Posts Tagged ‘Eugene Levy’

Richard talks blockbusters on CTV’s The Marilyn Dennis Show!

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 12.18.04 PMFrom marilyn.ca: “If you love going to the movies, but you’re never sure what to see, Richard Crouse has the answer! Check out these sure-to-be blockbusters to keep you entertained all summer!” They argue about “Finding Dory” and preview “The BFG,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Jason Bourne,” “Suicide Squad” and “Ghostbusters.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

 

 

RICHARD’S WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FROM CP24! FRIDAY JUNE 17, 2016.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 2.46.24 PMRichard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s four big releases, including “Finding Dory,” the buddy comedy “Central Intelligence” with Duane Johnson and Kevin Hart, and a duo of documentaries, “De Palma,” an unflinching look at the films of Brian De Palma and the self explanatory “Raiders! The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S CTV NEWSCHANNEL REVIEWS FOR JUNE 10 WITH Todd van der Heyden.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 9.36.51 AMRichard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Todd Van der Heyden chat up the weekend’s big releases, including “Finding Dory,” the literary bio “Genius” with Jude Law and Colin Firth, and a duo of documentaries, “De Palma,” an unflinching look at the films of Brian De Palma and the self explanatory “Raiders! The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro In Focus: Can Finding Dory cure the summer of sequelitis?

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 1.07.02 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Thank you, Pixar.

Years ago my now-wife and I went to see a particularly grim horror movie. Despite “watching” the entire film through her fingers, as though she could shield her face from the gallons of blood ’n guts on display, the creepfest jangled her nerves so badly we had to go see Finding Nemo directly afterwards as a palate cleanser.

Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Dory’s (Ellen Degeneres) underwater road trip to find Marlin’s lost son Nemo, coupled with gorgeous animation and warm-hearted humour, calmed her and because of Pixar there were no bad dreams that night.

Roger Ebert called the family classic “a delight,” and parents snapped up so many of them it became the best-selling DVD ever. Disney is clearly hoping those good feelings have lingered over the 13 years since Nemo first made a splash. This weekend Finding Dory enters a crowded summer season, one already stuffed to the gills with sequels, reboots and reimaginings.

The original cast return (save for Alexander Gould who aged out of voicing Nemo) along with Idris Elba, Diane Keaton and Kate McKinnon. Will that be enough to mine gold when recent sequels have come up empty?

Hollywood wisdom says audiences want familiarity, characters and brands they already know and love, but this year moviegoers have rejected repackaged ideas. Zoolander 2, Ride Along 2, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Alice Through the Looking Glass, X-Men: Apocalypse and TMNT: Out of the Shadows all under performed in what the Hollywood Reporter is calling the Summer of Sequelitis.

For the record. I think Finding Dory will do just fine. Not just because Pixar is the gold standard in animation or because it has a story audiences will connect with but because it’s good.

Do I think moviegoers are suffering from Sequelitis? No. Many of this year’s sequels have stiffed because they weren’t very good. The best thing about Zoolander 2 is that it was so unfunny it’s hard to imagine Ben Stiller and Company making a third.

Perhaps the dip in box-office returns for cinematic re-treads is just what Hollywood needs and they’ll realize a constant diet of movies with numbers and colons in the title — or worse, both, as in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising — is not as appetizing to audiences as they think.

Executives are scared. Pitch Perfect 3, the planned follow up to the $287.5 million grossing Pitch Perfect 2, has been delayed while Universal waits to see whether the sequel slump is a passing phase. In the meantime, expect more than one sequel-crazed studio suit to say, “Thank you Pixar,” when Finding Dory reels in the top spot.

FINDING DORY: 4 STARS. “wonderfully made all-ages entertainment.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 1.06.14 PM“Finding Nemo” hooked Roger Ebert so deeply he called the animated fish tale “a delight.” Families loved the story of clownfish Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks) and forgetful blue tang Dory’s (voice of Ellen Degeneres) underwater road trip to find the wayward Nemo so much they reeled in millions of digital video discs, making it the best-selling DVD ever.

That film is held near and dear by many, including me. Years ago my now wife and I went to see a particularly grim horror movie. Despite “watching” the entire film through her fingers the creep fest rattled her so badly we had to go see “Finding Nemo” directly afterwards as a palate cleanser. It worked, the story coupled with gorgeous animation and warm-hearted humour soothed her jangled nerves and because of Pixar there were no nightmares that night.

