Posts Tagged ‘Diablo Cody’

CTVNEWS.CA: THE CROUSE REVIEW LOOKS AT “TULLY” ‘LOWLIFE” & MORE!

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 Charlize Theron in the mothering dramedy “Tully,” the political drama “Backstabbing for Beginners” and the down ‘n dirty flick “Lowlife.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FROM CP24! FRIDAY MAY 04, 2018.

Richard joins CP24 anchor Nick Dixon to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the Charlize Theron in the mothering dramedy “Tully,” the political drama “Backstabbing for Beginners” and the down ‘n dirty flick “Lowlife.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S CTV NEWSCHANNEL WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FOR MAY 04.

Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan  to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the new Charlize Theron mothering dramedy “Tully,” the political drama “Backstabbing for Beginners” and the down ‘n dirty flick “Lowlife.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICKI AND THE FLASH: 2 ½ STARS. “movie hits the wrong notes when the music stops.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 6.39.24 PMThe title of the new Meryl Streep movie, “Ricki and the Flash,” sounds like a comic book flick about a regular, but spunky teen and the DC Comic character known for super human speed. No, Streep hasn’t joined the ranks of elder actors lending credibility to superhero movies and there’s not a skintight red superhero outfit in sight. Instead, there’s the black leather and fringes of Meryl’s rock ‘n’ roll Ricki, lead singer of bar band The Flash.

Ricki is a rock ‘n’ roll road warrior who never cracked the big time. Twenty five years ago she left behind her comfortable Midwestern life and family—husband (Kevin Kline) and three kids (including Julie, played by Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer)—for a shot at stardom in Los Angeles. Her one album didn’t chart and now she staves off bankruptcy by day as a grocery clerk, by night playing Golden Oldie covers in a seedy San Fernando Valley bar.

Out of the blue her ex gives her a ring with bad news. Julie’s husband has left her for a younger woman and he’d like her to come to Ohio to comfort her distraught daughter. Despite not having seen Julie in years she returns. Cue the family drama as Ricki tries to make amends for choosing rock and roll over her family.

Streep may not be playing a superhero in “Ricki and the Flash,” but she does a superhuman job of carrying the movie. Ricki is a raw nerve who says what’s on her mind whether she’s on stage or off, and Meryl rocks it. She strums and hums her way through a contrived script by “Juno” writer Diablo Cody that doesn’t add much to the family drama or rock movie genres.

Kline, Rick Springfield and Gummer hit the right notes, but are saddled with dialogue that sounds melodramatically overwritten—“My heart is dead and rotten,” sobs Julie.—or like a Successstory platitude—“It doesn’t matter if you kids love you,” says Springfield, “it’s your job to love them.” Missing are Cody’s usual wit and director Jonathan Demme’s careful examination of his characters. Instead they’ve opted for a blandly crowd-pleasing movie that isn’t as crowd-pleasing as they might have hoped.

“Ricki and the Flash” is about the power of music to break down barriers and bring people together, but as well shot as the music scenes are—and they should be, Demme made one of the great music films of all time, “Stop Making Sense,” among many others—the movie hits the wrong notes when the music stops.

HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR DAY 21! JENNIFER’S BODY: 3 STARS. “lasgna with teeth”

untitledThe pitch for “Jennifer’s Body” is certainly attention-grabbing. Mix “Transfomer’s” sexpot Megan Fox and “Juno” screenwriter and all round “it’ girl Diablo Cody and the result should be pure gold. Well, pure gore splattered gold in this case. “Jennifer’s Body” leaves behind the world of giant robots and pregnant teens for a bloody story about demonic transference and a cheerleading succubus who feeds on the intestines of teenage boys.

