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.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Andrea Bain to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the award-worthy war film, “The Outpost,” the social drama “White Lie,” the ho-hum heist film “A Perfect Plan” and the documentary “Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the immersive war film, “The Outpost,” the social drama “White Lie,” the ho-hum heist film “A Perfect Plan” and the documentary “Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful.”
Helmut Newton, the provocative photographer and subject of the documentary “Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful” now on virtual cinema, often said that there are “only two dirty words”: “art” and “good taste.” The sentiment rings true in context of his work and that his word count is off is also telling; he was a provocateur but a playful one.
Newton, whose nudes make up a vast portion of this doc, called himself a “professional voyeur,” someone interested in the surface, his model’s bodies. How can you photograph a soul, he asks? His subjects, the women who fell under his male gaze for decades, have answers. Bold faced names like Isabella Rossellini, Grace Jones, Claudia Schiffer and Marianne Faithfull among others, sing his praises, most describing the liberating effects of standing in front of his camera. His love—or is it obsession?—of the female form is roundly applauded in the film, as it was during his career, but in the #MeToo era photos of naked women with their faces obscured or reduced to an assortment of body parts, or wrapped in chains, don’t sit as well as they once did.
Of all the famous women in the film only Susan Sonntag, appearing on a French language panel show with Newton, addresses the negative undertones of his work.
Director Gero von Boehm assembles archival footage, new interviews and lots and lots of Newton’s nudes to illuminate the life and influences of the man who signed off letters with the inscription, Your Naughty Boy. It moves along quickly, painting a picture of a charming eccentric consumed by his work. There is nothing terribly revealing (other than the photos), just hagiographic stories about working with the man on set. Some are funny—“Helmut loved chickens. He loved to photograph chickens,” Is the lead in for a story about the famous photog snapping pictures of a chicken in high heels for Vogue.—but most settle for talking about what a pleasure it was to work with the man.
More interesting is a look back at his influences. As a German of Jewish descent, he and his family fled Berlin in 1938, but not before he had soaked up some very specific influences. German Expressionism gave him the idea of photography as an outlet for expressing his inner ideas while Nazi sympathizer Leni Riefenstahl’s films like “The Triumph of the Will” influenced his use of what he thought of as idealised human forms.
This is as close as the film gets to digging deep or placing Newton’s work in any sort of social context.
“Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful” is a snapshot in time at one of the people who helped define the high fashion look of an era. That it doesn’t dwell on the art or its ramifications is something Newton may have liked but the lack of social context leaves the documentary lacking.
“Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful” is streaming now via virtual cinemas at Hot Docs; the Vancity; Cinema Moderne (Mtl) and the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Richard interviews “Incredibles 2” director Brad Bird about the film, which raked in $180 million on it’s opening weekend, knocking another Pixar film, Finding Dory, out of the “most successful animated film opening of all time” spot.