Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the Jennifer Lopez rom com “Marry Me,” the Amazon Prime action series “Reacher” and the Showtime documentary series “We Need to Talk About Cosby.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including two rom coms for Valentine’s Day, “I Want You Back” (Amazon) and “Marry Me” (in theatres), the Agatha Christie murder mystery “Death on the Nile” (in Theatres), and the Oscar nominated “Drive My Car” (in theatres).
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including two rom coms for Valtentine’s Day, “I Want You Back” (Amazon) and “Marry Me” (in theatres), the Agatha Christie murder mystery “Death on the Nile” (in Theatres), the Liam Neeson actioner “Blacklight” (theatres) and the Oscar nominated “Drive My Car” (in theatres).
If falling in love was simple, there’d be no need for romantic comedies. Relationships are complicated, and rom coms can teach us the importance of confessing love to someone who’s about to board a plane or train, how burning hatred can morph into red hot passion and how to make out in the rain.
All are valuable lessons for the romantically challenged. Thanks to lovey-dovey pioneers like Drew Barrymore, Kathryn Heigl and Jennifer Lopez, the movies taught us how to hurdle any romantic roadblock.
Lopez returns with more life and love lessons after a twelve-year rom com sabbatical in “Marry Me,” a musical riff on “Notting Hill,” in theatres just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Lopez plays her fictionalized doppelgänger, a pop superstar named Kat Valdez. She’s a chart topper, a fashion plate, a staple on social media and advertising campaigns.
In other words, she’s Jennifer Lopez, except that everyone calls her Kat.
Kat is engaged to singer Bastian (Maluma), because who is one pop star supposed to marry except another pop star? Their nuptials will happen on-stage and on-line in front of an estimated 20 million people. Seconds before they are to sing their new hit single “Marry Me” and exchange “I dos,” Kat discovers Bastian has been having an affair with her assistant.
Cue the tearful, mascara smearing speech about true love and living the “truth behind the headlines.” The wedding is off. Or is it? In the audience is Charlie (Owen Wilson), single father and math teacher. He’s a fish out of water who doesn’t know Kat’s music and is only there because his co-worker Parker (a wisecracking Sarah Silverman) had extra tickets for him and his daughter (Chloe Coleman).
From the stage Kat notices the square-peg Charlie because he’s holding a giant sign Parker brought along that reads “Marry Me.” In what could be the ultimate “meet cute” in rom com history, she takes the message literally, invites Charlie to the stage and before you can say “Holy Publicity Stunt Batman!” they are pronounced husband and wife.
“I was impulsive. Without a plan,” Kat later says at a press conference. “But look where my plans got me.”
You know the rest.
Rom coms are not about the destination, they are all about the journey, the happily ever after and “Marry Me” is a good ride. It would be easy to see this as a cynical package of story and product placement for the soundtrack album, but there is nothing cynical about the movie. Lopez embraces the form, especially the fantasy, 21st century fairy tale aspect, to create a romance so light and frothy it threatens to float away into the clouds. It’s an old school rom com that works because of the chemistry between Lopez and Wilson. The spark between them and the sheer weight of the silly premise keeps the movie earthbound.
“Marry Me” works because it understands what it is, an old-fashioned rom com with a 21st century gloss. It’s a fashion show with a few laughs. An issue of “Architectural Digest” style life-style porn with romance and a musical with love lessons about not judging a book by its cover, of female empowerment and the grand gesture of renting out the entirety of Coney Island for a birthday celebration. As Parker says, “This is the most unbelievable thing that could happen in life,” but this isn’t life, it’s a rom com.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the financial crisis drama “Hustlers,” the sprawling literary drama “The Goldfinch” and the sci fi story “Freaks.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at the pole dancing bandits of “Hustlers,” the sprawling literary drama “The Goldfinch” and the sci fi story “Freaks.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers,” the sprawling literary drama “The Goldfinch” and the sci fi story “Freaks” then has a look at the highlights from day one of the Toronto International Film Festival!
