Welcome to the House of Crouse. In this episode actor Geoff Stults talks about the fib he told to land the role of a Green Beret in “12 Strong” while “Forever My Girl” star Jessica Rothe gushes about her favourite movie… and no, it’s not the one we were supposed to be talking about! It’s fun stuff so c’mon in and sit a spell.
Richard and CP24 anchorGeorge Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the new Chris Hemsworth war flick “12 Horses,” Christian Bale’s period piece “Hostiles,” Gerard Butler’s cop drama “Den of Thieves” and Jessica Rothe in “Forever My Girl.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new Chris Hemsworth war flick “12 Horses,” Christian Bale’s period piece “Hostiles,” Gerard Butler’s cop drama “Den of Thieves” and Jessica Rothe in “Forever My Girl.”
Check out Richard’s conversation with “Forever My Girl” star Jessica Rothe in today’s Toronto Star!
“Jessica Rothe is what used to be called a ‘starlet.’ The thirty-year-old actor appeared with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the Oscar-winning La La Land, and last year was the best thing about the time-loop murder mystery Happy Death Day.
“She’s landing lead roles but still building her career, trying out various film genres and characters.
“One thing that feels very important to me as an artist is to continually challenge myself and push myself to do all kinds of different things,” she says. “If it is good storytelling, it is good storytelling. I just want to do it all…” READ THE WHOLE THING HERE!
Jessica Rothe is what used to be called a ‘starlet.’ The thirty-year-old actor appeared with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the Oscar-winning La La Land, and last year was the best thing about the time loop murder mystery Happy Death Day.
She’s landing lead roles but still building her career, trying out various film genres and characters.
“One thing that feels very important to me as an artist is to continually challenge myself and push myself to do all kinds of different things,” she says. “If it is good storytelling, it is good storytelling. I just want to do it all.”
Her latest is Forever My Girl, a romance in the mould of Nicholas Sparks. She plays Josie, a young woman left at the altar by boyfriend Liam, a musician who ran off to find fame as a country music star. When he returns to their small Southern town years later his presence reignites old feelings but there is a difference in the form of Billy, played by Abby Ryder Fortson, the daughter Liam never knew about.
Rothe says working with her precocious eight-year-old co-star helped her make Josie a fully rounded character.
“I met with Abby and her mom at a juice bar so she would feel comfortable with me,” Rothe says, “but we didn’t get a lot of prep time because she was still in school.
“In some way the fact that I was her mother in the film really benefitted our relationship because every time I didn’t know what I should be doing in the scene, or what Josie would be thinking about, it was always, ‘Where is Abby? Is Abby safe? Is she hungry?’ Having that be the backbone of Josie and her thought process was incredibly helpful. As somebody who is not a parent I can only imagine that is how you would function. It helped that our relationship on set and off set was very similar. I came to feel protective of her. Film sets can be crazy but I think it worked to our benefit.”
The actress, who will next be seen in an all-singing-all-dancing version of the 1983 romantic comedy Valley Girl, relates to her young co-star’s acting ambitions as well.
“If I, as an eight year old, could have been that worldly and on top of my game I would have been amazed with me,” she laughs. “I always knew I wanted to do this but I didn’t think it could be my real job. I’m lucky my parents are incredibly supportive and generous people who have put so much faith in me as I jump into this crazy business. It really is so far outside their comfort zone in terms of what a profession can be.”
Speaking of straying outside of comfort zones, Rothe already knows who she wants to work with next: horror master Guillermo del Toro.
“I just watched The Shape of Water the other night and thought that was absolutely stunning. It is almost the perfect movie. I could talk about it a lot but I won’t because I’ll get in trouble. Everyone reads the Forever My Girl interview and it is just me raving about The Shape of Water and trying to get a job on his next film. That would not go over really well!”
There are movies that surprise and surpass our expectations and there are those that don’t. The former feed the brain, the latter are like comfort food. With that in mind, “Forever My Girl,” the new romance starring Jessica Rothe, is meatloaf with a side of potatoes. Not good for you perhaps, and not really good at all, but somehow satisfying.
In a story that casts shade on Thomas Wolfe’s “you can never go home again” theory, “Forever My Girl” begins with Liam Page (Alex Roe), a small town boy made good. He’s a country music superstar, playing to packed houses and bedding groupies nightly. He’s also unhappy and suffering from writer’s block. As the country song on the soundtrack warbles, he’s “followed the script closely with whiskey, wimmen and pills.” When he learns his best friend from high school was killed by a drunk driver he goes AWOL, leaving behind a sold out tour to reconnect with his roots in St. Augustine, Louisiana.
No one is particularly happy to see him, not even his father (John Benjamin Hickey), the local minister. Even less thrilled is local florist Josie (Jessica Rothe), the woman he left on the altar when he skipped town to pursue his career. “No one has spoken about what you did here,” she says, “because we are family. We are loyal. Please just leave.”
Turns out there is more to the story in the form of Billy (Abby Ryder Fortson), a precocious eight year old and the daughter he never knew about. “I said I wanted to meet him,” Billy says, “but I didn’t say I would be easy on him.” As Liam reconnects with Josie, meets Billy and spends time with his dad the puzzle pieces of his life fall into place and he realizes what’s been missing. “I have no right to ask for anything,” he says, “but I’m here now.” You know the rest. (SPOILER ALERT) This is a romance not a tragedy.
“Forever My Girl” is written and directed by Bethany Ashton Wolf, based upon the novel by Heidi McLaughlin but is the kind of story Nicholas Sparks could conjure up in his sleep. The flowery Sparksian language is missing and there are no tearstained romantic letters—there is, however, a poignant voicemail saved on a duct-taped flip phone—but the spirit of everlasting love he exalts in parcels of passion like “The Notebook” loom.
