Posts Tagged ‘Bette Midler’

THE SHOWGRAM WITH JIM RICHARDS: DOES RICHARD CROUSE LIKE THESE MOVIES?

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 much anticipated “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” the latest adventures of the Gomez, Morticia and Company in the animated “The Addams Family 2” and the Jake Gyllenhaal thriller “The Guilty.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2: 2 ½ STARS. “it smooths out the story’s offbeat, macabre heart.”

The weird and wonderful Addams Family, Gomez (Oscar Isaac), Morticia (Charlize Theron), Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz), Pugsley (Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton) and their chrome domed Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll), are just like any other family. Sure, they live in a house of horrors and are “mysterious and spooky and all together ooky,” but underneath it all, they are a regular, loving family.

The latest instalment in their lengthy documentation of family life, the animated “The Addams Family 2,” now playing in theatres and premium VOD, sees Gomez and Morticia, like so many parents, concerned that their kids are growing up too fast.

The action begins at Wednesday’s high school science fair. When she only earns a participation award for her project—transferring octopus intelligence into her Uncle Fester—she becomes more withdrawn than usual. To bring the family back together, Gomez and Morticia plan a family road trip to—where else?—Death Valley.

Along the way complications arise, including Cyrus Strange (Wallace Shawn, son of editor William Shawn who ran the Addams Family cartoons for decades in the pages of the New Yorker), an evil scientist who convinces Wednesday she is not really part of the Addams Family.

“The Addams Family 2” has top flight voice work from Isaac, Theron and especially Moretz, who nails the detached but spirited tone of her death-obsessed character. Her empowerment—”I’m not a freak,” she says, “I’m a force of nature.”—will also likely strike a chord with anyone who has felt like an outsider.

What the film doesn’t nail, however, is that Addams Family X-factor, the sense of gleeful dread. This is mainstream family animation, padded with songs and dance numbers, that smooths out the offbeat, macabre heart and soul of the source material. It’s goofy, not ooky, with none of the eccentric charm of the 1960s TV show.

Directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon bring a light touch to the story, where none was needed.

CTV NEWS AT 11:30: MORE MOVIES AND TV SHOWS TO STREAM THIS WEEKEND!

Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including “On the Rocks,”  the new film from Bill Murray and Rashida Jones, the Gloria Steinem biopic “The Glorias” and the apocalyptic rom com “Save Yourselves!”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 19:24)

CFRA IN OTTAWA: THE BILL CARROLL MORNING SHOW MOVIE REVIEWS!

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.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

THE GLORIAS: 3 ½ STARS. “ambitious story of icon Gloria Steinem life.”

“The Glorias,” now on VOD/Digital, is an ambitious retelling of the life of a trailblazer. Women’s-rights icon Gloria Steinem has led such a multi-faceted life it takes four people to play her over the course of the film.

Based on Steinem’s 2015 memoir “My Life on the Road,” the story is told on a broken timeline that uses a bus metaphor to shift through the various aspects of Steinem’s life. From life as a child (played by Ryan Kiera Armstrong) with a transient salesman father whose optimistic motto is, “You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. It could be wonderful,” and former journalist mother Ruth (Enid Graham) to rebellious teen (Lulu Wilson) to magna cum laude graduate and journalist () who went undercover (Alicia Vikander) at Playboy Club to adult activist Gloria (Julianne Moore), the film offers a detailed if somewhat fragmented look at a remarkable life.

To tell the tale director Julie Taymor uses a variety of vibrant colour palettes, newsreel footage, animation, some theatrical techniques—adult Steinem gives advice to her younger self on the aforementioned bus—and biographical notes. Larger than life characters like social activist Bella Abzug (Bette Midler), businessperson and co-founder of Ms. Magazine Dorothy Pitman Hughes (Janelle Monáe) and Lorraine Toussaint as lawyer, feminist, activist Flo Kennedy are brought to vivid life, helping to establish a sense of time and place for a story that hop scotches through time.

“The Glorias” isn’t a standard biopic, but it also isn’t as radical as its subject. It’s an artfully arranged greatest hits package of a remarkable and influential life that dilutes its impact by trying to cover eighty of Steinem’s years. Nonetheless, the four performances fit so neatly together to form a whole that we see Steinem’s growth as she evolves into the person who made history.

