Posts Tagged ‘Julie Engelbrecht’


Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.00.43 PMRichard’s CP24 reviews for “The Last Witch Hunter,” “Remember” and “Room.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 11.29.39 AMVin Diesel is a Witch Hunter in the appropriately named “The Last Witch Hunter,” Christopher Plummer hunts Nazis in “Remember,” while Brie Larson searches for freedom in “Room” and Bill Murray looks for redemption in “Rock the Kasbah.” Richard reviews them all with “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro: Vin Diesel, before he blew up and helped gross $4 billion for Fast and Furious

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.44.59 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Usually the scariest thing about Vin Diesel is the amount of money his movies make. The Fast and Furious franchise has raked in more than $4 billion. Add in revenue from Guardians of the Galaxy and Riddick and you have a truly terrifying amount of money.

In his new film, The Last Witch Hunter, the raspy-voiced actor boasts, “You know what I’m afraid of? Nothing,” as he delivers scares playing an immortal warrior who must prevent evil New York witches from destroying the world. The 48-year-old is so convinced the movie will do well, he’s already announced that the studio is developing a sequel.

“The first one doesn’t hit theatres until October 23rd,” he wrote on Facebook in July, “yet they want me to commit and already block out time to film it.”

Before Fast and Furious made him Hollywood’s version of an ATM, Diesel made baby steps towards becoming a superstar. Director Steven Spielberg saw Multi-Facial, Diesel’s self directed, written, produced and scored über low budget short film and was so taken with the young actor he had the role of Private Caparzo in Saving Private Ryan specially written for him. The result was an effective performance that mixed physicality with poignancy. Winning the role, he says, was “like one of those Hollywood fairy tales that you never believed.”

Critics began to take notice. New York Times critic A.O. Scott said he, “may be the sexiest ugly man in movies since Anthony Quinn” as Diesel lent his distinctive gravelly voice to the title character in the animated film The Iron Giant and played streetwise stockbroker Chris Varick in the 2000 stockbroker drama Boiler Room.

His breakout performance came with the sci-fi film Pitch Black. “Richard B. Riddick,” he says by way of introduction. “Escaped convict. Murderer.” Artificial eyes allow Riddick to see in the dark, making him very useful when bloodthirsty creatures attack during a month-long eclipse. The character became a franchise for the actor, spawning sequels, video games and animated films.

“I know it sounds corny but I feel like I learn about myself when I play that character,” said Diesel. “Going to that dark isolated place produces some kind of vision or understanding about myself. He mirrors my own quest for identity, my eternal quest as a child.”

Movies like Knockaround Guys and Babylon A.D. played on his tough guy persona, but with The Pacifier he tried to switch from cracking ribs to tickling funny bones. Playing a Navy Seal assigned to protect a house full of out-of-control kids, he attempted to prove he was more than just a muscle mass that got lucky in pictures. The chaotic comedy made some money, but ultimately proved Diesel’s strength lay in muscle, not mayhem.

Since then he has stayed the course, pumping out action-adventure films — including the soon-to-be relaunched xXx — proving himself to be a great action star. Smarter than Stallone, younger than Schwarzenegger and with even less hair than Bruce Willis, his appeal transcends his biceps, as he also appears to have a brain in his head. Throw in a large dollop of charisma and look out Jason Statham, you’re about to be kick boxed into the old age home.

THE LAST WITCH HUNTER: 2 STARS. “generic action movie plus witches.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.48.17 PMVin Diesel looks good for an 800 year-old-man… er… immortal witch hunter. He’s Kaulder, a former mortal whose family was wiped out by the Witch Queen’s (Julie Engelbrecht) deadly black plague. The only way to destroy her is to still her beating heart, but before he can do so she places a hex on him. With all his family gone he has nothing to live for, so she curses him with immortality.

Centuries later he’s a supernatural superman, living in a swank Central Park South apartment and bedding flight attendants when he’s not subduing bad witches. Known as “the Weapon,” he works with a Dolan—a spiritual advisor—and helps enforce the uneasy truce that has been struck between witches and humans. When Dolan 36 (Michael Caine) steps down and winds up dead within twenty-four hours (“I’ve seen people get old, retire and die but rarely on the same day,” Kaulder says.) the hunter knows evil forces are at work. With the aid of Dolan 37 (Elijah Wood) and an unlikely witch ally (“Game of Thrones” star Rose Leslie) Kaulder seeks to finally put an end to an ancient evil.

“You know what I’m afraid of?” asks Kaulder. “Nothing. It’s boring really.” And so is “The Last Witch Hunter” because nothing remotely scary happens. It’s as though the film was originally written as a straight ahead action movie. Here’s the pitch: Gravelly-voiced man fights the baddies with the help of an aging mentor and a sidekick. It’s the generic hero’s journey. It’s “The Dark Knight” without the cape (but with Michael Caine). It feels like someone read the script early on and said, “You know what would make this great? Witches and Vin Diesel,” but even the addition of supernatural elements like Dreamwalkers, cranky witches and immortality can’t disguise the fact that this is as generic an action movie as we’ve seen this year.

It follows a familiar pattern: Action scene followed by witch hunting mumbo jumbo that segues into a fight scene. Reset with a buddy, buddy scene featuring dialogue like, “You’re not qualified for what happens next.” Add to the mix flashbacks, light romance and loud special effects and you have every generic action movie ever made… with witches.

Diesel is fast and furious enough to deliver the “Conan the Barbarian” level dialogue (like: “The benefit of eternal life is that I get to kill you twice!”) with conviction but the movie is dull enough you’ll wish these witches would go away for a spell.