A new feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Wonder Woman” with Gal Gadot, Kevin Hart in the animated “Captain Underpants: the First Epic Movie” and “Drone,” staring Sean Bean.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nathan Downer have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Wonder Woman” with Gal Gadot, Kevin Hart in the animated “Captain Underpants: the First Epic Movie” and “Drone,” staring Sean Bean.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to discuss whether “Wonder Woman” is all that wonderful, if “Captain Underpants: the First Epic Movie” is crappy or not and if “Drone” lives up to its name.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with host Bill Carroll to talk about the weekend’s big releases, “Wonder Woman” with Gal Gadot, Kevin Hart in the animated “Captain Underpants: the First Epic Movie” and “Drone,” staring Sean Bean.
At this point in history the superhero “origin story” is about as welcome as head lice or burning your tongue on hot coffee. From the turgid “Suicide Squad” to “Green Lantern’s” uninspired story and the below average “The Fantastic Four,” just to name a few, comic book movies have offered up enough colourful folklore to make Greek mythology seem positively uneventful by comparison. Trouble is, they are often bogged down by their own mythology, crushed under the weight of dead parents, mysterious cosmic rays, fateful choices and magical benefactors.
The odd one gets it right. “Batman Begins,” “Deadpool,” “Iron Man” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” all kicked off their franchises with style and I’m happy to add “Wonder Woman” to that short list.
The story of Diana, the Amazonian princess who becomes Wonder Woman, actually began at the end of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” She was a woman who “walked away from mankind” only to be drawn back into the saving-of-humanity business.
The new film, directed by Patty Jenkins, recounts Diana’s (played by Lilly Aspell and Emily Carey as a preteen and teen) childhood on the secluded paradise island of Themyscira. Inhabited by Amazons, a race of women who helped Zeus fight off a coup by his treacherous son, the war god Ares, the isle is a retreat from the horrors of the world. Led by Diana’s mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the all-female society trains in all manner of hand-to-hand combat, preparing for the return of Ares. “It’s our sacred duty to protect the world,” she says.
Meanwhile, in the outside world, World War I rages on. The Amazon’s worst fears are realised when the planet’s unrest comes to Themyscira in the form of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), a US military pilot who crashes a plane into the waters just offshore of Diana’s (played as an adult by Gal Gadot) home. Rescued by the warrior princess—he’s the first man she’s ever seen—the fallen pilot tells Diana about the war and a new chemical weapon being developed by the Germans. Convinced the conflict is the work of Ares, Diana decamps from the only home she’s ever known to London, then the heart of the action, the Western Front. “Be careful in the world of men Diana,” says Hippolyta, “they do not deserve you.”
“Wonder Woman” is the first major studio superhero film directed by a woman and the first female lead superhero movie since Jennifer Garner’s “Electra” twelve years ago. The success of director Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman,” both artistically and financially (at the time of this writing the film is tracking to make $175 million globally) should guarantee we won’t have to wait until another Bush is president until we see another one.
Equal parts Amazon sword and sandal epic, mad scientist flick, war movie and rom com, it’s a crowd pleaser that places the popular character front and centre. As played by Gadot, Diana is charismatic and kick ass, a superhero who is both truly super and heroic. Like Superman she is firmly on the side of good, not a tortured soul à la Batman. Naïve to the ways of the world, she runs headfirst into trouble. Whether she’s throwing a German tank across a battlefield, defying gravity to leap to the top of a bell tower, tolerating Trevor’s occasional mansplaining or deflecting bullets with her indestructible Bracelets of Submission, she proves in scene after scene to be both a formidable warrior and a genuine, profoundly empathic character.
The action scenes are cool. The Lasso of Truth sequences look like a glow-in-the-dark Cirque du Soleil scarf dance and the iconic Wonder Woman battle poses placed against the terrible beauty of World War I frontlines are stunners, but it’s ultimately her strength of character that keeps the movie interesting. Even the prerequisite CGI overkill at the end is made palatable by her potent message that only love can save the world. It’s a welcome and refreshing change from the deep, dark pit the DC movies seem to have fallen into of late.
