What Did Richard Crouse Think? It’s a weekly game played on NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards Show. It’s simple. Richard gives the synopsis of a new movie and Jim and others try and figure out if Richard liked it or hated it.
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Coco,” the festive flick “The Man Who Invented Christmas” and Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the Pixar film “Coco,” the Vietnam reunion movie “Last Flag Flying” and the festive flick “The Man Who Invented Christmas.”
Around this time of year “A Christmas Carol” is omnipresent. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey of redemption, courtesy of three mysterious Christmas ghosts, runs on an endless Yuletide television loop and has been adapted as an opera, ballet, a Broadway musical, animation and even a BBC mime production starring Marcel Marceau.
A new film, “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” aims to tell the story behind the story. “Downton Abbey’s” Dan Stevens plays Charles Dickens, the Victorian writer who, when we first meet him, is out of ideas and money. “My light’s gone out,” he moans. When he devises a Christmas story, his publishers, who have gotten rich off his previous works, scoff. The holiday season isn’t a big enough deal for their readers, and it’s only six weeks away. How can he finish a novel and how can they publish it in such a short time? He perseveres and we see how real life inspiration and his imagination collide to create the self-published book that redefined Christmas celebrations for generations to come.
Using flashbacks to Dickens’s childhood in London’s workhouses and dramatic recreations of encounters with the characters—including Christopher Plummer as Scrooge—that would soon populate his book, the film attempts to show “the blessed inspiration that put such a book into the head of Charles Dickens.”
Often more literal than literate, “The Man Who Invented Christmas” is handsome film that plays like a series of “a ha” moments than a serious exploration of the creative process. What it does, however, is entertainingly paint a picture of life in Dickens’s Victorian home, and the external influences that sparked his imagination.
As Scrooge Plummer hands in a performance that makes us wish he’d play the character for real. In a very likable portrayal Stevens links Scrooge’s transformation to Dickens as he battles his own personal demons on his way to personal redemption. All bring a light touch and even when the going gets tough there is an endearing quality to the material. Even the condescending critic William Makepeace Thackery (Miles Jupp) isn’t played with malice.
“The Man Who Invented Christmas” is a festive film, a movie for the holidays that reminds us of the spirit of the season. No “Bah! Humbugs” here.
Richard’s CTV News Channel look at his top five favourite movies for the holiday season! Curl up by the TV and check out his takes on “The Shop Around the Corner,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Elf” and more!
Richard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn,” the Seth Rogen Christmas comedy “The Night Before” and the Julia Roberts thriller “Secret in Their Eyes.”
‘Tis the season to be heart warming. In the coming weeks the movies will pull out the tinsel and sentiment in an effort to give you the Yuletide feel-goods.
“The Night Before” is not one of those movies. Sure, it’s filled with the spirit of Christmas past, present and future, love and other familiar themes, but this Seth Rogen movie also puts the X in Xmas.
The story begins fourteen years ago with the deaths of Ethan’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) parents. Alone and sad on Christmas Eve, his best friends Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) rally around him, beginning a December 24th tradition involving karaoke, Chinese food, playing the giant piano at FAO Schwartz and, because this is a Seth Rogen movie, lots of drinking and drugs.
Isaac and Chris are the only family Ethan has, but as the years pass the guys grow apart. Today Isaac is a lawyer with a wife (Jillian Bell) and a baby on the way. Chris is a superstar athlete while Ethan is still struggling. Recently dumped by his girlfriend (Lizzy Caplan) he picks up catering gigs (dressed as an Elf) as he tries to get gigs for his band. The guys plan one last Christmas Eve together and when they score tickets for the best party in NYC, the Nutcracker Ball, the night is poised to become one for the ages.
“The Night Before” is profane and probably sacrilegious but it’s also the funniest and in its own foul-mouthed way, sweetest Christmas movie of recent memory. It’s a fairy tale of sorts that borrows heavily from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” but forges its own path. It believes in all the usual Christmas clichés, but updates them with outrageous antics that some will find hilarious while others may find extreme. Either way, the one thing that is not subjective is the spirit of kindness that manages to peak through, past the swearing babies and drunken, brawling Santas.
The three leads are likeable, funny and keep things flowing nicely but it is Michael Shannon in an extended cameo as a drug dealer whose weed provides “surprisingly accurate visions of the future” who steals the show. Surreal and slightly menacing, he’s Clarence Odbody for a new generation.
“The Night Before” could become a beloved Christmas classic… if Justin Trudeau finally makes marijuana legal in Canada. It’s a stoner comedy that is nuttier than Grandma’s fruitcake but just as sweet.