Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Angie Seth to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the Agatha Christie-esque “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim.”
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 whodunnit “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig, the papal buddy picture “The Two Popes” and the timely drama “Queen & Slim.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig and a cast of n’ere do wells, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp,” the odd couple picture “The Two Popes,” the corporate legal drama “Dark Waters,” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the who dunnit “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp,” the buddy picture “The Two Popes” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim.”
In 2017 Kenneth Branagh delivered a new version of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” that was as big and bloated as a new crime dramedy, “Knives Out,” is sleek and entertaining. Both feature large ensemble casts and twists galore but director Rian Johnson manages to breathe life into the creaky whodunnit genre.
The action takes place in a small up-state New York town on an estate one character says resembles a “Clue” board. In the film’s opening minutes the dramatic theme song sets the stage for what’s to come… murder most foul.
Marta (Ana de Armas), caregiver to Harlan Thrombrey (Christopher Plummer), the best-selling mystery writer of all time, is shocked to discover his dead body in his office. Throat slit, knife on the floor beside him, the local police Det. Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) and Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan) think it is a suicide but a private investigator, the silver-tongued Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), disagrees and says so in an accent as thick as gumbo. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he says to the family, “I would like to request that you all stay until the investigation is completed.”
The assembled family stick around, partially at Blanc’s request but mostly for the reading of the will. “What will that be like?” asks Marta. “Think of a community theatre production of the reading of a tax form,” replies Blanc.
As the investigation unfolds everyone seems to have a motive for killing the old man, from his children the imperious Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis) and the hair-trigger tempered Walt (Michael Shannon) to various others, including the spoiled-rotten grandson Ransom (Chris Evans), devious son-in-law Richard (Don Johnson) and alt-right troll grandson Jacob (Jaeden Martell). These are people who believe they deserve to be rich and won’t hear any talk to the contrary.
The mystery has more layers than a Vidalia onion but Blanc unpeels it, one tier at a time leading up to the film’s climatic reveal.
“Knives Out” mixes pointed jabs at the 1%–Linda started her company with a modest one-million-dollar loan from her father—with social commentary about class divisions in American life to form the backdrop of this engaging mystery. Add to that a collection of characters that would make Miss Marple suspicious and the game is afoot.
Leading the charge is Craig. As Benoit Blanc, the American Poirot, he rides the line between ridiculous and shrewd, chewing the scenery with an accent unheard since the days of Colonel Sanders television ads. His flowery language—”Physical evidence can tell a story with a forked tongue,” he says—gives Craig a chance to show off his comedic side mixed with a physicality that suggests he can get the job done if need be. It’s a dramatic (maybe that’s not the word but you see what I mean) and welcome shift from his grim-faced 007 role.
What begins as a melodramatic comedy in the vein of “Murder by Death,” gets a little darker as the true nature of the crime is presented, and then funnier again in its wild ‘n woolly resolution. It’s an old-fashioned set-up but slowly echoes of modern-day issues of immigration, deportation and white entitlement are introduced to add edge to the story.
Director Johnson, he of “Looper” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” is having fun here, finding a perfect rhythm in the unveiling of the story’s details. We always learn just enough to carry us through to the next twist and it is an enjoyable ride.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the anti-superheroism of an X-Man in training, as played by Ryan Reynolds in “Deadpool 2,” the not so literate jhoys of “Book Club,” starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen and the Canadian psycho drama “The Child Remains.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the return of the ‘Merc with the Mouth’ as played by Ryan Reynolds in “Deadpool 2,” the lightly erotic and life affirming “Book Club,” starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen and the Canadian psycho drama “The Child Remains.”
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 return of the ‘Merc with the Mouth’ as played by Ryan Reynolds in “Deadpool 2,” the lightly erotic and life affirming “Book Club,” starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen and the Canadian psycho drama “The Child Remains.”
For the Johnson family “Fifty Shades of Grey” is the gift that keeps on giving. First Dakota Johnson became a star playing the book’s lead character in the film adaptation. Now her father, Don Johnson, appears in “Book Club,” a tale of four women inspired by the erotic novel to spice up their sex lives.
Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen star as life long friends at different places in their lives. Diane (Keaton) is a recent widow, federal judge Sharon (Bergen) obsesses about her decades old divorce while sensualist Vivian (Fonda) plays the field and Carol (Steenburgen), a chef who wonders if her marriage is headed for the rocks.
The pals have been getting together for book club for forty years—starting with “Fear of Flying,” Erica Jong’s controversial 1973 portrayal of female sexuality. Their lives are shaken up when Vivian brings a new book over. “Ladies I’m not going to let us become those people who stop living before they stop living,” she says. “I would like to introduce you to Christian Grey.” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the soft core look at hard core BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism), becomes the hit of their chardonnay soaked book club—“It says for ‘mature audiences.’” “That certainly sounds like us.”—stirring up some long forgotten desires.
Like the classic rock on the soundtrack “Book Club” is not ashamed of what it is. Predictable in the extreme, it’s a movie that understands its audience and never over reaches. Like I well-worn joke it sets up the premise, delivers a punchline and waits for the laugh. It’s comfort food, a lightly raunchy sitcom about finding love later in life. Ripe with double entendres, it’s a genial boomer sex comedy about the pleasures of listening to vinyl, connecting and reconnecting, about a generation gap and living life to the fullest.
“We’re sure not spring flowers,” says Carol. “More like potpourri,” replies Vivian. They are women of a certain age but in an industry that often ignores older women it is fun to see this quartet front and centre. Bergen wields her wit and delivery like a sabre. Steenburgen’s journey is more about her husband Bruce (Craig T. Nelson) but she brings much charm to the role. Fonda is the vulnerable sexpot, never allowing anyone to get too close (“I don’t need anyone,” she says. “That’s the secret of my success.”) while Keaton’s trademarked fluster and flap is on full display. Together they evoke “Sex and the City” for a different generation.
The men of “Book Club” are fine—Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Richard Dreyfuss and Nelson—but it is the women, their connection and their groove that makes this movie so enjoyable.