Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Bain about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including the family drama “Our Friend” (Premium digital and on-demand), the b-movie “The 2nd” (EST, VOD), and a pair of psychological dramas, “Make Up” (VOD) and “Together for an Unknown Period of Time” (TIFF Bell Lightbox and across Canada virtually and theatres).
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the family drama “Our Friend” (Premium digital and on-demand), the b-movie “The 2nd” (EST, VOD), and a pair of psychological dramas, “Make Up” (VOD) and “Together for an Unknown Period of Time” (TIFF Bell Lightbox and across Canada virtually and theatres).
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 family drama “Our Friend” (Premium digital and on-demand), the b-movie “The 2nd” (EST, VOD), and a pair of psychological dramas, “Make Up” (VOD) and “Together for an Unknown Period of Time” (TIFF Bell Lightbox and across Canada virtually and theatres).
Magazines may be becoming an artifact of the past but Hollywood still looks to them for inspiration. In the last few years a half dozen movies found inspiration in the pages of “Esquire,” “Vanity Fair” and “The New Yorker,” including “The Friend,” a new drama starring Dakota Johnson, Casey Affleck and Jason Segel and now playing In theatres and on-demand.
Based on Matthew Teague’s “Esquire” article “The Friend: Love Is Not a Big Enough Word,” the film uses a broken timeline—jumping back and forth—to tell the true story of Teague’s terminally ill wife Nicole and their friend-turned-nursemaid Dane. Affleck is Matt, a war correspondent with an attitude. “It’s Friday,” says his editor, “I’ve been tired of you since Wednesday.” He’s an up-and-comer, married to Nicole, a talented musical theatre performer played by Johnson. Her best pal at the theatre is Dane (Segel) a sad sack who can’t seem to get a girlfriend. “It’s not fair,” she says. “I’m the only woman who knows how special you are.”
By the time Nicole is diagnosed with cancer their lives have taken different paths, but Dane leaves his life in New Orleans behind to help his Atlanta-based friends. “Would it help if I stayed for a while? You don’t have to do this alone.” The planned week or two visit turns into months as Dane takes on more responsibility, becoming Matt’s pillar of strength and an indispensable part of Nicole’s transition.
Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite has made a sensitive film about finding your logical, not biological family. Dane is an anchorless man who finds a sense of permanence with his friends. Segel brings his trademarked relatability to the role, exuding warmth but also a sadness due to his rudderless station in life. Staying with Nicole and Matt and their daughters provides him with a home, but it is temporary, a state of affairs bound to end in heartache. Behind every one of his toothy grins is the anxiety of the situation, carefully masked to spare his hosts the extent of his grief. It’s lovely work that quietly defines the width and breath of selfless giving.
Affleck plumbs the depths of the circumstances, examining grief tinged with anger over a situation he can’t control and Johnson brings grace and beauty, especially in the way she looks at Matt, Dane and the children knowing that she won’t be there for their birthdays, holidays etc, to the role of a woman counting her time in days rather than years. Cherry Jones, as a palliative nurse—an “Angel of Mercy” according to Nicole’s doctor—gives a no-nonsense performance that drips compassion.
“The Friend” is a showcase for Segel’s easy charm but also gives the actor a chance to dig deeper. The former sitcom star delivers some much-needed laughs but they are tinged with humility that is very touching.
Richard and CP24 anchor Cortney Heels have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Run This Town,” Pixar’s “Onward,” the social criticism of “Sorry We Missed You” and the sports drama “The Way Back.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including Pixar’s quest flick “Onward,” the sporty you-can-never-go-home-again story “The Way Back,” the social commentary of “Sorry We Missed You” and the ripped-from-the-headlines “Run This Town.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at Pixar’s newest, “Onward,” the new sports drama from Ben Affleck , “The Way Back” and the new social message movie “Sorry We Missed You.”
“The Way Back,” a new drama starring Ben Affleck, is a riff on the you-can-never-go-home-again story with a sports twist.
Affleck is Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball phenom who left a full scholarship at the University of Kansas on the table as he walked away from a promising career and into years of addiction. “I spent a lot of time hurting myself,” he says. “I made a lot of bad decisions. I got a lot of regrets.”
Cut to years later. Jack’s drinking—he starts the day with a beer in the shower—has cost him everything but when his alma mater recruits him to coach their basketball team he reluctantly agrees. “Is the team any good? he asks. “No,” he’s told. “In fact, the last time they made the playoffs, you were still playing.”
The team is in tatters, a laughing stock in the league but being back on the court gives Jack a renewed sense of being. “It keeps me busy,” he says. “Keeps my mind off other things.” As he molds the ragtag team into a force to be reckoned with, he discovers that the inspirational lessons he is teaching the kids—”The players decide the game!”—apply to his life as well.
“The Way Back” has the form of many other sports flicks—a new coach helps a failing team find their mojo—but this one digs deeper to focus on the characters rather than the rah rah of the sports. It’s “The Days of Wine and Rose” with basketball and a bleary eyed, beer-bellied and vulnerable Affleck at the center.
A quiet movie that tells the story of a man living in quiet desperation, “The Way Back” benefits greatly from Affleck’s raw but understated performance. Jack is damaged goods, a man wounded by life who subverts his pain by staring at the bottom of a pint glass. Director Gavin O’Connor gives Affleck nowhere to hide, shooting up-close-and-personal, and you can practically smell the beer breath as he shouts instructions at his players from the sidelines.
Rebuilding his life doesn’t come easily for Jack and the lack of easy life hacks, and a great central performance, elevates “The Way Back” above the run-of-the-mill sports drama.