Posts Tagged ‘Arrival’


As the calendar turns the page to 2017 let’s have a look back at the great people I met, wrote about or chatted with in 2016. Warren Beatty gave me his home telephone number, I drank cranberry juice with Denzel Washington, had Elvis’s girlfriend and JFK’s mistress on my radio show and fulfilled childhood dreams by hanging out with Iggy Pop and Cheap Trick. On stages, studios, in hotel rooms, on phones and even in the back of taxis, they spoke and I listened. Here’s some of the best stuff I heard this year:

Casey Affleck on throwing himself into the role of a depressed man in Manchester by the Sea: “It’s what you have to do. You have to go there, show up on set and be prepared to play the scene with the right feelings, the way it is supposed to be. I’m just not good enough to show up in a great mood, say good morning to everybody, check in with the kids and read the paper and then walk into the scene and be believably gutted in the way he is supposed to be. He carries around all this guilt, he’s devastated and filled with self loathing so I have to start way back in preproduction and try to slip into these bad feelings and stay there for as long as I can. If you just showed up and tried to walk through it or do anything but give 100 percent you’d really look like a jackass.”

Warren Beatty talking about casting Lily Collins in Rules Don’t Apply: “I believe very much in what I call ‘the blink,’” says Beatty. “That is the superiority of the unconscious knowledge as compared to conscious knowledge. The knowledge that when we sit and we really give it some thought, the thought we feel it is due. That thought can be misleading when we could have trusted our initial instinct, the blink. I think the unconscious has a lot more intelligence in it than the conscious.

“It was a blink with Lily. I can only say I loved the way she looked. I loved the way she sounded. I loved the way she talked. There was an integrity about her I felt I could believe in this circumstance and at the same time she looked like someone to me who Hollywood would want to exploit.”

Director Uwe Boll on why he’s quitting filmmaking: “I’ve been using my money since 2005 and if I hadn’t made the stupid video game based movies I would never have amalgamated the capital so I could say, ‘Let’s make the Darfur movie.’ I don’t need a Ferrari, I don’t need a yacht. I invested in my own movies and I lost money.”

The Magnificent Seven director Antoine Fuqua on casting Denzel Washington: “I wanted to see Denzel Washington on a horse.” AND “My idea was, if Denzel walks into a room, the room stops. If Clint Eastwood walks into a room, the room stops. Is it because he’s a gunslinger or is it because of the colour of his skin? We’ll let the audience decide.”

Rebecca Hall on playing Christine Chubbuck in Christine: “I don’t think I have given [a role] like it before and I probably won’t again because it is one of those jobs that if you are incredibly lucky you get maybe three of them in a career. And that’s only if you are incredibly successful and lucky and often only if you were a man.”

Jonah Hill on how some people respond to his morally ambiguous characters: “A lot of times Wall Street bros will come up to me as if [Wolf of Wall Street] is their Goodfellas or Scarface. People see what they want to see. It is a little scary sometimes when people misinterpret.” And how he reacted after a crew of South African arms dealers approached Hill in a restaurant after seeing a trailer for War Dogs: “You don’t want to make it an overly uncomfortable environment while that is happening,” he says, “but you also don’t want to lie and be dishonest that you are agreeing with them. You don’t want to make them feel bad about their misinterpretation. It’s an unusual an awkward situation to be sure. In the end, we all want to be seen as heroes in our own story, I guess.”

Isabelle Huppert on the unique tone of her film Elle: “Sometimes you are in a Hitchcock thriller. Sometimes you are in a psychological study. Sometimes you are in a comedy and at the end of the day you are in none of those; you are in a Paul Verhoeven film.” 

Riley Keough on what she learned while making American Honey: “I learned not to drink too much.”

Spike Lee on casting Jennifer Hudson as the mother of a slain child in Chi-Raq: “Do you know Jennifer Hudson’s history? It is known knowledge that Jennifer’s mother, brother and nephew were murdered in Chicago. I think that’s extra gravitas that you have with Jennifer Hudson in this film. This is not an act for her. She got hit directly by gun violence on the South Side of Chicago. I didn’t want her to think that I was exploiting her. I knew I wanted her for the part but there was some length of time before I got the courage to approach her. Also, when we did meet I was babbling. She said, ‘Spike, I know why you want me to do this film, so just stop. I’ll do it.’ I was trying to be sensitive and I turned out to just beat around the bush. I said, ‘I’ll just shut up and say thank you.’”

