Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Goode’

THE KING’S MAN: 2 ½ STARS. “feels like three movies spliced-and-diced into one.”

In the movies The Kingsmen are a secret spy organization whose members have manners that would make Henry Higgins proud and gadgets that James Bond would envy. They’ve been the subject of two movies, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” and now, three movies into director Matthew Vaughn’s spy franchise comes an origin story that takes us back to the early part of the 20th century and the confusing beginnings of these modern-day knights.

“The King’s Man,” now playing in theatres, begins with a tragedy that makes the wealthy and powerful Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) reject the Colonialism and violence that is the bedrock of his family’s fortune. He questions why he was killing people who were trying to protect their own land. “With every man I killed,” he said, “I killed a piece of myself.”

Meanwhile, as World War I approaches, an assembly of the world’s most despicable tyrants and villains, working for an evil mastermind with plans for world domination, are hatching a plan that could lead to genocide.

With the lives of millions at stake, and his son Conrad (Harris Dickinson) off to war, the Duke realizes he can’t rely on politicians to do the right thing. In an effort to save the world, he abandons his pacifist ways. With the help of his most trusted colleagues, swordsman Shola (Djimon Hounsou) and sharp shooter Polly (Gemma Arterton), he goes into the fray and sews the seeds for the formation of The Kingsmen, an organization that uses violence to attain peace.

The first two Kingsmen movies were overstuffed, but had a certain lightness of touch. Unfortunately, “The King’s Man” lands with a thud. A mix of fact (well, almost true stuff) and fiction—real life characters like Rasputin, the mad Russian monk (Rhys Ifans) are woven into the fanciful story—the movie is all over the place. It’s a spy story, a tale of duty, a slapstick comedy, an action film, a fractured fairy tale of world events.

Some of the action scenes are quite fun and Ifans eats so much scenery it feels like he’ll never go hungry again, but the story takes far too long to get going.

“The King’s Man” feels as though it is splintering off in all directions, like it’s three movies spliced-and-diced into one, bloated, messy sequel-ready story.


Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” an awkward wedding night in “On Chesil Beach” starring Saoirse Ronan, “Birthmarked” with Toni Collette and Mathew Goode and a documentary on one of fashion’s leading figures, “The Gospel According to Andre.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

BIRTHMARKED: 1 STAR. “The use of a narrator is weak dramaturgy.”

A science experiment with real world repercussions is at the heart of “Birthmarked,” a new comedy starring Toni Collette and Matthew Goode.

The action in the film begins with a simple, timeless question, “Could we have been anyone other than who we are?” Married scientists Ben (Goode) and Catherine (Collette) attempt to answer the question by staging a social experiment that they hope will once and for all determine what is more important in shaping young lives, nature or nurture.

In a remote cabin under very controlled circumstances Ben and Catherine, with the help of sex-starved Russian assistant Samsonov (Andreas Apergis), condition their kids to defy expectations. Their son Luke (Jordan Poole), their biological child is be raised as an artist. Two adopted children, daughter Maya (Megan O’Kelly), from a “long line of dimwitted people,” is trained as an intellectual while son Maurice (Anton Gillis-Adelman), adopted from a family with angry, aggressive ancestors, is taught the ways of peace and love. The artist. The brain. The pacifist. “No one is a prisoner of their genetic heritage,” says Ben, who “teaches” his kids unorthodox classes like Stimulated Self Expression.

Their carefully documented experiment takes a turn when their patron (Michael Smiley) demands results. “Remember our deal,” he says. “If this fails you owe me every cent I put into this.”

“Birthmarked” has the kind of low-key quirk that Wes Anderson has mastered. Unfortunately it eludes Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais. Example: “The use of a narrator is weak dramaturgy,” Ben says by way of criticism of his son’s play, in a movie with loads of narration.

You can imagine “Birthmarked” being given a freshening up by someone who looks past the character’s idiosyncrasies instead of embracing them. A little less cleverness might have left room for whatever humanity these characters possess. As it is the film never lifts off because Ben, Catherine and Company don’t feel like real people. They feel like characters thrown into an odd situation and not like people living in, and dealing with, a strange state of affairs.


screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-3-57-41-pmRichard 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.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-10-40-15-amRichard 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.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

ALLIED: 3 ½ STARS. “despite the bullets and bombs this is a love story.”

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-9-04-40-amShowbiz 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.

