A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at Ryan Gosling’s as astronaut Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” the star studded “Bad Times at the El Royale” and a nasty take on “Home Alone” called “Knuckleball.”
Richard joins CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including Ryan Gosling’s take on Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” the star studded “Bad Times at the El Royale” and a nasty take on “Home Alone” called “Knuckleball.”
Richard has a look at Ryan Gosling’s as Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” the star studded “Bad Times at the El Royale” and a nasty take on “Home Alone” called “Knuckleball” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
Six years ago writer/director Drew Goddard deconstructed the slasher movie genre with the whimsical and exhilarating “Cabin in the Woods.” A mash-up of horror and humour, of post-modern self-awareness and gruesome gags, it simultaneously adopted and challenged the conventions of the slasher genre. He returns to the big screen—his day job is writing, producing and directing TV shows like “Daredevil” and “The Good Place”—with “Bad Times at the El Royale,” an inversion of a 1990s broken timeline crime drama.
The El Royale is the kind of seedy hotel that dotted the highways and byways of 1960s America. Split down the middle by the California/Nevada border, it’s a perfect slice of mid-century kitsch, like the same guy who decked out Elvis’s rec room designed it. When we first lay eyes on it a shady character (Nick Offerman) with a bulging suitcase and a gun wrenches up the floorboards and hides a case of money before replacing the carpet and the furniture. It’s an act that establishes the El Royale as a home-away-from-home for transients and ne’er-do-wells and sets up much of the action to come.
As for the action to come, you’ll have to go see the film to find out what happens. I will tell you that the film takes place ten years after the suitcase was hidden in the hotel and begins with a disparate group of folks checking in well after the El Royale’s heyday. There’s slick talking vacuum cleaner salesman Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm), Reno-bound singer Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), Father Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a priest with tired eyes and hippie chick Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson). All three pay front desk manager Miles (Lewis Pullman) the $8 deposit and take to their rooms.
Secrets are revealed about the guests and the hotel as an aura of menace clouds the sunny California/Nevada border. “We’re in a bit of a pickle,” says Father Flynn in what may be the understatement of the year.
Goddard takes his time setting up the narrative drive of “Bad Times at the El Royale.” He bobs and weaves, playing with time, slowly revealing the intricacies of the story. For the patient—it runs two hours and 21 minutes—it’s a heck of a ride but may prove too opaque for casual viewers. Large conspiracies are hinted at, secrets are kept and no one is really who they seem to be. For those willing to submit to the grimly funny and admittedly indulgent proceedings, it’s a Tarantino-esque web of intrigue and unexpected violence that plays both as a crime drama and a metaphor for the decay of 1960s idealism.
“Bad Times at the El Royale” is a good movie filled with bad people. It asks you to care about people who do terrible things and by the end, thanks to inventive storytelling and good performances—Erivo is s standout—you just might.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about Ryan Gosling’s giant leap as Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” the star studded “Bad Times at the El Royale” and a nasty take on “Home Alone” called “Knuckleball.”
A new feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at Billie Jean King and retired pro Bobby Riggs in “Battle of the Sexes,” Taron Egerton’s stylish spy thriller “Kingsman: the Secret Circle” and the Jake Gyllenhaal real life drama “Stronger.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at about Billie Jean King and retired pro Bobby Riggs in “Battle of the Sexes,” Taron Egerton’s stylish spy thriller “Kingsman: the Secret Circle” and the Jake Gyllenhaal real life drama “Stronger.”
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art trained actor Taron Egerton is best known as Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin, the rebellious teenager turned super spy of Kingsman: The Secret Service.
That film plays like a violent My Fair Lady, taking a guy from the wrong side of the tracks and transforming him into a Kingsman Tailor, a super spy with manners that would make Henry Higgins proud and gadgets that James Bond would envy.
The Kingsman Tailors are the modern day knights; their finely tailored suits their armour. In the first movie Eggsy made it through “the most dangerous job interview in the world.” This weekend he returns to the glamorous and dangerous 007ish world of intrigue in a sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
It may be the role that made him a star, but don’t expect Egerton to revisit Eggsy time-after-time. “I’m trying to play parts which are a little more out there,” he says, “but I want variety.”
His IMDB page reveals the width and breadth of the variety he seeks in his movie career. From Legend’s psychopathic English gangster “Mad” Teddy Smith and Johnny, the soulful singing gorilla of Sing to American Ponzi schemer Dean Karny in the upcoming Billionaire Boy’s Club and the title role in Robin Hood, it’s obvious he’s trying to shake things up.
“I want to have fun,” he says. “I’m not interested in being a serious actor, because I think it’s boring, and I think we’ve got plenty of them.”
Here are a couple of his performances you may have missed that showcase what a serious actor he really is.
In Testament of Youth he co-stars opposite Alicia Vikander in a retelling of the classic World War I memoir by Vera Brittain. She plays Brittain, a tenacious young woman whose schooling is interrupted when WWI breaks out and brother Edward (Egerton), her fiancé Roland (Kit Game of Thrones Harington) and friends Victor (Colin Morgan) and Geoffrey (Jonathan Bailey) are sent to fight at the front lines. Vera opts to join them, leaving school to enrol as a nurse in the Voluntary Aid Detachment.
