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 the Dwayne Johnson reboot of one of the most popular TV shows of all time, “Baywatch,” the continuation of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and the travelogue “Paris Can Wait” starring Diane Lane.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the Dwayne Johnson reboot of one of the most popular TV shows of all time, “Baywatch,” the continuation of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” and the travelogue “Paris Can Wait” starring Diane Lane.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with host Bill Carroll to talk about the weekend’s big releases: the jiggle-tastic “Baywatch,” with Dwayne Johnson, Zak Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario and Kelly Rohrbach; Johnny Depp sashays his way through “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and then Diane Lane takes in the scenery in “Paris Can Wait.”
Much has changed in the six years since the Black Pearl’s last voyage. Of late Johnny Depp, the previously beloved star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” flicks, has been tabloid fodder, his personal life a treasure trove of scandal. Will Deep’s martial and financial peccadillos harm the new movie’s bottom line, sinking the once mighty franchise in a one-way trip to Davy Jones’s Locker? Or will Captain Jack Sparrow once again frolic down the plank to titanic grosses? Those are the questions hanging heavy over “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.
“The dead have taken command of the sea. They’re searching for Sparrow!”
The new adventure sees a new villain, undead pirate hunter Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), unleash an army of ghost sailors from a mysterious nautical underworld called the Devil’s Triangle. His plan is to hunt down and kill every sea going pirate with one name at the top of his list, Captain Jack Sparrow. Seems Sparrow not only doomed Salazar to watery purgatory decades ago but also has a compass that can break the ghost sailor’s hex curse.
“Find Jack Sparrow for me and relay a message from Captain Salazar. Tell him, death will come straight for him. Will you say that to him, please?”
Sparrow (Depp), meanwhile, has lost his mojo. After a wild bank robbery that tore up half of the island of Saint Martin but yielded little in the way of doubloons, Jack loses his luck and his crew. Reduced to helming the Dying Gull, a small and barely seaworthy ship, he must now fight for his life. To survive he has to locate the Trident of Poseidon, a divine artefact that can break any curse at sea. Helping on his mission are Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), an astronomer with a diary filled with cryptic Trident clues and directions and Royal Navy sailor Henry (Brenton Thwaites).
Also mixed up in the action are returning characters, blacksmith-turned-Captain of the Flying Dutchman Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), Turner’s wife and Henry’s mother, one-legged pirate Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Captain Jack’s First Mate Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally).
New comers include witch Haifaa Meni (Golshifteh Farahani) and Paul McCartney as a jokey pirate behind bars, eagerly awaiting a beating.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is more of a linear adventure than the series’ last few instalments. It’s a tale of mysticism and slapstick, a story that freshens up the franchise, although it cannot be denied that the originality and ingenuity of the first movie has turned into a fine mist that colours this movie but has no where near the impact of the original.
Once again Depp slurs and sashays through the movie, getting the biggest laughs. Sparrow is still an interesting character, a debauched scallywag (apparently based on Keith Richards) who appeals to children and adults alike. The embattled actor hams it up, giving audiences what they expect from Sparrow but whether moviegoers still want to see him in his best-known role is hard to say.
Tonally Depp hits the right notes but the movie is all over the place. Kid friendly slapstick is abundant but there is also a fair amount of PG+ swashbuckling, action and swordplay. And don’t get me started on the nightmare inducing zombie sharks.
Parents of small children will want to keep that in mind, and the two-hour plus running time. Like so many tent pole movies “Dead Men Tell No Tales” suffers from more-is-more syndrome. The action is easier to follow than in the Gore Verbinski films but watery climax is too long and a coda, reuniting the characters for one last hurrah, is unnecessary and adds little to the film except for a few extra minutes.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is a crowd pleaser and by far the best of the bunch since the first one. It contains all the elements you expect from the “Pirates” franchise and even a few you don’t but takes on water in its final half hour.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s big releases, “X-Men Apocalypse,” starring Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, Johnny Depp in “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Mr. Right,” starring Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell.
Alice Through The Looking Glass, the six-years-in-the-making sequel to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, takes place in a world where chess pieces come to life and the Cheshire Cat’s grin is as toothy as ever. It’s a flight of fantasy, based on a story published by Lewis Carroll in 1871, but grounded by the very human character of Alice Kingsley.
Mia Wasikowska has played Alice since the 2010 film, signing on to the first movie when she was just 18 years old.
“There is always a little bit of trepidation especially when you’re dealing with a character who is so iconic and so beloved by so many people and so many generations,” she told me on the release of the first film.
“But there is also a certain amount of realism to it because you know you can’t please everyone and not everyone is going to be pleased so it is more just making the character your own and feeling comfortable in the decisions you make.”
