I appear on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Pauline Chan to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the return of two highly anticipated series, “Succession” and ” Yellowjackets” on HBO and Crave, and, in theatres, the bloodthirsty ballet of “John Wick” Chapter 4.”
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 wet and wild “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run,” the crazed driver flick “Unhinged,” the old codgers on a mission film “Never Too Late” and the anti rom com “Spinster.”
“Never Too Late,” story of four friends, separated by distance, experience and fifty years starring James Cromwell, is sweet and sentimental but has a serious message at its core. The four Vietnam vets chase their dreams to VOD this week.
After a daring escape from a Vietnamese POW camp, Jeremiah Caine (Dennis Waterman), Jack Bronson (Cromwell), Angus Wilson (Jack Thompson) and Bruce Wendell (Shane Jacobson) were called The Chain Breakers. Half a century later they’re reunited at the Hogan Hills Retirement Home for Returned Veterans when Bronson checks himself in under the guise of recovering from a serious stroke. He’s conned his way into the facility not to hang out with his old pals but to reconnect with the love of his life, former combat nurse Norma (Jacki Weaver). “Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find a happy ending,” she says. But soon after the meet she is transferred to another hospital for a three-month drug trial for Alzheimer’s Disease, leaving Bronson and Company behind.
Thrown together once again in a different sort of prison, Bronson rallies the troops for one last operation of daring do. “We’re the Chainbreakers,” he says. “We don’t sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, we get the job done. I’m going to finish this mission.” They’re not as young as they used to be, but Bronson devises a plan, a run to freedom and Norma.
It’s “The Great Escape,” senior’s style.
“Never Too Late’s” feels like a light, old-codger comedy but at its heart, right next to the pacemaker, is a commentary on how seniors—and in this case, veterans—are treated in long term care. Hogan Hills is essentially a jail with barbed-wired grounds, attendants who behave like guards and while there are no bars, there are more locked doors than Riker’s Island. It’s a timely social issue and is given a fair treatment here.
The engine that keeps “Never Too Late” moving forward, however, are the actors. The Australians, Waterman, Thompson and Jacobson, offer up broad comedic performances tempered by enough sentimentality to make their hijinks likable. Cromwell and Weaver, however, bring the humanity. Their relationship, and their shot at happiness after fifty years, is the is the soul of the film. A subplot involving an evil doctor (Renee Lim) looking for revenge feels wedged in and briefly disrupts the movie’s flow.
“Never Too Late’s” predictability—let’s face it, we all know where this is going—is blunted by the actors and the warmth of the characters who get one more shot at adventure and happiness.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “Joker,” Meryl Streep’s ”The Laundromat,” the family heist film “Robbery” and the dramedy “Sometimes Always Never.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including controversial DC Comics flick, “Joker” and Meryl Streep heading an all-star cast in ”The Laundromat,” the family heist film “Robbery” and the dramedy “Sometimes Always Never” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with guest host Ken Connors to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the controversial rethink of one of DC Comics most enduring villain, “Joker” and Meryl Streep heading an all-star cast in ?”The Laundromat.”
Based on “Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite” by Jake Bernstein “The Laundromat” chronicles the rot that festers on the corrupt body of our financial institutions.
Divided into chapters with names like “Secret Number One: The Meek Are Screwed,” “The Laundromat” is a funny, star-studded portmanteau of thematically linked stories involving tax loopholes, exploitation and financial malfeasance. “All these stories are about money,” says Ramón Fonseca (Antonio Banderas), “the secret lives of money.” Like “The Big Short” it takes the spoonful-of-sugar-to-help-the-medicine-go-down approach to telling a story so dripping with bile you have to laugh to stop from crying.
Meryl Streep is at the helm of this cinematic op-ed playing Ellen Martin, a steely woman whose husband’s death leads her by the nose into the world of fake insurance policies and a shady Panama City law firm run by slicksters Jürgen Mossack (Gary Oldman) and Fonseca. The flamboyant represent “drug lords, sex traffickers and destroyers of the planet” and also colorfully narrate the action. “Tax avoidance and tax evasion,” says Mossack. “The line between them is as thin as a jailhouse wall.” They’re more interested in the shell companies they control that help line the pockets of their very wealthy clients than the regular Joes affected by their actions. “Bad is such a big word for such a small word.”
As the story splinters into chapters, cameos from Jeffrey Wright (as a secretive insurance broker), Nonso Anozie (as a billionaire who tries to buy his way out of trouble) and David Schwimmer (as a business person screwed by his insurance company) pile up, revealing personal aspects of the dirty business of money laundering. The story wanders here and there but Streep stays on course, lending this ragged movie a strong emotional core.
“The Laundromat” features lively performances—I’m looking at you Oldman and Banderas—timely commentary about whistleblowers and fraud and a rousing fourth-wall-breaking ending and yet, feels like less than the sum of its parts. Director Steven Soderbergh provides some well-crafted big moments but the stories are too far flung and too brief to inspire any real interest in the characters. They come and go with little development (save for Martin), often representing ideas rather than fully formed characters.
Streep plays a double role, an ill-advised choice that feels like a stunt and doesn’t lend much to the telling of the tale, but wraps things up with a wake-up call, asking basic questions—Who is accountable? Where and how do you get justice?—that put a period on this story but should be a starting point for more discussion and thought.