Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” withRyan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, the Steven Soderbergh heist film “Lucky Logan,” the social commentary on social media of “Ingrid Goes West” and the down ‘n dirty grit of the ironically named “Good Time.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies including the Ryan Reynolds/Samuel L. Jackson buddy comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” the Steven Soderbergh heist film “Lucky Logan,” the social commentary on social media of “Ingrid Goes West” and the down ‘n dirty grit of the ironically named “Good Time.”
With “Good Time” Robert Pattinson may finally have put a stake through the heart of his most famous character. The man formerly known as “Twilight’s” sexy vampire sheds Edward Cullen’s glittery to play the reckless brother of an imprisoned man. The former heartthrob has taken creative risks before in his work with David Cronenberg but with the gritty “Good Time” has finally found the kind of critical reaction his ex co-star Kristen Stewart has been basking in for years since their franchise flew off into the night.
The action in “Good Time” stems from two brothers, Nik and Constantine Nikas, played by co-director Ben Safdie and Pattinson respectively. They live with their grandmother, but fledgling criminal Connie’s main job is looking out for Nik who struggles with a learning disability. “It’s just you and me,” Connie says. “I’m your friend. Alright?”
The ill-advised bank robbery goes south when a paint bomb hiding in the cash explodes covering them in red dye and landing Nik in jail. Connie plots to get raise the $10,000 bail needed to spring his brother out of Rikers Island hospital. “I’ve got to get him out of there before something bad happens,” says Connie. “He could get killed in there.” As the night grows longer Connie’s situation becomes complicated and dangerous.
Co-directors Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie are not action directors. They shoot in tights close ups, building tension instead with a propulsive electronic score by Oneohtrix Point Never (a.k.a. Daniel Lopatin) mixed with tightly edited visuals. The result is anxiety inducing, occasionally darkly funny and unrelentingly grim. There is an “After Hours” vibe to “Good Time”—the action takes place in one evening escalating with every passing moment—but it’s violent and intense, the opposite of a feel good movie.
Pattinson embodies every scuzzy synapse of Connie. Nonviolent, kind hearted even—“ You’ve got to change this. I don’t want to see them justify this,” he says after watching a TV show were police violently take down a suspect.—but dangerous Connie is compelling because of his desperation. As the situation spirals out of control Connie, driven by need to protect his brother, makes mistake after mistake.
You can practically smell him cigarette breath and flop sweat in a career high that really captures the late night desperation of a man on a mission.
Also strong in a role that amounts to little more than an extended cameo, Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Connie’s girlfriend, an hysterical woman just a step or two away from the reality of the situation. In her brief time on screen she makes an impression, adding to the story’s chaotic feel.
“Good Time” is the movie equivalent of a panic attack, nasty around the edges and rattling to the brain.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “The Lost City of Z,” starring Charlie Hunnam as an obsessed Amazonian explorer, the unforgivable “Unforgettable,” the wild and wooly “Free Fire” and the rom mon “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose drunken stumbling has far reaching effects.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, “The Lost City of Z,” starring Charlie Hunnam as an obsessed Amazonian explorer, the unforgivable “Unforgettable,” the wild and wooly “Free Fire” and the rom mon “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose drunken stumbling has far reaching effects.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with host Bill Carroll to talk about the weekend’s big releases, “The Lost City of Z,” starring Charlie Hunnam as an obsessed Amazonian explorer, the unforgivable “Unforgettable,” the wild and wooly “Free Fire” and the rom mon “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose drunken stumbling has far reaching effects.
“The Lost City of Z” is an epic true-to-life tale of adventure and intrigue. Based on the book of the same name by David Grann it stars Charlie Hunnam as a determined explorer who obsession with the Amazon led to his mysterious disappearance.
Hunnam, who will soon be seen playing another legendary character in “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” is Colonel Percy Fawcett, a man convinced of the existence of a lost city deep in the Amazon. When he discovers pottery, evidence of an advanced civilization in the region, he is ridiculed by the scientific establishment who hang on to old-fashioned ideas about indigenous populations. “Your exploits have opened every door for you,” he’s told, “but keep your ideas to yourself. It is one thing to celebrate the people it’s another to elevate them.” At a boisterous Royal Geographical Society meeting he says, “If we can find a city where one was for not to be able to exist we could rewrite history,” only to be drowned out by dismissive chants of, “Pots and pans! Pots and pans!” from his peers.
Determined to prove his theory he returns, aide-de-camp Corporal Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson) and crew at his side only to be side-tracked by James Murray (Angus Macfadyen), a fellow explorer unfit for the journey.
