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 the timely period piece “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “On the Rocks,” the re-teaming of Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola, the cerebral sci fi of “Possessor Uncut” and the unusual Gloria Steinem biopic “The Glorias.”
We have seen movies about assassins and we’ve seen movies about mind control but “Possessor,” the new film by Brandon Cronenberg (yes, he’s David’s son and seems to share some of his obsessions) now playing at select theatres and drive ins, mixes and matches the two in an unsettling, surreal hybrid of sci-fi and horror.
Anyone with trypanophobia—fear of needles—may want to cover their eyes during the film’s opening minutes as a young woman (Gabrielle Graham) impales herself with a long needle, right through the cranium. The needle is attached to a box with a dial. A twist of the dial and soon she is gruesomely stabbing a man in the neck, in public.
Turns out, it’s not really her brandishing the knife but a mercenary named Tasya (Andrea Riseborough), a mind control assassin who “possesses” people’s minds via brain-implant technology and forces them to do her bidding. Her handler, Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh), helps her find her way back to her own identity after sublimating herself in someone else’s brain.
Tasya’s latest gig involves parasitically getting into the mind of former cocaine dealer Colin (Christopher Abbott), a trainwreck of a man whose girlfriend Ava’s (Tuppence Middleton) father (Sean Bean) is John Parse, a high-powered executive. A rival wants Parse dead and Colin is the perfect patsy to do the deed.
From the film’s savage opening minutes through the sex and gore splattered landscape of the middle section to the climax “Possessor” is like a nightmare. Surreal visuals of Tasya and Colin as one hideous being or a severed hand unfurling its fingers are direct from night terrors, but Cronenberg takes pains to ensure that, unlike nightmares that are disconnected scenes that play in our heads, his psychodrama has depth and meaning. His highly developed visual sense—and a bloody colour palette that would make Dario Argento envious—is eye-catching and consistently interesting but it is the film’s ideas that linger like the unsettled feeling after you wake from a nightmare.
The movie’s exploration of how technology and humanity intersect is an increasingly timely question. “Possessor” takes that crossroads to a narrative extreme but Tasya and Colin’s technological melding is a terrifying vision of a future that feels like it might be right around the corner.
Cronenberg’s sophomore movie, after 2012’s “Antiviral,” is disturbing and ambitious with an icy, cerebral veneer that will linger in your mind for a long time afterward.
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 crime drama “White Boy Rick,” the Nicolas Cage rage-a-thon “Mandy” and the thriller “A Simple Favor.”
Years from now, when we look back at Nicolas Cage’s career, we’ll divide his films into categories. The retrospective may look something like this: The Early, Eager Era exemplified by movies like “Wild at Heart” and “Vampire’s Kiss,” the Prestige Years of “Leaving Las Vegas,” the Blockbuster Age that gave us “National Treasure” and then there’s Everything Else.
The Oscar winner has always made off-kilter choices, even at the peak of his fame, but his recent output has been, in a word, uneven. The pleasures of the violent “Mom and Dad” do not make up for the eye-peelingly bad “Pay the Ghost.”
But, whatever the film his fearlessness is undeniable. I get it. Nicolas Cage is not like us. Unbound by the rules of his Hollywood peers he chooses extreme movies that defy the audience to recall when he was a multi-plex ready movie star.
Watching his latest film “Mandy” hammered that home. The experimental revenge flick is the kind of unhinged revenge flick the word phantasmagorical was created to describe. Watching it made me think it must be freeing to be Cage. To not care one whit what people think; to fully immerse oneself to the whims of the imagination, to be a full-blown peacock in a world of pigeons.
“Mandy” is a story about Red Miller (Cage), a backwoods logger and artist wife Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). Solitude is their thing but when that peace and quiet is invaded by a murderous cult leader (Linus Roach), Red seeks bloody revenge. “I’m going hunting,” he tells a friend.
Your enjoyment—if that is the word I should use—of “Mandy” will be directly linked to your liking of psycho bike gangs, strange hallucinogenic visuals and chainsaw battles. The first hour is all menace and foreboding; the second hour is a big fat slab of Cage Rage. High and seemingly unstoppable Red shouts “I am your god now!” as he unleashes holy hell on the folks who did him wrong.
“Mandy” is a deeply weird movie, tailored for a very specific grindhouse type of audience, and brought to life by Cage’s cock-a-doodle performance.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the crime drama “White Boy Rick,” the Nicolas Cage rage-a-thon “Mandy” and why Lady Gaga kissed him at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Tomb Raider,” the dark comedy “The Death of Stalin,” the old folks road trip “The Leisure Seeker,” the crime thriller “7 Days in Entebbe” and the Cecil Beaton documentary “Love, Cecil.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, “Tomb Raider,” the dark comedy “The Death of Stalin,” “7 Days in Entebbe” and the old folks road trip “The Leisure Seeker.”
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 “Tomb Raider,” the dark comedy “The Death of Stalin,” and the old folks road trip “The Leisure Seeker.”