Posts Tagged ‘Natasha Lyonne’

CTV NEWS AT SIX: NEW MOVIES AND TV SHOWS TO CHECK OUT THIS WEEKEND!

Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including Golden Globe winners “The Mauritanian” and “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” and a new coming-of-age movie on VOD “My Salinger Year.”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 37:40)

CFRA IN OTTAWA: THE BILL CARROLL MORNING SHOW MOVIE REVIEWS!

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 Disney’s animated action flick “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Disney+ with Premier Access and theatres), the long awaited sequel “Coming 2 America” (Amazon Prime Video), the biopic “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” (VOD), the legal drama “The Mauritanian” (premium digital and on-demand), the coming-of-age story “My Salinger Year” (VOD) and the look at the war on drugs “Crisis” (on digital and demand).

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY: 4 STARS. “delivers more than a standard biopic.”

“The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” the new film about the turbulent life of jazz singer Billie Holiday from director Lee Daniels and now on digital, is a showcase for its star Andra Day.

Day, in her first leading role, plays Holiday not just as a jazz and swing icon, but also as a

Civil Rights symbol, a woman persecuted by a racist federal government. “Strange Fruit,” her signature song, and musical protest of the lynching of Black Americans, was called a “musical starting gun for this so-called civil rights movement,” by a government office determined to silence her.

Using a framing device of a late career radio interview, hosted by a casually racist journalist (Leslie Jordan), the story quickly moves to flashback to reveal a campaign of terror launched against Lady Day because the feds were uncomfortable with the lyrics to “Strange Fruit.” The song, according to the g-men, is incendiary, a declaration of war, unamerican. “This jazz music is the devil’s work,” says Harry Anslinger (Garrett Hedlund), commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. “That’s why this Holiday’s woman got to be stopped.”

The film follows the dirty tricks used to harass and harness the singer. Her popularity made it near impossible for the government to prevent her from singing, but well aware of her reliance on opioids, Anslinger focus on her drug use.

Based in part on the book “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs” by Johann Hari, “United States Vs. Billie Holiday” isn’t simply a show business biopic. The details of Holiday’s life are well documented and presented, from the troubled relationships and fluid sexuality to the drug use and soul searching that seemed to fuel her transcendent talent. But this is a dual story. Daniels dovetails the story of a troubled life with the governmental interference that made Holiday one of the first victims of the war on drugs.

But of all the relationships seen in the movie, it’s the bond Holiday had with her music that is most revealing. She understood the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics to destroy her went far beyond putting her body in jail, they were trying to take something far more precious from her. “They want me to stop singing what’s in my soul,” she says. Muzzling her voice wasn’t about keeping her quiet, it was about taking what she meant to herself and others away. That “Strange Fruit” is still sung to this day, long after the war on drugs has been declared a failure is a triumph of Holiday’s spirit, even though that may be cold comfort to her fans and community. “Your grandkids will be singing ‘Strange Fruit,’” she says to the agents who harassed her on her deathbed.

Uniformly nice performances support Day in her striking lead debut. Vocally she’s a ringer for the late singer but the performance goes beyond mimicry to unveil the hurt that fueled Holiday’s personal and professional life.

“The United States vs. Billie Holiday” is an ambitious movie that delivers more than a standard biopic.

CTV NEWS AT 11:30: MORE MOVIES AND TV TO STREAM DURING THE PANDEMIC.

Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch during the pandemic including the “O Canada Collection” on Disney+ and two comedies, Jon Stewart’s satire “Irresistible” starring Steve Carell, and Netflix Will Ferrell movie,”Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 23:48)

RICHARD’S WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FROM CP24! FRIDAY JUNE 26, 2020.

Richard and CP24 anchor Leena Latafat have a look at the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including Jon Stewart’s satire “Irresistible” starring Steve Carell, the Netflix comedy with the longest title of the week,”Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,”  the dreary “Exit Plan” and the crime drama “Hammer.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S CTV NEWSCHANNEL WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FOR JUNE 26!

Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Todd Van Der Heyden to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the political satire “Irresistible” starring Steve Carell, the Netflix comedy with the longest title of the week,”Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,”  and the dreary “Exit Plan.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

CFRA IN OTTAWA: THE BILL CARROLL MORNING SHOW MOVIE REVIEWS!

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 political satire “Irresistible” starring Steve Carell, the Netflix comedy with the longest title of the week,”Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” the dreary “Exit Plan” and the father-and-son crime drama “Hammer.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

IRRESISTIBLE: 3 ½ STARS. “equal parts heartfelt and darkly humourous.”

Big time politics invades small town America in “Irresistible,” an election year satire from director Jon Stewart, now available on VOD.

Former “Daily Show” correspondent Steve Carell reteams with his old boss to play Gary Zimmer, a Washington insider and the Democratic National Committee’s top strategist. In the midst of creating a strategy to win votes in America’s Republican heartland—”We need some way to road test a more rural friendly message,” he says.—he’s directed to a YouTube video of retired Marine colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper), giving an impassioned speech in defense of undocumented workers at a townhall meeting in Deerlaken, a small right-wing Wisconsin town. He’s like “John Wayne and tractor had a baby,” says Gary as he concocts a plan to entice Hastings to run for mayor of Deerlaken, giving the Dems a strong presence in a state sea of red. “Colonel Jack Hastings is our key back into the swing state of Wisconsin,” Gary says. “He just doesn’t know it yet.”

The citified Gary takes off his suit and tie, buys some dungarees and jumps on a private jet to Deerlaken to win over the colonel and his daughter (Mackenzie Davis), who is first seen with her arm inserted where the sun don’t shine, giving relief to a constipated cow. Appealing to Hastings’ sense of duty, Gary convinces the Marine to run and fires up the political machine.

Soon Deerlaken is overrun with Democratic operatives—like demographic profilers played by Topher Grace and Natasha Lyonne—but the really race heats up when the Republican National Committee sends in Faith (Rose Byrne), Gary’s nemesis and now campaign manager to Hastings’ rival. “Twenty bucks says I do better with fear than you do with shame,” she says, taunting Gary. Soon the national media takes notice and the mayoral race in Deerlaken becomes one of the most debated elections in the country.

There’s more but that would involve giving away a plot twist and spoilers. Just keep in mind that the word “resist” is tucked away in the film’s title.

“Irresistible” is equal parts heartfelt and darkly humourous. Stewart begins conventionally enough, with the fish out of water story of bigshot Gary in a town of rubes, then slowly calibrates the story to ask, “Who are the real rubes here?” It’s a damning indictment of how political situations are manipulated, how the media allows outright lies on the airwaves and how both Democrats and Republicans are culpable and clueless to the real needs of the people. It doesn’t exactly blaze new ideological ground but the as a reminder of why the political system is twisted and broken, it’s a timely tale.