Archive for November, 2016


Screen-Shot-2015-06-30-at-1.42.28-PM-300x188Welcome to the House of Crouse. “How to Train Your Dragon” star Jay Baruchel stops by the HoC to chat up his new documentary “Celtic Soul.” The film features Baruchel and sports broadcaster Eoin O’Callaghan, who met via twitter and a shared love of Glasgow Celtic. After two years of chatting 140 characters at a time the pair became friends when O’Callaghan came to Montreal to visit the actor. That turned into the first leg of a journey that would take them from Quebec’s Bell Centre, home ice of the Canadiens, to Dublin’s Croke Park, one of Europe’s largest sports stadiums where they try hurling, a forerunner to hockey. They travel two continents and three countries to make it to see a match in paradise a.k.a. Celtic Park and Jay and Eoin tell the whole story on the show this week. It’s a great story. C’mon in, sit a spell and enjoy.

Richard to host Geneva Centre for Autism & Spectrum’s Talking Pictures

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-4-14-00-pmOn December 1, 2016 Richard will host the Geneva Centre for Autism’s Talking Pictures!

More info: Geneva Centre for Autism and Spectrum Productions are teaming up to present Talking Pictures, a unique and entertaining short film collection created by talented individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Come enjoy the show and meet the film makers!

Spectrum Productions helps young people with ASD to develop their talent in media, animation, and film. See the exciting and inspiring work created by the latest group of up and coming film makers.

Proceeds from this exclusive film engagement will support programs for children, youth, and adults with ASD that offer opportunities to build skills and explore their talents.

Put your name on it! Join the Talking Pictures production team by sponsoring this exclusive event. Your brand stamp will show support for the film and autism communities and provide future opportunities for individuals with ASD.

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screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-3-57-41-pmRichard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the new Brad Pitt wartime thriller “Allied,” the new kick-ass Disney princess in “Moana,” the Oscar hopeful “Manchester by the Sea” and the Warren Beatty rom com “Rules Don’t Apply.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-10-40-15-amRichard sits in with Erin Paul to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the new Brad Pitt wartime thriller “Allied,” the new kick-ass Disney princess in “Moana,” the Oscar hopeful “Manchester by the Sea” and the Warren Beatty rom com “Rules Don’t Apply.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro: In despair, Casey Affleck affirms his talent in Manchester by the Sea

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-7-31-24-amBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

As a man thrown into the depths of despair in Manchester by the Sea Casey Affleck had to mine some deep emotional territory. He describes the process of playing a person who confronts his tragic past to working out.

“This is a bad analogy,” he laughs, “but it is sort of like you go to the gym. You warm up into it before you do your heavy lifting. So you start at the beginning of the movie and you’re getting into it. You spend an hour sweating and working out then you slowly come out of it.”

Affleck is the core of the film. He’s in virtually every frame and while understated he bristles with feeling. It is a tremendous performance that never fails into morbidity as he skilfully keeps he character alive, both physically and metaphysically. Every day is a struggle for him and he deals with his trauma the only way he knows how, with blistering honesty and by drinking and fighting to feel something. There is emotional truth in every mumbled line and letting that go at the end of the day was difficult.

“That is the experience I think most actors would describe having,” he says. “I don’t think it’s unique or particularly committed or brave of me. It’s what you have to do. You have to go there, show up on set and be prepared to play the scene with the right feelings, the way it is supposed to be. I’m just not good enough to show up in a great mood, say good morning to everybody, check in with the kids and read the paper and then walk into the scene and be believably gutted in the way he is supposed to be. He carries around all this guilt, he’s devastated and filled with self loathing so I have to start way back in preproduction and try to slip into these bad feelings and stay there for as long as I can.

“If you just showed up and tried to walk through it or do anything but give 100 percent you’d really look like a jackass. I didn’t want to do that no matter what. It was a hard movie to make but that is what I like about making movies. If you are just showing up and chit chatting and having fun, that is not what is satisfying about making movies. It feels really good to be somebody else and live in some character’s life even if their life is tragic. Then you come out of it.”

Manchester by the Sea isn’t just an exercise in Sturm und Drang. It deals with very real, very difficult human situations but does so with honesty and a great deal of unexpected humour and wisdom so not everyday on set was filled with angst.

