dreams she feels people regard her and her family as “black grease that needs to be wiped away.” The one bright spot in her life is Ms. Rain (Paula Patton) a supportive alternative school teacher. With her encouragement Precious may find a way out of her hellish situation.
“Precious” is one of the most grueling movie experiences of the year. It transports the viewer to an uncomfortably down-and-dirty world were pain and anguish are the price of admission. Hope, for Precious, is a dim light at the end of a very long tunnel but director Lee Daniels keeps the movie from being an exercise in viewer self flagellation with pitch perfect (and unexpected) casting and a sure narrative hand.
Cast wise the most surprising element to “Precious” is a career making performance from comedian Mo’Nique in a decidedly non-comedic role. Best known for parts in low budget comedies like Soul Plane and Beerfest she shows a dramatic side here as Mary, a vicious mother and welfare scammer.
Who would have imagined her (potentially) Oscar worthy scene would be opposite Mariah Carey? Carey’s work as a tough-as-nails social worker should erase all the ill will her “performance” in “Glitter” earned, and who knows, maybe she’ll be able to add an acting prize to her Grammy shelf come awards time.
At the center of it all is first timer Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe in the title role. She pulls off a difficult portrayal, making it believable; giving Precious the dignity she needs to survive and shows some real backbone in a character who could easily have been a cliché.
“Precious” is filled with disturbing imagery—incest and abuse—although when the going gets tough, mercifully, the screen often fades to black, but not always, and that is one of the strengths of the film. It doesn’t back away from the real life horror of Precious’s life. It’s bleak yes, but compelling.