Posts Tagged ‘Regina Hall’

CFRA IN OTTAWA: THE BILL CARROLL MORNING SHOW MOVIE REVIEWS!

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 the drama “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Theatres), the psychological thriller “St. Maud” (digital and on-demand), Robin Wright’s directorial debut “Land” (in theatres), the cheesy action flick “Skyfire” (VOD) and the dark comedy “Breaking News In Yuba County” (VOD).

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

BREAKING NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY: 2 ½ STARS. “suburban satire, character study.”

Like Rodney Dangerfield, Sue Buttons (Alison Janney) gets no respect. In the new dark comedy “Breaking News in Yuba County,” now available on VOD, she discovers that with respect and unwanted attention comer hand in hand.

A help-desk operator, Sue is verbally abused by random callers, her half-sister Nancy (Mila Kunis) doesn’t remember her birthday and even shopkeepers talk down to her. “You’re important. You’re strong. You matter,” she says into the mirror, despite all the evidence to the contrary. When her husband Karl (Matthew Modine), who has been laundering money for crime boss Mina (Awkwafina), goes missing after a tryst with his mistress (on Sue’s birthday no less), people begin to take notice of Sue. Elevated to local celebrity status, Sue weaves a web of lies to keep policewoman (Regina Hall), deadbeat brother-in-law (Jimmi Simpson) and reporter Nancy from discovering what really happened to Karl.

“Breaking News in Yuba County” is part suburban satire, part character study. As a satire it aims to peel back the soft underbelly of big box stores, small town attitudes and middle-age angst.

As a character study, it follows Sue as she blossoms from wallflower into the anxious center of attention.

In a well-oiled machine, these two elements would sit comfortably side-by-side but here the satire doesn’t cut and the characters don’t compel.

The performances, particularly from Janney, tap every ounce of interest from the script, but the underwritten story from Amanda Idoko doesn’t dig deep enough for the satire. Mean spirited instead of insightful, it attempts the kind of juggling act Joel and Ethan Coen perform in films like “Fargo,” where crime, character and satire blend to unveil a more universal truth. Here, Sue’s search for acknowledgement and fame is as uninspired as her oft-repeated mantra, “You’re important. You’re strong. You matter.”

RICHARD’S WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FROM CP24! FRIDAY APRIL 15, 2016.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 2.12.52 PMRichard and CP24 anchor Rena Heer talk about the weekend’s big releases, the revamped “The Jungle Book,” a third visit to Calvin’s in “Barbershop: The Next Cut,” the jazzy notes of “Miles Ahead” and the mind altering ‘Criminal.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S “CANADA AM” REVIEWS FOR APRIL 15 WITH JEFF HUTCHESON.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 11.52.50 AMRichard and “Canada AM” host Jeff Hutcheson kick around the weekend’s big releases. They find out if “The Jungle Book” is appropriate for all ages, if “Barbershop: the Next Cut” makes the cut and if “Criminal” should be put in movie jail.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT: 3 ½ STARS. “shines light on an important topic.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.55.51 AMFourteen years after the first “Barbershop” movie the recession has caught up to Calvin Palmer, Jr. (Ice Cube). Due to changing times the barbershop he took over from his father has been forced to amalgamate with a beauty salon run by his business partner, Angie (Regina Hall). “This was the original man cave,” complains one regular, “now it’s just a club with no drinks.”

The customers are divided by sex, men on one side, women on the other, but there’s plenty of back-and-forth, especially between flirty beautician Draya (Nicki Minaj) and the very married Rashad (Common).

Outside the atmosphere isn’t as playful. Out of necessity they have a No Guns Allowed sign in the shop. “Can’t even get a haircut without some knucklehead carrying a gun,” says Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer). “Barbershop used to be a place of peace.” Gang violence is at an all time high, putting Calvin’s teenage son Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.) at risk. With the neighbourhood in tatters and his son in danger Calvin contemplates moving his shop and family out of the only home they’ve ever known, South Side Chicago. “What are we supposed to do,” Calvin asks his wife, “wait here until something happens?” Before taking that dramatic step the staff stages an intervention, calling for a forty-eight hour ceasefire. Setting up the shop as a safe, neutral space for everyone from all over the city to come and hash out their differences and get a free haircut, they hope to “Increase the Peace.”

“Barbershop: The Next Cut” breathes the same air as “Chi-Raq,” Spike Lee’s recent satirical look at gang violence in Chicago. Director Malcolm D. Lee does away with the stylish flourishes that made his cousin Spike’s movie so memorable, but doesn’t skimp on the social commentary. Wedged between sometimes sharp, sometimes silly one-liners are keenly observed remarks on everything from racism and street violence to monogamy and the importance of community building. The presentations are different—call this “Chi-Raq Lite” if you like—but the pleas for peace are the same.

