Richard sits in with Marcia McMillan to have a look at the continuing adventures of the USS Enterprise “Star Trek Beyond,” the family-friendly “Ice Age: Collision Course,” Edina and Patsy’s drunken adventures in “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” and the ‘are you afraid of the dark’ movie, “Lights Out.”
An outer space acorn adventure begins the earthbound struggle for survival in “Ice Age: Collision Course,” the fifth instalment in the popular animated series.
Fans of the franchise will recognize Scrat (Chris Wedge), the dogged squirrel whose endless pursuit of an acorn is at the heart of each of the movies. He is the “Ice Age’s” equivalent of Wile E. Coyote, a lovable but psychics defying acorn hunter often humiliated but never daunted in his quest for the elusive nut. This time his journey leads him to deep space where he puts a series of event in motion that endangers the lives of Manny and Ellie, the Wooly Mammoth couple voiced by Ray Romano and Queen Latifah, macho tiger Diego (Denis Leary), the annoyingly unlucky sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo) and the rest of the gang.
On earth the mammals are preparing to celebrate Manny and Ellie’s anniversary. All is going well except that Manny forgot to get Ellie a gift. Then, when the sky fills with beautiful colours it looks like Manny has arranged a fireworks display for his bride. In fact, the well-timed meteor shower that got Manny out of an anniversary pickle will lead to other world changing problems for he and his friends. “Manny’s love is killing us,” squeals opossum Crash (Seann William Scott). Enter Buck (Simon Pegg), a one-eyed weasel and a dinosaur hunter (“You may be Jurassic,” he sings to the dinosaurs in a Gilbert and Sullivan inspired tune, “but I’m fantastic.”), who has a plan to go toward the “planet killing space rock” rather than running away from it. “I know it sounds a sub-optional,” he says, “but we can change our fate.”
Mixed in with this story of survival are Peaches’s (Keke Palmer) upcoming nuptials, hockey lessons, a dance number and even a science lesson from Neil Degrasse Tyson. Each of these digressions from the main story does little more than bulk out the running time to a feature length of 94 minutes.
Like the other movies in the series “Ice Age: Collision Course” is less concerned with telling a story as it is with coming up with premises they can populate with characters that can be spun off into videogames and toys. Episodic and disjointed, there is none of the elegance of Pixar’s storytelling, just one event loosely connected with the one before it, after another. The result is a movie with few laughs and too many subplots masquerading as a story.
The best thing in the movie is Scrat who lives in perpetual desperation, always hankering for an acorn to call his own. He’s a classic cartoon creation, an elastic faced throwback to the Looney Tunes era. If they make another one of these let’s have more of him please, and less of the other mammoth bores that fill the screen.
It might be time to put the “Ice Age” movies on ice.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s big releases, Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” the Tom Hanks dramedy “A Hologram for The King” and Sally Field in “Hello, My Name is Doris.”
Richard and “Canada AM” host Marci Ien talk about the weekend’s big releases, the pomp and circumstance of “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” the Tom Hanks dramedy “A Hologram for The King,” Sally Field in “Hello, My Name is Doris” and the sexy sax sounds of “The Devil’s Horn.”
The title character of “Hello, My Name is Doris” is an unmarried woman of a certain age left alone when her elderly mother dies. It sounds depressing but a wonderful performance from Sally Field brings both comedy and heartache to the film.
Doris lives in Staten Island in the home she grew up in and shared with her mother until she passed away. A job as an accountant in “the city” keeps her busy, but she is lonely, surrounded by mounds of stuff she and her mother hoarded over the years, loved only by her pet cat and best friend Roz (Tyne Daly).
When Doris meets John Fremont (Max Greenfield), a new hire at her company, she is immediately smitten despite the several decades difference in their ages. She moons over him, awkward and afraid, but with the words of a self help guru echoing in her ears—“Don’t ask Why me, ask Why not me?”—she courts him, i.e. stalks him on the internet. When she goes to a concert by one of his favourite artists they hit it off… but only as friends. The quirky Doris is a hit with John’s hipster pals but it turns out John has a girlfriend (Beth Behrs), dive bombing Doris’s hope of getting closer to her work crush.
