Posts Tagged ‘drama’

THE SON: 2 STARS. “Jackman delivers a remarkable and authentic performance.”

“The Son,” director Florian Zeller’s follow-up to the Oscar winning “The Father,” is the story of a fractured family and a son struggling with mental illness.

The drama, adapted for the screen by Christopher Hampton from Zeller’s stage play, involves Peter (Hugh Jackman), a high-flying New York City lawyer with political aspirations. He is the father of 17-year-old Nicholas (Zen McGrath) and ex-husband of Kate (Laura Dern), but has rebooted his life, marrying Beth (Vanessa Kirby), a much younger woman who is the mother to their baby, Theo. Peter has a new baby and a new life that doesn’t leave much room for his older son.

When Nicolas begins skipping school, acting out and cutting himself as a way to channel his pain, Kate asks if Peter can step up and give the boy some guidance and a place to stay. “He needs you Peter,” she says. “You can’t abandon him.”

Life is weighing Nicholas down. “I can’t deal with any of it,” he says. “I want something to change, but I don’t know what.”

With Nicolas in the spare room, Peter attempts to “fix” him, searching for an explanation for his son’s behavior, trying to be a better father to the teen than his own father, played by Anthony Hopkins, was to him. An unapologetically bad father, Hopkins snarls, “Your daddy wasn’t good to you or your mama. Who cares? Get over it.”

“The Son” is the story of intergenerational trauma, of the sins of a father (Hopkins is despicable in a fiery cameo) being visited upon his son and grandson, and a child’s cry for help.

Compassion abounds in “The Son,” and Jackman astounds wit work that is tinged with vulnerability, tragedy and guilt, but the script offers few surprises. Zeller telegraphs the film’s biggest moments, as if he doesn’t trust the audience to follow along. Those early revelations mute the story’s emotional power, despite the fine, compassionate performances.

There are compelling moments in “The Son.” A showdown between Peter and Nicholas packs emotional heft, and Jackman’s struggle to understand his son’s acute depression is tempered with equal parts empathy and frustration.

Jackman delivers a remarkable and authentic portrait of a desperate father in a well-intentioned film, that, by and large, feels manipulative by comparison.

LIVING: 4 STARS. “a heartbreaking performance that bristles with life.”

A reimagining of “Ikiru,” the 1952 film Roger Ebert called Akira Kurosawa’s greatest movie, “Living” transplants the action from Tokyo to London, but maintains the thoughtful emotionalism that earned the original accolades.

Bill Nighy plays Mr. Williams, a post-World War II veteran bureaucrat in the county Public Works department, who leads a life of quiet desperation. Widowed, and living with his son and daughter-in-law, Michael (Barney Fishwick) and Fiona (Patsy Ferran), his life has a “Groundhog Day” regularity.

From the train commute and boring paper shuffling at work, to the long nights in the company of his disinterested son and his wife, he is sleepwalking through a rinse and repeat rut. One of his employees, Miss Margaret Harris (Aimee Lou Wood), has even nicknamed him Mr. Zombie.

“You need to live a little,” he’s told. “I don’t know how,” comes the reply.

But when he is diagnosed with a terminal illness, given just months to live, he breaks free of the shackles of his former life to seize each and every day.

Despite his quiet, internalized performance, Nighy is the center of attention. Mr. Williams is buttoned-down and repressed, but as he lets the inner light shine, a long-lost warmth emerges. Whether he’s singing a sentimental song in a pub or teaching Miss. Harris how to use an arcade game, Nighy blossoms. He never allows grief to enter the picture, instead he’s introspective, looking back at a life left unfulfilled.

“It’s a small wonder,” he says, “I didn’t notice what I was becoming.”

It’s a heartbreaking performance, but one that bristles with life the closer Mr. Williams comes to death.

“Living” is a restrained movie, “A Christmas Carol” of a sort about a man visited by two spirits, in this case a very real novelist (Tom Burke) and Miss. Harris, who teach him to embrace whatever time he has left on earth. With beautiful mid-century period details, director Oliver Hermanus tells a simple story of regret, sadness and a last attempt at doing something meaningful.


On this episode of the Richard Crouse Show we get to know, all the way from Cornwall in South West England, Jeremy Brown and Jon Cleave, two of the founding members of the sea shanty singing group Fisherman’s Friends. They have incredible story of being discovered by a music producer who visited their small fishing village of Port Isaac, and propelling them to stardom. Their recordings of traditional sea shanties have topped the charts and they’ve played on the main stage of the Glastonbury Festival in front of 100,000 people and for royalty at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Their story has inspired two films, “Fisherman’s Friends” and the sequel, which is in theatres now, “Fisherman’s Friends: One and All,” starring James Purefoy and now it’s a stage show called “Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical which has just touched diown at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto after a successful run in the UK.

Then, Enrico Colantoni stops by. You know the talented actor from portraying Elliot DiMauro in the sitcom “Just Shoot Me!,” Keith Mars on the television series “Veronica Mars.” On the big screen he has appeared in the films “Galaxy Quest,” “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” “Contagion,” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Today we talk about his latest film, a comedy about four stoners, the self-proclaimed “Vandits”, have a bright idea to knock over a senior citizens bingo hall on Christmas Eve. In this segment we talk about the unusual way he paid for theatre school in New York City and how the cast and crew of “Vandits” persevered after all their equipment was stolen the night before they were to start shooting.

Finally, we’ll meet Elegance Bratton, the film director who turned his story of being a young gay man, who found unexpected strength, camaraderie and support when he joined the Marines, after being rejected by his mother, into a critically acclaimed film called “The Inspection.” It is a classic against-all-odds story that paints a vivid picture of life inside the boot camp, the dehumanization, the violence, but also the brotherhood. The movie carefully builds the world of the boot camp, creating a palette of claustrophobia, brutality and tension that adds layers to the telling of his survival story.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

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Each week on the nationally syndicated Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to hear in-depth interviews with actors and directors, to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favourite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Recent guests include Chris Pratt, Elvis Costello, Baz Luhrmann, Martin Freeman, David Cronenberg, Mayim Bialik, The Kids in the Hall and many more!

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I speak to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the Adam Driver drama “White Noise,” the poignant and powerful “The Inspection” and the cannibal road movie “Bones and All.”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 19:42)


Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to unload the dishwasher! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the Adam Driver drama “White Noise,” the poignant and powerful “The Inspection” and the cannibal road movie “Bones and All.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


I join NewsTalk 1010 host Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “NewsTalk Tonight” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the Adam Driver drama “White Noise,” the poignant and powerful “The Inspection” and the cannibal road movie “Bones and All.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres.  Today we talk about the Adam Driver drama “White Noise,” the poignant and powerful “The Inspection” and the cannibal road movie “Bones and All.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


I join CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to talk about the Adam Driver drama “White Noise,” the poignant and powerful “The Inspection” and the cannibal road movie “Bones and All.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the Adam Driver drama “White Noise,” the poignant and powerful “The Inspection” and the cannibal road movie “Bones and All.”

Listen tio the whole thing HERE!