Posts Tagged ‘Jodie Foster’


Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including Golden Globe winners “The Mauritanian” and “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” and a new coming-of-age movie on VOD “My Salinger Year.”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 37:40)


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 Disney’s animated action flick “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Disney+ with Premier Access and theatres), the long awaited sequel “Coming 2 America” (Amazon Prime Video), the biopic “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” (VOD), the legal drama “The Mauritanian” (premium digital and on-demand), the coming-of-age story “My Salinger Year” (VOD) and the look at the war on drugs “Crisis” (on digital and demand).

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

THE MAURITANIAN: 3 ½ STARS. “an uneven film with several standout elements.”

“The Last King of Scotland” director Kevin Macdonald makes good use of his background in documentary film for his latest release “The Mauritanian,” now on premium digital and on-demand. The story of a 9/11 suspect held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay despite never being officially charged, is a drama based on true events, but uses documentary style devices to convey the nuts and bolts of the case.

Jodie Foster is Nancy Hollander, an attorney who takes on the pro bono case of Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim), a Mauritanian national accused of acts of terrorism related to 9/11. While he is housed at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp without charge and, as a high-value detainee, subjected to torture, Hollander begins her investigation. “I’m not just defending him,” she says. “I’m defending you and me. The constitution doesn’t have an asterisk at the end that says, ‘Terms and Conditions apply.’”

On the prosecution is Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), a straight arrow with a personal connection to the case. “He recruited the SOBs who flew your friend into the south tower,” he is told. Couch lost a good friend in 9/11 and is seeking the death penalty for Slahi. “If we miss something,” he says to his team, “this guy goes home. Let’s get to it.”

As the trial looms Couch learns federal agents, including his friend and former classmate Neil Buckland (Zachary Levi), are withholding crucial documents. Powerful people want a quick and decisive conviction and are willing to bury an evidence that may get in the way of that. “Your job is to bring charges,” he is told. Couch fights back, believing the only path to an unequivocal verdict, one without the possibility of appeal, lies in having all the facts. “I’ve never been part of a conspiracy,” he says, “but I’m starting to think this is what it must feel like to be on the outside.”

“The Mauritanian” is an uneven film with several standout elements. As a procedural it is fairly straightforward, but within the story are complex legal questions. At what point does fear circumvent the law? How can human rights violations be condoned under any circumstances? How can habeas corpus, the right to appear before a judge, to know why you’ve been arrested and detained, ever be denied?

Each question is a conversation starter and Hollander wasted no words clarifying her stance on these questions. “I’m not just defending him,” she says. “I’m defending the rule of law.” It’s a powerful reminder that ethics and rules matter. “You built this place and you abandoned all your principles and all of your laws,” Hollander says. “What if you were wrong?”

Adding humanity to the story’s tale of inhuman behaviour is Rahim who hands in a layered, interesting performance in a film that isn’t quite as complex as his work.


Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 2.20.21 PMRichard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes do a refresher on “Captain America: Civil War” and then talk about the weekend’s big releases,the George Clooney – Julia Roberts thriller “Money Monster” and the lusty and lurid “A Bigger Splash.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro: Why George Clooney continues the push the limits of his movie stardom

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By Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

George Clooney is a rare breed, a one-name film star. Mention “George” and everyone knows who you’re talking about.

He’s headlined a handful of films dating all the way back to when there was a Clinton in the White House that raked in north of $100 million. Since leaving the television show ER in 1999, he’s released two movies a year on average, including this weekend’s Money Monster, a thriller about the host of a financial advice show held hostage on live TV by an investor who lost everything.

Some of his films have been successful, others not, but it’s clear Clooney doesn’t aspire to be a blockbuster star. Perhaps it’s because George is, as Time called him, “the last movie star,” that he appears determined to smash what that kind of stardom means. By lending his name to offbeat movies he deconstructs the mechanism of superstardom.

George steers his career toward character driven pieces, often at the expense of giant box office numbers. And while the fabric of his fame may fray around the edges from time to time — he’s as susceptible to box office vagaries as anyone — he stays busy, winning Oscars, producing movies like August: Osage County and acting as pitchman for everyone from Fiat to Martini vermouth.

“I’m very aware of the fact that if not for a Thursday night time slot on ER, I wouldn’t have this career,” he once said, “so I’m going to push the limits as much as I can.”

From kid flicks to period dramas and political satire Clooney has done just that.
Loosely based on a Roald Dahl story, the stop-motion animated Fantastic Mr. Fox sees Clooney as a smooth-talking fox that returns to a life of crime after buying a tree house he can’t afford. Clooney brings charm, wit and warmth to an unpredictable character, smooth one minute, a wild animal the next.

