Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about to talk about the much anticipated “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” the latest adventures of the Gomez, Morticia and Company in the animated “The Addams Family 2” and the Jake Gyllenhaal thriller “The Guilty.”
“The Many Saints of Newark,” the sprawling big-screen prequel to the iconic television series “The Sopranos,” feels more like a pilot for a new show than the origin story of one of television’s most famous families.
Broken into three parts, “The Many Saints of Newark,” uses narration, courtesy of Tony Soprano’s late associate Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), to break down the movie’s interconnected story shards.
Firstly, there is Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), Soprano Family soldier, father of Christopher, cousin to Carmela Soprano, uncle to Tony. He’s hooked up, wily and impulsive but also treacherous. When his father, the slick sociopath ‘Hollywood Dick’ (Ray Liotta), returns from Italy with a new bride (Michela De Rossi), it triggers chaos in the Moltisanti family.
In Dickie’s orbit is Harold McBrayer (Leslie Odom Jr.), an African-American numbers runner for the Mob, galvanized by the 1967 Newark race riots to go out on his own and, finally, Tony Soprano, played by William Ludwig as a youngster, Michael Gandolfini, the late James Gandolfini’s son, as a teenager. As Dickie’s thirst for power spins out of control, he becomes a surrogate father to Tony, hoping to pass along something good to the impressionable younger man as a way to atone for his sins.
“The Many Saints of Newark” is vivid in its portrayal of the period. Covering roughly four years, from 1967 to 1971, it uses the turmoil of that time in American life as a backdrop for the explosive nature of Dickie’s world. That atmosphere of uncertainty makes up for a story that, despite some glorious moments, often feels rushed as it careens toward an ending that doesn’t mine the rich psychological landscape of these characters, which is what we expect from David Chase and “The Sopranos.”
The actors are game.
Nivola brings equal parts charisma, danger and depth to a flawed character who is the ringmaster to the action. Unlike many of the other characters, like the conniving Junior Soprano (Corey Stoll), henchman Paulie Walnuts (Blly Magnussen) or consigliere Silvio Dante (John Magaro), who come with eighty-six episodes of baggage, Dickie is new and can be viewed through fresh eyes.
Michael Gandolfini takes on the Herculean task of revisiting a character his father made one of the most famous in television history and brings it home by showcasing the character’s volatility and, more importantly, his vulnerability. He’s a troubled kid, on the edge of turning one way or the other, and even though we know how the story goes, Gandolfini’s performance suggests there is more to know about Tony Soprano.
If there is a complaint, it’s that both Tony and McBrayer, two of the main cogs that keep this engine running, get lost in “The Many Saints of Newark’s” elaborate plotting. Ditto for the female characters. Despite tremendous work from Vera Farmiga as Tony’s poisonous mother Livia and De Rossi as Dickie’s step-mom, the women often feel peripheral to the tale, in service only to the men’s stories.
“The Many Saints of Newark” brings with it high expectations but falls short of coming close to the greatness of its source material. “The Sopranos” broke new ground, changing the way gangster stories (and all sorts of other stories) were told on television. “The Many Saints of Newark” settles for less as an exercise in nostalgia.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the return of Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl In The Spider’s Web,” the sub-sub-sub-sub genre of Nazi zombie movies and “Overlord,” the sun dappled noir “The Padre” and the historical drama “Outlaw King.”
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 Lisbeth Salander’s return in “The Girl In The Spider’s Web,” the Nazi zombie flick “Overlord,” the sun dappled noir “The Padre.”
If I have one complaint about “Overlord” it’s that there aren’t enough Nazi zombies. The J.J. Abrams-produced is a smart addition to the sub-sub-sub-sub genre of undead Third Reich films but plays more like one of those episodes of “The Walking Dead” where they talk about the zombies as much, if not more, then battle them.
The film begins with the stuff of 100 war movies. A platoon of young American soldiers, some cocky, some terrified, are aboard a plane, June 1944 just hours before D-Day. Their mission? Locate and bomb a tower located on the top of a church in a tiny French town. Why did the Nazis put this tower on top of the church? “Because they’re evil SOBs.“
When their plane takes serious fire from the Germans the paratroopers bail. A small number of them, including newbie Pvt. Boyce (Jovan Adepo), Cpl. Ford (Wyatt Russell), the de facto leader with 1000 yard stare, gunner (Rosenfeld Dominic Applewhite), war photographer Chase (Iain De Caestecker) and loud mouth Tibbet (John Magaro)—survive the perilous parachute jump into German occupied France. On the ground they dodge bullets and the enemy before connecting with Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), a French woman who lives with her brother (Gianny Taufer) and aunt in their target town.
There they come into contact with the local SS commander Wafner (Pilou Asbæk) and, after some grizzly discoveries in a Nazi lab, learn of a nefarious plan to create “the blood of eternity” which gives anyone injected with it super strength, immunity to pain and a really bad attitude. “A thousand year Reich needs thousand year soldiers,” snarls Wafner. Question is, the Americans survive the jump, landmines and regular Nazis but can they survive Nazi Zombies?
