Richard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the new Brad Pitt wartime thriller “Allied,” the new kick-ass Disney princess in “Moana,” the Oscar hopeful “Manchester by the Sea” and the Warren Beatty rom com “Rules Don’t Apply.”
Richard sits in with Erin Paul to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the new Brad Pitt wartime thriller “Allied,” the new kick-ass Disney princess in “Moana,” the Oscar hopeful “Manchester by the Sea” and the Warren Beatty rom com “Rules Don’t Apply.”
Showbiz old timers believed any publicity was good publicity. Song-and-dance man George M. Cohan once famously bragged, “I don’t care what you say about me, as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right.” Brad Pitt is a pretty easy name to spell and the press has been using it a lot lately but will the news surrounding his break up with Angelina Jolie and subsequent stories of FBI investigations (no charges were ever filed) have any effect on the box office appeal of his new movie “Allied.”
Casablanca, 1942. Pitt plays Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan, a deadly spy paired with French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard). They are to pose as husband and wife, infiltrate a high level Nazi gathering and assassinate the German ambassador. “Odds of surviving are 60 to 40%,” he says, “against.” They survive (not a spoiler: if they didn’t make it there’d be no movie), fall in love and are soon sharing the same next of kin in London as Max takes on a less rigorous and much safer desk job. Despite Max’s boss’s (Jared Harris) warning that “marriage made in the field don’t work,” the couple settle in, the very model of a nuclear family until a high ranking official (Simon McBurney), who calls himself “a rat catcher,” confronts Max with the words, “We believe your wife is a German spy.”
Pitt and Cotillard like they just walked out a 1942 issue of Silver Screen magazine. Add to that high end period details in the costumes and sets and you have a handsome movie, almost as good-looking as its two leads. That being said, it’s a shame the first hour doesn’t have the pop it needs to really make us care about the characters when the story swerves from wartime romance to personal espionage thriller.
Director Robert Zemeckis keep things interesting with several memorable action scenes. He may be making a war film that frequently feels like a homage to the classic movies of yore but he’s done it with a modern flair, including rougher language and sexuality. Marianne giving birth on a London street as bombs drop around her has the melodrama of an old time picture but a contemporary sensibility.
Anchoring all this beauty are strong performances from Pitt and Cotillard.
At its heart “Allied” a love story despite the bullets and bombs. Pitt plays Max as a stoic but lethal—watch him choke someone to death then shove a biscuit down his throat to make it look like and accident—but most importantly, he’s a man in love. When he is told his wife may be a spy he says, “It’ll be OK because it’s not true,” but the moments of self doubt that wash across his face tell the real story. In his third war flick (following “Inglourious Basterds” and “Fury”) he’s torn between love and duty and Pitt infuses the performance with an appropriate amount of pathos.
Cotillard has the less flashy role, particularly in the second half but gives this femme fatale a real live beating heart that elevates her from stereotype to thoroughly current and exciting character.
“Allied” is really two movies—a “Casablanca” style romance and a spy thriller—bound together by Zemeckis’s adherence to classic filmmaking and the love story that provides the heart.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s four big releases, “Now You See Me 2,” the Cos Play freak-out “Warcraft,” the great Greta Gerwig’s “Maggie’s Plan,” and the spooky atmosphere of “The Conjuring 2.”
Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Marcia MacMillan chat up the weekend’s big releases, the magically delicious “Now You See Me 2,” the Cos Play freak-out “Warcraft,” Greta Gerwig’s marvelous “Maggie’s Plan,” and the spooky atmosphere of “The Conjuring 2.”
Three years ago “Now You See Me” played like “Ocean’s Eleven” reimagined by Penn and Teller. A magical heist movie, it introduced a prestidigitation collective known as The Four Horsemen—Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher (replaced by Lizzy Caplan in this sequel), Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco—who outsmarted the FBI and Interpol with some highly focused hocus pocus. The tricksters stole from the rich to give to the poor—the poor people who paid premium prices to see their shows.