“Some of the what you think would be harder scenes to do,” Affleck says, “we just started and finished. Did them really quickly.

“I would say the longest scene was when I come home to find her in the bedroom. It was one of the lightest, most pleasant scenes to do. Take my clothes off and straddle Michelle [Williams]. ‘One more please! Can we try something different here?’ That scene took a long time.”

Metro: Warren Beatty Cast Lily Collins in a blink for Rules Don’t Apply

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-3-35-06-pmBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

To hear Hollywood legendary Warren Beatty tell it, casting Lily Collins as the lead of his latest film happened in a blink.

The movie is Rules Don’t Apply, a nostalgic look at an aspiring actress, her limo driver boyfriend and Howard Hughes, the eccentric billionaire they both work for. There were no formal auditions for the film, just Beatty’s gut instinct and “the blink.”

“I believe very much in what I call the blink,” says Beatty. “That is the superiority of the unconscious knowledge as compared to conscious knowledge. The knowledge that when we sit and we really give it some thought, the thought we feel it is due. That thought can be misleading when we could have trusted our initial instinct, the blink. I think the unconscious has a lot more intelligence in it than the conscious.

“It was a blink with Lily. I can only say I loved the way she looked. I loved the way she sounded. I loved the way she talked. There was an integrity about her I felt I could believe in this circumstance and at the same time she looked like someone to me who Hollywood would want to exploit.”

Collins plays Marla Mabrey, wannabe movie star and “devout Baptist beauty queen from Virginia.” On the surface the twenty-seven-year-old doesn’t have a great deal in common with her on-screen character but the actress says she understood Marla immediately.

“I could relate to it,” she says. “Starting out acting in Hollywood, very wide eyed, innocent, naïve. Wanting to please everyone. Having my mom there with me. Marla was very adamant and passionate, determined and steadfast. All these things I think I was when I started.”

The actress, who has three movies lined up for next year including Okja with Jake Gyllenhaal and To the Bone with Keanu Reeves, calls working with Beatty a master class in acting. She even kept a journal on set. “I have all these tidbits of information. Things I witnessed that I can now draw on. I would have been a fool not to.”

In particular Beatty taught the star how to think differently about breaking down a script.

“Whenever we would do a scene he kept saying, ‘What are you doing? What is your action? What is your intention?’ At the beginning I read the script as someone who had never broken it down in the way he had, and I’d be like, ‘Right now she’s really emotional. She’s sad. She misses her mom.’ He’d say, ‘Show me what that looks like.’ I can’t because that is an adjective. ‘OK, put it into words. Put it into a verb.’ As soon as I started breaking down a scene based on verbs, it didn’t matter if I cried when it said ‘Marla cries,” because as long as my intention was the same as what her intention was, whatever naturally occurred, occurred. Nothing was fake. Nothing was put on. I think audiences are smart, they can tell. If something seems fake or put on they will not associate with it.

“I soaked in everything,” she says. “Even when I was tired I subconsciously I soaked in everything because I thought, ‘It’s a joy and an honour to be in this situation.’ He could have just picked someone else so I need to take in everything I can.”

Metro In Focus: Shattering stereotypes — a new breed of Disney princess

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-6-40-17-amBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Once upon a time a movie princess was a damsel in distress, swathed in pink and jewels, waiting for Prince Charming to come to the rescue.

Lately, however, the movies have given us a different kind of princess, one who is more into grrrl-power than girly-girl. This weekend Disney helps redefine their traditional princess in their 56th animated feature film, Moana,

The thirteenth official Disney princess is inspired by Polynesian mythology. Sixteen-year-old Moana (voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho) is a natural born navigator with a mystical connection to the ocean and all its creatures who goes on a sea quest to find a mysterious island. She’s high-spirited and adventurous, but as Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), reminds her, “You’re the daughter of a chief and you’re wearing a dress: you’re a princess.”

Moana isn’t the first movie to shatter the stereotype of the pretty pink princess.

“All these Disney heroines, the princesses, they’re a product of their time,” Maleficent screenwriter Linda Wolverton told the Associated Press. “The princesses created in the 1940s and ’50s, were the best of what a woman should be then: You’re the good girl. You took abuse and through it all, you sang and were nice. But we’re not like that anymore. We kick ass now.”

