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!
“The Goldfinch” is a sprawling movie based on a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winning novel by Donna Tartt. Like the book, the film, starring Ansel Elgort, spans years and is stuffed with colourful characters. Also, like the book, it could be described as Dickensian, given its study of social status, unrequited love and the topper, abused orphans. But the film, despite the ample plotting, is really about something simple, how the beauty of great art can give life meaning.
The action begins when Theo Decker (Oakes Fegley) is 13 years old. He and his mother are spending an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York before an appointment with his school principal. They look at some of mom’s favorite paintings, Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp” before becoming separated. From the next room Theo hears a panic, then an explosion. He survived the blast but his mother was killed and he has always felt responsible for her death.
Throughout his eventful life, from being almost-adopted by a wealthy Upper West Side family, and re-connecting with his errant father (Luke Wilson) to becoming fast friends with a sketchy neighbour (Finn Wolfhard as a teen, Aneurin Barnard as an adult) and carrying a torch for Pippa (Ashleigh Cummings) another explosion survivor, his constant companion is a “The Goldfinch,” a valuable painting by Dutch painter Carel Fabritius he took from the blast site. Moving from place to place, state to state, it was a carefully wrapped reminder of the worst day of his life.
“The Goldfinch” is respectful of its source material. The book is an epic exercise in storytelling, twisting and turning its way through Theo’s life, exploring all the dark nooks and crannies. Flashing forward and back the film also takes time in allowing us to form a connection with Theo and the guilt he wears like a badge. As an adult, played by Elgort, a veneer of charm hides his inner turmoil and heavy drug use. While it is interesting to see Theo navigate these choppy waters the heart of the film lies in young Theo.
Fegley, best known for his touching work in “Pete’s Dragon,” inspires pure empathy, playing the youngster as someone trying to take control of a life he has no control over. He’s a victim of circumstance as much as his mother is, but his curse is that he must go on, burdened by the past. Fegley reveals layers. In a standout performance, he’s simultaneously a kid and an old soul.
“The Goldfinch” swings for the fences but doesn’t quite hit a home run. The expansive story takes one or two strange turns too many and feels stretched in its final half-hour but is bolstered by tremendous performances courtesy of the ensemble, with Fegley, Kidman, Jeffrey Wright and Luke Wilson leading the pack.
Richard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn,” the Seth Rogen Christmas comedy “The Night Before” and the Julia Roberts thriller “Secret in Their Eyes.”
The first time I interviewed Saoirse Ronan she was fifteen years old and the veteran of six movies.
I had seen her in Atonement, where she played a Scottish teenager who accuses her sister’s boyfriend of a crime he didn’t commit. Next I saw her as the English daughter of a psychic who tries to con Harry Houdini in Death Defying Acts. Then came roles in the sci-fi City of Ember and The Lovely Bones both featuring flawless American accents.
I had always admired her performances and as I walked into the interview suite I congratulated her on the film.
“T’anks pure much,” she said with an Irish lilt that could charm the label off a bottle of Jameson Whiskey.
It was the first time I had heard her natural accent and confirmed what I already knew, that she was a chameleon with a propensity for accents that could give Meryl Streep a run for her money.
Since then she’s played everything from the title character in Hanna, a blonde, blue-eyed killing machine (with a German accent) to a spirited Polish orphan in The Way Back and an American girl injected with a parasitic extra-terrestrial soul in The Host.
This weekend in Brooklyn she drops the drawls to play an Irish girl who immigrates to New York in the 1950s. She’s 21 now and as one of the great faces in movies she can speak volumes with a look. Here, as a girl whose body is in Brooklyn but heart lies in Ireland, her melancholy and homesickness is so real you can reach out and touch it. Call her Little Meryl if you like, but there is no denying the power of her work.
So if you’re not familiar with Ronan, here’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Saoirse Ronan But Where Afraid to Ask.
How do you pronounce her name? Saoirse is an Irish or Scottish name meaning freedom roughly pronounced SEER-shə. “I get very confused about my name all the time,” she said in a recent sit-down. “Sometimes I look at it when I’m writing it down for people and I go, ‘This is actually a ridiculous spelling of a name.’”
In what part of Ireland was she born? Despite her Irish accent, she was actually born in The Bronx in 1994. “(My parents) went to New York in the ’80s. There was a really bad recession in Ireland at the time. A lot of young people went to New York because that’s our trek, that’s our journey. The Irish always go to New York or somewhere on the East Coast.” Monica Ronan and Paul Ronan lived in NY for eleven years in total, moving back to County Carlow, Ireland when Saoirse was three years old. “This film is more than just a really lovely movie to be involved in with great writers and a great character and all that. It’s my heritage.”
Can she beat me up? Probably. To play teenage assassin Hanna she studied knife fighting, stick fighting, martial arts and learned how to shoot a gun. She performed most of her own stunts in the film and says if she was ever offered the action-star role of James Bond she would happily accept. “That tux? I could totally rock it.”
That’s all the info we have space for today, but really the only thing you need to know about Ronan is that she is one of the best actors of her generation.
“Brooklyn,” a new film starring Saoirse Ronan as an Irish girl who immigrates to New York in the 1950s, asks a simple question: Is home where the heart is or where the marriage licence is?
Ronan is Eilis Lacey a young woman from Enniscorthy, County Wexford in southeast Ireland. Her sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) realizes there isn’t much in the small villager for her and arranges, through the church, passage to New York with a job and a room in a boarding house on the other end. “I can’t buy you a future,” she says. “I can’t buy you the life you deserve.”
The shy young woman takes a while to warm up to her new surroundings, but a lively bunch at her rooming house—overseen by the irrepressible Mrs. Keough (Julie Walters)—and a love interest in the form of Tony (Emory Cohen), a sweet Brooklyn plumber, bring a smile to her face for the first time since leaving home.
When tragedy strikes the couple secretly wed, promising to stay faithful while she travels to Ireland to be with family during a tough time. Once there she discovers her newly acquired confidence and ability—plus the attention of a handsome young man (Domhnall Gleeson)—make it difficult to leave Ireland and return to the States and her husband.
Written by Nick Hornby (from a novel by Colm Tóibín) “Brooklyn” is a heartfelt coming-of-age journey that skilfully avoids any trace of mawkishness or sentimentality. A sharp script and John Crowley’s no nonsense direction are in part responsible for the movie’s tone, but the film’s beating heart is Saoirse Ronan’s remarkable performance.
As one of the great faces in movies she can speak volumes with a look, and here, as a girl whose body is in New York but heart lies in Ireland, her melancholy and homesickness is so real you can reach out and touch it. Call her Little Meryl if you like, but there is no denying the power of her work.
She’s accompanied by a strong cast including Walters—who manages to make lines like, “A giddy girl is every bit as evil as a slothful man,” sound like Henny Youngman one liners—and Cohen, who as Tony a character as sweet and romantic as he is shy and polite.
“Brooklyn” is a movie about decisions that makes all the right decisions. Some situations may be familiar but Ronan’s exemplarily work helps us ignore the familiar tropes as she milks every bit of emotion from a profoundly touching story.