Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the Maggie Q revenge thriller “The Protégé,” the Rebecca Hall horror film “The Night House” and the relationship drama written, directed and starring Billie Piper.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Maggie Q revenge thriller “The Protégé,” the Rebecca Hall horror film “The Night House” and the relationship drama written, directed and starring Billie Piper.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the Maggie Q revenge thriller “The Protégé,” the Rebecca Hall horror film “The Night House” and the relationship drama written, directed and starring Billie Piper.
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about the Michael Keaton’s assassin story “The Protégé,” Rebecca Hall’s haunted house horror “The Night House” and the surreal relationship drama “Rare Beasts.”
Richard makes a special cocktail to enjoy while I watch “The Protégé,” a new action thriller, starring Maggie Q, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson. Join me as he has a drink and a think about the movie!
For the second time in as many months Samuel L. Jackson plays a hitman whose family values are as strong, if not stronger, than his instinct to kill. In “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” he found his logical, not biological family. In “The Protégé,” now in theatres, he’s a mentor and father figure to a killer played by Maggie Q.
Q is Anna, one of the world’s most highly trained assassins. She was brought into the life of international intrigue by Moody (Jackson), a blues-guitar playing contract killer. “I’m the big bad wolf who comes to get you,” he says, “when someone on earth decides your time is up.” He rescued her in Vietnam in 1991 after her parents were killed by communist soldiers. “He didn’t save my life,” she says, “he gave me a life.”
When Moody is brutally murdered, Anna loses the one person in her life she can trust. Vowing revenge, she uses her special set of skills to find out who blew away her mentor and father figure. “I’m going to find out who killed my friend,” she says, “and I’m going to end their life and the lives of anyone who stands in my way.”
One of those people standing in her way is Rembrandt (Michael Keaton), a rival assassin who works for some very bad but well-connected people. As the plot thickens, so does the connection between Anna and Rembrandt as her investigation leads her back to where her story began, Vietnam.
“The Protégé” is a glossy revenge flick that covers well-travelled ground. There are exotic locations, elaborate action sequences, complicated alliances and a dark backstory. Richard Wenk’s screenplay hits on a greatest hits of international assassin tropes and director Martin Campbell, best known for directing the 007 comeback film “Casino Royale,” knows how to take advantage of those story elements.
So why does “The Protégé” feel like less than the sum of those parts? Perhaps it’s because the characters don’t elevate the material.
Q is a credible action star, ably handling the kinetic stunts. Jackson brings his brand of effortless cool and Keaton is quirky and mysterious and somewhat cavalier about his chosen profession. “I could put two in the back of your head,” he says after making love to Anna, “and then go make a sandwich.”
Each brings something to the movie, and while Q and Jackson have an easy way about their relationship, the chemistry between Keaton and Q feels forced. An attempt at a fight scene that leads to the bedroom, set to “That Loving Feeling” by Isaac Hayes, falls flat despite the talent on screen.
“The Protégé” aspires to be something bigger than it is. The morality of the business of killing is discussed, generational trauma is hinted at and there is a complicated (and not terribly interesting) conspiracy at play but the movie is at its best when it puts aside its notions of gravitas and concentrates on the primal aspect of the story, Anna’s quest for revenge.
Richard and “CP24 Breakfast” host Pooja Handa have a look at some special streaming opportunities and television shows to watch over the weekend including the nature documentary series “Tiny World” on Apple TV+, the Aaron Sorkin written and directed drama “The Trail of the Chicago 7,” and Rihanna’s music and fashion hybrid “Savage “X” Fenty Show Vol. 2″ on Amazon Prime Video.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the timely period piece “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “On the Rocks,” the re-teaming of Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola, the cerebral sci fi of “Possessor Uncut” and the unusual Gloria Steinem biopic “The Glorias.”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” now playing in theatres, sees Aaron Sorkin return to the courtroom twenty-eight years after he put the words “You can’t handle the truth,” into Jack Nicholson’s mouth. This time around he’s re-enacting one of the most famous trials of the 1960s, using transcripts from the actual proceedings as a basis for the script. There is no one moment as powerful of Nicholson’s “truth” declaration but there is no denying the timeliness of the film’s fifty-two-year-old story.
Here’s the basic story for anyone too young to know the difference between Yippies and Yuppies.
The trial, which was originally the Chicago Eight until Black Panther leader Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) had his case severed from the others, saw 60s counterculture icons Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong) of the Youth International Party (the aforementioned Yippies), and assorted radicals David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), John Froines (Daniel Flaherty), and Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins) charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot stemming from their actions at the anti-Vietnam War protests in Chicago, Illinois, during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Behind the prosecution desk is the young and meticulous Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) acting as assistant to the truculent chief prosecutor Tom Foran (J. C. MacKenzie). On the defense is lawyer William Kunstler (Mark Rylance), a boldfaced name in civil rights litigation. On the bench is Julius Hoffman (Frank Langella), a conservative judge who once presided over an obscenity case against Lenny Bruce.
Those are the players and to a person they deliver solid performances, making the most of Sorkin’s snappy, rapid-fire dialogue. Of the ensemble cast Baron Cohen stands out, handing in a straight dramatic role; there’s no Mankini in sight. He’s too old by half to play the character who once famously urged kids to, “Never trust anyone over thirty,” but maintains the edge that make his comedic characters so memorable.
Sorkin, who also directs, has made a period piece that reverberates for today. A bridge that spans the five decades from the actual events, it’s a bit of history that comments on contemporary hot button topics like protest, civil rights and police brutality. The sight of Seale, the lone African American defendant, bound and gagged at the judge’s order, is a potent reminder of racial injustice in the penal system. Re-enactments of police brutality during the riots and the consequent discussion of who is to blame for the violence, the protestors or the bill club swinging cops could be ripped from today’s headlines.
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” isn’t perfect. Gordon-Levitt’s character is a cypher, a prosecutor who breaks with his colleagues at a crucial moment and Hoffman is played as a pantomime villain, but as a reminder of how history is repeated, it is a compelling watch.