Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “Frozen 2,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Marriage Story” and “Waves.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the icy charms of “Frozen 2,” Tom Hanks as television icon Mister Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” two films from Adam Driver, “Marriage Story” and “The Report” and one of the year’s very best films, “Waves” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
“Waves” feels like two movies in one. The first a story of teen angst writ large with a tragic outcome. The second is a tale of reconciliation and compassion. They dovetail to form one of the year’s best films.
Set in South Florida, “Waves” begins as a slice-of-life drama. We meet high-school wrestler Tyler (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) as he and girlfriend Alexis (Alexa Demie) flirt during school hours. We then witness the young athlete’s home life with empathetic mother Catharine (Renée Elise Goldsberry), quiet sister Emily (Taylor Russell) and domineering father Ronald (Sterling K. Brown). “We are not afforded the luxury of being average,” says Ronald. “We have to be 10 times better.”
Tyler is driven, a good student and star wrestler who seems bound for scholarships and the Ivy League. A closer look, however, reveals a troubling undercurrent that suggests he is slowly being crushed by the burden of expectations. He self-medicates for a shoulder injury that could end his wrestling career and when his relationship with Alexis takes a bad turn, so does his personality.
The second half focusses on Emily’s coming of age as she begins a relationship with Luke (Lucas Hedges), a sweet-tempered boy dealing with his own family drama.
No spoilers here. The beauty of writer-director Trey Edward Shults’s film is the discovery of it, being drawn into the story and the characters. Shults doles out emotional moment after emotional moment and yet there isn’t a melodramatic second to be seen. That’s partially due to the uniformly wonderful, naturalistic performances but also from a story that feels grounded in real life.
Shults camera is intimate, up-close-and-personal, allowing the viewer to be drawn in. His inventive visual sense and beautiful direction is the very definition of show-me-don’t-tell-me and provides for much introspection. This is a movie that speaks just as loudly when it is in silence as when its characters are talking. The real action in “Waves” happens behind the eyes of its characters.
Stylistically he uses ingenious methods to feed his scenes. In one sequence an annoying seatbelt chime adds tension to an already tense situation and a text conversation that devolves into an all-caps shouting match has a sense of urgency that is very compelling. It is exhilarating filmmaking that takes chances and, coming hot on the heels of his other films “Krisha” and “It Comes at Night,” cements Shults’s place as one of the most exciting filmmakers working today.
Fueled by a soundtrack by from Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor, “Waves” details the hardships that come with difficult decisions but also the redemption that can come with forgiveness. Highly recommended.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, including “The Mummy” starring Tom “Show me the Mummy” Cruise, Kate Mara in the woman-and-her-dog story “Megan Leavey” and the D-Day drama “Churchill.”
There are so many dystopian stories out there it sometimes feels like the movies just might produce dark visions of our planet until the end of the world comes for real. The latest film to portray the end of times is “It Comes At Night,” a psychological horror film starring Joel Edgerton and Riley Keough.
Set in the aftermath of some sort of cataclysmic plague that wiped out much of the population, the story follows a family of gas mask wearing survivors. Paranoid “You can’t trust anyone but family” father Paul (Edgerton), steely mother Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and 17-year-old Travis (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) live in a secluded cabin fortified with boarded windows. Barricaded in, with only two double-locked doors and an airlock separating them from the dangers of the outside, infected world.
Their quiet home life is turned inside out when an intruder named Will (Christopher Abbott) breaches their security. The young man tells Paul that his wife and son (Keough and Griffin Robert Faulkner) are just fifteen miles away, dying. “You’re a good person,” says Will, “just trying to protect your family but don’t let mine die because of it.” Moved, Paul agrees to help. The two men brave the uncertain and dangerous journey to Will’s home, rescuing Will’s wife and son. When the two families move in under one roof small cracks soon become chasms that lead to paranoia and suspicion.
“It Comes at Night” is a study in angst, claustrophobia and fear. It’s an up-close-and-personal look at the way society reacts in times of crisis, a lantern-lit look at survival. An existential horror film in shading and feel, the real terror here comes from the characters and not the unnamed virus that decimated mankind. Like “Night of the Living Dead” it is a look at the paranoia and fear that comes along with a societal collapse.
Instead of going for jump scares or outright horror director Trey Edward Shults uses an anxiety-inducing soundtrack to slowly build an atmosphere of dread. Concentrating on the hopelessness of the situation he supplies an emotional punch that plays like a kick to the stomach. It’s disturbing—there hardly a moment of uplift to be found anywhere here—but at a brisk ninety minutes its harrowing story never outstays its welcome. Whatever state your life is in, you’ll be glad to return to it after the end credits.