Clooney also starred in The Good German, a tribute to 1940s cinema shot with technology from the golden age of Hollywood — the same lenses, the same atmospheric lighting, the same rat-a-tat-tat style of dialogue, the same everything. It’s a retro-looking film made with twenty-first century creative freedom. Clooney, as an American military journalist covering the Potsdam Conference in post-war Berlin, and co-star Cate Blanchett look like golden age movie stars but behave more like Brat Packers.

Strangest of all is The Men Who Stare at Goats, the best movie with the worst name on Clooney’s resume. He plays a psychic soldier in this screwball satire about the state of modern warfare. Its an absurdist film, filled with memorable images — Clooney staring down a goat, enlisted men doing the Watusi and a montage of Jeff Bridges embarking on a journey of enlightenment — where no joke is too broad or too barbed.

George is so artistically eclectic he even disowns one of his biggest hits. “I always apologize for Batman!” he says of the ludicrous Batman & Robin.


Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 12.12.14 PMRichard and “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson kick around the weekend’s big releases, the George Clooney – Julia Roberts thriller “Money Monster,” the lusty and lurid “A Bigger Splash” and the Scottish drama “Sunset Song.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

MONEY MONSTER: 2 STARS. “Clooney does the best he can.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 9.16.47 AMGeorge Clooney looks like the kind of guy you could trust. Older, experienced, he seems trustworthy, brimming with advice you could take to the bank. I mean, if you’d buy Nespresso coffee because he told you to, why wouldn’t you take financial guidance as well? A new movie, “Money Monster,” uses that quality, Clooney’s charisma, as the cornerstone of a thriller about misplaced trust, mislaid money and attempted murder.

Clooney is Lee Gates, a loudmouth financial advisor who bellows about investing in stocks and saving for retirement on a live television show called “Money Monster.” Think “Mad Money with Jim Cramer” with just enough details changed to avoid lawsuits and you get the idea. Gates is a self-styled Wiz of Wall Street, a financial shock jock who starts each of his shows with a wild dance number.

Just as his Friday night broadcast is getting underway Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), a jilted investor invades the studio and takes Gates, his crew, and producer Patty (Julia Roberts) hostage live on air. “Turn those cameras back on I’m going to shoot him in his head!” He trusted the TV oracle only to lose everything when a high-frequency trading company Gates endorsed called Ibis Clear Capital lost $800 million overnight, tanking the stock market. Kyle is convinced that Wall Street banks are stealing our money and our country and Gates is the emblem of the theft. “I may be the one with the gun,” he says, “but I’m not the criminal here.”

In real time over the next hour Gates learns the human cost of his actions as Kyle as the cameras broadcast every minute to a worldwide audience of millions.

Like the volatile stock market Gates chronicles on his fictional show, “Money Monster’s” story takes many unexpected twist and turns. Unexpected and, as the story unfolds, preposterous. Unable to decide whether it is an exposé of Wall Street’s dirty dealings—much of it breathes the same air as “The Big Short” minus the bubble baths and Anthony Bourdain—a humanist thriller or a comment on the remove we feel watching tragedy through a screen—“If Lee survives we got to get him on the show,” chirps one chat show host watching the action on a monitor—it blends all its ideas into a mushy concoction that is neither one thing or the other. Director Jodie Foster relies on clichés to move the story forward rather than trusting the ideas and rich vein of social commentary that could have been mined from the material. You can’t help but wonder what Sidney Lumet might have done with the same story.

Clooney does the best he can with a script that forces him to behave like a caricature. He’s believable as the cocky on-air host, less so when he has to transform that character into a vulnerable, real human being.

Roberts is trapped in a control room, barking orders through a headset for most of the film, bringing whatever charm there is to be had from a part that is essentially a conduit for information and she tries to unravel the film’s core “where did the money go?” mystery.

The third part of the triumvirate, O’Connell, plays confused/mad quite well, but again is saddled with a role that is dragged down with repetition.

Some of the supporting actors fare a little better, particularly Caitriona Balfe as the CCO who wants to do the right thing, if only she knew what the right thing was and Christopher Denham as a producer who will do anything to please Gates.

“This isn’t good Lee,” Patti says about the action unfolding in the studio. She could have been talking about “Money Monster,” a movie that feels like a missed opportunity to mix intimate life and death drama with an indictment of the wheelers and dealers who play hardball with our money.

Canada AM: The 69th annual Cannes Film Festival kicks off in Paris

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 9.19.54 AMRichard talks about the big films at Cannes this year with “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Canadian films and jury members At the Cannes Film Festival

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 9.22.54 AMRichard talks Cannes and Xavier Dolan with the Canadian Press.

“I think he’s got probably a pretty good shot certainly at being taken seriously as a contender, even thought he’s up against the who’s who of international filmmakers like Ken Loach, Pedro Almodovar, Paul Verhoeven, Sean Penn,” says Toronto-based film reviewer Richard Crouse.

“There are a lot of people here that are working at a very high level, but I’d suggest that Xavier Dolan is working at just as high a level.”

Read the whole thing HERE!