Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Bain about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including Chloë Grace Moretz’s action thriller “Shadow in the Cloud” and the poignant documentary “Sing Me a Song.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Anita Sharma to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Chloë Grace Moretz’s action thriller “Shadow in the Cloud” and the poignant documentary “Sing Me a Song.” Then we look at the top five movies to stream right now!
A tribute to the pulpy adventure movies of the 1940s by way of “The Twilight Zone,” “Shadow in the Cloud,” now in select theaters and on VOD and digital, is a popcorn movie, for better and for worse.
Chloë Grace Moretz is strong willed Women’s Auxiliary Air Force officer Maude Garrett. The only female presence on a massive B-17 Flying Fortress military plane, her mission is to protect, at all costs, a precious piece of cargo but the chauvinistic attitude of the male crew makes the job next to impossible. Stuck in a turret in the belly of the plane, Garrett has an almost unobstructed, 360° view of their airspace. When she reports a “shadow in the clouds,” a possible enemy attack, she is ignored. When airborne gremlins (you read that right) attack, she is blamed. “Whatever is in that package,” the men say, “is what’s causing the failures on this plane.”
Cue the first of the movie’s outrageous twists.
The first half of “Shadow in the Cloud” is a showcase for Moretz. For much of the film’s running time it’s a one person show, with the “Kick Ass” star strapped into a gunner’s turret, spewing hardboiled dialogue. She’s energetic, holding the screen with sheer force of personality. Garrett even finds room in the generic 1940s style cliched dialogue to convincingly poke through the veneer of chauvinism from her plane mates.
The second half is frenetic, with airborne action and Gremlins! Gremlins! Gremlins! The movie becomes less character driven and more a vehicle for director Roseanne Liang’s prowess with a camera.
Each half has its strengths, but they are bound together by twists that would make even M. Night Shyamalan shake his head. There are logic holes big enough for a B-17 Flying Fortress to soar through which would be OK if the twists didn’t feel tacked on for the sake of shaking things up.
At just 83-minutes offers up two movies and while there are moments of interest in the busy second half, the film is strongest when Moretz is on screen alone, before the film’s twists tie it into a Gordian knot.
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 Disney+ presentation of “Hamilton,” the most popular musicals of recent years, the psychological drama of “Shirley” and the crime thrillers “American Woman” and “Strange But True.”
“Strange But True,” a neo-noir thriller on VOD starring Amy Ryan and Margaret Qualley, examines grief in the context of an ordinary family thrown into extraordinary situations.
The action takes place against the backdrop of loss. Five years ago Ronnie Chase (Connor Jessup) and Melissa’s (Margaret Qualley) prom night began as they all do, with a rented tux, a frilly dress and proud parents taking photos. It ended in tragedy, with Ronnie dead in a car crash, an event that sent shock waves through the family. Stricken, his folks Charlene (Amy Ryan) and Richard (Greg Kinnear), split under the weight of their grief. Younger brother Philip (Nick Robinson) hightails it to NYC to pursue his dream of being a photographer and girlfriend Melissa is wracked with guilt, left with only her dreams of her late boyfriend.
Cut to present day. Charlene’s life has fallen apart. Her husband and job are gone, so when Melissa shows up, five years after the fateful night, claiming she is pregnant with Ronnie’s baby, she is not met with hugs and congratulations.
“If you think about it,” says Phillip, home recuperating from a badly broken leg, “there’s a chance what she said is true. If, and it’s a big if, if Ronnie’s sperm was somehow frozen before he died there’s a chance Melissa could have used it and impregnated herself years later.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Charlene snarls. “He was a teenager with his whole life ahead of him. Why would he do that?”
She sets off to find a rational explanation while Phillip grasps at straws, consulting psychics and leaving no possibility off the table. “I might not believe that this is Ronnie’s baby,” he says to Melissa,” but I believe that you believe it and I believe that Ronnie would have too. If that makes me an uncle, so be it.”
That search is the bedrock for a story packed with secrets and intrigue. Adapted from John Searles’s 2004 novel, “Strange But True” is a bit of a nesting doll of mysteries. Everyone has a backstory and a different relationship with the intrigue that forms the plot and the action toggles between past and present. That means there’s a lot to wade through in the film’s tight ninety-minute running time but director Rowan Athale manages it. He weaves psychological drama, a hint of paranormal, suspense and even some gothic horror into the story.
In the end the pregnancy is a McGuffin, simply a device to put all these elements into motion, but the result is a tightly wound thriller that leads to a gripping and satisfying conclusion.