Posts Tagged ‘Dexter Fletcher’


Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the Elton John fantasy flick “Rocketman,” the foot-stompin’ “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and the fashion documentary “Halston.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the glittering Elton John musical fantasy “Rocketman,” the big monster movie “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and the fashion doc “Halston” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


A weekly feature from! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the Elton John fantasy flick “Rocketman,” the foot-stompin’ “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and the fashion documentary “Halston.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

ROCKETMAN: 4 ½ STARS. “finds an emotional resonance missing from many biopics.”

From the get go “Rocketman,” the new Elton John jukebox biopic starring Taron Egerton, is more revealing and blunter than last year’s wildly popular but hagiographic Queen movie “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Using flashbacks John, in full stage regalia, tells the story during an AA meeting. The movie and his tale begin with a revelation. “My name is Elton Hercules John and I’m an alcoholic, and a cocaine addict, and a sex addict and a bulimic and a shopaholic who has a problem with weed and anger management.”

From the blunt introduction we’re led through the singer’s life on a broken timeline, jumping to and fro, blending fact and fantasy.

Jumbled up in the mix are his terrible parents (Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh)—when he tells mom he’s gay she replies, “We will never be loved properly.”—his songwriting partner and muse Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), plus mounds of cocaine and hit songs used to punctuate the autobiographical action. Unlike “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” prudish attitude regarding Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality, “Rocketman” is out and proud, detailing John’s intimate relationship with partner and manager John Reid (Richard Madden).

Part “Moulin Rouge” by way of Ken Russell‘s “Tommy,” “Rocketman’s” startling opening number, “The Bitch is Back,” establishes that this is no warmed over “Bohemian Rhapsody” clone. It is a musical, not simply a musical biopic. Characters burst into song and Elton John songs are woven into the score.

Of course, music is a large part of the story. In the tradition of musical theatre “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” isn’t simply performed as one of John’s biggest hits, it’s moves the story forward as a duet between John and his ex-wife-to-be Renate Blauel (Celinde Schoenmaker).

To illustrate the transcendent nature of John’s star-making US debut at the Troubadour in Los Angeles director Dexter Fletcher gets metaphysical. As he plays “Crocodile Rock” both John and the audience levitate as if the music is taking them to a higher place. It’s trippy but wordlessly conveys the excitement of those early gigs. Add to that dancing Teddy Boys and flamboyant stage costumes and “Rocketman” feels Broadway bound.

The surreal storytelling effortlessly captures the heady, “Who wants to go to a party at Mama Cass‘s house?“ days of Elton John‘s early rise to stardom. Later, when John becomes a walking, singing rock n’ roll cliché director Dexter Fletcher amps up the style to portray the lifestyle the musician himself describes as “madness.” As such the biographical details are jumbled but “Rocketman” is more about capturing the moment not the exact details.

It is glittering eye candy but there is much humanity on display. In one remarkable scene Taron Egerton as John prepares for a live show with copious amounts of cocaine and wine. Staring into the mirror he tries to find his game face. From dead-eyed to sparkly in the flash we see the two sides of a man who once said, “I wish I was someone else.” Egerton is a dead ringer for John, even if doesn’t sound like the voice from the classic recordings. In a performance that portrays the humanity and the outrageousness of someone who says, “I do not live my life in black-and-white,” Egerton grabs the singer’s essence.

Nice supporting work from Jamie Bell as lyricist Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as John’s boyfriend and manager Reid and Stephen Graham as music industry wheeler-dealer Dick James, who advises John to “buy something flashy, put on a great show and don’t kill yourself with drugs,” add to the flavour of the piece but it is Egerton’s show. He can sing and dance but also mines the character to find an emotional resonance missing from many biopics.

“Rocketman” is sometimes a little too on the nose in its song selections. As Taupin, who will eventually call the singer his brother, and John bond the soundtrack plays “Border Song’s,” “He’s my brother let us live in peace,” refrain. It’s a tad obvious for a movie that pushes buttons in terms of style, portrayal of sexuality and the flexibility of the biographical timelines.