“Overlord” is a hybrid of styles. An old school war film meets zombie action film is given a Lovecraftian bio-horror twist courtesy of a Josef Mengelesque evil Nazi scientist. It’s pure exploitation; a movie that drips with chemically engineered blood and guts. Director Julius Avery embraces the pulp aspects of the story, from the stereotypically cocky soldier Tibbet to the heroic Ford to the pure evil of Wafner (“They have been given a purpose,” he says. “They will contribute in ways you can’t imagine.”). Combined it adds up to a heightened experience that delivers within the confines of the zombie genre. If only there had been more zombies.
Richard has a look at Lisbeth Salander’s return in “The Girl In The Spider’s Web,” the Nazi zombie flick “Overlord,” the sun dappled noir “The Padre” and the historical drama “Outlaw King.” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the return of Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl In The Spider’s Web,” the sub-sub-sub-sub genre of Nazi zombie movies and “Overlord,” the sun dappled noir “The Padre” and the historical drama “Outlaw King.”
“The Big Short” is an infuriating movie. Not because it’s poorly made but because it is so well made. It takes years of banking bafflegab and distils it down to the essence in what may be the funniest, smartest and most maddening look at why America’s housing market crashed in 2008.
The films opens with a famous Mark Twain quote, “I’t ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” The quote is a bit of a Mobius strip but so is the story “The Big Short” is trying to tell.
Based on Michael Lewis‘ nonfiction best-seller of the same name, the film presents a cavalcade of facts and information formed into a story about how four investment-bankers—played by Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Finn Wittrock, John Magaro—saw the financial meltdown coming when no one else did. Taking on the arrogance of Wall Street’s old boy network, they bet against the American economy and, in the process, expose an unprecedented level of financial criminality.
“The Big Short” is a lighthearted look at a dire situation. Call it a dramedy. Director Adam McKay is best known for making movies like “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” “The Other Guys,” “Step Brothers,” so he knows how to milk a laugh out of a scene. He also knows that the level of understanding the viewer needs to get why the housing bubble burst is above the level of most MBAs.
The movie explains that Wall Street likes to use confusing terms to make you think only they can understand what they do. “It’s like 2+2 = fish,” says one banker, expressing disbelief at the financial manipulations used by the big banks. To make the financial mumbo-jumbo sexy the McKay uses a variety of tricks, including cutting to Margot Robbie in a bubble bath explaining subprime loans in plain language. It’s a spoonful of sugar to help the expositional medicine go down. From the simple—one loan officer calls his clients “Ninjas, no income, no job.”—to the incredibly complex world of CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) “The Big Short” doesn’t shy away from tackling complex financial transactions but it never feels dry or forced. McKay is a showman, and layers the film with fourth-wall-breaking celebrity cameos and concise social commentary woven into the drama.
A great scene of Goldman Sachs executives laughing at Dr. Michael Burry’s (Christian Bale) $100 million investment is cut into a rap video celebrating excess. In one wordless scene McKay illustrates the arrogance of the bankers in the days before the rug was pulled out from underneath them.
Subtle it’s not, but the director’s use of pop culture images and music to set the scene goes a long way to establish a time, place and tone.
“The Big Short” features strong performances—Bale stretches in ways we haven’t seen from him before—but it is the film’s unflinching depiction of unbridled greed that will resonate.
Adam McKay is best known for directing broad comedies with Will Ferrell like Anchorman and Step Brothers. But his new film, The Big Short, is a different beast.
It’s the story of how four investment-bankers — played by Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Finn Wittrock and John Magaro — saw the devastating financial meltdown of 2007–10 coming when no one else did. It’s a lighthearted look at a dire situation. Call it a dramedy.
“When I read this book it did everything I wanted to see in a movie,” he says. “It was funny, it was tragic, and the characters were amazing. I think it was a case of running into one of the great books of the last 20 years that shows what is really going on in our modern world.”
McKay knows how to milk a laugh out of a scene but he also knows that the level of understanding the viewer needs to get why the housing bubble burst is above the level of most MBAs.
“It’s like 2 + 2 = fish,” says one banker, expressing disbelief at the financial manipulations used by the big banks. In the film he takes pains to explain how Wall Street likes to use confusing terms to make you think only they can understand what they do.
“We wanted to be the first Wall Street movie that took you behind the curtain, that really said, All these confusing terms you hear, all the ways the banks make you feel stupid or bored … it’s actually not that hard. If the guy who did Step Brothers can understand it you can too.
“We were trying to show that this thing that half of Wall Street doesn’t understand, these derivatives, mortgage backed securities, they’re actually pretty easy. They bundled a bunch of mortgages, they sold them, made a ton of money. Then they ran out of good mortgages so they put crappy mortgages in and coerced the ratings agencies to give them AAA. That’s it. That’s the whole story.”
McKay has an a-list cast but he didn’t want to make the movie all about the stars.
“It would have been very easy to just do this character story and just show these guys being affected by it but I wanted this thing to bridge a gap. I think there is too much stuff in our society where people just think, ‘Ahhh banking! It’s boring. Politics! Who cares?’ The truth is, this stuff is exciting, It’s the language of power. Once you get hooked on it, it gets addictive.”
The Big Short is a look at our recent past, but McKay warns this is not a historical drama or cautionary tale, rather it’s very much a going concern.
“All the effects of this collapse are still completely in play. All the same questions are still in play and they fixed a few things but they didn’t fix the main, weight bearing beam beams that caused this problem. So this is an active story right this second. That is one of the main reasons we made this movie, we want people to understand that. This isn’t over.”