Richard and CTV NewsChannel anchor Andrea Bain talk about the latest movies coming to VOD and streaming services, including the new Spike Lee Vietnam epic “Da 5 Bloods,” the Pete Davidson semi-autobiographical story “The King of Staten Island” and the latest from Disney+, “Artemis Fowl.”
Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch during the pandemic including Pete Davidson’s semi-autobiographical “The King of Staten Island,” the AMC game show scandal series “Quiz” and the latest from Disney+, “Artemis Fowl.”
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 new Spike Lee joint “Da 5 Bloods,” the Pete Davidson semi-autobiographical story “The King of Staten Island,” the absurdist dramedy “It Must Be Heaven” and the latest from Disney+ “Artemis Fowl.”
For six seasons on “Saturday Night Live” Pete Davidson has tempered humour with acute candor to forge a deeply personal kind of comedy based on his life experiences. His new film, “The King of Staten Island,” now on VOD, is his most self-confessional work yet.
Davidson plays Scott, a semi-fictional version of himself, as a directionless twenty-four-year old still living with his widowed mother Margie (Marisa Tomei). When he was seven his firefighter father was killed in the line of duty, leaving a wound on Scott’s psyche that has never healed. He’s so skinny and pale with such large dark circles under his eyes his on-and-off girlfriend Kelsey (Bel Powley) says he “looks like an anorexic panda,” and his patchwork of random tattoos leads a friend to call him a “human sketchbook.” He dreams of one day opening up a restaurant-slash-tattoo parlor but spends most of his time smoking weed and hanging out with his childhood pals.
When Margie becomes romantically involved with Ray (Bill Burr), a firefighter with a hair trigger temper, it forces Scott to confront the past tragedy in his life so he can move forward.
“The King of Staten Island” is an imagined version of Davidson’s life if he hadn’t found comedy and become famous. His father Scott was a member of Ladder Company 118 in Brooklyn Heights and died responding to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That loss has become the bedrock of his work and provides the emotional backbone of this film.
Director Judd Apatow is no stranger to making films with big hearts and dirty mouths. Like his previous films, like “Trainwreck,” he frontloads the story with outrageous laughs that slowly give way to a funny but more restrained resolution.
Along the way Davidson delivers a performance that lifts his patented millennial slacker routine to a new level. He’s a natural performer, charismatic and likeable, with a deep well of emotion that lies just beneath his pothead exterior. He’s a perfect vessel to tell a story about someone experiencing profound loss.
The supporting cast is terrific. Burr embodies the ragehead with a heart of gold, drifting through life while Tomei has an interesting arc as a woman who lets go of the past to find a new future.
The premise of “The King of Staten Island” doesn’t sound like the stuff of comedy but this story of how tragedy effects a family balances humour with heartfelt and humanistic observations in a very winning way.
Richard has a look at Jack “o’-lantern” Black in “The House With A Clock In Its Walls,” the birth of Trump in “Fahrenheit 11/9,” and the tear-inducing (but not for the reason you think) “Life Itself” and the fist-in-your-face stylings of “Assassination Nation” with the CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
You can’t say you weren’t warned. “Assassination Nation,” the new film from writer-director Sam Levinson, comes complete with a long list of trigger warnings. Fragile Male Egos. Torture. Swearing. The list goes on. All, and more, are contained within this lurid look at life in a small town vexed by a computer hacker.
When Salem, Massachusetts high school seniors Lily (Odessa Young), Sarah (Suki Waterhouse), Bex (Hari Nef) and Em (Abra) aren’t in class they spend their time partying, chasing boys, sexting and sending thousands of Facebook, Instagram and twitter posts. When a computer hacker reveals the sexual peccadilloes of their town’s mayor and school principal it wakes up the sleepy suburb’s townsfolk. When the hacking continues, uncovering Lily’s cyber affair with an older man, and the deepest darkest secrets of many others, the town’s men band together to find the hacker. “The media is complicit,” they say. “People are laughing at us. We can no longer be helpless. If the government can’t save our law and order, we will do it ourselves!”
Most every hot button woes of modern life are either literally or metaphorically covered in “Assassination Nation.” Toxic masculinity, privacy concerns, desensitization to violence, mob rule, homophobia and racism for a start. It’s a Pandora’s Box of social ills, told through the prism of a satire that feels both exploitative and timely.
As the story goes on, shifting from edgy teen sex comedy to a manifesto of female empowerment it echoes back to the events of 300 years previous when rumours led to the demise of twenty of the town’s women. Blamed for their sexuality and treated as objects, the four women at the center of the story react against the righteousness and hypocrisy they say has become their town’s sickness.
“Assassination Nation” is in-your-face stuff, a movie that is part slasher flick, part call for revolution. “You may kill us,” says Lily after all hell has broken loose, “but you can’t kill us all.” It’s not always pleasant but it is never less than interesting.