What to watch when you’ve already watched everything. Binge worthy, not cringe worthy recommendations. It’s a long title, I know but in self isolation I have more time on my hands than usual. Here are three movies you may not have seen that are available to rent or buy on VOD and streaming services that can help pass the minutes, hours, weeks… whatever, until we are allowed to touch our faces again.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliott have a look at the weekend’s big releases, “Deadpool” with Ryan Reynolds as The Merc with the Mouth, “Zoolander 2,” Ben Stiller’s fifteen years in the making sequel to his 2001 comedy cult hit and “How to Be Single,” Dakota Johnson’s sex and the city.
Richard and “Canada AM” host Marci Ien dissect the weekend’s big releases, “Deadpool” with Ryan Reynolds as The Merc with the Mouth, “Zoolander 2,” Ben Stiller’s fifteen years in the making sequel to his 2001 comedy cult hit and “How to Be Single,” Dakota Johnson’s sex and the city.
Look! Up on the screen! It’s Blade: Trinity. It’s The Proposal. It’s Ryan Reynolds!
Yes, it’s Ryan Reynolds, strange visitor from Vancouver who came to Hollywood with powers and abilities beyond those of mortal men. He speaks faster than a speeding bullet! He can leap tall scripts in a single bound! He’s more versatile than a roomful of Sexiest Men Alive!
I’ve paraphrased the famous opening of Superman, even though Reynolds has never played Superman in the movies. Careerwise, however, he has been a super man, leaping from genre to genre, piecing together an IMDB page so varied it’ll make your head spin.
This weekend brings us another exciting episode in the adventures of Ryan Reynolds.
In Deadpool he’s a former Special Forces operative subjected to an experimental treatment that gifts him with regenerative healing power and increased agility. Unfortunately it also leaves him filled with rage; thirsty for revenge against the doctor who changed his life. The character’s greatest superpower, according to Reynolds, “is annoying the s— out of people.”
It’s not the first time the 39- year-old actor has played someone with superpowers. It’s not even the first time he’s played Deadpool. That character debuted in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and he starred as Captain Excellent in Paper Man, the darkly heroic Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity as well as donning the super-tight tights of the Green Lantern.
When he isn’t battling crime, however, Reynolds has been more adventurous in his roles than people give him credit. Peppered throughout his major Hollywood successes like The Proposal have been roles like The Amityville Horror’s psychologically unstable father, Woman in Gold’s relentless lawyer, and the crackhead Gary in the thriller The Nines.
Successful or not, those movies showcased a performer looking to stretch his acting muscles (and not just display his prodigious ab muscles). Here are some other Reynold’s roles that show his super-versatility:
The Voices: Reynolds plays the wholesome-looking Jerry, an eager to please factory worker with a crush on the cute accountant upstairs. When she stands him up for a date it becomes apparent Jerry has serious problems. As bodies pile up he grapples with voices in his head that tell him to do terrible things. Kitschy, strange and decidedly off kilter, The Voices has funny moments but revolves around Reynolds’s winningly odd performance.
Buried: Reynolds is a civilian truck driver in Iraq, taken hostage, buried underground, who will be left to die unless a ransom is paid. The entire movie happens inside the four walls of a coffin with only Reynolds and a cell phone on display. Unable to rely on his usual comic timing and bulging muscles, Reynolds hits a career high, keeping the audience intrigued for most of the 90-minute running time.
The Change-Up: Starring Reynolds and Jason Bateman, this film is like several movies in one. It’s part gross-out comedy, part heart tugger and all switcheroo. The set-up is Freaky Friday simple; the two leads swap personalities but it works because Bateman adds a little hyper Van Wilder inflection to his speech and Reynolds drops his energy a few notches to match Bateman’s more laconic style. Both are likeable actors, with charm and charisma to burn.
Don’t expect the usual kid-friendly superhero fare from “Deadpool.” He’s part of the Marvel family, a distant cousin to Iron Man, The Hulk and Captain America, but he’s a superantihero, a weaponized bad attitude come-to-life with a chip on his shoulder and a raunchy quip on his lips.
Ryan Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a former Special Services operative who now spends his days as the “Patron Saint of the Pitiful,” a mercenary who takes care of life’s little problems for people who can’t take care of themselves. “I’m a bad guy who get paid to BLEEP worse guys,” he says. When he meets Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin) he finally feels like he has a shot at a normal—or at least normalish—life.
They’re a match made in heaven. “Ever had a cigarette put out on your skin?” she coos. “Where else do you put them out,” he says. In love, they have plans to get married until he is diagnosed with late stage liver, prostate and brain cancer. Grasping at straws he signs up for an experimental treatment that promises to cure his disease. Instead, he is subjected to round-the-clock torture by an evil doctor named Francis (Ed Skrein), who uses immense physical stress to trigger super power mutations in his patients.
