Randall King

  • Ted 2 proves to be guilt-inducingly funny with plenty of laughs

    If you’re familiar with the TV work of Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad), it’s worth a blue alert that the oft-offensive nature of his comedy is upped when he doesn’t have to observe the niceties of broadcast television. But it’s also worth noting that MacFarlane is much funnier off-screen than on, going by the consistent laughs he gets when voicing the titular teddy bear in Ted 2. This is in contrast to those long stretches of mirthless desert we endured in last year’s comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West, in which MacFarlane starred in the flesh, only to suffer the longest and most painful comedic demise of the title.
  • This spy has been given a licence to kill... with laughs

    Truth be told, the premise of this spy spoof is identical to the premise of the Steve Carell movie version of Get Smart from 2008. It has the identical logline: When the agents of a top-secret intelligence agency are compromised, an anonymous desk-bound analyst is obliged to take to the field to stop a potentially devastating terrorist threat. In Get Smart, the recipient of that opportunity is a middle-aged male who doesn’t look substantially different from all the other sleek, middle-aged superspies the movies have given us.
  • Hot Pursuit fails to amuse despite its strong cast and director

    The movie Hot Pursuit is hilarious. On paper.
  • Winnipeg Film Group Reflecting Light at 40

    The qualities of youth -- creativity, insolence, passion -- can change in a 40-year span, to introspection, nostalgia and maybe a little angst. As it is with people, so it can be for institutions. In observing its 40th year as a cultural touchstone, the Winnipeg Film Group marks the occasion with a four-day binge of films, panel discussions, tours and a party or two.
  • Suspense movie production likely sign of busy year in city

    A ballet dancer, a starship commander, an X-Men hero and a Gotham villain are in Winnipeg to film a suspense movie titled Devil's Gate. Respectively, the actors are Amanda Schull (a trained dancer who played a ballerina in the 2000 film Center Stage and more recently a doctor in the SyFy cable series 12 Monkeys), Jonathan Frakes (best known as Star Trek: The Next Generation's Commander Riker), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman in the X-Men movies and one of the stars of the shot-in-Winnipeg thriller Mother's Day) and Milo Ventimiglia (lately seen as the Ogre in Gotham and, like Ashmore, a veteran of a Winnipeg-lensed suspense film, The Divide).
  • Small film, big ideas, colossal competition

    Starting in theatres today is a movie in which an artificial intelligence threatens a world unprepared for this singular scientific breakthrough. Starting next Friday, May 8, is another movie about an artificial intelligence that may or may not threaten a world unprepared for it.
  • Whedon follows his own thrilling recipe, but Avengers sequel not equal to first outing

    Writer-director Joss Whedon’s sequel to the 2012 mega-hit The Avengers ticks off all the boxes when it comes to replicating the entertaining tropes of the first movie. Yet, in this second go-round, the thrill is diminished.
  • Actor's demise casts chill on Furious 7

    During the 2013 production of the action movie Furious 7, actor Paul Walker died in an unrelated car crash. According to a coroner’s report, the cause had something to do with the Porsche his friend was driving at an unsafe speed in excess of 160 km/h. Walker’s absence gives his last film an eerie vibe that has nothing to do with the efforts to fill in the actor’s un-shot scenes using his two look-alike brothers and some sophisticated digital trickery.
  • Drama doesn't provide easy answers

    Late Company is a play that runs just 75 minutes and takes as its dramatic fulcrum the suicide of a bullied gay high school student. A year after the event, the parents of the dead boy invite one of the bullying instigators and his parents over for dinner in the faint hope of a resolution to the trauma. Given that the work was inspired by a real suicide and its political aftermath, one would expect 26-year-old playwright Jordan Tannahill's work to be more deliberately incendiary -- a cavalcade of hot-button-pressing.
  • Harris not very quick on his feet for a celebrated Broadway hoofer

    When it came to which awards went to which people, Sunday evening's Oscars ceremony may have been the most predictable show in recent memory. In the major categories, the favourites won. That may be satisfying if you had money in an Oscar pool. But it also gave the evening a certain going-through-the-motions ennui, including the tendency of winners to layer their acceptance speeches with shout-outs to pertinent issues, including best actress winner Julianne Moore talking about the need to find a cure for Alzheimer's (as per her character's issue in Still Alice), supporting actress winner Patricia Arquette demanding equal pay for women on behalf of working mothers like the one she portrayed in Boyhood, and Eddie Redmayne dedicating his best actor award to people suffering from ALS.
  • Oscar awards predictable, the show less so

    When it came to which awards went to which people, Sunday evening’s Oscars ceremony may have been the most predictable show in recent memory. In the major categories, the favourites won. That may be satisfying if you had money in an Oscar pool. But it also gave the evening a certain going-through-the-motions ennui, including the tendency of winners to layer their acceptance speeches with shout-outs to pertinent issues, including best actress winner Julianne Moore talking about the need to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease (as per her character’s issue in Still Alice), supporting actress winner Patricia Arquette demanding equal pay for women on behalf of working mothers like the one she portrayed in Boyhood, and Eddie Redmayne dedicating his best actor award to people suffering from ALS.
  • Film's dirty business should be more entertaining

    In J.C. Chandor's quasi-crime movie, capitalist anti-hero Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) constantly recalls Pacino's reluctant mob boss in the Godfather films. At times, he even sounds like him.