Despite its name the town of Devil’s Kettle, Minnesota is not a demonic hot spot. Not at least until a rock band named Low Shoulder plays at a local bar. At the concert are Jennifer Check (Fox) and Needy Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried). Best friends since they were kids the underage girls are there to check out the band, and in Jennifer’s case, specifically the lead singer. When a fire breaks out in the bar, chaos ensues and as most of the concert goers are trapped inside, Jennifer and Needy make it out, but something is isn’t right. Jennifer is glassy eyed and unresponsive, and when Needy last sees her, in the band’s van. Later, when Jennifer comes back to visit Needy she isn’t so pretty anymore—unless blood covered, tar vomiting girls turn you on. Something has happened to Jennifer, but what? When boys from school start to go missing Needy thinks she might know…

“Jennifer’s Body” breathes the same air as the great Canadian horror film “Ginger Snaps.” Both are inventive takes on established horror mythology—in Ginger’s case it was the werewolf legend here it is demonic possession—both feature humor and lots of blood and guts. But—you had to know there was a “but” coming—where “Ginger Snaps” had effortless dialogue that sounded like real teenagers talking to one another, “Jennifer’s Body” is weighed down by the overly cute pen of Diablo Cody.

In Cody’s world teens talk as though they have Hollywood screenwriters feeding them lines. Oh wait! They do. They drop sparkling bon mots as easily as Dorothy Parker after her fifth martini in the Oak Room. Cody’s characters don’t get jealous, they get “jello;” they don’t feel ill they feel “boo hoo,” and when they curse they say things like “cheese and fries.” I’m all for inventive language but much of the dialogue here seems to be trying a bit too hard.

Cudos to Cody though for coming up with an inventive story and peppering the script with laughs. When she describes one of the creature’s victims resembling “lasgna with teeth,” when they found him it’s funny. It’s dark humor reminiscent of the horror comedies of the 1980s like “An American Werewolf in London” and “The Toxic Avenger” that covered the laughs with lots of red stuff.

At the heart of “Jennifer’s Body”—or should that be soul?—is Megan Fox. As the victim of a botched satanic ritual—they apparently don’t work if the sacrifice isn’t a virgin—she seems to be having more fun here than in either of the “Transformers” movies, but despite being this year’s Zeitgeist grabber she’s upstaged by Amanda Seyfried. Only in a movie like this could Seyfried be portrayed as the “dorky, plain girl.” I guess it’s because she wears glasses, but there is nothing dorky or plain about Seyfried or her character.

“Jennifer’s Body” is bound to grab a teenage audience—the gratuitous kissing scene between Fox and Seyfried alone is bound to sell tickets to many a seventeen-year-old boy—but despite being an enjoyable bit of fun, likely won’t have the same impact as Cody’s attention grabbing work on “Juno.”

JENNIFER’S BODY: 3 STARS

untitledThe pitch for “Jennifer’s Body” is certainly attention-grabbing. Mix “Transfomer’s” sexpot Megan Fox and “Juno” screenwriter and all round “it’ girl Diablo Cody and the result should be pure gold. Well, pure gore splattered gold in this case. “Jennifer’s Body” leaves behind the world of giant robots and pregnant teens for a bloody story about demonic transference and a cheerleading succubus who feeds on the intestines of teenage boys.

Despite its name the town of Devil’s Kettle, Minnesota is not a demonic hot spot. Not at least until a rock band named Low Shoulder plays at a local bar. At the concert are Jennifer Check (Fox) and Needy Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried). Best friends since they were kids the underage girls are there to check out the band, and in Jennifer’s case, specifically the lead singer. When a fire breaks out in the bar, chaos ensues and as most of the concert goers are trapped inside, Jennifer and Needy make it out, but something is isn’t right. Jennifer is glassy eyed and unresponsive, and when Needy last sees her, in the band’s van. Later, when Jennifer comes back to visit Needy she isn’t so pretty anymore—unless blood covered, tar vomiting girls turn you on. Something has happened to Jennifer, but what? When boys from school start to go missing Needy thinks she might know…

“Jennifer’s Body” breathes the same air as the great Canadian horror film “Ginger Snaps.” Both are inventive takes on established horror mythology—in Ginger’s case it was the werewolf legend here it is demonic possession—both feature humor and lots of blood and guts. But—you had to know there was a “but” coming—where “Ginger Snaps” had effortless dialogue that sounded like real teenagers talking to one another, “Jennifer’s Body” is weighed down by the overly cute pen of Diablo Cody.

