Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about to talk about the big screen adaptation of the Broadway hit “Dear Evan Hansen,” the Melissa McCarthy dramedy “The Starling” and the Mark Wahlberg family drama “Joe Bell.”
There is a scene in “The Starling,” Melissa McCarthy’s maudlin new study of grief and ornithology, where a psychiatrist-turned-vet (that’s the kind of movie this is) tells Lilly (McCarthy), whose husband has spent almost a year in a psychiatric care home, that starlings “are different from other birds. They build a nest together. They’re just not meant to exist in the world alone, on their own.”
“That’s real subtle stuff,” she replies sarcastically but in truth, his remark is subtle compared to the rest of this well-meaning but ham-fisted movie.
Small town supermarket employee Lilly and her school teacher husband Jack (Chris O’Dowd) lives were changed when their baby daughter Kate passed away unexpectedly. Grief strikes each differently. Lilly looks forward, while Jack breaks down and checks into a mental health facility. Left alone, Lilly turns to tending her garden where a rogue starling attacks her every time she ventures outside.
Seeking guidance, she talks to Dr. Larry Fine (Kevin Kline) the psychiatrist-turned-vet reluctantly who councils her on grief and bird problems. As her relationship with the starling changes, so does Jack’s situation with his psychiatrist Dr. Manmohan (Ravi Kapoor) and the couple take steps toward reconciliation.
“The Starling” isn’t the first movie in recent memory to use a bird as a metaphor. “Penguin Bloom” covered similar territory last year and movies like “The Thin Red Line,” “Ladyhawke” and “Black Narcissus” have used birds as an emblem of freedom. It’s too bad that the CGI bird in “The Starling” doesn’t inspire the same kind of sense of wonder as it does in those other movies. As it is, the bird’s flitting and flirting only adds to the muddled feel of the story.
A strange mix of heartfelt drama and slapstick comedy, “The Starling” relies on very likable actors to try and bring a sense of balance to the material but not even McCarthy, Kline and O’Dowd can bend this mishmash of tones into a cohesive whole.
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 missing daughter story of “Searching,” the adult rom com charms of “Juliet, Naked” and the slow burn of “Cardinals.”
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the missing daughter story of “Searching,” the adult rom com charms of “Juliet, Naked” and the slow burn of “Cardinals.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the missing daughter thrills of “Searching,” the adult rom com charms of “Juliet, Naked” and the slow burn of “Cardinals.”
“Juliet, Naked,” based on a Nick Hornby novel, is a rom com for adults. Ethan Hawke and Rose Byrne play folks who have lived untidy lives and yet find one more chance at happiness.
Byrne plays Annie, an English woman who dreamed of living a glamorous life in London but settled for taking her father’s old job at a museum in the sleepy coastal town of Sandcliff. She lives with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd), a pop culture obsessed college professor who has built a shrine to 90s emo rocker Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) in the basement. Crowe is an enigma, a Jeff Buckley type who only released one album. He is now the stuff of legend and speculation on a fan site run by Duncan.
When a package arrives one day containing a rare demo Annie opens it and listens to it before Duncan comes home. Displeased he dramatically declares, “I have to leave. It smells like betrayal in here.“ To get even Annie writes a lukewarm review of the demo’s “half-sketched” songs, posts it on Duncan’s site and waits for the reaction. What she doesn’t expect is to hear from Crowe himself. “Bingo,” he replies. “You nailed it. It couldn’t have said it better myself.” The unlikely pair forms a friendship via e-mail, sharing details from their lives. Soon they go from pen pals to real life friends when he comes to England to visit his daughter (Ayoola Smart).
The transatlantic epistolary of the film’s first half gives way to a charming series of scenes that sees the relationship between Annie and Tucker blossom. Director Jesse Peretz avoids most of the clichés that push rom coms into Katherine Heigl territory. Instead he conjures up a situation with lots of moving parts.
Tucker has lots of kids by different mothers, and in one great scene almost all of them arrive to visit him at the same time, with their mothers in tow. Annie is looking back at her life, wondering what might have been different if she had made different choices. “At least you have a past to live up to,” she writes to Tucker, “creative remnants from your life.” On top of that is Duncan, a monomaniac whose fandom approaches toxic levels.
All three are compelling characters brought to life by Hawke, Byrne and O’Dowd. Hawke is a leading man who is also a character actor. He brings a grungy charm to Tucker, a man who has made mistakes and owns up to them. Byrne portrays Annie’s frustration in her life but never allows her to become maudlin. She’s hopeful and you’ll want the best for her as well. O’Dowd’s fixation with Crowe, though over-the-top, is earnest.
“Juliet, Naked” has a great deal of warmth and terrific, charismatic performances. The thing that makes it great is what it doesn’t have. It’s a rom com that doesn’t pander to obvious choices—there’s no airport run or contrived fight that keeps the characters apart—and instead relies on the grown up pleasures the genre can provide.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the high tech Hitchcock thrills of “Searching,” the adult rom com charms of “Juliet, Naked” and the slow burn of “Cardinals.”