Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Bain about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) and Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the return Diana Prince in “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the existential animation of “Soul” (Disney+), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) and Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World.”
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 Gal Gadot’s return to superhero-dom in “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the existential animation of “Soul” (Disney+), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix), Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World” and “Chicago 10” (The Impact Series, VOD/Digital).
Guest morning show host Matt Holmes talks to Richard about the much anticipated superhero flick “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the existential animation of “Soul” (Disney+), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) and Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World.”
The release of “Wonder Woman 1984,” now available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on digital movie stores for $29.99, comes as an answer to one of the worst dad jokes of all time.
Do you know why Diana Prince was called Wonder Woman? Because we all wondered what she was going to do next.
I know, it’s a terrible joke, but there was a great deal of talk about what was next for the character and, in pandemic times, when and how we’d be seeing the finished film.
Now that we know what Diana Prince’s next moves are, I’m wondering about something else. Where did the wonder go?
Set seven decades after the events of the first film, “Wonder Woman 1984” sees Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) living the life of a part time superhero. During the day she works in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian. Occasionally she transforms into her alter ego and solves a crime, help humanity or, in the film’s most fun action scene, use her Golden Lasso to hogtie some bad guys at a local mall.
Still mourning the love of her life, World War II flyboy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), she leads a quiet life until one of her Smithsonian co-workers, Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), is tasked with identifying a slew of recently recovered ancient artefacts. Among them is the dream stone, a mystical crystal rumored to grant wishes.
The insecure Barbara is reeled in by Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), a flamboyant Gordon Gekko wannabe who charms her to lay his hands on the magical relic.
Turns out, the stories are true; the artefact can change lives, granting wishes and making the impossible, possible. But there are unforeseen, global consequences.
Diana’s wants to be reunited with Steve, but as their loves grows, her powers diminish. Barbara’s dream of having confidence comes true in spades, and she morphs into the villainous Cheetah. “I want to be an apex predator,” she says. Lord’s greed-by-the-way-of-wishes makes him the most powerful person on the planet, and with Cheetah at his side, his thirst for influence and authority may also be unstoppable.
“Wonder Woman 1984” has flashes of the vibrancy that made the original film so much fun but it isn’t as nimble.
A fifteen minutes opening Themyscira-set flashback to Diana’s youth starts things with an extended thud. The youngster competes against a bevy of older Amazons, learning an important life lesson in the process. It’s a blend of action and the film’s core message of honesty above all, but we’ve already seen Diana’s original story done better. As it is, it feels like a stall before we get to the main action.
Once there, things get off to a promising start as Wonder Woman does what she does best, help people in need. A quick montage of do-gooding introduces an inventive and action-packed sequence that sees Wonder Woman thwart crime in a way that could have been ripped from the comic books. Shot in vivid 1980s Day Glo, it’s the sequence that promises the rollicking good time to come. Except that the good times are few and are between.
There are some exciting moments. A car chase, expertly shot and executed, brings the closest thing to the kind of action established in the first film. It’s no run across No Man’s Land, but it gets the pulse racing. More aesthetic is a trip through the clouds, illuminated by fireworks down below. It’s a dreamy bit of aerial work that sets the stage for a lovely learning-to-fly sequence that is part metaphor for Diana’s life and part movie magic.
Those moments work and work well, but get lost in the film’s extended running time.
Gadot brings the same understatement and restraint that shaped her character in the original movie and she still shares great chemistry with Pine, but as far as messaging goes, why does Wonder Woman need a man to come to her rescue? Together they’re fun in the 1980s-fish-out-of-water scenes but his presence in the action scenes feels counter to Wonder Woman’s message of empowerment.
And I loved Wiig’s dig at a colleague who refers to her as Miss. “It’s Doctor,” she corrects, channeling her best Dr. Jill Biden, but the film also suggests that Minerva is only interesting when she dolls herself up with tight dresses and superpowers.
“Wonder Woman 1984” adequately fills the superhero pandemic gap but it isn’t wonderous. Where the first film pointed the way to where superhero movies could go, this one feels like a follower, not a leader.
Two “Aquaman” villains for the price of one! Richard sat down with Patrick Wilson, who plays King Orm in the film and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who plays Manta to talk about why it’s great playing villains. Is it just that they win all the fights (except for the last one)? Click HERE to find out!
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 Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns,” Natalie Portman in “Vox Lux” and Jason Mamoa as the underwater monarch “Aquaman.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Lois Lee to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ness of “Mary Poppins Returns,” the Transformers prequel “Bumblebee,” the underwater adventures of “Aquaman” and Natalie Portman as a pop star in “Vox Lux.”
‘Tis the season for big budget Hollywood entertainments. “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Bumblebee” and “Welcome to Marwen” are all large dollar enterprises with hopes of raking in even larger box office cash. Add one more to the list. ‘Tis also the SEA-son for “Aquaman,” the sixth instalment in the DC Extended Universe.
Jason Mamoa plays Arthur Curry, the half-human, half-Atlantean superhero also known as Aquaman. With his father Thomas (Temuera Morrison) working hard at the lighthouse and his mother Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), Queen Of Atlantis, feared dead, he is an outcast reluctantly drawn into some crazy underwater action by kingdom of Xebel warrior princess Mera (Amber Heard). Just so we’re clear,” he says. “I’ll help stop this war then I’m done.”
Together they hunt for the mythical Trident of Atlan, an all-powerful weapon that can only be used by the true King of Atlantis. It’s hidden in the deepest, darkest part of the ocean and is the only weapon that can put an end to Arthur’s half-brother King Orm’s (Patrick Wilson) reign of terror and vendetta against the good people of earth. “The war is coming to the surface,” shrieks Orm, “and I am bringing the wrath of the Seven Seas with me!” With the fate of the world at risk Arthur teams up with Mera; high tide or low tide, they’ll be side by side.
Let’s face it, the character of Aquaman is ridiculous. The son of the sea, protector of the land talks to fish, rides dolphin jet skis and was a running joke on “Entourage.” “Aquaman, baby!! It is Spiderman… underwater. Boooom!” Director James “Furious 7” Wan has crafted a film that embraces some of the kitsch aspects of the character while form-fitting the story to sit alongside other DC superhero flicks like “Wonder Woman.”
From an octopus drummer to a dress featuring a collar of iridescent jellyfish the spirit of Hanna-Barbera’s TV cartoon “Super Friends” is very much alive in “Aquaman.” Add to that the usual save-the-world superhero plot and some big action and you have a DC movie that is equal parts peculiar and pleasing.
At the centre of it is Mamoa, a hulking presence with a light touch. The “Game of Thrones” veteran is comfortable in the action scenes but also seems in on the joke. Less comfortable is Willem Dafoe as Aquaman’s mentor, and speaker of endless pages of expoisition. Heard, as an underwater being who, inexplicably, is also a master of woodwind instruments, is a good foil in the buddy action comedy she and Mamoa have going on. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta is a suitable villain in a silly suit who I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of in the inevitable sequels.
“Aquaman’s” biggest achievement in a world crowded with superhero movies is its sheer size and spectacle. Wan decorates every frame with eyeball entertainment that grasps the sublime and the silly of the “Aquamen” origin story.