I appear on “CTV News at 11:30” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the new Pixar movie “Elemental,” the feel-good flick “Flamin’ Hot” on Disney+ and the true crime docuseries “Burden of Proof” on Crave.
I sit in for NewsTalk 1010 host Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “NewsTalk Tonight” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the need for speed in “The Flash,” the genre satire “The Blackening” and the new Pixar movie “Elemental.”
Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to tie your sneakers! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the need for speed in “The Flash,” the genre satire “The Blackening” and the new Pixar movie “Elemental.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the need for speed in “The Flash,” the genre satire “The Blackening” and the new Pixar movie “Elemental.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the need for speed in “The Flash,” the genre satire “The Blackening” and the new Pixar movie “Elemental.”
“Elemental,” the new Pixar picture now playing in theatres, takes an old-fashioned love story and gives it a high-concept spin.
The setting is Element City, a metropolis divided into four distinct districts, one for every kind of the city’s anthropomorphized element residents. The fire people live in the Fire Land, there’s the Splash District for water people, the Terra District for land people, and the Breeze District for air people.
“Elemental” focusses on the Lumen family and their fiery daughter Ember (voice of Leah Lewis) who immigrated to Element City looking for a better life. The young flame is poised to take over the family’s Fire Land shop, a small convenience store with the slogan “We Flame to Please!”
“This shop is the dream of our family,” says patriarch Bernie Lumen (voice of Ronnie Del Carmen). “Someday it’ll all be yours!” Eager to please her parents, Ember feigns excitement at the prospect of running the shop, the family’s pride and joy.
“I’ve been trying to fill my father’s shoes,” she says, “but I was never asked what I want to do.”
As her hidden resentment grows, Ember becomes sullen and begins lashing out until she meets
Water person Wade Ripple (voice of Mamoudou Athie), who, as a youngster, was once stuck inside a sponge. Despite that trauma, he grew up to be a kind, laid-back guy who cries at the drop of a hat.
Ember has always thought that “elements don’t mix,” but when Wade comes into her life she learns that sometimes opposites do attract and that she can make her own decisions. “Why does anyone get to tell you what you can do in your life?” asks Wade.
“Elemental” has a big heart, but not big enough to justify the film’s feature length. A new spin on the star-crossed lovers genre, à la “Romeo and Juliet,” it is a simple tale of the heart wanting what the heart wants despite differences. Then there’s the “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” vibe between Wade and Bernie, which is clever but never quite ignites.
The vivid artwork is often spectacular, and provides many beautiful images, but the watered-down story does not equal the film’s visual impact.
Director Peter Sohn, who also helmed “The Good Dinosaur,” builds a new world and introduces other story elements, including immigration metaphors, references to racism and intolerance, but these aspects often feel tentative, more well-intentioned than effective.
Better is the relationship between Ember and her father. Sohn used personal experience to shape the story of a father’s expectation and deference to tradition, and how the weight of that affects Ember. Their connection feels authentic and grounds the action of the rest of the film.
Opening the show in theatres is “Carl’s Date,” a sweet natured short film featuring Carl Fredricksen (voice of Ed Asner) and his adorable talking dog, Dug (voice of Bob Peterson) of the much-loved film “Up.” It’s a funny, tightly scripted look at companionship that made me think, by the time the main feature was over, that “Elemental,” given its slight narrative, might have had more punch, and seemed less stretched, as a short.
“Elemental” is wonderfully crafted, but the formulaic story prevents it from sitting on the shelf alongside other Pixar greats like “Up,” WALL-E” or “Toy Story.”
Richard appears on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week he has a look at two movies starring guys named Chris, “Lightyear” with Chris Evans and “Spiderhead” with Chris Hewmsworth.