Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Bain about TV shows to watch this weekend including Viggo Mortensen’s father-and-son drama “Falling” (select theatres, rent or buy on the Apple TV app and other VOD platforms), the trippy “A Glitch in the Matrix” documentary (VOD), and the unfiltered Netflix romantic drama “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix).
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Viggo Mortensen’s father-and-son drama “Falling” (select theatres, rent or buy on the Apple TV app and other VOD platforms), the trippy “A Glitch in the Matrix” documentary (VOD), and the unfiltered Netflix romantic drama “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix).
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including Viggo Mortensen’s father-and-son drama “Falling” (select theatres, rent or buy on the Apple TV app and other VOD platforms), the trippy “A Glitch in the Matrix” documentary (VOD), the unfiltered Netflix romantic drama “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix) and the Australian sheep story “Rams” (Vortex Media, VOD/Digital).
Darth Vader may be the cosmically worst cinematic father in the universe but down on earth Willis, as played by Lance Henriksen in the new film “Falling,” gives the “Star Wars” villain a run for his money.
Writer, director and star Viggo Mortensen found inspiration for the story after caring for his real-life father in his declining years. Mortensen plays John, husband of Eric (Terry Chen), son of Willis. He’s ex-Air Force, now working as a commercial pilot based in Los Angeles. It’s a long way from the rural New York farm where he was raised and his father still resides.
Willis isn’t doing well. Dementia has robbed him of the ability to live alone in the rambling old farmhouse he’s inhabited for decades. Hoping to make his father’s life easier, John brings him to California with an eye toward making it easier to care for him.
Trouble is, Willis’ disease has made him the definition of cantankerous. Anger, misogyny, and homophobia are a way of life for the old man who never misses an opportunity to spew his hatred. John bears the brunt of it, but Willis is an equal opportunity offender whose current bad attitude is a magnification of the behavior that tore his family apart decades before.
“Falling” gives genre legend Henriksen his meatiest role in years. He is the dominant and dominating character, a man who makes Archie Bunker look like Justin Trudeau. It’s a raw performance but after the first hour it becomes something close to parody as Willis’ insults become more and more vicious and increasingly inane.
Mortensen’s take on Jack is more nuanced. As the younger man searches for closure, Willis continuously tests the limits of his compassion and challenges the old man’s view of masculinity. Where Henriksen is playing to the back of the house, Mortensen is subdued, finding the character’s kindness in a very difficult situation.
We learn more about Willis in the flashbacks that make up about fifty percent of the movie’s running time. As a young misanthropist-in-the-making Willis is played by Sverrir Gudnason with a sneer and a quick tongue. The flashbacks are an origin story, a study in where Willis came from and a glimpse of the man he once was, for better and for worse, as he began driving everyone around him away. In these scenes he still has a remnant of his humanity, and therefore, is a more interesting character than his elderly counterpart.
“Falling” is a self-assured and sometimes poetic directorial debut for Mortensen, marred by a repetitive central character you don’t want to be around for the film’s 112-minute running time.
Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Bain about television and movies to watch during the pandemic, including a show about collecting movie props, new movies on VOD–“Emma” and “Disappearance at Clifton Hill”–and why we’re going back and rewatching some old favourites.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including Shia LeBeouf’s semi-autobiographical story “Honey Boy,” the eco-doc “Spaceship Earth,” the period dramedy “Emma,” the ripped-from-the-headlines “The Assistant,” the family drama “Ordinary Love,” the horror comedy “Extra ordinary,” the ugly divorce proceedings of “Hope Gap” and the neo-realist look at the gig economy “Sorry We Missed You.”
Niagara Falls’ Clifton Hill has no shortage of haunted houses. In exchange for a few dollars the “World Famous Street of Fun” offers up scary attractions like Frankenstein’s Haunted House, but a new film, “Disappearance at Clifton Hill,” now on VOD, isn’t content with a cheap scare or two, it’s looking to make a deeper, psychological impact. “The haunted houses aren’t actually haunted,” jokes Abby (Tuppence Middleton).
“Downton Abbey’s” Middleton is a woman troubled by a childhood incident. As a little girl on a fishing trip with her parents, she witnessed the kidnapping of a one-eyed boy. Years later, after the death of her mother she returns home to sell the family’s run-down motel, the Rainbow Inn. Sifting through some old photos she comes across some old photos that dredge up memories of the terrible event.
Instead of packing up and leaving town she opens an investigation. “I’m someone who saw it,” she says. “Saw them take him. I was seven. I was there when it happened and I have proof.” When she uncovers the story of some local performers, the Magnificent Moulins, and their missing and presumed dead son she wonders if he could be the one-eyed boy. Her sister Laure (Mindhunter’s Hannah Gross) doesn’t believe her story—Abby is a pathological liar—but local historian and podcaster Walter (David Cronenberg) does. “Do you know what happens when a body hits the bottom of the gorge?” he asks. “Think swallowing a live grenade.” That would explain why no body was ever found, but it opens the door to a conspiracy that leaves Abby questioning her sanity. “There’s a lot of history round these parts,” Walter says, ominously.
With the soft underbelly of Niagara Falls as a backdrop “Disappearance at Clifton Hill” effectively creates an eccentric atmosphere that hangs in the air; never forced, never obvious.
Director Albert Shin allows the city’s offbeat setting, including haunted houses and the uber-kitschy Flying Saucer Restaurant, to infuse itself into the offbeat nature of Abby’s story. Like the city itself, her tale isn’t exactly what it seems on the surface.
Middleton subtly reveals Abby’s complexity. She approaches her investigation with a certain amount of naïve zeal, quickly realizing that her obsession is leading her down some very dark paths. Looking for answers, she is fearless in her search for the truth amid the ambiguity of her memory. Supporting her, in a terrific turn is Cronenberg as the only person who believe she is on to something. It could have been stunt casting to bring in a master of the macabre to play a man who specializes in cataloguing the dark side of life but Cronenberg finds humour in the character while still helping move the story forward.
As a mystery “Disappearance at Clifton Hill” doesn’t have quite enough intrigue but as a character study of a person troubled by long ago events it roars like the waterfall that sits at the heart of its story.
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 “Emma,” “Seberg,” and “Disappearance at Clifton Hill.”