I appear on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the Marilyn Monroe biopic “Blonde,” the Oprah Winfrey-produced doc “Sidney” about the life of Sidney Poitier and the heist movie “Bandit.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about “Don’t Worry Darling,” the psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, “Blonde,” an intimate look at the life of Marilyn Monroe starring Ana de Armas and “Sidney,” the Oprah Winfrey-produced doc on the life of Sidney Poitier.
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Don’t Worry Darling,” the psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, “Blonde,” an intimate look at the life of Marilyn Monroe starring Ana de Armas, “Sidney,” the Oprah Winfrey-produced doc on the life of Sidney Poitier and the true-life crime drama “Bandit” with Josh Duhamel.
Based on the novel “The Flying Bandit” by Robert Knuckle, “Bandit” is the story of a charming thief who says he robbed fifty Canadian banks because “that’s where the money is.”
Josh Duhamel plays Gilbert Galvan Jr, a career criminal who escapes from a Michigan prison in 1985, changes his name to Robert Whiteman and high tails it over the border to Ontario. “When things go south,” he says, “sometimes you gotta go north.”
Whiteman, when he isn’t romancing social worker Andrea (Elisha Cuthbert), is scoping out banks as a source of fast, ready cash. “No one’s born bad,” he says. “Like anything, it takes practice.”
Posing as a security analyst, he identifies security weaknesses at several local institutions, and concocts a wild plan. Wearing a series of outlandish disguises, he flies around Canada robbing banks, sometimes at a rate of two or three a day. “In the states they have armed guards at every bank around the country,” he says, “but in Canada it’s like stealing candy with a mace.”
With the money rolling in, he looks for bigger opportunities with the help of mobster Tommy Kay (Mel Gibson as an Ottawa baddie).
Whiteman’s high-flying antics attract the attention of the media, who dub him the Flying Bandit, and Detective Snydes (Nestor Carbonell), a hard-nosed cop who vows to bring the travelling thief to justice.
With its light and breezy first half, “Bandit” takes a turn for the dramatic as Whiteman begins to feel the consequences of his life choices in the last half.
Like a CanCon “Catch Me If You Can,” “Bandit” is the story of a charismatic criminal whose non-violent antics are meant to entertain not outrage. To that end Duhamel hands in a likeable, witty performance as a guy who does the wrong thing, but for the right reasons. He wants a family and a regular life, but circumstance and his predilection for breaking the law always seem to get the best of him. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever been good at,” he says of bank robbing.
Duhamel’s congeniality shaves off any rough edges the film might have developed in a more realistic portrayal of criminal life. Even Gibson, as the heavy, seems like Scorsese Lite.
Clocking in at just under two hours, “Bandit” sags in the middle. The disguises grow more and more eccentric, the robberies begin to blur into one another, but buoyed by enjoyable performances, the movie emerges as a slick, although not very deep, crime story.
Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the true-to-life thrills of “Deepwater Horizon,” Tim Burton’s X-Men-esque “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children,” the thriller “Imperium” and the ripped-from-the-headlines documentary “The Lovers and the Despot.”
It can take some doing, but once you get past the idea of Harry Potter as a white supremacist “Imperium” is an enjoyable potboiler.
Daniel Radcliffe plays FBI agent Nate Foster, a principled young man with an uncanny resemblance to Harry Potter, whose empathy and idealism attract the attention of his FBI superior Angela Zamparo (Toni Collette). She recruits him to
shave his hair down to the stubble and go deep undercover to take down a radical white nationalist group planning to build a dirty bomb. Inexperienced but focussed, he pilots his way through the ranks of racists, including the Ayran Brotherhood, right wing radio host Dallas Wolf (Tracy Letts) and wealthy extremist Gerry Conway (“True Blood’s” Sam Trammell). Fully embedded, he finds the tricky balance between maintaining his personal beliefs without blowing his cover.
Based on real events “Imperium” is a standard undercover drama with a few standout performances. Radcliffe is very good at portraying Nate’s calm-under-pressure demeanour, while imparting a sense of urgency into the character. On the other end of the scale is Trammell who quietly plays his racist as an everyday family man who has allowed hate to infect his soul. As a provocative radio host Tracy Letts hands in another interesting performance, one that suggests that for some, money is more important than principles, no matter how skewed they may be.
“Imperium” contains some provocative and offensive images—the mere sight of Harry Potter shouting racial epithets will be enough to upset many a viewer—but the underlying story of racial intolerance doesn’t add much to the conversation. Instead of exploring the psychopathology of hatred and anti-Semitism in the United States it is content to play as a thriller and little else. As such it’s good, if not quite edge-of-your-seat stuff, but it could have been much more.