What Did Richard Crouse Think? It’s a weekly game played on NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards Show. It’s simple. Richard gives the synopsis of a new movie and Jim and others try and figure out if Richard liked it or hated it.
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 “Coco,” the festive flick “The Man Who Invented Christmas” and Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Denzel Washington has been nominated for seven acting Oscars, taking home two for “Glory” and “Training Day.” He’ll likely be nominated again this year for his turn as an idealistic defence attorney in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” but don’t expect a nod for the film overall.
Washington is the title character, a brilliant behind-the-scenes legal eagle who, for thirty-six years, allowed his business partner to to be the public face of their firm. He’s a throwback to another time with an iPod with 8000 carefully selected deep jazz cuts and suits with lapels wide enough to take flight should the right wind conditions arise. He’s a stickler for the rules, a savant with a photographic memory for details, a sharp tongue and a higher purpose. “Not speaking out is ordinary,” he says. “We are agents of change.”
When his long time partner suddenly dies Roman is forced to work with hotshot lawyer George Pierce (Colin Farrell). Pierce is a shark, a corporate player with four upscale Los Angeles law offices that are essentially plea factories. However, he recognizes Roman’s genius. Roman wants to do the work of the angels, but his unconventional demeanour makes it difficult to find work in his chosen field, civil rights. Short of cash, he takes Pierce up on his offer. A square peg in a round hole, his ideas about reforming the legal system and social revolution don’t endear him to his co-workers.
Soon though Roman has a change of heart. “I’m tired of doing the impossible for the ungrateful,” he says of his impoverished clients. “I have more practical concerns. My lack of success is self-inflicted.” When he uses privileged information for personal gain he sets in motion a series of events he can’t control.
“Roman J. Israel, Esq.” is a character study of a man who betrays himself as well as others. He’s a man whose lifelong beliefs are pushed to the wayside when he butts up against a desperate situation. For a time his life gets better but, because this is a Dan Gilroy movie, you know it won’t last for long. It works for dramatic effect but Roman’s change of attitude rings hollow, as if simply having a few extra bucks in your back pocket—or, in this case, in a duffle bag in the stove—can smooth over all of Roman’s rough edges. The death of idealism is nothing new but the change in Roman never rings completely true.
Perhaps its because this is a legal drama with no courtroom showdown. It’s the anti “Law & Order,” a story that hinges on legal values but is more interested on how Roman believes in them, not why.
Still, while the movie may not satisfy as a frame for this interesting character, Washington impresses. He does edgy, complex work in a movie that is less interesting than its title character.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, including “The Mummy” starring Tom “Show me the Mummy” Cruise, Kate Mara in the woman-and-her-dog story “Megan Leavey” and the D-Day drama “Churchill.”
There are so many dystopian stories out there it sometimes feels like the movies just might produce dark visions of our planet until the end of the world comes for real. The latest film to portray the end of times is “It Comes At Night,” a psychological horror film starring Joel Edgerton and Riley Keough.
Set in the aftermath of some sort of cataclysmic plague that wiped out much of the population, the story follows a family of gas mask wearing survivors. Paranoid “You can’t trust anyone but family” father Paul (Edgerton), steely mother Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and 17-year-old Travis (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) live in a secluded cabin fortified with boarded windows. Barricaded in, with only two double-locked doors and an airlock separating them from the dangers of the outside, infected world.
Their quiet home life is turned inside out when an intruder named Will (Christopher Abbott) breaches their security. The young man tells Paul that his wife and son (Keough and Griffin Robert Faulkner) are just fifteen miles away, dying. “You’re a good person,” says Will, “just trying to protect your family but don’t let mine die because of it.” Moved, Paul agrees to help. The two men brave the uncertain and dangerous journey to Will’s home, rescuing Will’s wife and son. When the two families move in under one roof small cracks soon become chasms that lead to paranoia and suspicion.
“It Comes at Night” is a study in angst, claustrophobia and fear. It’s an up-close-and-personal look at the way society reacts in times of crisis, a lantern-lit look at survival. An existential horror film in shading and feel, the real terror here comes from the characters and not the unnamed virus that decimated mankind. Like “Night of the Living Dead” it is a look at the paranoia and fear that comes along with a societal collapse.
Instead of going for jump scares or outright horror director Trey Edward Shults uses an anxiety-inducing soundtrack to slowly build an atmosphere of dread. Concentrating on the hopelessness of the situation he supplies an emotional punch that plays like a kick to the stomach. It’s disturbing—there hardly a moment of uplift to be found anywhere here—but at a brisk ninety minutes its harrowing story never outstays its welcome. Whatever state your life is in, you’ll be glad to return to it after the end credits.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Alien: Covenant,” the return of one of the most fearsome alien species ever, the Xenomorph, the continuing adventures of Greg Heffley in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul,” Liev Schreiber as the real-life Rocky in “Chuck” and the edgy rom com “The Lovers.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the Xenomorphic Alien: Covenant,” the whimptastic adventures of Greg Heffley in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul,” Liev Schreiber as the real-life Rocky in “Chuck” and the edgy rom com “The Lovers.”
Alien: Covenant is the second instalment in the Alien prequel series and the sixth film in the franchise overall.
That’s a lot of facehugging and chestbursting.
Since the 1979 release of Alien, a film Roger Ebert called “an intergalactic haunted house thriller set inside a spaceship,” audiences have been fascinated with the sci fi / horror series.
The latest movie sees a new crew—including Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup and Danny McBride—on a mission to colonize planet Origae-6. Along the way they abandon their original course, choosing a closer, apparently inhabitable planet only to be met with terror and acid-spewing creatures.
Covenant is the third Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott. I once asked him what it was that kept him casting his eyes to the skies movie wise.
“The fantasy of space,” he said, “which is now also a reality, is a marvellous platform and a form of theatre. Honestly, almost anything goes.”
The freedom of the sci fi genre is a common theme among creators. Denis Villeneuve, whose sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, now titled Blade Runner 2049, comes out later this year, remembers how his mind was opened by his first exposure to the genre.
“At a very young age one of my aunts came home one night and she had brought two or three big cardboard boxes filled with magazines,” says Villeneuve. “Those magazines were all about sci fi. Those boxes changed my life because the amount of poetry and creativity among the guys that were drawing those comic strips. They were very strong storytellers. They were all like mad scientists playing with our brains.”
Alien: Covenant has only been in theatres for a few hours and Scott has already announced another sequel he plans on filming in the next fourteen months.
Until that one hits theatres what other sci fi films should we have a look at?
Vincenzo Natali, the director of episodes of television’s Westworld and Orphan Black and adventurous films like Cube and Splice has some suggestions. “I could mention 2001, Star Wars and The Matrix, but we’ve all been there. I think there are some very worthy science fiction films that aren’t so well known.”
First on his list is Stalker, from master director Andrei Tarkovsky.
“It’s about a zone in Russia that may have had some kind of alien visitation and is highly classified. There are very special people called stalkers who illegally enter the zone and can take you to a place where your wishes can come true. No other movie ever made is quite like it. It is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen.”
Next up is The 10th Victim, a futuristic Marcello Mastroianni movie about a deadly televised game called The Big Hunt which becomes a replacement for all conflict on Earth, but at what cost? “An Italian film made in the ’60s but way ahead of its time,” he says. “It’s a satirical comedy, absolutely brilliantly made, filled with cool futuristic Italian design and it’s really funny. I cannot recommend it enough.”
Third is the animated La Planète Sauvage. “It takes place on a planet where humans are pets for a race of large aliens. It’s a kind of a Spartacus story against the aliens. Totally outrageous and very, very ’70s.”