Richard joins the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush for Booze and Reviews! Today we talk about “Ambulance,” the video game flick “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and Johnny Depp in “Minamata.” Then we take a sip of the Japanese favourite cocktail the Ginza Mary,.
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the frenetic Beyhem (look it up) of “Ambulance,” the video game flick “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and Johnny Depp in “Minamata.”
“Transformer” director Michael Bay’s movies are so distinctive the internet has coined a new term to describe his pedal-to-the-metal action style: Bayhem. His latest, the chase flick “Ambulance” starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jake Gyllenhaal, and now playing in theatres, falls in line. It keeps the foot on the gas in true Bayhem fashion.
Decorated veteran Will (Abdul-Mateen II) is desperate for money. His wife needs surgery but the coffers are dry. To raise the cash, he reluctantly asks his adoptive brother and career criminal Danny (Gyllenhaal) if he can help.
Turns out Danny can help, if Will is willing to bend the rules to get the money.
A lot of money.
Danny is planning a bank heist with an estimated bounty of $32 million. “I need an extra man,” Danny says. Will isn’t sure, but Danny is persuasive. “Have I ever gotten you in anything that I couldn’t get you out of?”
The bank heist goes off without a hitch, but the getaway is rough. With things falling apart, they hijack an ambulance. Trouble is, the ambulance is transporting a wounded policeman (Jackson White) and a paramedic (Eiza González). With police in hot pursuit, they take the ambulance on a high-speed chase through the streets of Los Angeles. “We’re not the bad guys,” Danny says. “We’re just trying to get home.”
The stakes are life and death. Cue the Bayhem.
“Ambulance” isn’t a heist movie. Bay milks excitement out of the setup and execution of the sequence but this is a getaway flick with an interesting family dynamic between Danny and Will.
Gyllenhaal’s performance as the charismatic sociopath older brother is as amped up as the movie itself. Which is to say it’s pedal to the metal all the way.
Bay’s relentless camera is in constant motion. It zooms, caresses the actor’s faces in extreme closeups, flies up and down the sides of buildings, and, of course cruises alongside the ambulance as it careens through the streets of Los Angeles. The camerawork and the editing are so fast it’s as though Bay has his finger on the fast forward button the entire time.
If you get motion sickness you might want to take some Gravol along with your popcorn.
If “Ambulance” was music, it would be a Yngwie Malmsteen guitar solo. Fast and heavy, it bowls you over with technical skill but doesn’t engage much more than that. There’s no sense of pacing, it’s all forward momentum. As Danny and Will say several times, “We’re a locomotive. We don’t stop,” but occasionally tapping the brake might give the viewers and the actors a chance to catch out collective breath.
“Ambulance” is raw, unadulterated Bayhem. From the frenetic editing to the characters, who all speak like they are in a Michael Bay action movie, and the anxiety inducing soundtrack, it is frantic Bayhem with all the good and bad that implies.
Richard joins CTV NewsChannel and anchor Lois Lee to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the virtual reality of “The Martrix Resurrection,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and the jukebox musical “Sing 2.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the virtual reality of “The Martrix Resurrection,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and the jukebox musical “Sing 2.”
Can Richard Crouse review three movies in just thirty seconds? Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the Neo’s return to virtual reality in “The Matrix: Resurrections,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” in less time than it takes to buy a pack of Twizzlers.
These days movies are regularly remade, rebooted, reimagined and regurgitated. But none of those terms capture how Warner Bros has brought back one of their most famous and ground breaking franchises.
The new Keanu Reeves movie isn’t simply a return to the Matrix, the simulated reality created by intelligent machines to pacify humans and steal their energy, it’s a resurrection. After eighteen years, Neo has been raised from the dead by Lana Wachowski in “The Matrix: Resurrections,” now playing in theatres.
The last time we saw Neo (Reeves) he made the ultimate sacrifice, giving himself to create peace between machines and mankind. His death would allow people to finally be free of the virtual world of the Matrix.
In “Resurrections” it’s twenty years later. Neo now goes by his real name, Thomas A. Anderson. He is the “greatest videogame designer of his generation,” with an ordinary life, save for the visions that plague him. “I’ve had dreams,” he says, “that weren’t just dreams.” His analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) has him on a steady diet of heavy therapy and blue pills, meant to quell the strange delusions.
Anderson’s regular life is turned upside down when his business partner Smith (Jonathan Groff) announces that their company will be making a sequel to their most popular game, “The Matrix.” As his team works on the new game—“It’s a mindbomb!”—his memories become more intense and soon he has trouble distinguishing fact from fiction.
Or is it all real?
When people from his past, like computer programmer and hacker Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), an alternate reality version of the heroic Matrix hovercraft captain who first believed Neo was “The One,” appear, Thomas fears he is losing his mind.
Things become clearer—Or do they?—when the new Morpheus offers Thomas/Neo a choice of pills. The blue ones will keep Thomas’ state of mind status quo. The red ones, however, will take him down the rabbit hole, into the heart of the Matrix. “Nothing comforts anxiety like a little nostalgia,” says Morpheus.
Pill popped, the simulated world opens up to reveal a dangerous place in need of a hero. Teaming with a group of rebels, Neo battles a new enemy and secrets are revealed. “The Matrix is the same or worse,” says Neo, “and I’m back where I started. It feels like none of it mattered.”
“The Matrix: Resurrections” may be the most self-aware movie of the year. No instalment of “The Matrix” will ever match the whiz bang excitement of the first film, and “Resurrections” knows it. It comments on itself and consistently winks at its legacy.
“This cannot be a retread, reboot or regurgitation,” says one of the “Matrix” videogame designers.
“Why not?” says another. “Reboots sell.”
Like the movie’s story, the film itself attempts to blur the line between the reality of the story and the very act of watching the movie. It is simultaneously self-depreciating and cynical. It’s OK to have a bit of good fun with the story, especially given the oh-so-serious tone of the previous “Matrix” movies, but by the time Thomas meets Trinity at the Simulatte Café, the jokes have worn thin.
The meat of the story, a search for truth, is the engine that keeps the movie motoring along, but the endless exposition, a torrent of words, seems to be the fuel that keeps things running. When a character says, “That’s the thing about stories, they never end,” it’s hard to disagree as the movie gets mired in mythology and world building.
It becomes a slog, without enough of the trademarked Wachowski action scenes to help pick up the pace. When the movie does dip into bullet time and the action that made the original so memorable, it feels like a pale comparison. There is nothing much new—“I still know Kung Fu,” says Neo—just frenetic action and nostalgia for a time when a slow-motion bullet made our eyeballs dance.
“The Matrix: Resurrections” does try to recontextualize the existing mythology. This time around the all-you-need-is-love-story between Neo and Trinity is amped up and there is some timely social commentary about control, whether it’s from the government or a virtual reality machine, but, and there is a big “but,” as much as I wanted to enjoy another trip to the Matrix, I found it too meta, too long and yet, not ambitious enough.
Richard joins Ryan Doyle of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush to talk about the stormy, boozy history of The Hurricane and taklk about two big movie releases, “Candyman” (in theatres) and “Vacation Friends,” the not for the whole family comedy on Disney+.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including he scary “spiritual sequel” “Candyman” (in theatres), the wild Lil Rel Howery comedy “Vacation Friends” (Disney+), the Megan Fox thriller “Till Death” (VOD) and the drama “They Who Surround Us” (in theatres).