Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD to watch this weekend including the Helen Reddy biopic “I Am Woman,” the raunchy revenge flick “Ravage” and the gritty gangster flick “The Tax Collector.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Stephanie Smythe have a look at the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the Helen Reddy biopic “I Am Woman,” the gritty gangster flick “The Tax Collector” and the glossy rom com “The Broken Hearts Gallery.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the Helen Reddy biopic “I Am Woman,” the gritty gangster flick “The Tax Collector,” the glossy rom com “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” the Shakespeare update of “Measure for Measure” and the violent revenge film “Ravage.”
Early on in “I Am Woman,” the Helen Reddy biopic now on digital and on demand, the Australian singer, played by Tilda Cobham-Hervey, passes a subway advertisement that sets the tone for the test of the movie. A housewife holds a bottle of ketchup and with a look of surprise says, “Even I can open it!” as Reddy makes her way to a meeting with a dismissive record industry twit.
Melbourne-born Reddy’s plainspoken anthems for a generation of women kicked open doors in a sexist industry and while she never says, “Even I can open it,” about a bottle of ketchup or anything else in the film, it’s clear from the start she has no doubt that she can.
Based on Reddy’s memoir “The Woman I Am,” the movie begins in 1966 when the Beatles ruled the charts and record labels were not interested in “girl singers.” Single-mom Reddy and her young daughter land in New York on the mistaken belief that a record deal was awaiting. It wasn’t but Reddy was, well, ready for success. A polished singer and performer, she just needed a break. That came in the form of Jeff Wald (Evan Peters), an ambitious music biz insider who becomes her manager and husband. When he puts down the coke spoon long enough to focus on Reddy’s career, he manages to land her a record contract. The resulting album, 1971’s “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and it’s number one hit “I Am Woman” established Reddy not only as a creative force but also as a figurehead of the era’s feminist movement.
“I Am Woman” follows the standard 1970s “Behind the Music” biopic formula. From struggling artist to chart topper, with all the sexism, drugs and rock n’ roll—OK, make that easy listening rock—you expect from a showbiz tale writ large. Add to that some on-the-nose soundtrack decisions—”You and Me Against the World” warbles in the background as Reddy and her music journalist pal Lillian Roxon (Danielle Macdonald) are trying to make a dent in the music business and, the even heavier-handed “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady” adorns a scene of marital discord—and you have the makings of corny musical melodrama.
What sets it apart from the pack is a charismatic performance from Cobham-Hervey and some nicely rendered musical numbers.
In a breakout performance Cobham-Hervey captures the spirit of Reddy, a talented everywoman who fought against workplace harassment and discrimination to achieve success. She’s charismatic but brings a certain kind of effortlessness to role, a hard to define quality on display in her first in-studio scene. She’s having a hard time performing to a room of disinterested hard rock producers until Wald suggests she pretend she’s on stage. As the nerves settle Cobham-Hervey brings Reddy to life, allowing the strong, invincible singer to emerge. (Chelsea Cullen provides Reddy’s singing voice.)
Equally effective is the montage that introduces the title song. Intercutting Reddy’s performance with news footage of Equal Rights Amendment rallies and women’s liberation protests, director Unjoo Moon creates a picture perfect portrait of the time, showing us, not telling us why the song was then, and remains, such a powerful statement.
“I Am Woman” is an entertaining, if conventional biography of a woman who was anything but conventional.
A new feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York” and the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York,” the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick” and Penelope Cruz in “The Queen of Spain.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the big weekend movies including “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York,” the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick” and Penelope Cruz in “The Queen of Spain.”
Patti Cake$, a story of big dreams and hip hop glory, introduces two major new talents, writer, director Geremy Jasper and star Danielle Macdonald. Together they present a gritty, sweet and quite unforgettable movie.
The Australian born Macdonald is Patricia Dombroski, a New Jersey wannabe rapper who, depending on her mood goes by Patti Cake$ or Killer P. She’s a walking, talking attitude in plus size clothes; a woman with a way with words and a dream of bettering her circumstances through hip hop. “Just to make myself clear,” she raps, “Get me the BLEEP outta here.”
