Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including the animated stone age family flick “The Croods: A New Age,” the slice-of-David-Bowie’s-life movie “Stardust” on VOD and “Belushi,” the Crave doc about the rise and fall of the beloved “Saturday Night Live” comedian.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the animated comedy “The Croods: A New Age” (theatrical), the David Bowie biopic “Stardust” (In theatres and digital and on-demand platforms), a pair of docs, “Belushi” (Crave) and “Zappa” (Apple TV app and everywhere you rent movies), the new one from Mel Gibson “Fatman” (VOD) and a remake of “Black Beauty” (Disney+).
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the animated comedy “The Croods: A New Age” (theatrical), the David Bowie biopic “Stardust” (In theatres and digital and on-demand platforms), the new one from Mel Gibson “Fatman” (VOD) and a remake of “Black Beauty” (Disney+).
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 animated comedy “The Croods: A New Age” (theatrical), the David Bowie biopic “Stardust” (In theatres and digital and on-demand platforms), a pair of docs, “Belushi” (Crave) and “Zappa” (Apple TV app and everywhere you rent movies), the new one from Mel Gibson “Fatman” (VOD) and a remake of “Black Beauty” (Disney+).
Seven years after DreamWorks’ “The Croods” reinvented and recycled “The Flintstones,” minus the brontosaurus ribs, for a new generation comes a sequel, “The Croods: A New Age,” now in theatres, available soon as a digital rental.
At the start of the new movie the Croods—Grug and Ugga Crood (Nicolas Cage and Catherine Keener) and their kids daughters Eep (Emma Stone) and Sandy (Randy Thom), son Thunk (Clark Duke) and Gran (Cloris Leachman)—have outgrown the cave. In the search for a new, safe home they come across a colorful paradise with walls to protect them from attack and plenty of food. “It sucks out there,” says Ugga (Catherine Keener). “It’s so much better here. Out there if no one has died before breakfast it’s a win.”
As they settle in they find they’re not alone. The Bettermans, Phil (Peter Dinklage), Hope (Leslie Mann) and daughter Dawn (Kelly Marie Tran), a family a rung or three up on the evolutionary ladder already live. They have modern conveniences like windows, irrigation, separate bedrooms and more. “It’s called a shower. You should try it!” The modern stone age family looks down on the Croods. In fact, they’d more rightly be named The Betterthans.
When peril comes their way the Croods and the Bettermans, despite their differences, learn they have more in common than they thought. In this story there’s room for both brains and brawn.
“The Croods: A New Age” hasn’t evolved much since 2013. Like the first movie it is still jam packed with loads of caveman comedy and Paleolithic physical action. The new one has a strong message of female empowerment and the recycles the original’s theme of adversity actually bringing people closer together. It’s a winning, if familiar, combo until the noisy, frenetic ending that, while eye popping, is all sound and fury without much payoff.
The voice cast gamely delivers the story. It’s fun to hear Cage as Grug Crood actually have some fun with a role these days. It’s a welcome step away from his direct-to-the-delete-bin action movies he’s been choosing lately. Stone brings a spirited and adventurous edge to cavegirl Eep, and Reynolds, as the romantic lead, proves that his comic timing translates very well from live action to animation. They trade the often-ridiculous dialogue with ease, milking maximum humour from the script.
“The Croods: A New Age” is chaotic fun, a movie aimed squarely at kids with just enough jokes about raising a family to keep parents interested.
The Spider-Man movies don’t skimp on the stuff that puts the “super” into superhero movies. There’s web-slinging shenanigans and wild bad guys galore, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 director Marc Webb calls the relationship between Spidey and girlfriend Gwen Stacy, “the engine of the movie.”
The chemistry the real-life couple brings to the screen is undeniable, but it almost didn’t get a chance to blossom. Before Emma Stone landed the role of the brainiac love interest, Mia Wasikowska, Imogen Poots, Emma Roberts and even Lindsay Lohan were considered.
