Richard and CP24 anchor Cristina Tenaglia have a look at the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including a pair of kid’s flicks “The War with Grandpa” and “100% Wolf,” the touching dramas “Percy” and “Yellow Rose” and the hilarious “The Forty-Year-Old Version.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Jennifer Burke to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including a pair of kid’s flicks “The War with Grandpa” and “100% Wolf,” the touching dramas “Percy” and “Yellow Rose” and the hilarious “The Forty-Year-Old Version.”
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 kid’s flicks “The War with Grandpa” and “100% Wolf,” the touching dramas “Percy” and “Yellow Rose” and the hilarious “The Forty-Year-Old Version.”
There is nothing particularly original about “100% Wolf,” the animated coming-of-age story now playing in Cineplex theatres, but what it lacks in new ideas it makes up for in gimmicks and screwball action.
In this werewolf story for kids, based on the book by Jayne Lyons, lycanthropy isn’t a curse. Sure, they have claws and great big teeth and are still misunderstood by humans but instead of mauling people their purpose in life is to help folks in need. “The best wolves don’t have the sharpest claws or the pointiest teeth. They have the biggest hearts.”
“An American Werewolf in London” this ain’t. In fact, it’s more “Lion King” than anything else.
At the center of the story is Freddy Lupin (voiced by Jerra Wright-Smith as a child and later by Ilai Swindells), a ten-year-old from a long line of powerful werewolves. When Freddy’s father (Jai Courtney) and pack Alpha is killed during a selfless act of heroism, the youngster not only loses his dad but also the pack’s sacred Moon Stone ring. In the midst of the turmoil Freddy’s evil uncle, Uncle Scar…. Er, ahhh, I mean, Lord Hightail (Michael Bourchier), takes over, assuming control of the pack (sound familiar?). When Freddy is old enough he will be king of the werewolves but first he must be initiated.
That’s where the real problems start.
On the night of his coming-of-age Freddy isn’t graced with fearsome fur and elongated claws. Instead he’s turned into the sworn enemy of the werewolves, a dog. A delightful poodle with a shock of pink hair and wide eyes to be exact. “I’m a fluffy, pink joke,” he says.
“You bring shame on the memory of your father.,” snarls Lord Hightail. “You have until moon rise tomorrow to prove you are a real wolf. Otherwise the moon spirits will choose a new High Howler and you will be banished.”
With the help of a scruffy stray called the Great Houndini (Samara Weaving) Freddy goes on a madcap mission that sees them sent to a canine beauty parlour before making a stop at the dog pound. On top of that they must deal with Foxwell Cripp (Rhys Darby), an ice-cream truck scooper who brings the slapstick and some wild-and-crazy ideas. Will Freddy make it back in time to prove he’s wolf worthy? I think you probably already know the answer.
Throwing the best bits from “The Lion King,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “The Secret Lives of Pets” and a handful of others into a blender and hitting puree shouldn’t work, but “100% Wolf” pulls it off, modestly. Good messages about accepting everyone for who they are adorn a story with lots of eye-catching action—even if the animation isn’t as slick as the movies that inspired it—fun, kid-friendly characters and jokes that should make children giggle. Parents may not be as engaged, although a doberman who seems to be channeling Werner Herzog is a hoot.
“100% Wolf” isn’t destined to become a classic like the movies that inspired it, but as an agreeable time waster for kids who miss going to the theatre, it’s a howl.
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 the Michael B. Jordan boxing drama “Creed II,” the on-line romp of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and the odd couple buddy film “Green Book.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Jennifer Burke to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the boxing drama “Creed II,” the on-line romp of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and the odd couple buddy film “Green Book.”
Given the movie’s subtext “Ralph Breaks the Internet” could have been called “Ralph Wants You to Think About the Ramifications of Internet Usage.” Not as catchy, I’ll admit, but amid the fun and games the sequel to “Wreck-It Ralph” is a strong message about the dangers of Internet culture.
It’s been six years since we met Wreck-It Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly), a disgruntled video game character who demanded respect. This time around the action begins when the steering wheel controller on the Sugar Rush game console breaks. “It might be time to sell Sugar Rush for parts,” says Stan Litwak (Ed O’Neill), owner of Litwak’s Family Fun Center & Arcade.
Before Litwak unplugs the machine Ralph and the game’s racer Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) rescue Sugar Rush’s characters by moving them to other games.
To get the game up and running Ralph and Vanellope hit the Internet, using the Arcade’s wifi to explore the net in search of a replacement steering wheel. They find the wheel at eBay, trouble is, they don’t have any money. “I left my wallet at home,” Ralph tells the eBay cashier. “In the wallet room and the door is locked!”
When they befriend Shank (Gal Gadot), a racer in Slaughter Race, their problems seem to be over. The violent racing game overs a source of money but as Shank’s influence on Vanellope grows Ralph worries that his friend is drifting away.
“Ralph Breaks the Internet” is at its best when it’s subversive. The colourful animation, coupled with an imaginative take on what it would be like to be inside the internet—eBay is an actual auction house, and “likes” are sucked up by a vacuum cleaner—will make eyeballs dance but it’s the messaging that is memorable. Woven into the story are clever lessons on toxic friendship, how insecurity can infect a relationship like a virus on the computer and the dangers of obsessing about getting likes on social media posts.
Even better is a scene where Vanellope, while visiting OhMyDisney.com, stumbles into the Disney Princess break room. Here the film makes fun of Disney’s bread-and-butter, the stereotype of the princess. “Do people assume all your problems get solved because a strong man came along?” Fans of the first film know that Vanellope is a reluctant princess, preferring the title president. Her, among her spiritual sisters, she helps them shed some of their stuffy weays and they help her along the way to figuring out her path in life. “I stare at the important water and all of a sudden I start singing about my problems? I don’t think so,” Vanellope says, bursting one of Disney’s most familiar princess tropes.
The princess scene is a highlight in a film that has laughs but isn’t exactly a comedy. It’s more a heartfelt examination of friendship—“It’s not right to hold a friend back from her dreams.”—with some wild cartoon action and satire.
“Ralph Breaks the Internet” is a very specific story about two animated characters that illuminates universal themes from the real world.