Posts Tagged ‘Lashana Lynch’


I appear on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Andria Case to talk about TIFF and the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the best of the fest and “The Woman King,” playing in theatres.

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 35:41)


I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres.  Today we talk about the Viola Davis action movie “The Woman King,” immersive David Bowie film “Moonage Daydream,” the Jon Hamm reboort “Confess, Fletch” and the creepy FOMO flick “Pearl.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Graham Richardson to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Viola Davis action movie “The Woman King,” immersive David Bowie film “Moonage Daydream” and the Jon Hamm reboort “Confess, Fletch.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

THE WOMAN KING: 4 STARS. “old-fashioned action movie, but with a fresh update.” 

“The Woman King,” is a ripped-from-the-history books story of fierce camaraderie, discipline and determination, starring Oscar®-winner Viola Davis as a general in charge of all-female unit of warriors called the Agojie, who served as the inspiration for the “Black Panther’s” Dora Milaje warriors.

Set in the 1823 West African kingdom of Dahomey, the story begins as menace from white slave trader Santo Ferreira (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) and nearby Oyo Empire, led by the ruthless Oda (Jimmy Odukoya), threaten the reign of King Ghezo (John Boyega). He can no longer rule by diplomacy and cleverness alone. “An evil is coming that threatens our kingdom, our freedom,” says the King, “But we have a weapon they are not prepared for.”

That weapon is the Agojie, a.k.a. the Dahomey Amazons. They are a generations-old fighting force led by a brilliant tactician and general Nanisca (Davis), with right-hands Amenza (Sheila Atim) and Izogie (Lashana Lynch). “We fear no one,” Nanisca says. “We fear no pain.”

Armed with blades, spears and unlimited fearlessness, the Agojie fight against the heavily armed Oyo, for their land, freedom and King. Any Oyo prisoners are sold off to the Europeans in return for weapons. Nanisca knows her King is complicit in the slave trade, and tries to convince him to stop human trafficking and replace the cash flow with the sale of palm oil. “The slave trade is the reason we prosper,” she says, “but it is a poison.”

Until then the change, they must train a new batch of recruits, including the 19-year-old Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), a rebellious woman offered to King Ghezo by her father. Brought into the Agojie by Izogie, the teenager finds a sisterhood with the group she has never known in her life.

“The Woman King” breathes the same air as 90s era action epics like “Braveheart” and “Gladiator.” Crowd-pleasers that mixed interesting characters with history, some humor, a bit of melodrama and fierce fight scenes. That may feel like a dash of déjà vu, but director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s story comes steeped in Black history, specifically female Black history, and characters that bring it to vivid life.

As the battle-scarred general Nanisca, Davis commands attention, balancing the character’s authority, resilience and battle prowess with a hidden vulnerability.

As Nawi, Thuso Mbedu steals every scene she is in with a combustible charisma that keeps her coming-of-age story compelling.

“The Woman King” is a character driven epic, one that tempers the rousing action scenes—the audience I saw this with cheered for the Agojie—with powerful interpersonal relationships to keep us engaged. It feels like an old-fashioned action movie, but with a fresh and fascinating update.


Richard joins Ryan Doyle of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush for Booze and Reviews! Today he talks about the return of James Bond in “No Time to Die,” and the OTHER drinks, not shaken or stirred, that Bond enjoyed in the books and the movies.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “No Time to Die,” the return of James Bond to the big screen, the dystopian “Night Raiders” and the Netflix slasher film “There’s Someone Inside Your House.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Lois Lee chat up the weekend’s big releases including “No Time to Die,” the return of James Bond to the big screen, the dystopian “Night Raiders” and the Netflix slasher film “There’s Someone Inside Your House.”

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, VOD and streaming services including “No Time to Die,” the much anticipated return of James Bond to the big screen, the “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” the dystopian “Night Raiders” and the Netflix slasher film “There’s Someone Inside Your House.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

NO TIME TO DIE: 3 ½ STARS. “Craig takes Bond to places he’s never been before.”

Will James Bond (Daniel Craig) ever be happy? The dour superspy looks great in a tux, has saved the planet a dozen or more times and piloted invisible planes but despite his list of achievements, true happiness always seems to have eluded him.