By the film’s coda, however, it’s clear this is a tale of self-reckoning. There is much talk of reinvention, of “killing the person you were born to become the person you were born to be,” and as John becomes the person he is meant to be this very specific story’s “I’m Still Standing” message of resilience becomes universal.


Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Elton John musical fantasy “Rocketman” and the big monster movie “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!



Richard joins midday host Jerry Agar to have a look at the Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman,” listen to “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” the new song from the movie’s soundtrack and talk about the unique way Cannes’s audiences show their displeasure.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 2.56.44 PMRichard and CP24 host Arda Zarkarian have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the dirty-cop actioner “Triple 9,” the inspirational uplift of “Eddie the Eagle” and Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next” and make some early Oscar predictions.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 12.10.37 PMRichard and “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the dirty-cop actioner “Triple 9,” the inspirational uplift of “Eddie the Eagle” and Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


EDDIE THE EAGLE: 2 STARS. “aspires to be a feel GREAT movie.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 4.59.05 PM“Eddie the Eagle” is not a feel-good movie. Like Eddie, the English skier whose ambitions to compete in the Olympics made him a star, the film sets its sights high. It’s not content to simply be a feel good film, it’s aspiring to be a feel GREAT movie.

When we first meet Eddie it’s 1973 and he’s a cute English kid with leg braces and a dream of entering the Olympics. Unfortunately his bad knees prevent him from taking part in most of the tradition sports so he wants to use his skill at holding his breath to win the gold.

Cut to his teen years. The braces are gone and he home trains himself in pole-vault and (not-so) long jumps in hopes of taking a shot at the Summer Olympics. His father (Tim McInnerny) isn’t as hopeful. “You’ll never be Olympic material,” he says. Bloodied but unbowed, the now twenty-two year old Eddie (Taron Egerton) switches his focus to winter sports, specifically ski jumping. With no facilities available in England he heads to Germany to train. Trouble is, while he has spirit, he has no trainer or knowledge of the sport. “How do you land?’ he wonders after one disastrous jump.

After a rough start—cue the wipe out montage—he meets Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), once an Olympic champion, now a drunk who maintains the jumps. Peary doesn’t think Eddie has a shot, but the young man’s enthusiasm wears him down and soon he is training Eddie for the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary. Ski jumping, he says, “is not just a sport, it’s an art. It’s spiritual.”

What Eddie lacks in technical skill he makes up for in determination. Because the Olympic rules hadn’t changed in 52 years since the last British ski jumper competed in the games, all Eddie has to do, basically, is show up and he’ll be guaranteed a spot in Calgary. First, however, he has to learn to jump without breaking every bone in his body.

Like Kendall Jenner or a YouTube cat video “Eddie the Eagle” is unashamed to flaunt its cuteness to appeal to viewers. Egerton, best known for his swaggerific role in “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” hands in a performance that makes Benny Hill look nuanced. With thick, ill-fitting glasses, he’s all doe eyes and determination, a stiff-upper-lipper who wants to be part of the Olympics to prove everyone who told him he wasn’t good enough wrong. It’s an underdog story of such epic proportions it makes “The Bad News Bears” and all other underdogs look jaded by comparison.

The movie’s tagline is, “Two underdogs, one dream,” so be assured, it doubles down on the long shot vibe. Jackman’s Peary is a man who once had it all, lost it and knows what it is like to be written off by everyone. He and Eddie are two peas in a pod and their dual ‘doing your best is the greatest reward’ message is the movie’s lesson. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Eddie the Eagle” is not an ambitious movie. It sets out to do one thing—make Eddie an underdog for the ages—but I couldn’t help but think of the words of the founder of the International Olympic Committee, Pierre de Coubertin. “It’s not the triumph,” he said, “it’s the struggle.” The film may triumph in that its modest goals are achieved but the struggle to tell a truly interesting story devoid of manipulation was too much for director Dexter Fletcher. “Eddie The Eagle” lands with a bit of a thud.