Posts Tagged ‘Peter Simonischek’


Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this Halloween weekend including “Army of Thieves” on Netflix, Crave’s “Slumber Party Massacre” and “Muppets Haunted Mansion” on Disney+.

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 37:53)


Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including director Edgar Wright’s time-trippy “Last Night in Soho,” the based-on-true-fact drama “Snakehead,” “The French Dispatch,” the latest from Wes Anderson and the Netflix heist flick “Army of Thieves.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including Edgar Wright’s time-trippy “Last Night in Soho,” the based-on-true-fact drama “Snakehead,” “The French Dispatch,” the latest from Wes Anderson and the Netflix heist flick “Army of Thieves.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

ARMY OF THIEVES: 3 ½ STARS. “do not expect blood and guts, zombiefied action.”

“Army of Thieves,” a new heist film now streaming on Netflix, is a prequel to Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead” from earlier this year but do not expect the same kind of blood and guts zombiefied action.

The new film takes place six years before the zombie outbreak that brought Las Vegas to its knees in “Army of the Dead.” Both are heist movies, but the only brain eaters on display in this European-set flick are on the news and in the main character, Ludwig Dieter’s (Matthias Schweighöfer, who also directs) dreams. This is a standalone movie, the origin story of the safecracker who provided most of the lighter moments in Snyder’s film.

When we first meet Ludwig he’s a safecracker nerd, making YouTube video (that nobody watches) about the art of breaking into safes. He’s a skilled practitioner of the craft, but he’s an innocent and has never stolen anything from anyone. His job at a bank is unsatisfying in the extreme, so when a YouTube commenter invites him a safecracking competition, he readily accepts.

There, he proves his mettle and is recruited by bank robber Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) to join her gang of criminals, Korina (Ruby O. Fee), hacker Rolph (Guz Khan) and the muscle with the action hero name, Brad Cage (Stuart Martin). The gang has ambitious plans to rob three next-to-impossible safes, the kind that only Ludwig can crack, while the zombie outbreak in the United States is causing instability.

But what will bring the gang down first, zombies, sexual tension, Interpol or in-fighting?

The only real connection “Army of Thieves” has with “Army of the Dead” is Ludwig. It’s his introduction to the Snyderverse and dovetails into the zombie movie. Other than that, they are two separate things.

This one has a lighter touch, there’s some romance and no brain eating.

It plays like a riff on “Ocean’s Eleven.” At two hours it feels slightly long but Schweighöfer is an agreeable presence, adept at the character’s slapstick as well as the conveying the passion for his love interest (no spoilers here!). The result is an unexpectedly fun, action-packed movie gives new life to “Army of the Dead’s” most interesting character.


Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, Matthew McConaughey in “Gold,” the Oscar nominated “The Red Turtle,” “Trespass Against Us” starring Michael Fassbender and Germany’s entry for Best Foreign Film, “Toni Erdmann.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the big weekend movies, Matthew McConaughey in “Gold,” the Oscar nominated “The Red Turtle,” “Trespass Against Us” starring Michael Fassbender and Germany’s entry for Best Foreign Film, “Toni Erdmann.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

TONI ERDMANN: 4 STARS. “absurd, the laughs come from pain & desperation.”

“Toni Erdmann,” a new German language film from director Maren Ade and nominated for Best Foreign Film at this year’s Oscars, is being billed as a comedy but that’s not exactly accurate. It is absurd and often quite funny, but those laughs come from a deep mine of pain and desperation.

Peter Simonischek is Winfried, an elderly music teacher and next level practical joker. When he isn’t teaching he’s wearing funny teeth and punking the mail delivery people, pretending to be a dangerous criminal just out of jail for sending bombs through the post. His daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller), a corporate bigwig working for an oil company in Bucharest, did not inherit the clown gene.

The two are polar opposites, so when he shows up unannounced to spend time with her, she’s not entirely pleased. After a falling out he leaves, presumably to catch a plane back to Germany, only to reappear in her life as “life coach” Toni Erdmann. Dressed in an ill-fitting suit, plastic teeth and a fright wig he tries to endear himself to her friends and co-workers in a strange attempt to forge a relationship with a daughter he bares knows.

Despite Winfried’s off-the-wall antics “Toni Erdmann’s” main feel isn’t one of humour but of desperation. The father is desperate to understand his daughter’s life and career choices. Ines’s desperation manifests itself in quick blasts of temper and a kill-or-be-killed attitude on the job. Both behave strangely, expressing their dysfunction in very different ways, but they share a feeling that something is missing from their lives.

It’s heady stuff for a film that features funny teeth and clownish wigs but it works because of Ade’s unblinking camera and naturalistic and emotional performances from the leads.

Ade allows the camera to linger on uncomfortable, bittersweet moments that at first feel unnecessary but soon become intimate glimpses that reveal the inner thoughts of father and daughter. More than just padding and making an already long movie even longer, they are windows into the personalities of the characters. Like watching someone when they don’t know they’re being observed, they provide a raw look at Ines and Winfried.

The movie’s greatest moment, a public display of catharsis from Ines comes with the singing of a song. At a party father prods his daughter to sings while he plays a small electric piano. She lets loose, finally dropping her carefully constructed public persona and belts out a version of Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” that would bring the house down at any respectable karaoke joint. It’s a show-stopper, an exuberant letting loose that showcases much more than Ines’s way with a song. It is a great purge, a letting go of her inhibitions after getting her buttons pushed and it is glorious.

Simonischek and Hüller are wonderfully cast. Simonischek‘s sad sack father has found an outlet through humour and, sometimes infuriatingly, passes along his wisdom to his daughter. He’s all heart and often stands in stark contrast to his all-business daughter.

Hüller has the wider character arc and makes us care about someone who is being consumed by her own sense of emptiness. Did I mention this is being marketed as a comedy? That archetype of a successful person who swaps any sort of meaningful human connection for success is ripe for parody and Hüller mines it for funny moments as Ines slowly wakes up and comes to life.

“Toni Erdmann” has no real payoff other than spending time with two fascinating characters. For me that was enough.