Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “Gretel & Hansel,” a creepy re-imagining of a classic fairy tale, a lively revenge film called “The Rhythm Section” and the family drama of “Rosie.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jee-Yun Lee have a look at the weekend’s new movies including a lively revenge film called “The Rhythm Section,” the dark fairy tale “Gretel & Hansel” and the family drama “Rosie.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “The Rhythm Section,” a revenge film that misses the beat, “Gretel & Hansel,” a grim retelling of a famous fairy tale, and the family drama “Rosie.”
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 the Blake Lively revenge flick “The Rhythm Section,” the dark fairy tale “Gretel & Hansel” and the family drama “Rosie.”
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Gretel & Hansel,” a creepy re-imagining of a classic fairy tale and a lively revenge film called “The Rhythm Section.”
For generations parents have used the German folk tale “Hansel and Gretel” as a way to lull kids to sleep. The story of two kids ditched by their father and step-mother in the forest has always had a scary edge to it but “Gretel and Hansel,” a new, dark reimagining starring “It: Chapter Two’s” Sophia Lillis, would likely leave kids with serious abandonment issues if watched before bed.
Set in the distant past, when we first meet the title characters—sixteen-year-old Gretel (Lillis) and younger brother Hensel (Samuel Leakey)—a lack of money and their mother’s madness see them sent off into a grim fairy tale to fend for themselves. To the ominous sounds of soundtrack by French pop/rock musician Robin “Rob” Coudert, the duo make their way, scrounging for food, desperate for shelter. They meet The Huntsman (Charles Babalola) who warns them against talking to wolves—“They are charming and handsome but dangerous!”—but doesn’t see fit to caution them against eating the hallucinogenic mushrooms the two starving kids find under a tree. One mind expanding trip later they come across a house. Peering into the window they see a dining table laden with food. Invited in by the elderly Holda (Alice Krige) to eat and rest, they make a deal to trade chores for rent. Holda agrees, but soon Gretel has nightmares. “Are they the result of too much rich food,” she wonders, “or are they a warning?” It seems there is more to Holda than Gretel and Hansel first thought. “We are made from the same matter,” Holda says to Gretel. “The same filth.”
The story is certainly based on the Brothers Grimm story of a cannibal witch but screenwriter Rob Hayes enhances the story with “Star Wars” allusions—Will Gretel embrace her Dark Side?—and does things with entrails that even the Brothers Grimm on their grimmest day wouldn’t dare include in one of their stories. The result is a movie heavy on atmosphere and unease but light on actual scares. Shadowy characters appear and disappear, providing some creepy visuals and the occasional jump scare but moments that make the hair stand up on the back of your neck are absent.
Instead, director Osgood Perkins (son of “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins) stresses the intense human side of the horror, the loss of a parent, abandonment and the decisions Gretel must make to ensure her brother’s safety during her coming-of-age. It’s sense of fear is primal, rooted in complicated teen feelings of someone forced to grow up too quickly.
“Gretel & Hansel” is witchier than any other version of the story and has some genuinely creepy moments but comes just shy of making a lasting impression.
The glass slipper fitting on Cinderella’s foot is at the core of the magic of the fairy tale. It is a plot point that cannot be removed. If you do the whole story falls apart.
Real life is different.
Lily James, star of the new Disney live action remake of the Brothers Grimm tale, says the Swarovski slipper she “wears” in the film didn’t fit.
“That is my English humour,” she says. “It didn’t fit anyone. It wasn’t that they just got the size wrong. It’s Swarovski Crystal so it would have broken. They had to CGI it onto my foot, which was a bit of a shame.”
The Downton Abbey star—she plays the rebellious Lady Rose on the hit show—is about to have her name intrinsically connected with the Disney princess, but at the audition she had her eye on another role.
“When you get the casting call for something they pick what part you’re going to go for and they wanted me for [step-sister] Anastasia,” she says. “I remember I wore this pink tie-dyed jumper that the casting director told me to burn. But I had blonde hair because of Downton and they said I should read for Ella.
“I was kind of up for playing the off centre part; the quirkier, funnier part. I paced the corridor for about twenty minutes and the breakdown of the part that Ken [Branagh] had given me kind of struck me. It said she had a generous spirit and a generous nature and an open heart and I think because I didn’t have time to over think I just went in and just read it. I think I was much better for it.”
Her first day on set she shot one of the film’s key scenes, the “love-at-first-sight” meeting between Cinderella and Prince Charming, played by Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden.
“Ken said, ‘How do you feel about shooting that scene first?’ Richard and I didn’t really know each other and Ken caught that nervous energy, that getting-to-know-you, butterflies-in-your-stomach thing. He caught it on camera and I think that was smart. It kind of sets up the whole movie. It feels in that moment that Ella is very strong.”
So how will Downton Abbey fans react to seeing her familiar face as Cinderella?
“I hope lovingly,” she laughs. “I didn’t think there were many similarities but some people have said they think are. I watched the film and in the first scene I thought, ‘Oh no! I’m playing Rose.’ Then thankfully I shed it.”