Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Tomb Raider,” the dark comedy “The Death of Stalin,” the old folks road trip “The Leisure Seeker,” the crime thriller “7 Days in Entebbe” and the Cecil Beaton documentary “Love, Cecil.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, “Tomb Raider,” the dark comedy “The Death of Stalin,” “7 Days in Entebbe” and the old folks road trip “The Leisure Seeker.”
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Tomb Raider,” the dark comedy “The Death of Stalin,” and the old folks road trip “The Leisure Seeker.”
The Daily Telegraph calls writer/director Armando Iannucci “the hardman of political satire.” As the creator of sardonic films and TV shows like “In the Loop” and “Veep” he’s a vitally caustic comic presence.
As the film begins it’s 1953 and Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin), the second leader of the Soviet Union, is alive and well. Under his watch death squads are rounding up his enemies, executions are common and the mere mention of his name strikes fear into the hearts of the people. The Central Committee, surround him. There’s the scheming Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), the pompous Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), Old Bolshevik Vyacheslav Molotov (Michael Palin) and secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale). When he suffers a stroke everything changes as his inner circle engage in a power struggle that will determine not only their futures but also the future of the Soviet Union.
The idea of chaos in the halls of power, though set sixty-five years in the past, feels almost ripped from the headlines. With jet black humour “The Death of Stalin” supercharges the farcical elements of a very dark time in history. With the cast using their natural accents—no one here tries to sound Russian—it feels surreal, like Monty Python gone amok. There’s doublespeak, jealousy and sight gags galore as this band of yes-men bumble around in an attempt to seize the Kremlin in the days following their leader’s passing.
Iannucci avoids the danger of trivializing the very real-life tragedy of the story—you hear gunshots off screen for much of the first half of the film—by not glorifying the villains. He takes a sharp knife to the reputations of Stalin, Khrushchev et al, portraying all of them as spoiled incompetents capable only of looking out for number one. In this historical context that approach works to show how absolute power corrupts absolutely.
“The Death of Stalin” is an audacious reimagining of history. Strong comic performances are highlighted in a film that is both frightening and funny at the same time.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. Put on your jumpers or your nicest frock! It’s “Rule, Britannia!” Day around the HoC. Gemma Arterton pops round to talk about cannibal ants who can change species and her zombie movie “The Girl with All the Gifts.” Then it’s sit-back-and-listen-to-a-legend time as we raid the vault to bring you Michael Caine speaking about his revenge flick “Harry Brown.” It’s great stuff, so never mind the bollocks, drop in for a cuppa and take a load off.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Get Out,” the most original horror film to come down the road in some time, the melodramatic romance “A United Kingdom,” the zombie flick “The Girl with All the Gifts,” and the documentaries “I Am Not Your Negro” and “Dying Laughing. They also do some Oscar predictions!
There are as many kinds of cinematic zombies as there are zombie movies. From George A. Romero’s lumbering brain eaters and the fast-moving fleshbags of 28 Days Later to the undead hordes of World War Z and The Crazies’ sentient creepers, the only thing that binds them is an voracious urge to eat their living counterparts and, these days, an almost unrivalled popularity with horror fans.
It seems when the world is in turmoil people turn to zombies as an outlet for their apocalyptic anxieties. A new British film, The Girl With All the Gifts, borrows from Romero, 28 Days Later and even from The Walking Dead and yet its mix of social commentary, zippy zombies and exploding skulls doesn’t feel like a re-tread.
“The zombie metaphor is humanity eating itself,” says star Gemma Arterton. “This film extends that because it gives zombies, or hungries as we call them, intelligence, empathy, love and the ability to fend for themselves in a more developed way.
“I think we are in a period of time right now where there is major despair out there about what is happening. This film is poignant now, coming out now post Brexit. It feels quite relevant.”
Arterton plays Helen Justineau, teacher of a group of children infected by a zombifying disease but still capable of advanced thought. In the search for a cure these kids are studied at a remote English army base.
Helen has bonded with one remarkable child, Melanie (Sennia Nanua), a youngster as lethal as the others but possessed of superior intelligence and charm. When the base is overrun by “hungries” Helen, Melanie and two others escape but not before the child shows her true colours.
“I did something bad,” she says. “I ate bits of the soldiers.” With the help of the world-weary Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) they make their way to London.
“If you talk to Mike Carey who wrote the book and the screenplay,” says Arterton, who broke out as an MI6 field agent in 2008’s Bond hit Quantum of Solace, “you’ll find he’s not only a great raconteur but he really knows what’s going on with science and politics and he mixes the two together. It is such interesting conversation. He’s obviously a big geek but in a really factual way.”
A case in point, Arterton says, is the virus that lies at the centre of the film.
“The disease, the fungal infection is actually something that exists. There is a colony of ants in South America that have Ophiocordyceps unilateralis,” she explains, diving into the science. “It’s a fungal infection that infects them from the inside and then they sprout and turn into a different type of ant. Then those ants will eat the other ants to survive.
“These things happen in nature. Nature is such a strong force. I love that in this film you can see nature taking back the planet.
“We actually used some shots from Chornobyl as the London skyline because
Chornobyl is this abandoned city that is completely overgrown now. We might die, but nature will be fine. The world is going to keep going without us.”
Helmed by Scottish director Colm McCarthy in his first feature-length production, The Girl with All the Gifts asks difficult questions about the price of survival, capping off the story with chilling words that may — or may not — alleviate lingering zombie phobia.
“It’s not all over,” says Melanie, “it’s just not yours anymore.”
Just when you think the zombie genre has run out of ideas along comes “The Girl with All the Gifts,” a British thriller that puts a fresh spin on the putrid genre.
When the story begins all is calm. Well, as calm as the dystopian future can ever be. A fungal disease called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis has devastated the planet, leaving those affected without free will but with a taste for blood. These “hungries” are set to take over unless something can be done. Enter a group of children infected by the disease but capable of advanced thought. In the search for a cure these children are studied at a remote English army base run by Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close). The children are shackled to chairs, forced to wear face masks and have no skin to skin contact with the doctors, teachers or soldiers who look after them. Despite their small sizes everyone regards them as dangerous, hungry creatures—after all they did eat their way out of their wombs!—except teacher Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton). She reads them stories and has bonded with one remarkable child, Melanie (Sennia Nanua). The youngster is as lethal as the others but is possessed of superior intelligence and charm.
When the base is overrun by “hungries” Dr. Caldwell, Helen and Melanie escape but not before the child shows her true colours. “I did something bad,” she says. “I ate bits of the soldiers.” With the help of the world-weary Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) they make their way to London.
“Our mission statement is to gather data,” says the good doctor.
“It was until the fence went down,” grunts Eddie. “Now our mission statement is to keep ourselves off the menu.”
“The Girl With All the Gifts” borrows from George A. Romero, Danny Boyle and even from “The Walking Dead” and yet its mix of social commentary, zippy zombies and exploding skulls doesn’t feel like a re-tread.
The addition of a child, deadly though she may be, brings empathy to a world so often devoid of compassion. It also opens up some opportunities for dark humour—“Don’t play with anybody who looks dead,” Melanie is warned—that come as a welcome break from the bleakness of many dystopian zombie-fests. As Melanie, Nanua is tremendous, bringing some real humanity to a character who lives on the fringes of humanity.
“The Girl with All the Gifts” is not as outright scary as “28 Days Later” or “Night of the Living Dead,” but it is unsettling. Deliberately paced, it slowly builds to a climax that asks difficult questions about the price of survival, capping it with the chilling words, (MILD SPOILER) “It’s not all over, it’s just not yours anymore.”