Egerton‘s role is small but important. As Edward he convinces their father to allow Vera to sit for the entrance exam and later, when he is killed on the Italian Front, his passing teaches his sister about personal loss and the futility of war. It’s a sensitive and spirited performance that showcases his on screen charisma.
Egerton is looser-limbed as the title character in Eddie the Eagle. He plays the English skier whose ambitions to compete in the Olympics made him a worldwide star. Like his character, the film sets its sights high. It’s not content to simply be a feel good film, it’s aspiring to be a feel GREAT movie.
Egerton, hams it up, handing in a performance that makes Benny Hill look nuanced. With thick, ill-fitting glasses, he’s all doe eyes and determination, a stiff-upper-lipper who wants to be part of the Olympics to prove everyone who told him he wasn’t good enough wrong. It’s an underdog story of such epic proportions it makes The Bad News Bears and all other underdogs look jaded by comparison.
“I don’t want to look back at my career and see a string of incredibly commercial projects that don’t have much heart,” he says. “I’m looking for things that have soul.”
The first “Kingsman” movie, “The Secret Service,” was like a violent “Pygmalion,” taking a guy from the wrong side of the tracks and transforming him into a Kingsman Tailor, a super spy with manners that would make Henry Higgins proud and gadgets that James Bond would envy.
The Kingsman Tailors are the modern day knights; their finely tailored suits their armour. In the first movie rebellious teenager turned super spy Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) made it through “the most dangerous job interview in the world” to earn a place in the exclusive group. This weekend he returns to the glamorous and treacherous 007ish world of intrigue in a sequel, “The Golden Circle.”
The job of keeping the world safe is the international intelligence agency Kingman’s top priority. That, and looking sharp while doing it. On the eve of Eggsy’s big date with girlfriend Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström) he is attacked by Charlie Hesketh (Edward Holcroft), a rejected Kingsman applicant turned bad. One of the only survivors of the exploding head caper of the last film, Hesketh only has one arm. The other is a mechanical unit called Armageddon—Get it?—equipped with all manner of gadgets, including a hacking device that taps into Eggsy’s Kingsman database.
Turns out, Charlie is working with the Golden Circle, the world’s biggest drug cartel. CEO—and possible cannibal—Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) is not content to have a global monopoly on the drug trade. She wants recognition for her achievements. To this end she plans to hold the world hostage by shipping millions of pounds of drugs poisoned with a chemical that will cause the Blue Rash. First symptom? Blue spider veins. Next? Mania, then paralysis followed by exploding organs. She wants the war on drugs to end immediately or she will let all the folks who have used her tainted drugs die horrible deaths. Her slogan? “Save Lives! Legalize!”
Her first step is to use the information from Charlie’s arm to locate all ten Kingsman offices worldwide and blow them all to kingdom come. Only Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) survive the coordinated blasts. Stiff upper lipped, they continue on and, following Kingsman protocol, will later shed a single tear in private for their fallen comrades. With their ranks decimated the duo turns to their American counterparts. Camouflaged as a whiskey manufacturer in Kentucky the Statesman are run by a colourful character known as Agent Champagne (Jeff Bridges).
Former rodeo clown Agents Tequila (Channing Tatum) and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) are six-shooter toting modern cowboys, stereotypical slices of Americana for a new generation while Agent Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) provides high tech guidance. Along with the new partners Merlin and Eggsy also discover their old friend Harry Hart (Colin Firth), a legendary Kingsman left for dead on an old mission. Unbeknownst to them he was rescued by the Statesman but now suffers from retrograde amnesia. Can Harry’s old friends help reboot his Kingsman memories? Will the surviving Kingsman and Statesmen be able to put aside their cultural differences in time to bring law and order back to the world?
There is a fun ninety-minute movie contained within “The Golden Circle,” but unfortunately it is buffered with an additional fifty minutes of talking. Sure, there are gadgets galore, wild chases and plenty of fight scenes but it suffers from a Pierce Brosnan era James Bond love of gadgetry and silly action set pieces. If the clichés don’t get you—“The Kingsmen need you,” Eggsy emotes, hoping to jog Harry’s memories. “The world needs you. I need you to.”—the sluggish pacing will. Despite the frenetic piece of the action sequences most other scenes drag, elongated with needless nattering. Even a riff on the first film’s most famous scene, the pub fight, feels overdone and uninspired.
The joie de vivre that made the first film so startling and fun is missing. Even the soundtrack has a been there, heard it before flavour. A case in point? The use of John Denver’s “Country Road” in a major scene despite the song already being used this year in “Free Fire,” “Alien: Covenant,” “Okja” and “Logan Lucky.”
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is star studded but is so enamoured of its own style it doesn’t give anyone a chance to be interesting. Any movie whose most memorable performance comes from Elton John—who is clearly a better piano player than actor—is in trouble. The clothes are nice but style isn’t enough to dress up this poor excuse for a caper film.