Fawcett doesn’t give up despite Murray’s lawsuits, family trouble, his resignation from the Royal Geographical Society and World War I.
His search for the Lost City of Z provides the subtext for the movie. As much as this is an adventure tale, it’s also the story of a man desperate to not only prove himself personally and professionally. Personally he was, as the mucky mucks say, “unwise in his choice of ancestors.” Professionally he needs to prove to his British countrymen that the forgotten South American civilization were not “savages,” but people who have tamed the jungle and created empires.
His third and final try is a stripped down affair with son Jack (Tom Holland) in tow.
Traditionally made, “The Lost City of Z” feels old fashioned, as though you could almost imagine James Mason and Gregory Peck in the leads. It takes us back to a slower time, a moment in history before there were Starbucks on evefy corner and movies had to have gotcha moments woven throughout. It throws the modern adventure movie playbook out the window. There is no timetable for the action, no crash-and-burn scene every 10 minutes, just a story of survival and class warfare.
For much of the running time that’s OK. Director James Gray takes his time laying out Fawcett’s obsession, allowing us to get under the skin of a man with much to prove. It begins to feel overlong at the hour-and-a-half mark during a scene, wedged between the second and third explorations were a psychic goes on at length about the importance of Fawcett’s work and we still have WWI and the third expedition to go! It is the movie’s “dropout moment,” the scene that loses the audience and the film never recovers.
It’s a shame because “The Lost City of Z” is a handsome movie, ripe with subtext and solid performances. It’s also self indulgent, in need of one of Fawcett’s jungle machetes to chop it down to size.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with Andrew Carter to discuss the weekend’s big releases, “The Lost City of Z,” starring Charlie Hunnam as an Amazonian explorer, the wild and wooly “Free Fire” and the rom mon “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose drunken stumbling has far reaching effects.
Where have all the movie stars gone? Once upon a time big names on even bigger marquees were as close to a guarantee of good box office as one gets in the movie biz, but no more.
This weekend The Divergent Series: Allegiant, the third part of the young adult series, hit theatres. Based on a series of successful books, it stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James in a teen epic about dystopia, guilt and artfully tossed pixie haircuts. In the new film the pair risk it all to go beyond the walls of their shattered city to discover the truth about their troubled world.
Woodley and James are appealing performers and despite having chiselled cheekbones, a Golden Globe nomination and a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Liplock between them no one is going to see Allegiant because they’re in it. Why? Because they’re not movie stars, they’re brand ambassadors. The movie’s brand is bigger than they are and that’s the draw.
Young adult movies like Twilight made Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart famous and superhero films reignited Robert Downey Jr.’s career and turned Chris Hemsworth into a sex symbol, but none of these actors have scored recent hits outside of their best-known brands.
These days the marketing is more important than the movie star.
It’s almost a throwback to the very early days of cinema when actors weren’t given billing or publicized for the films they made. Fearing performers would demand larger paycheques if they became popular the studios gave them nicknames instead. Hamilton, Ontario born Florence Lawrence was known as the Biograph Girl, named after the studio that produced her films, but with the release of The Broken Oath in 1910 became the first entertainer to have her name appear in the credits of a film.
Floodgates opened, soon names like Mary Pickford (another Biograph Girl), Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin festooned not only movie credits but posters as well, usually above the title. The studios seized the marketing value of their actors and for years the star system was a money-spinner.
These stars were so powerful they not only sold tickets by the fistful but also influenced contemporary trends. For instance, it’s rumoured that sales of men’s undershirts plummeted in 1934 when The King of Hollywood, Clark Gable, was seen without one in It Happened One Night. As the legend goes, sales took such a hit several underwear manufacturers tried, unsuccessfully, to sue Columbia Pictures for damages.
For decades stars ruled supreme at the box office, but the business has changed. I’m guessing the movie studios love it because no film brand ever asked for more money or a bigger trailer.
Certainly Tom Cruise can still sell a ticket or three, but only if his movie has the words Mission Impossible in the title and Matt Damon was brought back in to add star sparkle to the new Jason Bourne movie after a lackluster reboot with Jeremy Renner. Jennifer Lawrence is a movie star. Her latest film Joy, the empowering story of a woman and her mop, wasn’t a big hit but without her star power would likely never have been made at all.
It’s not just the movie business’s attitude toward fame that has changed, it’s also ours. Today a proliferation of YouTube superstars and social media has democratized fame and in a world and business where everyone is famous, no one truly is, not even the stars of a blockbuster like The Divergent Series: Allegiant.