Richard joins CP24 anchor Nick Dixon to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Christopher Robin,” the wannabe spy comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me” and two documentaries, “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” and “McQueen,” the story of fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the adult adventures of Winnie the Pooh in “Christopher Robin,” the wannabe spy comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me” and two documentaries, “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” and “McQueen,” the story of fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
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 the adult adventures of Winnie the Pooh in “Christopher Robin,” the wannabe spy comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me” and “McQueen,” the story of fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
“Don’t go getting all grown up on us.“ That’s the sentiment that hangs over “Christopher Robin,” a new film about regaining an intangible starring Ewan McGregor and Winnie the Pooh (voice of Jim Cummings), like a shroud.
The movie begins with 10-year-old Christopher Robin‘s going away party, just before he leaves for boarding school. His playmates, Piglet (voice of Nick Mohammed), Eeyore (Brad Garrett), Tigger (Cummings again), Owl (Toby Jones), Rabbit (Peter Capaldi), Kanga (Sophie Okonedo) and the honey loving bear have gathered to see him off from 100 Acre Woods, their home and Christopher’s escape from real life.
“I will never forget you Pooh,“ Christopher says, “even if I live to be 100 years old.“
But of course he does.
Like the quickly flipped pages of a story park the film rockets through Christopher’s boarding school, marriage, efforts in WWII and his difficulties after the war. Now a husband to Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and a father to Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), he has a job he doesn’t like and responsibilities that keep him away from his family.
Christopher Robin got all grown up.
When his boss instructs him to cut 20% of his operating budget Christopher is pushed against the wall. The frivolities of youth are pushed even further to the background until Pooh, looking for his friends and in search of honey, shows up in London with the grumbling tummy and some sage words of advice. “I’ve cracked,” says Christopher when his childhood friend shows up. “I’ve totally cracked. “I don’t see any cracks,” replies Pooh sweetly, “some wrinkles maybe.”
A mix of live action and CGI characters, “Christopher Robin” doesn’t allow the special effects to get in the way of the film’s message of staying young at heart. The stuffed animals—Winnie and friends—don’t feel like and excuse to sell toys. Instead they are given distinct and engaging personalities that move the story and the message forward. Cummings, who has voiced Winnie since 1988, brings real personality to the character, imbuing his elliptical speaking patterns with equal parts humour and melancholy. Pooh also causes some Paddington-style chaos in the Robin household, adding to the slapstick factor in a movie that toggles between heartfelt and farce.
There is an undeniable sense of loss and longing in “Christopher Robin.” Loss, in the form of a childhood innocence gone missing—“I’m lost,” says Pooh, “but I found you.”—longing in the efforts made to regain the connection to childlike wonder and, in Robin’s case, his own daughter Madeline. Children might not get it, although I’m sure they will enjoy the stuffed characters, but adults will understand the curious tale about the importance of old friends and embracing the inner child.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the adult adventures of Winnie the Pooh in “Christopher Robin,” the wannabe spy comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me” and two documentaries, “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” and “McQueen,” the story of fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
Richard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Silence” from director Martin Scorsese, Hidden Figures” starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe and “A Monster Calls” with Liam Neeson.
Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, “Silence” from director Martin Scorsese, Hidden Figures” starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe and “A Monster Calls” with Liam Neeson.
The title “Hidden Figures” has a double meaning, On one hand it refers to the mathematical calculations that went in to making John Glenn the first American man into space in 1962. On the other hand it describes Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, three African-American NASA mathematicians who did many of those calculations. “They let women do things at NASA,” says Johnson, “and it’s not because we wear skirts, it’s because we wear glasses.”
Taraji P. Henson is Katherine Johnson, a math prodigy who can, “look beyond the numbers.” At the beginning of 1961 she, and her two car pool pals, mathematician Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and aerospace engineer Jackson (Janelle Monáe), were working in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center.
With just weeks before the launch each are singled out. Johnson’s genius with analytic geometry lands her a spot with the Space Task Group to calculate launches and landings. Vaughn takes over the programming of the new IMB computer and Jackson works with on the Mercury capsule prototype.
Each face hurdles do to their race. When Johnson first walks into her new, shared workspace, one of the men hands her an overflowing garbage can. “This wasn’t emptied last night.” Personnel supervisor Mrs. Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst) thinks Vaughan is too aggressive in her requests for a supervisor’s position and Jackson, despite her degree, is told she can only become a NASA qualified engineer if she attends classes at a local, segregated high school. “Every time we have a chance to get ahead,” Jackson says, “ they move the finish line.”
The film focuses on Johnson but by the time the end credits roll all three have risen above the societal challenges placed on them to make invaluable contributions to the NASA space program.
“Hidden Figures” is a feel good, crowd pleaser of a movie. Based on true events, it portrays an upbeat version of the past. It’s set in the same time frame as “Loving,” Jeff Nichols’ recent look at the legalization of interracial marriage, but values broad moments over Nichols’ more nuanced approach. A blend of history and uplift it is occasionally a bit too on the money—“We are living the impossible,” says Jackson’s boss Karl Zielinski (Olek Krupa)—but engages with its subject and characters in an entertaining and heartfelt way.
Henson is the movie’s center and soul. Even when she slips into slapstick while doing extended runs to the “Coloured Bathroom” in a building located blocks away from her office. Those scenes are played for comedy but make an important point about the treatment of African American people in a less enlightened time.
Monáe is a feisty presence and Spencer brings a hard-earned dignity to Vaughan. In the supporting category Kevin Costner does nice, effortless work as Al Harrison, head of the Space Task Group.
“Hidden Figures” details a little known but vitally important part of American history. It’s a good-hearted look at a time of great change both in the macro—American cultural shifts in the space race and in terms of race—and in the micro universe of how African American women made their mark at NASA.