Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the Netflix animated movie “The Willoughbys,” the Netflix doc “Circus of Books,” the high school crime drama “Selah and the Spades” and a pair of big screen movies coming to VOD, “Bad Boys for Life” and “Run This Town.”
Almost seventeen years after “Bad Boys II” Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith), are longer in the tooth but still ready for some over-the-top action in a one-last-job movie. “I’ve never trusted anybody but you,” says Lowery says to Burnett in “Bad Boys for Life.” “I’m asking you, man. Bad Boys, one last time?”
Once “bad boys for life,” the team of Burnett and Lowrey is coming apart at the seams. Middle age and career aspirations have sent the once inseparable team in opposite directions. Burnett, now a grandfather, is one the edge of retirement—”Mike, we got more time behind us than in front,” he says.—while Lowery is still hungry for the adrenaline rush that comes with police work. “I’m going to be running down criminals till I’m a hundred,” he says.
Their lives have led them in different directions but when Armando Armas Tapia (Jacob Scipio), a drug kingpin and son of a man Burnett and Lowery took down years ago, resurfaces looking for vengeance, the two cops put the band back together. “Family is the only thing that matters,” Burnett says to Lowery. “I’m not letting you go on this suicide mission alone.”
“Bad Boys for Life” doesn’t feel so much like a sequel or a reboot as it does a tribute to the Michael Bay films of the o-so-many-years-ago. The patented “Bad Boys” high style feels like nostalgia for the 1990s when movie violence came with dark humor and buddy cop charisma. The story of a vengeful drug dealer is about as deep as a lunch try but directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who have clearly worshiped at the altar of Bay, understand that the success or failure of a “Bad Boys” movie isn’t about the story but the sparks generated by Smith and Lawrence. The pair, now aged 51 and 54 respectively, fall back into their roles effortlessly, having some fun with their middle-aged selves. “Bad boys ain’t really boys anymore.”
One effectively staged scene compares and contrasts the partners and their stages of life. It’s a funny sequence that intercuts Lowery putting on his Ray Bans with a flourish while Burnett struggles to get his reading glasses on his face, etc. It’s a nice light show-me-don’t-tell-me scene that sets up the dynamic between the two.
The wild action scenes that follow tend toward orgiastic videogame style shootouts, particularly the climatic battle, but succeed because the CGI is kept to a minimum and the gunshots are punctuated by Lawrence’s quips.
“Bad Boys for Life” keeps the camera in constant motion, filling the screen with equal parts over-the-top violence and humour, breathing new life into a franchise that was declared dead when George W. Bush was still president.
Richard and CP24 anchor Courtney Heels have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the middle-aged adventures of “Bad Boys for Life,” the animal tales of “Dolittle” and Victor Hugo inspired “Les Misérables.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the pseudo Bayhem of “Bad Boys for Life,” “Dolittle,” the strange adventures of the doctor who can speak to the animals and France’s entry to the Academy Awards “Les Misérables.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Montreal morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the seventeen-years-in-the-making sequel “Bad Boys for Life,” the reboot of a remake “Dolittle” and France’s entry for Best International Picture at the Oscars “Les Misérables.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at the the reunion of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in “Bad Boys for Life,” the talking animals of “Dolittle” and France’s entry into the Academy Awards “Les Misérables.”
Richard sits in on the CJAD Ottawa morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the seventeen-years-in-the-making sequel “Bad Boys for Life,” the reboot of a remake “Dolittle” and France’s entry for Best International Picture at the Oscars “Les Misérables.”
There have been so many animated talking animal movies in the last couple of years that it is getting hard to tell one from another. Remember the one where the animals break out of the New York City zoo and travel back to Africa? Wasn’t that Madagascar? Or was it The Wild? Actually it was both. These movies have become so interchangeable that even the five year olds that make up their target audience must have a sense of déjà vu when they go to the movies.