Working from a thoughtful although occasionally unsubtle script, the large ensemble cast has the chance to provide laughs and heart. Cedric, former Conan O’Brien writer Deon Cole and JB Smooth are in charge of the chuckles, while Cube and Common’s family storylines provide the sentiment. Other standouts include rappers-turned-actors Minaj and Eve.

The humour in “Barbershop: The Next Cut” is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. What could have been a heavy-handed treatise on urban violence is instead an enjoyable romp that shines a light on a very important topic.

Richard’s CP42 weekend reviews of “Jersey Boys” and “Think Like a Man Too”!

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 2.32.25 PMRichard’s CP42 weekend reviews of “Jersey Boys” and “Think Like a Man Too” with George Lagogianes!

 

 

 

 

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RICHARD’S REVIEWS FOR JUNE 13, 2014 W “CANADA AM” HOST Marci Ien.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 9.45.12 AMFilm critic Richard Crouse gives ‘Jersey Boys’ two stars while ‘Think Like a Man Too’ gets three stars.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

 

 

 

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THINK LIKE A MAN TOO: 3 STARS. “more Hart than actual heart”

1393878315000-XXX-THINK-LIKE-MAN-TOO-MOV-jy-1077The idea of turning self-help books into movies isn’t new. Fifty years ago Helen Gurley Brown’s guidebook “Sex and the Single Girl,” which featured advice on “How to be Sexy,” among other useful tips, was made into a film starring Natalie Wood and “Mean Girls” was an adaptation of the high school survival manual “Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughters Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence.”

So the idea of the 2012 farce “Think Like a Man” based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” wasn’t a stretch.

But now a sequel? The question is: How do you conjure a second story out of a book with no plot? Set it in Vegas and let Kevin Hart do all the heavy lifting.

The idea of Harvey’s tome is to give women an inside look into the workings of the male psyche and take control of their relationships. It’s typical battle of the sexes stuff and on film they play it for laughs.

The four couples from the original movie— Maya and Zeke (Meagan Good and Romany Malco), Dominic and Lauren (Michael Ealy and Taraji P. Henson), Jeremy and Kristen (Jerry Ferrara and Gabrielle Union) and Tish and Bennett (Wendi McLendon-Covey and Gary Owen)—plus the almost single Cedric (Kevin Hart) reunite in Las Vegas—“The number one destination in the world for people who do the craziest thing… get married.”—for “Think Like A Man Too.”

They’ve gathered for the wedding of Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence Jenkins) but you know as soon as someone says, “I’m going to give you the perfect wedding… nothing is going to go wrong,” that, of course, everything is going to go wrong. The romantic getaway is jeopardized when the bachelorette and bachelor parties spin out of control.

“Think Like a Man Too” plays like a tamer version of “The Hangover.” There’s even a cameo from a world champion boxer but “TLAMT” doesn’t have the cynical edge of the Bradley Cooper movie. Instead, it plays it safe, making Sin City look like a wild but not terribly dangerous place to get married. All the usual Vegas clichés are well represented, from the gambling montage to the glaring neon lights to flaming cocktails to skimpy bikini-clad women to male strippers. What happens in Vegas also happens in the movies… quite often. The only thing missing is an Elvis impersonator or two.

Director Tim Story moves the story—what there is of it—along faster than a spinning roulette wheel. Montages and music video interludes keep the pace up, disguising the fact that there isn’t much going on. The story is thin, despite the multiple storylines crisscrossing throughout.

Kevin Hart seems to be trying to singlehandedly make up for a dearth of story by pulling out all the stops. No pratfall or face pull is beyond him. He even recreates Tom Cruise’s “Risky Business” underwear dance. His hyperactive performance stands in stark contrast to the more laid back work from his co-stars, but it does add a splash of life to every scene he’s in. Only his enthusiastic reading of a line like, “I’m sick of this non-tourage,” could pull laughs from some of this material.

“Think Like a Man Too” is a thin story bolstered by a few laughs (courtesy of Hart) and good-looking people navigating the choppy waters of modern romance. The advice contained within has more Hart than actual heart and is unlikely to provide much self-help, but has the same kind of bland appeal as its predecessor.

RICHARD’S REVIEWS FOR FRI. FEB. 14, 2014 W CTV NEWS CHANNEL HOST MARCIA MACMILLAN.

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 3.47.49 PMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “RoboCop,” “WEinter’s Tale” and “About Last Night.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!