Richard joins CTV NewsChannel and anchor Lois Lee to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the virtual reality of “The Martrix Resurrection,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and the jukebox musical “Sing 2.”
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 virtual reality of “The Martrix Resurrection,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and the jukebox musical “Sing 2.”
Can Richard Crouse review three movies in just thirty seconds? Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the Neo’s return to virtual reality in “The Matrix: Resurrections,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” in less time than it takes to buy a pack of Twizzlers.
These days movies are regularly remade, rebooted, reimagined and regurgitated. But none of those terms capture how Warner Bros has brought back one of their most famous and ground breaking franchises.
The new Keanu Reeves movie isn’t simply a return to the Matrix, the simulated reality created by intelligent machines to pacify humans and steal their energy, it’s a resurrection. After eighteen years, Neo has been raised from the dead by Lana Wachowski in “The Matrix: Resurrections,” now playing in theatres.
The last time we saw Neo (Reeves) he made the ultimate sacrifice, giving himself to create peace between machines and mankind. His death would allow people to finally be free of the virtual world of the Matrix.
In “Resurrections” it’s twenty years later. Neo now goes by his real name, Thomas A. Anderson. He is the “greatest videogame designer of his generation,” with an ordinary life, save for the visions that plague him. “I’ve had dreams,” he says, “that weren’t just dreams.” His analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) has him on a steady diet of heavy therapy and blue pills, meant to quell the strange delusions.
Anderson’s regular life is turned upside down when his business partner Smith (Jonathan Groff) announces that their company will be making a sequel to their most popular game, “The Matrix.” As his team works on the new game—“It’s a mindbomb!”—his memories become more intense and soon he has trouble distinguishing fact from fiction.
Or is it all real?
When people from his past, like computer programmer and hacker Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), an alternate reality version of the heroic Matrix hovercraft captain who first believed Neo was “The One,” appear, Thomas fears he is losing his mind.
Things become clearer—Or do they?—when the new Morpheus offers Thomas/Neo a choice of pills. The blue ones will keep Thomas’ state of mind status quo. The red ones, however, will take him down the rabbit hole, into the heart of the Matrix. “Nothing comforts anxiety like a little nostalgia,” says Morpheus.
Pill popped, the simulated world opens up to reveal a dangerous place in need of a hero. Teaming with a group of rebels, Neo battles a new enemy and secrets are revealed. “The Matrix is the same or worse,” says Neo, “and I’m back where I started. It feels like none of it mattered.”
“The Matrix: Resurrections” may be the most self-aware movie of the year. No instalment of “The Matrix” will ever match the whiz bang excitement of the first film, and “Resurrections” knows it. It comments on itself and consistently winks at its legacy.
“This cannot be a retread, reboot or regurgitation,” says one of the “Matrix” videogame designers.
“Why not?” says another. “Reboots sell.”
Like the movie’s story, the film itself attempts to blur the line between the reality of the story and the very act of watching the movie. It is simultaneously self-depreciating and cynical. It’s OK to have a bit of good fun with the story, especially given the oh-so-serious tone of the previous “Matrix” movies, but by the time Thomas meets Trinity at the Simulatte Café, the jokes have worn thin.
The meat of the story, a search for truth, is the engine that keeps the movie motoring along, but the endless exposition, a torrent of words, seems to be the fuel that keeps things running. When a character says, “That’s the thing about stories, they never end,” it’s hard to disagree as the movie gets mired in mythology and world building.
It becomes a slog, without enough of the trademarked Wachowski action scenes to help pick up the pace. When the movie does dip into bullet time and the action that made the original so memorable, it feels like a pale comparison. There is nothing much new—“I still know Kung Fu,” says Neo—just frenetic action and nostalgia for a time when a slow-motion bullet made our eyeballs dance.
“The Matrix: Resurrections” does try to recontextualize the existing mythology. This time around the all-you-need-is-love-story between Neo and Trinity is amped up and there is some timely social commentary about control, whether it’s from the government or a virtual reality machine, but, and there is a big “but,” as much as I wanted to enjoy another trip to the Matrix, I found it too meta, too long and yet, not ambitious enough.
Richard and CP24 anchor Leena Latafat have a look at the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the murky depths of “Underwater” with Kristen Stewart, the family drama of “Rosie” and the gory good fun of “She Never Died.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the deep sea adventure of “Underwater” with Kristen Stewart, the family drama of “Rosie” and the gory good fun of “She Never Died.”
Who says the “Alien” franchise is dead? Ridley Scott may have exhausted the storytelling possibilities of the original franchise but don’t tell that to Kristen Stewart and the annoying T.J. Miller, stars of the new thriller “Underwater,” a.k.a. “Aquatic Alien,” new this week on VOD.
Stewart is Norah an engineer working on a rig at the bottom of the ocean. She and the crew of nautical scientists, (Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, Gunner Wright and Miller) are at the mercy of the watery depths when an earthquake destroys their subterranean laboratory. As they fight for survival they discover they may have woken a fierce enemy. “This better not be some ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ crap,” says Paul (Miller).
On the ocean floor no one can hear you scream but we can hear lots of heavy breathing as the cast grunt their lines into their deep-sea diving suits.
“Underwater” is an ocean floor people in peril flick with loads of wet, claustrophobic atmosphere but little in the way of actual thrills. The earthquake happens in the opening minutes of the film, throwing the characters into danger right off the bat so we don’t get to know anything about them other than their “never say die” attitude and Norah’s wondrous ability to squeeze through very tight spaces before the bad stuff happens. There is no emotional connection, just characters navigating the murky depths with the occasional jump scare thrown in. The final showdown with the deep-sea beast has a certain majesty to it but by then echoes of better movies like “Alien,” “The Abyss” and ”Leviathan” have done in the film’s chances of making an impression.
Lots of movies have mined similar territory but the ones that stand out add something interesting to the mix. Unfortunately “Underwater” brings nothing new to the outer space/underwater monster genre.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the weekend’s VOD and streaming releases including the deep sea adventure of “Underwater” with Kristen Stewart, the family drama of “Rosie” and the gory good fun of “She Never Died.”