Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “No Time to Die,” the return of James Bond to the big screen, the dystopian “Night Raiders” and the Netflix slasher film “There’s Someone Inside Your House.”
Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Lois Lee chat up the weekend’s big releases including “No Time to Die,” the return of James Bond to the big screen, the dystopian “Night Raiders” and the Netflix slasher film “There’s Someone Inside Your House.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including “No Time to Die,” the much anticipated return of James Bond to the big screen, the “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” the dystopian “Night Raiders” and the Netflix slasher film “There’s Someone Inside Your House.”
“Night Raiders,” a new drama from Cree-Métis filmmaker Danis Goulet and now playing in theatres, draws on the historical horrors of the Sixties Scoop and Residential Schools to create an unforgettable, dystopian scenario set in the near future.
Set in a war-ravaged North America, society has crumbled and cities are now run by the military. All children are property of the state. Forcibly removed from their families, these children are housed in state “education academies.” Laws are enforced by killer drones and heavily armed soldiers, who execute parents for hiding their children.
Cree mother Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) hides her daughter Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) in the woods successfully until an injury forces them to go to the occupied city for medical treatment.
Cut to one year later. Waseese is now in a reeducation facility as Niska joins with a group of indigenous rebels called the Night Raiders, with the hope of freeing Waseese and the other inmates of the “children’s academy.”
“Night Raiders” effectively paints a somber portrait of totalitarian future, packed with foreboding and danger. The story is fictional but resonates with echoes of the ugly truths of colonization and forced assimilation. Goulet allows the viewer to make the comparisons between the real-life atrocities and the fictional elements of the story. There are no pages of exposition, just evocative images. Show me don’t tell me. The basis in truth of the underlying themes brings the story a weight often missing in the dystopian genre.
“Night Raiders” is at its best when it walks its own path. The allegory at its heart is strong and heartbreaking and gives the movie its gut punch. Less effective are the more traditional elements that feel like they snuck in from other sci fi stories.
Still, it packs historical relevance against a story of the resilience of the Cree people, while establishing Tailfeathers as a new kind of action hero—kind yet fearless—and avoiding most of the easy cliches of other apocalyptic movies.
This week on the Richard Crouse Show Podcast we get to know Danis Goulet who wrote and directed “Night Raiders,” a timely sci fi apocalyptic film set in the near future. In her dystopian drama cities in North America are run by the military and all children are property of the state. This Taika Waititi-executive produced film sees a Cree woman team with a group of vigilantes to free her daughter from a “children’s academy.” Goulet, who is of Cree and Métis descent, says everything in the film’s imaginary future is based on true events and “has to do specifically with policies that were inflicted upon Indigenous People throughout history.”
Then we meet radio and podcasting legends Humble and Fred, that’s “Humble” Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson as they celebrate ten years of the “Humble and Fred Podcast.” These days everybody from Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama to Kim Kardashian West have podcasts, but ten years ago they were uncharted territory. Humble and Fred, who, as their website says, “have been entertaining Canadians since 1989” as a team on radio jumped into podcasting when their time in radio dried up. It was a newish technology and they dove in, creating a show that built an audience and, more importantly, maintained that audience over ten years. Find out more at https://www.humbleandfredradio.com.
Then we go to the vault to hear a vintage interview with Hugh Jackman. The actor gets personal, talking about the projects that worked, the ones that didn’t and what drives him.
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 Ethan Hawke, director Brad Bird, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, Eric Roberts, Brian Henson, Jonathan Goldsmith a.k.a. “The most interesting man in the world,” and best selling author Linwood Barclay.
Listen to the show live here:
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Reminders of real life were all around us at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. From the digital screenings we watched at home to half empty, socially distanced screenings at venues like The Princess of Wales Theatre. But when my mind wanders back to September 2021, I won’t be thinking of having to show my proof of vaccination or the social distancing in theatres.
What will linger?
The images of Anya Taylor-Joy in “Last Night in Soho,” crooning an a cappella version of the Swingin’ Sixties anthem “Downtown,” and “Dune’s” Stellan Skarsgård doing his best impression of Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now,” come to mind immediately.
