Posts Tagged ‘Jada Pinkett Smith’


Richard joins CTV NewsChannel and anchor Lois Lee to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the virtual reality of “The Martrix Resurrection,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and the jukebox musical “Sing 2.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the virtual reality of “The Martrix Resurrection,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and the jukebox musical “Sing 2.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


Can Richard Crouse review three movies in just thirty seconds? Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the Neo’s return to virtual reality in “The Matrix: Resurrections,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” in less time than it takes to buy a pack of Twizzlers.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

THE MATRIX: RESURRECTION: 2 ½ STARS. “recontextualizes existing mythology.”

These days movies are regularly remade, rebooted, reimagined and regurgitated. But none of those terms capture how Warner Bros has brought back one of their most famous and ground breaking franchises.

The new Keanu Reeves movie isn’t simply a return to the Matrix, the simulated reality created by intelligent machines to pacify humans and steal their energy, it’s a resurrection. After eighteen years, Neo has been raised from the dead by Lana Wachowski in “The Matrix: Resurrections,” now playing in theatres.

The last time we saw Neo (Reeves) he made the ultimate sacrifice, giving himself to create peace between machines and mankind. His death would allow people to finally be free of the virtual world of the Matrix.

In “Resurrections” it’s twenty years later. Neo now goes by his real name, Thomas A. Anderson. He is the “greatest videogame designer of his generation,” with an ordinary life, save for the visions that plague him. “I’ve had dreams,” he says, “that weren’t just dreams.” His analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) has him on a steady diet of heavy therapy and blue pills, meant to quell the strange delusions.

Anderson’s regular life is turned upside down when his business partner Smith (Jonathan Groff) announces that their company will be making a sequel to their most popular game, “The Matrix.” As his team works on the new game—“It’s a mindbomb!”—his memories become more intense and soon he has trouble distinguishing fact from fiction.

Or is it all real?

When people from his past, like computer programmer and hacker Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), an alternate reality version of the heroic Matrix hovercraft captain who first believed Neo was “The One,” appear, Thomas fears he is losing his mind.

Things become clearer—Or do they?—when the new Morpheus offers Thomas/Neo a choice of pills. The blue ones will keep Thomas’ state of mind status quo. The red ones, however, will take him down the rabbit hole, into the heart of the Matrix. “Nothing comforts anxiety like a little nostalgia,” says Morpheus.

Pill popped, the simulated world opens up to reveal a dangerous place in need of a hero. Teaming with a group of rebels, Neo battles a new enemy and secrets are revealed. “The Matrix is the same or worse,” says Neo, “and I’m back where I started. It feels like none of it mattered.”

“The Matrix: Resurrections” may be the most self-aware movie of the year. No instalment of “The Matrix” will ever match the whiz bang excitement of the first film, and “Resurrections” knows it. It comments on itself and consistently winks at its legacy.

“This cannot be a retread, reboot or regurgitation,” says one of the “Matrix” videogame designers.

“Why not?” says another. “Reboots sell.”

Like the movie’s story, the film itself attempts to blur the line between the reality of the story and the very act of watching the movie. It is simultaneously self-depreciating and cynical. It’s OK to have a bit of good fun with the story, especially given the oh-so-serious tone of the previous “Matrix” movies, but by the time Thomas meets Trinity at the Simulatte Café, the jokes have worn thin.

The meat of the story, a search for truth, is the engine that keeps the movie motoring along, but the endless exposition, a torrent of words, seems to be the fuel that keeps things running. When a character says, “That’s the thing about stories, they never end,” it’s hard to disagree as the movie gets mired in mythology and world building.

It becomes a slog, without enough of the trademarked Wachowski action scenes to help pick up the pace. When the movie does dip into bullet time and the action that made the original so memorable, it feels like a pale comparison. There is nothing much new—“I still know Kung Fu,” says Neo—just frenetic action and nostalgia for a time when a slow-motion bullet made our eyeballs dance.

“The Matrix: Resurrections” does try to recontextualize the existing mythology. This time around the all-you-need-is-love-story between Neo and Trinity is amped up and there is some timely social commentary about control, whether it’s from the government or a virtual reality machine, but, and there is a big “but,” as much as I wanted to enjoy another trip to the Matrix, I found it too meta, too long and yet, not ambitious enough.


Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 9.19.50 AMRichard sits in with Marcia McMillan to have a look at the the rollercoaster action of “Jason Bourne,” the heartwarming (and slightly raunchy) comedy of “Bad Moms,” “Cafe Society’s” period piece humour and the online intrigue of “Nerve.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

BAD MOMS: 3 STARS. “despite the promise of raunch its filled with gooey warmth.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 9.16.51 PMFrom the comedy minds who gave us “The Hangover” comes another trio. This time it’s less a Wolf Pack than it is a Coffee Klatch of moms fed up with the burden of having to be perfect. It has its raunchy moments—thanks to Kathryn Hahn’s spirited performance—but by and large “Bad Moms” might better be titled “Tired Moms.

Amy (Mila Kunis) is a thirty-two-year-old frazzled mom struggling to keep up with her family life and work. She has two kids, the overachieving Jane (Oona Laurence) and Dylan (Emjay Anthony) and a husband (David Walton) “who sometimes feels like a third child.”

“I’m doing the best I can,” she sighs. “That makes it sadder,” replies Jane.

When an epiphany turns her from stressed mother to bad mom, she sleeps in, lets her kids make their own breakfast and drinks loads of wine with two other exhausted mothers, Carla (Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell). Having tossed the shackles of the daily grind of motherhood aside, Amy is reborn, but not everyone is pleased. Her newfound freedom puts her in the crosshairs of the fascistic PTA president Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate).