“Hello, My Name is Doris” is a slight movie, but much funnier than you might imagine given the subject matter. It’s a showcase for Sally Field’s loosest performance in years. Whether she is frozen, lost in the reverie, or dancing to electropop for the first time, she delivers a fine comedic performance. Simmering under the comedy, however, is subtly rendered heartbreak. She’s a woman who feels life passed her by while taking care of her mother and a cloud of sadness and disappointment hangs over her.
Will Doris’s life plan set her on a path to disappointment and rejection or will this be an update of “Harold and Maude”? No spoilers here but suffice to say what “Hello, My Name is Doris” lacks in twists and turns it makes up for with inventive, likeable performances, particularly from Field and co-star Daly.
Early on in the film John says, “I like you Doris.” I predict by the end of the film you will too.
“You know what this is like?” asks Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) in the new dramedy “About Alex.” “It’s like one of those 80s movies with a big group of people.”
Bang on Sarah. In fact, it’s exactly like ”The Big Chill” with new names and faces.
The movie begins with the title character Alex (Jason Ritter) soaking in a tub, texting a Romeo & Juliet quote– “ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.”—to his friends before taking a razor blade to his wrists. The news of his suicide attempt quickly spread to his closest, although mostly estranged, friends from college.
Coming together in an upstate New York house to support and comfort their old friend each brings with them their own issues.
Sarah is insecure, stuck living in the past. Ben and Siri (Nate Parker and Maggie Grace) have been together for years, but may be torn apart by job opportunities on opposite coasts, while Isaac’s (Max Minghella) young girlfriend Kate (Jane Levy) is an unwelcome newcomer in this group while Josh’s (Max Greenfield) abrasiveness is the sand in the Vaseline that opens old wounds.
“About Alex” leans heavily on “The Big Chill” and similar college-reunion movies for its basic structure, but ups the navel-gazing quotient. These aren’t the self-obsessed Boomers of yesteryear, they’re the self-reflective Millennials of today. Faced with uncertain futures and an unsettled present. Not too different from their cinematic predecessors, but their reactions to their situation isn’t formed by the turbulent 1960s or the Vietnam War but by social media filtered through a quarter-life crisis.
Much of cultural the substance of “After Alex” is keenly observed by the engaging cast–“[People] don’t talk about anything [today], says Josh. “They just reference things. ‘I had a great weekend. I went to this wedding. It was a lot like Wedding Crashers, but meets Memento.”—but as good as the performances are, by the end of the film the story descends into melodrama which underscores the overall unoriginality of the script.
Jason Ritter, son of the late John Ritter and star of the new film About Alex, doesn’t call himself a method actor, but he used some tricks to prepare for his latest role.
“There are certain times when I try to help myself get into a mindset by trying to create circumstances around me that mimic certain feelings,” said the 34-year-old actor.
The action in About Alex begins with the drained looking titular character (Ritter), feeling cut off from his closest friends, sending a farewell tweet before attempting suicide.
“I felt like Alex might have spent some sleepless nights, haunted and alone, so I spent a lot of time just wandering around my house. I made myself coffees and tried to stay up all night. Basically not giving my brain a chance to rest. It was just about transferring that over into a more extreme version, helping me get into a mindset of someone who doesn’t see any other solution and who wants the pain to end.”
The actor, who has a recurring role on the show Parenthood, says, “it would have felt a little bit strange to me if I had gotten a great night sleep, woken up, had a big breakfast and then had to jump into the scene. I guess I don’t trust myself enough to be able to jump straight into something that heavy.”
The movie takes on a Big Chill vibe as Alex’s best friends — played by Parks and Rec’s Aubrey Plaza, Maggie Grace of Lost, Max Minghella, Non-Stop’s Nate Parker and The New Girl’s Max Greenfield — gather at an upstate New York home to support him.
“I basically fell in love with every single one of the actors there,” says Ritter, who used the remote shooting location as another chance to get into his character’s head.
“We all really created friendships on that set but then they would all go away every weekend,” he says. “They’d go back to the city and see family and friends or hangout and I would just stay up there and really feel their absence. It was like a microcosm of what it would feel like to be Alex. He feels, even though it’s not true, that he’s been abandoned by his close friends.”
That desertion, in part, comes from social media. Alex’s cries for help via twitter “get lost in the sea of tweets,” so Ritter hopes people walk away from the film, “feeling like, ‘You know who I should call right now? This person.’ Call, don’t tweet.”