Richard joins the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush for Booze and Reviews! Today we talk about “Ambulance,” the video game flick “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and Johnny Depp in “Minamata.” Then we take a sip of the Japanese favourite cocktail the Ginza Mary,.
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the frenetic Beyhem (look it up) of “Ambulance,” the video game flick “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and Johnny Depp in “Minamata.”
Bright-blue extraterrestrial hedgehog Sonic comes bounding back into theatres with the imaginatively titled “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” a Sega sequel to the highest-grossing video game movie of all-time.
At the beginning of the flick Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz), a hedgehog whose lightning-fast reflexes and ability to run faster than the speed of sound, have helped him save the world on numerous occasions, is living with his adopted “parents,” Montana police officer Tom (James Marsden) and his veterinarian wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter).
When Tom and Maddie go on a Hawaiian vacation, Sonic is left to his own devices. That opens the door for the hedgehog’s nemesis, baddie Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to return with anteater sidekick Knuckles (voice of Idris Elba). Robotnik is still sore from his exile on a remote planet, but has returned with a thirst to exact revenge on the spiny blue mammal who put him there and a plan to take over the world.
“Since I’ve been gone,” he says, “I’ve discovered the source of ultimate power.”
That power stems from a mystical emerald with the power to destroy civilizations. To save the world Sonic teams with Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey), a yellow fox with two tails who appears through a magic portal.
Sonic’s plan to make sure Robotnik doesn’t destroy the world? “Step one, light taunting,” he says. “Step two? I have no idea.”
Plan or no plan, Sonic’s tenacity could save the day.
Story wise “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is about as imaginative as its title. A standard save-the-world video game story with an unusual amount of CGI, it doesn’t pave any new paths forward, but fun performances—both live and CGI—keep things buoyant for most of the slightly too long two-hour running time.
Sonic is the star, the heart and soul of the franchise, but it is Jim Carrey who steals the show with a performance that goes over-the-top in search of a new top. It’s big cartoony work that brings an organic touch to an overload of computer-generated animation.
More understated, but just by a hair, is Natasha Rothwell as Maddie’s sister Rachel. She brings the funny and brings some respite to the non-stop blur of action.
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is a family film for video game fans, comprised of a series of big, loud set pieces banged together to entertain the eye while sprouting messages of the importance of family and teamwork.
Richard joins CJAD morning host Andrew Carter to talk about the big entertainment stories of the day. Today Chris Rock defies the ‘No Smollett Jokes’ Rule at NAACP Image Awards, Jim Carrey’s twitter feud, “Dumbo’s” worldwide box office and The Kids in the Hall at the Canadian Screen Awards!
If the word ‘lurid’ didn’t already appear on page 489 of my Oxford English Dictionary it might have been coined to describe “The Bad Batch,” a new slice of misery from director Ana Lily Amirpour. This dystopian cannibal freak out isn’t really very good but if Amirpour’s intention was to make an unpleasant, slackly paced look at life after a calamity, she has succeeded spectacularly.
Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is part of the Bad Batch, a large group of murderers, drug dealers and other deplorables no longer wanted in the United States. In Amirpour’s post apocalyptic world the unwanted are numbered, tattooed, escorted to a wasteland in Texas and dropped off outside of an electric fence to fend for themselves. Arlen’s new, dusty world is a wasteland, a dangerous place where Keanu Reeves is a Jim Jones figure called The Dream and if you’re not careful you might end up as a main course for the cannibals who now eat humans to survive.
Soon she is kidnapped, carved up, her arm and leg becoming an entrée for vicious flesh eaters who keep her in chains until she escapes with the help of a gnarly old hermit played by Jim Carrey. She lands at Comfort, the ironically named compound run by cult leader The Dream. On the outskirts of Comfort Arlen exacts revenge on one of the cannibals who turned her into a midday snack. Grabbing the woman’s child she returns to the compound. When the little girl disappears her father, the mountainous and muscly Miami Man (Jason Momoa), comes looking for her. Arlene, high on acid, meets him and the two form an unlikely bond as they search for his daughter.
Amirpour is a gifted director—her “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is like no other vampire movie—but her ideas here echo a little too loudly with reverberations from “Mad Max” and other dystopian movies. “The Bad Batch” starts strong with startling images but every time it works up a head of steam it veers off track. Its languid pace and stretched-out story makes the two-hour running time feel much longer.