The mothers in “Bad Moms” aren’t bad moms, they’re simply fed up with trying to live up to the expectations. The movie has laughs, mostly courtesy of Hahn’s laser sharp delivery of lines like, “I feel like everything that comes out of your mouth is a cry for help,” but mostly this is a manifesto for taking a breath and giving both yourself and your kids a chance to enjoy their childhoods. As Amy becomes the Norma Rae of mothers, she discovers taking a step away from what she thought she should do as a mom is the best way to discover the joy of parenthood.

It’s a story of the power of friendship and despite the promise of raunch “Bad Moms” is filled with gooey warmth. The set up is formulaic—you know the bond between children or parents will only grow and get stronger by the time the end credits roll—but despite the obvious story, and some obvious plot holes, the movie succeeds because underneath it all it’s not just about them talking about their kids, their exhaustion or how to best to dress for a night out. It’s about taking control of their lives, standing up to injustice and, yes, getting a date with the handsome widowed dad (Jay Hernandez) who drops his kid off at the playground everyday.

The Top 10 On-Set Romances in Richard’s new column!

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 11.06.34 AMRichard’s new column is now up and running!

“Making love on camera is such hard work,” says actress Julie Christie, “that there is no time for the libido to take over.”

Maybe so, but some good-old-fashioned romance does manage to blossom on movie sets. Just ask Brad Pitt or Goldie Hawn or Ben Affleck. Each of them met their current paramour while making a movie.

Let’s take a look at some of the greatest Hollywood on-set romances… READ THE WHOLE THING HERE!


madagascar-3As summer blockbusters go, there is more invention and fun in the first twenty minutes of “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” than in all of “Battleship” and “Men in Black 3” combined.

As the movie opens Alex the lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), zebra Marty (Chris Rock), giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer) and hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are still stranded in the African savannah with dreams of returning to their New York home. Unfortunately their plane has been hijacked by some shady penguins, who are whooping it up on the French Rivera. The menagerie makes their way to Monte Carlo with an eye toward getting their plane back and heading home. There they attract the attention of Capt. Chantal Dubois (Frances McDormand) a psychotic animal-control officer determined to add Alex’s head to her trophy wall.

To escape from her grip they join an America-bound circus featuring jaguar Gia (Jessica Chastain) sea lion Stefano (Martin Short) and Siberian tiger Vitaly (Bryan Cranston). The animal performers have seen better days, and while they keep Alex and friends safe (for the time being) from the clutches of Dubois, some changes will have to be made if this circus will be able to cut it in America.

“Madagascar” series has ever been my favorite animated franchise. I found the first two films pleasant enough, but not memorable—with the exception of the wisecracking penguins. They are bright, colorful films with good messages but they didn’t have the oomph of Pixar, or even other Dreamworks animations like “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Until now.

The addition of writer Noah “Squid and the Whale” Baumbach has brought with it a sensibility and humor missing from the other films. It’s rare that a franchise improves as it hits its third installment, but “Madagascar” has.

The new film is funny—it’s worth the price of admission to hear Chris Rock’s Polka Dot Afro Circus song—surreal and literally bursts off the screen in an explosion of neon colored 3-D. It’s frenetic, but imaginative with gags hidden throughout and several show-stopping action and musical sequences.

The penguins still steal the show, but this time around the script and look of the film give them a run for their money.


madagascar_escape_2_africa01You had to see this one coming. Any time a movie grosses 500 million dollars a sequel can’t be far behind. So from the same company that brought us Shrek 2 and 3 and the upcoming Shrek 4-D comes Madagascar Escape 2 Africa which sees all the original Central Park Zoo creatures—Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and, of course, the penguins take another road trip.

As we rejoin the New York-raised zoo animals they are still marooned in Madagascar. When the penguins find an old plane it looks like they might be able to travel back home to America. Unfortunately the plane crash lands far short of their target. This time they end up stranded in Africa, “our ancestral crib,” as Marty the Zebra calls it. They soon discover that despite long lost relatives and some unexpected romance that the African jungle is a much different place than the concrete jungle they’re used to.

Madagascar Escape 2 Africa isn’t a bad kid’s flick, but it suffers from the usual symptoms of sequelitis. It isn’t quite as funny as the first movie, the story feels padded, even at a compact 89 minutes and the situation seems a bit too familiar. Not that any of that will matter to the little ones once they’ve seen the fun supporting cast.

The leads, save for Chris Rock’s hyperactive zebra, are rather bland, so luckily they are supported by lively and colorful secondary characters. Sacha Baron Cohen of Borat fame plays King Julien, the dramatic lemur monarch. His slapstick antics should amuse kids but his sly double entendres are aimed directly at adults. He has a funny, and possibly slightly inappropriate, line about almonds and a silver platter that’ll fly high over the tot’s heads but wake up their parents. In fact, the movie is peppered with lines referring to Darwinism and union trade talks that are clearly calculated to widen the movie’s appeal to all members of the family.

Kids will like the lemur, but they will love the penguins. Penguins are the new dogs. Not since the heyday of dog movies like Benji and Lassie has one species won over the hearts of so many. March of the Penguins was a left field hit a few years ago and an R-rated parody of that movie, Farce of the Penguins, soon followed. The little furry birds have also appeared in Happy Feet, the 3-2-1 Penguins series and even something called Penguins Behind Bars. Everybody loves penguins, and in Madagascar Escape 2 Africa their gangster shenanigans are the highlight of the movie. Next—a third Madagascar movie is already in the works—hopefully Dreamworks will pull back on the bland Alex the Lion character and focus on the penguins.

Madagascar Escape 2 Africa is a family friendly movie with slapstick for the kids and slightly more sophisticated jokes for the adults.