A new(ish) feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” with Patrick Huard and Colm Feore, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” with Patrick Huard and Colm Feore, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
“Snatched” is a mother and daughter comedy. Sounds wholesome, right? Mom and daughter on holiday, but add in kidnapping, sex trafficking and manual tapeworm extraction and you have a raunchy comedy that plays like a cross between “Taken” and “Steel Magnolias.”
Amy Schumer is Emily Middleton, a sales clerk with no filter who over-shares with customers. On the eve of an Ecuadorian vacation her musician boyfriend (Randall Park) dumps her, leaving her with two plane tickets and a South American hotel with a king sized bed. Rather than cancel the trip Emily asks her divorced, retiree mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) to come along for the ride.
“Pack your bags,” Emily says, “we’re going to South America.”
“Everybody knows you need two years to plan a vacation,” says her cautious mom.
Linda is a worrywart, as uptight as Emily is free spirited. She’s the kind of person who triple locks her suburban doors and checks websites for nearby sex offenders.
To convince mom to come along for the ride Emily pulls the one card her mother can’t refuse. “The trip is non-refundable.”
In Ecuador Emily meets James (Tom Bateman), a handsome English man who sweeps her off her feet. On a day trip he convinces Emily and Linda to take the scenic route back to the hotel only to stand by as the women are abducted. Their captor is Morgado (Óscar Jaenada), a notorious gangster who holds them for $100,000 ransom. One daring escape later they are off on their own in the Columbian jungle, trying to make it to the American consulate in Bogotá. On their trip they are aided by Roger Simmons (Christopher Meloni), an explorer who seems to have just stepped out of a 1950 adventure film and two friends from the resort, Ruth (Wanda Sykes) and Barb (Joan Cusack).
Back home Jeffrey Middleton (Ike Barinholtz), Linda’s agoraphobic son convinces a reluctant State Department official (Bashir Salahuddin) to get involved.
At its dirty little heart “Snatched” is a movie about the importance of family, specifically the bond between mother and daughter but it’s not all sweetness and light. The film is inhabited by comic creations that are grounded enough to prevent the movie from careening into farce, but not so grounded that they can’t surprise us.
In her first movie role in fifteen years Hawn reminds us of what a gifted comedienne she is, spouting lines like, “I tell you when dad left I thought I’d never have sex again… and I was right,” with pitch perfect comic timing.
Schumer’s self-depreciating humour—“The sex traders want beautiful women. Your poufy faces will protect you.”—is relatable but it is her more subtle character work that really shines here. Little things, like the way she tries to take the perfect selfie, tell us everything we need to know about the self-indulgent Emily without a line of dialogue.
Sykes, Cusack, Barinholtz and Meloni all bring the funny in a series of off kilter cameos.
“Snatched” isn’t exactly a laugh-a-minute, it’s more a giggle followed by a laugh every few minutes but director Jonathan Levine (“Warm Bodies,” “The Night Before” and “50/50”) has a good grasp of the humour, action and mushy stuff, finding a pleasing balance between all three.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s three big releases, “Independence Say: Resurgence,” with Jeff Goldblum, “The Shallows”with Blake Lively and “Free State of Jones” with Matthew McConaughey.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to talk about the big releases in theatres, including “Independence Say: Resurgence,” with Jeff Goldblum, “The Shallows”with Blake Lively, “Free State of Jones” with Matthew McConaughey and the weird and wonderful “The Neon Demon.”
Former “Gossip Girl” actor Blake Lively not only stars in “The Shallows,” she appears in virtually every frame of the film.
As a woman surfing alone off an isolated island, she is attacked by a Great White shark and must use her wits to get to safety. Vanity Fair dubbed it, “Lively or Death.” The screenplay appeared on the 2014 Blacklist, the annual list of the “most liked” unmade scripts in Hollywood, and has been described as “Jaws” meets “127 Hours,” but the woman vs. nature struggle sounds more like Blake’s “Castaway” to me.
