Richard speaks 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 “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” the charming “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” and the Ralph Fiennes/Jessica Chastain drama “The Forgiven.”
Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to shuck an oyster! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the supremely silly “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” the tiny mollusk with a huge heart, and the period rom com “Mr. Malcolm’s List.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” the tiny mollusk with a huge heart, “The Forgiven,” a drama of privilege and wealth and the period rom com “Mr. Malcolm’s List.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” the tiny mollusk with a huge heart, “The Forgiven,” a drama of privilege and wealth and the period rom com “Mr. Malcolm’s List.”
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” is part poignant, part absurd and all wonderful.
In the new film, now playing in theatres, the resourceful, one-googly-eyed sea shell with a pink pair of shoes, voiced by Jenny Slate, searches to find community after a family upheaval. Marcel may be a one-inch mollusk, but his experience of loss, grief and joy feels more human and authentic than most films starring, you know, actual humans.
In this shell’s eye view, we learn that Marcel lives in an Airbnb, once the home of an unhappily married couple, now a stop-over for tourists. When they split, Marcel’s extended family disappeared, possibly taken accidentally in the couple’s rush to leave the house and their relationship behind.
Marcel and his grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini) remain, finding resourceful and often hilarious ways to survive and thrive in the mostly empty house.
When recently separated filmmaker Dean (Dean Fleischer-Camp, who directs and who co-created Marcel with Slate) and his curious dog move in, Marcel finds a friend and collaborator. Dean is taken by Marcel’s mix of curiosity (Have you ever eaten a raspberry?) and acumen and begins to document life in the Airbnb in a video he intends to post on YouTube. “It’s like a movie,” Marcel explains to Connie, “but nobody has any lines and nobody even knows what it is while they’re making it.”
As the video goes viral, Marcel wonders if this newfound fame can help him track down his family.
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” is shot documentary style, with beautiful stop-motion animation to bring Marcel and Connie to life. The star of the show is Slate’s heartfelt vocal performance, at once childlike and wise. Marcel is a singular character. Adorable, it’s as if he just wandered over from a Pixar movie, bringing with him personality to spare but also a level of self-awareness and empathy rarely played out on such a high level in family movies. It may be big screen entertainment about a mollusk, but it feels personal and intimate.
Rossellini brings warmth to Connie, in a performance that feels like a grandmother’s hug. Comforting and wise, and just a little bit forgetful, she is Marcel’s anchor and mentor. “Marcello, let’s forget about being afraid,” she says. “Just take the adventure.”
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” takes a silly premise, one that could sit on the shelf next to other kid’s talking-creatures movies, and elevates it with a sense of humanity and the transformational power of friendship.
This one-inch-tall character punches way above his height.
Theses days the word landline conjures up a specific retro feel. It harkens back to a time before everyone played Candy Crush on their mobile devices and when pay phones dotted the landscape. That’s the world where the new Jenny Slate dramedy “Landline” takes place.
It’s New York City, 1995. Dana Jacobs (Slate) is a layout artist at Paper Magazine when she isn’t at Blockbuster with her fiancée Ben (Jay Duplass) agonizing over what movie to rent. Younger sister Ali (Abby Quinn) is as free-spirited as her sibling is buttoned down.
“You’re like a piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe,” Dana says to Ali. “You are the embodiment of constipation,” Ali snaps back.
Despite their differences the sisters bond when Ali discovers erotic poetry her father Alan (John Turturro) wrote for a woman who is not his wife Pat (Edie Falco). Their disgust for his actions brings them together, despite the fact that Dana has thrown off the shackles of engagement and embarked on a secret journey of self-discovery with Nate (Finn Wittrock). “I am flailing,” she says. “Trying to figure out if the life I have picked for myself is the one that I want.” “We are a family of cheaters!” Ali exclaims.
“Landline” uses infidelity as a backdrop for a study of partnership and family. Everyone’s relationship is teetering on the edge and yet this is a hopeful movie, a film that suggests monogamy is viable when given room to breathe.
“Obvious Child” director Gillian Robespierre brings a strong ensemble together, elevating the material with strong performances. Duplass is suitably milquetoast as Ben, the dull but lovable fiancée. Turturro and Falco breathe life into characters that in lesser hands might have been caricatures or worse, simply a plot device to support the sisters’ story.
The stars here, however, are Slate and Quinn. They look like sisters but their chemistry extends beyond the skin deep. Slate’s giggles and affectionate asides—“You’re a weird little bird.”—feel authentic, as though these two have a long shared history that predates anything we see on the screen. They bring humanity and sympathy to the film despite their foibles.
“Landline” is an engaging portrait of broken relationships in an analogue time. It’s a gently heart tugging story about the consequences of breaking relationship rules. There are jokes and there are tears but mainly “Landline” has a wistful tone that gets under your skin.