Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD to watch this weekend including the Disney+ talking animals movie “The One and Only Ivan,” the World War II drama starring Gemma Arterton “Summerland on VOD and the self explanatory documentary “Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Jennifer Burke to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Disney+ talking animals movie “The One and Only Ivan,” the World War II drama starring Gemma Arterton “Summerland on VOD, the self explanatory documentary “Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies” and the dreary drama “Euphoria.”
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 Disney+ talking animals movie “The One and Only Ivan,” the World War II drama starring Gemma Arterton “Summerland on VOD, the self explanatory documentary “Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies” and the dreary drama “Euphoria.”
A wartime British story driven by character and emotion rather than action, “Summerland,” now on VOD, is a showcase for its actors, Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tom Courtenay.
Arterton is Alice Bloom, a chainsmoking writer who lives alone in a quaint seaside cottage in Kent. She’s a loner, prone to castigating anyone who interrupts her work. Among her neighbors, who have frequently felt the sting of her tongue, rumors fly that she is a witch, or worse, a Nazi sympathizer.
When she’s not typing furiously her thoughts drift backwards in time to the defining moment of her life, a love affair Vera ((Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Alice was left heartbroken when Vera broke off the relationship, leaving for a man and the promise of a family. With bombs dropping on London, Alice becomes the unwelcoming host to Frank (Lucas Bond), a youngster evacuated from his city home as part of Operation Pied Piper.
She’s less than excited about having to care for the boy and Frank isn’t pleased either. Even less so when a school mate (Dixie Egerickx) warns him that Alice will “burn you and do sex things to you.” Over time and through tragedy, however, a bond unexpectedly forms between them.
“Summerland” is a feel-good movie that never digs too deep. It’s central life-is-not-fair theme is given a melodramatic treatment that leans toward the contrived but the relationships between the characters elevates the material. As Alice lets her guard down to accept and nurture Frank, and he, in turn embraces her, the story transcends the predictability of its plot to find a sweet, tender and pleasing spot. It’s aided by beautiful cinematography courtesy of Laurie Rose and lovely production design, but make no mistake, the heart of this story is the characters and the actors who bring them to vivid life.
That is the question rattling around Kate Mercer’s (Charlotte Rampling) head as her forty-fifth wedding anniversary to Geoff (Tom Courtenay) looms on the horizon.
In retirement the couple have a comfortable life. He putters and reads, she makes arrangements for their anniversary bash. Their quiet, cozy life is disturbed when a letter arrives for Geoff with disturbing news; the body of Katya, his first love, has been discovered in the Swiss Alps, frozen and preserved, after falling to her death nearly five decades before. In the days leading up to the celebration of their relationship Kate begins to understand the depth of Geoff’s feelings for his long-ago love, leading to distrust and a re-examination of her “happy” marriage.”
Director Andrew Haigh knows this is an actor’s movie and puts Rampling and Courtenay front and center, showcasing them with unfussy and simple presentation. There is no soundtrack to set the scene or flashy editing to entertain your eye, just powerfully subtle performances. Rampling never overstates her devastation. Instead, she allows her nuanced facial expressions to speak volumes, filling in the unspoken parts of the story with tiny but effective looks and actions. It is the kind of introspective work that the big screen was invented to display.
“45 Years” is a master class in acting. It’s a mature story brought to life by two remarkable actors who aren’t afraid to trust the story’s emotional core and take the time to allow it to burrow deep into the viewer’s intellect and more importantly, heart.
Based on a Booker Prize winning novel by Graham Swift, Last Orders examines the way people express their grief when a close friend passes away. Jack (Michael Caine) dies, leaving behind his childhood friends (Bob Hoskins, David Hemmings and Tom Courtenay), a wife (Helen Mirren) and reserved son (Ray Winstone). His friends and son take his ashes to Margate, a two-hour drive outside of London. Along the way, through flashbacks, we learn of the complex roles that these men have played in each other’s lives. Although it is a heartbreaking ride, there is nothing morose about this movie. The old friends argue and tell jokes, remembering Jack in their own unique ways. The common thread being that while they are sad he died, they are even happier that he had lived and graced their lives. The superior acting skills of Hoskins, Hemmings, Courtenay and Winstone rescue the film from director Fred Schepisi’s languid direction. Helen Mirren (who doesn’t accompany the guys on their ash-scattering mission) shines in her scenes with her hospitalized daughter. If only Schepisi had picked up the pace a little this could have been a real winner. As it is Last Orders is only marginally recommended.