The treatment leaves him disfigured, both physically—”You look like an avocado had sex with an older avocado,” says his best friend.—and mentally—the treatment “cell stomped my sanity,” he says.—but with accelerated healing powers and a sarcastic way with a word that earns him the nickname The Merc [mercenary] with the Mouth.
Estranged from Vanessa, who thinks he’s dead, he searches for Frances, the only person who can right the wrongs done to him and give him back his life. Decked out in red leather suit that resembles a Spider-Man ninja costume—Why is it red? “So bad guys can’t see me bleed.”–he adopts the alter ego Deadpool.
“Deadpool” is unlike any other origin story. It’s a snarky, violent, fourth-wall-breaking collision between “Van Wilder” and Marvel Comics. The opening credits–which scream the movie stars God’s Perfect Idiot, A Hot Girl, A British Villain, A CGI Character and features a Gratuitous Cameo–set the tone. This isn’t your grandfather’s superhero movie. With one bloody shot across the bow “Deadpool” makes the other Marvel movies look a little less Marvel-ous. No joke is too crass. No lines are left uncrossed. Where the last couple of Marvel superhero films have felt like odes to market research, “Deadpool” feels like an antidote to the repetition of recent superhero offerings. Politically incorrect and rowdy, it’s a down-and-dirty movie that has more in common with “The Toxic Avenger” than “Iron Man.”
This may be the role Reynolds has been waiting for. It mixes-and-matches his skill at dropping a one liner with his physical side and finally gives his bland leading man mien some edge. Self-effacing, he pokes fun at his other attempts at superhero notoriety. “Please don’t make this super suit green or animated,” says the former Green Lantern and suddenly we forgive his past transgressions.
“Deadpool” won’t be for everyone. It’s occasionally a little too rude and crude, bloody and bowed for it’s own good but at least it tries to do something a little different in the well-worn context of the superhero genre. It exists in a meta universe where Deadpool is aware he’s in a movie–“Whose BLEEP did I have to BLEEP to get my own movie?” he asks.–while another character suggests the name Deadpool “sounds like a franchise.” I hope so. Like them or not, superhero movies aren’t going anywhere soon but at least every now and again there may be a new “Deadpool” film to shake things up a bit.
1.) Technology may have killed off VHS but not before a cursed videotape knocked off a few of its own victims. The Ring, an American adaptation of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu, stars Naomi Watts as a journalist investigating the urban legend of a tape that kills viewers seven days after popping it into the VCR. “You start to play it, and it’s like somebody’s nightmare!” No, it’s not a badly dubbed copy of Rhinestone, it’s a series of surreal images from a dead girl’s life. The Ring is creepy and atmospheric until the last half-hour, but that’s when the VCR’s fast forward button comes in handy.
2.) Set in Tromaville, New Jersey The Toxic Avenger is the story of a 90-pound weakling who morphs into the lumpy-headed titular title character. Fighting corruption by spilling loads of fake blood, plunging hands into deep fryers and crushing a head, his methods provide unforgettable b-movie cheap thrills. That last effect—it’s a melon in a wig—is a timeless VHS classic and is actually enhanced by watching it on grainy video tape.
3.) A History of Violence makes the list because it was the last movie to be released on VHS in the golden age of video. Viggo Mortensen is Tom, a mild mannered man who must confront his violent past when local townsfolk start asking, “how come he’s so good at killing people?” An unopened copy of it will set you back $10,000 on eBay, but why would you want an unopened copy of one of director David Cronenberg’s best films?
4.) One of the main benefits of VHS tape is that it always stays at the point at which you left it. Snap it off at the twenty-minute mark, go back to it twenty years later and it will still be EXACTLY where you left off. In a way it’s kind of like hair metal, a genre that has loudly and proudly stayed stalled in the 1980s. Fans of bands like Poison and W.A.S.P. will want to rev up a VHS of The Decline of Western Civilization Part II, The Metal Years, because it rocks too hard to be released on DVD.
5.) The 1980s VHS boom gave us the dreaded direct-to-video movie and produced many bad flicks, countless of which had names that closely echoed those of big theatrical hits. In the down-and-dirty world of the actionsploitation genre, for instance, Schwarzenegger’s hit Commando became Strike Commando—”He’s A War Machine on the Warpath!”—only without the Austrian superstar or a budget for the big action scenes. The lurid cover art is better than the movie, but still, when viewed through a scratchy VHS snowstorm it’s a hoot.