Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Bain about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) and Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the return Diana Prince in “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the existential animation of “Soul” (Disney+), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) and Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including Gal Gadot’s return to superhero-dom in “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the existential animation of “Soul” (Disney+), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix), Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World” and “Chicago 10” (The Impact Series, VOD/Digital).
Guest morning show host Matt Holmes talks to Richard about the much anticipated superhero flick “Wonder Woman 1984” (available in theatres and as a 48-hour rental on various digital movie stores for $29.99), the existential animation of “Soul” (Disney+), the timely sci fi of George Clooney’s “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix) and Tom Hanks, western style in “News of the World.”
Although “News of the World,” the new Tom Hanks western, now playing in theatres, is set almost 150 years ago its themes feel very contemporary. Racism, fake news and even fear of a pandemic are all essayed in this film based on Paulette Jiles’ bestselling 2016 novel of the same name.
Set five years after the end of the American Civil War, Hanks plays the elaborately named Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a veteran of three wars who now makes a living travelling from town to town doing theatrical live readings of the news of the day.
On one stop he’s offered money to return orphan Johanna (Helena Zengel) to relatives in San Antonio, a four-hundred-mile journey, fraught with danger. “She needs to laugh and dream,” Kidd says. “She needs new memories.”
Both are alone in the world; their families gone. He’s a widower, the 10-year-old was kidnapped years earlier, raised by the Kiowa people as one of their own and recently rescued by the U.S. army. “An orphan twice over.” She doesn’t speak English and, after being torn from the only two places she’s ever known as home, doesn’t trust anyone, especially her new guardian.
As they travel across the country, still divided by the recent war, Johana comes to trust Kidd as challenges, both natural and human, present themselves. Along the way the trip evolves into something more than a job for Kidd or simple survival, it becomes a journey to personal salvation for them both.
“News of the World” is a big, handsome period piece in the style of “True Grit” and “The Searchers” but without the suspense of either of those road movies. The odd couple pairing of Kidd and Johanna may seem strange at first, but it soon becomes clear, despite her unruly behavior, that they belong together. There is some nicely directed peril, courtesy of Paul Greengrass, but the likability Hanks brings to the role is reassuring… perhaps too reassuring.
Kidd is a man battered by war and personal trauma. He’s an imperfect man trying to be a good one in a broken and divided land. But he’s also Mister Rogers, so despite the character’s world weariness, there is never a feeling that he will do anything less than the right thing. It’s noble, but it is not the stuff of great drama.
The thing that does set “News of the World” from the pack is the prescient nature of the story. The world Kidd and Johanna exist in is a lawless one, and one that echoes many of today’s concerns. From human traffickers and a wannabe-small-town fascist to a horrifying lynching and fake news, the film makes it clear that venality and social ills that are part of our contemporary newscasts are a result of a long history of bitter division. The movie fights to find optimism in the story, and it is here that Hanks earns his money. It ends on notes of healing and redemption but the payoff, while satisfying, doesn’t feel worth the long journey.
Richard sits in with Marcia McMillan to have a look at the the rollercoaster action of “Jason Bourne,” the heartwarming (and slightly raunchy) comedy of “Bad Moms,” “Cafe Society’s” period piece humour and the online intrigue of “Nerve.”
In the latest Jason Bourne movie, Matt Damon will punch, kick and spy master his way to the top of the box office charts.
His previous Bourne films, Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum, were all hits commercially and critically.
Damon says he owes a great deal to the fictional character.
After the early success of Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan and The Talented Mr. Ripley made him a star, a string of flops cooled his box office appeal.
“Right before The Bourne Identity came out,” he said, “I hadn’t been offered a movie in a year.”
Then his career was Bourne again.
“It’s incalculable how much these movies have helped my career,” he told The Telegraph. “Suddenly it put me on a short list of people who could get movies made.”
In the spirit of “one for them, one for me” for every film like The Martian or the new Jason Bourne, Damon has attached himself to smaller, riskier projects.
