Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the Viking drama “The Northman,” the surreal Nic Cage homage “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” and the animated heist flick “The Bad Guys.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Graham Richardson to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Viking drama “The Northman,” the surreal Nic Cage homage “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” the animated heist flick “The Bad Guys” and the nostalgic documentary “The Automat.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the Viking drama “The Northman,” the surreal Nic Cage homage “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” and the nostalgic documentary “The Automat.”
Watch Richard review three movies in less time than it takes to sign your name! Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the violent and visceral Viking drama “The Northman,” the surreal Nic Cage movie “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” and the nostalgic documentary “The Automat.”
There is perfect casting and then there is Nicolas Cage, playing a heightened version of himself in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” a meta new action comedy now playing in theatres.
Off screen Cage is a larger-than-life character, an Oscar winner known for his penchant for purchasing dinosaur skulls, tax troubles and wildly uneven cinematic output. He brings the weight of that public persona to this movie, making myth out of his own legend of self-indulgence.
Cage plays Cage as a faded Hollywood prince. Once a box office draw, he’s down on his luck, going broke and in need of a big money gig. He has become the White Claw of serious actors. He’s good, but no one with taste is taking him seriously.
Producers, scared off by his wild-at-heart reputation, give him the Hollywood kiss off. We love you, but are going in a different direction.
Depressed, he decides to leave Hollywood. “I’m done,” he says. “I’m quitting acting. Tell the trades it was a tremendous honour to be part of storytelling and myth-making.”
Before he leaves the life, he gets an offer he can’t refuse. Olive magnate Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal) will pay Cage a million dollars to attend his birthday bash in Mallorca. The actor reluctantly agrees, and soon finds himself drinking and cliff-diving at Javi’s beautiful estate.
Javi is a huge fan, with a collection of cage collectibles. “Is this supposed to be me?” cage asks, gesturing at a statue of himself. “It’s grotesque. I’ll give you twenty thousand for it.”
Turns out the starstruck Javi isn’t what he appears. “Do you know who you’re spending time with?” CIA agent Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) asks Cage. “He’s one of the most ruthless men on the face of the earth.” They think Javi kidnapped the daughter of the president of Catalonia to influence an upcoming election.
Vivian and Agent Martin (Ike Barinholtz) recruit Cage to work undercover on Javi’s estate to get to the bottom of the case. “That little girl doesn’t have anyone,” says Vivian, “and if you leave, I don’t know what will happen to her.”
It’s a chance to do some good, but for Cage, it is also the role of a lifetime.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is an entertaining, oddball movie. Essentially a one joke premise—i.e.: Cage as Cage—it plays with the tropes of many of Cage’s films, but doesn’t play as strictly homage or satire. It’s something else. What, exactly, I’m not quite sure.
It’s almost as if this is Nic Cage’s screw you to the folks who deride him for being a working actor who pumps out two or three movies a year. “I’ve always seen this as a job, as work,” he says, as though he feels bogged down by the weight of the critical appraisal of his artistic choices.
But this isn’t a movie about score settling. It’s a silly action comedy, unabashedly interested in entertaining the audience. It occasionally errs, mistaking familiar references from Cage’s filmography for jokes. It’s that “meme-ification”—the pinpointing of Cage call-backs—of the film’s humour that prevents it from becoming a knee slapper all the way through. There are laugh out loud moments, but there are more moments that feel more Instagram ready than cinematic.
Still, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is a good time, worth the price of admission to see young Cage advising older Cage and commit the most surreal example of actorly self-love ever seen on film.
Richard joins CTV NewsChannel and anchor Lois Lee to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the virtual reality of “The Martrix Resurrection,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and the jukebox musical “Sing 2.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the virtual reality of “The Martrix Resurrection,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and the jukebox musical “Sing 2.”
Can Richard Crouse review three movies in just thirty seconds? Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the Neo’s return to virtual reality in “The Matrix: Resurrections,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” in less time than it takes to buy a pack of Twizzlers.
These days movies are regularly remade, rebooted, reimagined and regurgitated. But none of those terms capture how Warner Bros has brought back one of their most famous and ground breaking franchises.
The new Keanu Reeves movie isn’t simply a return to the Matrix, the simulated reality created by intelligent machines to pacify humans and steal their energy, it’s a resurrection. After eighteen years, Neo has been raised from the dead by Lana Wachowski in “The Matrix: Resurrections,” now playing in theatres.
The last time we saw Neo (Reeves) he made the ultimate sacrifice, giving himself to create peace between machines and mankind. His death would allow people to finally be free of the virtual world of the Matrix.
In “Resurrections” it’s twenty years later. Neo now goes by his real name, Thomas A. Anderson. He is the “greatest videogame designer of his generation,” with an ordinary life, save for the visions that plague him. “I’ve had dreams,” he says, “that weren’t just dreams.” His analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) has him on a steady diet of heavy therapy and blue pills, meant to quell the strange delusions.
Anderson’s regular life is turned upside down when his business partner Smith (Jonathan Groff) announces that their company will be making a sequel to their most popular game, “The Matrix.” As his team works on the new game—“It’s a mindbomb!”—his memories become more intense and soon he has trouble distinguishing fact from fiction.
Or is it all real?
When people from his past, like computer programmer and hacker Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), an alternate reality version of the heroic Matrix hovercraft captain who first believed Neo was “The One,” appear, Thomas fears he is losing his mind.
Things become clearer—Or do they?—when the new Morpheus offers Thomas/Neo a choice of pills. The blue ones will keep Thomas’ state of mind status quo. The red ones, however, will take him down the rabbit hole, into the heart of the Matrix. “Nothing comforts anxiety like a little nostalgia,” says Morpheus.
Pill popped, the simulated world opens up to reveal a dangerous place in need of a hero. Teaming with a group of rebels, Neo battles a new enemy and secrets are revealed. “The Matrix is the same or worse,” says Neo, “and I’m back where I started. It feels like none of it mattered.”
“The Matrix: Resurrections” may be the most self-aware movie of the year. No instalment of “The Matrix” will ever match the whiz bang excitement of the first film, and “Resurrections” knows it. It comments on itself and consistently winks at its legacy.
“This cannot be a retread, reboot or regurgitation,” says one of the “Matrix” videogame designers.
“Why not?” says another. “Reboots sell.”
Like the movie’s story, the film itself attempts to blur the line between the reality of the story and the very act of watching the movie. It is simultaneously self-depreciating and cynical. It’s OK to have a bit of good fun with the story, especially given the oh-so-serious tone of the previous “Matrix” movies, but by the time Thomas meets Trinity at the Simulatte Café, the jokes have worn thin.
The meat of the story, a search for truth, is the engine that keeps the movie motoring along, but the endless exposition, a torrent of words, seems to be the fuel that keeps things running. When a character says, “That’s the thing about stories, they never end,” it’s hard to disagree as the movie gets mired in mythology and world building.
It becomes a slog, without enough of the trademarked Wachowski action scenes to help pick up the pace. When the movie does dip into bullet time and the action that made the original so memorable, it feels like a pale comparison. There is nothing much new—“I still know Kung Fu,” says Neo—just frenetic action and nostalgia for a time when a slow-motion bullet made our eyeballs dance.
“The Matrix: Resurrections” does try to recontextualize the existing mythology. This time around the all-you-need-is-love-story between Neo and Trinity is amped up and there is some timely social commentary about control, whether it’s from the government or a virtual reality machine, but, and there is a big “but,” as much as I wanted to enjoy another trip to the Matrix, I found it too meta, too long and yet, not ambitious enough.