Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the Matthew McConaughey neo-strangeness “Serenity,” the Arthurian adventure for children “The Kid Who Would Be King” and the Oscar nominated “Cold War.”
Richard has a look at looks at the mind-bending Matthew McConaughey film “Serenity,” the Arthurian adventure for children “The Kid Who Would Be King” and the Oscar nominated “Cold War” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
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 the Matthew McConaughey head-scratcher “Serenity,” the Arthurian adventure for children “The Kid Who Would Be King” and the Oscar nominated “Cold War.”
“The Kid Who Would Be King” looks to two stories for inspiration. The fantasy film from director Joe Cornish finds its framework in the legend of King Arthur and the goofy camaraderie of “The Goonies.”
The story begins in the fifth century with Arthur proving his status as “the true king” of Britain by pulling the sword Excalibur from a stone. A warrior and creator of the Knights of the Round Table he is brave and popular with everyone except his sister Morgana. The powerful enchantress wanted power for herself and was summarily banished to the underworld where she could do no harm. Vowing to return, “when hearts are empty and the world is lost” and take back control of Excalibur, she languishes for hundreds of years, ineffective and lost. “Soon darkness will dawn and my time will come,” she says, optimistically.
Cut to today’s London. The world is a mess, “as unstable as it has ever been.” Things are so bad the headline of the Daily Star simply reads, ”GLOOMY.” In this world Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), a young lad just “twelve winters old,” and his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) try and do the right thing at school, mainly stand up to bullies like the mean spirited Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris). Alex is a sweet and sensitive kid. So much so that even his teacher pushes him to get a little more cynical. “It’s a tough world out there and it is getting tougher all the time. It’s not the world that has to change, it’s you.”
Chased to a construction site by some bullies a terrified Alex finds Excalibur embedded in an old chunk of concrete. Pulling the sword from the stone he defends himself from Lance and Kaye and awakens Morgana from her slumber. “Find the new King,” she commands. “The sword must be mine. The new king must die.”
A fight is a foot but Alex will not enter the battle with Morgana and her army of undead soldiers alone. At his side are Bedders, some school friends and Merlin the Magician, an ancient entity who appears in the form of a classmate. “I am a perfectly normal, contemporary British schoolboy,” he announces before morphing into an owl and flying away. Together they have just four days until a solar eclipse plunges the world into darkness and welcomes the return of Morgana. “This is the best and worst, the most excellent and frightening thing that has ever happened to me,” squeals Bedders.
Just as Lord Tennyson modified the Arthurian legends to comment on the issues of his day “The Kid Who Would Be King” places the story in a topsy-turvy world where the spectre of Brexit and Trump dominate the news. Like the old school retellings of the tale it values good over evil. It brims with important messages for kids—the most worthwhile path is rarely the easiest, embrace the things that are important to you—and offers an optimistic view of the future. “A land is only as good as its leaders,” says Merlin (played as an older magician by Patrick Stewart), and you’ll make excellent leaders.”
“The Kid Who Would Be King” is a good-natured, if puffed-up adventure for kids but at two hours and ten minutes it feels long and occasionally repetitive. Kids may enjoy the imaginative battle scenes—trees come to life as sparring partners for the wannabe warriors, etc—and the charming “Goonies” chemistry between the heroes but Rebecca Ferguson is wasted as the underwritten villainess Morgana and the CGI looks like a relic from another time.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the Matthew McConaughey neo-noir “Serenity,” the King Arthur adventure for children “The Kid Who Would Be King” and the Oscar nominated “Cold War.”
A new feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at Richard Gere in “Norman,” Emma Watson in the cyber thriller “The Circle” and the animated movie “Spark: A Space Tail.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, Richard Gere in “Norman,” Emma Watson in the cyber thriller “The Circle” and the animated movie “Spark: A Space Tail.”
The new animated film Spark: A Space Tail boasts an a-list cast, actors who haven’t done a lot of kid’s films. In an e-mail conversation with Susan Sarandon, whose voice appears alongside Patrick Stewart, Jessica Biel and Hilary Swank, the Dead Man Walking star says she took the role because, “I’ve never played a robot before.”
In the Canada-South Korea co-production she plays Bananny, the automaton nanny for the teen chimp Spark. He’s an ape and her name is a play on the word banana, the preferred simian snack. It’s that kind of movie. Once the prince of a planet of the apes called Bana (banana without the “na,” get it?), Spark lives on a tiny slice of his former home, one of many planetary bits blown into space thirteen years ago following a coup by the Napoleon-esque Zhong.
The actress, who recently won raves playing Bette Davis on the decidedly-not-for-children hit television series Feud, says the best kid’s flicks are movies, “both adults and kids can enjoy simultaneously and [ones that don’t] patronize the children. Real emotion. When the kids save the day.”
Without giving away too much, the new film stays close to the Thelma and Louise actress’ ethos. The movie draws from Star Wars, WALL-E and just about every other adolescent-in-space movie where the young’uns are the unexpected heroes.
Spark lives with former royal guard members, Vix and Chunk, warriors whose job is to protect, train and prepare Spark for his destiny—the recapture of the kingdom. He’s an underdog kids will identify with.
As a child the Oscar winner was drawn to movies with strong central characters. Her favourites included The Boy With the Green Hair, an anti-bullying movie starring Dean Stockwell and Bambi, the Disney classic about strength in the face of extreme adversity.
Sarandon, whose previous voice work includes decidedly adult entries like the female outlaw story Cassius and Clay, the comedy Hell and Back, about two friends whop must rescue a friend accidentally dragged to Hades, and kid’s flicks like the fantasy James and the Giant Peach and Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, says the animated films she gets offered differ from live action, particularly in the realm of kid’s entertainment. Children’s animated films more primal, basic, she says. “Animation allows for more fantastical stories without being too real or scary.”
Children’s animation, with no-holds-barred visuals and wild stories, she asserts, are good for kids but ultimately she takes an old school position on the significance of cartoons in the development of a child’s imagination.
“I think books are the most important, but animation tackles a lot of social interaction, so it’s really important to make sure that the moral of the story is a good, positive one.”