Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including “On the Rocks,” the new film from Bill Murray and Rashida Jones, the Gloria Steinem biopic “The Glorias” and the apocalyptic rom com “Save Yourselves!”
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 timely period piece “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “On the Rocks,” the re-teaming of Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola, the cerebral sci fi of “Possessor Uncut” and the unusual Gloria Steinem biopic “The Glorias.”
“The Glorias,” now on VOD/Digital, is an ambitious retelling of the life of a trailblazer. Women’s-rights icon Gloria Steinem has led such a multi-faceted life it takes four people to play her over the course of the film.
Based on Steinem’s 2015 memoir “My Life on the Road,” the story is told on a broken timeline that uses a bus metaphor to shift through the various aspects of Steinem’s life. From life as a child (played by Ryan Kiera Armstrong) with a transient salesman father whose optimistic motto is, “You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. It could be wonderful,” and former journalist mother Ruth (Enid Graham) to rebellious teen (Lulu Wilson) to magna cum laude graduate and journalist () who went undercover (Alicia Vikander) at Playboy Club to adult activist Gloria (Julianne Moore), the film offers a detailed if somewhat fragmented look at a remarkable life.
To tell the tale director Julie Taymor uses a variety of vibrant colour palettes, newsreel footage, animation, some theatrical techniques—adult Steinem gives advice to her younger self on the aforementioned bus—and biographical notes. Larger than life characters like social activist Bella Abzug (Bette Midler), businessperson and co-founder of Ms. Magazine Dorothy Pitman Hughes (Janelle Monáe) and Lorraine Toussaint as lawyer, feminist, activist Flo Kennedy are brought to vivid life, helping to establish a sense of time and place for a story that hop scotches through time.
“The Glorias” isn’t a standard biopic, but it also isn’t as radical as its subject. It’s an artfully arranged greatest hits package of a remarkable and influential life that dilutes its impact by trying to cover eighty of Steinem’s years. Nonetheless, the four performances fit so neatly together to form a whole that we see Steinem’s growth as she evolves into the person who made history.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. Julie Taymor brought the animals of The Lion King to life on Broadway, creating one of the biggest hits ever on the Great White Way. She’s the director of movies like “Frida” and “Across the Universe.” In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” she blends the two, presenting a film of her acclaimed stage production. It’s beautiful, magical stuff and we spoke about it at length. Then the HoC pays tribute to the great Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist who recently passed away at age 56. The “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” star talked about everything from Proust to George Clooney. It’s good stuff, so c’mon in and sit a spell.
Appearing in one of the movies! I was in Red Alert, a short that played before the movie Wet Bum. IT’s not enough that I cover 100 movies during the fest, now I have to be in them too! I even got a review. “@richardcrouse is great in Red Alert…” Mike Bullard wrote on twitter. “I’d like to tell you I didn’t know he was a redhead but I knew… I just knew ok.”
In person Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice sounds like hot melting wax. I liked Sherlock well enough and have seen him in several movies, but for me, and I know I’m the last to get it, his performance in The Imitation Game is a game changer. He plays real-life character Alan Turing, a Cambridge mathematician who volunteers to help break Germany’s most devastating WWII weapon of war, the Enigma machine. It was a top-secret operation, classified for more than 50 years, but that wasn’t Turing’s only secret. Gay at a time when homosexuality was illegal, punishable by jail or chemical castration, he was forced to live a world of secrets, both personal and professional.
Robert Pattinson telling me about how Hollywood was before camera phones: “When I first started going to LA everyone was underage and if you were a famous actor the rules did not apply. You could be a sixteen-year-old and go into a club but now that there are camera phones everywhere that doesn’t exist anymore. That period was so weird. You’d see a fourteen-year-old actor wasted, doing lines of blow on the table. It was crazy. Now they just do it at their parent’s house.”
Julie Taymore telling me that A Midsummer Night’s Dream “It was the first play I ever saw. I saw it here in Canada at the Stratford Festival…”
Michael Moore’s answer to my question about his reaction to all the celebrity he gained after appearing at TIFF 25 years ago with Roger and Me: Asked what was going through his head while all this was swirling around him, Moore says: “Why didn’t I go to Jenny Craig three months ago?”
“I don’t know where they are,” Kingsley says about his characters, “if they’re inside me waiting to come out or whether they are outside of me. Are they hunting me or am I hunting them? I don’t know.”
