Richard and CTV NewsChannel anchor Andrea Bain talk about the latest movies coming to VOD and streaming services, including the Dakota Johnson-Tracee Ellis Ross musical drama “The High Note,” the Midnight Madness ready “Dreamland,” the rom com riff of “All About Who You Know” and the implausible twists and turns of “Inheritance.”
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 Dakota Johnson-Tracee Ellis Ross musical drama “The High Note,” the Midnight Madness ready “Dreamland,” the rom com riff of “All About Who You Know” and the implausible twists and turns of “Inheritance.”
“Dreamland,” Bruce McDonald’s eleventh film now on VOD, is a chaotic vision that mixes and matches contract killers, doppelgängers, human trafficking and a vampire wedding in a surreal stew of midnight madness ingredients.
The film’s strange tone is established early, with Stephen McHattie cast in two roles, Johnny Deadeyes, a hitman with a heart of gold and The Maestro, an amoral, junkie jazz trumpet player. The action begins when Johnny’s boss, gangster Hercules (Henry Rollins), upset by a personal slight, orders him to cut one of Maestro’s fingers off before a gig at a wedding thrown by crime doyenne The Countess (Juliette Lewis) and her vampire sibling The Count (Tómas Lemarquis). It seems The Count is to wed the daughter of one of Johnny’s neighbors, a young girl supplied courtesy of Hercules’ human trafficking business. The situation gives Johnny pause, and one attempted double-cross later, (MILD SPOILER AHEAD) the wedding erupts into the kind of violence that would give “Games of Thrones’” Red Wedding a run for its bloody money.
As the title would suggest “Dreamland” operates on its own indefinable wavelength. It is wonderfully weird, a movie that exists in some sort of twilight zone where logic doesn’t matter. McDonald, no stranger to genre flicks, embraces the weirdness, creating a world where the mundane and the absurd go hand in hand. Keeping it from spinning out of control is McHattie who grounds his two world-weary characters with primal thoughts regarding their mortality. They fall on either side of the will-to-survive divide, but that little bit of humanity plays nicely against the loud-n-proud performances from Lewis and Rollins. Both are fun and energetic and both feel like they stepped out of a comic book compared to McHattie’s work, which, while still outrageous, feels more anchored to reality.
It makes sense that one of “Dreamland’s” lead characters is a jazz trumpet player because McDonald has made a Bebop movie, a deconstructed genre flick with a fast tempo and unexpected story angles with only occasional references to the expected genre tropes. This quote from cornetist, pianist, and composer Bix Beiderbecke about the music he loved could also apply to “Dreamland.” “One thing I like about jazz, kid,” he said, “is that I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Do you?” One thing is for sure about “Dreamland.” You won’t know what comes next.
A late career make over as an action star with a particular set of skills worked for Liam Neeson, so why not for Kevin Costner. In “3 Days to Kill” Costner gets his Neeson on, starring in a Euro-thriller with unusual bad guys, a daughter and lots and lots of gunfire.
Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) has a lot going on. After five years of dangerous undercover work away from his family he has been diagnosed with a terminal disease. He opts to spend his final months making amends with his estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) in Paris. His plan is disrupted when a mysterious CIA femme fatale (Amber Heard) turns up with an offer he can’t refuse. In exchange for an experimental drug that could save his life and a lump sum of cash he must go on a wild shooting spree in the City of Light, exterminating a very bad man called The Wolf (Richard Sammel) and his brutal enforcer The Albino (Tómas Lemarquis). Ethan is a family man and contract killer.
Unlike Neeson’s “Taken,” which reveled in its trashiness, “3 Days to Kill” isn’t cheeseball enough to provide the same kind of down-and-dirty fun. Director McG has pitched the movie as an uneasy mix of sentimentality and ultra violence. When Ethan isn’t ramming people with his car or grilling their hands in a sandwich press, he bonding with his daughter, trying to make up for lost time. He teaches her dance, ride a bike and even cuts a torture session short so he can have a meeting with her school principal.
There are some outlandish plot points—for instance, looking for advice about his daughter he goes to the home of a man he has just finished torturing to ask advice from the man’s teenaged girls—and the tone is jokey but unfortunately only about half the gags actually hit home.
Costner has a world weary, easy charm here that helps sell the humor and he appears comfortable with the action but “3 Days to Kill” is a little too generic overall to score with audiences who embraced Neeson’s leap into the action fray.