Richard joins CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the Disney holiday fantasy “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the horror remake “Suspiria.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Jennifer Burke to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the “Ho Ho Hums” of the Disney holiday fantasy “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the horror remake “Suspiria.”
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 Disney “It must be Christmas!” movie “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the horror remake “Suspiria.”
Richard has a look at the Disney holiday fantasy “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the horror remake “Suspiria” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” ballet, Disney’s newest fantasy also adds in large, frothy dollops of “Alice in Wonderland, “ “Narnia” and even “Pan’s Labyrinth.”
The action in “The Nutcracker And The Four Realms” begins like so many other Disney films, with the death of a parent. It’s Christmas and Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is still hurting from the recent loss of her mother. Her present is a beautiful ornamental egg once owned by her late mom. “To my beautiful Clara,” reads the attached card. “Everything you need is inside. Love Mother.”
There is something inside. Trouble is, she doesn’t have the key required to open the egg. A party game at her godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) Christmas party leads her to the key but it remains out of reach, snatched up by a tiny mouse who lures Clara into the strange world of three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. There, with Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a soldier, and an army of mice she learns secrets about her past and embarks on adventures in search of the key. Who will help her—The Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley)? The Snow Realm King (Richard E. Grant)? Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren)?—and who will conspire against her? “It won’t be easy,” says Drosselmeyer, “but it was her mother’s dying wish.”
The opulence of the set design, the whimsy of the story, the use of classical music and ballet will draw comparisons to “Fantasia” but this is different. It’s part steampunk Christmas, part power princess tale about a girl who discovers, as her mother wrote, “everything you need is inside.”
Foy capably holds the centre of the film but it is Knightley who has all the fun. She’s a glittery-pink-powder-puff with cotton candy hair and a Betty Boop voice. She’s in full pantomime mode, grabbing the spirit of the piece with both hands. Her spirited performance brings such much-needed oomph to the film.
“The Nutcracker And The Four Realms” has some fun moments—the Mouse King is cool but perhaps on the nightmarish side for very small kids—and a timely message that we are stronger together than divided but often feels like an expensive Christmas card—beautiful to look at but flat.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the Disney fantasy “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” the Freddie Mercury bio “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the horror remake “Suspiria.”
Ballet is inherently dramatic, so it is no wonder the movies have frequently looked to pointed shoes and bun heads for inspiration. The first ballet moves captured on film were likely in the turn-of-the-last-century animated films of Alexander Shiryaev, whose crude but beautiful films used drawings and puppets as an early form of dance notation.
Since then, the movies have been dancing with the stars. Everyone from legendary performers like Mikhail Baryshnikov to gifted amateurs like Natalie Portman, who plays a beautiful but troubled ballerina in this weekend’s dark drama Black Swan, have done a cinematic grand jeté or two.
The most classic ballet movie has to be The Red Shoes, the 1948 classic which interweaves on and off stage action to tell the story of a ballerina pulled between two men—a composer who loves her and an impresario who wants to make her a star. The British Film Institute labeled it one of “the best British films ever” and the movie inspired Kate Bush’s song and album of the same name.
The Red Shoes was nominated for four Oscars and took home a pair, which is two more than our next ballet film, even though it was nominated for eleven. The Turning Point (which ties The Color Purple for most nominations with no wins) starred Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft as lifelong rivals; one who left the ballet to become a wife and mother, the other who stayed and became a star. Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day and Grace Kelly were all offered the lead roles, but turned them down. After seeing the movie, Hepburn regretted her decision. “That was the one film,” she said, “that got away from me.”
There are dozens of Hollywood ballet movies. It’s almost tutu much (you had to know that pun was coming); White Nights, Center Stage (with Avatar’s Zoe Saldana), Billy Elliot, The Company (made with the cooperation of the Joffrey Ballet) and even the South Korean horror film, Wishing Stairs, feature stories about fictional ballet dancers, but there are many interesting ballet documentaries as well.
The history of the Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo is touchingly and lovingly told in Ballets Russes, an intimate documentary focused on the founders of modern ballet and also fascinating is La Danse – Le ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, director Frederick Wiseman’s fly-on-the-wall look at the production of seven ballets by the Paris Opera Ballet.