Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Amanda Seyfried’s Disney+ drama “The Dropout,” the fourth season of “Killing Eve” on Crave, the return of “Rick and Morty” on Netflix and the Crave adventure show for young adults, “Astrid and Lilley Save the World.”
Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch this weekend including the Winnipeg rom com “I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight” on VOD, Apple TV+’s “The Oprah Conversation: President Barack Obama” and David Fincher’s “Mank,” coming soon to Netflix.
Richard and CP24 anchor Stephanie Smythe have a look at david Fincher’s Hollywood biopic “Mank,” now in theatres, the Disney+ Christmas movie “The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special,” “Sound of Metal,” the new film from “Rogue One’s” Riz Ahmed and the family drama “Rustic Oracle,” now on VOD.
William Randolph Hearst and Orson Welles will forever be connected in our imagination courtesy of “Citizen Kane.” In the film, often regarded as one of the best ever made, Welles plays a thinly veiled version of newspaper magnate Hearst as self-absorbed, power-mad and wounded. “Mank,” a new film directed by David Fincher and streaming on Netflix on December 4, isn’t a making-of story about the film, but more the unmaking of its screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman).
Former drama critic, playwright, columnist and Algonquin Round Table wit. Mankiewicz moved to Hollywood with the promise of a contract and a career. Heading west from New York, he quickly found himself working steadily ghost-writing films. As his reputation grew, so did his bank account. “Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots,” he telegraphed to writer Ben Hecht. Known as a hard drinker and inveterate gambler, when we first meet him in “Mank,” he’s bandaged up from a recent, drunken car accident. Welles (Tom Burke) and John Houseman (Sam Troughton) have sent the writer to a ranch in the sunbaked Mojave Desert to dry out with the help of a German nurse (Monika Grossman) and a secretary (Lily Collins), and work on the script for what will become “Citizen Kane.”
At one point in the film Mankiewicz says, “You cannot capture a man’s entire life in two hours. All you can hope is to leave the impression of one.” Fincher, working from a script penned by his late father, columnist Jack, supplies a vivid snapshot of a man from a particular point of view.
Shot in luscious black and white, the story is told on a broken time line, à la “Citizen Kane,” as the action springs back and forth between the past and the present. Oldman, as Mankiewicz, staggers through the movie causing a scene at a costume dinner party at Hearst’s San Simeon estate and platonically courting his friend, movie star Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), who also happens to be Hearst’s mistress. He’s poured into bed by his long-suffering wife (Tuppence Middleton) and goes to war with Louis B. Mayer (Arliss Howard), professionally and politically– “If I ever go to the electric chair,” he says of Mayer, “I’d like him to be sitting in my lap.”—while ignoring potentially career saving advice from his brother (Tom Pelphrey). Each vignette adds DNA to the portrait, as his disillusionment with Hollywood, politics and power grows by the moment. “Every moment of my life is treacherous,” Mank says.
Oldman plays Mankiewicz as a sharp wit who has grown tired of the world he inhabits. Drink, as his brother Joe says, has made him the “court jester” of Hollywood, a man whose genius is squandered in pursuit of booze and a sure bet at the racetrack. There’s a mischievousness to the performance that is tempered by the profound sadness of someone who sees their genius reduced to doing creative work for hire. His script for “Citizen Kane,” which was supposed to be credited solely to Welles, earned him an Oscar and may have been his last chance to speak his truth to power. “Write hard,” he says. “Aim low.”
Oldman is suitably ragged and ribald, bringing a lesser known historical figure to bawdy life but it is Seyfried who almost steals the show. As Marion Davies he is the epitome of old Hollywood glamour but behind the sequins and wide eyes is a deep well of intelligence that Seyfried slyly imbues into her character. When she and Oldman are side-by-side, the movie sings.
In many ways “Mank” echoes “Citizen Kane.” In structure, in its fragmented storytelling approach and its luscious recreation of the period but as a portrait of a man it feels lesser than. Mank is an engaging character but the depth that Kane plumbed to portray the character is missing. It succeeds as a look at power and its corrosive effects but as a character study its colorful but feels slightly under inflated.
Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch during the pandemic including “Dads,” a new doc directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, just in time for Father’s Day, the new Kevin Bacon thriller “You Should Have Left” and the music documentary series “Laurel Canyon.”
Richard and “CP24 Breakfast” host Bill Coulter have a look at some special streaming opportunities and television shows to help fill the hours during the pandemic, including “The Muppets take Manhattan,” streaming for free on ctv.ca, the latest Stay at Home Cinema, the riveting drama “I May Destroy You” on HBO, the documentary “Ali & Cavett: The tale of the Tapes” on HBO and Kevin Bacon’s latest thriller “You Should Have Left,” now on VOD.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the new Kevin Bacon psychological thriller “You Should Have Left,” the Heather Graham family drama “The Rest of Us,” the “Showgirls” rethink “You Don’t Nomi” and “Mr. Jones,” the true-life story of one journalist’s journey to tell the truth.
Richard Zooms with “You Should Have Left” star Kevin Bacon. They talk about the movie’s portrayal of psychological drama, what dreams really mean and why the movie is more timely now than when they filmed it. Then Richard asks the “Footloose” star about Ontario’s recent “no dancing, no singing” on patios rule.
YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT SYNOPSIS: What should have been a distraction free vacation at a remote house in Wales for husband and wife Theo (Bacon) and Susanna Conroy (Amanda Seyfried) and daughter Ella (Avery Tiiu Essex), turns out to be anything but when their “simple sanctuary” morphs into something sinister.
What should have been a distraction free vacation at a remote house in Wales for husband and wife Theo (Kevin Bacon) and Susanna Conroy (Amanda Seyfried) and daughter Ella (Avery Tiiu Essex), turns out to be anything but when their “simple sanctuary” morphs into something sinister.
Susanna is a busy actor; Theo is a rich banker starting a new life and family after his first wife died under mysterious circumstances. Feeling the need for quality time, they jet off to Wales to spend a week in the country. The rental house is even more beautiful than the on-line pictures. “It’s bigger on the inside than outside,” Theo marvels as they walk into the majestic foyer. There’s no cell service and the place is stark, stripped of all the owner’s personal touches, but Ella’s bedroom has a bed “the size of Connecticut” and all seems well.
Soon, doors open by themselves and Theo discovers a hallway that appears to be a place where time stands still. Then, the strange dreams begin. Before long Theo’s nightmares spill over into his waking hours as reality and dreamland become harder and harder to differentiate. Tensions flare, and after a fight Susanna leaves to cool off, leaving Theo and Ella in the house alone overnight.
It’s then that things get really weird. The house seems to adhere to the wonky laws of physics as written by M.C. Escher. One room is five feet longer in the inside than the outside and the home’s long hallways are interconnected in ways designed to entrap and confound anyone unfortunate to find themselves stuck in their seemingly endless maze.
As Theo tries to keep Ella safe, he finds an ominous note scrawled in his diary. “You should have left,” it says in large, sloppy letters. “Now it’s too late.” What’s going on? Is he trapped in a haunted multiverse? Is the house the course of his torment or are these phenomena a product of an unhealthy mind?
“You Should Have Left” is heavy on atmosphere but light on actual raise-the-hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck scares. There is the odd jump scare moment but the movie is mainly geared toward psychological drama, the primal fear for the safety of a child or losing one’s sanity. Theo spends a great deal of time wandering the house, opening the doors that sometimes lead somewhere unexpected, sometimes lead him right back to where he started. It’s a clever way to represent the various parts of his personality and the psychological journey he is on. “The right ones always find the house,” says a townsperson. “Or is it the reverse? does the house find them?”
Director David Koepp keeps the special effects to a minimum, relying instead on the weight of Theo’s psychological crisis to carry the story. It’s like “The Shining” without a showstopping “Here’s Johnny” scene. The weird and wild stuff is mostly done with camera tricks and inventive direction, giving the haunted house scenes an organic, slightly more realistic feel.
“You Should Have Left” is part psychological thriller, part morality tale. At just ninety minutes it feels a hair long and a late stage dramatic point between Susanna and Theo feels forced but Bacon keeps the portrait of a man trying to understand what is happening around him intriguing.