Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the final instalment of the Skywalker Saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the weirdest movie of the year, “Cats” and the ripped from the headlines drama “Bombshell,” starring Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Todd van der Heyden to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the end of the road for the Skywalker Saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the weirdest movie of the year, “Cats” and “Bombshell,” featuring Charlize Theron as Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Cats,” the weirdest movie of the year, the lightsaber action of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Bombshell,” the inside story of Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment suit against Roger Ailes.
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 conclusion of everybody’s favourite space opera, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “Cats,” starring a collection of half human-half cat rejects from The Island of Dr. Moreau and “Bombshell,” the inside story of sexual harassment at Fox News.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the final instalment of the Skywalker Saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” and the weirdest movie of the year, “Cats.”
“Cats,” the mega-musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” has had nine lives.
Opening in London’s West End in 1981, it ran for 21 years and 8,949 performances, while the Broadway production ran for 18 years and 7,485 performances. It has played in over 30 countries in 15 languages and has been seen by more than 73 million people worldwide. The showstopping hit song “Memory” has been recorded by everyone from Liberace to Barbra Streisand. It is truly a show that always lands on its feet.
Oscar-winner director Tom Hooper puts out the litter box one more time in an all-star film that tells the tale of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles. The all-star cast, including James Corden, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift and Rebel Wilson, hidden under layers of CGI fur and whiskers, spend one-night singing and dancing as Old Deuteronomy (Dench) makes the Jellicle Choice to decide which cat will be sent to the Heaviside and reborn into a new life. The film version, with dialogue that links many of the tunes, does a better job of expressing the story but perhaps it’s best to remember that Lloyd Webber said to Hal Prince when he asked the composer if “Cats” was a political metaphor. “Are those cats Queen Victoria, Gladstone and Disraeli?’ the Broadway legend wondered. “Hal,” the composer replied, “this is just about cats.”
Let’s not pussyfoot around. “Cats” will go down in history as the weirdest studio movie of 2019. With actors who appear to have been put through the full-body Snapchat cat filter, a Ziegfeld Follies style chorus line of dancing cockroaches and felines with human hands and feet like rejects from “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” you’ll wonder if the theatre popcorn is laced with cat nip.
It’s an example of spectacle over substance. The songs are catchy, the cats swing and sway in a manner that would make Cirque du Soleil envious, but the story, such that it is, is still simply a collection of show tunes bound by theme but unconcerned with the niceties of plotting. In other words, instead of a story “Cats” is essentially a cluster of songs of introduction based on a weird, plotless collection of Eliot’s poems.
Where director Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables” worked to downplay the musical’s theatricality, “Cats” embraces it, allowing the felines to slink about the set, part ballet, part pantomime, part cat in heart. It’s big and silly, but unfortunately the high-tech veneer of the CGI costumes and sets erases much of the charm present in the more modest stage versions. One of the movie’s highlights is one stripped of (almost) all artifice. Dame Judy stares down the camera to deliver a playful “The Ad-dressing of Cats,” which has the kind of simple, absurd fun the rest of the film lacks.
There are other not-so-bad moments. Laurie Davidson’s “The Magical Mr. Mistoffelees” has a touch of, well, magic and Taylor Swift sashays convincingly through Bombalurina’s number but while the cast works hard to sell the material but the film is so unrestrained, so in search of meaning in a story that offers up religious resurrection metaphors but not much else, that I suspect audiences will make the Jellicle Choice and go see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” instead.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the speculative “Clara,” the dark comedy “Dead in a Week” and the delightful “Nothing Like Dame” starring Dame Eileen Atkins, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Joan Plowright and Dame Maggie Smith.
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 metaphysical drama “Clara,” the dark comedy “Dead in a Week” and the delightful “Nothing like a Dame” featuring Dame Eileen Atkins, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Joan Plowright and Dame Maggie Smith.
There’s an old Irish proverb that says, “A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.” Watching “Nothing Like a Dame,” a conversation between stage and screen legends Dame Eileen Atkins, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Joan Plowright and Dame Maggie Smith, will make you feel lucky to have these four, four leaf clovers in your life, if only for the eighty minute running time.
Director Roger Michell keeps it simple, placing his four transcendent stars in a simple setting. The Dames convene at the rural cottage Plowright built with her late husband Laurence Olivier, taking tea and champagne in the garden and on antique inside. From witty and wistful to strong and vulnerable, the four women tell stories about their lives on stage and off. They laugh about terrible reviews—“You remember the bad ones.”—dish on working with their famous husbands (all deceased)—“Obviously mine was the most difficult,” Plowright says of Olivier. “We all found him tricky,” Smith interjects.—their health—“Have we got three eyes between us all?” says Dench.—and more.
The conversation sparkles but don’t come looking for a timeline of their careers. Look instead for insight into lives lived on stage. Atkins reflects on stage fright, admitting, “On my way to the theater I would always think, ‘Would you like to be run over now, or in a massive car accident?’ And I only just about come out on the side of ‘No.’” Dench calls fear, “the petrol.” “It can be a help.”
Smith owns up to never watching “Downton Abbey,” the show she refers to it as that “wretched thing” that won her three Emmys, even though the producers gave her a box set.
Late in “Nothing Like a Dame” the quartet are asked what they have learned. “When in doubt, don’t,” Smith says after some thought. It’s that kind of documentary, a rare pleasure that succeeds on charm, wisdom and personality, and there can be no doubt about that.