Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including the poignant coming-of-age drama “Belfast,” the Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot action comedy “Red Notice” and the vicious Hollywood satire “The Beta Test.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including director Kenneth Branagh’s poignant coming-of-age drama “Belfast,” the Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot action comedy “Red Notice, the searing Hollywood satire “The Beta Test” and the literary adaptation “Passing” starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga.
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 Kenneth Branagh’s poignant coming-of-age drama “Belfast,” the Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot action comedy “Red Notice,” the literary adaptation “Passing” starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga and the Hollywood satire “The Beta Test.”
Equal parts discomforting and funny, “The Beta Test,” a new dark comedy now on VOD, is a film industry satire that is unafraid to make the viewer squirm.
Remember Ari Gold, the motor-mouthed Hollywood agent played by Jeremy Piven on “Entourage”? On a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being the most abrasive, he was a 9.
“The Beta Test’s” Jordan Hines (Jim Cummings) is an 11. He’s a somewhat successful agent who makes money repacking already existing intellectual properties like “Caddyshack”—but this time with dogs. He’s a walking deal memo with an attitude, a temper and a secret.
Weeks before his marriage to Caroline (Virginia Newcomb), Jordan receives a mysterious note. Designed to look like a wedding invitation, it invites him to a no-strings attached, anonymous sexual encounter that will cater to his kinks. Curious, he accepts, and spends an afternoon, blindfolded, indulging in his wildest fantasies.
Satisfied, he craves another tryst. But there is a complication. Others who accepted the same invitation are ending up dead at the hands of their significant others. Perplexed and afraid, Jordan launches an investigation into the source of the invite as his personal and professional lives fall apart.
“The Beta Test” isn’t really about the mystery. The identity of the invite senders isn’t the point of this movie, it’s the McGuffin that keeps the action moving along. Instead, this is a piercing look at the emptiness of the film business and the folks who decide what entertainment we get to see.
As Jordan, Cummings is one step away from being feral. He’s the twitchy, uncomfortable center of the story. Unable to be truly happy, he’s self-aware enough to recognize his unhappiness, but his worldview won’t allow him to admit that to anyone, particularly his clients. He’s all surface; the kind of guy who buys a painting he can’t afford to impress people. That soullessness lies at the heart of “The Beta Test.” It’s a brutal attack on the Jordan Hineses of the world that lampoons the Hollywood A-type architype in a way that makes “Entourage’s” portrayal of Ari Gold seem tame by comparison.
“The Beta Test’s” study of toxic masculinity and fragility isn’t without its bumps, but the overarching message is surprisingly simple and gentle for such a ferocious movie. “Everybody just wants to be famous, but for what? Be happy with what you’ve got.”
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nick Dixon to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Christopher Robin,” the wannabe spy comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me” and two documentaries, “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” and “McQueen,” the story of fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the adult adventures of Winnie the Pooh in “Christopher Robin,” the wannabe spy comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me” and two documentaries, “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” and “McQueen,” the story of fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
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 the adult adventures of Winnie the Pooh in “Christopher Robin,” the wannabe spy comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me” and “McQueen,” the story of fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
“Don’t go getting all grown up on us.“ That’s the sentiment that hangs over “Christopher Robin,” a new film about regaining an intangible starring Ewan McGregor and Winnie the Pooh (voice of Jim Cummings), like a shroud.
The movie begins with 10-year-old Christopher Robin‘s going away party, just before he leaves for boarding school. His playmates, Piglet (voice of Nick Mohammed), Eeyore (Brad Garrett), Tigger (Cummings again), Owl (Toby Jones), Rabbit (Peter Capaldi), Kanga (Sophie Okonedo) and the honey loving bear have gathered to see him off from 100 Acre Woods, their home and Christopher’s escape from real life.
“I will never forget you Pooh,“ Christopher says, “even if I live to be 100 years old.“
But of course he does.
Like the quickly flipped pages of a story park the film rockets through Christopher’s boarding school, marriage, efforts in WWII and his difficulties after the war. Now a husband to Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and a father to Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), he has a job he doesn’t like and responsibilities that keep him away from his family.
Christopher Robin got all grown up.
When his boss instructs him to cut 20% of his operating budget Christopher is pushed against the wall. The frivolities of youth are pushed even further to the background until Pooh, looking for his friends and in search of honey, shows up in London with the grumbling tummy and some sage words of advice. “I’ve cracked,” says Christopher when his childhood friend shows up. “I’ve totally cracked. “I don’t see any cracks,” replies Pooh sweetly, “some wrinkles maybe.”
A mix of live action and CGI characters, “Christopher Robin” doesn’t allow the special effects to get in the way of the film’s message of staying young at heart. The stuffed animals—Winnie and friends—don’t feel like and excuse to sell toys. Instead they are given distinct and engaging personalities that move the story and the message forward. Cummings, who has voiced Winnie since 1988, brings real personality to the character, imbuing his elliptical speaking patterns with equal parts humour and melancholy. Pooh also causes some Paddington-style chaos in the Robin household, adding to the slapstick factor in a movie that toggles between heartfelt and farce.
There is an undeniable sense of loss and longing in “Christopher Robin.” Loss, in the form of a childhood innocence gone missing—“I’m lost,” says Pooh, “but I found you.”—longing in the efforts made to regain the connection to childlike wonder and, in Robin’s case, his own daughter Madeline. Children might not get it, although I’m sure they will enjoy the stuffed characters, but adults will understand the curious tale about the importance of old friends and embracing the inner child.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the adult adventures of Winnie the Pooh in “Christopher Robin,” the wannabe spy comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me” and two documentaries, “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” and “McQueen,” the story of fashion designer Alexander McQueen.