The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up out of nowhere and proved to be a smart and funny hit. Sadly, this sequel kind of misses the point of what made the first movie such a favourite: it opts to focus on corny gross-out gags rather than humour that's firmly rooted in the characters and story. And it also turns people who were complex and surprising into one-note cliches.
After five years, the beloved dimwit Doug (Seann William Scott) has been made captain of his Halifax hockey team, just as he meets his match in the shape of bullish newcomer Anders (Wyatt Russell), who happens to be the son of Doug's new team owner Hiram (Callum Keith Rennie). Sidelined by injury and with his wife Eva (Alison Pill) pregnant, he decides to retire and get a real job, no matter how soul-crushing it may be. But when Hiram makes Anders the new team captain, Doug can't sit by quietly any longer. To get back in shape, he turns to his former arch-rival Ross (Liev Schreiber), and they opt to train on the Bruised & Battered circuit, which features hockey fights without the game itself. Then when the team gets in trouble, they want Doug back.
Of course, what follows is a series of confrontations that are never as surprising as they should be. Instead, they are merely staged to provide a mix of violent thuggery in the rink tempered by some emotional fireworks at home. But the humour is never more than cartoonish, and the emotions are far too sentimental to believe. Characters feel soft and oddly safe for a film that needs to be a lot more anarchic. All of the lusty sex is gone, replaced with violence and macho posturing. At least the cast members still give it their all.
Continue reading: Goon: Last Of The Enforcers Review
Nice-guy Doug (Scott) works as a bouncer in Massachusetts, hanging out with his chucklehead pal Pat (Baruchel) and wondering when he'll discover something he's good at, like his doctor brother Ira (Paetku). His parents (Levy and David) don't conceal their disappointment when Doug joins a hockey team as a hard-headed goon whose role is to fight opponents. Then he's picked up by a professional team in Canada, which puts him on a collision course with his idol Ross (Schreiber). And his natural leadership skills strain his friendship with his failing all-star teammate Xavier (Grondin).
Continue reading: Goon Review
In 1988, Robert and Marie-Jeanne (Gamblin and Breitman) are coming to terms with the fact that their eldest son Albert (Marmai) is moving into his own flat as middle son Raph (Grondin) turns 18. Over the years we also revisit them as rebellious daughter Fleur (Francois) turns 16 and follow relationships with various boys and girls as well as Robert's wine-loving father (Dumas). The family bond is strained and tested, including at least one ongoing feud, and yet there's an irresistible, indefinable connection, and a sense that they are discovering life together.
Soderbergh's relentlessly uncommercial enterprise logs in at 268 minutes and is split into two parts. Part One charts Che's involvement with Fidel Castro in overthrowing Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, concentrating on the popular grassroots campaign that began with 80 peasants. Part Two jumps to Guevara's final revolutionary sprint, the failed uprising in Bolivia, the antithesis of the Cuban campaign, where the Bolivian peasants abandon him and betray him to the Bolivian army. Che is then hunted down like a junkyard dog and murdered.
Continue reading: Che Review
On Christmas Day 1960, proud mom Laurianne Beaulieu (Danielle Proulx) gives birth to her fourth boy as dad Gervais (Michel Cote) smokes up a storm in the waiting room. As he grows, little Zachary (Emile Vallee) is deemed to be special. His mother is convinced that like Jesus, he has healing powers. Dad, however, is concerned that Zac is a bit of a sissy and not at all like any of his brothers: the troublemaker, the jock, or the egghead. A hardworking man, Gervais is proud of his family and loves to entertain them with his lip-synced Charles Aznavour songs and his Patsy Cline records, but he's also a tough disciplinarian and a worrier.
Continue reading: C.R.A.Z.Y. Review
After nearly thirty years since his first solo record Mark Lanegan has just released one of his very best and there's not many artists who can claim...
American Thighs was released on this day in 1994.
The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...
A smart script and vivid characters make this rowdy hockey comedy much more engaging than...
This exquisitely made French drama traces the life of a family through five key days...
You wouldn't think that the family struggles of a middle-class Quebecois family in the '70s...