I appear on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Pauline Chan to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the return of two highly anticipated series, “Succession” and ” Yellowjackets” on HBO and Crave, and, in theatres, the bloodthirsty ballet of “John Wick” Chapter 4.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about “M.C. Escher on an acid trip” experience of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the feel-good flick “Peace by Chocolate,” the World War II thriller “Operation Mincemeat” and the latest Liam Neeson thriller “Memory.”
Richard joins CTV NewsChannel anchor Jennifer Burke to talk about the trippy “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the feel-good flick “Peace by Chocolate,” the stranger-than-fiction World War II thriller “Operation Mincemeat” and “Memory,” the latest from Liam Neeson.
Richard sits in on the CKTB Niagara in the Morning morning show with host Tim Denis to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the feel-good flick “Peace by Chocolate” and the World War II thriller “Operation Mincemeat.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the “M.C. Escher on an acid trip” experience of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the feel-good flick “Peace by Chocolate” and the World War II thriller “Operation Mincemeat.”
Based on a British Second World War deception operation to camouflage the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily, “Operation Mincemeat,” now playing in theatres, moving to Netflix on May 11, is an entertaining retelling of a little-known plan to break Hitler’s grasp on Europe.
Based on historical records, the movie details a plan so outlandish it sounds as though it sprung from the fanciful mind of a screenwriter. That the plan was, in part, hatched by a young Ian Fleming (Johnny Flynn), who would later go on to create the outlandish 007 spy stories, would seem to be another flight of the imagination, but even that flourish is based on fact.
The plan, nicknamed Operation Mincemeat, involved tricking Hitler into believing the Allies planned to invade Greece, not Sicily. But how to pull it off? QC-turned-Lieutenant-Commander Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) and MI5 agent Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen) marshal an audacious disinformation plan to drop a dead man off the coast of Spain, where the Nazi spy chain begins. In the pockets of the corpse’s uniform are “wallet litter,” faked love letters, military ID etc. In his case are “classified” military correspondence indicating the Allies were about to invade Greece. If that information falls into German hands and distracts them, it will allow a full-scale Allied invasion of Sicily.
“Operation Mincemeat” is a spirited recreation of the meticulous planning that went into the scheme to fool the Fuhrer. Director John Madden finds the suspense, the espionage and even the romance in the situation. The first two elements work well, creating a forward momentum that builds excitement as the running time ticks by. The romance between Montagu and Jean Leslie, played by Kelly Macdonald, is less convincing and feels wedged in.
Better are the comedic aspects. While some of the dealings with the dead man evoke memories of “Weekend at Bernie’s,” most of the laughs come from the absurdity of the situation, and feel organic to the story.
A welcome addition to the stranger-than-fiction genre, “Operation Mincemeat” is a well-appointed, well-crafted period piece that avoids the stoicism of other war time espionage thrillers.
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 Shia LeBeouf’s semi-autobiographical story “Honey Boy,” the eco-doc “Spaceship Earth,” the period dramedy “Emma,” the ripped-from-the-headlines “The Assistant,” the family drama “Ordinary Love,” the horror comedy “Extra ordinary,” the ugly divorce proceedings of “Hope Gap” and the neo-realist look at the gig economy “Sorry We Missed You.”
She is the invisible woman. The assistant to a high-flying New York movie mogul, Jane (Julia Garner) floats around the office, silently collating papers, cleaning up mysterious stains from her boss’s casting couch—“Never sit on the couch,” her co-workers joke—wordlessly doing the jobs nobody else will do. An aspiring filmmaker with hopes of one day producing her own movies she sees the job, low level as it is, as a stepping stone.
When her boss flies in a young, pretty waitress (Kristine Froseth) he met at the Sundance Film Festival to work in his office Jane suspects it is a #MeToo situation in the making. Reporting her feelings to HR in hopes of protecting the new naive hire she is instead reminded of how power works. “I can see you have what it takes to produce,” says the appropriately named HR guy Wilcock (“Succession’s” Matthew Macfadyen). “Why are you trying to throw it all away?”
That harrowing scene lies at the heart of “The Assistant,” now on VOD. A timely study of the systemic mistreatment of vulnerable and defenceless women, Jane’s story is an account of the many slights and indignities suffered by subordinates to power.
“The Assistant” is a quiet movie. Much of the dialogue comes from Jane’s conversations with unseen limo drivers or her boss. We see her limited interaction with co-workers, but mostly we see the day-to-day drudgery that fills her hours. She arrives before dawn, stays well into the night and is treated like she should feel lucky to be there. Director Kitty Green keeps the focus tight, allowing the viewer to feel the soul-crushing drudgery of Jane’s job. She is invisible, a presence simply to absorb her boss’s bad temper and get lunch for the senor staffers.
Green never strays from Jane. We don’t meet the head honcho or learn about anyone’s backstory. It’s not that kind of movie. Instead it is a document of the degradations and power dynamic that are an accepted part of the job. The film’s chattiest scene, between Jane and HR’s Wilcock, is quiet but shattering in its impact. His smugness is the very attitude that enabled the very abuse that Harvey Weinstein is facing trial for today. The casual nature of Wilcock dismissiveness is chilling, punctuated by one last parting shot. On her way out of their meeting he ‘reassuringly’ adds, “You don’t have anything to worry about. You’re not his type.”
“The Assistant” is anchored by a subtle yet devastating performance from Garner. The hard-edged bluster she brings to her character on “Ozark” is missing, replaced by anxiety as she realizes the extent of the exploitation happening around her. It’s quiet, restrained and heartbreaking to watch how she is beaten down.
Based on hundreds of interviews with real-life assistants, this is more than just a movie, it is a timely document of abuse of power and complicity.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the wild “Birds of Prey,” the #MeToo drama “The Assistant” and the giddily gory “Come to Daddy.”