Posts Tagged ‘Mike Myers’

RICHARD’S WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FROM CP24! FRIDAY AUGUST 14, 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 9.50.02 AMRichard’s CP24 reviews for “Straight Outta Compton,” “The Man from UNCLE,” and “I Am Chris Farley” with Nneka Elliot.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S “CANADA AM” REVIEWS FOR AUGUST 14 WITH MARCI IEN.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.16.18 AMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “Straight Outta Compton,” “The Man from UNCLE,” and “I Am Chris Farley.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

I AM CHRIS FARLEY: 3 STARS. “always looked like he was having the most fun.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 2.52.49 PMLorne Michaels, creator and guiding light of “Saturday Night Live,” said he was, “infuriatingly talented.” David Letterman called him “the human thunderball” while Dan Aykroyd noted his, “automatic charisma.” The “he” is Matt “I live in a van by the river” Foley and “Tommy’s Boy’s” main character, Chris Farley, the heavy-set comedian and subject of a new documentary, “I Am Chris Farley.”

Executive produced by Farley’s brother Kevin, this loving tribute is an affectionate look at the guy who “always looked like he was having the most fun.” Michaels and Aykroyd are joined by Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, David Spade, Bob Odenkirk and a variety of childhood friends to paint a picture of a man who was ruled by his excesses.

After an all American upbringing in Madison, Wisconsin he joined a local improv group and later trained at Chicago’s fabled Second City, where he fine-tuned his wild, out-of-control style under the tutelage of improv king Del Close, who gave him the same advice he gave another of his famous students, “Attack the stage like a bull you have that power.”

And attack he did, quickly becoming a star on “Saturday Night Live” and in films like “Wayne’s World” and “Tommy Boy.” Offstage his behaviour was as frenetic as his onscreen persona. Spade and others say whatever Farley did he did wholeheartedly. If he liked you, he loved you. If he went for a laugh, he would do anything to get it. By the same token, when he let loose, he attacked the bottle, and later drugs, with the same gusto. He was, as one talking head says, “a sweet guy before midnight.”

It’s hard not to compare Farley to another doomed “Saturday Night Live” cast member. John Belushi was another similarly driver performer who left scorched earth behind, on stage and off. Both men died at age 33, the victim of their own overindulgences.

“I Am Chris Farley” doesn’t have the same gut-wrenching impact as “Amy,” the recent doc about the tragic life and death of singer Amy Winehouse. That film has less warmth, and is more an examination of how Winehouse’s world spun out of control. The Farley doc has a kinder, gentler tone and doesn’t dwell on his final moments. Perhaps it’s just as well. As the film makes clear, Farley lived to make people laugh. He wouldn’t want to leave behind a legacy of heartbreak and misfortune.

BEING CANADIAN: 3 STARS. “a good primer on how we are seen & how we see ourselves.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 1.37.53 PMHow do you define what it is to be Canadian? Does a love of Smarties, Coffee Crisp, Bloody Caesars or ketchup chips make you true blue? Perhaps the use of the letter ‘U’ in words like colour or humour? How aboot the ability to spot and identify a toboggan on a snowy day?

We’re a quiet people, given more to subtle humblebragging than all out back slapping, so you have to do some digging to get to the bottom of Great White North culture. Calgary born ex-pat director Rob Cohen took time off his day job as “The Big Bang Theory” co-executive producer and writer to travel to his home and native land to discover the nature of our national identity.

In a mix of celebrity chats with famous Canadians like the Rush, the SCTV gang, Mike Myers and Dave Foley, on location footage and man-on-the-street interviews the Los Angeles-based Cohen treads over some well-travelled territory. The inexplicable popularity of “The Beachcombers” is examined, as is the ambivalence that Americans feel toward their neighbouring country and the virtues of maple syrup are detailed in a way that should interest Canadians but probably leave the rest of the world scratching their collective heads as to why a country as vast, interesting and diverse as Canada would look outside its borders for approval.

That, I think is the point of “Being Canadian.” In a charmingly quiet way Cohen exposes the real truth; that ultimately it doesn’t matter what our neighbours or anyone else thinks about us. (My two cents? We have Drake so we don’t need anyone’s approval for anything. End of discussion.) Like any other vital, living, breathing entity Canada is ever changing. The Canada Cohen left two decades ago is gone, replaced by a country that maintains its character while growing and maturing. We’ve developed beyond the age-old ‘Is it Peameal or back bacon?’ argument and “Being Canadian,” while traditionally structured, is a good primer on how we are seen and, more importantly, how we see ourselves.

Watch Richard’s CP24 weekend reviews! Edge of Tomorrow, Chef & Fault of Our Stars!

