Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Bain about TV shows to watch this weekend including the Netflix docu-series “Murder Among the Mormons,” the drug drama “Crisis” with Gary Oldman on VOD and the Disney+ series “Love, Victor.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Disney’s animated action flick “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Disney+ with Premier Access and theatres), the long awaited sequel “Coming 2 America” (Amazon Prime Video) and the look at the war on drugs “Crisis” (on digital and demand).
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 Disney’s animated action flick “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Disney+ with Premier Access and theatres), the long awaited sequel “Coming 2 America” (Amazon Prime Video), the biopic “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” (VOD), the legal drama “The Mauritanian” (premium digital and on-demand), the coming-of-age story “My Salinger Year” (VOD) and the look at the war on drugs “Crisis” (on digital and demand).
“Crisis,” the new Gary Oldham movie now available on demand, aspires to be a multi-pronged thriller in the same vein as “21 Grams” and “Traffic.”
Director Nicholas Jarecki presents three parallel story threads that bob and weave to put a human face on the opioid epidemic. First is Gary Oldman as Dr. Tyrone Brower, a university professor working on developing products for a pharmaceutical company. He is confronted by an ethical dilemma when the company announces a new “non-addictive” painkiller. Bribes and big pharma conspire to push his moral code to the limit.
Elsewhere, architect Claire Reimann (Evangeline Lilly) beats an oxycodone addiction to get to the bottom of her son’s drug related disappearance while DEA agent Jake Kelly (Armie Hammer) goes deep undercover to bust up a multi-cartel Fentanyl smuggling operation as drug movie staple “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’” by the Rolling Stones plays on the soundtrack.
Eventually the trio of story shards resolve, mixing the corporate, revenge and procedural plotlines into an entertaining but not particularly substantive look at a very serious subject.
Jarecki slathers an action movie sheen on the proceedings, heightening every scene, and while the propulsive pacing, “power gangsters” and Brower’s habit of snarling pat lines like, “This is the biggest public health crisis since tobacco!” amplify the movie’s popcorn aura, they minimize its complexity.
Oldman is predictably entertaining, all self-righteousness and bluster, while Hammer (in a role shot before his recent controversies) and Lilly are blandly appealing leads who get the job done in roles that require little from them other than angst and action. Canadian actor Guy Nadon brings a toxic mix of charm and danger as a drug lord named Mother alongside an all-star supporting cast that includes Greg Kinnear, Michelle Rodriguez, Kid Cudi and Luke Evans.
“Crisis” aims high as a well-meaning message movie that plays more like a Saturday afternoon matinee flick.
For many film fans the chance to see Robert De Niro reteamed with “Taxi Driver” co-star Harvey Keitel or his “Midnight Run” buddy Charles Grodin would be irresistible. The kind of magic created in those pair ups is the stuff of legend. “The Comedian,” a new film directed by Taylor Hackford, mixes and matches De Niro with his former co-stars but fails to recapture old glories.
De Niro is Jackie Burke, a comedian whose stand up career is in a downward spiral. Once a beloved sitcom star, the dirty-mouthed comic earns bad press when he punches a heckler at a TV Nostalgia Night gig and gets thrown in jail. After serving thirty days he’s sentenced to community service, working at a homeless shelter. There he meets the unpredictable Harmony (Leslie Mann), daughter of a mob boss (Keitel) doing time there for punching her ex-husband. They hit it off, spending time together as Jackie tries to rebuild his career. When he’s not insulting folks at comedy clubs he’s borrowing money from his brother (Danny DeVito) and making his manager’s (Edie Falco) life difficult.
“The Comedian” promises much. Keitel, Grodin, Mann and Falco are a dream team and De Niro’s turn in “The King of Comedy” suggests he might do something interesting with the Jackie character. Unfortunately “The Comedian” has more in common with “Dirty Grandpa” than “The King of Comedy.” Any movie that features a take off on “Makin’ Whoopee” retitled “Makin’ Poopy” isn’t aiming that high.
De Niro never convinces as a stand up comic. Jackie may be desperate to kick-start his career but apparently he’s not desperate enough to come up with material that might actually make someone laugh. Part of it is De Niro’s cue card delivery, part is the generally disagreeable nature of the character. Jackie humour comes from anger but instead of channelling that rage into an interesting storyline, he simply punches a heckler or unleashes invective on those around him. In short, he’s an a-hole, an a-hole who is in virtually every frame of the film.
“The Comedian” promises much but doesn’t deliver and in comedy delivery is everything.