On this episode of the Richard Crouse Show we meet Maestro Fresh Wes. He’s the “Godfather of Canadian hip hop,” a record producer, an actor, and author who adds competition show host to his resume with “Race Against the Tide.” He plays host to 10 of the world’s best sand sculpting duos and throws down a challenge each week on the show: create show-stopping sculpture at New Brunswick’s iconic and beautiful Bay of Fundy, before the world’s largest tides flow in and wash their sculptures away. Watch the show on Sundays on CBC and CBC Gem at 8:30 p.m.
We’ll also meet Ken Hall. If you are a fan of The Umbrella Academy, the Netflix series about a a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes who reunite to solve the mystery of their father’s death and the threat of an imminent apocalypse, you’ll know Ken Hall. He’s played two roles on the show, Pogo, the talking chimpanzee and analytics specialist Herb. We’ll talk about working on the series and how he went from social work to the business of being funny.
Finally, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, director of a new film called Stanleyville a new darkly humorous social satire now on VOD, stops by. Imagine if Samuel Beckett wrote “Squid Game,” minus the giant Kewpie doll, and you’ll get the idea of “Stanleyville.” It is a social satire, structured around a series of strange games administered by an odd moderator called Homunculus. The contestants are challenged to everything from balloon blowing contests to “writing a national anthem for everybody everywhere through all time.” As the games go on, escalating consequences pit the players against one another. It’s a cool move that is part Squid Game, part Lord of the Flies and part Samuel Beckett.
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 Chris Pratt, Elvis Costello, Baz Luhrmann, Martin Freeman, David Cronenberg, Mayim Bialik, The Kids in the Hall and many more!
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Watch Richard review three movies in less time than it takes to throw a hammer! Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the lovey-dovey superhero film “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the animated “The Sea Beast” and the surreal “Stanleyville.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the Taika Waititi directed take on the Marvel Space Viking, the beautifully animated Netflix flick “The Sea Beast,” the surreal “Stanleyville” and the contemplative doc “Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel.”
Richard joins CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to talk about “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the Taika Waititi directed take on the Marvel Space Viking, the beautifully animated Netflix flick “The Sea Beast,” the surreal “Stanleyville” and the contemplative doc “Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the latest love story… er, superhero flick from Marvel, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the animated Netflix movie “The Sea Beast” and the surreal “Stanleyville.”
Imagine if Samuel Beckett wrote “Squid Game,” minus the giant Kewpie doll, and you’ll understand “Stanleyville,” a new darkly humorous social satire now on VOD.
The ennui of a dead-end job and unsatisfying relationship with her husband and daughter has draped over apathetic suburbanite Maria Barbizan (Susanne Wuest) like a shroud. One day, tired of… well, everything, she rids herself of her money and purse in a mall trashcan and wanders aimlessly.
Into this fugue state walks the smartly dressed Homunculus (Julian Richings), a mysterious figure with an intriguing offer. She, he tells her, has been chosen, alongside a group of other idiosyncratic characters— spoiled brat Andrew Frisbee Jr (Christian Serritiello), Felice Arkady (Cara Rickets), Manny Jumpcannon (Adam Brown) and muscle-head Bofill Pancreas (George Tchortov)—to take part in a “platinum level contest” to “probe the very essence of mind/body articulation.” She doesn’t understand what that means, and the prize of a used habanero-orange compact sport utility vehicle doesn’t interest her either but the promise of true enlightenment or an “authentic personal transcendence” lures her in.
The promised so-called “platinum level contest” is actually a “Lord of the Flies” style reality show competition with Homunculus as host and referee. A series of strange games—at one point they are challenged to “write a national anthem for everybody everywhere through all time”—with escalating consequences pits the players against one another. Along the way they earn points and gain insight into their deepest held beliefs, “every man for himself” ethos and worst inclinations.
Actor-turned-director Maxwell McCabe-Lokos paints his characters in very broad strokes. Each one is an archetype that range from nihilist to failed performer to a Bay Street type, with easy-to-read characteristics that speak to one element of the human condition.
That, however, is the only easy-to-read aspect of “Stanleyville.”
Willfully weird, the movie is all journey. The strange situation doesn’t really go anywhere, and, given Homunculus’s ambiguous motivations, the movie doesn’t offer any closure to the characters or many questions it presents. It’s about the competition, the win-at-any-cost vibe so often evident in competition shows. This is an absurdist take on the same, but as the situation begins to unravel so does the story. The social commentary remains, but viewers hoping to for enlightenment, may enjoy the story’s oddball but thought-provoking themes, but, like Maria, leave the movie still in search of life changing spiritual illumination.
“The Limehouse Golem” is a slice of Victorian Grand-Guignol gaslight horror that owes a debt to Jack the Ripper and to the great Hammer films of he 1960s.
London’s fog-drenched Limehouse district is in the spell of a serial killer who leaves behind mutilated bodies and cryptic messages written in his victim’s blood. The ritualistic killings are so savage, so inhuman the press presume they could only be the work of an ancient evil, the Golem.
Stumped, Scotland Yard assigns Inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy) to the case. Brilliant but troubled, the veteran policeman immediately starts putting clues together even though he knows his superiors think the case is unsolvable. His first break comes with the discovery of a diary of the Golem’s crimes, written in his own hand, kept in the reading room of a library. On the day of the last entry, September 24, only four men where in the reading room, music hall comedian Dan Leno (Douglas Booth), German philosopher Karl Marx, novelist George Gissing and playwright John Cree (Sam Reid).
They each become suspects but high on his list is Cree, a pompous failed playwright poisoned by his wife Elizabeth (Olivia Cooke) on the night of the last Golem murder. The Inspector is convinced she knew he was the killer and poisoned him to stop the carnage. Now he must go full Sherlock to prove that, solve the case and save Elizabeth from the gallows.
“The Limehouse Golem” is a lurid piece of work. Handsomely decked out with fine period details and sumptuous production design, it lures you in with “Masterpiece Theatre” style only to make a sharp U-turn into Hammer Horror territory. Victims are sawn into pieces, beheaded and generally ripped to pieces in ways that would make Jack the Ripper envious. It’s gory and gruesome but what it isn’t is a thriller. Despite a labyrinthine story structure—there’s more flashbacks than you can throw a dismembered head at—the good Inspector seems to be the only one who doesn’t know who the killer is.
On the plus side “The Limehouse Golem” has great performances—does Nighy ever disappoint?—and paints a vivid picture of Victorian music hall, onstage and off. The bawdy nature of the shows nicely compliments the theatrical nature of the killings, helping to create an otherworldly, weird atmosphere.
“The Limehouse Golem” isn’t much of a penny dreadful thriller—there’s too many red-herrings for that—but it does spill enough of the red stuff to satisfy fans of Victorian horror.