Repairing Dustin Hoffman’s watch. During a roundtable interview the alarm on his watch went off several times. He gave it to me and I looked up the instructions on how to fix it on Google. “How did it you look it up on line? They have instructions to fix Timexes on line? I don’t automatically go to those things,” he said. During the interview he said: “I was told to take acting. Nobody flunks acting.” Later he said that it wasn’t such a bad choice because, for instance, “No one ever says, ‘I want to be a critic when I grow up.’”
Lowlight… waiting for BIll Murray for seven hours. (Although I love this from @ZeitchikLAT: Bill Murray, offering implicit proof on the merits of Bill Murray Day: “If this is really my day, why do I have to do so much work?”)
Sitting next to next to Boo Radley, Bill Kilgore and Tom Hagan. (Robert Duvall!)
Most quotable actors of the festival? Robert Duvall who said, about acting, “There’s no right or wrong just truthful or untruthful.” He calls Billy Bob Thornton “The hillbilly Orson Welles…” and said “Brando used to watch Candid Camera.” Jane Fonda was a close second when she said acting is great for the heart but terrible for the nerves… “Butts have become more in fashion… (since Barbarella) and “Television is forgiving to older women and making it possible for us to have longer careers.”
“I have distilled socialism in this box and am taking it back to America.” – Robert Downey Jr in my roundtable interview.
#TIFF14 socks day 3. Chris O’Dowd called them “powerful.” and Rosamund Pike said, “I’m enjoying your socks. They make me happy.”
Watching “Whiplash” knock the socks off an audience at an IMAX P&! screening. It is part musical—the big band jazz numbers are exhilarating—and part psychological study of the tense dynamics between mentor and protégée in the pursuit of excellence. The pair is a match made in hell. Teacher Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons is a vain, driven man given to throwing chairs at his students if they dare hit a wring note. He’s an exacting hardliner who teaches by humiliation and fear. This movie doesn’t miss a beat.
Love this quote: “Being in the military,” said Adam Driver of This Is Where I Leave You, “believe it or not, is very different than being in an acting school.”
Julie Taymor wants to give you the best seat in the house at TIFF this year.
She captured her acclaimed stage production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream at the Polonsky Center in Brooklyn on film, shooting 70 hours with handheld cameras.
“I think film is so great for Shakespeare,” says Taymor, the first person to ever win a Tony for Best Direction of a Musical for her work on The Lion King. “You enjoy it in live theatre. The kids who came loved it; the pillow fights, theatrical stripping. They got it. But on film you have close-ups. This is where film is better than the theatre.
“With fours days of shooting, with hand held cameras and using pickups, you are now in the best positions in the house. We’re in positions that no audience could be. So now you are getting the support of the close up, which means you can understand it when you see the facial expression and the lips moving. You don’t need to know what the words are. I found that in Titus Andronicus [which she directed on film with Anthony Hopkins in 1999]. I still don’t know what a ‘weeping welkin’ is, but when Anthony Hopkins says it, I get it. You could turn off the dialogue and you would know what’s going on.”
Her beautiful adaptation is brought to film without the use of any special effects—“What you see was all in the production,” she says—except one miraculous performance by Kathryn Hunter as Puck. The cast and the staging are extraordinary, but Hunter stands out in a performance New York Mag called “part yoga, part cartoon.”
“I think Kathryn is the greatest actor on stage right now,” says Taymor. “She has played King Lear. She’s the only female in London [to do that]. She’s not a movie actress, because nobody has figured it out yet… because she is this strange creature. She is so versatile. I had seen her in five or six shows and a year before I did this I said if I could get Kathryn Hunter to play Puck, I’ll do this.”
It’s a show Taymor has deep connections to.
“It was the first play I ever saw,” she says. “I saw it here in Canada at the Stratford Festival and I played Hermia when I was seven.”
It also led, indirectly, to her biggest Broadway success. When Disney was renovating The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York she knew the first show there had been A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “so I went to Disney and said, ‘Could I do A Midsummer Night’s Dream here.’ They said no, but ‘Could you do The Lion King.’”
Frida, director Julie Taymor’s look at the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, is a beautiful film that proves that Salma Hayek is more than just a sex-symbol. It is her performance in the title role that saves Frida from being just another run-of-the mill biopic. She captures the spirit of the late Mexican painter in all her uni-browed glory. Films about the creative process don’t usually work, but Taymor takes the back-door approach, giving us the details of Frida’s life that inspired her to make her art – her triumphs, her pain and her bizarre relationship with Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina). We don’t often see her at work in front of an easel, but when we do we understand why she paints.