Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” the inspirational surfing documentary “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable” and the family drama “Astronaut” starring Richard Dreyfuss.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including Quentin Tarantino’s latest “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” the Richard Dreyfuss dramedy “Astronaut” and the inspirational surfing documentary “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including Quentin Tarantino’s latest “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” the Richard Dreyfuss dramedy “Astronaut” and the inspirational surfing documentary “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
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 Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” the inspirational surfing documentary “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable” and the family drama “Astronaut” starring Richard Dreyfuss.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including Quentin Tarantino’s latest “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” the Richard Dreyfuss dramedy “Astronaut” and the inspirational surfing documentary “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable.”
I went to see “Pulp Fiction” on its October 1994 opening weekend at a 2:30 pm screening. I arrived at 2:15 pm, stood in line and waited. And waited. The shows were delayed because audiences weren’t leaving after the credits. They were sitting in their seats talking about what they had just seen. Months of hype in the newspapers and on shows like “Entertainment Tonight” ignited curiosity and the movie delivered, using a broken timeline, ultra-violence and witty dialogue to bend the idea of what a movie could be. Just after 3 pm the movie finally started. Later, mind blown, I didn’t stick around the theatre to discuss the movie with anyone. I ran to the box office, bought a ticket for the next screening and got back in line.
Quentin Tarantino’s new film, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” doesn’t have quite the same impact as “Pulp Fiction” but it digs deeper, expanding on themes the director has spent a career exploring. “Pulp Fiction” was a seismic shift, a movie changed the face of 1990s cinema, while “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” is an allegory for changing times.
As the title would suggest “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” has dark fairy tale elements. Set in sun dappled 1969 Los Angeles, it focusses on two almost down-and-outers, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) a former series star now reduced to doing episodic television—“It’s official old buddy. I’m a has-been.”—and stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), a self-described “old cowboy.” Both are on a race to the bottom in an industry they don’t understand anymore.
Next to Dalton’s luxury Cielo Drive home is a mansion owned by starlet Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and director Roman Polanski (Rafał Zawierucha), party place to L.A. luminaries like heiress Abigail Folger (Samantha Robinson) and hairdresser to the stars Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch). As Dalton and Booth’s Hollywood era comes to a close, another is blossoming next door and further on down the road at Manson Family HQ and former western movie set Spahn Ranch.
There will be no spoilers here. I can say the various narrative shards dovetail together in a frenzy of grindhouse violence near the end, but “OUAT… IH” isn’t story driven as much as it is a detailed portrait of a time and place, the moment when the sea change was coming. Piece by piece Tarantino weaves together a nostalgic pastiche of b-movie tropes and expertly rendered sights and sounds to create a vivid portrait of a time and place. With the setting established, he plays mix and match, blending fact and fiction, creating his own history that feels like a carefully detailed memory play.
Pitt screaming down Hollywood Boulevard in a powder blue sports car is the essence of what the movie is about. The propulsive energy of Hollywood, dangerous, glamorous with the promise of ending up who knows where. The characters may all be headed for uncertain futures but an air of optimism hangs over the story. Dalton is down on his luck but when he realizes his neighbor is a world-famous director he says, “I could be one pool party away from starring in the next Polanski movie.” He’s a man out of time but still feels there might be a place for him in that world and that is the lifeblood of Hollywood, the city built on dreams.
One such dreamer is Tate. Robbie has a lovely scene as the actress enjoying her own movie in a darkened theatre. It does away with the stylized dialogue Tarantino is known for and instead focusses on the pure joy the character feels at watching her dreams come true on the big screen. It’s a lovely scene that speaks to the excitement of the first blush of success, untouched by cynicism in an increasingly cynical world.
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” is unique in its feel. Tarantino has always been singular in his filmmaking but this one feels different. It’s clearly rooted in the b-movies that inspire his vision but here he is contemplative, allowing his leads—DiCaprio and Pitt in full-on charismatic mode—to channel and portray the insecurities that accompany uncertainty. The film is specific in its setting but universal in portrayal of how people react to the shifting sands of time. Funny, sad and occasionally outrageous, it’s just like real life as filtered through a camera lens.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, Tom Hanks as symbologist Robert Langdon in “Inferno,” two of the best movies of the years, “Moonlight” and “The Handmaiden” and Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut, “American Pastoral.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel morning show to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, Tom Hanks as symbologist Robert Langdon in “Inferno,” two of the best movies of the years, “Moonlight” and “The Handmaiden” and Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut, “American Pastoral.”
Ewan McGregor makes his directorial debut with “American Pastoral,” a crime-drama based on a novel by Phillip Roth. He deftly presents nice performances from Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Connelly, Rupert Evans and Valorie Curry but tells a story that feels disjointed.
McGregor stars as Seymour ‘Swede’ Levov, a man with a charmed life. He was a football star in high school, married Dawn (Connelly) his beautiful girlfriend, inherited a thriving business and was blessed with a daughter, Merry (played by Hannah Nordberg as a child, Fanning as a teen). He was “Our hero, our Kennedy,” says a schoolmate.
When little Merry, aged eleven, sees a news report of Buddhist monk Thích Quang Duc burning himself to death to protest the war in Vietnam, it awakens something inside her. “Why does that gentle man have to burn himself?” she cries. “Doesn’t anyone care? Doesn’t anyone have a conscience?”
Cut to several years later. Merry is now a politically engaged revolutionary teenager living under her father’s suburban Old Rim Rock, New Jersey roof. She calls the president, “Linden ‘Baby Burner’ Johnson,” and heads off to meet her radical friends in New York whenever possible. “What do you care about the war?” she shrieks at her parents. “You’re just contented middle-class people!”
The ‘Swede,’ concerned about his daughter’s behaviour forbids her to go to the city. Instead, he suggests, why doesn’t she protest a little closer to home? When the local post office blows up, killing the postmaster, and Merry disappears the human cost of her actions becomes clear. The bomb destroys the building, kills a man and presents ‘Swede’ with the first crisis of his charmed life.
“American Pastoral” is a handsome movie that tackles one of the most tumultuous times in American history. McGregor gets inside the stateside protest of the Vietnam War by keeping the story tight, focussed on one family and the devastating effect of radicalism has on them and, peripherally, on the victims of Merry’s crimes. Getting inside the head of a young woman driven to push away the comfy-cosy life provided by her wealthy parents for a life on the run would be fascinating. Too bad it isn’t here. Instead, Fanning plays Merry like a petulant teen, more likely to sneak out to meet boys than blow up government buildings.
Ditto the resulting toll Merry’s actions take on her decent, hardworking parents. Dawn falls apart, ending up in hospital before taking the most superficial way out of her heartbreaking problems.
There’s an affair and some intrigue but it’s all skin deep. There are many shots of McGregor looking concerned, but the full weight of the family’s tragedy is never truly felt. It feels by times as though sections of the movie are missing, either edited out from a longer version or left unfilmed. It’s a shame because what could have been an interesting look at what happens when radicalization comes home is neutered by some swiss cheese storytelling—lots of holes.