Disney and Pixar are clearly hoping those good feelings have lingered over the thirteen years since Nemo first made a splash. This weekend “Finding Dory” enters a crowded summer season, one already stuffed to the gills with sequels, reboots and reimaginings.

As the new movie begins it’s one year after the events of the first film. Dory is still a charmingly dippy and forgetful fish—“ I suffer from short-term memory loss,” she says, “it runs in my family. At least I think it does.”—now living with her adopted family, Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence) and the overprotective Marlin inside a sea anemone in the Great Barrier Reef.

When Dory accompanies Nemo on a school trip old memories are stirred up when she sees manta rays migrate back to their homes. “I remembered something,” she squeals. “That’s not possible, is it? Okay, is it like a picture in your head and then you think I’ve seen this before?” Struck with a bad case of homesickness, she has hazy childhood memories of her folks Jenny and Charlie (voices of Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy) and a place called “the jewel of Morro Bay, California.” With Nemo and Marlin at her side, she sets off to find her biological family, eventually arriving at the Marine Life Institute where a cranky octopus named Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), Bailey the beluga whale (voice of Ty Burrell) and whale shark Destiny (voice of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s” Kaitlin Olson) help in her quest.

As a-Dory-ble as “Finding Dory” may be, it swims in slightly murkier water than “Finding Nemo.” Director Andrew Stanton—the mind behind two classics “WALL·E” and “Finding Nemo”—mines “Nemo” nostalgia for all its worth, occasionally relying on that movie’s goodwill to smooth the way for the new story. He has lots to fall back on, likeable characters with expressive fish faces and fun voice work from Degeneres, Brooks and franchise newcomers Keaton, Levy, O’Neill and Burrell, but it isn’t just a nostalgia fest.

Stanton skilfully weaves in many heart-tugging moments, particularly as Dory’s journey nears its end. No spoilers here, but after a familiar-feeling first half the movie carefully balances action adventure with touching family flourishes in the second half.

Visually, this may be Pixar’s most accomplished movie to date. Spectacular, imaginative 3D animation provides visual interest even when the story sporadically washes out. Stanton and his Pixar wizards create underwater, and sometimes-above sea level, worlds that immerse the viewer.

“Finding Dory” is wonderfully made all-ages entertainment with lots of heart, in fact, octopus Hank has three of them! That it somehow makes us feel real emotion for cold-blooded fish may be its greatest achievement. It suffers only in comparison to its classic predecessor.

CTV National News: Laughing with Harold Ramis. Monday February 24, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 12.11.34 PMTributes pour in for one of Hollywood’s beloved comedians. John Vennavally-Rao has more on a man who spent his life making people laugh.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: 3 STARS

for-your-consideration_00134466In 1949 Life Magazine described the four grades of laughs—there’s the titter, the yowl, the belly laugh and the boffo. For Your Consideration, the new comedy from the team of Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy, is a good movie with quite a few titters, a couple of yowls, at least one belly laugh, but stops just short of big boffo laughs.

Beginning in late October every year the big movie studios take out ‘For Your Consideration’ ads in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. Basically these ads are a way to remind Academy voters about award-worthy achievements from the past year. Those three magic words can build a career, inflate a salary and move performers from not hot to hot in a flash. This new improvised comedy from the makers of Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman details what happens when members of the Home for Purim cast are plucked from obscurity and infected with Oscar fever.

Catherine O’Hara plays the aptly named Marilyn Hack, a veteran actress whose chances of stardom are behind her. When she gets wind of an internet rumor that her performance in this overwrought melodrama might attract the attention of the Academy he long dormant hopes of stardom are awakened. The resulting award hype spreads to everyone around her and soon her co-stars are being buzzed about by award season handicappers and everyone has Oscar mania.

Guest, with his usual collaborator Eugene Levy have come up with an occasionally touching, often revealing look at the outskirts of the dream factory and its citizens. The kind of actors who struggle and are best known for playing giant dancing hot dogs on television commercials. O’Hara’s Hack is a poignant example of an actor who never broke through but refuses to give up on her dreams, convinced that celebrity is just around the corner. Harry Shearer, best known as the voice of Ned Flanders (and many others) on The Simpsons and as Derek Smalls, bass player for Spinal Tap, is Victor Allan Miller, a journeyman actor who still has to audition for radio voice work. Together they represent the 98% of the Screen Actors Guild who spend most of their careers either unemployed or underused.