Those moments and others like them are the reason the movies exist. They transcend the vagaries of real life, transporting us away from a place where masks, vaccine passports are the reality.
And boy, did we need that this year.
Here a look back at some of the moments that made memories at this year’s TIFF:
“Night Raiders,” a drama from Cree-Métis filmmaker Danis Goulet, draws on the historical horrors of the Sixties Scoop and Residential Schools to create an unforgettable, dystopian scenario set in the new future. It effectively paints a somber portrait of totalitarian future, packed with foreboding and danger. The story is fictional but resonates with echoes of the ugly truths of colonization and forced assimilation. Goulet allows the viewer to make the comparisons between the real-life atrocities and the fictional elements of the story. There are no pages of exposition, just evocative images. Show me don’t tell me. The basis in truth of the underlying themes brings the story a weight often missing in the dystopian genre.
I asked Danis Goulet about having many of her characters in Night Raiders speak Cree: “It is everything to me,” she said. “My dad is a Cree language speaker. He grew up speaking Cree. He learned to speak English in school. His parents were Cree speakers. And coming down to my generation, I’m no longer a Cree speaker and there are entire universes, philosophies and poetry and beauty contained in the language. When we think of where our heritage lies, maybe some people think of museums. For me I think it is in the language. I think that richness doesn’t just offer Indigenous people something. I think if others looked closer at what the language tells us about the history of this land, they would be incredibly amazed. My dad has looked at references in the language that talk about the movement of the glaciers, so, foe me to have the Cree language on screen is everything. I’m in my own process. I go to Cree language camp to try and learn back the language and the language gives back in a way that is so healing and incredible. It is one of the greatest gifts in my life. So, the opportunity to put my dad’s first language on the screen, and the language of the Northern Communities where I come from, and my language that I lost, is the best. It’s incredible.”
From Twitter: @RichardCrouse Was just sent this: “Wanted to check and see if you’d be able to either send proof of vaccine OR a negative covid test prior to your interviews with the talent.” I sent my proof in, but added, “Will the talent be providing me with proof of vaccination?” #TIFF21 #fairquestion 4:48 PM · Sep 9, 2021· 8 Retweets 3 Quote Tweets 206 Likes
There is no mention of COVID-19 in the Jake Gyllenhaal thriller “The Guilty.” But make no mistake, this is a pandemic movie, A remake of 2018 Danish film “Den skyldige,” it is essentially a one hander, shot on a just a handful of set with strict safety protocols in place. Gyllenhaal, as 911 operator Joe Baylor, may be socially distanced from his castmates, but his performance is anything but distant. Played out in real time, “The Guilty” builds tension as Baylor races against a ticking clock to bring the situation to a safe resolution for Emily. Director Antoine Fuqua amps up the sense of urgency, keeping his camera focused on Gyllenhaal’s feverish performance. The close-ups create a sense of claustrophobia, visually telegraphing Baylor’s feeling of helplessness and his crumbling mental state.
The sound of an audience laughing, applauding, crying, or whatever. Just being an audience. The big venues were socially distanced, and often looked empty to the eye, but when the lights went down and folks reacted to the opening speeches or the films, it didn’t matter. Roy Thomson Hall, with its 2600-person capacity, may have only had 1000 or so people in the seats, but for ninety minutes or two hours they formed a community, kindred souls brought together after a long break, and it was uplifting to hear their reactions.
“Flee” is a rarity, an animated documentary. A mix of personal and modern world history, it is a heartfelt look at the true, hidden story of the harrowing life journey of a gay refugee from Afghanistan. Except for a few minutes here and there of archival news footage, “Flee” uses animation to tell the story but this ain’t the “Looney Tunes.” Rasmussen used the animation to protect Amin’s identity, but like other serious-minded animated films like “Persepolis” and “Waltz with Bashir,” the impressionistic presentation enhances the telling of the tale. The styles of Rasmussen’s animation change to reflect and effectively bring the various stages of Amin’s journey to vivid life. It is suspenseful, heartbreaking and often poetic.