Originally imagined by Carroll in 1865, the little girl who found a world of wonder down the rabbit hole has become one of literature and film’s more enduring and malleable characters.
She was the insane character of America McGee’s video game Alice and the martial arts instructor of a Syfy channel adaptation. In 2010 Wasikowska said she thinks the stories have lasted because people relate to the strange characters and situations.
“I don’t believe in normal,” she said. “Nobody is normal. Everyone is crazy in his or her own way. So although these are extreme characters I think that just makes them more identifiable.
People want to see these characters, understand these characters, love these characters, feel comfortable with these characters because they are like everybody in this world who are kind of crazy. Everyone has felt like an outsider at some time in their life so it is a very identifiable story.”
Alice first got the big screen treatment in 1903 in a 12-minute silent version starring Mabel Clark, who was also employed on the set as a “help-out girl,” making costumes and running errands.
In 1966 director Jonathan Miller cast Anne-Marie Mallik as the lead in Alice, a mad-as-a-hatter made-for-BBC movie. Miller called Mallik, who auditioned by reciting a poem, a “rather extraordinary, solemn child.”
Not everyone agreed. Peter Cook’s biographer described the teenager’s take on Alice as “sullen, pouting, pubescent with no sense of bewilderment.” Mallik later said she wasn’t impressed with her illustrious co-stars — John Gielgud as the Mock Turtle and Peter Sellers as the King of Hearts — because she had grown up surrounded by the very accomplished friends of her “much older” parents.
After production wrapped she “retired” from acting and afterward the BBC had trouble paying her a royalty because they couldn’t find her.
It’s hard to know what Alice Liddell, the young girl who inspired the character would have thought of any of the wild and wacky versions of the story, but we do know she enjoyed the 1933 Paramount version.
“I am delighted with the film and am now convinced that only through the medium of the talking picture art could this delicious fantasy be faithfully interpreted,” she told the New York Times. “Alice is a picture which represents a revolution in cinema history!”
“Alice Through The Looking Glass,” the six years in the making sequel to Tim Burton’s $1 billion grossing “Alice in Wonderland,” takes place in a world where butterflies speak and the Red Queen applies her lipstick in a heart-shaped motif, but what should be a flight of fancy is grounded by a dull story.
The topsy-turvy world of Underland is more or less intact since the last time Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) visited. Chess pieces still come to life, Tweedledee and Tweedledumb (Matt Lucas) continue to speak in rhyme and the Cheshire Cat’s (Stephen Fry) grin is as toothy as it ever was.
One thing is different, however. The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), Alice’s greatest friend and ally in the otherworld, is having some problems. Call him the Sad Hatter. “He’s just not the same anymore.” Thinking of his family’s demise courtesy of the fiery breath of the Jabberwocky has thrown him into a depression. To help the Mad Hatter out of his funk Alice steals a time travel device from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) himself (“I am time,” he says, “the infinite, the immortal, the measurable… unless you have a clock.”) ignores warnings about changing the past and careens across the ocean of time to find out what happened to Hatter’s folks. “Do try not to break the past, present or future,” purrs the Cheshire Cat.
“Looking Glass” is an epic fantasy artfully directed by James Bobin but lacking the effortlessly odd feel of Tim Burton’s work on the first film. It’s a trippy story that transverses time and space and should invite the viewer to turn on, tune in and drop out but the true weirdness of the story, the unhinged voyages of imagination, are absent. Instead we’re thrown into a world that feels like we’ve seen it all before: familiar and not nearly whimsical enough. It’s a sea of CGI with a story cut adrift inside it.
It’s lovely to hear Alan Rickman’s voice, if only briefly, as Absolem the Caterpillar on screen again and Baron Cohen does his best to breath life into his character, but no one, not even the Mad Hatter—who should more rightly be called the Quirky Hatter—is interesting enough to merit the movie’s hour-and-forty minute running time. There is a high level of craft evident in the computer-generated images, the costumes and set decoration, everywhere, in fact, except the story that seems to value “time” puns over actual plot.
Perhaps in six years or so, if they decide to add another film to this franchise, they’ll take heed of a bit of “Looking Glass’s” theme about learning something from the past and give the next movie the excitement and story Lewis Carroll’s creation deserves.
Richard and CJAD Montreal afternoon show host Barry Morgan talk about the weekend’s three big releases, “X-Men Apocalypse,” starring Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, Johnny Depp in “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Mr. Right,” starring Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell.
Richard and CJAD Montreal morning show host Andrew Carter kick around the weekend’s big releases, “X-Men Apocalypse, “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Mr. Right,” starring Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell. (Starts at 44:12)