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.”
A new biopic hopes to rehabilitate the reputation of Tammy Faye Bakker, the scandal plagued televangelist who may be best remembered for her outlandish taste in make-up. But “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” now playing in theatres and starring Jessica Chastain in the title role, looks at the unusual rise and fall of a woman many wrote off years ago as a pop culture joke, through fresh eyes. “I won’t go forward looking in the rearview mirror of my life,” she says. “This is who I am.”
The eldest of eight children raised by stern mother Rachel (Cherry Jones), Tammy Faye (played as a youngster by Chandler Head) makes an impression at her mother’s Pentecostal Church when she speaks in tongues over a glass of sacramental wine.
Cut to 1960, Tammy Faye (now played by Chastain) is studying at the North Central Bible College in Minneapolis when she meets a charismatic student named Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield). His approach to religion flipped the script from God fearing to expecting God to exalt those who made money in His name.
“God does not want us to be poor,” he says.
The pair, now man and wife, take their act on the road. Jim preaches, Tammy does puppet shows and both dream of starting their own church. After a meet cute with a producer for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, the couple get a TV gig and their biggest audience to date. Their folksy blend of religion, songs and hellfire catch on and within five years their Praise the Lord (PTL) Network hits the airwaves and the seeds of a scandal that will rock the televangelist community, and turn the Bakkers into tabloid fodder, are planted.
“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” features a bravado performance from Chastain, but like the make-up painted on the actress’s face, it is all surface. She is an entertaining combination of pluck, nervous giggle and giant eye lashes, but despite the occasional flash, the work is all personality with not enough going on behind the titular eyes. It’s big, bold and even admirable work, but never gets to the core of what made Tammy Faye run.
Chastain isn’t aided by a Wikipedia style script that hits the high and low points of the Tammy Faye’s life, career and marriage, but often forgets the connective tissue that brings these elements together. Despite the disjointed storytelling, the movie does do some interesting world building in its recreation of the PTL broadcasts and the presentation of the Bakkers’s elaborate lifestyle in all its lurid 1980s detail.
“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” entertains the ocular orbs but blinks when it comes to really digging deep into what was behind Tammy Faye’s eyes.
What to watch when you’ve already watched everything Part Eight! Binge worthy, not cringe worthy recommendations from Isolation Studios in the eerily quiet downtown Toronto. Three movies to stream, rent or buy from the comfort of home isolation. Today, dinosaurs, the meaning of life, the potential of the page and true crime.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including at the thrills and chills of “It: Chapter Two,” the Ram Dass doc “Becoming Nobody” and some highlights from TIFF including “Dolemite is My Name.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “It: CHapter Two,” the documentary “Becoming Nobody” and all the best stuff at TIFF.
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 thrills and chills of “It: Chapter Two,” the Ram Dass doc “Becoming Nobody” and the TIFF opening night film “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band.”
The first instalment of “It,” Stephen King’s scary clown epic, was about overcoming fears. Specifically, the shape-shifting Pennywise the Dancing Clown a.k.a. It (Bill Skarsgård), the manifestation of all the character’s fears. The new film, inventively titled “It: Chapter Two,” is about resilience, about sticking your neck out for your friends.
The new one is set in 2016, twenty-seven years after the preteen Loser’s Club battled Pennywise in his sewers lair and kept the town of Derry, Maine safe from the child gobbling monster. Now, the childhood friends have gone their separate ways. Loser’s leader Bill (James McAvoy) is now a successful mystery novelist. Sexual abuse survivor Beverly (Jessica Chastain) went on to become a fashion designer, while Ben (Jay Ryan), the overweight, bullied kid is now an architect living in Nebraska and loud-mouth Richie (Bill Hader) is a DJ in Los Angeles. Other members fled town as well. Hypochondriac Eddie (James Ransone) runs a NYC limousine company and Stanley (Andy Bean) is now an Atlanta-based accountant.
Only Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) stayed in Derry. Traumatized by the events of his youth he battles a substance abuse problem but stays on top of Pennyworth’s existence by sleeping next to a police scanner. “Something happens when you leave this town,” says Mike. “The farther away, the hazier it all gets. But me, I never left. I remember all of it.” When trouble in the form of a clown comes back to town Mike summons the others Losers to come back home to conquer their fears, bond together and do battle with their old foe. “Did you miss me?” taunts Pennywise. “No one wants to play with me anymore.”
At almost three hours “It: Chapter Two” is an overindulgent mish mash, part horror, a splash of comedy and heaping helping of pop psychology. Oh, and a clown. To say the movie takes it’s time is an understatement along the lines of suggesting Pennnywise floss more often. It almost feels like you’re binging several episodes of a serialized version of the story without the benefit of being able to switch channels when the going gets repetitive.
And it gets repetitive. We are endlessly reminded of the character’s childhood traumas, told of Pennywise’s evil and if someone said to me, “We’ve got to stick together,” as many times Bill says it here, I would make a run for it and never look back. The movie says it best when Ritchie exasperatedly says, “We’re caught up, OK!” over an hour in, and yet the exposition and repetition continues.
There are several striking nightmarish images and Hader provides some much-needed comic relief but it feels as though director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman regarded King’s novel as some sort of sacred text and where unable to stray from the written word. One of the enjoyable things about King’s novels are there world building, his attention to detail and skill for weaving mythology into real(ish) world situations. The best adaptations of his work carefully parse these elements to boil down the essence of the story. “It: Chapter Two” does not make the effort. Instead it laboriously recreates the novel, frills and all. It may have worked in print but here it feels the running gag about Bill’s inability to properly end his stories has come to life, manifesting itself in the CGI heavy climax and the extended coda.
In this sequel Pennywise’s red balloon has finally popped.