SELF/LESS: 2 STARS. “the drama flops around, unable to take hold.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 3.38.33 PM“Self/less,” a new sci fi thriller starring Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds, asks a simple question. What could geniuses like Edison, Einstein or Steve Jobs have done with another fifty years?

The story begins with New York real estate mogul Damian (Kingsley) living out his last days. He’s been enormously successful but not even his great wealth can stop the cancer that is eating him from inside. Or can it? A shadowy figure named Dr. Albright (Matthew Goode) sees him as a candidate for an expensive and exclusive process known as shedding—changing an old worn out body for a new one. The new bodies are grown in a lab and should provide decades more life for the intelligence and personality of the patients. On other words, one day you look like Ben Kingsley and after a short nap you wake up looking like Ryan Reynolds.

Along with the new body comes a new identity and a vow of secrecy. You have your old personality but a new life.

What could possibly go wrong?

There are some side effects. Hallucinations, which, it turns out are echoes from the new body’s former life. (MILD SPOILER) The carcasses aren’t test tube babies but bodies harvested from living donors. Damian is having flashbacks to a former life and his investigation leads to a large conspiracy that threatens not only his new life but the lives of everyone he knows.

“Self/less” is the kind of movie where the main character says things like, “I know you don’t have any reason to… but you have to trust me right now.” It’s the kind of standard thriller scripting that prevents “Self/less” from being a truly thought provoking story about identity and the ethics of playing God. Instead it’s a by-the-numbers psychological thriller that never gets more than skin deep.

Reynolds doesn’t disappear into the role. He’s not Damien, he’s not his host body, he’s Reynolds. Charming, yes, good looking yes, but never convincing as a man who feels trapped inside another person’s body. Because the center of the film doesn’t hold the rest of the drama flops around, unable to take hold.

“Self/less” is a handsomely shot movie—director Tarsem Singh also made the extraordinary looking “The Cell”—but suffers from a generic approach.


Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.19.10 AMRichard’s “Canada AM” film reviews for “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” “The Imitation Game,” “Top Five” and “Advanced Style.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

THE IMITATION GAME: 4 ½ STARS. “peels back the layers of Turing’s enigmatic life.”

imageNear the beginning of “The Imitation Game,” a handsome new bio pic from director Morten Tyldum, a policeman says, “I think Alan Turing is hiding something.”

He’s referring to the fact behind a break in at Turing’s home, but that remark turns out to be the biggest understatement not only of this movie, but perhaps of any movie this year.

Benedict Cumberbatch is Turing, a Cambridge mathematician who volunteers to help break the German’s most devastating weapon of war, the Enigma machine. “I like puzzles,” he says, “and the enigma is the most difficult puzzle in the world.” Called “the crooked hand of death itself,” it was a coding machine, thought to be unbreakable, that conveyed messages about every attack, every bombing run and every U-boat attack. The English tried for years to find the secret if the machine, but it wasn’t until Turing and his team—Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech and Keira Knightley—built a computer capable of decoding the Enigma’s missives that the war turned in favor of the good guys. It was a top-secret operation, classified for more than fifty years, but that wasn’t Turing’s only secret. Gay at a time when homosexuality was illegal, punishable by jail or chemical castration, he was forced to live a world of secrets, both personal and professional.

“The Imitation Game” is a story of defeat in triumph. Turing’s work marked a turning point in the war but the veil of secrecy denied him the acclaim that should accompanied his good work.

Cumberbatch seems to be making a career of playing misunderstood geniuses–WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Sherlock Holmes–and really embodies the quirks and quandaries of this man who seems ill equipped to deal with life outside of a math textbook. In a moment of anger Teresa (Knightley) calls him a “fragile narcissist” but the truth, as Cumberbatch plays it is more complex. He’s not fragile in the least. Throughout his life he makes difficult decisions, at boarding school, in relationships and later when he discovers the secret to Enigma but has to make the decision to allow a British convoy die rather than use information that would tip the Germans off that their machine had been compromised. Fragile he was not. A narcissist, perhaps, but at least he seems aware of it. “Mother says I can be off putting sometimes,” he says, “because I am the best mathematician in the world.”

Either way, as another character says, “I’ll give you a quid if you can find a more insufferable sod.”

That may be so, but in Cumberbatch’s hands he’s a fascinating character.

Supporting cast and period production values are top notch, but it’s Cumberbatch who excels, peeling back the layers of Turing’s enigmatic life.