Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including the animated stone age family flick “The Croods: A New Age,” the slice-of-David-Bowie’s-life movie “Stardust” on VOD and “Belushi,” the Crave doc about the rise and fall of the beloved “Saturday Night Live” comedian.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the animated comedy “The Croods: A New Age” (theatrical), the David Bowie biopic “Stardust” (In theatres and digital and on-demand platforms), a pair of docs, “Belushi” (Crave) and “Zappa” (Apple TV app and everywhere you rent movies), the new one from Mel Gibson “Fatman” (VOD) and a remake of “Black Beauty” (Disney+).
Richard and “CP24 Breakfast” host Pooja Handa have a look at some special streaming opportunities and television shows to watch over the weekend including the CBC Gem documentary “Fear of Dancing,” the HBO thriller “The Flight Attendant,” Disney+’s remake of “Black Beauty” and “Belushi,” the in-depth look at the life and times of comedian John Belushi.
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 animated comedy “The Croods: A New Age” (theatrical), the David Bowie biopic “Stardust” (In theatres and digital and on-demand platforms), a pair of docs, “Belushi” (Crave) and “Zappa” (Apple TV app and everywhere you rent movies), the new one from Mel Gibson “Fatman” (VOD) and a remake of “Black Beauty” (Disney+).
John Belushi was only famous for five years before his untimely death at age 33 but in that short time his unique comedic quality left an indelible impression that resonates almost forty years later. A new documentary, now streaming on Crave, looks at his meteoric rise and tragic fall.
Director R.J. Cutler uses the usual devices to tell the story. He mixes and matches archival material, animation, ephemera from Belushi’s life—handwritten letters, home movies etc—and news footage but his ace in the hole, the thing that gives “Belushi” its emotional wallop, are the audio interviews that tell the story.
In 2012 author Tanner Colby released a book called “Belushi: A Biography,” an oral history of the life and times of the “SNL” star. Colby did dozens of interviews with the people who knew Belushi best, Lorne Michaels, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis, and friends and family, including John’s wife Judith. Those interviews form the backbone of the film, bringing with them a conversational, intimate and wistful feel.
The story beats are familiar. An uber talented rebel with a sensitive side finds enormous fame—at one point he had the number one comedy show on TV, movie in theatres and album on the charts—but is undone by personal demons. That’s the story in broad strokes. Filling in the small details is the expertly edited oral history who provide first hand details and impressions on Belushi’s life.
Most devastating of all are the handwritten letters from John to Judith that Cutler brings to life. From the playful tone of the early letters sent while they were courting to the final notes, written in desperation as drugs and depression debilitated the actor, these notes, written in a messy scrawl and often containing funny self-help lists, provide more insight into the Belushi’s mind frame that no talking head interview could ever hope.
“Belushi” has gaps. The warts and all depiction of Belushi’s drug habits is front and center but the misogyny of the early “SNL” days, for instance, is brushed over in a quick passage.
Having said that, the doc packs an emotional punch in its final moments as Belushi’s nearest and dearest express regret for allowing their friend to lapse back into heavy drug use. It is heartbreaking stuff on a personal level for them. For the rest of us, as Belushi fans, the cutting short of his potential feels like a cautionary tale of excess and a tragedy of a talent taken way too soon.
This week on the Richard Crouse we meet John Landis, director of some of the most popular movies of all time including The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Three Amigos! And Spies Like Us and Coming to America.
His new project is “John Landis Presents The Library of Horror – Haunted Houses: Classic Tales of Doors That Should Never Be Opened,” an anthology book featuring classic haunted house ghost stories. The selection includes tales of terror by Bram Stoker, H. P. Lovecraft, and Percival Landon; studies of creeping dread by Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James; short, sharp shockers by Ambrose Bierce, M.R. James and Lafcadio Hearn; and comedic masterpieces by Oscar Wilde and Saki.
Then we meet country star Jason Blaine. You know his hits like “Country Side” and “Friends of Mine” and he’s back with a new EP called “Go With Me,” which promises to deliver many more hit songs.
Each week on the nationally syndicated Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to hear in-depth interviews with actors and directors, to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favourite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Recent guests include Ethan Hawke, director Brad Bird, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, Eric Roberts, Brian Henson, Jonathan Goldsmith a.k.a. “The most interesting man in the world,” and best selling author Linwood Barclay.
Click HERE to catch up on shows you might have missed!
Have a curious and curiouser Christmas with a copy of “Cabinet of Curiosities,” a new book from director Guillermo Del Toro.
From amazon.ca: Over the last two decades, writer-director Guillermo del Toro has mapped out a territory in the popular imagination that is uniquely his own, astonishing audiences with Cronos,Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, and a host of other films and creative endeavors. Now, for the first time, del Toro reveals the inspirations behind his signature artistic motifs, sharing the contents of his personal notebooks, collections, and other obsessions. The result is a startling, intimate glimpse into the life and mind of one of the world’s most creative visionaries. Complete with running commentary, interview text, and annotations that contextualize the ample visual material, this deluxe compendium is every bit as inspired as del Toro is himself.
Contains a foreword by James Cameron, an afterword by Tom Cruise, and contributions from other luminaries, including Neil Gaiman and John Landis, among others.
What did John Landis say after reading “Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils”? Well, let me tell you…
“In Raising Hell Richard Crouse has written an entertaining and informative account of Ken Russell and his adventures on The Devils. Russell remains a an authentic and original voice in British cinema and this is the funny and sad tale of the rise and fall and rise of one of his most controversial films.”
The video store can be a daunting place. Thousands of discs, all in uniform sizes and colorful cases can boggle the mind. Occasionally a snappily designed box can cut through the quagmire, however. So it is with the Masters of Horror Season Two Box Set human skull packaging. The Skull Box leaps off the rack and catches your eye, and if you’re a horror fan that’s a good thing.
For the uninitiated The Masters of Horror is an anthology television series with each episode featuring a one-hour film helmed by a famous horror film director. Season one highlighted the work of genre legends Joe Dante, John Carpenter and Dario Argento. To commemorate the end of season two Anchor Bay has released the thirteen episodes in a ghoulish box set with DVDs where the brains should be.
Some of the same directors make return appearances—Argento, Tobe Hooper and John Landis all come back for more—but welcome newcomers include Norio Tsuruta who adapts Dream Cruise from a short story of the same name by Japan’s Steven King, Koji Suzuki and The Washingtonians from Romeo is Bleeding director Peter Medak.
Not all are successful. The V Word from Ernest Dickerson, despite a fun performance from horror legend Michael Ironside, and Tobe Hooper’s The Damned Thing both start with great promise but wither before the end credits roll. Overall, however, the production value is of feature film quality, the stories unique—Cannibalistic Founding Fathers! Merciless raccoons!—and the set offers up an antidote to people who think that modern horror is dull and unimaginative.