He lent his star power to The Good Shepherd, a low budget film directed by Robert De Niro. It’s a spy movie without the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from our favorite undercover operatives.
There are no elaborate chase scenes a la James Bond or even the great scenery of the Bourne flicks.
In fact, the only thing The Good Sheperd shares with any of those movies is Damon, who plays Edward Wilson, one of the (fictional) founders of the CIA.
Despite mixed to good reviews — USA Today gave the film three out of four stars—and winning the Silver Bear of the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, the movie barely earned back its production costs at the box office.
Ninety per cent of director Steven Soderbergh’s job on The Informant! was casting this mostly true tale of a highly paid executive-turned-whistleblower who helped uncover a price fixing policy that landed several executives (including himself) in jail.
It’s a tricky balancing act to find an actor who can keep the audience on-board through a tale of corporate malfeasance and personal greed, who can be likeable but is actually a liar and a thief, but Damon is the guy.
The Informant! skewed a tad too far into art house territory to be Soderbergh’s new Erin Brockovich-sized hit, but Damon’s presence kept the story of accounting, paperwork and avarice interesting. Reviews were kind but A Serious Man and The Twilight Saga: New Moon buried the film on its opening weekend.
Damon teamed with John Krasinski to produce and co-write Promised Land, a David and Goliath story that relied on the charm and likability of its cast to sell the idea that fracking is bad and the corporations who dupe cash-strapped farmers into leasing their land are evil.
It’s hard to make talk of water table pollution dramatic but Promised Land makes an attempt by giving much of the heavy lifting to Damon.
Done in by middling reviews and “sobering” box office receipts, this earnest and well-meaning movie might have been better served in documentary form.
With an Oscar on his shelf and more than 70 films on his resume Damon is philosophical about the kinds of films he chooses to make, big or small.
“If people go to those movies, then yes, that’s true, big-time success,” he says.
“Jason Bourne,” the first Matt Damon led film in the series in nine years, proves that actions speak louder than words. Damon speaks a mere twenty-five lines of dialogue as he kicks, punches and crash-boom-bangs his way through this spy thriller, letting the action do the talking.
Damon’s fourth go-round as amnesiac superspy Jason Bourne begins with him tormented by his violent past. Most of his memory is intact, but he’s eaten away by guilt for the terrible things he did as a government programmed killer. “I remember,” he says. “I remember everything.”
To get his ya-yas out he goes all Fight Club, bare-knuckling any and all contenders but he’s drawn back into the international spy game—the movie never met an exotic location it couldn’t use, whether it’s Berlin, Reykjavík, Athens, London or even Vegas—after his former-handler-turned-hacker Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) tells him of a collaboration between CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones, whose face is one forehead wrinkle away from becoming a caricature of an old man) and Silicon Valley kingpin Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed). They’re working on Edward Snowden’s worst nightmare, a new program called Ironhead, a system of full spectrum surveillance; watching everyone all the time.
Wanting Bourne out of the way Dewey uses every newfangled asset at his disposal—like state-of-the-art global surveillance—to find the agent before turning to the old ways and bringing in an assassin known as, appropriately enough, The Asset (Vincent Cassel) to take care of business. “I’m going to cut the head off this thing,” says Dewey.
Flitting about the edges of the intrigue is the CIA’s cyber ops head Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), who helps Bourne in an effort to keep him away from The Asset’s deadly gaze. “Bringing him in is the smart move,” she says. “There’s no bringing in Bourne,” Dewey says. “He needs to be put down.”
Cue the carnage.