I asked “The Survivor” star Vicky Krieps about working opposite Ben Foster: “The first day I came [on set] I was very intimidated,” she said. “I wouldn’t say scared, but it felt like a wall to me. It began like this. There was no small talk. There was no, ‘How are you?’ He was already in character and it was very clear. I thought, ‘OK, I have to play his wife.’ And then, something really interesting happened. I like having a challenge and this felt like a challenge. So, I needed to find a way [to relate to him] because I knew I was going to be his wife. How do I do that? Imagine it as a wall, but then in the wall there are eyes. I used those eyes and I felt like I could open a window, and inside of those eyes was a horizon where I could go. I liked to say to Ben, ‘And then we would dance.’ Sometimes I wrote to him and said, ‘It was nice dancing today.’”
“Last Night in Soho,” from director Edgar Wright, is a love letter to London’s Swingin’ Sixties by way of Italian Giallo. Surreal and vibrant, and more than a little bit silly, its enjoyable for those with a taste for both Petula Clarke and murder. It begins with verve, painting a picture of a time and place that is irresistible. A mosaic of music, fashion and evocative set decoration, the first hour brings inventive world building and stunning imagery. Wright pulls out all the stops, making visual connections between his film and the movies of the era he’s portraying and even including sixties British icons Rigg, Tushingham and Stamp in the cast.
I asked “Dune” star Rebecca Ferguson why she said reading Frank Herbert’s novel was like doing a crossword puzzle: “Sometimes I wonder what comes out of my mouth,” she said. “My mother and many of my friends sit and do crosswords, but I have never been in that world. There is a way of thinking around it. It’s logical, mathematical. You need to be able to see rhythms. Whatever it is. Reading “Dune” was quite dense and I think for people who are immersed into the world of science fiction, they understand worlds and Catharism and this planet and that planet. It is just another picture, which, not to stupefy myself, I am intelligent enough to understand it, but there is a rhythm. I think it is me highlighting the fact that people who live and breathe science fiction, they get it at another level.”
“Dune,” the latest cinematic take on the Frank Herbert 1965 classic, now playing in theatres, is part one of the planned two-part series. “Dune” is big and beautiful, with plentiful action and a really charismatic performance from Jason Momoa as swordmaster Duncan Idaho. It is unquestionably well made, with thought provoking themes of exploitation of Indigenous peoples, environmentalism and colonialism.
Synopsis: Combatants and sweethearts Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) have returned victorious from the 74th Annual Hunger Games. While on a Victory Tour to Panem’s various downtrodden districts, revolution is in the air. The people see Katniss as a symbol of freedom, which, of course, doesn’t sit well with President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the country’s autocratic leader. To quell the revolution he and his head gamesmaker (Philip Seymour Hoffman) devise the trickiest Hunger Games yet, the Quarter Quell that will pit former winners against one another in the battle to the death.
• Richard: 4/5
• Mark: 3/5
Richard: Mark, I’m glad I saw the first Hunger Games movie because I’m not sure if I would have a clue as to what was going on if I didn’t have that background. I may have been taken in by the beautiful art direction, or Jennifer Lawrence’s intense performance, but I don’t think I would have been able to connect all the dots. Plot points become more obvious in the second hour, but for non-Hungerites it might be confusing. What did you think?
Mark: I don’t think anyone who didn’t see the first one would even be interested in seeing the second instalment. So the question becomes: how do they compare? And surprisingly, I kind of prefer the sequel. The issues of state control, of media manipulation, and of income disparity are sharper and less cartoonish here. But more important, the secondary characters are more interesting and better drawn. Some of the contestants are intriguing, like Jeffrey Wright’s techno-nerd, and his partner Amanda Plummer, doing her nutso thing. I even liked Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci this time around — the characters seemed more grounded in the story.
RC: I do think this is a better movie than the first instalment. It is set decorated and costumed to within an inch of its life, but nonetheless has a gritty edge. It doesn’t feel like a budget big franchise movie and that’s a good thing. Visually as well as thematically it has more edge than any of the recent Marvel movies. And it skirts around the thing that upset many people about the first movie — the idea of kids killing kids — by setting the action between former victors ranging in age from in their 20s to in their 70s.