Stone won some of the best reviews of her career playing Gwen in The Amazing Spider-Man — Peter Travers said she, “just jumps to life on screen” — in a role that gave her the biggest hit of her career to date.
Smaller roles in Superbad and Zombieland hinted at her ability to be funny and hold the screen, but in 2010’s Easy A she turned a corner into full-on Lucille Ball mode, mixing pratfalls with wit while pulling faces and cracking jokes. Smart and funny, she’s the film’s centrepiece.
The movie begins with the voice over, “The rumours of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated.” It’s the voice of Olive (Stone), a clean-cut high school senior who tells a little white lie about losing her virginity. As soon as the gossip mill gets a hold of the info, however, her life takes a parallel course to the heroine of the book she is studying in English class — The Scarlet Letter.
Stone is laugh-out-loud funny in Easy A, but her breakout film was a serious drama.
In The Help, she plays Jackson, Miss. native “Skeeter” Phelan who comes home from four years at school to discover the woman who raised her, a maid named Constantine (Cicely Tyson), is no longer employed by her family. Her mother says she quit, but Skeeter has doubts. With the help of a courageous group of housekeepers she tells the real story of the life of the maids, writing a book called The Help.
The Flick Filosopher called her performance, “on fire with indignation and rage,” and she moved from The Help to a variety of roles, including playing a femme fatale in Gangster Squad opposite Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin, and lending her trademark raspy voice to cave girl Eep in the animated hit The Croods.
The 25-year-old actress is living her childhood dream of being an actress but says if performing hadn’t worked out, she would have been a journalist, “because (investigating people’s lives is) pretty much what an actor does.
“And imagine getting to interview people like me,” she laughs. ‘’It can’t get much better than that.”
“The Croods,” Nicolas Cage’s new kid friendly flick, is set in a time when cave drawings were considered high tech, but despite its paleontological roots, it feels very modern. It may be about a family of cavemen and women—imagine “The Flintstones” without the brontosaurus ribs—but the 3D animation is state-of-the-art and you don’t need to be an anthropologist to get the father-and-daughter story. It’s only the mother-in-law jokes that feel almost as prehistoric as the characters.
Cage voices Grug, a caveman dad with some Neanderthal ideas about how to protect his family. “No one said survival is fun,” he grunts. His teenage daughter Eep (voice of Emma Stone), however, wants something more from her life than hiding in a cave and surviving. Sneaking out of the family grotto one night she meets Guy (voice of Ryan Reynolds), a caveboy with good looks and a brain—he invents fire, belts, shoes and other necessities of life!—who warns her that a colossal change is coming.
The news does not go down well with Grug and his “Anything new is bad,” attitude until the earth begins to split, their cave is destroyed and they are forced to follow Guy to higher ground. Their journey takes them through a changing world where they’re no longer the top of the food chain and must learn to adapt or die.
OK, adapt or die sounds pretty heavy for a kid’s film, but the movie is about how facing adversity actually brings this family closer together. There are other messages wedged in there—adapting is good, acceptance is better and loyalty is best—but the movie uses run-ins with ancient animals—fanciful kid friendly creatures—to entertain the eye and get its main idea across.
It’s chock-a-block with beautiful images. Eep’s introduction to fire is gorgeous, as is the new landscape created with every eruption of the earth. There’s loads of caveman comedy and Paleolithic physical action—apparently cavemen invented Parkour—and it contains the best self-aware line Nicolas Cage has ever uttered on screen—“Hand me those acting sticks!”
The family dynamic works, although Grug’s ambivalence to his mother-in-law’s (voice of Cloris Leachman) survival seems like a relic from another era. “The Croods” does err on the side of sentimentality near the end—even cavemen have feelings!—but to quote the theme song from another stone-age family cartoon, you’ll still “have a yabbadabba-doo time, a dabba-doo time” with Grug and his clan.