The Hollywood buddy comedy finds its feminine side with Hot Pursuit

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 1.35.21 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

This weekend Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara play a by-the-book cop and the widow of a drug boss in the comedy Hot Pursuit. The unlikely duo hit the road, teaming up to outrun crooked cops and a murderous cartel. “Right now we can’t trust anyone but each other,” says Reese as they crack wise and dodge bullets.

It’s a movie that follows in the long tradition of Hollywood buddy comedies.

There’s an argument to be made that Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy originated buddy comedies long before Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis donned dresses and camped it up in 1959’s Some Like It Hot. For my money, however, the Billy Wilder film about two musicians who witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and flee the state disguised as women set the template for the modern buddy movie.

The basic formula is there — colliding personalities, gibes and comic conflict between the two actors — but more important than any of that is the chemistry between Lemmon and Curtis. Even though every buddy picture relies on tension between the leads, sparks also have to fly between them or the whole thing will fall flat.

Brett Ratner, director of Rush Hour 1, 2 and 3—which paired Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan to great effect—calls interesting chemistry between actors “an explosion in a bottle” and says it’s crucial to the success of any buddy pic.

Since Some Like It Hot, producers have paired up a laundry list of actors searching for the perfect mix. Lemmon and Walter Matthau were the journeymen of the genre, co-starring in six buddy pictures ranging from the sublime—The Odd Couple, which features the classic buddy picture one-liner, “I’m a neurotic nut, but you’re crazy.”— to the ridiculous — Grumpier Old Men.

The female buddy comedy is a more elusive beast. Recently Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock teamed as a tough-talking street cop and uptight, lone wolf FBI agent to bring down a murderous drug dealer in The Heat and in the 1980s Bette Midler was the Queen of the form, pairing off with Shelley Long for Outrageous Fortune and with Lily Tomlin for Big Business in which both stars played dual roles, making it a buddy comedy times two. “Two’s company. Four’s a riot,” read the movie tagline.

There are others, dating back to 1937’s Stage Door, but there is no debating that Hollywood has been slow to feature female bonding as a subject of buddy movies. It’s wild there are two man-and-his-dog buddy movies—Turner and Hootch and K9—but so few featuring women. Despite the box office success of several female buddy comedies sequels have been as rare as hen’s teeth. For instance, Vulture.com points out that of the duelling buddy comedies released on April 25, 2008—Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Baby Mama and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay—Fey and company grossed $60 million, while Harold and friends made $38 million and yet the guys laughed all the way to another sequel while Baby Mama remains a one off.

Hollywood is finally warming to the idea of female driven comedies, so perhaps this weekend Witherspoon and the highest paid woman on television can generate enough box office dough to warrant another team-up. In the movie biz money usually speaks louder than anything, including gender.

PARENTAL GUIDANCE: 1 STAR

parental-guidance632There’s a scene in “Parental Guidance” partially shot from the perspective of a toilet bowl. There’s an easy joke in there someone, but frankly, I think all the easy jokes in the world have been used up in the script of this new Billy Crystal, Bette Midler comedy. “It’s not one of my better moments,” says Crystal’s character, and rarely have truer words been spoken.

Crystal and Midler are Arte and Diane. He’s a recently fired baseball announcer, she’s a former weatherperson and they’re long distance grandparents to Harper (Bailee Madison), Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) and Turner (Joshua Rush). When their daughter and her husband (Marisa Tomei and Tom Everett Scott) have the chance to get away for five days they reluctantly ask Arte and Diane to babysit the kids.

“Parental Guidance” is the kind of movie the studios hope will attract the whole family from the grandparents on down to the young’uns. It has something for everyone in the clan… which means the edgiest things in the film are the curly waves in Midler’s luxurious hair.

This is as safe and dull as it gets. There’s nothing wrong with intergenerational family entertainment but during this time of year when many people use the movies as a diversion from stress filled get-togethers, a film as predictable as Aunt Edith’s dry Christmas turkey and as cliché as Uncle Billy’s comb-over it hardly feels like a relaxing distraction. More like punishment.

Crystal and Midler are trying hard—it’s like watching old vaudevillians. Slap stick isn’t working? Well, here’s a song! Don’t like that? Let’s mug for the camera! Trouble is, this movie’s idea of high comedy is to play off of Arte’s old guy lack of technical know how. Jokes about being poked on facebook and tweeting–“I’ll make any sound you want!”–are the new knock knock jokes. They’re lazy and worse, not funny.

“Parental Guidance” is heartwarming treacle. A sitcom level film which, in the vocabulary of the new age parents made me want to put on my “exit shoes” and walk away.