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 Kevin Costner family drama “Let Him Go” (in theatres), the Hallmark parody “Cup of Cheer” (streaming), the noir-ish “The Kid Detective” (Theatrical) and the minor-key “Major Arcana” (VOD).
Did you ever wonder what happened to teenage crime busters the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew when they grew up? “The Kid Detective,” a new dark comedy starring Adam Brody and now playing in theatres, provides some clues to the mystery of what happens when kid crime busters grow up.
“I used to be a kid detective,” says Abe Applebaum (Brody as an adult, Jesse Noah Gruman as the precocious kid). When he was thirteen-years-old he solved the case of the missing find raiser money and was paid in free treats after he solved figured out who robbed the Mr. Henderson’s Ice Cream Shoppe. When his original “office”—actually a treehouse—was chopped down by a disgruntled criminal he opened a real office on Main Street and paid his secretary (Kaitlyn Chalmers-Rizzato) with soda pop. “Sometimes I would lie awake all night and wonder if I was the smartest person in the world,” he says.
He was loved but when his secretary went missing and he failed to crack the case, the bloom was off the rose. He grew up, or, at least got bigger. Now, almost at the big Four-O he’s living off past glories—“I’m Abe Applebaum! I solved the Case of the Missing Time Capsule when I was twelve years old. The mayor gave me the key to the city!”—while sharing a dingy apartment with a roommate and working out of an even dingier office.
He gets the chance to prove himself when high-schooler Caroline (Sophie Nélisse) asks him to solve the murder of her boyfriend Patrick, who died from stabbed seventeen wounds. This is another level from sleuthing the case of the Missing Basketball Magazines. This is the real deal.
“In this line of work you learn one thing quickly,” he tells her. “Everybody has secrets. No matter how simple a case may seem, it is always shocking what you find. I just want you to be prepared.”
From there the case takes dark twists and turns that you might not expect from a movie with the Disney-fied title of “The Kid Detective.”
Director Evan Morgan, in his feature debut, blends the crime solving of “Mystery Team” and the
noir of “Brick” with the world weariness of “The Big Sleep.” It’s a movie that derives humour from Abe’s relative failure as an adult and grown-up detective but never feels like it’s poking fun at him. Thanks to Brody’s performance we see that Abe is a sad sack who once tasted greatness and wants another sip. “It’s difficult to accept who you are in your head,” he says, “and who you are in the world.”
His feeling of being uncertain of how to reclaim his glory days permeates every minute of his work. The story here is very specific but the themes of nostalgia for a happier time and the need for dignity are universal. “I was so far ahead of the game,” he says. “And then one day I woke up and I was… behind.” Brody pulls this off with equal parts vulnerability and (often misplaced) confidence.
“The Kid Detective” is a low-key movie with a high concept that is a little too in love with its own subtleties. The deliberate pacing, however, pays off with a climax brings the story together as both a detective thriller and character study in an interesting and satisfying way.
Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch during the pandemic including the reality show “World of Dance,” the family drama “The Rest of Us” with Heather Graham and “Mr. Jones,” a story of journalism in a fraught time.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the new Kevin Bacon psychological thriller “You Should Have Left,” the Heather Graham family drama “The Rest of Us,” the “Showgirls” rethink “You Don’t Nomi” and “Mr. Jones,” the true-life story of one journalist’s journey to tell the truth.
Blended families can be complicated, messy ecosystems particularly when tragedy is involved. There are a ton of movies about divided loyalties in the face of divorce or death but “The Rest of Us,” the new Heather Graham film, now on VOD, is different. Rather than milking the relationship between first and second wives for heightened drama, it focusses on empathy and compassion.
Graham plays illustrator and author Cami, mother to Aster (Sophie Nélisse) and ex-spouse to Craig. Ten years previously he cheated on her with Rachel (Jodi Balfour), leaving his first family behind to start again with the younger woman. “She’s almost young enough to be your daughter,” says Aster. When he dies in the tub the two women have a chilly reunion at the funeral reception, which happens to be in the house Cami shared with Craig.
Days later the two women meet again and some shocking truths about Craig’s financial state arise. “He hasn’t paid the mortgage for six months,” Rachel tells Cami. “It’ll all go up for auction. The furniture, the house, everything. We can keep a few clothes and things.” Moved, Cami offers Rachel and daughter Talulah (Abigail Pniowsky) a temporary place to stay while she waits for the insurance money to come in. Rachel declines but when the house is foreclosed on, her hand is forced.
With the four living on Cami’s property secrets are revealed, tensions vented and grief and anger over the passing of the man who connects them is shared.
“The Rest of Us” has plenty of reveals. Truths are uncovered at an astounding rate but there are never fireworks, just well calibrated moments that expose the complicated dynamics of interpersonal relationships. Director Aisling Chin-Lee never overplays or rushes those moments even though the film has a scant eighty-minute running time. Instead she allows the strong performances from each of the players—particularly from Nélisse—to do the heavy emotional lifting.
Sharp writing keeps “The Rest of Us’” unusual premise from becoming too pat, even if one of the big reveals is telegraphed early on. Still, it’s a lovely testament to the power of empathy and forgiveness.
Richard and CP24 anchor Stephanie Smythe have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the up-close-and-personal action of “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” the supernatural thrills of “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” the spy comedy “Keeping Up with the Joneses” and the new Canadian indie “Mean Dreams.”
Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the up-close-and-personal action of “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” the supernatural thrills of “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” the spy comedy “Keeping Up with the Joneses” and the new Canadian indie “Mean Dreams.”