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 2.58.16 PMRichard reviews “Edge of Tomorrow,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Chef” and “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” on CP24!

Watch the whole thing HERE!

 

 

 

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SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON: 3 STARS. “Citizen Insane.”

supermenschSylvester Stallone wanted to make a version of “Citizen Kane” about rags-to-riches rock impresario Shep Gordon called “Citizen Insane,” but never got around to it. Mike Myers, however, did and has made a documentary about the flamboyant Gordon, a man who dated Sharon Stone, discovered Alice Cooper, hung out with Mick Jagger and partied at the house Napoleon built for Josephine.

For someone who says, “There’s nothing about fame that’s healthy… it has no intrinsic value,” Shep Gordon sure has made a lot of people very famous.

He discovered Alice Cooper when he and his band were starving on Sunset Boulevard, and set them on a path that lead to superstardom. He broke Anne Murray south of the border—“She’s so straight-laced she’s not even Middle America,” he says, “she’s Canadian.”—gave Groucho Marx a late career boost and vaulted Teddy Pendergrass and many others onto the charts.

He’s a character who offers up three bits of advice for anyone thinking of getting in the game. “Always get the money. Never forget the money. Always remember to never forget the money.”

From his 1970s heyday “Supermensch” teaches us that the infant on the cover of Billion Dollar Babies was named Lola, that Charlie Chaplin was her godfather and that Shep wasn’t immune to the lures of rock and roll excess. While he was raking it in with Cooper he had a house with a model train that transported people from the pool to the main house where vials of cocaine were hidden in the kitchen drawers.

That changed when he met chef Roger Vergé, the father of nouvelle cuisine. Unlike his music industry friends, Vergé was well adjusted, respected and happy. It changed Shep’s life, he morphed from a guy content to eat spaghetti and ketchup into a foodie who even married a raw food chef. It also opened up a new avenue of work for him, and with the dawn of the Food Network he helped redefine the term celebrity chef.

Despite all the success, he’s never had a very profitable love life. “Supermensch” examines this as well, in an unvarnished look at his life outside the spotlight. It’s these moments and Gordon’s insights on his relationship with the Dali Lama (that’s right, Shep knows everybody) that lift the film from a hero-worshipping portrait of 1970s excesses to a moving glimpse into the life of a man who seems to be able to make everyone except himself truly happy.

MIKE MYERS, “Canada is the essence of not being” By Richard Crouse

waynes-worldFrom a gig as a dance show host (billed as “Funky Mike Myers”) to a stint on Saturday Night Live to hit films like Wayne’s World and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Michael John Myers has followed the path of Canadian trailblazers like the SCTV folks who found fame making Americans laugh.  The Scarborough, Ontario born comedian says he was able to break into the American comedy market “because other Canadians helped me.”

Citing early boosters like Dave Thomas, Martin Short and Lorne Michaels (who the young Myers idolized, even doing an eighth grade project on the producer) Myers found his feet as a comedian with Second City, (on stages in Toronto and Chicago), and then in 1989 he, like Dan Aykroyd and Phil Hartman before him, found fame as part of Saturday Night Live.  

Since then he’s had time to reflect on why Canadians have been so successful in America. To explain he quotes one of his early advocates.

“Martin Short said something that was kind of interesting which is when Americans watch TV they’re watching TV but when Canadians watch TV they’re watching American TV. There is sort of a separation. We can look at American culture as foreigners except that we’re not all that different. ‘Wow, we are like two cultures separated by a common language,’ to quote Winston Churchill.”

Canadians, he suggests, are the great observers, carefully studying and digesting American movies, television and music before putting their own spin on them. Having both objectivity and perspective allows comics like Myers to analyze pop culture, and then create a unique style that adds to the culture while cleverly (and quietly) dissecting it.

“Canada is the essence of not being,” he says. “Not English, not American, it is the mathematic of not being. And a subtle flavor. We’re more like celery as a flavor.”

THE LOVE GURU: 2 STARS

the_love_guru03Comedies don’t usually come with the kind of baggage that is dogging The Love Guru. It hits theatres cursed with a trailer only a mother could love, negative babble from bloggers and fighting against the strong reactions of Hindus, who, in India called for the film to be banned. Is the movie worth all the fuss? As the Guru Pitka himself might tell the naysayers, “To be enlightened you must first lighten up.”

The Love Guru is an extremely silly comedy that features jokes so old many were likely originally written in Sanskrit centuries ago, but it is so relentlessly upbeat, so good natured—and at 88 minutes, mercifully short—that it makes up in exuberance what it lacks in originality or actual laughs.

