I appear on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. I’ll tell you about the disturbing drama “The Zone of Interest” and Zac Efron in the tragic wrestling drama “The Iron Claw,” both playing in theatres.
Fast reviews for busy people! Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to wrap a gift! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the satire “American Fiction,” the high-flying wrestling movie “The Iron Claw” and the drama “The Zone of Interest.”
I sit in with 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 satire “American Fiction,” the high-flying wrestling movie “The Iron Claw” and the animated “Migration.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the satire “American Fiction,” the high-flying wrestling movie “The Iron Claw,” the animated “Migration,” the superhero flick “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” and the drama “The Zone of Interest.”
I join CTV NewsChannel anchor Roger Peterson to talk about the satire “American Fiction,” the high-flying wrestling movie “The Iron Claw,” the animated “Migration,” the superhero flick “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” and the drama “The Zone of Interest.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Stefan Keyes to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the satire “American Fiction,” the high-flying wrestling movie “The Iron Claw,” the animated “Migration,” the superhero flick “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” and the drama “The Zone of Interest.”
Steeped in tragedy and trauma, “The Iron Claw,” a movie about the Von Erich wrestling family starring Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White, and now playing in theatres, isn’t a sports movie. Set against the backdrop of professional wrestling, the movie is study of toxic masculinity and how the sins of the father can be visited on their sons.
The film begins with Fritz Von Erich (Holt McCallany) patriarch of the championship Von Erich wrestling dynasty. Early in his career, in an attempt to create a villainous heel persona, he changed his name from Jack Adkisson to the German sounding Fritz Von Erich. The switch purposely stoked post-war animosity and made him a wrestler audiences loved to hate.
In the ring he was a relentless competitor, the purveyor of the deadly Iron Claw, his much-feared finishing move that squeezed his opponent’s face into mush. Outside the ring his drive to win saw him push his sons Kevin (Efron), Kerry (White), David (Harris Dickinson) and Mike (Stanley Simons), into the family business.
“Now, we all know Kerry’s my favourite, then Kev, then David, then Mike,” said Fritz. “But the rankings can always change.”
Under Fritz’s hardnosed guidance, the Von Erich’s became one of the first wrestling families to become popular, winning championship belts and fans for their high-flying, acrobatic style but their accomplishments are tempered by tragedy, which son Kevin blames on a curse brought on by the family’s adopted name.
“Ever since I was a child, people said my family was cursed,” Kevin said. “Mom tried to protect us with God. Dad tried to protect us with wrestling. He said if we were the toughest, the strongest, nothing could ever hurt us. I believed him. We all did.”
“The Iron Claw” is about sports, and clearly stars Efron and White spent time in the gym to prepare for their shirtless bouts in the ring, but like all good sports movies it isn’t about the sport. It’s about the universal subjects of tragedy, brotherhood, brawn and bullies. The backdrop may be unusual, but anyone who has ever been browbeaten by a bully will find notes that resonate in the Von Erich story.
At the heart of the film are Efron and White as sons Kevin and Kerry. Both hand in performances etched by their physicality but deepened by the emotional turmoil that envelopes each character.
Efron digs deep in a career best performance. As Kevin watches his family fall apart, he slips into a depression, afraid that the curse is real and may affect his own wife (Lily James) and kids. For such a physical film, it’s internal work that reveals a well of emotion and sublimated anger underneath the character’s bulky frame.
White has a showier role, but as Kerry, the son who pays a huge personal price for wanting to please his overbearing father at any cost, he is more outward in his reactions to the story’s twists, but the sadness he carries with him is palpable.
Maura Tierney does a lot with little as mother Doris Von Erich. A stoic figure, when her buried feelings threaten to overflow, the look on her face has such quiet intensity it speaks louder than words.
McCallany has a much larger role. He is the catalyst, the bully who pushed his sons toward the ring by any means necessary. He’s the movie’s obvious boogeyman. Trouble is, the family can’t see it until it is too late.
“The Iron Claw” is a slow moving, somber movie that looks beyond the ring to focus on the price this family paid for success.
Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Bain about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the “2nd Annual Windrush Caribbean Film Festival,” the Disney+ series “Love, Victor” and Liam Neeson in the VOD movie “The Ice Road.”