Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the new Melissa McCarthy comedy “Life of the Party,” the topsy-turvy love fest “The Seagull” starring Saoirse Ronan and Annette Bening and the gory story of vengeance “Revenge”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the new Melissa McCarthy comedy “Life of the Party,” the topsy-turvy love fest “The Seagull” starring Saoirse Ronan and Annette Bening and the gory story of vengeance “Revenge”
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 new Melissa McCarthy comedy “Life of the Party,” the topsy-turvy love fest “The Seagull” starring Saoirse Ronan and Annette Bening and the gory story of vengeance “Revenge”
An aggressive but damaged comedic persona goes back to school. It worked well when Rodney Dangerfield did it in 1986 but will it work as well a second time? Melissa McCarthy hopes to find out with this week’s release of “Life of the Party.”
The “Bridesmaid” star plays enthusiastic domestic engineer Deanna, devoted wife of Dan (Matt Walsh), mother of senior year university student Maddie (Molly Gordon). When Dan unexpectedly dumps her, abruptly ending their twenty-three year marriage, she takes control of her destiny. “What am I going to do?” she asks. “Take spin classes? Oh no. I don’t want to start a blog.” Instead of any of that it’s back to school for Deanna for the first time since Counting Crows topped the charts.
Enrolled at the same university as her daughter, Deanna blossoms. Embracing life around the quad she discovers everything she missed during her marriage. Her journey of self-discovery includes hanging out with Maddie’s friends and getting friendly with the campus frat boys.
Like “Back to School,” “Life of the Party” isn’t a particularly good movie. The first half is brutal, with so few laughs its hardtop even label it a comedy. The second half is much better but still, scenes end when it feels like they are just getting started or at least like there is one better joke to come. When it really goes for laughs between beyond Seanna’s sentimentality, self-help platitudes and momisms, however, it earns them. A mediation scene is laugh-out-loud, the relationships gel and Maya Rudolph needs to make the jump from supporting roles to the above the title star.
Mostly though, the film features the relentless likability of Melissa McCarthy. I’m not sure she elevates the material (which she co-wrote with her director husband Ben Falcone) but she brings some heart to it and in this story of a mother and daughter, that’s enough.
An exercise in “found footage” handheld camera technique, “Into the Storm’s” story is almost as shaky as its visuals.
Playing like a cross between “Twister,” “Wizard of Oz” and “The Blair Witch Project,” the story is set in Silverton, a small Midwestern American town besieged by tornadoes. In just one twenty-four hour span deadly twisters rip through the town, sending sensible citizens rushing for cover while a storm chasing documentary crew led by director Pete (“Veep’s” Matt Walsh) and meteorologist Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies of “The Walking Dead”) rush headlong into the cyclone to get some up-close-and-personal footage. Meanwhile Gary (Richard Armitage) and son (Nathan Kress) are on the hunt for their son/brother Donnie (Max Deacon) who went missing when the storm started.
Director Steven Quale was the visual effects supervisor on “The Abyss,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “True Lies,” “Titanic” and “Avatar,” so the guy knows how to stage an action scene. It’s the other stuff he has trouble with. When the wind isn’t tearing the town apart it’s as if Quale doesn’t know what to do with the characters or the story.
To kill time between the wild wind storms the characters tell you what is about to happen—“Oh [crap],” says Allison, “it’s headed for the school!”—and talk about shooting anything that movies. “I can’t stop filming or I’ll be fired!” says cameraman Jacob.
Everyone seems to have a camera crazy-glued to their hands, and those who don’t seem to spend their time yelling, “Make sure you keep filming,” to the people who do. In fact, this movie should have been called “Keep Filming,” because it is the film’s mantra.
Mix that with a wooden performance from Richard Armitage that would make Woody Pecker’s mouth water, a series of tornadoes and a Firenado—an idea so silly I imagine the makers of “Sharknado” rejected it as too over the top—and you get a disaster movie that is a disaster of a film.