“She wants to do what she loves to do,” says Macdonald, “but she kind of gets put in a box by society, by the people around her, by her mom even.”
Bringing the film to the screen was a three-year journey. Jasper wrote the script in just nineteen days to submit it to the Sundance Writer’s Lab in January 2014. After that, says Macdonald, there were many incarnations of the story.
“Sid [Siddharth Dhananjay] who plays Jheri and Bridget [Everett] who plays my mom and me all came on board at the Sundance Labs. After that Geremy said, ‘I want to use all these people. That’s what I picture.’ I think knowing we were in those roles and had already acted them probably helped him and influenced his writing.
“He would send me a script and if I would see a part I loved I’d say, ‘I love this, you better not change it.’ He didn’t. The first time he wrote the end scene the way it is, which is a rewrite from when we did the Labs, I was obsessed with it. I cried and I had read the script so many times.”
Perhaps it’s because Patti Cake$ is, in part, based on the director’s life that Patti’s attempts to claw herself out of her Dickensian existence feel so authentic. What begins as one rapper’s run-of-the-mill journey to get out from under the weight of her dreams snakes around to become a high-energy, fist-pumping story of overcoming odds with dignity and on your own terms.
Part of the film’s appeal are the raps that seem to effortlessly flow from Patti’s lips. They’re fresh, raw and most of all sound extemporaneous. “That’s good,” laughs Macdonald when I compliment her. “They were not. It took time and a lot of practice.”
“I learned the raps with the Jersey accent,” she says. “At that point I only knew how to rap them with a Jersey accent. That helped. If I had learned them another way and then had to change, it would have been way harder. When I got the raps I had to slow them down and put in the accent and then speed it all up because they’re tongue twisters basically. The accent is a whole different placement in your mouth and then learning how to rap is a whole new thing I was trying to figure out.”
Three years after first taking on the role Macdonald is done with the character. Almost.
“We shot the music video just last week so I wouldn’t say I have necessarily shed her skin,” she says. “I think that was actually the last time I’ll be Patti.”
“Patti Cake$,” a story of big dreams and hip hop glory, introduces two major new talents, writer, director (and former front man for indie rock band The Fever) Geremy Jasper and star Danielle Macdonald. Together they present a movie that is gritty, sweet and quite unforgettable.
Macdonald is Patricia Dombroski, a New Jersey wannabe rapper who, depending on her mood goes by Patti Cake$ or Killer P. She’s a walking, talking attitude in plus size clothes, a woman with a way with words and a dream of bettering her circumstances through hip hop. “Just to make myself clear,” she raps, “Get me the BLEEP outta here.”
Her mother Barb (Bridget Everett), once an up-and-coming singer, is now a drunk who spends her days caring for the wheelchair-bound Nana (Cathy Moriarty) in their ramshackle house.
With musical partner Hareesh (Siddharth Dhananjay) and an off-the-grid punk rocker who goes by Antichrist (Mamoudou Athie) she performs as PBNJ, a band with a demo but no street cred or prospects. When a “showcase” at a strip club goes sideways Patti leaves the group, trading hopes of MTV stardom for a catering job. Music is never far away, however, and still might be the remedy for Killer P’s heartache and crushed dreams.
It’s hard to classify “Patti Cake$” as a feel good movie but underneath the story’s grit and grime is an aspirational tale that won’t leave the taste of saccharine in your mouth. It’s a raw, emotional coming-of-age story of the type we’ve seen before, with styles we’ve seen before— fantasy cutaways and impossibly grim circumstances to overcome—but director Jasper and Australian born star Macdonald keep it compelling.
Perhaps it’s because “Patti Cake$” is, in part, based on the director’s life that Patti’s attempts to claw herself out of her Dickensian existence feel so authentic. Patti is a resilient underdog, a sympathetic lead brought to vivid and appealing life by Macdonald. What begins as one rapper’s a run-of-the-mill journey to get out from under the weight of her dreams snakes around to become a high-energy, fist-pumping story of overcoming odds with dignity and on your own terms.