Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about to talk about the big screen adaptation of the Broadway hit “Dear Evan Hansen,” the Melissa McCarthy dramedy “The Starling” and the Mark Wahlberg family drama “Joe Bell.”
“Dear Evan Hansen,” the big screen adaptation of the Tony Award winning Broadway musical, is a mixed bag. The coming-of-age story of a misunderstanding that takes on a life of its own, has moments of pure emotion but is often sidelined by clunky presentation.
Ben Platt reprises his Tony winning role as Evan Hansen, a high school outcast with a history of Social Anxiety Disorder. His loving-but-absent nurse mom (Julianne Moore) encourages him to put himself out there and meet new people, but his nerves always get the best of him. Even his only friend Jared (Nik Dodani, who provides much needed comic relief) makes it clear that he only speaks to Evan because their mothers are friends.
Evan’s therapist has him write daily Stuart “Doggone It, People Like Me!” Smiley style affirmations, letters addressed Dear Evan Hansen, followed by paragraphs of “Today is going to be a good day,” style declarations. When one of his letters is taken by troubled classmate Connor Murphy (Colton Ryan), Evan worries it will end up on-line, bringing humiliation and ridicule. Instead, the letter takes on a life in a way Evan could never have imagined when Connor dies by suicide.
Connor’s parents, Cynthia and Larry (Amy Adams and Danny Pino) find the note and assume it is Connor’s last words to his best friend. “He wrote it to you,” Cynthia says. “These the words he wanted to share with you.” It’s not true, of course. Evan barely knew Connor, but he goes along with it to make the parents feel better. “I’ve never seen anyone so sad,” Evan says of Cynthia.
The misunderstanding—OK, let’s call it a lie—grows as Evan becomes close to the Murphys, and even begins to fake evidence of his relationship with Connor. The parents want to learn about their son through Evan, and he likes the warmth of the family and he likes their daughter Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever) even more.
At a high school memorial for Connor, Evan’s speech (actually a song) inspires people, goes viral, and, for the Murphys, gives meaning to Connor’s short life. But Evan’s on-line popularity is short-lived when people start asking questions about his friendship with the dead boy.
The flashy staging of the Broadway era “Dear Evan Hansen” is gone, replaced by a stripped down, more naturalistic treatment. That works well for Dever, Moore, Amandla Stenberg who plays student council dynamo Alana and Adams, who is the movie’s heart and soul, all of whom hand in warm, authentic performances. The effectiveness of Platt’s work is sometimes undone with work that feels as though it belongs on a stage and not the more intimate medium of film. His embodiment of teenage angst, the hunched over shoulders and doleful eyes, plays to the back of the house, breaking
There is a long history of twenty-somethings playing high schoolers in movies, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Platt, at age twenty-seven, is just outside the window to effectively play his signature teenage character under the camera’s scrutiny. Occasionally his moony-eyed reveries, directed at Zoe, come across as creepy, not sweetly romantic.
Still, there are moments of undeniable power in “Dear Evan Hansen.” The transitions from dialogue to song aren’t always smooth, but the songs pack a punch. “Only Us,” Dever’s duet with Platt, understatedly plucks at the heartstrings and Stenberg’s “The Anonymous Ones,” a new song for the film, transcends the melodrama of the story with a beautiful recounting of the film’s themes of grief and loneliness. As it was on stage “You Will Be Found,” with the repeated line, “You are not alone,” is a show stopper.
It is a shame then, that a movie with potent moments ultimately feels like the titular character is guilty of exploiting Connor and his family. The movie acknowledges this, but it still doesn’t generate the kind of empathy for Evan necessary to make the film work on a deeper level.
Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including “Spiral,” the next chapter of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams Netflix thriller “The Woman in the Window,” the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “Spiral,” the Chris Rock reboot of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window,” the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms and Patti Harrison and the trippy folk horror of “In the Earth.”
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 “Spiral,” the Chris Rock reboot of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window,” the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms and Patti Harrison and the trippy folk horror of “In the Earth.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about “Spiral,” the Chris Rock reboot of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window” and the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms and Patti Harrison.
In adapting “The Woman in the Window,” a new thriller starring Amy Adams, now streaming on Netflix, director Joe Wright borrows liberally from the Hitchcock playbook, paying visual tribute to everything from “Foreign Correspondent” and “Psycho” to “Vertigo” and, of course, “Rear Window.” There are so many Hitch lifts in the look of the movie it makes Brian DePalma’s myriad Hitchcock homages look like petty thievery.
Adams plays child psychologist Anna Fox who lives alone in a rambling brownstone on 124th Street in Manhattan. Agoraphobic, she gets panic attacks at the idea of going outside, let alone actually stepping over her front threshold to the big bad world. Her only regular contact with the outside comes with her weekly visit from her therapist (Tracy Letts) and a downstairs tenant (Wyatt Russell).
When her new neighbors from across the street drop by unexpectedly, she reluctantly lets teenager Ethan (Fred Hechinger) in for a get-to-know-you visit. A day or so later Jane (Julianne Moore) swings by to chat, ask nosy questions and have a glass of wine.
After the visits Anna becomes voyeuristically invested in their lives, watching them from the safety of her apartment as they go about their day to days lives, exposed by two large windows that showcase their living areas.
One night, after mixing wine with her anxiety medication, she witnesses what appears to be an ugly domestic dispute that turns fatal. Trouble is, no one believes the “drunken, pill popping, cat lady.”
Question is, did she really witness a murder or was it a hallucination?
Anna is a classic unreliable narrator, a character whose credibility is questioned at every step of the way. Adams keeps her interesting, bringing a human face to trauma, anxiety and grief. We’re never sure if what we’re seeing is filtered through a haze of medication or actually happening and while Wright finds flashy visual ways to portray this, it is Adams who connects emotionally.
There are moments of supercharged filmmaking in “The Woman in the Window” but the tonal shifts and pacing get in the way of making this edge of your seat viewing. Director Joe Wright brings his trademarked visual style to illustrate Anna’s anxiety. Unusual angles and lurid colours illustrate Anna’s disconnected moments, wide shots of her empty apartment represent her isolation. It’s effectively and inventively done, but the slack pacing sucks much of the energy out of the storytelling.
“The Woman in the Window” has moments that truly work but it is dulled by its deliberate pace, repetitive nature and typical confessional ending.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Cristina Tenaglia to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including Christian Bale as former vice president Dick Cheney in “Vice,” the James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Felicity Jones as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg in “On the Basis of Sex.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Angie Seth to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in “Vice,” the James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Felicity Jones as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg in “On the Basis of Sex.”