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 the Helen Reddy biopic “I Am Woman,” the gritty gangster flick “The Tax Collector,” the glossy rom com “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” the Shakespeare update of “Measure for Measure” and the violent revenge film “Ravage.”
416 years after it was written Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” a story of morality and mercy in Vienna, has been relocated to a modern day housing commission apartment block in Melbourne, Australia. Paul Ireland’s “Measure for Measure,” now on VOD, condenses the Bard’s four-hour play into a time saving and timely 2 hours.
The action begins with a Meth-fueled shooting rampage breaking the relative calm of an apartment block’s communal garden. The place is a mini city within a city, a microcosm of society where its citizens are reliant on a leader in the form of crime boss Duke (Hugo Weaving), an aging godfather who controls most of the goings on in the neighborhood. The shooting has brought unwanted attention to Duke who hightails it out of town leaving his first lieutenant, drug dealer Angelo (Mark Leonard Winter) in charge until the heat dies down.
Angelo is loyal, almost like a son to Duke, but he wants to expand the empire and his influence. Plus, can’t stop thinking about his neighbour Jaiwarra (Meagan Hajjar), whose brother, a violent gun runner named Farouk (Fayssal Bazzi), does not approve of his sister’s relationship with aspiring musician Claudio (Harrison Gilbertson).
Director Ireland and screenwriter Damian Hill weave together Shakespearean themes of power, corruption, revenge and star-crossed lovers with modern day concerns of racial divisions, trauma and the drug epidemic but at its convoluted core “Measure for Measure” essays feelings of love and hate. The relationship between Duke and Angelo comes with complicated and deep seeded feelings of allegiance but is beginning to fray at the edges. Jaiwarra and Claudio have a deep bond that is threatened by Farouk’s hatred. Each character is intertwined and while the mix-and-match of love story and social commentary sometimes feels strained and melodramatic, Ireland offers up good performances—particularly from Weaving—that smooth over the film’s rough spots.
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 “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” the inspirational comedy “Uncle Drew” and a glimpse at the life of Vivienne Westwood called “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Jennifer Burke to have a look at the weekend’s big releases,“Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” the inspirational comedy “Uncle Drew,” the sci fi b-movie “Upgrade” and a glimpse at the life of Vivienne Westwood called “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist.”
The new thriller from Leigh Whannell, the co-creator of “Saw” and “Insidious,” is part ripped-from-the-headlines, part “Twilight Zone.” News outlets are reporting on the trend of implanting microchips to function as contactless credit cards and key cards in humans. Whannell took that premise, ran it through the RodSerling-izer™ and added a dollop of “RoboCop” to come up with a silly and sentient piece of sci fi.
Set sometime in the near future “Upgrade” sees mechanic Grey Trace (Logan Marshall Green), an “unaugmented” man in an increasingly augmented world. Microchips and other human upgrades are common, but Grey is old fashioned, favoring humanity over any kind of mechanization. In a world of self-driving cars and “energy walls” he’s a DIY guy. When four strangers murder his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) and leave him a quadriplegic he is wheelchair-bound and depressed until he is offered a unique opportunity.
One of his former clients, tech wizard Eron Keen (Harrison Gilbertson), offers to implant a chip called STEM, kind of an auxiliary brain, into Grey’s spine. The bio mechanic enhancement would leave him “ungraded, better, stronger and faster than everyone else,” and, of course, in perfect shape to get bloody revenge on the men who killed his wife and shattered his life.
Like Whannell’s other movies “Upgrade” is a dark, atmospheric and grim film. Blood flows but so do ideas about our addiction to computers and what happens when machines start thinking for themselves. But don’t worry, it’s not that heady. Like all good idea-soaked sci fi b-movies, it’s more about engaging your gut with visceral, i.e. violent, action, and even some humour. It’s gutsy and gory futurist Cronenberg-esque body horror made interesting by the speed at which technology approaches some of the film’s ideas about biotechnology.
“Upgrade” becomes conventional when the police procedural subplot kicks in but until then it is B-movie fun.