In the film self-help expert Guru Pitka (Mike Myers)—an orphaned American raised by gurus in an ashram in India—is hired by Toronto Maple Leafs owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) and Coach Cherkov (Verne Troyer) to reunite star hockey player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) and his estranged wife (Meagan Good). It seems after their split Roanoke’s wife took up with a rival, L.A. Kings star goalie Jacques “Le Coq” Grande (Justin Timberlake), and the thought of the two of them together has sent the Maple Leaf into a tailspin both personally and professionally. Pitka must work his mojo on Roanoke and his wife before the beginning of the Stanley Cup Finals if the Leafs have a chance at breaking the 40-year-old “Bullard Curse” and winning the championship.

The Love Guru will bring a smile to your face from time to time, and maybe even a few laughs but the comedy world has changed since Myers last unveiled a new character. In a movie landscape populated by Judd Apatow comedies, movies based in the real world with real world situations and laughs, The Love Guru seems antiquated, like a relic from a different time. It’s broad, anything-for-a-laugh ethos has more to do with Benny Hill than Seth Rogen—another Canadian vying for the King of Comedy crown—and feels about as relevant as a Carry On movie.

The structure of the movie and many of the jokes and situations seem familiar, as though they have been borrowed from Austin Powers and retooled for Guru Pitka. That sense of familiarity with the jokes may be a comfort to some viewers who might see it as a “greatest hits” repackaging of their old favorite jokes, but I was left with a strange sense of déjà vu, as though I had seen it all before, and it was funnier the last time.
Myers is never any less than 100% committed to the role, and his devotion to the character is obvious. He’s in it to win it, but the outrageousness of the character is overwhelmed by an endless stream (no pun intended) of urination and bathroom humor, short gags at the expense of 32-inch co-star Verne Troyer and penis jokes. The humor here can only be described as shameless and juvenile, but if the idea of two elephants having very public sex amuses you, then The Love Guru may be perfect for you.

In an unusual marketing move The Love Guru is being released opposite Steve Carell in Get Smart. The big studios usually try and avoid opening two similar movies on the same weekend but here are two of comedy’s biggest stars going head-to-head. Both films have their virtues; both are retro—Get Smart is based on a 60s sitcom, The Love Guru’s jokes seem somehow, let’s say, traditional—and both stars have considerable audience goodwill. Which will win out? Perhaps it depends on how enlightened, or not, your comedy tastes are.

SHREK FOREVER AFTER: 3 ½ STARS

Shrek-Forever-AfterOnce upon a time, in 2001, a green ogre named Shrek lumbered on to screens, bringing with him a different kind of animated story. The original “Shrek” was a fairy tale that mixed family friendly characters with a edgy sense of humor—like a Gingerbread Man tortured with a milk dunking. It was a monumental hit, so it wasn’t long before “Shrek 2” and “Shrek the Third” came along, each time with diminishing results. Luckily, the new “Shrek Forever After,” the fourth and final installment takes us off into that fairy tale happily-ever-after on a high note.

The 3D “Shrek Forever After” sees the giant green ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) in the midst of a mid-life crisis. He’s feeling bogged down by the responsibilities of marriage to Fiona (Cameron Diaz), raising his three kids and trapped by his newfound celebrity as the friendliest ogre on the block. “I used to be an ogre,” he says, “but now I’m a jolly green joke.” Longing for the days when life was simple he strikes a deal with an evil magician (voiced in an apparent tribute to Pee Wee Herman by story editor Walt Dohrn. In exchange for one day of freedom he will give the magician one day from his life. In a prime example of “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it” the unsuspecting Shrek signs the deal and begins a nightmarish “It’s a Wonderful Life” journey into a world completely different than any he could have imagined. Only the kiss of his true love—Fiona—can break the spell, but does she love him anymore?

Call this “Shrek the Metaphysical” if you like, one thing is for sure, it is darker than the preceding “Shreks”—although dark is still a relative term in the world of kid’s entertainment. The “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” message isn’t much different from anything you’d see in a regular children’s flick, but the journey to get there is.

In its opening moments this grim fairy features a tour-de-force sequence illustrating how snowed under Shrek feels by his new responsibilities. It’s a scene that will likely seem familiar to some of the parents in the audience, what follows—the well worn puns both vocal and visual, classic rock music cues and pop culture references—will seem familiar to anyone else who’s seen “Shrek” one through three. Even the bodily function jokes make an appearance—Shrek is described as “a lovable lug who showed that you don’t have to change your undies to change the world”—but instead of the been there, done that feel of “Shrek the Third” the new film weaves the familiar elements together into something resembling a large helping of comfort food. It doesn’t have the sparkling freshness of the first installment, but it has heart, some good jokes for both kids and adults and is a fitting send off to the series.