Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
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 the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
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 mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
“French Exit,” now playing in theatres, takes place in New York City and Paris, but to be honest, I’m not sure what planet most of these characters live on.
Michelle Pfeiffer is Frances Price, a stylish, eccentric New Yorker whose inherited fortune has almost run dry. She’s famous in society circles for her once giant bank account and in the tabloids as the wealthy widow who discovered her husband Franklin (Tracy Letts) dead in his bed, but didn’t report it until after she returned from a planned weekend ski trip. She has lived her life with no apologies and always says what’s on her mind. “The plan was to die before the money ran out,” she says, “but I kept, and keep on, not dying and here I am.”
Her son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) has drifted through life since his mother pulled him out of private school at age twelve. They share a rambling mansion, but not everything is out in the open, like his engagement to the prim Susan (Imogen Poots).
With no means to stay in New York, mother, son and their mysterious cat Small Frank (voiced by Tracey Letts), sell off assets and decamp to Paris, staying in the apartment of Frances’ closest friend Joan (Susan Coyne). There, Frances continues her lavish ways, vastly over tipping waiters, going through whatever money is left, as if to fulfill her prophesy that she will go when the money is gone.
An air of ennui hangs heavy over “French Exit” but it’s not a depressing film. The collection of quirky characters—including lonely expat New Yorker Mme Reynaud (Valerie Mahaffey), private investigator Julius (Isaach de Bankole) and clairvoyant Madeleine (Danielle Macdonald)—juice the inherent nihilistic farce out of the story. This doesn’t feel like real life because it isn’t. It takes place in a world constructed by Frances, populated by people who cater to her whims. A séance to locate a missing cat who may, or may not, embody the spirit of her late husband? Sure, and that’s not even her most idiosyncratic request.
At the centre of it all, holding it all together is Pfeiffer. Monumentally self-absorbed and arch, it comes as no surprise when she gets a waiter’s attention by lighting the flowers on her table on fire. She is given to larger-than-life behaviour but as farce gives way to tragedy Pfeiffer takes pains to allow some real humanity to shine through. She is so form-fitted to the character it’s impossible to imagine anyone else hitting the right notes of humour and heartache.
The talented cast stops “French Exit” from becoming a twee Wes Anderson clone. It may not always feel like real life but its unique feel contains just enough earnestness to make an unreal situation feel real and alive.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the Xenomorphic Alien: Covenant,” the whimptastic adventures of Greg Heffley in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul,” Liev Schreiber as the real-life Rocky in “Chuck” and the edgy rom com “The Lovers.”
It is surprising “The Lovers,” a new family drama starring Debra Winger and Tracy Letts, doesn’t use the Earth, Wind and Fire song “After the Love is Gone” as a theme song. The hit tune and the movie share a common question, “Can love that’s lost be found?”
Mary (Debra Winger) and Michael (Tracy Letts) are an old married couple going through the motions of having a relationship. Both are having affairs, she with frustrated Irish novelist Robert (Aidan Gillen); him with unpredictable ballet teacher Lucy (Melora Walters). They are a couple on the verge of a break up, teetering dangerously close to divorce. There’s no acrimony, just disinterest, as they slowly grow apart.
It seems, as Earth, Wind and Fire might have sung on the soundtrack had the orchestra score been replaced with mid-70s smooth R&B, “What used to be right is wrong.” Then something remarkable happens. They find their old spark. But what to do about Robert and Lucy?
The set up sounds rom com-y, like a Garry Marshall film starring Josh Duhamel and Katherine Heigl but it’s not that. It’s quirkier, more complicated, richer largely due to Winger and Letts. Both are gifted actors, both bring believable emotional baggage to a couple on the search for satisfaction.
Complicating the already fraught situation is the arrival of the couple’s son Joel (Tyler Ross), and his girlfriend Erin (Jessica Sula). The visit takes up the film’s final third and it is here where things go from understated to interesting. “They hate each other,” says Joel. “You gotta understand. I would love it if they left one another.” He uses them as an example of how not to live and asks Erin to punch him in the face if he ever starts behaving like them.
The true depth of their loveless dysfunction is revealed and it is here where the quiet desperation of their lives boils over. “It looks like you and mom are getting along,” says Joel. “Occasionally,” replies Michael.
“The Lovers” isn’t a flashy movie, like it’s suburbanite / cubicle setting it’s straightforward looking, but beneath the banal surface are bubbling, authentic emotions.