Richard hosted the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” Marathon in Toronto yesterday with finale episode screenings and a Q&A with director Deborah Chow and Hayden Christensen live streamed in Cineplex theatres across the country. Who knew Hayden could hold his breath for two-and-a-half minutes?
Star Wars fans will apparently get the chance to watch the entire Disney+ “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series as one big movie event on June 22, 2022 at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” begins 10 years after the dramatic events of “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat-the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader. This event will feature a live Q&A, hosted by Richard, with Hayden Christensen (Darth Vader) and director Deborah Chow.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the dirty-mouthed puppet movie “The Happytime Murders,” the prison drama “Papillon,” the rom com “Little Italy” and the gritty crime drama “Crown and Anchor.”
Richard has a look at the raunchy puppet movie “The Happytime Murders,” the time-travelling rom com “Little Italy,” the “Papillon” reboot and the gritty crime drama “Crown and Anchor” with the CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
“Little Italy,” a new rom com starring Hayden Christensen and Emma Roberts, is good hearted enough but feels like it arrived via a marinara sauce splattered time capsule from 1985.
Leo Campo (Christensen) and Nikki Angioli (Roberts) were inseparable while growing up in Toronto’s Little Italy. “To us Little Italy wasn’t just a few blocks, it was our whole world.” Their families were tight, working side by side at the Napoli Pizza Parlour until the Great Pizza War erupted, causing a split that saw the pizza place sliced down the middle, cleaved into two separate businesses. Years pass. “It’s Little Italy’s oldest food fight.” Nikki moves to England to study the culinary arts while Leo stays home, working with his father.
Five years later Nikki returns home to renew her English work visa and is drawn back into the world she thought she had left behind. My Nikki is coming home today,” says mother Dora (Alyssa Milano). “Now we have to find her a husband so she’ll stay.” Will there be amore? Will the moon hit her eye like a big pizza pie or will she return to her cooking career in London?
“Little Italy” is an “I’m not yelling I’m Italian” style rom com. Desperate to establish the flavour of Little Italy it parades stereotypes across the screen speaking in loud exaggerated Italian accents. It’s annoying but it is all played for laughs, tempered with the easy sentimentality of the most rote of rom coms.
Director Donald Petrie, whose “Mystic Pizza” made a superstar out of Roberts’s Aunt Julia, never finds the balance between the slapstick, romance and cliché. Sometimes it feels like sketch comedy, other times like every rom com you’ve ever seen. Either way, it never feels original or particularly likeable. Top it off with a been-there-done-that run to the airport climax that would likely get everyone involved, if this is anything like real life, arrested and you have a movie that is all about love that is anything but loveable.
“American Heist” makes off with some screen time but little else of interest in a generic thriller starring Adrien Brody and Hayden Christensen as brothers bonded by a criminal past.
Christensen is James, former bad guy now on the straight and narrow. He has a job, a plan for his own business and has even started to court old flame Emily (Jordana Brewster)—who, unfortunately, as it turns out, works as a police dispatcher—again. He also has a brother, Frankie (Brody), who took the fall for James in a long-ago crime. Now Frankie is out of jail, desperate and hungry, and asks a favour, actually, insists that James help in one last heist with some new partners. Taking part will mean betraying Emily, but blood is thicker than water and James reluctantly signs on.
A case study in damaged souls by way of Central Casting, “American Heist” looks and feels like any number of other 1990s inspired crime dramas that came before it. There’s the loving, troubled and doomed brother, then there’s the soulful conflicted sibling whose world is turned upside down, torn by love for a woman and loyalty to his brother. It is, I suppose, the stuff of great drama, just not here.
There are a few arresting images—a blood splattered bride among them—and Brody brings some likeable intensity to Frankie, but as a whole “American Heist” feels like it belongs on VOD and not the big screen.
It’s no secret that Nicolas Cage’s taste in movie roles has changed somewhat from the days when he starred in a-list movies like “Raising Arizona,” “Moonstruck” or “Leaving Lost Vegas.” The fifty-year-old actor appears to flip a coin when he decides what to make these days and sometimes he gets lucky—recently “The Croods” and “Joe” haven’t been embarrassing—and other times he ends up starring in films like “Outcast,” a period piece that careens through Europe and Asia like a drunken soldier on shore leave.