Stan Lee on naming his characters using alliteration —think Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdoch and Reed Richards: “It’s because I have a bad memory. If I could remember one of the names like Spider-Man, if I could remember his first name was Peter then I knew his second name began with a P. That is really the only reason. I have a terrible memory for names and by making the first and second letter the same, if I thought of one name I had a clue as to what the other was.”

T.J. Miller, star of Office Christmas Party: “Let’s talk comedy in a time of tragedy. I have a political obstacle to my social mission statement,” he says. “The social statement was, tragedy permeates our everyday lives, people are lonely, they’re scared, they have death anxiety, they don’t know how to attribute meaning to their own existence, so through comedy we can provide an opiate or distraction that permeates our everyday lives. Through satire we can hopefully frame the world in a way that people can laugh at. Also I aim to help people, through my stand up, to release the death anxiety. I aim to help people not take themselves so seriously.”

Queen of Katwe star David Oyelowo on working with nonactors on the film: “I actually took a bunch of the kids to see Jurassic World while we were doing the film and Madina (Nalwanga), who plays Phiona, sat next to me and was clutching me the whole time, terrified by the movie. She turned to me and said, ‘Is this what we are doing?’ I asked her if she had ever seen a film before and she said no. We were halfway through shooting a film in which she is playing the lead.”

Snowden co-star Zachary Quinto on how says working on Snowden made him think differently about even simple Internet searches: “I had this experience the other night. I was shopping for a washer and dryer online. I was Googling the consumer ratings. I left that search and went to another website and immediately the pop up ads on this other website, which had nothing to do with consumer reports or shopping, were about washers and dryers. What we are willing to sacrifice in our privacy without even thinking about it for convenience sake, what we’re willing to give up in our own freedoms and interests just in sitting down at our computers is shocking. You can take precautions. You can take steps to enact two-step verifications and put tape over your laptop (camera) and strengthen your passwords but all you need to do is shop for appliances and you are exposing yourself to some kind of tracking, a collection of data.”

Arrival director Denis Villeneuve on filmmaking: “It is a privilege when you can take a camera and ask people to sit for two hours in a theatre,” says Villeneuve. “It is nice if you take that privilege to explore something out of our reality, to bring some poetry to it.”

Moon Zappa on how she grew up with a rock star dad: “I longed for structure. When I saw John Hughes films I was, ‘Wait! People sit at a dinner table? Wait! People say sorry?’ Even to this day when I see somebody with a sweater draped over their shoulders, or a loafer or an exposed ankle, I’m like, ‘That is so exotic.’ I think if I had grown up in the repression my father encountered I would also have put two rocket boosters on my back, but growing up like that was too much. It was like fastball pitches every single minute.”

Most of these interviews went well and were a pleasure to do… but not all. Below is the terrible tale of a day wasted waiting for Idris Elba’s phone call.

Can You Hear Me Now? Can You Hear Me Now? Waiting For Idris Elba.

Idris Elba is a busy man. He’s released seven movies this year and has several more on tap for 2017. He’s on track to join Dwayne Johnson, Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the world’s highest earning actors after turns in the mega-grossing The Jungle Book, Finding Dory and Zootopia.

If you don’t know the name you haven’t been paying attention. Rev up Netflix and check out his work on TV shows like The Wire or Luther and movies like RocknRolla or Beasts of No Nation and become a fan. You should know he was once voted one of People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in the World and more than one twitter friend of mine refers to him as a “pretend boyfriend.”

Not only busy but good looking as well! I was pleased to be granted a fifteen-minute phone interview to discuss his debut in the Star Trek franchise as Krall, a hostile alien who causes trouble for Kirk, Spock and company in Star Trek Beyond.

I don’t usually write questions but I thought I might ask him if he watched Star Trek as a child. Would he consider himself a Trekker? Did he have a favourite Star Trek character growing up? Did he wonder what Star Trek fans would think of the predatory new character? Are there parallels between the film—and his character—and our world today? Has he considered what being part of the legacy of the show means?