If nothing else “Jason Bourne” proves once and for all that you can’t keep a good man down. Shot, beaten, dropped from a tall building or whatever, he’s the Energizer Bunny of international spies. He just keeps on ticking. We expect that from Bourne and we also demand feral fighting scenes, crazy car crashes and action, action, action. Make no mistake, there’s plenty of Bourne battle and bloodshed and some of it is quite exciting but it doesn’t have the finesse of the earlier films. Director Paul Greengrass’s signature handheld you-are-here style is in place but doesn’t feel as fresh as it did in the other films. Often frenetic instead of pulse-racing, the action sequences are frequent but not as memorable as the magazine-in-the-toaster gag from “Bourne Supremacy” or “Bourne Ultimatum’s” hardcover book punch. Still, you might not make it quite to the edge of your seat, but the combo of action and intrigue will shift you out of a reclining position.
“Jason Bourne” has its moments. Damon brings a grizzled power to the role and Vikander is a welcome addition, even if her motives are sometimes are hard to understand. There are interesting messages about online personal rights versus public safety that would have been moot in 2002 when the series debuted, a labyrinthine plot occasionally weighed down with unnecessary exposition and an unhinged Vegas climax—Bourne must really hope that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—that would not be out of place in an Avengers movie. I just wish the ending felt less like an Avengers scene—with cars comically flying through the air—and more like a Bourne moment.
I don’t think it’s fair to charge audiences full price for screenings of “Captain Phillips.”
While watching this exciting new Tom Hanks thriller I was reminded of the old Monster Trucks ads that bellowed, “You Pay for the Whole Seat but You’ll Only Need the Edge!”
It a film about piracy and I don’t mean the sleazy guys who bootleg movies but the real pirates who were responsible for the first hijacking of an American cargo ship in two hundred years.
Based on the true story of veteran seadog Captain Richard Phillips (Hanks) who took on a routine voyage around the Horn of Africa in April 2009. Piloting the MV Maersk Alabama and loaded with food and fresh water, his ship was stalked by Somali Pirates led by Muse (Barkhad Abdi).
“Chances are its just fishermen,” says his first mate.
“They’re not here to fish,” Phillips replies, watching the heavily armed attackers through binoculars.
He calls for a piracy drill that goes from pretend to “real world” as the pirates prepare to board the ship.
Once aboard Muse makes it clear he doesn’t want to harm anyone. “Nobody gets hurt,” he says. “Its just business.”
But business turns violent when it becomes clear the expected million-dollar payday Muse and company were expecting isn’t going to pan out. Offered $30,000 he snorts, “What do I look like, a beggar?”
As the situation escalates Phillips is taken aboard a life raft, kidnapped, bound for Somalia where he’ll be held for ransom.
Paul Greengrass is a master of action. His work on the second and third Jason Bourne films and “United 93,” which placed the audience in the middle of the action during the 9/11 hijackings are white-knuckle action flicks that don’t simply entertain with explosions, fight scenes and shoot ‘em up scenes. Instead he stages epic action scenes that feel intimate, as if a fist (or worse!) may fly off the screen and bonk the viewer on the head.
His scenes involve the viewer and as such are exciting in a way that Michael Bay’s sequences, despite bigger budgets and giant robots, will never be.
“Captain Phillips” is a case in point. Greengrass does a great job of portraying the vastness of the ocean and the isolation of the ship and its crew, which accentuates the helplessness of the unarmed sailors against the greedy pirates. A quiet scene in the ship’s boiler room with only the pirate’s footsteps to beak the silence is also unbearably tense.
It’s outsized action and setting, brought down to a personal level, which increases the human stakes and the audience’s connection to the story.
At the center of it all are two remarkable performances. Hanks is reliable, despite an uneven Bostonian accent, anchoring the film with his rock solid heroics. (SPOILER ALERT) It’s only in the film’s final moments, when the ordeal is over, that Hanks really unloads with the kind of raw and shell shocked reaction that the Academy is going to love.
Abdi also impresses. This is an action movie and as written he is primarily a plot device to keep the action moving forward, but despite an underwritten part he brings some humanity to the villain role. His explanation for his way of life, that he is a victim of limited opportunity and not a bad man, helps place his actions in context.
“Captain Phillips” is a terrifically tense thriller that is worth the price of a full seat, even though you’ll only use the edge.