Richard and CTV NewsChannel anchor Andrea Bain talk about the latest movies coming to VOD and streaming services, including the new Spike Lee Vietnam epic “Da 5 Bloods,” the Pete Davidson semi-autobiographical story “The King of Staten Island” and the latest from Disney+, “Artemis Fowl.”
Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch during the pandemic including Pete Davidson’s semi-autobiographical “The King of Staten Island,” the AMC game show scandal series “Quiz” and the latest from Disney+, “Artemis Fowl.”
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 new Spike Lee joint “Da 5 Bloods,” the Pete Davidson semi-autobiographical story “The King of Staten Island,” the absurdist dramedy “It Must Be Heaven” and the latest from Disney+ “Artemis Fowl.”
“Artemis Fowl,” a fantasy film streaming on Disney+, is brand spanking new but there’s a feeling of déjà vu that hangs over the entire film. Adapted from the beloved books by Eoin Colfer, the movie feels like an expensive mix-and-match of “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings.”
Newcomer Ferdia Shaw is Artemis Fowl Jr., a poor little rich kid and budding criminal mastermind with the sartorial sense of Will Smith in “Men in Black” and an IQ that would give Einstein a run for his money. When his father (Colin Farrell) is kidnapped, the youngster, along with his trusty bodyguard Domovoi Butler (Nonso Anozie), and some help from elf reconnaissance officer Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) and Josh Gad as Hagrid wannabe Mulch Diggums, sets off on a quest to locate him. To pay the kidnapper’s ransom Artemis and Company must infiltrate the mysterious underground world of fairies, led by Commander Root (Judi Dench), and take charge of the Aculos, the fairies’ most coveted magical apparatus. “Artemis,” says Domovoi, “it’s time to face your destiny.”
Question is, Will young Arte’s brains be a match for their fairy magic? There’s more but further details involve major spoilers.
Fans of the books take note, “Artemis Fowl’s” origin story takes liberties with the books. Both Holly Short and Mulch are allies from the get-go and daddy Fowl didn’t turn up until the second book in the series.
Structural changes aside, the film adaptation lacks much of the charm of Colfer’s writing. It does capture Artemis’ growth from innocent unaware of the world of magic and intrigue his father operates in, to almost anti-hero, but despite large scale set pieces and many action scenes it feels been there, done that.
Director Kenneth Branagh has crafted a handsome but generic fantasy film, complete with “Avengers” style special effects and a sweeping soundtrack that feels like the set-up to a franchise and not a stand-alone story. If you don’t believe me, check out Artemis’ last line in the movie. “We have some unfinished business.” It’s like a ninety-minute trailer for the next instalment.
“Artemis Fowl” may survive to have more on-screen adventures, perhaps filling the hole for fantasy fans left by the absence of “Harry Potter” movies, but next time around fewer special effects and more personality would help.
“The Grey,” the new Liam Neeson film, is an art house action movie. The bravado that colors most action flicks is gone, replaced by equal parts despair and intestinal fortitude.
Neeson plays John Ottway, a sharpshooter and Wolf Whisperer hired to keep predatory wolves out of an oil station in the remotest part of Alaska. He becomes the leader of a ragtag group of survivors when the plane transporting them to their oil job crashes in the wilderness. Hunted by wolves and exposed to the elements Ottway’s know-how is the only thing between freezing to death, or worse, becoming the big bad wolf’s dinner.
The thing that separates “The Grey” from other man versus nature movies is the characters. At first glance they are the usual assortment of rough and ready characters, the edgy chatterbox, the ex con, but soon nuances appear.
The point of the whole thing is survival, but along the way the cast (Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, and James Badge Dale) discuss the intricacies of life, shed tears, question faith and even recite poetry when not fighting off steely-eyed wolves. You won’t find this kind of behavior in other action movies because those films are about setting up the action and the payoff. “The Grey” isn’t, it wants you to get to know the men so when something awful happens to them, you care.
Mostly it works. (MILD SPOILER) The climax of Frank Grillos’ Diaz character is particularly effective as it gets to the very heart of why—or why not—this man will survive.
As good as the ensemble ism, this is Neeson’s movie. He plays a broken man who has recently lost his wife and the memory of her haunts him. He’s suicidal and lost, but learns a new lust for life in this adverse situation. Whether the tragic loss of his wife in real life informed this role, I wouldn’t presume to day, but there is a haunted quality to his performance that seems deeply felt.
Be warned, however, as intelligent as “The Grey” is, it’s also borders on horror, playing on fear of barren spaces—bring an extra scarf, the howling wind effect alone will chill you to the bone—and well, corpse eating wolves. But even though it is sometimes graphic, it still resonates emotionally.