Posts Tagged ‘Justin Kurzel’


Richard joins CTV NewsChannel anchor Beverly Thomson to talk about Jared Leto as a “living vampire” in “Morbius,” the wild ‘n wooly “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Judd Apatow’s Hollywood pandemic movie “The Bubble” and the drama “Nitram.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!



Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including Jared Leto as a “living vampire” in “Morbius,” the wild ‘n wooly “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Judd Apatow’s Hollywood pandemic movie “The Bubble” and the hard-hitting gun control movie “Nitram.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

NITRAM: 3 ½ STARS. “hammers home its indelible message of gun control.”

“Nitam,” a dramatization of the events leading up to the 1996 massacre at Port Arthur, Tasmania, that killed 35 people and wounded 23 others, mines the nihilism of its title character in an attempt to shed light on a senseless act.

In his telling of the story, Australian director Justin Kurzel has made a deeply unsettling film but not a violent one. He replaces the violence of the tragic real-life event with the uneasy trajectory of a killer in the making.

Known as Nitram—the movie never uses his real name—Caleb Landry Jones plays the title character as a twenty-something, impulsive, detached loner who lashes out at the slightest provocation. His mother (Judy Davis) is worn down after years of dealing with his antisocial and unpredictable behavior, but his father (Anthony LaPaglia) attempts to find a coping mechanism in compassion.

They are given a reprieve of sorts when wealthy recluse Helen (Essie Davis) hires him to cut her lawn and invites him to move in. She treats him kindly and becomes a stabilizing force in his life. When she passes away suddenly, followed by the death of his father weeks later, Nitam is cut loose with a large inheritance courtesy of Helen’s largess.

Nitram’s childhood fascination with fireworks translates into a love of firearms as an adult. In the film’s most chilling scene he purchases powerful automatic weapons from a gun shop owner only too happy to make a sale.

It is the first tangible step toward infamy.

The events of April 1996 are not portrayed in the film. In fact, there is very little violence on display. Instead, Kurzel has crafted a bleak but effective portrait of mundane evil. Jones embodies the character, playing him as a cypher with a deep well of rage. It isn’t a showy performance. It’s dark, hard to read and even harder to understand. Alienated, he is devoid of empathy or compassion, a ticking bomb ready to explode. It’s disturbing character work, so carefully rendered that, knowing how the story ends, will make your skin crawl.

There is little that is sensational or exploitive in “Nitram’s” storytelling but I had to wonder why a movie, even one that doesn’t name the killer by name, exists.

It’s one thing not to utter his name, it’s another to make a movie about a real-life man who became a monster, shattering dozens of families in the process. “Nitram” in no way glorifies him, but neither does it shed that much light on the hows and whys of his unspeakable acts. It is a well-made film that prefers to hammer home its indelible message of gun control but in its very existence provides an uncomfortable notoriety to someone best forgotten.


Richard sits in with Erin Paul to have a look at the special Wednesday releases, “Passengers” with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, the videogame flick “Assassin’s Creed” with Micheal Fassbender and the animated sing-a-long “Sing.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

ASSASSIN’S CREED: 2 ½ STARS. “it’s the poshest videogame piffle ever.”

“Assassin’s Creed” may have the highest end cast ever for a movie based on a videogame. Ripe with Oscar nominees and winners like Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling, it’s the poshest piffle to ever leap from the gaming consul to the big screen.

Based on the wildly popular Ubisoft videogames of the same name, the movie is a standalone that does not follow the storyline of the games.

When we first see Fassbender it’s the time of the Spanish Inquisition. He is Aguilar de Nerha, head of a stealthy brotherhood of assassins charged with making sure that rivals Knights Templar don’t get their hands on a holy relic called The Apple of Eden. “We work in the dark to service the light!” The stakes are high as the mystical device contains “the seed of man’s first disobedience.”

Jump forward to 2016. Fassbender is now Cal Lynch, a career criminal set on a bad path as a child when he saw his father murder his mother. On death row for the murder of a pimp he is to be executed. Instead he is whisked away by multinational corporate conglomerate Abstergo. “What do you want from me?” Callum asks. “Your past,” says lead scientist of the Animus project at Abstergo Foundation Sophia Rikkin (Cotillard).

Using something called the Animus Abstergo unlocks Cal’s genetic memory, essentially seeing through Aguilar de Nerha’s 15th century eyes as they look for clues as to the location of the Apple.

It’s gone wild! It’s also an almost incomprehensible story about ancient rivalries and, more confusingly, “the genetic code for free will.” What, exactly does that mean? Who knows? The plot, such that it is, is essentially a load of gobbledygook that fills the gaps between the action scenes. Plot points are delivered with Fassbender’s trademarked intense glare and solemn intonations from Irons and the rest of the cast, so they must mean something, right? If you figure it out, let me know.

The action sequences are plentiful and set at a time when, apparently the world was shrouded in a brown mist. Through the murk you see some nifty 15th century style Parkour, plenty of swordplay, and, of course, the Fassbender Glare©. Director Justin Kurzel and cast take things a little too seriously—extolling ideas about the eradication of violence etc—but when they’re not talking “Assassin’s Creed” is quite silly and a bit of fun.