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 whodunnit “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig, the papal buddy picture “The Two Popes” and the timely drama “Queen & Slim.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig and a cast of n’ere do wells, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp,” the odd couple picture “The Two Popes,” the corporate legal drama “Dark Waters,” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the who dunnit “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp,” the buddy picture “The Two Popes” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim.”
“The Two Popes” is an odd couple buddy picture about a friendship that proves that sometimes opposites attract.
The fact-based story (i.e. Based on a true story) begins in 2005 with the papal conclave to name a new Pope. The two main candidates, Cardinal Ratzinger (Anthony Hopkins) from Germany and Argentina’s Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) represent polar opposites in terms of approach. Ratzinger is an intellectual bound to tradition. “Whenever I try and be myself people don’t seem to like me much,” he says. Bergoglio is affable, a humble man who can be heard whistling “Dancing Queen” in the halls. “I’m Argentinian,” he says. “Tango and football are compulsory.”
A vote and a puff of white smoke later Ratzinger becomes Pope Benedict while Bergoglio returns to his home country to continue his grass roots ministry.
Cut to seven years later. Pope Benedict is embroiled in a child abuse scandal that sees one of his aides sent to jail and seeks the council of someone whose ideas he formerly rejected, his rival Bergoglio. The two men meet, talk doctrine and just when it seems like they will never find common ground Pope Benedict reveals why he summoned the Argentinian cardinal. “The church needs change,” he says, “and you could be that change.” Because of health issues and controversy Pope Benedict wants to retire, to become the first Pope in 700 years to step down. “I can no longer sit on the chair of St. Peter,” he says. “I cannot play this role anymore.”
History fills in the rest of the details, so no spoilers here.
While we will never know the exact nature of the real conversations between the two, “The Two Popes” finds a compelling dynamic between them. The film’s opening moments is a highly spirited recreation of the race between the two candidates. It’s fast, crowded and showy but then, as we jump ahead in time, director Fernando Meirelles slows the pace down to focus attention on the conversations. The pleasure of “The Two Popes” is watching two very good actors create worlds with their monologues. The flashbacks, including an extended sequence that details Bergoglio’s regrets over the decisions he made during his country’s Dirty War in the 1970s, add backstory and detail, but this movie is at its best when it is at its simplest, unadorned and in conversation.
What Did Richard Crouse Think? It’s a weekly game played on NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards Show. It’s simple. Richard gives the synopsis of a new movie and Jim and others try and figure out if Richard liked it or hated it.
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 “Coco,” the festive flick “The Man Who Invented Christmas” and Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the Pixar film “Coco,” the Vietnam reunion movie “Last Flag Flying” and the festive flick “The Man Who Invented Christmas.”
Around this time of year “A Christmas Carol” is omnipresent. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey of redemption, courtesy of three mysterious Christmas ghosts, runs on an endless Yuletide television loop and has been adapted as an opera, ballet, a Broadway musical, animation and even a BBC mime production starring Marcel Marceau.
A new film, “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” aims to tell the story behind the story. “Downton Abbey’s” Dan Stevens plays Charles Dickens, the Victorian writer who, when we first meet him, is out of ideas and money. “My light’s gone out,” he moans. When he devises a Christmas story, his publishers, who have gotten rich off his previous works, scoff. The holiday season isn’t a big enough deal for their readers, and it’s only six weeks away. How can he finish a novel and how can they publish it in such a short time? He perseveres and we see how real life inspiration and his imagination collide to create the self-published book that redefined Christmas celebrations for generations to come.
Using flashbacks to Dickens’s childhood in London’s workhouses and dramatic recreations of encounters with the characters—including Christopher Plummer as Scrooge—that would soon populate his book, the film attempts to show “the blessed inspiration that put such a book into the head of Charles Dickens.”
Often more literal than literate, “The Man Who Invented Christmas” is handsome film that plays like a series of “a ha” moments than a serious exploration of the creative process. What it does, however, is entertainingly paint a picture of life in Dickens’s Victorian home, and the external influences that sparked his imagination.
As Scrooge Plummer hands in a performance that makes us wish he’d play the character for real. In a very likable portrayal Stevens links Scrooge’s transformation to Dickens as he battles his own personal demons on his way to personal redemption. All bring a light touch and even when the going gets tough there is an endearing quality to the material. Even the condescending critic William Makepeace Thackery (Miles Jupp) isn’t played with malice.
“The Man Who Invented Christmas” is a festive film, a movie for the holidays that reminds us of the spirit of the season. No “Bah! Humbugs” here.