Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including the music documentary “Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan” on iTunes and select cinemas in Ottawa and Kingston, the HBO documentary “The Mystery of D.B. Cooper” and the surreal “Black Bear, ” in theatres and on VOD.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the romantic drama “All My Life” (in theatres), the surreal “Black Bear” (in theatres and VOD) and the music documentary “Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan” (iTunes and select cinemas in Ottawa and Kingston).
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Jennifer Burke to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the romantic drama “All My Life” (in theatres), the surreal “Black Bear” (in theatres and VOD) and the music documentary “Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan” (iTunes and select cinemas in Ottawa and Kingston).
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 romantic drama “All My Life” (in theatres), the surreal “Black Bear” (in theatres and VOD) and the music documentary “Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan” (iTunes and select cinemas in Ottawa and Kingston).
“Black Bear,” now in select theatres and on VOD, is a psychological drama that draws you in with a false sense of familiarity before a mid-movie turn that turns expectations upside down.
Set in a remote B&B on a beautiful lake in Upstate New York run by semi-pro musician Gabe (Christopher Abbott) and his pregnant, former dancer wife Blair (Sarah Gadon), are the Bickersons by way of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” No comment from either of them goes unanswered by a barb or withering look. “It’s not that I can’t stand that you have thoughts about the world,” Blair says to Gabe in one heated exchange. “It’s that I can’t stand the thoughts about the world you have.”
Into this insular situation comes Allison (Aubrey Plaza), an actress-turned-filmmaker who booked a weekend away hoping to find inspiration in nature for her next movie. “I’m waiting for something meaningful to happen to me,” she says. Instead, she becomes entwined in the personal lives of her hosts. Secrets are shared, recriminations fly and hostilities arise.
The talky first half, with a long, drunken discussion about traditional gender roles, leads into Part Two: The Bear by the Boat House, a surreal jump to the filming of the movie-within-the-movie. Without giving anything of substance away, Gabe is now the film’s egomaniacal director while Blair is now Allison’s co-star in a tortured indie film that seems to be taking its cues from the real-life retreat. Themes of the creative process, temptation and the pain of toxic relationships introduced in the first half are further reflected in part two.
“Black Bear” is an audacious movie that defies categorization. It’s playing in select theatres, wherever theatres are open, but I suspect it will mostly be seen on VOD. That’s a shame because the layered story is not something you can digest casually while thumbing through Twitter or eating a sandwich. The personal dynamics on display are filled with conflict and every line is a trigger that sets the next into motion.
The performances bring the difficult material to life. Abbott and Gadon are very good, but it is Plaza whose work leaves a mark. She brings a furious intensity to Allison that will blow the hair back on anyone only familiar with her work as the darkly disinterested April Ludgate on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation.” It’s a complex and challenging performance that is bracingly and simultaneously real and surreal.
“Black Bear” will confound viewers looking for easy answers and a neatly tied up bow at the end. Like the creative process it portrays, it is unknowable in its entirety, a deliberate cypher meant to engage both your head and your heart.
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 timely period piece “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “On the Rocks,” the re-teaming of Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola, the cerebral sci fi of “Possessor Uncut” and the unusual Gloria Steinem biopic “The Glorias.”
We have seen movies about assassins and we’ve seen movies about mind control but “Possessor,” the new film by Brandon Cronenberg (yes, he’s David’s son and seems to share some of his obsessions) now playing at select theatres and drive ins, mixes and matches the two in an unsettling, surreal hybrid of sci-fi and horror.
Anyone with trypanophobia—fear of needles—may want to cover their eyes during the film’s opening minutes as a young woman (Gabrielle Graham) impales herself with a long needle, right through the cranium. The needle is attached to a box with a dial. A twist of the dial and soon she is gruesomely stabbing a man in the neck, in public.
Turns out, it’s not really her brandishing the knife but a mercenary named Tasya (Andrea Riseborough), a mind control assassin who “possesses” people’s minds via brain-implant technology and forces them to do her bidding. Her handler, Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh), helps her find her way back to her own identity after sublimating herself in someone else’s brain.
Tasya’s latest gig involves parasitically getting into the mind of former cocaine dealer Colin (Christopher Abbott), a trainwreck of a man whose girlfriend Ava’s (Tuppence Middleton) father (Sean Bean) is John Parse, a high-powered executive. A rival wants Parse dead and Colin is the perfect patsy to do the deed.
From the film’s savage opening minutes through the sex and gore splattered landscape of the middle section to the climax “Possessor” is like a nightmare. Surreal visuals of Tasya and Colin as one hideous being or a severed hand unfurling its fingers are direct from night terrors, but Cronenberg takes pains to ensure that, unlike nightmares that are disconnected scenes that play in our heads, his psychodrama has depth and meaning. His highly developed visual sense—and a bloody colour palette that would make Dario Argento envious—is eye-catching and consistently interesting but it is the film’s ideas that linger like the unsettled feeling after you wake from a nightmare.
The movie’s exploration of how technology and humanity intersect is an increasingly timely question. “Possessor” takes that crossroads to a narrative extreme but Tasya and Colin’s technological melding is a terrifying vision of a future that feels like it might be right around the corner.
Cronenberg’s sophomore movie, after 2012’s “Antiviral,” is disturbing and ambitious with an icy, cerebral veneer that will linger in your mind for a long time afterward.
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 Ryan Gosling’s as astronaut Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” the star studded “Bad Times at the El Royale” and a nasty take on “Home Alone” called “Knuckleball.”
Richard joins CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including Ryan Gosling’s take on Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” the star studded “Bad Times at the El Royale” and a nasty take on “Home Alone” called “Knuckleball.”