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 Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the Netflix biopic “tick, tick… BOOM!,” the documentary “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road” and the Tilda Swinton movie “The Souvenir Part II” in theatres.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Ron Perlman in “This Game’s Called Murder,” the Netflix musical biopic “Tick, Tick… Boom,” the documentary “Brian Wilson, Long Promised Road” and the arthouse sequel “The Souvenir Part II.”
Richard joins CTV NewsChannel and anchor Angie Seth to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the wild Ron Perlman flick “This Game’s Called Murder,” the Netflix musical biopic “Tick, Tick… Boom,” the documentary “Brian Wilson, Long Promised Road” and the arthouse sequel “The Souvenir Part II.”
It’s rare to see a “Part II” on an arthouse flick title, but here we are. “The Souvenir Part II,” starring the mother and daughter duo of Tilda Swinton and Honor Swinton Byrne, and now playing in theatres, picks up where 2019’s “The Souvenir’s” coming of age story left off.
In that movie, film student Julie (Byrne) falls into a life-changing relationship with an older, arrogant man named Anthony. His death from a heroin overdose sends her reeling.
The new film sees Julie attempt to process Anthony’s death by making a graduation movie as a “memorial” for her late partner. As the project moves forward, it’s apparent Julie, who didn’t know Anthony was a heroin addict, is struggling to make sense of his loss. From the beginning her idea is met with bewilderment by her professors who don’t like the script and her producing partner (Jaygann Ayeh) who grows frustrated with her choice in actors.
“The Souvenir Part II” is a quiet, meticulous film about how artists mine personal experience to create art, to find a voice. Swinton Byrne’s Julie develop into a filmmaker, an artist and person who creates her own path. It is a lovely, delicate-but-steely, natural performance that digs deep into Julie’s maturity, personal and professional. It’s a pleasure to see Swinton and Swinton Byrne interact as mother and daughter in the film. There’s an authenticity to those scenes that feels like a warm hug.
“The Souvenir Part II” is based, in part, on director Joanna Hogg’s experience, and drips with complex ideas and emotions. As Julie heals herself, the film hauntingly has one eye on her past while the other looks to her future.
The filmmaking is more about mood than straightforward storytelling. It’s as if Hogg had a question from Julie’s film school classmate Patrick (Richard Ayoade) ringing in her head as she made the film. “Did you avoid the temptation to be obvious?” he asks. She did, and the movie is better and more challenging for it.