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.
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.”
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.”
“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.
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the comedy thriller “Game Night” with Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, the romance-in-the-age of instalove, “Every Day” and the berserko “Mom and Dad” with Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nathan Downer have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the comedy thriller “Game Night” with Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, the romance-in-the-age of instalove, “Every Day” and the berserko “Mom and Dad” with Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the comedy thriller “Game Night” with Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, the romance-in-the-age of instalove, “Every Day” and the berserko “Mom and Dad” with Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair.
Based on David Levithan’s New York Times bestseller “Every Day,” the new teenage romance starring Angourie Rice, asks what would it be like to really get inside the head of the person you love?
Rice plays Rhiannon, a 16-year old high school student dating a popular jock named Justin (Justice Smith). He’s a bit oblivious, the kind of guy who thinks a great date involves hanging around his bedroom, eating McDonalds and playing “Legend of Zelda.” One morning, feeling playful, Rhi suggests they skip class and spend the day together. “Is that something we do?“ he asks, before hightailing out of school and into an afternoon of romantic adventure. It is, Rhiannon says, the greatest day of her life.
Unfortunately, the next day, Justin doesn’t remember any of it. He has a vague memory of the fun, like he’s seeing it through a mist, but soon he’s back up to his old tricks, reverting back to the guy he was before their magical date. What’s going on? It seems Justin was simply “inhabited” for twenty-four hours by A, a wandering spirit who invades random bodies, always of the same age and only for 24 hours. It’s “Quantum Leap with a big helping of teenage ennui.
As Rhiannon slowly comes to grips with what’s going on she meets A’s newest incarnation, a teenage girl. “Where is A?” she asks. “He’s here, he’s not here, here.”
Confused yet? It gets foggier when Rhiannon and A, the amorphous spirit, become romantically involved. “Not everyone’s body aligns with their mind,” A says. “I am asking you to give me a chance.” The love is real, regardless of the meat suit the spirit has jumped into. When A lands in the form of Alexander (Owen Teague), a strapping young man, it seems the perfect blend of metaphysical and physical. Enter the melodramatic teen dilemma: How can you love someone whose life is not their own?
“Every Day” takes the long way around to drive home the point that making a spiritual connection with someone is just as important as clicking physically. After a deadly first thirty minutes that could have been from any generic indie teen drama the story picks up once Rhiannon rebounds from Justin to the spirit world but it never fully engages. Director Michael Sucsy embraces the supernatural afterschool special feel of the material, adding in a few playful touches—A spends some time in Rhiannon, modestly being careful not to look down while she’s in the shower—but he also muddies the already murky waters with a subplot about Rhiannon’s troubled father (Michael Cram) and harried mother (an underused Maria Bello). Their story provides more relationship advice—cultivate the ability to except the change in others—but adds little to the overall story.
“Every Day” feels like it skirts around the interesting stuff—the exploration of what it means to be rootless, cut free of gender and family—in favour of playing up the teen dream “instalove” aspects of the tale.
Richard sits in with Marcia McMillan to have a look at the continuing adventures of the USS Enterprise “Star Trek Beyond,” the family-friendly “Ice Age: Collision Course,” Edina and Patsy’s drunken adventures in “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” and the ‘are you afraid of the dark’ movie, “Lights Out.”