Richard joins Ryan Doyle of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush for Booze and Reviews! Today he talks about the world’s most expensive cocktails–listen in if you’re thirsty with a bulging wallet–and reviews “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and Amazon Prime’s updated version of “Cinderella” with Camila Cabello.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Simu Liu as Marvel’s first Asian superhero in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Amazon Prime’s updated version of “Cinderella” with Camila Cabello and Riz Ahmed in the surreal “Mogul Mowgli.”
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 Simu Liu as Marvel’s first Asian superhero in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Amazon Prime’s updated version of “Cinderella” with Camila Cabello and Riz Ahmed in the surreal “Mogul Mowgli.”
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 Marvel’s first Asian superhero in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Amazon Prime’s updated version of “Cinderella” and Riz Ahmed in the surreal “Mogul Mowgli.”
The new “Cinderella,” starring pop singer Camila Cabello and now streaming on Amazon Prime, begins with a sweeping crane shot of the title character’s rustic village that could have been lifted from any one of the dozens of adaptations of the famous story. But by the time the villagers begin dancing to Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation,” tossing pitchforks of hay in the air and doing the Robot in time with the music, you realize this isn’t your fairy godmother’s version of the oft told tale.
The story’s bones are roughly the same as the Brothers Grimm folk tale. Orphan Ella, nicknamed Cinderella (Cabello) by her jealous stepsisters (Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer) because her skin is often besmirched by cinders, dreams of one day travelling the world as a famous designer. For now, though, she lives in the dingy basement of her cruel and imperious step-mother Vivian’s (Idina Menzel) home, where she waits on them hand and foot, only to be called “worthless” and dismissed by a wave of Vivian’s hand.
The Royal Ball is imminent, and Prince Robert’s (Nicholas Galitzine) father King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan) thinks it is the perfect chance for his son to find a wife and settle down. When the prince catches an eyeful of Cinderella he is smitten before she disappears into the crowd. “I’ll play your silly game,” he tells the King, “but only if every girl in the kingdom is invited to the ball regardless of wealth or stature.” The king reluctantly agrees, and everyone is invited, even Cinderella. Except that she’s not interested. “The whole thing is weird and antiquated,” she says. “Not my thing.”
She changes her mind when the Prince, in disguise, convinces her that there will be interesting people there, and she might even drum up some business as a designer. But she doesn’t believe anything romantic will come out of it. “I’m dirty,” she says. “I smell like a basement and my best friends are mice.”
She whips up a frilly pink dress for the big night, but Vivian puts her foot down, and throws ink on the outfit, ruining it and Cinderella’s chances for going to the ball. She is despondent until Fab G (Billy Porter), her Fairy Godparent, enters her life in the most red-carpet-ready way possible.
“Hush, it’s magic time,” Fab G says as a sequined dress, glass slippers and a fancy carriage materialize. There are rules. No one, except the Prince, will be able to recognize her while she’s in the gown and the magic will wear off at midnight, so she must run home as the clock strikes.
Sparks fly between the Prince and Cinderella. He professes his love for her and says he intends on making her his princess. She’ll be royalty. “Royalty?” she says, channeling her inner Meghan, “What about my work?” As she is announced as the future Queen, the clock strikes and she flees, leaving behind one glass slipper.
“Cinderella” is a big Broadway style jukebox musical of the familiar tale given a thoroughly modern makeover. Written and directed by former “30 Rock” writer Kay Cannon, who also created the “Pitch Perfect” franchise, updates the story to emphasize female empowerment, the autonomy of fathers and sons, the freedom to choose one’s life and she evens softens up the traditionally evil step family. It is still a classic love story, but here Cinderella is no Disney Princess. She’s Girlboss Cinderella, in charge of her life, love and future.
The modifications are presented with sincerity and no small amount of humour—there’s even a pretty funny reference to Brosnan’s legendarily terrible singing voice, first noticed by, well, everyone in “Mama Mia”—but the changes also make it fairly simple to predict what’s going to happen, even if Cannon tries to distract you with big production numbers.
Gone are the old school Disney songs like “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.” They’ve been replaced with reinterpreted pop and rock songs like “Material Girl” and “Somebody to Love.” Think “A Knight’s Tale,” the 2001 fantasy that mixed-and-matched modern music and dancing with a medieval setting.
“Cinderella” is a frothy, enjoyable confection that often resembles a music video. Cabello’s take on the character breathes the same air as Moana, “Brave’s” feisty Merida, and Elsa and Anna from “Frozen.” Purists may miss the old songs or traditional blue dress, but stories about women as active participants in their lives should become the new tradition.
The glass slipper fitting on Cinderella’s foot is at the core of the magic of the fairy tale. It is a plot point that cannot be removed. If you do the whole story falls apart.
Real life is different.
Lily James, star of the new Disney live action remake of the Brothers Grimm tale, says the Swarovski slipper she “wears” in the film didn’t fit.
“That is my English humour,” she says. “It didn’t fit anyone. It wasn’t that they just got the size wrong. It’s Swarovski Crystal so it would have broken. They had to CGI it onto my foot, which was a bit of a shame.”
The Downton Abbey star—she plays the rebellious Lady Rose on the hit show—is about to have her name intrinsically connected with the Disney princess, but at the audition she had her eye on another role.
“When you get the casting call for something they pick what part you’re going to go for and they wanted me for [step-sister] Anastasia,” she says. “I remember I wore this pink tie-dyed jumper that the casting director told me to burn. But I had blonde hair because of Downton and they said I should read for Ella.
“I was kind of up for playing the off centre part; the quirkier, funnier part. I paced the corridor for about twenty minutes and the breakdown of the part that Ken [Branagh] had given me kind of struck me. It said she had a generous spirit and a generous nature and an open heart and I think because I didn’t have time to over think I just went in and just read it. I think I was much better for it.”
Her first day on set she shot one of the film’s key scenes, the “love-at-first-sight” meeting between Cinderella and Prince Charming, played by Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden.
“Ken said, ‘How do you feel about shooting that scene first?’ Richard and I didn’t really know each other and Ken caught that nervous energy, that getting-to-know-you, butterflies-in-your-stomach thing. He caught it on camera and I think that was smart. It kind of sets up the whole movie. It feels in that moment that Ella is very strong.”
So how will Downton Abbey fans react to seeing her familiar face as Cinderella?
“I hope lovingly,” she laughs. “I didn’t think there were many similarities but some people have said they think are. I watched the film and in the first scene I thought, ‘Oh no! I’m playing Rose.’ Then thankfully I shed it.”