Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

RAY DONOVAN THE MOVIE: 3 STARS. “provides closure for fans of the show.”

Despite a final shot that is about as subtle as one of its title character’s trademarked baseball bat attacks, “Ray Donovan: The Movie,” now streaming on Crave, brings the moody television series to a satisfying conclusion.

The movie picks up where season seven of the TV show ended. Mickey (Jon Voight), family patriarch and all-round scumbag, and his quest for cash led to a violent showdown that resulted in the accidental shooting death of his granddaughter Bridget’s (Kerris Dorsey) husband.

With Mickey on the run, his son, Ray (Liev Schreiber), a “fixer” who solves pesky personal problems for wealthy clients, is looking inward, determined to fix his own issues, beginning with his trouble-making father.

As the main action plays out in present day, through flashbacks we learn more about the Donovan clan. How Ray ended up in Hollywood doing whatever it takes to keep bold-faced names out of the gossip pages or jail or both. The roots of his lifelong beef with Mickey and why bad luck and trouble has been this family’s only friends.

Anyone familiar with the tone of the last few seasons of “Ray Donovan” will not be surprised by the downbeat feel of the movie. Dour and sour, it’s a dark sins-of-the-father story that never met a shot of Schreiber’s scowling face it didn’t love. As it wraps up the series, the movie circles around its main ideology, that violence begets violence. It’s not exactly a revelation from the Donovan timeline, but it is the thread that sews up the loose story bits left by the abrupt cancellation of the series. It’s not always subtle (no spoilers here, but check out the last hammer-the-nail-on-the-head shot of Ray) but it does get to the heart of what makes the Donovans tick.

“Ray Donovan: The Movie” is a slow burn, but at a tight 100 minutes, should provide closure for fans of the show, a bit of action and even some emotional moments.

YOU TUBE: THREE MOVIES/THIRTY SECONDS! FAST REVIEWS FOR BUSY PEOPLE!

Watch Richard Crouse review three movies in less time than it takes to try on a new shade of lipstick! Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the animated “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” the home invasion flick “See for Me” and the post-apocalyptic “Mother/Android.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

NEWSTALK 1010: ‘RUN THE BURBS'” ANDREW PHUNG + MUSICIAN KAYA USHER!

This week on the Richard Crouse Podcast we meet Andrew Phung. You know him as the award-winning actor who played Kimchee in the CBC Television sitcom “Kim’s Convenience,” and have seen him in guest starring roles on shows like “The Beaverton” and “Wynonna Earp” but he’s back with a new show, now playing on CBC. On “Run the Burbs,” he plays Andrew Pham, a suburban stay-at-home dad of two children whose wife is an entrepreneur.

Then, we spend some time with Kaya Usher. Her new album, “All This Is,” was recorded with two of her children, fulfilling a dream that she and her husband, the late Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie, shared… to create music as a family. The result is an album of songs that represent not only an artistic awakening but personal healing.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

Here’s some info on The Richard Crouse Show!

Each week on the nationally syndicated Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to hear in-depth interviews with actors and directors, to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favourite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Recent guests include Ethan Hawke, director Brad Bird, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, Eric Roberts, Brian Henson, Jonathan Goldsmith a.k.a. “The most interesting man in the world,” and best selling author Linwood Barclay.

Listen to the show live here:

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RICHARD’S WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FROM CP24! FRIDAY JANUARY 14, 2022.

Richard joins CP24 to pay tribute to Sidney Poitier and have a look at new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the animated sequel “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania,” the home invasion thriller “See for Me” and the dystopian drama “Mother/Android.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

SEE FOR ME: 3 ½ STARS. “an effective thriller that builds tension.”

Like “Don’t Breathe,” “Birdbox” and “A Quiet Place,” “See for Me,” a new thriller directed by Randall Okita, and now on VOD, finds its suspense in the loss of a sense. In this case Skyler Davenport plays Sophie, once an Olympic level Alpine skier until an accident left her visually impaired, pitted against an enemy she can’t see.

The house in question is a rambling mansion, located in the middle of nowhere, with a well-stocked wine cellar and more importantly, a secret safe filled with cash and jewels. Sophie landed the housesitting gig because she was the first one to answer the ad and despite not being able to see is able to do the job thanks to technology. An app called See for Me connects her with a remote set of eyes, in this case belonging to Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy), who guides here through the home. Sophie’s tenacity coupled with Kelly’s experience as a war vet and gamer, are put to the test when three very bad people break in, looking for the home’s hidden treasures. “There’s people in the house,” Sophie whispers into the app. “I heard their voices.”