The latest animated movie to recycle this journey theme is called Open Season, and it is essentially the same story with a few minor tweaks. Martin Lawrence voices Boog, a friendly, spoiled bear who lives in his trainer’s garage. Like the lions in The Wild and Madagascar he’s the pampered king of his urban environment and knows little about nature. He performs in a wildlife show and is perfectly content until a fast-talking deer named Elliot comes along. Elliot, voiced by Ashton Kutcher, shows Boog how to punk the local convenience store, a move that convinces his custodian that he should be returned to the woods. The kind-hearted keeper drops him in the middle of the woods, far from hunters who have declared open season on every living thing in the forest.
Boog is lost without the comforts of home and is determined to make it back to his old way of life, but first he must answer that age-old question, “Does a bear s**t in the woods?” Apparently not if your name is Boog and you’ve been raised in a garage with indoor plumbing. He must also learn to fend for himself and out-smart a psycho hunter who has a vendetta against all furry creatures.
With a story this familiar the movie really needs some exceptional voice work to elevate itself above the others, but few of the voices here are remarkable. Lawrence and Kutcher do good work, as do supporting actors like Scottish comedian Billy Connolly who lays on the brogue as a belligerent squirrel, and Patrick Warburton who lends his distinctive “Puddy” voice to Ian, the vain deer, but most of the voices are quite ordinary, the kind you hear on straight-to-video animated releases.
Open Season is an amiable enough movie, with a few laughs and the kind of life lessons about friendship that have become commonplace in these animated movies, but I left the theatre feeling like I had been there and done that. The similarities to other recent movies are so strong that it takes more than just a couple of new characters doing the same old jokes to maintain interest.
Family functions can be intense at the best of times. A Christmas dinner can turn into a theatre of war over burnt gravy; a family reunion, a battleground of hurt feelings and resentment. Probably no other family event is as highly charged as a funeral. Emotions are heightened and everybody is on edge. Add to that charged atmosphere a boyfriend who has been accidentally dosed with LSD, a gay blackmailer, and a grumpy uncle and you have “Death at a Funeral,” a new all star farce starring Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan.
Based on a 2007 British film of the same name “Death of a Funeral” begins on the day of Aaron (Rock) and Ryan (Martin Lawrence) father’s funeral. Opting for a home funeral, every family member has been invited. They include the crusty uncles Russell and Duncan (Danny Glover and Ron Glass ), a soon to be married couple Elaine and Oscar (Zoe Saldana and James Marsden) and family friends Norman (Tracy Morgan) and Derek (Luke Wilson). Also attending is Frank (Peter Dinklage, reprising his role from the original) an uninvited guest with a secret about Aaron and Ryan’s father.
“Death at a Funeral” is a farce. There are lots of slamming doors, outrageous situations, a mysterious rash, a hallucinating guest and a coffin that seems unable to contain the dead body within. If you don’t like one joke, stay with it, there’ll be fifteen more in the next minute-and-a-half. They come fast and furious and while only about half of them land it’s enough to make “Death at a Funeral” worth a look.
Chris Rock as the centerpiece of all the action. He’s the comedic anchor around which all the action spins but he’s not just the film’s straight man. He sets up and knocks down joke after joke—including one hilarious Screamin’ Jay Hawkins reference—all the while adding some warmth to the rare non-comedic scenes.
Also strong is James Marsden who shows off his comic chops in the unforgiving role as the high guy. It’s a “Reefer Madness” portrayal of someone in the depths of an acid trip—if you want realism rent “Requiem for a Dream”—but it is funny watching him try and interact with the other guests at the funeral while out of his mind.
The rest of the ensemble cast flits in and out of the action with varying degrees of success. If the idea of Tracy Morgan saying, “I’m gonna forget about the poop in my mouth,” amuses you, then his role is successful (if a little less sophisticated than the material he spouts every week on “30 Rock”) and the great Danny Glover (who once played Nelson Mandela) has little to do other than reprise his stuck on a toilet gag from “Lethal Weapon 2.”
Much of “Death at a Funeral” is in very bad taste but despite a hint of homophobia delivers some solid laughs.