In the movies The Kingsmen are a secret spy organization whose members have manners that would make Henry Higgins proud and gadgets that James Bond would envy. They’ve been the subject of two movies, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” and now, three movies into director Matthew Vaughn’s spy franchise comes an origin story that takes us back to the early part of the 20th century and the confusing beginnings of these modern-day knights.
“The King’s Man,” now playing in theatres, begins with a tragedy that makes the wealthy and powerful Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) reject the Colonialism and violence that is the bedrock of his family’s fortune. He questions why he was killing people who were trying to protect their own land. “With every man I killed,” he said, “I killed a piece of myself.”
Meanwhile, as World War I approaches, an assembly of the world’s most despicable tyrants and villains, working for an evil mastermind with plans for world domination, are hatching a plan that could lead to genocide.
With the lives of millions at stake, and his son Conrad (Harris Dickinson) off to war, the Duke realizes he can’t rely on politicians to do the right thing. In an effort to save the world, he abandons his pacifist ways. With the help of his most trusted colleagues, swordsman Shola (Djimon Hounsou) and sharp shooter Polly (Gemma Arterton), he goes into the fray and sews the seeds for the formation of The Kingsmen, an organization that uses violence to attain peace.
The first two Kingsmen movies were overstuffed, but had a certain lightness of touch. Unfortunately, “The King’s Man” lands with a thud. A mix of fact (well, almost true stuff) and fiction—real life characters like Rasputin, the mad Russian monk (Rhys Ifans) are woven into the fanciful story—the movie is all over the place. It’s a spy story, a tale of duty, a slapstick comedy, an action film, a fractured fairy tale of world events.
Some of the action scenes are quite fun and Ifans eats so much scenery it feels like he’ll never go hungry again, but the story takes far too long to get going.
“The King’s Man” feels as though it is splintering off in all directions, like it’s three movies spliced-and-diced into one, bloated, messy sequel-ready story.
Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD to watch this weekend including the Disney+ talking animals movie “The One and Only Ivan,” the World War II drama starring Gemma Arterton “Summerland on VOD and the self explanatory documentary “Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Jennifer Burke to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Disney+ talking animals movie “The One and Only Ivan,” the World War II drama starring Gemma Arterton “Summerland on VOD, the self explanatory documentary “Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies” and the dreary drama “Euphoria.”
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 Disney+ talking animals movie “The One and Only Ivan,” the World War II drama starring Gemma Arterton “Summerland on VOD, the self explanatory documentary “Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies” and the dreary drama “Euphoria.”
A wartime British story driven by character and emotion rather than action, “Summerland,” now on VOD, is a showcase for its actors, Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tom Courtenay.
Arterton is Alice Bloom, a chainsmoking writer who lives alone in a quaint seaside cottage in Kent. She’s a loner, prone to castigating anyone who interrupts her work. Among her neighbors, who have frequently felt the sting of her tongue, rumors fly that she is a witch, or worse, a Nazi sympathizer.
When she’s not typing furiously her thoughts drift backwards in time to the defining moment of her life, a love affair Vera ((Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Alice was left heartbroken when Vera broke off the relationship, leaving for a man and the promise of a family. With bombs dropping on London, Alice becomes the unwelcoming host to Frank (Lucas Bond), a youngster evacuated from his city home as part of Operation Pied Piper.
She’s less than excited about having to care for the boy and Frank isn’t pleased either. Even less so when a school mate (Dixie Egerickx) warns him that Alice will “burn you and do sex things to you.” Over time and through tragedy, however, a bond unexpectedly forms between them.
“Summerland” is a feel-good movie that never digs too deep. It’s central life-is-not-fair theme is given a melodramatic treatment that leans toward the contrived but the relationships between the characters elevates the material. As Alice lets her guard down to accept and nurture Frank, and he, in turn embraces her, the story transcends the predictability of its plot to find a sweet, tender and pleasing spot. It’s aided by beautiful cinematography courtesy of Laurie Rose and lovely production design, but make no mistake, the heart of this story is the characters and the actors who bring them to vivid life.
Richard and CP24 anchor Stephanie Smythe have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the redonkulous new “Fast & Furious” entry from Vin Diesel and Company, “The Fate of the Furious,” the family drama “Gifted,” the romantic biopic “Maudie” starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke and the bizzaro “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea”!
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the latest bombastic entry from Vin Diesel and Company, “The Fate of the Furious,” the family drama “Gifted” and the romantic biopic “Maudie” starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.
On film war heroes are usually seen dodging bullets or rescuing wounded comrades from the field of battle. Rarer are the stories of those who stayed behind, never touched a gun or saw the front lines. “Their Finest” is one of those tales, a World War II drama about people who pitched in by raising morale.
It’s 1940, bombs are falling, decimating London and confidence is at an all time low. In an effort to boost the public’s confidence The British Ministry of Information, Film Division commissions a propaganda film that will be both “authentic and optimistic.” To this end they recruit Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) to provide “a woman’s touch,” or as they less politely call it, “the slop.”
Working alongside the cynical lead scriptwriter Buckley (Sam Claflin) she comes up with the mostly true story about two sisters who stole their father’s boat to help rescue soldiers from the siege at Dunkirk. Their story isn’t quite as exciting as promised but it does provide two details they can use. The sisters remember a French GI who tried to kiss them and an English soldier with a dog in a tote bag. It’s perfect they say, it has, “authenticity, optimism… and a dog.”
As they toil to craft a script that will please both the Ministry of Information and the movie’s star, aging matinee idol Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy), Mrs. Cole and Buckley’s relationship turns from testy to tender.
“Their Finest” is a feel good movie almost as melodramatic as the film within the film. Luckily the melodrama—unexpected romantic twists and deaths—is wedged between Arterton’s steely-but-sweet performance, a showy turn from Nighy—“The war has slipped off the cream and we’re left with the rancid curds,” he says, complaining there are no good waiters left in Soho—and a vivid portrait of the casual condescension heaped on women, even as they took on an expanded role in the work place.
The melodrama also helps sidestep the obvious inspirational landmines this kind of story usually offers up. The rousing ”when life is precarious it’s a shame to waste it,” message is none too subtle but is gently pushed aside by Mrs. Cole’s character development as she learns to trust herself and accept that heroes aren’t always only on the battlefield.
“Their Finest” is a love letter to film—the source novel’s title was “Their Finest Hour and a Half”—with grand statements about the magic of movies. “Film,” says Buckley, “is real life with the boring bits taking out.” But more than that, it’s a tribute to the women who kept the home fires burning… and the movies playing.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. Put on your jumpers or your nicest frock! It’s “Rule, Britannia!” Day around the HoC. Gemma Arterton pops round to talk about cannibal ants who can change species and her zombie movie “The Girl with All the Gifts.” Then it’s sit-back-and-listen-to-a-legend time as we raid the vault to bring you Michael Caine speaking about his revenge flick “Harry Brown.” It’s great stuff, so never mind the bollocks, drop in for a cuppa and take a load off.