Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the reboot of “Hellboy” starring David Harbour as Big Red, the stop-motion animated “Missing Link,” the Ethan Hawke bank heist “Stockholm” and the kid-friendly “Mia and the White Lion” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
At the end of “The Best of Enemies,” a new historical drama starring Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell, we meet the real-life inspirations for the characters. Like so many based-on-a-true story films that have come before it, it feels as though a documentary about the actual folks would have been more enjoyable than the recreation.
Set in 1971 North Carolina, Henson plays Ann Atwater, an African-American civil rights activist. Her group, Operation Breakthrough, aids local people with legal advice, housing and a multitude of other social concerns. It’s an uphill battle. Atwater often finds herself at odds with the openly racist town council. One member even turns his chair away when Atwater speaks. Providing unofficial support to the council is good-old-boy C.P. Ellis (Rockwell), president of the town’s KKK chapter.
When the council rules to send Black kids back into an unsafe school the NAACP gets involved, forcing the council to bring the issue before a community charrette, essentially a ten day a meeting in which town folk on both sides of the problem come together to debate. Community organizer Bill Riddick (Babou Ceesay) chooses two unlikely co-chairs, Atwater and Ellis. Both are unsure if they can work together but the stakes are too high on either side for them to decline the invitation. “Riddick is about to hand the keys to school integration,” says town official Carvie Oldham (Bruce McGill), “and you are going to lock the door.”
After a tense start the sworn enemies find common ground. Despite her personal feelings for Ellis, Atwater responds to his family situation with empath and compassion. Ellis begins to acknowledge the frustration and helplessness of the people he has held in such little regard for his entire life.
“The Best of Enemies,” comes with the best of intentions. Writer-director Robin Bissell details the lives of the two main characters but, it must be asked, How, in a movie about school integration, is the focus on Ellis? It seems tone deaf to present a story of integration in schools that features a climactic speech by a KKK president. Ellis’s life is presented in detail. We learn about his family life, business and spend time inside several KKK gatherings, including one where he is named the region’s Exulted Cyclops. Trouble is, we don’t get the same info on Atwater. Henson does an admirable job of breathing life into the character but Atwater is more or less treated like a supporting player in her own story.
It’s not to say “The Best of Enemies” doesn’t have some interesting moments. Civil rights icon Howard Clement (Gilbert Glenn Brown) delivers a stirring speech detailing a parent’s love for their child, adding “our kids have a whole different menu of pain to deal with.” In smaller moments like that the film’s message of bridge building and empathy ring loud and clear. It is just a shame that this historically significant tale suffers from a skewed POV and predictable plotting.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Jee-Yun Lee to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” the creepy kid movie “The Prodigy” and the Taraji P. Henson comedy “What Men Want.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia McMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the sensory overload of “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” the silly fun of “What Men Want” and the revenge flick “Cold Pursuit.”
Richard has a look at “Cold Pursuit” and the Liam Neeson controversy, the outer space Lego adventure “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” the creepy kid movie “The Prodigy and the supernatural comedy “What Men Want” with Taraji P. Henson with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the Michael B. Jordan boxing drama “Creed II,” the on-line romp of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and the odd couple buddy film “Green Book.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Jennifer Burke to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the boxing drama “Creed II,” the on-line romp of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and the odd couple buddy film “Green Book.”
Given the movie’s subtext “Ralph Breaks the Internet” could have been called “Ralph Wants You to Think About the Ramifications of Internet Usage.” Not as catchy, I’ll admit, but amid the fun and games the sequel to “Wreck-It Ralph” is a strong message about the dangers of Internet culture.
It’s been six years since we met Wreck-It Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly), a disgruntled video game character who demanded respect. This time around the action begins when the steering wheel controller on the Sugar Rush game console breaks. “It might be time to sell Sugar Rush for parts,” says Stan Litwak (Ed O’Neill), owner of Litwak’s Family Fun Center & Arcade.
Before Litwak unplugs the machine Ralph and the game’s racer Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) rescue Sugar Rush’s characters by moving them to other games.
To get the game up and running Ralph and Vanellope hit the Internet, using the Arcade’s wifi to explore the net in search of a replacement steering wheel. They find the wheel at eBay, trouble is, they don’t have any money. “I left my wallet at home,” Ralph tells the eBay cashier. “In the wallet room and the door is locked!”
When they befriend Shank (Gal Gadot), a racer in Slaughter Race, their problems seem to be over. The violent racing game overs a source of money but as Shank’s influence on Vanellope grows Ralph worries that his friend is drifting away.
“Ralph Breaks the Internet” is at its best when it’s subversive. The colourful animation, coupled with an imaginative take on what it would be like to be inside the internet—eBay is an actual auction house, and “likes” are sucked up by a vacuum cleaner—will make eyeballs dance but it’s the messaging that is memorable. Woven into the story are clever lessons on toxic friendship, how insecurity can infect a relationship like a virus on the computer and the dangers of obsessing about getting likes on social media posts.
Even better is a scene where Vanellope, while visiting OhMyDisney.com, stumbles into the Disney Princess break room. Here the film makes fun of Disney’s bread-and-butter, the stereotype of the princess. “Do people assume all your problems get solved because a strong man came along?” Fans of the first film know that Vanellope is a reluctant princess, preferring the title president. Her, among her spiritual sisters, she helps them shed some of their stuffy weays and they help her along the way to figuring out her path in life. “I stare at the important water and all of a sudden I start singing about my problems? I don’t think so,” Vanellope says, bursting one of Disney’s most familiar princess tropes.
The princess scene is a highlight in a film that has laughs but isn’t exactly a comedy. It’s more a heartfelt examination of friendship—“It’s not right to hold a friend back from her dreams.”—with some wild cartoon action and satire.
“Ralph Breaks the Internet” is a very specific story about two animated characters that illuminates universal themes from the real world.