MB: You know what else it skirts around? The killings themselves, many of which happen off-screen, to protect the delicate psyches of our tweener population. But that’s OK; this isn’t really a film about body count. The only thing that left me queasy was the cliffhanger ending, with a plot twist that will seem arbitrary until we catch the next instalment.
RC: The cliffhanger ending is a bit of a shock after the almost two-and-a-half hour running time, but I felt as though enough had happened to keep me interested for the next one.
MB: And I think the next one may show Woody Harrelson to be the trilogy’s most valuable player.
I’m glad I saw the first “Hunger Games” movie because I’m not sure if I would have a clue as to what was going on if I didn’t have that background. I may have been taken in by the beautiful art direction, or Jennifer Lawrence’s intense performance, but I don’t think I would have been able to connect all the dots. Plot points become more obvious in the second hour, but for non-Hungerites it might be confusing.
If you haven’t seen the first movie, or read one of the 26 million copies of the book that are currently in print, here’s a glossary of terms to get you up to speed.
Katniss Everdeen: Sixteen year-old protagonist and citizen of District 12, a poor mining area in the dystopian nation of Panem.
Peeta Mellark: A baker’s son, who, according to Wikipedia has “extensive strength and cake decorating skills that contributed to the art of camouflage.”
Both are “tributes” chosen from the young people of District 12 and forced to participate in an annual Hunger Games, The Hunger Games, an annual televised event in which one teenaged boy and girl from each districts surrounding the Capitol are chosen by lottery to fight to the death until only one remains.
There’s more, but you’ll figure it out.
In the new film combatants and sweethearts Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) have returned from the 74th Annual Hunger Games victorious to become the toast of the nation. While on a Victory Tour to Panem’s various downtrodden districts, revolution is in the air. They see Katniss as a symbol of freedom, which, of course, doesn’t sit well with President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the country’s autocratic leader. To quell the revolution he and his head gamesmaker (Philip Seymour Hoffman) devise the trickiest Hunger Games yet, the Quarter Quell that will pit former winners against one another in the battle to the death. If Snow gets his way Katniss will be killed and the revolution squashed.
“Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is a better movie than the first installment.
Set decorated and costumed (as played by Elizabeth Banks, District 12 minder Effie Trinket has the most elaborate futurist art deco costumes since “Metropolis”) to within an inch of its life, but has nonetheless has a gritty edge. It doesn’t feel like a budget big franchise movie and that’s a good thing,
Visually as well as thematically it has more edge than any of the recent Marvel movies. And it skirts around the thing that upset many people about the first movie—the idea of kids killing kids—by setting the action between former victors ranging in age from 20s to 70s.
It creates a world with it’s own rules, style and customs and does so convincingly. In part it’s comprised of things we’ve seen before in everything from the human sacrifices of Greek Mythology to reality television to stories of government corruption on the news, but author Suzanne Collins and director Francis “I Am legend” Lawrence tie it together to create something new.
In many ways it breaks the mold of what we expect from a young adult a blockbuster. The focus is on the characters and the underpinning of romance that snakes throughout the story. The action sequences are few and far between and it takes almost an hour before any of Katniss’s trademark bow-and-arrow dexterity comes into play. (Silly complaint: the number of arrows in her quiver changes from shot to shot! Just when you think she’s out, arrows magically appear.)
Sure there’s poison fog, angry animals and vicious victors but it’s about survival and relationships not the wholesale slaughter of the characters. It’s grim, shot in hues of grey with a perpetually overcast sky, which lends it a classic feel, more like 1970s sci fi than the brightly couloured eye catchers Hollywood makes these days.
“Hunger Games: Catching Fire” has a who’s who of a cast—Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone, Brit heartthrob Sam Claflin and Amanda Plummer—who all perform well, lending some gravitas to the story, but it is carried by Lawrence whose vision for Katniss is as straight as an arrow.