For Your Consideration isn’t as drop dead funny as some of Guest’s other efforts like Best in Show but does feature great work from the ensemble cast. Catherine O’Hara just might find herself with a For Your Consideration ad in real life, while Fred Willard happily and hilariously skewers television entertainment reporters. Dependable players Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge hand in wonderfully odd comic performances, but if I have a complaint about the cast it is that it is too large. The ensemble has swelled to include Ricky Gervais and Sandra Oh both good performers, both kind of wasted in throw-away roles. Gervais is one of the funniest actors working today but you wouldn’t know it from his performance here.

For Your Consideration is a clever—I liked Harry Shearer’s line, “Oscar is the backbone of this industry, an industry not known for backbone.”—and fairly realistic look at life on the fringes of success, but it doesn’t deliver the boffo laughs of some of Guest’s other work.

MADEA’S WITNESS PROTECTION: 0 STARS

Madeas-Witness-Protection“Madea’s Witness Protection” is a movie so awful the distributor sent around an embargo notice forbidding critics to speak about the movie until the day AFTER its release. The sternly worded letter included any comments we might make in print, on-line, via text, or even in public places (they cite elevators, restaurants, and restrooms, “as these conversations may be overheard.”). Also outlawed is any disclosure to family members or close friends.

I think that pretty much says it all about this movie.

The story of a nebbishy New York accountant (Eugene Levy, who, to his credit is trying his hardest to squeeze laughs out of this dreck) accused of masterminding a Ponzi scheme and hidden with his family in Madea’s (Tyler Perry) home is the first time in my life I have ever wished a film came with a laugh track so I might have some cue as to when I was supposed to giggle, because I certainly couldn’t figure it out by watching the movie.

Directed by the Auteur of Awful Tyler Perry, who also wrote and directed, “Madea’s Witness Protection” once again shows us his Maddeningly Witless Predilection for making insufferable movies.

AMERICAN REUNION: 1 STAR FOR THE MOVIE, 3 STARS FOR EUGENE LEVY 2 OVERALL

American reunion movieIn the latest installment of the “American Pie” franchise it’s the thirteenth high school reunion for some very recognizable characters—Jim, Oz, Kevin, Stifler, Finch, Vicky (Tara Reid) and Michelle. The question is, Will their 13th anniversary be bad luck for them, the movie’s viewers, or both?

Since graduation in 1999 the old gang has gone their separate ways. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are married with a son. Oz (Chris Klein) is an LA based sportscaster who once appeared on a a reality dance show, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a stay-at-home dad, Stifler (Seann William Scott) is an office temp and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is a man of mystery.

Their weekend back in East Great Falls, Michigan brings back old memories, creates some new ones and uncovers some long held secrets.

As you may have guessed from my synopsis, plot is not one of “’s” strong points. I expected something more from “Harold and Kumar” helmers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who also wrote and directed “Reunion.” None of the surreal feel of their best-known comedy seeped into this movie.

Instead we get a by-the-numbers high school reunion flick with enough “we’re not as young as we used to be” shtick to fill a textbook on how not to write a high school reunion comedy.

Luckily Eugene Levy is along for the ride. He rescues every scene he’s in, adding in some touches of real humor. Ditto Seann William Scott as Stifler. He’s a classic moron character, but there is something about the commitment Scott shows to Stifler’s idiocy that makes the shameless mugging and language one of the movie’s pleasures.

Aside from that only one set piece really works—an extended sequence with a drunken girl young enough to call the Spice Girls “classic rock.”

As for the cast, everyone is in full-blown “American Pie” mode, à la 1999. No surprises there, although the movie could easily have been subtitled, “What Ever Happened to Tara Reid?” She has a small supporting role that plays more like a cautionary tale of faded success than a comeback role in a Hollywood movie.

At almost two hours it feels longer than my old history teacher Mr. Parker’s lectures, but may appeal to fans of the series who have a built in connection with the characters and Eugene Levy aficionados. Otherwise, this is a direct to DVD level movie with not enough laughs to qualify for theatrical release.