In Cody’s world teens talk as though they have Hollywood screenwriters feeding them lines. Oh wait! They do. They drop sparkling bon mots as easily as Dorothy Parker after her fifth martini in the Oak Room. Cody’s characters don’t get jealous, they get “jello;” they don’t feel ill they feel “boo hoo,” and when they curse they say things like “cheese and fries.” I’m all for inventive language but much of the dialogue here seems to be trying a bit too hard.

Cudos to Cody though for coming up with an inventive story and peppering the script with laughs. When she describes one of the creature’s victims resembling “lasgna with teeth,” when they found him it’s funny. It’s dark humor reminiscent of the horror comedies of the 1980s like “An American Werewolf in London” and “The Toxic Avenger” that covered the laughs with lots of red stuff.

At the heart of “Jennifer’s Body”—or should that be soul?—is Megan Fox. As the victim of a botched satanic ritual—they apparently don’t work if the sacrifice isn’t a virgin—she seems to be having more fun here than in either of the “Transformers” movies, but despite being this year’s Zeitgeist grabber she’s upstaged by Amanda Seyfried. Only in a movie like this could Seyfried be portrayed as the “dorky, plain girl.” I guess it’s because she wears glasses, but there is nothing dorky or plain about Seyfried or her character.

“Jennifer’s Body” is bound to grab a teenage audience—the gratuitous kissing scene between Fox and Seyfried alone is bound to sell tickets to many a seventeen-year-old boy—but despite being an enjoyable bit of fun, likely won’t have the same impact as Cody’s attention grabbing work on “Juno.”

Cody a celebrity in her own write In Focus by Richard Crouse FOR METRO CANADA September 18, 2009

Jennifers_Body_onesheet_thumb_0She’s been called Hollywood’s most distinctive new voice since Quentin Tarantino burst onto the scene. She walks red carpets, signs autographs and appears in glossy magazines with names like Elle and Vogue.

Her fans quote her and she’s become a brand name. She is … a screenwriter? In an industry that treats wordsmiths like hired hands and little else, she has transcended the usual anonymity that goes along with the job to become a star.

The fame that comes along with writing the Oscar-winning screenplay to Juno, the critically acclaimed series The United States of Tara and penning this weekend’s Jennifer’s Body is a bit of a conundrum for the 31-year-old Cody (whose real name is Brook Busey).

“I’m completely overwhelmed,” she told one interviewer.

“My life is chaos. I cannot even begin to explain to you how busy I am or how drained I am. My entire life is completely upside-down. I’m a professional writer and yet I have fewer and fewer opportunities to write.”

That is a problem not many screenwriters have had to face, but occasionally Hollywood catapults a writer from the shadows of their chosen profession into the glare of the spotlight.

Joe Eszterhas made headlines in 1990 when his $3 million US paycheck for Basic Instinct made him the highest paid screenwriter of all time. He’s since been eclipsed by Shane Black ($4 million for The Long Kiss Goodnight) and M. Night Shyamalan ($5 million for Signs) but his outspoken nature — in his bio Hollywood Animal he writes of his competitive streak: “The only time I’ll root for anybody to be a success is if he or she has cancer, and I know for certain that the cancer is terminal” — and party-boy lifestyle made him a legend.

A battle with cancer slowed down his wild ways but he is still outspoken in defence of screenwriters, who he says are treated like “discarded hookers … not invited to premieres of their own movies, cheated of residual payments.”

Years before the title of highest paid screenwriter had been held by Ben Hecht, the pen behind dozens of screenplays including Some Like it Hot and Scarface.

He rarely spent more than a week on a screenplay (and never more than eight weeks) and once said, “Writing a good movie brings a writer about as much fame as steering a bicycle.”

I wonder what he would have thought of Diablo Cody’s fans.