Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the Maggie Q revenge thriller “The Protégé,” the Rebecca Hall horror film “The Night House” and the relationship drama written, directed and starring Billie Piper.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Maggie Q revenge thriller “The Protégé,” the Rebecca Hall horror film “The Night House” and the relationship drama written, directed and starring Billie Piper.
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 Maggie Q revenge thriller “The Protégé,” the Rebecca Hall horror film “The Night House” and the relationship drama written, directed and starring Billie Piper.
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about the Michael Keaton’s assassin story “The Protégé,” Rebecca Hall’s haunted house horror “The Night House” and the surreal relationship drama “Rare Beasts.”
Richard makes a special cocktail to enjoy while I watch “The Protégé,” a new action thriller, starring Maggie Q, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson. Join me as he has a drink and a think about the movie!
For the second time in as many months Samuel L. Jackson plays a hitman whose family values are as strong, if not stronger, than his instinct to kill. In “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” he found his logical, not biological family. In “The Protégé,” now in theatres, he’s a mentor and father figure to a killer played by Maggie Q.
Q is Anna, one of the world’s most highly trained assassins. She was brought into the life of international intrigue by Moody (Jackson), a blues-guitar playing contract killer. “I’m the big bad wolf who comes to get you,” he says, “when someone on earth decides your time is up.” He rescued her in Vietnam in 1991 after her parents were killed by communist soldiers. “He didn’t save my life,” she says, “he gave me a life.”
When Moody is brutally murdered, Anna loses the one person in her life she can trust. Vowing revenge, she uses her special set of skills to find out who blew away her mentor and father figure. “I’m going to find out who killed my friend,” she says, “and I’m going to end their life and the lives of anyone who stands in my way.”
One of those people standing in her way is Rembrandt (Michael Keaton), a rival assassin who works for some very bad but well-connected people. As the plot thickens, so does the connection between Anna and Rembrandt as her investigation leads her back to where her story began, Vietnam.
“The Protégé” is a glossy revenge flick that covers well-travelled ground. There are exotic locations, elaborate action sequences, complicated alliances and a dark backstory. Richard Wenk’s screenplay hits on a greatest hits of international assassin tropes and director Martin Campbell, best known for directing the 007 comeback film “Casino Royale,” knows how to take advantage of those story elements.
So why does “The Protégé” feel like less than the sum of those parts? Perhaps it’s because the characters don’t elevate the material.
Q is a credible action star, ably handling the kinetic stunts. Jackson brings his brand of effortless cool and Keaton is quirky and mysterious and somewhat cavalier about his chosen profession. “I could put two in the back of your head,” he says after making love to Anna, “and then go make a sandwich.”
Each brings something to the movie, and while Q and Jackson have an easy way about their relationship, the chemistry between Keaton and Q feels forced. An attempt at a fight scene that leads to the bedroom, set to “That Loving Feeling” by Isaac Hayes, falls flat despite the talent on screen.
“The Protégé” aspires to be something bigger than it is. The morality of the business of killing is discussed, generational trauma is hinted at and there is a complicated (and not terribly interesting) conspiracy at play but the movie is at its best when it puts aside its notions of gravitas and concentrates on the primal aspect of the story, Anna’s quest for revenge.
Canadian horror, and I don’t mean Tim Horton’s running out of Timbits just before your coffee break, but the kind of scary movies we make, tends to turn convention on its head.
How many hack comics have joked about the beastly effects of PMS? “Ginger Snaps” takes those jokes one step further in a wickedly humorous feminist werewolf allegory. Other examples of distinctive CanCon horror include “Black Christmas,” a movie shot in Toronto that set the template for most of the slasher films of the 1980s and ’90s, “Cannibal Girls,” an early horror comedy, and don’t even get me started on the squirmy body terror of David Cronenberg.
“Hellions,” a new film that smashes up “The Brood” and “Are You Afraid of the Dark,” is a fresh look at the Devil Child genre.
Chloe Rose is Dora, a pregnant high schooler left home alone on Halloween. She’s waiting for her boyfriend (Luke Bilyk) to come over but before he gets there kids in creepy costumes come to the door. At first it seems harmless, but when the same kids reappear, this time with Dora’s boyfriend’s head in their candy sack, things take a terrifying turn for the macabre.
Director Bruce McDonald, working from a script by “The Colony” screenwriter Pascal Trottier, has made a film hat is short on actual hardcore scares, but long on unease. McDonald uses visual tricks—nightmarish red and pink colour palettes, slow motion and inky darkness—dreamy sequences and a spooky children’s chant to underline Dora’s mounting fear.
“Hellions” isn’t the kind of slice-and-dice movie we’ve come to expect from home invasion movies like “You’re Next.” Instead it’s a loosely plotted, hallucinogenic horror that is more weird than scary.