  • A show of cinematic strength

    In terms of cash, total North American box office was down in 2014 compared to the previous year, with an accumulated US$10.5 billion in ticket sales, down from 2013's $10.9-billion haul, according to estimates from the media measurement company Rentrak. But if you're betting on the figures, you shouldn't put money on another decline in 2015.
  • Rhythm & blues

    Given that this movie is about a relationship touched with sadism, the title may be subject to misinterpretation. Whiplash is a big-band jazz tune by Hank Levy that happens to make particularly heroic demands of the percussionist.
  • As holiday season approaches, multiplexes start to fill with cinematic gifts

    After years of hiding in its shadowy lair, the dragon Smaug will finally reveal itself in its full destructive glory in the last chapter of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Movie-wise, December is like that, teasingly saving its family-friendly blockbusters and low-budget Oscar contenders to manifest themselves for the very last of the year... along with a component of genre filler.
  • Playing PR game handy in sci-fi, fantasy realms

    With the opening of the penultimate Hunger Games saga Mockingjay Part 1, actress Natalie Dormer finds herself in the Venn diagram intersection of two different impassioned cults. In Mockingjay, the London-based, classically trained actress plays Cressida, a savvy propagandist assigned the task of packaging Jennifer Lawrence's heroine Katniss Everdeen as a revolutionary hero.
  • Get your arty-film fix at annual WNDX festival

    The ninth annual WNDX Festival of Moving Image, Winnipeg's most unapologetically artsy celebration of art in motion, begins Wednesday and runs to Sunday with a multi-fronted assault on the senses incorporating film, performance, art installation and even some friendly creative competition. Typically, the event is too massive to neatly encapsulate. (The full program is downloadable at www.wndx.org.) Notable events include:
  • Fest features teen lust, walrus masks and a bit of Boogaloo

    If you're working press at the Toronto International Film Festival, and I mean Working press, the festival passes in a blur, like sped-up film. The days consist of races from hotel to screening room to press conference to interview to Bell Lightbox press room and back to hotel room to tap out stories.
  • Manitoba film fête lacks fizz

    Poor timing at the Toronto International Film Festival turned the potential of a celebration at the Manitoba party into a relatively quiet affair on Sunday. Holding the gala on its traditional first Sunday spot meant the Manitoba features being feted -- Astron-6's giallo parody The Editor and the horror-comedy Teen Lust -- weren't represented.
  • Williams a creative whirlwind

    In the course of a couple of decades covering the movie beat, I've seen Robin Williams multiple times. Or rather, I bore witness to Robin Williams. The first time was at a junket for the Disney animated movie Aladdin in 1992. The thing one had to keep in mind about Williams throughout his career was a press conference was just another audience for him. The room might have been much smaller than the auditoriums he usually filled. But he took the duties of the round-table interview as an opportunity to perform.
  • Goon director Dowse willing to put the team on ice again

    The last guy you'd expect to make a romantic comedy, filmmaker Michael Dowse was in Winnipeg on Thursday night to preview his new Daniel Radcliffe comedy, The F Word at Polo Park Silver City. Bear in mind that in these parts, Dowse is better known as the director of the raucous hockey comedy Goon, which was shot in southern Manitoba in 2010.
  • Demigod or not, Herc's got the goods

    Hercules may look like just another swords-sandals-'n'-sorcery movie, but that's a clever bit of misdirection. There is precious little sorcery or godly magic here. In fact, this may be the first Hercules movie to openly question the existence of Zeus.
  • Irish actor treads carefully when playing a Newfoundlander in Canadian comedy

    To use an apropos cricket expression, the prospect of Brendan Gleeson coming to Canada to star in the comedy The Grand Seduction had "sticky wicket" written all over it. Gleeson, 59, is an Irish actor best known for playing Mad Eye Moody in the Harry Potter films or maybe for playing Mel Gibson's savage lieutenant Hamish in Braveheart. He is more fervently celebrated for his work playing closer to his Irish roots as a conflicted hit man in In Bruges or a sketchy cop in The Guard.
  • Goofy Sandler singing the same old 'toon

    Occasionally, Adam Sandler will dip his toes into the realm of the feature-length cartoon (Hotel Transylvania, 8 Crazy Nights). But such projects are superfluous when you look at the big picture of his career. The non-animated movies he makes under the banner of his production company, Happy Madison, are really live-action cartoons. This has never been more apparent than it is with Blended, his third rom-com team-up with Drew Barrymore after The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates.
  • Other vampire films pale in comparison

    Admittedly, I am not exactly the target market for the Twilight movies. But I can tell you where they lost me. It was right at the start, when new kid Bella moves to an isolated town and discovers a family of vampires attending her high school.

About Randall King

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

His dad was Winnipeg musician Jimmy King, a one-time columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press. One of his brothers is a playwright. Another is a singer-songwriter.

Randall has been content to cover the entertainment beat in one capacity or another since 1990.

His beat is film, and the job has placed him in the same room as diverse talents, from Martin Scorsese to Martin Short, from Julie Christie to Julia Styles. He has met three James Bonds (four if you count Woody Allen), and director Russ Meyer once told him: "I like your style."

He really likes his job.

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