Freeze Frame: “Elvis” (PG-13), “The Man from Toronto” (PG-13)

The life of rock n’ roll legend Elvis Presley gets an over-the-top, almost operatic treatment with Baz Luhrmann’s phantasmagorical two-hour and forty-five-minute biopic, “Elvis,” Tom Hanks plays his Svengali-like manager, Col. Tom Parker, narrating the story from his selfish, opportunistic perspective. Austin Butler is excellent as the naive but extraordinarily talented Presley, seen here as a victim of Parker’s tricky manipulations. While it’s involving, Luhrmann’s over-the-top, cartoon-like direction draws attention to itself and away from its subject. Hanks is a great actor, but he’s a bit hard to accept under a ton of prosthetics to make him look obese. He also employs a curious Dutch accent. From interview footage that’s available, Parker, who immigrated to the U.S. from Holland as a young man, appears to have lost his accent by the time he met Presley. The approach that Luhrmann takes to his subject is impressively flashy, but superficial. Still, “Elvis” is filled with the Presley’s remarkably popular music. Despite its nagging flaws, “Elvis” is an entertaining fantasy that will keep your toes tapping, whether you’re a fan of “The King” or not.


Two likable and funny actors, Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson, get trapped in the heavy-handed Netflix action comedy, “The Man from Toronto.” Hart plays an ineffectual salesman who is mistaken for a brutal assassin, played by Harrelson, and is forced to impersonate the killer by the FBI. Kaley Cuoco shows up in a thankless role that seems like an afterthought. Obviously written by a committee using a formula poached from other, better movies, “The Man from Toronto” may make you want to remain south of Detroit.

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