Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
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 the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
Despite the similarities in name “Concrete Cowboy,” the new drama starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin of “Stranger Things” as father and son and now on Netflix, has nothing to do with “Urban Cowboy,” the 1980 John Travolta cheese fest. This is a deeply felt, if slightly predictable coming- of-age story set against the backdrop of the urban cowboy subculture of north Philadelphia.
Fifteen-year-old Cole (McLaughlin) is a troubled kid. Constantly in trouble at his Detroit school, his mother has had enough. “You’re going to drown,” she tells him before sending him off to spend the summer in Philadelphia with his estranged father Harp (Elba), a tough, old-West style cowboy who lives and rides at a century-old African American horsemanship institution called the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club.
Cole, who is forced to bunk in the stables upon arrival, is quickly put to work, cleaning up after the horses, learning the discipline that comes with hard work. It’s a learning curve for the young man, but as rider Esha (Ivannah Mercedes) says, “Horses ain’t the only thing that need breaking around here.”
Threatening the stability Cole finds at Fletcher Street is Smush (Jharrel Jerome), a low-level drug dealer who points the way to any easier method of making money.
Loosely based on book “Ghetto Cowboy” by Greg Neri, “Concrete Cowboy” is a western but told from a different point of view than we usually see. Director Ricky Staub does a commendable job at building the world Harp and Cole inhabit. Their way of life is an anachronism in the big city but the greater purpose of providing opportunities to the area’s youth is timeless.
It’s an interesting and vibrant subculture that forms the backdrop of the father/son relationship that feels like something we’ve seen before. Cole wants approval from his father, even though he’s not yet ready to forgive him for the absence that has left a gaping hole in his life. We’ve seen that dynamic before but rarely on horseback.
Elba is the above-the-title star but his lived-in depiction of Harp takes second place to McLaughlin. As a young man in need of saving he brings vulnerability and innocence but also the rebellious streak of someone who is still figuring out who he is. It’s nicely crafted work, ably supported by a cast of pros, like Cliff “Method Man” Smith as a local, sympathetic cop and Lorraine Toussaint and non-actors like Jamil Prattis, a wheelchair bound Fletcher Street stables fixture who brings authenticity and charisma to his role.
In the end “Concrete Cowboy” isn’t simply a father/son reunion tale. It’s something more, an ode to a specific way of life with universal messages of the value of community.
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 Netflix animated movie “The Willoughbys,” the Netflix doc “Circus of Books,” the high school crime drama “Selah and the Spades” and a pair of big screen movies coming to VOD, “Bad Boys for Life” and “Run This Town.”
Part high school hierarchy drama, part crime tale, “Selah and the Spades,” now playing on Amazon Prime, is a study of power and teenage clique system at Haldwell, an elite Pennsylvania boarding school ruled by five “factions.” “The factions are realistic in the need for the student body to engage in their vices,” we’re told by the narrator (Jessie Cannizzaro), “and are pragmatic in facilitating them.”
The Seas “will help you cheat your way through anything for the right price,” while the Skins deal in anything students can gamble on. The Bobby’s are responsible for every illegal party thrown in a dorm basement after lights out and the Prefects keep the administration blissfully unaware of on campus shenanigans.
The dominant faction, The Spades, deal in the classic vices, booze, pills, powders and fun, under the iron fisted rule of Selah (Lovie Simone).
Like a teenage Costra Nostra the factions live by an Omertà, an inflexible code. Don’t be a rat ns the only consequences to be concerned with are the ones they impose themselves.
As an A student who will soon graduate, Selah has her mind of succession. Who will take her place to ensure the Spades stay the most powerful clique in school? With her first lieutenat Maxxie (“When They See Us’s” Jharrel Jerome) distracted by a new boyfriend, Selah sets her eye on Paloma (Celeste O’Connor) the new girl in school as her protégée.
Meanwhile, when the headmaster (Jesse Williams) cancels the prom over the misconduct of a handful of students, tensions erupt between the factions as they search for a rat in the ranks.
“Selah and the Spades” is a promising feature debut from director Tayarisha Poe. Visually stunning and filled with charismatic performances, it is a mix-and-match of high school movie tropes and film noir crime drama. Imagine if John Hughes, the great American portrayer of high school life, had ever tried his hand at gangster movies and you get the idea. It’s a study of how precarious life is at the top of the social hierarchy that saturates its story with elements of “Scarface” and female empowerment. “They never take girls seriously,” Selah says. “It’s a mistake the whole world makes.”
The story sputters near the end but is kept alive by the atmosphere of tension Poe infuses into every scene and the lead performance. Simone is equal parts power and insecurity, never letting her guard down except in a phone call to her mother. When her mom asks what happed to the other seven points on test where Selah scored 93, we immediately understand the weight this young woman carries around and her need to control her surroundings in the face of an uncertain future. It gives the character a much needed does of humanity that elevates her from extreme-mean girl to compelling character.
“Selah and the Spades” is an excellent debut for Poe, fierce and fascinating.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, Tom Hanks as symbologist Robert Langdon in “Inferno,” two of the best movies of the years, “Moonlight” and “The Handmaiden” and Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut, “American Pastoral.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel morning show to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, Tom Hanks as symbologist Robert Langdon in “Inferno,” two of the best movies of the years, “Moonlight” and “The Handmaiden” and Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut, “American Pastoral.”