In “No Time to Die,” however, it looks like Bond may have found a sweet spot in his life with his pretty love interest, Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). But Craig’s fifth and final time as 007 isn’t all sunshine and roses as much as it is a requiem for a character who was shaped by trauma.

“No Time to Die,” now only playing in theatres, kicks off with a cold open unlike any other Bond beginning. Two decades ago, against a remote, icy Norwegian backdrop, the young daughter of a Spectre agent is orphaned when a masked murderer invades her home. “Your father killed my entire family,” he says between bullets. She survives, and twenty or so years later grows up to be Dr. Swann, psychotherapist and the only woman who can make James Bond smile.

On holiday in Materna, Italy, she encourages him to visit the grave of heartbreaker Vesper Lynd, and put her memory to rest. He does, and soon the idyll with his new girlfriend ends, literally blowing up in his face.

Convinced Swann has betrayed him, the superspy cuts her loose, vowing to never lay eyes on her again.

Cut to five years later. Bond is retired from MI6, but lured back into the game of international espionage when his friend and CIA field officer Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and associate Logan Ash (Billy Magnussen) ask him to help locate Valdo Obruche (David Dencik), a missing scientist working on a deadly DNA Nanobots weapon.

The job sees Bond square off with one of his greatest foes, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) and revenge-thirsty terrorist Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), a master in the art of asymmetric warfare.

“No Time to Die” shakes up the Bond formula while still offering most of what fans pay to see. There are exotic locations, some high-flying action and the odd 007 one-liner. They are embedded into the DNA of the franchise; character traits that have not been genetically edited out of the movie.

The womanizing, which was so much a part of the Bond folklore, is still there, but trimmed, and played for comic effect. In one instance Ana de Armas, whose appearance as CIA agent Paloma amounts to an extended cameo, charmingly closes the door on that aspect of the Bond legend. In a short but eventful scene, she almost steals the show, and leaves the audience wanting more.

What director Cary Joji Fukunaga, who co-wrote the script alongside Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Scott Z. Burns, has done is add in a ponderous reevaluation of Craig’s years as Bond. Call backs abound to “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Skyfall,” and “Spectre” and loose ends are tied into bows in in the film’s many Easter eggs. Much of that material is fan service as the fifteen-year Craig reign comes to a close. A shot of M’s (Judi Dench) portrait nods to Bond’s connection to her and Fukunaga reaches back to “Casino Royale” for a tribute to Felix “Brother from Langley” Leiter (Jeffrey Wright). It feels like a nice, respectful way to usher out one era and bring in the next, in whatever form that may take.

But “No Time to Die” is not simply a tip of the hat to the past. With an eye to the future, Fukunaga and Craig have fundamentally changed what a Bond movie is. As the only Bond actor to have an arc for his character, Craig didn’t simply put on Pierce Brosnan’s tux and carry on as so many of the previous actors have done. He took Bond to places he’s never been before, amping up the emotionality of the character as a person born out of trauma. He talks about having everything taken from him as a child, “before I was even in the fight.” For the first time in Bond history, 007 is feeling the ticking of the clock, and not the timer on a bomb he’s trying to diffuse, but the metaphorical hands of time tightening around him.

This approach effectively changes “No Time to Die’s” dynamic, from action film to soul-searching character drama. The 163-minute running time allows the characters to explore why and how they landed where they did in life, but it also sucks much of the urgency from the storytelling. Add to that Malek’s Safin, a clichéd villain who really should make a larger impact, and the drama necessary to shake that martini is lessened.

There is #NoTimeForSpoilers in this review but suffice to say, “No Time to Die” is a Bond film unlike any other. Craig leaves the franchise having made the biggest impact on the character since Sean Connery set the rules more than half a century ago. His finale is drawn out and may rely too heavily on pop psychologically but it’s an important film in the Bond canon. It may even be the most important and exciting since “Dr. No.” Why? Because, as an on-screen card promises, “James Bond will return,” but the movie gives us no hint as to what that re-invented future will entail and that, after almost sixty years of a steady diet of 007isms, is “No Time to Die’s” most exciting achievement.