If there was time at the end I might even follow up on the rumours and ask if he even wants to play James Bond.

Then the first call came in. “Idris is running behind.” Cool. This happens all the time on press days. Then another call and another and another. My phone hasn’t gotten this kind of workout since a Nigerian Prince called over and over to solicit my assistance in moving his fortune to North America. Each time a publicist announced another delay with the assurance the interview would still happen. As the time wore on the actual length of my interview began to tumble downhill from fifteen minutes down to seven.

In all two hours passed from my scheduled start time until my phone rang for real.

“Hi Richard, I’ll connect you with Idris,” said the perky voice on the other end of the line.


A minute passed before Elba’s familiar husky London accent filled my ear. Hallelujah! Better late than never. We talk over one another. “Hello… HELLO… Can you hear me?” It’s a bad cell phone connection. It sounds as if we’re talking through two tin cans connected by strings but I’ll take it.

I ask him about his childhood memories of Star Trek.

“It was a show me, my mum and my dad watched together,” he says. “They both liked it. It was a show that really took your imagination places. That’s my early memory of it. It was a really imaginative show that showed space travel in a way that was different, you know?”

It took him 23 seconds to speak the 50 words that told me his parents liked Star Trek. I mention this because as soon as he stopped talking and I started asking the next question I heard a strange beep beep sound followed by… nothing. The great void. No more husky voice. And like that, poof. He’s gone.

“Are you still there? I think we just lost him,” the eavesdropping publicist said. “Let me get him back for you. Just one second.”

I had visions of the actor walking around Fifth Avenue desperately yelling into his phone, “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” but in my heart I knew that wasn’t happening.

Minutes later she’s back. “I’m so sorry. We lost him. I know you only had a couple of minutes to speak with him…” actually it was twenty three seconds… “Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with him.”

My interview with Idris was over. Still born. Terminated before it even really began.

Was I mad? Not really. Frustrated? Yes. Not only had I wasted the afternoon waiting for Idris but now I didn’t have a story to file.

My friends on social media didn’t exactly see it my way. “What do you expect?” wrote one person. “He is the hottest man alive.” Another chose to look on the bright side. “That’s 45 seconds more Idris than the rest of us.” (I hadn’t yet timed the actual quote when hit facebook to vent.)

In the end it’s not a big deal. I’m choosing to look at the bright side. I didn’t get to chat with him but I do have a contender for the Guinness Book of World Records for Shortest (And Least Satisfying) Interview Ever.


Screen-Shot-2015-06-30-at-1.42.28-PM-300x188Welcome to the House of Crouse. What do you call a group of directors? A herd? A swarm?I don’t know. Since the cinema is my church perhaps I’ll call my guests, “Arrival” helmer Denis Villeneuve and “Trolls” co-directors Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell a congregation of directors. Whatever you call it, it’s two lively conversations about everything from how sci fi sparked a young boy’s imagination to how the power of a positive attitude changed one director’s life. C’mon in, sit a spell at the good ‘ole HoC!



screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-3-05-59-pmRichard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the alien invasion flick “Arrival,” starring Amy Adams, “Loving,” with Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga and “Almost Christmas” with Danny Glover, Mo’Nique and Gabrielle Union.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-3-05-15-pmRichard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel morning show to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the alien invasion flick “Arrival,” starring Amy Adams and “Loving,” with Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro: Denis Villeneuve’s new film Arrival delivers science fiction with a brain

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-8-54-00-amBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

In Arrival, a new humanistic sci fi film from future Blade Runner director Denis Villeneuve, Amy Adams plays a woman who sees life on a fractured timeline, like a Tarantino movie where the beginning is the end and the end is the start.

She plays Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist recruited by the U.S. Military to communicate with giant alien heptapods—think Kang and Kodos from The Simpsons— who have landed in Montana and eleven other sites worldwide. Are the ETs scientists, tourists or warriors?

“Most science fiction movies are about a display of technology or weaponry,” says Villeneuve, “and Arrival is not that at all. It is an intimate story about a linguist who is confronted by a huge challenge. In a way Arrival has some elements of a sci fi movie but it is closer to a strange cultural exchange.”

