A new feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York” and the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York,” the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick” and Penelope Cruz in “The Queen of Spain.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the big weekend movies including “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York,” the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick” and Penelope Cruz in “The Queen of Spain.”
“I knew her very well,” says Penelope Cruz, “but in a way she was not exactly the same person because so many things happened to her and she changed over time, like we all do.”
Cruz isn’t talking about an old friend or a long lost relative. The Spanish superstar is referring to Macarena Granada, a character she first played a decade ago and revisits in the new film The Queen of Spain.
“She has a very intense life,” continues Cruz, “so that was the tricky thing. For the people who knew Macarena, how do I make her recognizable and what are the changes we can see in her after all these years?”
Audiences first met Macarena in 1998 when Cruz played her as an upcoming Spanish movie star in a frothy little confection called The Girl of Your Dreams. It’s years later in real and reel life as Cruz brings the character back to the screen.
Set in 1956, The Queen of Spain portrays Macarena as a huge international star lured back to her home country to star in the first American movie to be shot there since the Franco took power. It’s a wild production but complicating matters is the appearance—and subsequent disappearance—of Macarena’s former director and the man who made her a star.
“The first film was set at a time of interaction with Germany and Macarena had to protect herself from Goebbels,” says Cruz. “This time she is up against Franco. In a way every time she is acting in a film she is just not acting, she is some kind of political heroine. She is fighting for justice. What a life this woman has had! Every time she goes into making a movie she has to save somebody’s life or do something life changing for everybody. If we ever do the third one I don’t know who she’ll have to deal with. Depends on what country. Hopefully the third one will happen someday. Let’s see who she has to encounter this time.”
The Queen of Spain marks the third time Cruz has worked with Fernando Trueba, the Spanish auteur who directed her break out film Belle Époque.
“The knowledge he has of cinema, the passion he has for cinema is very contagious,” she says. “With Fernando it is always more than just entertainment. He is such a great filmmaker and he always talks about so many big subjects at the same time.
“I think Belle Époque is a masterpiece. The film was amazing and for me to start with somebody as brilliant as Fernando, well, it was a year that made it impossible for me not to fall in love with movies.”
The chance to show what goes on behind the scenes in The Queen of Spain’s film-within-the-film was another reason she decided to come back to Trueba and Macarena.
“There are not enough movies about that,” she says. “When I am on the set everything is so crazy and chaotic but at the same time it works. I feel like we need that chaos for it to work. It is magical that things happen and movies get done and get finished. I’m always on the set thinking, ‘These three days of shooting is enough material for three more movies.’”
Almost fifty years ago Simon & Garfunkel provided the memorable soundtrack to the equally memorable movie “The Graduate.” This year a wistful S&G song, “The Only Living Boy in New York,” inspired a wry movie of the same name by director Marc Webb.
Set in New York City, the movie centers around Thomas Webb (Callum Turner), a recent college grad in love with his best friend good friend, Mimi (Kiersey Clemons). When she rejects his romantic entreaties he’s crushed. Back at home in his parents Ethan and Judith’s (Pierce Brosnan and Cynthia Nixon) swanky Upper West Side apartment building he meets the boozy new neighbour, W.F. Gerald (Jeff Bridges), an author and sage who offers life advice.
When Thomas learns about Ethan’s affair with Johanna (Kate Beckinsale) he first becomes obsessed with learning more about her and then, perhaps to make Mimi jealous and possibly in an ode to “The Graduate,” begins a romantic affair with the older woman. Navigating his complicated personal life brings his combative relationship with the grizzled Ethan—who once told his son, a wannabe writer, that his work was only “serviceable”—in focus while opening his eyes to the world around him.
“The Only Living Boy in New York” doesn’t have the buoyancy of “(500) Days of Summer,” Webb’s other study of the way relationships work and, sometimes, how they don’t work. It’s more quasi-Phillip Roth than RomCom but it is propped up with some terrific performances.
English born actor Callum is cut from the Benjamin Braddock school of lovesick, confused young man, but it’s the seasoned pros who are worth the price of admission. Nixon is brittle yet steely as a long time New Yorker who was friends with Andy Warhol and mourns the loss of Greenwich Village’s famed Bottom Line club. Beckinsale is more than a plot device, bringing real humanity to a woman caught between the two men.
Bridges, now firmly entrenched in the old coot phase of his career, brings craggy charm to the role of mentor but it is Brosnan who shines. He’s at his best as a man who is simultaneously a father and romantic rival to his son.
“The Only Living Boy in New York” frequently feels like it is about to spin off its axis but Webb fights past the clunky dialogue and overly complicated story to present an engaging coming-of-age story.
In “The Space Between Us” Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) is a regular kid with the usual litany of teen problems. Slightly nerdy and a tad socially awkward, he passes the time texting with Tulsa (Britt Robertson), a pretty girl he’s never actually met. You see, Gardner is a normal teen in all respects except one—he lives on Mars.
Raised by scientists on the Red Planet after his astronaut mother died in childbirth Gardner lives in a settlement called East Texas founded by scientist Nathaniel Shepherd (Gary Oldman). As the only human ever born on Mars he’s alone, save for an R2-D2 clone called Centaur, astronaut/guardian Kendra (Carla Gugino) and a team of scientists. He longs for information about his mother so when the chance to return to Earth comes up on his sixteenth birthday he jumps at it, eager to track down Tulsa and find his biological father.
On Earth he marvels at the colour of the sky, the feel of the ocean but worries that he’ll be sent back to Mars before he has the chance to really live. He escapes, on a quest to find Tulsa and daddy, a man he never met. The boy who fell to Earth finds Tulsa and together they go off in search of papa with Shepherd and Kendra hot on their tails.
Is “The Space Between Us” a sci-fi film? Ish! Is it a teen adventure? Almost! Is it a doomed teen movie? Sorta! A romance? Not really! A fish out of water flick? Kinda! Is it a road trip? Maybe! It’s all those things and more wrapped up in an underwhelming Young Adult story.
At the centre of it all is Butterfield whose wide eyes give him a slightly otherworldly look, perfectly suited to play Tulsa’s favourite Martian. Robertson is spunky and even if everything that happens doesn’t really make sense, the two leads are appealing.
They stand in stark contrast to Oldman chews the scenery with unusual gusto. He over does it all the way, emoting as if acting was going to be declared illegal the next day and he’d never have a chance to do it again.
“The Space Between Us” a.k.a. “The Loneliest Boy On Mars” has some good moments but in its attempt to be all things—see paragraph four of this review—clutters up a story that would have been better served by streamlining the story and tone.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. Last week we teased you with a taste of Riz Ahmed. Today you get the long version were we talk about Star Wars, The Night of and much more. David Frankel, director of Collateral Beauty, talks about working with an all star cast and how Will Smith controls the weather to get his way on set. C’mon in, sit a spell!
Richard and CP24 anchor Nathan Downer have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the first Star Wars stand-a-lone movie “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and the latest Will Smith tearjerker “Collateral Beauty.”
Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the first Star Wars stand-a-lone movie “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and the latest Will Smith tearjerker “Collateral Beauty.” Find out which one of us has never seen a “Star Wars” movie. (Here’s a hint… it’s not Richard.)