East meets west as the fourteen-year-old heir to the imperial throne Zhao (Bill Su Jiahang) is on the run from his from his bloodthirsty, power-mad brother Shing (Andy On). “I will have what is mine,” says Shing through clenched teeth. With his sister Princess Lian (Crystal Liu Yifei) in tow young the prince turns to holy warrior Jacob (Hayden Christensen), a Crusader tormented by his actions in the war, and his former partner, the Templar Knight-turned-outlaw Gallain (Nicholas Cage), for protection. “If you save this boy,” Gallain tells Jacob, “god will forgive you.”
Cage is in rare form here, theatrically dropping lines like “I am the White Ghost,” and laughing maniacally when he isn’t slashing and stabbing his way through Shing’s army. He isn’t in the disinterested reach-for-the-paycheque mode of “Left Behind” here, instead he’s in full-blown peacock mode, grimacing and growling his way through fight scenes so shaky it’s as if the camera was attached to a YoYo.
Christensen doesn’t fare much better but we don’t expect much from him. Cage disappoints because when he’s good, he’s brilliant but when he’s bad he’s catastrophic. His bad performances can make for some fun viewing—there’s a Nic Cage drinking game that will leave you hammered by the second acts starts—but his increasingly lazy work in movies like “Outcast” isn’t toast worthy, it’s embarrassing.
Why would 20th Century Fox release a science fiction film on Valentines Day? Counter programming perhaps? Or could it be that it is actually about love conquering all, including platinum blonde religious fanatics and metaphysics? Based on a novel by Stephen Gould Jumper, a new film starring the Vancouver born Hayden Christensen, is sci fi that wears its heart on its sleeve.
Once, says David Rice (Max Thieriot as the teenage Rice), he was a normal guy like us—“a chump,” with Metallica posters on his bedroom wall—but that was before he discovered he could transcend space and “jump” from one place to another. At first he sees this amazing power as his ticket out of a miserable home life; a chance to leave the teen angst of his Ann Arbor high school, where he is known as “Rice Bowl” behind. His first jump takes him to New York City where he transports himself into bank vaults, empties them and disappears all without opening a door or picking a lock.
The movie then jumps forward eight years. David (now played by Christensen) has matured into a handsome twenty-something with a strong resemblance to Anakin Skywalker. Self indulgent to the extreme, he squanders his gift, robbing banks to finance his globetrotting lifestyle while jumping from one exotic locale to another.
If this was an episode of Dr. Phil it might be noted at this point that David is likely very unhappy and simply uses his teleporting gift to run away from a deeply troubled childhood and the memory of his soul mate, a girl he has loved since he was five-years-old and who he hasn’t seen since he fled his hometown. While that may be true, he also has other reasons to run.
Since the beginning of time jumpers have had a sworn enemy in the form of Paladins, religious fanatics who believe that “only God should have the power to be all places,” and will stop at nothing, murder is big on their list, to exterminate David’s kind. Christensen’s Star Wars co-star Samuel L. Jackson plays Roland, a platinum blonde Paladin with a nasty attitude.
After his first encounter with Roland David seeks refuge in his old hometown, where he reconnects with Millie (The O.C.’s Rachel Bilson), his high school crush. Of course after a quick trip to Rome she becomes the target of the Paladins who plan on using her to get to him. Add in Griffin (Jamie Bell), an experienced teleporter with a hate for Paladins, and Jumper takes on the patina of a metaphysical chase movie, but is, at its heart, a story of love lost and found.
Jumper has some spectacular visuals—a double-decker bus flies from one dimension to another and the helicopter shot of Christensen eating lunch perched atop the Sphinx must have cost a fortune—but not much more depth than an episode of Quantum Leap. Christensen’s David may be able to transcend space and time, but underneath it all he is still just a geeky love sick teen.
The idea of jumping through space is a cool one, and is beautifully rendered in the film, with characters unexpectedly popping up here and there, but the love story is mawkish and clichéd, as though it was cribbed from the inside of Hallmark Valentines card.
It’s hard to know what to make of Jumper. The film has a rough time making up its mind what it wants to be—is it sci fi or romance? Despite its cool imagery the mushy stuff may not appeal to the Space Channel crowd and the speculative fiction aspect tarnishes its appeal as a date movie.
It’s tricky to place romance in the center of a science fiction action film, but if done properly it can take the narrative to new levels and ground the more fantastic elements of the story. Unfortunately Jumper’s star crossed love story is too under developed and immature to do anything but distract from the film’s distinctive sci fi elements.