War of the Worlds this is not. Based on the short story Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, this is an alien invasion film with more in common with the heady sci fi of Andrei Tarkovsky and the crowd-pleasing emotionalism of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s more about the importance of communication—“Language is the first weapon drawn in conflict.”—than alien technology or Independence Day style Martian marauding.

The story is an exploration of the unknown, exactly the thing that sparked Villeneuve’s interest in the script and to the genre in general.

“The vertigo that is created by the unknown,” he says, “that is what attracted me to sci fi.”

The director, who is currently putting the finishing touches on Blade Runner 2049 starring Ryan Gosling, says he was a bit of a Walter Mitty type while growing up in Quebec.

“I was really a dreamer and was surrounded by science fiction coming out of Europe. There is a moment I remember vividly. At a very young age one of my aunts came home one night and she had brought two or three big cardboard boxes filled with magazines. Those magazines were all about sci fi. Those boxes changed my life because the amount of the poetry and creativity among the guys that were drawing those comic strips. They were very strong storytellers. They were all like mad scientists playing with our brains. They really influenced me big time as a youngster and then came the wave of sci fi movies coming out of the US that were so strong at the end of the seventies.”

He cites a Stanley Kubrick masterpiece as a potent example of the kind of sci fi that lit his imagination on fire.

“The biggest impact was 2001: A Space Odyssey,” he says. “The first time I saw it was on television. I remember vividly the vertigo that movie created. Even though I saw it on TV I still think it is one of the most significant cinematic experiences I have had.”

In Arrival Villeneuve takes a page from Kubrick’s playbook and by the time the end credits roll he presents the audience with a climax that is both spacey and grounded.

“It is a privilege when you can take a camera and ask people to sit for two hours in a theatre,” says Villeneuve. “It is nice if you take that privilege to explore something out of our reality, to bring some poetry to it.”

ARRIVAL: 3 ½ STARS. “offered the audience a story that is both spacey and grounded.”

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-8-54-49-amIn “Arrival,” a new humanistic sci fi film from future “Blade Runner” director Denis Villeneuve, Amy Adams plays a woman who sees life on a fractured timeline, like a Tarantino movie where the beginning is the end and the end is the start.

Adams is Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist recruited by the U.S. Military to communicate with giant alien heptapods—think Kang and Kodos from “The Simpsons”— who have landed in Montana and eleven other sites worldwide. Are they scientists, tourists or warriors?

“What do they want?” asks Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker). “Where are they from?”

With voices that sound like a Didgeridoo mixed with an out-of-tune electronic tuba and a written language that resembles “The Ring” logo, no answers are immediately forthcoming. Working with theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) Banks slowly forms a bond with the multi-legged ETs. In return she receives a gift from them that changes everything.

“War of the Worlds” this is not. Based on the short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, this is an alien invasion film with more in common with the heady sci fi of Andrei Tarkovsky and the crowd-pleasing emotionalism of Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” It’s more about the importance of communication—“Language is the first weapon drawn in conflict.”—than alien technology or “Independence Day” style Martian marauding. It’s a deliberately paced, contemplative film that suggests an alternative to the old ethos of shooting first and asking questions later. Questions are asked, few are answered but the result is an intelligent but dreamy story that never lets the scene get in the way of the film’s emotional core.

That core is supplied by Adams. As Dr. Louise Banks she dominates the movie. Everyone else, including Renner and Whitaker, are basically window dressing for a performance that bristles with wonder, sadness and yes, even scientific method. Banks may be methodical but Adams isn’t. She wrings every bit of sentiment from a script that tries to balance its cool social accountability with a story that delves into the soul of its main character.

I can’t reveal more about how or why Banks goes about deciphering the alien intentions. The film plays with timelines and by the time the end credits roll “Arrival” has offered the audience an explanation that is both spacey and grounded.

Cineplex: @TannerZee & Richard Crouse reveal their TIFF Top Ten picks

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 3.50.30 PMFrom “The Toronto International Film Festival is just around the corner! With so many movies playing, it’s hard to figure out what’s worth checking out. So our pre-show host Tanner Zipchen and film critic Richard Crouse sat down together and discussed 10 movies they are excited for, including Denis Villeneuve‘s Arrival starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone teaming up for the third time in La La Land.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!