Bill Murray became a big screen superstar on the back of loose-limbed performances in comedies like Caddyshack, Stripes and Ghostbusters. By 1984, however, he was tiring of playing the clown and looking to do something with a bit more edge.
When director John Byrum gave him a copy of W. Somerset Maugham’s 1944 novel The Razor’s Edge, Murray responded the very next day. Calling the director at 4 am he said, “This is Larry, Larry Darrell,” dropping the name of the novel’s main character, an enigmatic man on a quest for spiritual fulfillment.
The resulting film bombed, with Roger Ebert suggesting Murray played “the hero as if fate is a comedian and he is the straight man.” Of course Murray has gone on to become a credible and in demand dramatic actor, but the story of a comedian’s rocky leap from farce to drama still rings true today.
This weekend Chris Rock’s new comedy Top Five tells the story of Andre Allen, a fictional megastar trying to jump from silly comedies to Uprize, a serious drama about the slave revolt in Haiti.
Top Five is a new twist on an old story. Many comedians have tried to flick the switch from comedy to drama.
The late Robin Williams effortlessly hopped between genres. In 2002 alone he made three films, the lowbrow laffer Death to Smoochy, bookended by the psychodrama One Hour Photo and Christopher Nolan’s thriller Insomnia.
Will Ferrell, Steve Carell and Jonah Hill are best known for funny movies like Blades of Glory, The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Superbad, but each have stretched their dramatic muscles. Ferrell’s Stranger Than Fiction earned a good review from Roger Ebert who said Ferrell “has dramatic gifts to equal his comedic talent.” Carell’s new drama Foxcatcher looks poised to earn him notice at awards time and Jonah Hill is a two time Oscar nominee for heavyweights Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street.
Finally, think Jim Carrey and visions of talking butts and rubber-faced features come to mind but he made a serious run at being a serious actor. Perhaps he was pushed into more thoughtful work when his Batman Forever co-star Tommy Lee Jones told him, ‘I cannot sanction your buffoonery,” but whatever the case in movies like Man on the Moon, The Majestic and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind played it straight. “It’s going to be so hard to talk out of my ass after this,” he said when he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor award for The Truman Show, “but I’ll manage.”
Twenty years ago Roger Ebert wrote that a moment in Dumb and Dumber, “made me laugh so loudly I embarrassed myself.”
The movie, starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as the chicken-brained Lloyd and Harry, made 250 million dollars at the box office and seemed likely to spawn a sequel but nothing happened for almost twenty years. There was a prequel, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, but it was a Carrey-and-Daniel-less exercise in futility I called, “one of the least funny and ineptly made movies to ever play at your local multi-plex,” on its 2003 release.
So why did it take 19 years and 333 days to release a Dumb and Dumber follow-up? Carrey says he wasn’t into doing sequels but softened because everyone kept hounding him, he joked, “even dead people.”
Fans had to wait ages for Dumb and Dumber’s return, but two decades is a mere drop in the bucket when compared to the gap between the 1942 Disney classic Bambi and it’s sequel Bambi II. A ten-year-old who saw the original would have been old enough to send their grandkids to get popcorn refills when the sequel hit theatres overseas (it went direct to DVD in North America) almost sixty-four years later.
Thirty years after Alfred Hitchcock made seagulls menacing in The Birds a made-for television-movie called The Birds II: Land’s End revisited the killer avian story. Tippi Hedren, star of the original, signed on and it was shot in the house from the first film, but that’s where the similarities between the two end. The New York Times called the film “feeble,” and Hedren said, “It’s absolutely horrible, it embarrasses me horribly.”
29 years and 343 days after 1968’s The Odd Couple hit the big screen, writer Neil Simon and stars Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau reunited for The Odd Couple II. “We always had bad chemistry,” says Oscar Madison (Matthau). “We mix like oil and frozen yogurt.” It marked the last starring roles for each of its leads and the final collaboration between Lemmon and Matthau after making ten movies together.
These days Hollywood seems obsessed with sequels and next year will be no different. Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy in the role that made Mel Gibson famous, returns thirty years after Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Jurassic World revisits Jurassic Park III thirteen years later. The biggest sequel news of the year—maybe of the decade—is the December 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the official Starr Wars chronology the new film follows 1983’s Return of the Jedi after a space of 32 years and 207 days.