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 Michael B. Jordan action thriller “Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse” (Amazon Prime Video), the Liam Neeson not-so-action-packed film “The Marksman” (VOD) and the weird and wild Nicolas Cage flick “Willy’s Wonderland” (VOD).
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Michael B. Jordan action thriller “Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse” (Amazon Prime Video), the Liam Neeson not-so-action-packed film “The Marksman” (VOD), the charming comedy “Golden Arm” (VOD/Digital) and the weird and wild Nicolas Cage flick “Willy’s Wonderland” (VOD).
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 Michael B. Jordan action thriller “Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse” (Amazon Prime Video), the Liam Neeson not-so-action-packed film “The Marksman” (VOD), the charming comedy “Golden Arm” (VOD/Digital) and the weird and wild Nicolas Cage flick “Willy’s Wonderland” (VOD).
If you took all the gun play out of “Without Remorse,” the new Michael B. Jordan thriller on Amazon Prime Video, the movie would only be about 10 minutes long. The Tom Clancy adaptation is a bullet ballet that plays like a throwback to 80s matinee action movies.
When we first meet John Clark (Jordan) he’s leading an elite team of US Navy SEALs on a dangerous top-secret mission in Syria to liberate a CIA operative taken hostage by ex-Russian military forces.
Cut to three months later. Back in the United States, the quiet life Clark and his pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London) have created for themselves is shattered by Russian assassins who invade their home. Looking for revenge, the Russian hit team kill Pam before Clark is able to off three of the four hitmen. The fourth gunman fires back, leaving Clark for dead, riddled with bullets.
As Clark recuperates in hospital, his colleagues, SEAL Lt. Commander Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith), CIA agent Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell) and Secretary of Defense Thomas Clay (Guy Pearce), determine how to best respond to a Russian attack on U.S. soil.
Not satisfied with the official way of doing things, Clark becomes a one-man army, seeking revenge and answers. He is the very definition of a man you don’t want to mess with. He’s a killing machine, especially when you take away the only thing he had to live for. He tracks down a Russian diplomat he thinks is responsible for the murder of his wife and coerces information out of him in a spectacular and completely illegal way. “They brought the war to my house,” he says. “The contract is broken. They’re going to play by my rules now.”
His act of retribution lands him in prison but he’s able to trade the sensitive information he garnered in his one-man mission for a second chance at revenge. This time with the cooperation of the CIA and military.
One secretive flight to Russia later, cue the carnage and conspiracy.
“Without Remorse” is an extremely violent movie with more bullets than brains.
Director Stefano Sollima stages intense action scenes and isn’t afraid to let the bodies fall where they may. Unfortunately, it’s in the handling of the other stuff, the intrigue, that the movie comes up short. In between bullet blasts a conspiracy slowly comes into focus, but it is never developed. Buried beneath an ever-increasing body count is the broader and more interesting picture of governmental tampering with world politics. Countries need outside enemies, it is suggested, or people will turn on their neighbors looking for someone to hate. It’s a timely message, a bit of debatable ideology, that could have been the underpinning for a rich subplot. Instead, “Without Remorse” is a standard issue shoot ‘em up.
Jordan brings charisma and physicality to the role, but is saddled with Steven Seagal-level dialogue. “Death follows me around,” he says in a line that could be from any number of direct-to-DVD action films from the last thirty years.
“Without Remorse” starts off with a bang—many of them in fact—but ends as a regression to cold war paranoia fuelled by bullets and brawn.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the Elton John fantasy flick “Rocketman,” the foot-stompin’ “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and the fashion documentary “Halston.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the glittering Elton John musical fantasy “Rocketman,” the big monster movie “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and the fashion doc “Halston” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the Elton John fantasy flick “Rocketman,” the foot-stompin’ “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and the fashion documentary “Halston.”
From the get go “Rocketman,” the new Elton John jukebox biopic starring Taron Egerton, is more revealing and blunter than last year’s wildly popular but hagiographic Queen movie “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Using flashbacks John, in full stage regalia, tells the story during an AA meeting. The movie and his tale begin with a revelation. “My name is Elton Hercules John and I’m an alcoholic, and a cocaine addict, and a sex addict and a bulimic and a shopaholic who has a problem with weed and anger management.”
From the blunt introduction we’re led through the singer’s life on a broken timeline, jumping to and fro, blending fact and fantasy.
Jumbled up in the mix are his terrible parents (Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh)—when he tells mom he’s gay she replies, “We will never be loved properly.”—his songwriting partner and muse Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), plus mounds of cocaine and hit songs used to punctuate the autobiographical action. Unlike “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” prudish attitude regarding Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality, “Rocketman” is out and proud, detailing John’s intimate relationship with partner and manager John Reid (Richard Madden).
Part “Moulin Rouge” by way of Ken Russell‘s “Tommy,” “Rocketman’s” startling opening number, “The Bitch is Back,” establishes that this is no warmed over “Bohemian Rhapsody” clone. It is a musical, not simply a musical biopic. Characters burst into song and Elton John songs are woven into the score.
Of course, music is a large part of the story. In the tradition of musical theatre “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” isn’t simply performed as one of John’s biggest hits, it’s moves the story forward as a duet between John and his ex-wife-to-be Renate Blauel (Celinde Schoenmaker).
To illustrate the transcendent nature of John’s star-making US debut at the Troubadour in Los Angeles director Dexter Fletcher gets metaphysical. As he plays “Crocodile Rock” both John and the audience levitate as if the music is taking them to a higher place. It’s trippy but wordlessly conveys the excitement of those early gigs. Add to that dancing Teddy Boys and flamboyant stage costumes and “Rocketman” feels Broadway bound.
The surreal storytelling effortlessly captures the heady, “Who wants to go to a party at Mama Cass‘s house?“ days of Elton John‘s early rise to stardom. Later, when John becomes a walking, singing rock n’ roll cliché director Dexter Fletcher amps up the style to portray the lifestyle the musician himself describes as “madness.” As such the biographical details are jumbled but “Rocketman” is more about capturing the moment not the exact details.
It is glittering eye candy but there is much humanity on display. In one remarkable scene Taron Egerton as John prepares for a live show with copious amounts of cocaine and wine. Staring into the mirror he tries to find his game face. From dead-eyed to sparkly in the flash we see the two sides of a man who once said, “I wish I was someone else.” Egerton is a dead ringer for John, even if doesn’t sound like the voice from the classic recordings. In a performance that portrays the humanity and the outrageousness of someone who says, “I do not live my life in black-and-white,” Egerton grabs the singer’s essence.
Nice supporting work from Jamie Bell as lyricist Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as John’s boyfriend and manager Reid and Stephen Graham as music industry wheeler-dealer Dick James, who advises John to “buy something flashy, put on a great show and don’t kill yourself with drugs,” add to the flavour of the piece but it is Egerton’s show. He can sing and dance but also mines the character to find an emotional resonance missing from many biopics.
“Rocketman” is sometimes a little too on the nose in its song selections. As Taupin, who will eventually call the singer his brother, and John bond the soundtrack plays “Border Song’s,” “He’s my brother let us live in peace,” refrain. It’s a tad obvious for a movie that pushes buttons in terms of style, portrayal of sexuality and the flexibility of the biographical timelines.
By the film’s coda, however, it’s clear this is a tale of self-reckoning. There is much talk of reinvention, of “killing the person you were born to become the person you were born to be,” and as John becomes the person he is meant to be this very specific story’s “I’m Still Standing” message of resilience becomes universal.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Elton John musical fantasy “Rocketman” and the big monster movie “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”