Posts Tagged ‘Finding Dory’

Metro In Focus: Forecasting a plan to help part the clouds over Hollywood

By Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

It’s awards season, a heady time when the movie biz pats itself on the back for a job well done. Tuxedoes are rented, Botox injected by the gallon and hundreds of miles of red carpets unfurled as industry insiders honour the best of the best with statues and speeches.

But is it really a time for celebration? The movie biz had a record-breaking year, raking in north of $11.4 billion on the backs of, as one industry insider said, “a forgetful fish, infighting superheroes and some intergalactic rebels.”

But for every Finding Dory, Captain America or Rogue One, which all earned good reviews and audience support, there were dozens of others that acted as public repellent, driving viewers away in droves. Those unsuccessful movies are dark clouds hanging heavy over the Hollywood landscape. Metro has some thoughts on how to clear the skies and ensure smooth sailing until Hollywood runs out of awards to hand out.

Let’s spend more time watching imaginative new worlds and ideas brought to life on the screen. Give me more movies from Guillermo Del Toro, Edgar Wright and Andrea Arnold, filmmakers who constantly reinvent our relationship with story and cinema.

Although I’m looking forward to John Wick 2 and Skull Island, let’s cut back on the reboots, reimaginings, remakes and films with numbers in their titles.

Let Kristen Stewart do anything she wants. Her death-defying leap from a Young Adult idol to indie star has been inspiring to watch. She digs deeper and deeper with every role, distancing herself from the teeny-bopper image that defined the early part of her career. Her choices are wild and woolly and you don’t know what to expect next from her. More please.

No more ‘interesting’ movies from Will Smith. His overthinking has done more collateral damage to his once towering career than his last film, Collateral Beauty.

More convulsive belly laughs triggered by thoughtful, interesting jokes please. That means fewer films that mistake politically incorrect “did he really just say that?” jokes for actual humour.

Can we have more reliance on the human touch on screen; directors like Jim Jarmusch, Mira Nair and Barry Jenkins who use instinct and experience to create their art.

Let’s have less studio reliance on branding, formula and script algorithms like ScriptBook, ScripThreads and Slated. Successful movie ideas don’t come from marketing departments or mathematical analysis, they come from the hearts and minds of interesting storytellers.

We need more films that pass both the Bechdel Test (does the movie feature a scene where two women discuss something other than a man?) as well as the DuVernay Test (do the African American and other minority characters have fully realized lives or are they just scenery in white stories?) If the answer is yes to either of these questions, you’ll have more films that better reflect the world we live in.

Finally, it’s time for Hollywood to be truly egalitarian. We need to see an end to white actors cast in non-white roles. It’s not knee-jerk political correctness — it’s justice for years of whitewashing in Hollywood. Recently in Doctor Strange, Gods of Egypt, Aloha and many others caucasian actors were cast in roles written or conceived for people of colour. Let’s stop that in 2017.


Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 5.52.05 PMIdris Elba is a busy man. He’s released seven movies this year and has several more on tap for 2017. He’s on track to join Dwayne Johnson, Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the world’s highest earning actors after turns in the mega-grossing The Jungle Book, Finding Dory and Zootopia.

If you don’t know the name you haven’t been paying attention. Rev up Netflix and check out his work on TV shows like The Wire or Luther and movies like RocknRolla or Beasts of No Nation and become a fan. You should know he was once voted one of People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in the World and more than one twitter friend of mine refers to him as a “pretend boyfriend.”

Not only busy but good looking as well! I was pleased to be granted a fifteen-minute phone interview to discuss his debut in the Star Trek franchise as Krall, a hostile alien who causes trouble for Kirk, Spock and company in Star Trek Beyond.

I don’t usually write questions but I thought I might ask him if he watched Star Trek as a child. Would he consider himself a Trekker? Did he have a favourite Star Trek character growing up? Did he wonder what Star Trek fans would think of the predatory new character? Are there parallels between the film—and his character—and our world today? Has he considered what being part of the legacy of the show means?

If there was time at the end I might even follow up on the rumours and ask if he even wants to play James Bond.

Then the first call came in. “Idris is running behind.” Cool. This happens all the time on press days. Then another call and another and another. My phone hasn’t gotten this kind of workout since a Nigerian Prince called over and over to solicit my assistance in moving his fortune to North America. Each time a publicist announced another delay with the assurance the interview would still happen. As the time wore on the actual length of my interview began to tumble downhill from fifteen minutes down to seven.

In all two hours passed from my scheduled start time until my phone rang for real.

“Hi Richard, I’ll connect you with Idris,” said the perky voice on the other end of the line.


A minute passed before Elba’s familiar husky London accent filled my ear. Hallelujah! Better late than never. We talk over one another. “Hello… HELLO… Can you hear me?” It’s a bad cell phone connection. It sounds as if we’re talking through two tin cans connected by strings but I’ll take it.

I ask him about his childhood memories of Star Trek.

“It was a show me, my mum and my dad watched together,” he says. “They both liked it. It was a show that really took your imagination places. That’s my early memory of it. It was a really imaginative show that showed space travel in a way that was different, you know?”

It took him 23 seconds to speak the 50 words that told me his parents liked Star Trek. I mention this because as soon as he stopped talking and I started asking the next question I heard a strange beep beep sound followed by… nothing. The great void. No more husky voice. And like that, poof. He’s gone.

“Are you still there? I think we just lost him,” the eavesdropping publicist said. “Let me get him back for you. Just one second.”

I had visions of the actor walking around Fifth Avenue desperately yelling into his phone, “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” but in my heart I knew that wasn’t happening.

Minutes later she’s back. “I’m so sorry. We lost him. I know you only had a couple of minutes to speak with him…” actually it was twenty three seconds… “Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with him.”

My interview with Idris was over. Still born. Terminated before it even really began.

Was I mad? Not really. Frustrated? Yes. Not only had I wasted the afternoon waiting for Idris but now I didn’t have a story to file.

My friends on social media didn’t exactly see it my way. “What do you expect?” wrote one person. “He is the hottest man alive.” Another chose to look on the bright side. “That’s 45 seconds more Idris than the rest of us.” (I hadn’t yet timed the actual quote when hit facebook to vent.)

In the end it’s not a big deal. I’m choosing to look at the bright side. I didn’t get to chat with him but I do have a contender for the Guinness Book of World Records for Shortest (And Least Satisfying) Interview Ever.

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

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 12.18.04 PMFrom “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!




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!


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.


Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 10.14.33 AMRichard sits in on CHUM-FM’s “Roger & Marilyn Show” to talk about summer movies. Find out about “The Shallows” which is described as Blake Lively’s “Castaway” meets “Jaws,” “Finding Dory” with Ellen DeGeneres, the flatulent corpse humour of “Swiss Army Man” and “Ghostbusters,” the most hated trailer ever in YouTube history. (Starts at 19:01)