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 sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the Melissa McCarthy mob story “The Kitchen,” the kid’s horror “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” the family adventure of “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” and the Casey Affleck drama :Light of My Life.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the live action “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” the mildly scary “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” the family drama “Luce” and the mob tale “The Kitchen” with CFRA morning show guest host Matt Harris.
“Light of my Life,” a quiet new film written, directed and starring Casey Affleck, is a thriller that follows in the footsteps of “Children of Men,” imagining a world in which women were wiped out by a virus.
Affleck plays the father of Rag (Anna Pniowsky), a tween he’s raising in the wilderness, far from prying eyes. As a devoted father he understands that a world without women presents terrible danger to his daughter and he protects her no matter what. When an old man stumbles across their camp Rag is introduced as “my son Alex,” and while the interloper seems to buy their story, dad knows they have to hit the road before word spreads.
Through flashbacks we see the life they had before the virus, when Rag was a baby and her mother, played by Elisabeth Moss, was still alive. They play in stark contrast to their current nomadic, uncertain existence in the wood.
By the time they arrive at a would-be sanctuary—“It’s got a boat with a lake and it’s really far away from everyone.”—the world catches up with them, forcing Rags to grow up before her time.
“Light of my Life” is a low-key dystopian drama that feels like a pastiche of a number of recent films and television shows. Echoes of “Children of Men,” last year’s “Leave No Trace” and “The Road” with a dollop of “The Handmaid’s Tale” form the backbone while Affleck relies on the rapport with Pniowsky to give the bleak story a human touch. The slow-moving, ponderous story allows the viewer to get a sense of their bond. It takes time to establish the gravity of the situation, and Affleck lets the clock run, but an opening ten-minute monologue, punctuated by questions from Rags, may be the very definition of self-indulgent.
“Light of my Life” isn’t Affleck’s first film since #MeToo allegations were leveled against him and settled out of court, but it is thematically the most startling. Some will see Affleck painting himself as a protector of women in a world where all women are in imminent danger of violence, sexual or otherwise. Others will see a movie that attempts to atone for the sins of its creator, a film that suggests, be careful, you can’t always know what is in the hearts of men. Either way, it feels like a response to the claims of sexual harassment and its effectiveness will, by and large, depend on how you feel about the actor and VERY long monologues.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Halloween,” the late Rob Stewart’s ecology documentary “Sharkwater Extinction,” the drug drama “Beautiful Boy” and the film Robert Redford says may be his swan song “The Old Man and the Gun.”
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 the drug drama “Beautiful Boy,” the wistful “The Old Man and the Gun” and the eco-doc “Sharkwater Extinction.”