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers,” the sprawling literary drama “The Goldfinch” and the sci fi story “Freaks” then has a look at the highlights from day one of the Toronto International Film Festival!
If they gave out Oscars for pole dancing the release of “Hustlers” would place Jennifer Lopez one step closer to completing her EGOT collection.
“Jenny from the Block” plays Ramona Vega, centerfold turned superstar stripper. It’s the 2000s and the dancers at New York’s Sin City Café are lap-dancing all the way to the bank. “2007 was the best,” says Destiny (Constance Wu). “I made more money than a brain surgeon.” Ramona has taught Destiny the craft of separating the Wall Street bros who frequent their club from their money. She teaches the neophyte fancy pole moves like the “fairy sit” and “fireman spin,” and the nuances of customer service. “Get them a single, a double, then a triple and then a single,” she says. “You want them drunk enough to get their credit card but sober enough to sign the check.”
They follow the “green brick road” until September 29, 2008. Wall Street is gutted by a stock market crash, putting a stop to open-ended expense accounts and the dolla bills that showered the women as they danced. “It’s the end of an era in American business,” says Brian Williams on the news, and the end of way of life for Destiny, Ramona and friends.
Overnight everything changes. The business turns from glamourous to grimy. “The guys don’t want to spend the dollars,” says the dancer’s den mother (Mercedes Ruehl), “the girls don’t want to share tips in management took the cameras out of the champagne rooms.” With lap dances no longer enough to make money Ramona comes up with a new way of separating the Wall Street guys from their cash. “We can’t dance forever. We have to think like them. Nobody gets hurt.” A mix of sex appeal, flattery and knock-out drugs, it’s not exactly legal but they have no sympathy for the businessmen who they say robbed the country but didn’t get any jail time. “I know it sounds bad that we were drugging people,” Destiny says, “but in our world it was normal.” New recruits to their booming business bring trouble and soon it’s not the stock market crashing but police, crashing through their apartment doors.
Based on a true story and inspired by the New York Magazine article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler, the movie’s narrative spine is an interview between a journalist (played by Julia Stiles subbing in for Pressler) and Destiny, giving the movie an as-told-told vibe.
The result is a fleet-footed dramedy that captures the heady, high-heeled days at the club when the money flowed like water and it was all giddy good times for the dancers. An early scene puts you in the mind of an R-rated snowglobe as J-Lo swings around a pole, dollar bills filling the air around her. Like the time it evokes, it’s over-the-top but easily upped by the next sequence which finds Ramona finding a quiet moment on a New York City rooftop. As the lights of the city twinkle behind her she is in repose, smoking a cigarette, a fluffy fur coat barely concealing her stage costume. Like some kind of Venus on the Half-Shell by way of 42nd Street she embodies the decadence of the time.
In the first part of the film the camp is amped. By the time Usher shows up, strutting into the club with the cool factor of Sinatra in his prime, a fistful of Benjamins in hand, the picture of the wild ‘n woolly era is complete. Director Lorene Scafaria then gear shifts, adding in the sense of desperation that comes when the money dries up. The movie shifts gears, becoming more of a caper flick as Ramona and pals go fishing for Wall Street sharks.
At the core of the story is the sisterhood between Ramona and Destiny. It’s a mother, mentor pairing that sees the two women bond on a level that transcends simply being business partners. “We are the untouchables,” says Ramona, “like Kobe and Shaq.” They become intricately involved in one another’s lives, which makes the sting of the coming events even more complicated. Lopez and Wu have spark together onscreen, bringing some heart to a story of people who trolled the dark side for a living.
“Hustlers” is a glitzy caper about money, friendship, and revenge against the bankers who went unpunished after a financial crisis brought the country and the dancers at the Sin City Café to their knees. “Everybody is hustling,” says Ramona. “This city, this whole country is a strip club. You’ve got people tossing the money and people dancing.”