Lively is Nancy Adams, a medical school drop-out spending an idyllic day hanging ten on a secret Mexican beach recommended to her by her late mom. “What did you say the name of this place was?” she asks a local. “This is paradise,” he coos. Beautiful and remote, it seems perfect for a restful and relaxing day, but trouble soon comes to paradise when she is stranded on a rock two hundred feet from shore. As an experienced surfer Nancy should be able to make it back to the beach easily. Unfortunately there is a toothy, bloodthirsty Great White shark looming between her and safety. “I’m not dying here,” she grunts while forming a plan to avoid becoming shark bait.
The Great White in “The Shallows” makes the shark in “Jaws” seem laid-back. Seemingly inexhaustible in his hunt for humanoid tartar, he is a constant menace to the lithe Lively. It’s one long nautical nightmare for Nancy as she plots to outsmart and outswim her finned tormenter.
Cinematically it’s not as much of a nightmare. The setup is minimal, and as far as actual thrills go, less isn’t more in this case. Less is actually less. There are some moments of tension—Spielberg trained us that any underwater shot pointed up at a swimmer or surfer means impending doom—but too much of the film involves Nancy and her seagull sidekick marooned on the rock.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra occasionally embraces the film’s b-movie ascetic—he actually has the shark go airborne in one spectacular attack—but mostly he’s willing to treat the look of the film like a “Sports Illustrated” layout with vengeful sharks. He does use some effective tricks—we don’t see much of the shark until late into the film and one grizzly scene spares us the bloody details by focussing on Lively’s horrified face rather than the action—but the Nature v Nancy storyline isn’t amped up enough to for us to care if she becomes fish food or not.
Everything about “The Losers” is exaggerated. Things don’t explode, they burst into fiery mushroom clouds. The body count is in the triple digits and why use a machine gun when you can use a bazooka? It has all the elements of a regular action flick, just more and, as an added bonus, one of the bad guys is from Quebec.
At the beginning of the film The Losers are five highly trained special ops soldiers (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, and Oscar Jaenada)—calling them losers is like calling a tall guy Shorty—on a mission in Bolivia. Their job is to locate and mark a terrorist’s den so the air force can swoop in and lay down a heap of shock and awe. Minutes before bombs are scheduled to drop a busload of underage children arrive at the compound. The Losers try and call off the raid, but the high command—a man named Max (Jason Patrick)—refuses. Several very loud noises later The Losers are forced to fake their own deaths and go rogue. When a mysterious stranger (Zoe Saldana) shows up with a proposition they see a way to reenter the United States and get their revenge on Max.
Of course there’s more to the story than that. There’s next generation weapons, more international locations than a James Bond movie and an internationally wanted bazooka toting bad girl who dresses like a Guess model. This is a comic book movie—it’s based on a Vertigo DC series—with comic book characters and a silly premise. The bad guy is engineering a global conflict to bring peace to the US. Huh? Duct tape saves the day (Red Green would be so proud). Double huh?
It’s all a bit silly but since the movie doesn’t take itself seriously neither should we. It’s a fun ride that while bigger isn’t necessarily better. There’s a bit too much slo mo—I think it’s time we finally put an end to the “Reservoir Dogs” slo motion shot of the team walking toward the camera—the ending is clearly set up for a sequel and the supposed good guys seem to take a bit too much pleasure in killing.
On the upside, however, the cast seems to be having a good time alternately delivering tough guy lines—“You’re going to die very badly”—and typical action movie one liners—“Everybody except for PETA wants her dead” with loads of enthusiasm.
Actor wise as Clay Jeffrey Dean Morgan picks up where his character in “Watchmen” left off, and Zoe Saldana adds to her action movie reputation in a highly physical role that proves that Hit Girl isn’t the most lethal female in the theatres this week. Idris Elba provides the closest thing to a fully rounded character, mostly because he isn’t saddled with the one-liners the other guys have to spout.
“The Losers” is an action packed comic book romp that would make a better Saturday afternoon matinee than date night movie.