Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the financial crisis drama “Hustlers,” the sprawling literary drama “The Goldfinch” and the sci fi story “Freaks.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at the pole dancing bandits of “Hustlers,” the sprawling literary drama “The Goldfinch” and the sci fi story “Freaks.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers,” the sprawling literary drama “The Goldfinch” and the sci fi story “Freaks” then has a look at the highlights from day one of the Toronto International Film Festival!
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers,” the sprawling literary drama “The Goldfinch” and the sci fi story “Freaks” then has a look at the highlights from day one of the Toronto International Film Festival!
If they gave out Oscars for pole dancing the release of “Hustlers” would place Jennifer Lopez one step closer to completing her EGOT collection.
“Jenny from the Block” plays Ramona Vega, centerfold turned superstar stripper. It’s the 2000s and the dancers at New York’s Sin City Café are lap-dancing all the way to the bank. “2007 was the best,” says Destiny (Constance Wu). “I made more money than a brain surgeon.” Ramona has taught Destiny the craft of separating the Wall Street bros who frequent their club from their money. She teaches the neophyte fancy pole moves like the “fairy sit” and “fireman spin,” and the nuances of customer service. “Get them a single, a double, then a triple and then a single,” she says. “You want them drunk enough to get their credit card but sober enough to sign the check.”
They follow the “green brick road” until September 29, 2008. Wall Street is gutted by a stock market crash, putting a stop to open-ended expense accounts and the dolla bills that showered the women as they danced. “It’s the end of an era in American business,” says Brian Williams on the news, and the end of way of life for Destiny, Ramona and friends.
Overnight everything changes. The business turns from glamourous to grimy. “The guys don’t want to spend the dollars,” says the dancer’s den mother (Mercedes Ruehl), “the girls don’t want to share tips in management took the cameras out of the champagne rooms.” With lap dances no longer enough to make money Ramona comes up with a new way of separating the Wall Street guys from their cash. “We can’t dance forever. We have to think like them. Nobody gets hurt.” A mix of sex appeal, flattery and knock-out drugs, it’s not exactly legal but they have no sympathy for the businessmen who they say robbed the country but didn’t get any jail time. “I know it sounds bad that we were drugging people,” Destiny says, “but in our world it was normal.” New recruits to their booming business bring trouble and soon it’s not the stock market crashing but police, crashing through their apartment doors.
Based on a true story and inspired by the New York Magazine article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler, the movie’s narrative spine is an interview between a journalist (played by Julia Stiles subbing in for Pressler) and Destiny, giving the movie an as-told-told vibe.
The result is a fleet-footed dramedy that captures the heady, high-heeled days at the club when the money flowed like water and it was all giddy good times for the dancers. An early scene puts you in the mind of an R-rated snowglobe as J-Lo swings around a pole, dollar bills filling the air around her. Like the time it evokes, it’s over-the-top but easily upped by the next sequence which finds Ramona finding a quiet moment on a New York City rooftop. As the lights of the city twinkle behind her she is in repose, smoking a cigarette, a fluffy fur coat barely concealing her stage costume. Like some kind of Venus on the Half-Shell by way of 42nd Street she embodies the decadence of the time.
In the first part of the film the camp is amped. By the time Usher shows up, strutting into the club with the cool factor of Sinatra in his prime, a fistful of Benjamins in hand, the picture of the wild ‘n woolly era is complete. Director Lorene Scafaria then gear shifts, adding in the sense of desperation that comes when the money dries up. The movie shifts gears, becoming more of a caper flick as Ramona and pals go fishing for Wall Street sharks.
At the core of the story is the sisterhood between Ramona and Destiny. It’s a mother, mentor pairing that sees the two women bond on a level that transcends simply being business partners. “We are the untouchables,” says Ramona, “like Kobe and Shaq.” They become intricately involved in one another’s lives, which makes the sting of the coming events even more complicated. Lopez and Wu have spark together onscreen, bringing some heart to a story of people who trolled the dark side for a living.
“Hustlers” is a glitzy caper about money, friendship, and revenge against the bankers who went unpunished after a financial crisis brought the country and the dancers at the Sin City Café to their knees. “Everybody is hustling,” says Ramona. “This city, this whole country is a strip club. You’ve got people tossing the money and people dancing.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the first Hollywood movie in 25 years to star an all-Asian cast, “Crazy Rich Asians,” the new Mark Wahlberg shoot ’em up “Mile 22,” and the mystery thriller “Never Saw it Coming.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the glitz-glammy rom com, “Crazy Rich Asians,” the new Mark Wahlberg actioner “Mile 22,” and the mystery thriller “Never Saw it Coming.”
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 first Hollywood movie in 25 years to star an all-Asian cast, “Crazy Rich Asians,” the new Mark Wahlberg shoot ’em up “Mile 22,” and the mystery thriller “Never Saw it Coming.”
“Crazy Rich Asians,” based on the phenomenally successful books by Kevin Kwan, is a mix of “Cinderella” and a rom com with a side order of “Pride and Prejudice.”
Constance Wu plays Rachel Chu, an NYU economics professor, who dates historian Nick Young (Henry Golding). After a year of seeing one another he invites her to his best friend’s wedding and to meet his family in Singapore. She jumps at the chance because she knows nothing about them. Every time she brings up the family he changes the subject. “Maybe his parents are poor and he has to send them money,” says her mother Kerry (Kheng Hua Tan).
Turns out just the opposite is true.
When it begins to dawn on Rachel that his family is well off she asks him straight up. “We’re comfortable,” he says. “That is exactly what a super rich person would say,” she says. He is the son of unimaginably rich parents, the wealthiest people on the island. Nick is prince charming, a good-looking heir to a fortune who downplays his status. “Damn, Rachel, says Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina), “he’s like an Asian Bachelor.”
She is the Meghan to his Harry but there are problems. Catapulted into a world of opulence Rachel finds herself under scrutiny. Nick’s family doesn’t approve of her job, her background or the fact that a single mother raised her. “If Nick chooses me,” she says to his mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), “he would lose his family. And if he chooses his family, he might spend the rest of his life resenting you.”
“Crazy Rich Asians” is an effervescent concoction so fizzy it’ll make your tongue tingle. A glittery surface built around a solid chassis, it contains a bit of something for everyone, from romance and Lifestyles of the Rich and Singaporean to melodrama and philosophy, from exotic locations to comedy. But at its heart it is the story of a woman, Rachel, who is secure enough in her own place in the world to not be seduced by the cornucopia of riches on offer. It’s about character and how it relates to individualism versus tradition.
The plotting is pure rom com—couple fall in love, are forced apart and (SPOILER ALERT ONLY IF YOU’VE NEVER SEEN A ROM COM BEFORE) yet find a way to make their love work despite all obstacles—but it is populated with appealing characters to guide the story.
Wu is the film’s beating heart, bringing empathy and humanity to the high-flying world portrayed. Ditto Gemma Chan, an extravagantly wealthy woman trying to make sense of a marriage torn apart by money and status. As Nick’s icy mother Michelle Yeoh displays an ability to reveal much by doing very little.
On the com side of things is Awkwafina as Rachel’s best friend. She steals every scene she’s in, even when up against veteran eye catcher Ken Jeong.
“Crazy Rich Asians” is an escapist fantasy that entertains with its labyrinthine soap opera twists and turns, lush settings and all Asian cast—a first in a quarter century in Hollywood—but also digs a little deeper into the similarities and differences between the characters and cultures.