“Wonder Woman” works because it maintains a human core in a fantastical good vs. evil story. As Diana’s understanding of heroism and mankind deepens, so does the movie. As she questions authority and man’s capacity for cruelty there are several very funny moments—her “How can a woman possibly fight in this?” routine at Selfridge’s clothing department is very funny—and action galore, but Jenkins wisely and wonderfully keeps the character true to her self confident, mythic comic book roots.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with Andrew Carter to discuss whether “Wonder Woman” is all that wonderful, if “Captain Underpants: the First Epic Movie” is crappy or not and if “Drone” lives up to its name.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the drug addled “T2 Trainspotting” and the no-holds-barred “Goon: Last of the Enforcers.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with host Bill Carroll to talk about the weekend’s big releases, the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the drug addled “T2 Trainspotting,” the no-holds-barred “Goon: Last of the Enforcers,” and “The Sense of an Ending” with Jim Broadbent.
Twenty-one years on from the full on frontal assault that was “Trainspotting,” the old gang is back together but the only things that truly binds them is a shared past. “You’re a tourist in your own youth,” says Sick Boy/Simon (Jonny Lee Miller).
At the center of it all is Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor). The last time we saw him he was a wastrel and double-crosser who cheated his friends out of £16,000 in a drug deal. After hightailing it to Amsterdam he’s now a fitness freak who spends more time running in a treadmill than running from the law.
His former friends, now all in their forties, are in various states of personal disrepair. “The wave of gentrification has yet to wash over us,” Simon quips.
Sick Boy/Simon is still a dodgy dude with a King Kong size Coke problem, who makes ends meet by blackmailing the wealthy customers of his prostitute business partner Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova).
Spud/Daniel (Ewen Bremner), still an impressive mash-up of ears, teeth and gangly limbs, is now a pathetic creature that chooses heroin addiction over a life with his wife Shirley Henderson) and child.
The fourth member of the group, Begbie (Robert Carlyle), he of the bad attitude and broken pint glasses to the face, is indisposed, locked up but with a way out and a gut full of hate for Renton.
Loosely based on author Irvine Welsh’s “Trainspotting” follow-up novel “Porno,” the new film from Danny Boyle, asks if it is ever possible to go home again—in this case Edinburgh—especially if home involves a dangerous psychopath with a grudge and an ex-BFF who wants revenge.
“T2 Trainspotting” does something quite remarkable. It places nostalgia in the rear view mirror while, at the same time, celebrating bygone days. To see Mark confront his past complete with the emotional attachments and entanglements that come along with it feels like a universal reckoning, a reminder that the world changes even if we don’t.
That’s the beating heart of the film, the rest is window dressing, It’s fun to hang out with these almost lovable villains for a couple more hours, to catch up on old times, immerse ourselves in their down-and-dirty lives and even get a new Choose Life riff but a heavy air of regret hangs over the proceedings. It reinforces the idea that we can’t relive the glory days no matter how hard we try. It’s a middle-age truism brought to vivid life by Boyle and cast.
In revisiting the past the director does, however, put an intimate spin on the story with clever visual integration of past memories—present day characters mournfully share the screen with their younger counterparts—and a melancholy sense that no matter how hard we try to move forward ultimately our lives are simply a continuation of everything that came before. As Renton says, “choose history repeating itself.” It’s not a thunderbolt revelation but revisiting these characters—particularly the tragicomic Spud—puts a face to those anchored in the nostalgia.
For fans of the original film “T2 Trainspotting” will be an enjoyable ride. It is as good a sequel to a classic film as you could hope for. It’s a shame the returning female characters played by Kelly MacDonald and Shirley Henderson are relegated to cameos and the original’s sense of infectious anarchy has been dulled somewhat but the film’s mix of redemption and regret are ample replacements.