Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies to watch this weekend including Carey Mulligan’s archeological drama “The Dig” (Netflix), Denzel Washington as a cop with a troubled past in “The Little Things” (PVOD and select theatres), Naomi Watts’ family drama “Penguin Bloom” (Netflix) and the Nicolas Cage b-movie “Jiu Jitsu” (EST, VOD, DVD).
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Carey Mulligan’s archeological drama “The Dig” (Netflix), Denzel Washington as a cop with a troubled past in “The Little Things” (PVOD and select theatres), Naomi Watts’ family drama “Penguin Bloom” (Netflix) and the Nicolas Cage b-movie “Jiu Jitsu” (EST, VOD, DVD).
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Carey Mulligan’s archeological drama “The Dig” (Netflix), Denzel Washington as a cop with a troubled past in “The Little Things” (PVOD and select theatres) and Naomi Watts’ family drama “Penguin Bloom” (Netflix).
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 Carey Mulligan’s archeological drama “The Dig” (Netflix), Denzel Washington as a cop with a troubled past in “The Little Things” (PVOD and select theatres), Naomi Watts’ family drama “Penguin Bloom” (Netflix) and the Nicolas Cage b-movie “Jiu Jitsu” (EST, VOD, DVD).
Like the archeological excavation that lies at the center of “The Dig,” a new drama starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes and now streaming on Netflix, the movie is slow and steady but reveals much if you’re patient.
Based on the 1939 unearthing of a ship burial site containing a bounty of Anglo-Saxon artefacts in Sutton Hoo, near Suffolk, England, “The Dig” stars Mulligan as Edith Pretty, a wealthy widow who hires amateur archeologist Basil Brown (Fiennes) to excavate ancient burial mounds on her property. Auto-didact Brown’s discovery of a treasure trove of priceless artefacts attracts the attention of the toffs at the British Museum, who insist on taking control of the dig. As World War II looms and Pretty’s health worsens, the job takes on a personal and professional urgency.
Unsurprisingly, “The Dig” spends a great deal of time at the excavation but, as the riches of the job reveal themselves, the interpersonal dynamics of the characters take center stage.
As the salt-of-the-earth Mr. Brown, Fiennes is a stoic figure who provides much of the film’s heart and soul. Early on, in an effective but clumsy metaphor, he is revealed to be the film’s real treasure after he is accidentally buried, swallowed up by the dig, and unearthed by his frantic co-workers. His presence is the film’s catalyst for a study of class and of respect born of hard work and study. He even becomes a father figure for Pretty’s son Robert (Archie Barnes). Fiennes plays him with an appealing mix of decency and stubbornness.
Mulligan’s chaste, but deeply felt relationship with Mr. Brown, is nicely played but as the ensemble cast grows to include the British Museum folks, the snobby Charles Phillips (Ken Stott), John Brailsford (Eamon Farren), Stuart Piggott (Ben Chaplin) and his young wife Peggy (Lily James) and Pretty’s cousin Rory Lomax (Johnny Flynn), she takes a backseat as an illicit romance blossoms. She is, predictably, very good, but as her health declines so does her dominance of the story.
“The Dig” confronts big issues but maintains an intimate feel. It’s not a story of archeology, although James is shown lovingly dusting dirt encrusted artefacts. The portrayal of class and impending war never overshadow the more relatable topics of legacy and teamwork. It’s a quiet movie, one filled with longing looks where much is left unsaid, but nothing is ambiguous.
Richard sits in with Marcia McMillan to have a look at the the rollercoaster action of “Jason Bourne,” the heartwarming (and slightly raunchy) comedy of “Bad Moms,” “Cafe Society’s” period piece humour and the online intrigue of “Nerve.”
In this mixed-up, shook-up world there are fewer and fewer things we can count on as absolutes. One of them is that there will be a new Woody Allen movie every year with a jaunty jazz soundtrack and credits written in the Windsor Light Condensed font. His new film, “Café Society,” the story of a frantic young romantic trying to find himself in 1930s Hollywood, is slice of comfort cinema with all of Allen’s trademarks intact.
Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) is a native New Yorker who jumped coasts to take up in Los Angeles. The slightly neurotic east coaster is not a natural fit in Tinsel Town, but his powerhouse uncle Phil (Steve Carell) helps out, giving him a job at his powerhouse talent agency and introducing him to a beautiful secretary named Vonnie (Kristen Stewart). By day he does odd jobs for Phil—“Menial errands are my specialty,” Bobby says, “but I don’t see a great future in it.”—while on the weekends he slowly falls for Vonnie. They share a disdain for industry talk and Hollywood’s catty innuendo and a love of cheap Mexican food but she doesn’t share his feelings. Unfortunately (for Bobby) Vonnie has a mostly absent boyfriend.
Enter romantic plot complications and Bobby hightails it back to New York where he goes into the nightclub business with his gangster brother Ben (Corey Stall). Finally successful, he marries and has a child with Veronica (Blake Lively), who he nicknames Vonnie, betraying the feelings he harbours for his west coast love. When Vonnie number one returns to New York for a visit the film offers up a line that sums the situation up, “Life is a comedy written by a sadistic comedy writer.”
A light-hearted tapestry, “Café Society” is embroidered with the odd punch line and hints of melancholy. It’s a comedy tinted with heartbreak, a look at true love and unsatisfactory options. It returns Allen to the fertile ground he ploughed with “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan” and while this film isn’t a classic on those terms, it’s an engaging look at life and love buoyed by great performances.
Eisenberg does the best Woody Allen impression we’ve seen on screen in some time, but there’s more to him than simply aping the master. His journey from nebbish to notable is believable and gives the movie its heart.
Co-star Stewart hands in what may be her first truly adult role. She plays Vonnie as level-headed in a sea of dreamers. When Bobby describes Joan Crawford as “larger-than-life” she replies, simply but compellingly, “I think I’d be happier life-sized.” It’s the line that sums up her character and Stewart makes the most of it and Vonnie.
“Café Society” is a welcome uptick after Allen’s last two films, “Magic in the Moonlight” and “Irrational Man.” For Woody’s fans it may feel familiar but in the most soothing of ways.