According to Roger Ebert, Ariel, the teenage mermaid princess of The Little Mermaid, “is a fully realized female character who thinks and acts independently, even rebelliously, instead of hanging around passively while the fates decide her destiny.”

In other words, she still marries her prince charming, but for the first time a Disney princess gave a lesson in independence and had a hand (or fin) in deciding her fate.

The success of that movie led to a new batch of princesses who were empowered and could look after themselves and others.

Jasmine, the daughter of the wealthy Sultan of Agrabah and the princess at the heart of Aladdin, didn’t fight off invaders but did do something that made her unique in the Disney princess world.

Tired of life in the royal palace, instead of waiting for rescue, the independently minded aristocrat made her own way, even deciding to marry a commoner rather than a prince.

Mark Andrews, the co-director of Brave, the story of a Celtic princess who rebels against her mother and escapes from castle life, calls the movie’s lead character “an anti-princess.” The Princess and the Frog’s Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose), the first ever African-American princess lead in a Disney film, is also an ambitious character in a way that would have been unthinkable in Snow White’s day.

More recently the phenomenally successful Frozen was the story of two royal sisters, the Princesses of Arendelle, Anna, a spirited adventurer, played by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel’s Elsa, a cryokinetic queen with the awesome power to manifest ice and snow. Like Carrie, but colder. Both are powerful, determined women, but the real twist here is in the definition of the true meaning of love. There’s a male hero, but the real love on display here is between the two sisters.

When you thinks about movie princesses a few names come immediately to mind: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora and Belle. This fab four have come to define what being a movie princess is all about. Or at least they used to.

ALLIED: 3 ½ STARS. “despite the bullets and bombs this is a love story.”

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-9-04-40-amShowbiz old timers believed any publicity was good publicity. Song-and-dance man George M. Cohan once famously bragged, “I don’t care what you say about me, as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right.” Brad Pitt is a pretty easy name to spell and the press has been using it a lot lately but will the news surrounding his break up with Angelina Jolie and subsequent stories of FBI investigations (no charges were ever filed) have any effect on the box office appeal of his new movie “Allied.”

Casablanca, 1942. Pitt plays Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatan, a deadly spy paired with French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard). They are to pose as husband and wife, infiltrate a high level Nazi gathering and assassinate the German ambassador. “Odds of surviving are 60 to 40%,” he says, “against.” They survive (not a spoiler: if they didn’t make it there’d be no movie), fall in love and are soon sharing the same next of kin in London as Max takes on a less rigorous and much safer desk job. Despite Max’s boss’s (Jared Harris) warning that “marriage made in the field don’t work,” the couple settle in, the very model of a nuclear family until a high ranking official (Simon McBurney), who calls himself “a rat catcher,” confronts Max with the words, “We believe your wife is a German spy.”

Pitt and Cotillard like they just walked out a 1942 issue of Silver Screen magazine. Add to that high end period details in the costumes and sets and you have a handsome movie, almost as good-looking as its two leads. That being said, it’s a shame the first hour doesn’t have the pop it needs to really make us care about the characters when the story swerves from wartime romance to personal espionage thriller.

Director Robert Zemeckis keep things interesting with several memorable action scenes. He may be making a war film that frequently feels like a homage to the classic movies of yore but he’s done it with a modern flair, including rougher language and sexuality. Marianne giving birth on a London street as bombs drop around her has the melodrama of an old time picture but a contemporary sensibility.

Anchoring all this beauty are strong performances from Pitt and Cotillard.

At its heart “Allied” a love story despite the bullets and bombs. Pitt plays Max as a stoic but lethal—watch him choke someone to death then shove a biscuit down his throat to make it look like and accident—but most importantly, he’s a man in love. When he is told his wife may be a spy he says, “It’ll be OK because it’s not true,” but the moments of self doubt that wash across his face tell the real story. In his third war flick (following “Inglourious Basterds” and “Fury”) he’s torn between love and duty and Pitt infuses the performance with an appropriate amount of pathos.

Cotillard has the less flashy role, particularly in the second half but gives this femme fatale a real live beating heart that elevates her from stereotype to thoroughly current and exciting character.

“Allied” is really two movies—a “Casablanca” style romance and a spy thriller—bound together by Zemeckis’s adherence to classic filmmaking and the love story that provides the heart.