Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the family friendly “Jungle Cruise,” the surreal journey of self discovery “The Green Knight,” the heartwarming comedy of “The Exchange” and the comedy documentary “For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close.”
Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Angie Seth chat up the weekend’s big releases including the action-adventure of “Jungle Cruise,” the surreal journey of self discovery “The Green Knight,” the heartwarming comedy of “The Exchange” and the comedy documentary “For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Andrew Pinsent to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the action-adventure of “Jungle Cruise,” the surreal journey of self discovery “The Green Knight,” the heartwarming comedy of “The Exchange” and the comedy documentary “For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about the action-adventure of “Jungle Cruise,” the surreal journey of self discovery “The Green Knight” and the heartwarming comedy of “The Exchange.”
Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but you get what you need. Especially in coming-of-age movies.
In “The Exchange,” now on VOD, teenager Tim Long (Ed Oxenbould) was born and has lived his entire life in a small Ontario town, but feels like an outsider. Obsessed with all things French, he’s a student of Camus, worships Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Resnais, and looks down on his school mates and even family. The feeling is mutual. “Bookworm” and “loser” are two of the nicer jabs thrown his way. “Everyone hates you,” says Gary (Justin Hartley) the school’s soccer coach. The only person Tim really likes is Brenda (Jayli Wolf), who is unaware of his crush.
Craving sophisticated company, he signs up for an exchange program to acquire a “mail order best friend.” He’s hoping the exchange student will be a Gallic breath of fresh air in his stale little town. But instead of an erudite tour guide to all thing French he gets Stéphane (Avan Jogia), a teenage chain-smoking horndog more interested in girls than Gruyère Gougères.
After making a splash in town Stéphane’s behavior soon starts to raise eyebrows until he finds an unlikely supporter.
“The Exchange” is based on a true story. Screenwriter Tim Long, a Canadian from Manitoba who has been the consulting producer of “The Simpsons” for twenty plus years, adapts his own awkward friendship with an exchange student as the basis for the story. I’m sure characters are amplified and situations blown out of proportion, but underneath it all “The Exchange” is a feel-good story with laughs and a great deal of heart.
It’s lighthearted but that doesn’t prevent “The Exchange” from adding denser textures to the story. Near the end Long and director Dan Mazer (longtime writing partner of Sacha Baron Cohen) tackle the xenophobia that informs the latter part of the movie. After a brief moment of celebrity in town, the tide turns against Stéphane due to veiled racism. He is, as the Gallophile Tim might have said, l’étranger, an outsider whose motives are questioned, simply because he wasn’t born in the local hospital. It gets sorted—“We drew certain conclusions about you being different,” a character says to him—and is handled delicately, but in our divided times it hits the nail on the head.
Ultimately “The Exchange” works because it is about empathy. It’s funny, with the kind of premise that could have been sitcom fodder, but beyond the laughs is a bigger message of acceptance.
This week on the Richard Crouse Show we meet Tim Long. The Canadian comedy writer has been an executive and consulting producer on The Simpsons for more than twenty years, has written for The New York Times and The New Yorker and on July 30th, a movie he wrote called The Exchange, the true story of a socially awkward teen who discovers that a French exchange student is not as sophisticated and cultured as he hoped, will be available on VOD.
Then comedian Jessica Kirson stops by. We will talk about her feature-length documentary Hysterical, which explores the changing landscape of women in stand-up comedy… how she taught Robert DeNiro to be funny and her return to Just for Laughs.
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 Ethan Hawke, director Brad Bird, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, Eric Roberts, Brian Henson, Jonathan Goldsmith a.k.a. “The most interesting man in the world,” and best selling author Linwood Barclay.
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Paul Dano needs no introduction as an actor. In front of the camera the Golden Globe nominee has impressed with powerful performances in films like “There Will Be Blood,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Love & Mercy.” He brings a similar quiet intensity to his directorial debut, “Wildlife,” a dysfunctional family drama adapted from Richard Ford’s disquieting 1990 novel of the same name.
Set in 1960s Montana, the story focuses on the frustrated Jeanette Brinson (Carey Mulligan), alcoholic husband, Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal), and 14-year-old son Joe (Ed Oxenbould). When Jerry gets fired from his golf pro country club gig he’s forced to take a job fighting wildfires, a dangerous occupation that only pays $1 an hour. With her husband gone most of the time Jeanette wanders, beginning an affair with car dealership owner Warren Miller (Bill Camp). “You’re mother is a very passionate dancer,” says Miller. “Did you know that Joe?” With his parents occupied Joe becomes a de facto parent to them both, struggling to keep them together as their relationship hits the rocks.
Dano, who co-wrote “Wildlife” with actress and significant other Zoe Kazan, provides an elegant showcase for Mulligan’s soul-searching performance. The story of this quickly unraveling family is meted out slowly, deliberately low key, in an effort to allow the audience to get under the skin of the three main characters. Bonded by blood and marriage they struggle with unity in an era of change.
At the heart of it is Mulligan. As an Eisenhower Era wife and mother she projects an aura of calm but is actually a churning vessel of emotions; a person clamouring for more. The cracks in her Norman Rockwell façade are beginning to show. “Do you like Mr. Miller?” asks Joe. “Not very much,” she replies. “Things do happen around him though. He has that feel about him.” Mulligan breathes life into Jeanette, subtly and believably portraying a woman coming of age.
Oxenbould as Joe, the son forced to become both protector and confidant to his mother—“This is my desperation dress,” she says to him, modelling a revealing frock—is also very good, effectively showing us the dissolution of his parent’s bond through his eyes. His character doesn’t grow, he is an observer, a conduit for the audience’s sympathy.
Despite the title “Wildlife” doesn’t exactly kick up its heels. It’s a chilly tale with a few unnecessary detours—like Joe’s after school job and his friendship with a female classmate—but its story of survival hits home.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including Nicole Kidman times two – in the gritty cop drama “Destroyer” and the dramedy “The Upside,” where she co-stars with Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart – Carey Mulligan in “Wildlife” and the psychological thriller “Escape Room.”