London-born Roe has the dark good looks of a tortured country star and doers earnest quite well but it is the female stars that shine. As Billy, Fortson is a sparkplug with most of the film’s best lines. Rothe displays the natural charm that made her last performance in “Happy Death Day”—imagine “Groundhog Day” with a terrifying twist—so winning.
“Forever My Girl” isn’t great art. It’s a Hallmark movie by way of Harlequin that features nice looking people falling back in love but it’s the best non-Nicholas Sparks/Nicholas Sparks movie to come along in a while.
In the “The Ring” a cursed videotape—featuring a short movie that looks like it was made by a first year film student who had watched too many Luis Buñuel films—does the rounds, killing its audience seven days after viewing. Based on 1998’s “Ringu,” a masterpiece of atmosphere and psychological terror from Japanese director Hideo Nakata, it spawned a mini-empire with multiple movies, manga comics and television shows based on the original idea.
“Rings,” the latest addition to the continuing tale of the terrifying tape takes place thirteen years after the events of the last film. Julia’s (Matilda Lutz) boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) has gone to college out of state. One night during a strange Skype call from his account a young woman appears. “Where is the dead man?” she shrieks. “Tell him she’s coming!” Unnerved, Julia hightails it to the school looking for answers. Seems Holt has become involved in a project to discover the meaning of the meaning of the videotape. The professor Gabriel (Johnny Galecki) thinks he can prove the tape is a doorway to the other side. If that’s true, it will also verify the existence of the soul and life after death. There’s one big problem though, his students keep dying seven days after viewing the tape. The only way out is to make a copy of the tape and pass it along to someone else. With only hours to go until Holt becomes the tape’s latest victim Julia watches, and inheriting his curse. “Whatever you were leave him alone!” she says. Instead of passing the death tape along she decides to get to the bottom of the mysterious tape and put an end to the evil forever. “No one is dying because of me,” she says.
That may protect the movie’s characters but the audience may die of boredom.
Can a horror movie that isn’t scary still be called a horror movie? “Rings” plays on primal fears of the unknown and darkness, but fails to actually make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Some weird things happen—there is one cool image of Samara, the cursed girl, crawling out of a flatscreen TV to claim her victim—but it is mostly a collection of dimly lit scenes, loud sounds and jump scares.
More troubling than the bland leads or Vincent D’Onofrio reaching for a paycheque as the local blind man who may or may not have something to do with the supernatural goings on, is the movie’s complete lack of purpose.
Julia sets off to figure out why this videotape is a death sentence to anyone who sees it. Good idea for a movie. There is an investigation and she uncovers certain things but (THIS IS A MILD SPOILER) there is no explanation as to how or why Samara ended up on tape and how the tape was distributed. None. Things happen but they have little to nothing to do with the already established “Ring” mythology. It was as if the three—count ‘em three—screenwriters—including Academy Award winner Akiva Goldsman—lost interest in the story after the first hour. I know I certainly did.
“Rings” ends with the words “evil won’t stop.” It’s a set up to the inevitable sequel but in this case it sound more like a threat than the promise of more.
Years ago I interviewed Kōji Suzuki, author of the novels that spawned the Ring movies, manga comics and television shows. Ringu, the first book in the series, was published in 1991 and introduced us to the idea of a videotape (remember those?) that killed people seven days after they watched it.
The book and the movie were sensations, but in the interview Suzuki told me something really interesting. It’s hard to imagine the Ring movies without the spooky, grainy videotape images, but the writer let it slip that VHS tapes weren’t his first choice as a conduit of evil.
A haunted toaster. Good sense prevailed and he went with another commonplace object, one that almost everyone in the nineties had at least a passing familiarity with.
This weekend, Rings revisits the horrors of the original novel and films as a young guy decides to explore the urban legend of the deadly mysterious videotape. When his girlfriend sacrifices everything to save him, a shocking discovery is made — there’s a movie within the movie!
Suzuki made videotapes the spookiest inanimate horror object ever, but they’re not the only ones.
We can all imagine the fear that comes along with being chased by a werewolf. Or waking up to find Dracula staring down at you.
They are living, breathing (or in Drac’s case, dead and not so breathing, but you get the idea) embodiments of evil. But how about inorganic objects? Have you ever been terrified of a lamp? Or creeped out by a tire?
There have been loads of haunted houses in the movies. In most of them, however, the house is merely a vessel for a spirit or some unseen entity that makes its presence know by making the walls bleed or randomly slamming doors. Rarer is the house that is actually evil.
Stephen King wrote about a house that eats people in the third installment of his Dark Tower series. On screen Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg visualized the idea in the appropriately titled Monster House.
In that animated movie three teens figure out the house across the street is a man-eating monster.
By the time they got around to the fourth installment of the most famous haunted house series, the Amityville Horror, filmmakers had to figure out a new plotline apart from the tired “new owners move in to the house, get freaked out leave,” storyline. In The Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes, a cursed lamp causes all sorts of trouble when it is shipped from the evil Long Island house to a Californian mansion.
Much weirder is Rubber, the story of a killer tire (yes, you read that right) with psychokinetic powers — think Carrie with treads — who terrorizes the American southwest.
It’s an absurdist tract on how and why we watch movies, what entertainment is and the movie business, among other things.
But frankly, mostly it’s about a tire rolling around the desert and while there is something kind of hypnotic about watching the tire on its murderous journey — think Natural Born Killers but round and rubbery — that doesn’t mean Rubber is a good movie.
Finally, think bed bugs are bad? How about a hungry bed? The title of this one sums it up: Death Bed: The Bed that Eats.