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 Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller “Red Sparrow,” the 1970s retread “Death Wish” with Bruce Willis and the deliciously venomous “The Party” starring Patricia Clarkson.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nathan Downer have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller “Red Sparrow,” the 1970s retread “Death Wish” with Bruce Willis and the deliciously venomous “The Party” starring Patricia Clarkson.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller “Red Sparrow,” the 1970s retread “Death Wish” with Bruce Willis and the deliciously venomous “The Party” starring Patricia Clarkson.
At the end of the chamber dramedy “The Party,” you’ll be glad you were able to be a voyeur and not actually attend the get-together in person. It’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” with more characters and twice the vitriol.
Kristin Scott Thomas is Janet, the newly appointed U.K. Health Minister and host of the party. When we first see her she’s holding a gun on a guest. It’s that kind of party.
Cue the flashback.
Gathered together are Janet’s nearest and dearest. There’s sharp-tongued best friend April (Patricia Clarkson), her almost ex and professional life coach Gottfried (Bruno Ganz), Martha (Cherry Jones) and her pregnant partner Jinny (Emily Mortimer), jumpy financial whiz Tom (Cillian Murphy), whose cocaine and aforementioned gun add some spice to an already edgy situation. On the periphery, for a time anyway, is Bill (Timothy Spall), a ticking time bomb with a glass of champagne.
Director Sally Potter wastes no time in presenting her sophisticated but sour soiree. The verbal—and text—fireworks begin almost immediately. Sparkling dialogue drips from the mouths of these actors like liquid gold. When Jinny announces she’s have more than baby Martha says, “Triplets. People. Small people.” It doesn’t sound like much on paper, but the magic is in the delivery. The best lines are reserved for Clarkson, whose blunt, plainspoken words add fuel to the already hot state of affairs. “Although it may have a deleterious effect on your career I think you could consider murder,” she purrs at one point.
Canapés smoulder, truths are revealed—there will be no spoilers here—and lives are shattered, all in just 71 minutes. “The Party” is a delightfully nasty piece of work, artfully realized by Potter and delivered with just the right amount of venom by a dedicated cast.
Vin Diesel is a Witch Hunter in the appropriately named “The Last Witch Hunter,” Christopher Plummer hunts Nazis in “Remember,” while Brie Larson searches for freedom in “Room” and Bill Murray looks for redemption in “Rock the Kasbah.” Richard reviews them all with “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson.
Dean Norris is best known for portraying police officers. “I play DEA, CIA, FBI, LAPD; I got ‘em all,” he once said. He became instantly recognizable to a generation of TV fans as the boisterous DEA agent Hank Schrader on Breaking Bad, and in his new film he’s once again playing a cop, but with a twist.
“You almost feel sorry for him,” says Norris, “until you realize who he is.”
The film is Remember, a road movie of sorts. Christopher Plummer plays Zev, a man on a journey to justice, a quest to find the Nazi guard who killed his family 70 years before. Along the way he meets Norris as Officer Kurlander, a sad and lonely man with a connection to one of Zev’s suspects.
Their explosive meeting is difficult to discuss without giving away a plot point, but suffice to say Norris reveals when he had a chance to watch it he did so with his hands covering his face.
“We had three cameras going and I was like, ‘Just run them and let me hit it,’” says the fifty-two-year-old actor. “It was one of the few times where I almost felt out of body. You know when you see red and get kind of blinded? I’m not even sure what I said some of the time.”
Norris credits his director and co-star with making the five-day filming of the wild sequence possible.
“(Atom Egoyan) does what the good directors do,” he says, “and makes a comfortable space for you to play in and feel safe, which was important on this damn thing because it is so crazy. You want to feel safe to be able to go to wherever you have to go to, and I did with him.”
Norris describes Plummer as one of the greats. “It was like working with Laurence Olivier.”
“It was a pleasure to watch him,” he says. “There would be moments where I’d be in the scene and saying to myself, ‘I’m looking into the eyes of a man who has been in these scenes for decades. Been in the moment with unbelievable people in unbelievable movies.’ It’s like I wanted that to seep into me. Steal his essence.
“It’s a memory I’ll have for the rest of my life.”
With a cast headlined by Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau, Atom Egoyan’s new film “Remember” brings over 150 years of acting experience to the screen. Plummer is Zev, a man set on delivering justice to the Nazi guard who killed his family 70 years before. Plummer and Landau are both Academy Award winners and early buzz suggests they may both earn Oscar attention again for this film.
Revenge is on Max’s mind of (Martin Landau). After a lifetime of bring Nazis to justice with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, he’s now an octogenarian living in a senior’s home confined to a wheelchair. An Auschwitz survivor, he has made it his life’s work to “find the man responsible for the murder of my family,” but time is running out and there is one last name left on his list, Rudy Kurlander. Trouble is, there are multiple Kurlanders who fit the profile. In the dying days of World War II SS soldiers stole the identities of their victims and four Rudy’s emerged in the aftermath. One is an alias for the man responsible for the deaths of Max’s family.
To track down and dispatch Kurlander Max recruits Zev (Christopher Plummer), a ninety year-old widower from the senior’s home. Like Max, Zev was at Auschwitz and as the last living survivors from the prison block is, as Max tells him, “the only person left who can recognize the face of the man who murdered our families.” Despite a failing memory—“Sometimes I forget things,” Zev says.—Zev embarks on the search for Kurlander, armed with a detailed letter from Max to remind him of the operation’s details and a loaded Glock.
“Remember” is a road movie, a journey to justice. Along the way we meet several Rudy Kurlanders, a neo Nazi with a dog named Eva and several very helpful hotel clerks. Despite the constantly changing scenery and situations the constant is Christopher Plummer in a remarkable performance as a man on a mission. Struggling, he methodically works his way through the list, years of anger bubbling under the surface. He’s genteel—“Let us not argue,” he says while holding a gun on one of the Rudys. “We are too old for lies.”—but deeply wounded by events that he can now barely remember. Plummer conveys it all, confusion, anger, fear, resignation and in one extraordinary scene, deep sorrow as he shares a tender moment with one of the Kurlanders.
Egoyan parcels out the story carefully, building tension to an explosive climax. The thrills come with the search, but “Remember’s” main buzz comes from Plummer’s heartfelt and assured performance as a man struggling to reconcile the past with the present.