Posts Tagged ‘Billy Bob Thornton’


Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 2.25.14 PMRichard’s alter ego Zomald Trump reviews the teenage Halloween freak-out “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” and some more adult fare in the ghostly form of “Our Brand is Crisis,” “Truth” and “Suffragette.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 11.24.05 AMRichard’s alter ego Zomald Trump reviews the teenage Halloween freak-out “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” and some more adult fare in the ghostly form of “Our Brand is Crisis,” “Truth” and “Suffragette.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

OUR BRAND IS CRISIS: 3 STARS. “best James Carville impersonation ever.”

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Based on real event, “Our Brand is Crisis,” a new dramedy starring Sandra Bullock as a strategist working on a Bolivian election, shows just how fragile and easily manipulated the political process can be.

Bullock is ‘Calamity’ Jane Bodine, a reformed political animal now living a quiet life. She has traded smoking, drinking and the stresses of her old job for mountain air and a pottery kiln. When she is pulled back in the game to run the presidential campaign of unpopular Bolivian politician Pedro Gallo (Joaquim de Almeida) she finds herself face-to-face with her nemesis, Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), a Machiavellian politico who wants his candidate to win at any cost. Jane knows her candidate is unlikeable and with him railing in the polls by a whopping 28 points, she crafts a wining strategy. “Don’t change the man to fit the narrative,” she says, “change the narrative to fit the man.” With Bolivia facing severe hardships she creates a campaign that plays up the country’s crisis and positions her man as a tough guy who won’t pussyfoot around the problems. “It’s better to be feared than loved,” she says.

A mix of satire, cautionary tale and earnest social commentary, “Our Brand is Crisis” succeeds primarily because of Bullock’s work in the central role. It’s her Erin Brockovich, the story of a person’s realization that her efforts can affect, both positively and negatively, the lives of a great many people. Bullock walks a fine line between Gracie Hart, her character in “Miss Congeniality” and her more serious work in films like “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” The tone of her performance shifts between slapstick to heartfelt and she pulls it off, carefully calibrating the character to fit the mood of the scene.

As for Thornton, if this acting thing falls apart for Billy Bob he will be able to find work as a James Carville impersonator.

“Our Brand is Crisis” is a cynical movie that lays its cards on the table. The political electoral system, it says, is an easily manipulated game not always played in the best interests of the people. The Bolivian setting seems exotic and otherworldly at times, but the basic principles, the dirty tricks, are anything but. The film is a thought provoking piece that may make you think twice the next time you vote.


Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 2.35.00 PMRichard’s CP24 reviews for “Spy,” “Entourage,” “Hungry Hearts” and “Insidious: Chapter 3.”

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Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 2.38.03 PMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “Spy,” “Entourage” and “Hungry Hearts.”

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ENTOURAGE: 2 STARS. “feels like binge watching 3 episodes of the TV show.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 3.45.17 PMFor eight years on television Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara and Jeremy Piven provided a glamourized behind-the-scenes look at how Hollywood works.

In a scene at the end of the new “Entourage” film someone has the idea of turning the exploits of actor Vincent Chase, his best friend and manager Eric Murphy, half brother Johnny Drama and pal Turtle into a movie. “Sounds more like a TV show,” cracks Ari, the hotshot agent who made Vincent a superstar.

You know what? He’s right. It worked better as a TV show than it does as a movie.

The movie picks up just after the TV show ended. Chase (Grenier) is newly divorced and looking for a new film project. His former agent Ari (Piven) is now a studio head and has the perfect project for him, an updated version of the “Jekyll and Hyde” story. There’s a twist though. Chase has developed the Hollywood disease known as “Directoromyelitis Syndrome.” He’ll only agree to star in the film if he can also direct. A deal is struck, but when Chase lets the budget get away from him Ari must try and wrangle $15 million more from the film’s conservative Texan finaciers, billionaire Larsen McCredle (Billy Bob Thornton) and his son Travis (Haley Joel Osment). If they can’t get the money to finish the film it could be the end of the line for Vinnie, Ari and the guys.

“Entourage” the movie feels like binge watching three or four episodes of the television show. No attempt has been made to make the movie more cinematic than the show or to deepen the characters or situations. Chase is still the carefree superstar who thinks he can start all over again by moving back to his old neighbourhood in Queens if everything goes sour. Turtle remains a romantic wannabe while Johnny Drama is wracked by insecurity and E quietly tries to keep everything from spinning out of control.

If the name “Arrested Development” hadn’t already been taken by another show it would have been the perfect title for this bunch, who are more interested in meeting women and when they’re not meeting women, then talking about women than they are in behaving like actual living, breathing people. Perhaps their insipid behaviour is a comment on the vapid Hollywood lifestyle or maybe it is just vapid. I think suggesting a movie that uses a line like, “when one vagina closes, another one opens,” of any grand, high-minded purpose is overstating things by a mile.

All the glitz and glam in the world—the movie is a tribute to lifestyle porn—can cover the emptiness of the story, and even filling up screen time with an extensive array of cameos—everyone from Kelsey Grammer and Pharrell Williams to Liam Neeson and Andrew Dice Clay pop up for one line gags—does little more than turn the film into a celebrity “Where’s Waldo” exercise.

There is a sense of familiarity that comes along with watching the “Entourage” movie, like seeing old friends you haven’t hung out with for a while, but you can’t help but think that the film-within-the-film is more interesting than the movie you’re actually watching.


Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 2.20.43 PMRichard’s CP24 reviews for “The Longest Ride,” “Danny Collins,” “The Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Cut Bank.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 10.16.36 AMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “The Longest Ride,” “Danny Collins,” “The Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Cut Bank.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


cutbank1By Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

Cut Bank director Matt Shakman has something in common with 35 mm film fanatics Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. For his movie debut the director insisted on shooting on film rather than digital.

“I’m an analogue kind of guy,” he says. “To do this movie, which is about a town that feels trapped in a distant era, it felt right to shoot it on film. We had to find a way to deal with the financial impact of it, but I found a solution to that. I gave up my salary in order to do it.

“I’ll only get a chance to make a first movie once and to make it on film feels special. I may never get a chance to do it again.”

Set in the hamlet of Cut Bank Montana, the action begins when auto mechanic Dwayne (Liam Hemsworth) accidentally videotapes the murder of the local postman (Bruce Dern). He reports the crime to the local sheriff (John Malkovich), hoping for reward money, but there are complications in the form of the suspicious father of his girlfriend (Billy Bob Thornton), a postal inspector (Oliver Platt) and a reclusive man (Michael Stuhlbarg) violently obsessed with getting his mail.

The script appeared on Hollywood’s 2009 black list of the best unproduced films and has been in Shakman’s hands for five years.

In the beginning he simply loved the twisty-turny story. “Then,” he says, “I [became] like a dog chasing a rabbit at the track. You get these tantalizing elements that start to make everything feel more real.

“When someone like John Malkovich signs on it is so helpful for so many reasons. One, the pleasure, personally, of getting to work with one of my heroes. Two, he certainly helps tell other actors that this is a party worth coming to and the third thing is just the business reality of having a person in the film who can help you with financing.”

Shakman says he knows after the film’s theatrical run “a lot of people will see Cut Bank on their iPads,” and while he prefers the communal experience of watching movies with an audience, he knows times are changing. “They’ll also watch Breaking Bad [on their tablets], so the line has blurred very much between the two kinds of content. It’s all just become stories and where you choose to find them and how you want them delivered.”