When asked how any of this could have happened Interpol agent Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent) says, “Some things are best left unexplained.”
Also left unexplained is how a star-studded but modest hit like “Now You See Me” spawned a sequel three years after it briefly played in theatres.
The new film, “Now You See Me 2,” begins one year after the last one ended with the Four Horsemen staging a comeback. This time, however, the trick backfires and the magicians are forced to escape, fleeing from one side of the world to the other via a giant chute.
New York to China in under a minute. “This makes no sense,” says J. Daniel Atlas (Eisenberg) upon arrival in China. Damn right. It’s that kind of movie. Buy into that and the rest of the movie’s twists and turns will seem… if not quite believable than a little less preposterous. The world’s greatest magicians have just become the object of someone else’s magic trick.
In Macau, the Vegas of China, the mysterious tech genius Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe)—imagine Harry Potter with a James Bond villain vibe—forces them to use their skills to pull off a seemingly impossible heist, the theft of “the stick,” a device able to hack any computer on earth. Using misdirection, hypnotism, showmanship and sleight-of-hand—coupled with some good old-fashioned CGI movie magic—the Horsemen must pull off their greatest trick—exposing Mabry.
“Now You See Me 2” has a serious case of the sillies but luckily it embraces its silliness. Revels in it, even. For instance Caplan’s character Lula is best known for a previously unheard of magic trick, pulling a hat out of a rabbit. Make sense? Nope, but in “Now You See Me 2’s” world it doesn’t have to.
It all makes sense in a Harry Houdini misdirected kind of way, but don’t worry if the labyrinthine plot loses you here and there. Every few minutes one of the characters explains what’s just happened, or what is about to happen. Even though magicians aren’t supposed to tell their secrets the Horsemen can’t seem to stop giving away the movie’s riddles. There’s way too much exposition but by and large the mix of action, intrigue and magic is a fun diversion.
Richard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn,” the Seth Rogen Christmas comedy “The Night Before” and the Julia Roberts thriller “Secret in Their Eyes.”
‘Tis the season to be heart warming. In the coming weeks the movies will pull out the tinsel and sentiment in an effort to give you the Yuletide feel-goods.
“The Night Before” is not one of those movies. Sure, it’s filled with the spirit of Christmas past, present and future, love and other familiar themes, but this Seth Rogen movie also puts the X in Xmas.
The story begins fourteen years ago with the deaths of Ethan’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) parents. Alone and sad on Christmas Eve, his best friends Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) rally around him, beginning a December 24th tradition involving karaoke, Chinese food, playing the giant piano at FAO Schwartz and, because this is a Seth Rogen movie, lots of drinking and drugs.
Isaac and Chris are the only family Ethan has, but as the years pass the guys grow apart. Today Isaac is a lawyer with a wife (Jillian Bell) and a baby on the way. Chris is a superstar athlete while Ethan is still struggling. Recently dumped by his girlfriend (Lizzy Caplan) he picks up catering gigs (dressed as an Elf) as he tries to get gigs for his band. The guys plan one last Christmas Eve together and when they score tickets for the best party in NYC, the Nutcracker Ball, the night is poised to become one for the ages.
“The Night Before” is profane and probably sacrilegious but it’s also the funniest and in its own foul-mouthed way, sweetest Christmas movie of recent memory. It’s a fairy tale of sorts that borrows heavily from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” but forges its own path. It believes in all the usual Christmas clichés, but updates them with outrageous antics that some will find hilarious while others may find extreme. Either way, the one thing that is not subjective is the spirit of kindness that manages to peak through, past the swearing babies and drunken, brawling Santas.
The three leads are likeable, funny and keep things flowing nicely but it is Michael Shannon in an extended cameo as a drug dealer whose weed provides “surprisingly accurate visions of the future” who steals the show. Surreal and slightly menacing, he’s Clarence Odbody for a new generation.
“The Night Before” could become a beloved Christmas classic… if Justin Trudeau finally makes marijuana legal in Canada. It’s a stoner comedy that is nuttier than Grandma’s fruitcake but just as sweet.