A SENTIMENTAL STORY
Mother’s Day follows familiar formula
Big release on April 29: Mother’s Day. Big picture: Hallmark should build a golden shrine to director Garry Marshall, the man behind sentimental holiday shlock like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. This ensemble dramedy follows a familiar formula: a cast of big name actors intersect over a fateful holiday filled with love, slapstick, drama, forgiveness and more connections than a Tinder app. Jennifer Aniston plays a struggling, single mom; Jason Sudeikis plays a struggling, single dad. Julia Roberts plays a workaholic that gave up her only child; Britt Robertson plays a young woman searching for the mother she never new. A toddler could connect the dots in this plot — while simultaneously building an epic blanket fort and flying a kite. This movie calls upon us to “celebrate the one day that connects us all.” Awwwwww. On a side note, Sudeikis may be the first Saturday Night Live alumni to become a go-to rom-com lead. He’s like an edgier, pre-Oscar era Tom Hanks. Forecast: Marshall is running out of sappy holidays. What’s next after the obvious Father’s Day? St. Patrick’s Day (a bunch of drunk people fall in love, but then completely forget each other the next morning)? Good Friday? Flag Day? Cinco de Mayo? Honourable mention: Ratchet & Clank. It was inevitable. First, video games started looking like movies. Now they’re indistinguishable. This animated movie (or video game minus the controller) is about a spacefaring feline (an alien species called a Lombax) and his robot sidekick. My big hope is that cats don’t have as many lives in space. We don’t need eight sequels.
Big events: Special Correspondents (April 29, Netflix); Jazz at the White House (April 30, ABC). Big picture: Netflix is in the moviemaking business, and thankfully not only Adam Sandler flicks. Eric Bana and Ricky Gervais put their spin on the “buddy-cop” routine as two radio journalists who fake their war zone coverage of Ecuador from a hideout in New York City — only to be forced into the fray after being reported MIA. Gunfights and one-liners ensue, but they’re actually funny (largely thanks to Gervais). Vera Farmiga and America Ferrera co-star.
Meanwhile, Jazz at the White House literally sums up this special. President Barack Obama and the First Lady will host the fifth anniversary International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert, featuring performances by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock and Diana Krall. If the Obamas succeed in educating the masses and making jazz cool again (confession: I’m already a jazzophile), they need to plan other live specials before he leaves office: Grammar at the White House, Walking Without Staring at Your Smart Phone at the White House, Reading Newspapers at the White House, Taking Photos That Aren’t Selfies at the White House, Read a Book Instead of Trolling for News About What the Kardashians Did Last Night at the White House. Forecast: A Ricky Gervais TV appearance is always special; the Obamas will start a post-presidency career as a jazz trio, with Bill Clinton on sax (Hillary will want to ensure he stays far away from the Oval Office). Honourable mention: 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Special (April 30, HBO). Inductee N.W.A and Kiss’s Gene Simmons feuded after the latter suggested hip-hop had no place in the Hall. The bigger question? Who wants to be inducted into an institution based in Cleveland?
Big releases on April 29: Drake (Views from the Six); Plants and Animals (Waltzed in From the Rumbling). Big picture: Drake already has a key to the city; Toronto should just officially rename itself the Six. Not only does the Drake-approved city nickname sound a lot cooler, it also strategically positions Hogtown for the postapocalyptic future. Whatever corrupt tyrant comes to rule us — be they man, woman or radioactive mutant beaver — they won’t even have to rename the district formerly known as T.O. On his highly anticipated fourth album, Canada’s undisputed hip-hop king raps about his hometown’s charms and favourite place. (I’m hoping for a first-person track from the point of view of the CN Tower.) Everyone from Beyonce and Jay Z to Kanye West are expected to appear on the juggernaut effort.
Meanwhile, Montreal’s superb indie rock ensemble, Plants and Animals, find perfect timing on their own No. 4.
Rarely does studio rock ‘n’ roll feel so spontaneous and boisterous.
They’re evolving into one of Canada’s finest bands. A couple more like this and they’ll be handed a key to Montreal, and will release View from the 514. Forecast: Drake will put Toronto on the hip-hop map. Now all we need is a megastar in Vancouver for a Canadian version of an old-fashioned West vs. East Coast rap feud. No violence, of course; mainly just a lot of apologizing. “Sorry I made fun of you in my song, eh.” As for Plants and Animals — they’ll bloom into a band of international stature. Honourable mention: Rob Zombie (The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser). Never to be confused with a PEZ dispenser. The heavy metal musicians and horror director return to the studio. As for the title: We live in an era where every other show has a zombie in it; I think Rob might be feeling a tad insecure these days.