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 much anticipated “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” the latest adventures of the Gomez, Morticia and Company in the animated “The Addams Family 2” and the Jake Gyllenhaal thriller “The Guilty.”
“The Many Saints of Newark,” the sprawling big-screen prequel to the iconic television series “The Sopranos,” feels more like a pilot for a new show than the origin story of one of television’s most famous families.
Broken into three parts, “The Many Saints of Newark,” uses narration, courtesy of Tony Soprano’s late associate Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), to break down the movie’s interconnected story shards.
Firstly, there is Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), Soprano Family soldier, father of Christopher, cousin to Carmela Soprano, uncle to Tony. He’s hooked up, wily and impulsive but also treacherous. When his father, the slick sociopath ‘Hollywood Dick’ (Ray Liotta), returns from Italy with a new bride (Michela De Rossi), it triggers chaos in the Moltisanti family.
In Dickie’s orbit is Harold McBrayer (Leslie Odom Jr.), an African-American numbers runner for the Mob, galvanized by the 1967 Newark race riots to go out on his own and, finally, Tony Soprano, played by William Ludwig as a youngster, Michael Gandolfini, the late James Gandolfini’s son, as a teenager. As Dickie’s thirst for power spins out of control, he becomes a surrogate father to Tony, hoping to pass along something good to the impressionable younger man as a way to atone for his sins.
“The Many Saints of Newark” is vivid in its portrayal of the period. Covering roughly four years, from 1967 to 1971, it uses the turmoil of that time in American life as a backdrop for the explosive nature of Dickie’s world. That atmosphere of uncertainty makes up for a story that, despite some glorious moments, often feels rushed as it careens toward an ending that doesn’t mine the rich psychological landscape of these characters, which is what we expect from David Chase and “The Sopranos.”
The actors are game.
Nivola brings equal parts charisma, danger and depth to a flawed character who is the ringmaster to the action. Unlike many of the other characters, like the conniving Junior Soprano (Corey Stoll), henchman Paulie Walnuts (Blly Magnussen) or consigliere Silvio Dante (John Magaro), who come with eighty-six episodes of baggage, Dickie is new and can be viewed through fresh eyes.
Michael Gandolfini takes on the Herculean task of revisiting a character his father made one of the most famous in television history and brings it home by showcasing the character’s volatility and, more importantly, his vulnerability. He’s a troubled kid, on the edge of turning one way or the other, and even though we know how the story goes, Gandolfini’s performance suggests there is more to know about Tony Soprano.
If there is a complaint, it’s that both Tony and McBrayer, two of the main cogs that keep this engine running, get lost in “The Many Saints of Newark’s” elaborate plotting. Ditto for the female characters. Despite tremendous work from Vera Farmiga as Tony’s poisonous mother Livia and De Rossi as Dickie’s step-mom, the women often feel peripheral to the tale, in service only to the men’s stories.
“The Many Saints of Newark” brings with it high expectations but falls short of coming close to the greatness of its source material. “The Sopranos” broke new ground, changing the way gangster stories (and all sorts of other stories) were told on television. “The Many Saints of Newark” settles for less as an exercise in nostalgia.
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the icy charms of “Frozen 2,” Tom Hanks as television icon Mister Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” two films from Adam Driver, “Marriage Story” and “The Report” and one of the year’s very best films, “Waves” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Frozen 2,” the highly icy sequel to one of Disney’s biggest animated hits, Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” and two films from Adam Driver, “Marriage Story” and “The Report.”
“The Report,” starring Adam Driver as lead investigator and author of the “Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Report of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program” Daniel Jones, sets up what is to come very early on in the film when a CIA agent says,
“Paper has a way of getting people into trouble at our place,” to Jones.
When we first meet Jones he is an idealistic staffer for California’s Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening). A hard worker, he throws himself into his latest project as chief investigator on what would become the largest study the Senate ever conducted, a look into the use and abuse of E.I.T.s – enhanced interrogation techniques, sanctioned by the Bush/Cheney administration in the months and years following 9/11.
Working with a small team in a small underground bunker with no wi-fi and, at first, no printers to create documents that could leave a paper trail, Jones uncovers unimaginable cruelty and through the course of six years and in generating a document that spans almost 7,000 pages cannot find any instances of the torture—i.e. waterboarding, sense deprivation techniques and physical abuse—leading to the uncovering of any useful information. When Feinstein is told one subject was waterboarded—a method of torture that simulates drowning—183 times she says, “If it works why do you have to do it 183 times?”
Jones finds himself stuck in the political process, a cog in a very big wheel determined to crush him and keep the results of his work, including accusation of CIA certified murder, under wraps.
“The Report” contains high voltage ideas and accusations but is dry as a bone. It’s a Sorkin-esque social drama without the engaging drama the “Social Network” writer brings to his projects. Writer-director Scott Z. Burns captures the labyrinthine machinations that keep Washington in a constant state of intrigue but gets lost in the complexity of the situation. Cover-ups are never straightforward, especially one with the juice to generate 7,000 pages of damning evidence. The result is a plodding procedural that, although incendiary, never catches fire.
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.”
Richard has a look at Ryan Gosling’s as Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” the star studded “Bad Times at the El Royale” and a nasty take on “Home Alone” called “Knuckleball” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
We all know how “First Man” will end. No surprises there. What may be surprising is the portrayal of its titular character, American astronaut and hero Neil Armstrong. It’s a small story about a giant leap.
Focussing on the years 1961 to 1968 “First Man” introduces us to Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) as an engineer and envelope-pushing pilot. When an X-15 test flight gives him a glimpse of space he becomes obsessed with going further. When his three-year-old daughter dies of a brain tumour he turns his grief inward, throwing himself at work. Becoming a NASA Gemini Project astronaut over the next seven years he fulfils the dream of President Kennedy 1962, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” speech. Alongside Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll) and Jim Lovell (Pablo Schreiber), he begins a journey that will take him to the moon and back.
“First Man” is based on one of mankind’s greatest achievements and yet feels muted on the big screen. Deliberately paced, it nails the bone-rattling intensity of the early flights, the anxiety felt by the loved ones left behind as the astronauts risk everything to beat the Russians to the moon, and yet it never exactly takes flight.
Part history lesson, part simulator experience, it doesn’t deliver the characters necessary to feel like a complete experience.
Gosling is at his most restrained here as an analytical man who loves his family but is so stoic he answers his son’s question, “Do you think you’re coming back from the moon,” with an answer better suited to the boardroom than the dinner table. “We have every confidence in the mission,” he says. “There are risks but we have every reason to believe we’ll be coming back.” He is buttoned-down and yet not completely detached. His daughter’s memory never strays from his mind, even if he never discusses her death with his wife, played by an underused Claire Foy. Gosling embraces Armstrong’s fortitude but has stripped the character down to the point where he is little more than a distant man of few words.
“First Man” contains some thrilling moments but for the most part is like the man himself, stoic and understated.