“See for Me” isn’t so much a horror film, although there are some uneasy, violent moments, as it is a game of cat-and-mouse with elements that will keep you guessing throughout. Screenwriters Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue keep the twists coming hard-and-fast, but also add in a dollop of moral ambiguity.

Sophie’s situation is complicated, she’s angry that retinitis pigmentosa took away her chance at Olympic glory, and, in need of money, isn’t afraid to bend some rules to the point of breaking. That adds a psychological layer to the character and the story that gives the story—essentially the same kind of home invasion tale we’ve seen many times before—a fresh angle to explore.

The inclusive casting of visually impaired actor Davenport, brings authenticity to the role. Even when we see the twists coming—of course she has a low battery on her phone, the lifeline to Kelly—Davenport keeps the character and the story compelling.

“See for Me” is an effective thriller that build tension as the psychological drama ramps up. We’ve seen several of these elements before, the sensory loss, the first-person shooter shtick and the home invasion angle, but director Randall Okita brings them together in a persuasive package.

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MOTHER/ANDROID: 2 STARS. “short on originality and long on derivative ideas.”

Imagine a near future where androids co-exist with people. That’s the way “Mother/Android,” the new Netflix post-apocalyptic thriller starring Chloë Grace Moretz, begins.

Human in appearance—think “The Terminator” but without the muscles—the droids are mostly support staff, serving drinks at parties and working as household help. All is hunky dory until the robots blow a gasket and turn on their human counterparts. “They’re not supposed to be able to do that!” shrieks one victim. “They are programmed not to be able to do that.”

We first meet Georgia (Moretz), a young pregnant woman, enjoying a Christmas party with her boyfriend Sam (Algee Smith) and some others when a robot waiter short circuits and attacks the partygoers. And the murderous bot isn’t alone; he’s part of an A.I. apocalypse happening across the country.

Jump cut to nine months later. Georgia’s baby is overdue and she and Sam, like so many others, were forced to flee from cities to the relative safety of rural military camps where electromagnetic transmitters provide protection from rampaging robots.

But it’s a losing battle. “I’m fighting a war here against an enemy that literally never sleeps,” says the camp leader.

In a last-ditch effort to find a safe place for their baby to grow up, Georgia and Sam plan to leave the United States for Korea, where the robots haven’t taken over. First though, they must traverse the dangerous No Man’s Land, the deadly wilderness between them and safe passage out of the country.

“Mother/Android” made me wonder whether a twist is still a twist if you can see it coming a mile away. No spoilers here, but as an audience we’ve seen a lot of post-apocalyptic movies in the last decade or so, and, I would guess, so has writer-director Mattson Tomlin. Much of the imagery and general idea of a folks on the run from some sort of catastrophe are familiar, and feel borrowed from other movies. The twist will be predictable to fans of the genre, adding to the movie’s generic feel.

Moretz is the best thing about “Mother/Android.” She brings a steeliness and vulnerability to Georgia’s story of resilience and survival as the movie plods around her. A third character, whose intentions are not immediately clear, appears midway (AGAIN, NO SPOILERS HERE) and spices things up a bit, but even that doesn’t get the blood pumping.

“Mother/Android” feels like the love child of “Children of Men,” “The Terminator” and “A Quiet Place” and, as such, commits the biggest sins of speculative fiction—it’s short on originality and long on derivative ideas.

LAST CALL PODCAST EPISODE 4: “The Greatest Place in the History of the World.”

Imagine a bar with an indoor lagoon. Now imagine that it rains, indoors every half hour. It’s not just a flight of fancy, it’s the Tonga Room, a classic restaurant and tiki bar in the Fairmont San Francisco hotel. Named after the South Pacific nation of Tonga, it is an eye-popping example of high-style Tiki that has been igniting the imaginations of customers for more than seventy five years.

Designed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s leading set director, it is the tropical paradise Anthony Bourdain called, “the greatest place in the history of the world.”

Learn about the invention of Tiki, the California Gold Rush and the Tonga Room HERE!

LAST CALL PODCAST EPISODE 3: SARDI’S: THE CLUBHOUSE TO THE STARS!

On this episode of “Last Call with Richard Crouse” we visit Sardi’s, located at 234 West 44th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, in the Theater District of Manhattan, New York City. It is Broadway’s most famous restaurant, and you may recognize it as the place where Kramer falsely accepts a Tony Award on “Seinfeld,” or where Finn and Rachel met Patti LuPone in an episode of “Glee” or perhaps you know it as the place where Don Draper and Bobbie Barrett celebrated the sale of a television pilot on “Mad Men.” The walls of celebrity caricatures are iconic and unmistakable.

Listen to the whole story of the “Clubhouse to the Stars” where the Tony Awards were born HERE!