Posts Tagged ‘Lenny Kravitz’

RICHARD’S CTV NEWSCHANNEL WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FOR JULY 06.

Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” the Christopher Plummer road trip “Boundaries,” the family drama “Leave No Trace” and the love letter to one of Manhattan’s most famous hotels, “Always at the Carlyle.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

CTVNEWS.CA: THE CROUSE REVIEW LOOKS AT “ANT-MAN AND THE WASP” & MORE!

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 the latest Marvel superhero flick “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” the Christopher Plummer road trip “Boundaries” and the glitz documentary “Always at the Carlyle.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

ALWAYS AT THE CARLYLE: 3 STARS. “not very deep, but it is all very swanky.”

“Always at the Carlyle” can’t rightly be called a documentary. It’s more of a love letter to one of Manhattan’s great hotels. Plump with celebrity interviews, glamorous people and the attentive—if somewhat secretive—staff who coddle the one percenters who stay there, it’s a glossy, uncritical look at a hotel whose rooms can cost as much as a car.

Director Matthew Miele lines up a who’s who of a-lister types to talk about the hotel’s special charms. George Clooney and the late great Anthony Bourdain wax poetic, while Harrison Ford grouses, good naturedly, about not ever being housed in the hotel’s $20,000 a night suite. Sophia Coppola describes what it was like to live there when she was a child and rich people you’ve never heard of describe the hotel’s upwardly mobile ambiance in hushed reverential terms.

Miele provides a peak at the colourful murals in Bemelmans Bar, painted by Ludwig Bemelmans, artist of the “Madeline” books, and tells of the legendary Bobby Short’s musical contributions to New York nightlife via his work at the equally legendary Carlyle Café.

It’s not very deep, but it is all very swanky, as crisp as the monogrammed pillowcases that adorn every bed. “Always at the Carlyle” works best when it recounts the hotel’s sophisticated history, told by former guests and employees with eye candy photos for illustration, but like the best hoteliers the doc chooses discretion over gossip. That’s good for the guests, but not good for the viewers of the film who might want something more. If only those walls could talk—they might tell a more interesting story.

CJAD IN MONTREAL: THE ANDREW CARTER SHOW WITH RICHARD CROUSE ON MOVIES!

Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show guest host Ken Connors to talk about the small scale superheroes “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” the Christopher Plummer road trip “Boundaries,” the father and daughter drama “Leave No Trace” and the love letter to one of Manhattan’s great hotels, “Always at the Carlyle.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire review. Sequel better than the first one

katniss_hunger_games_catching_fire-wideSynopsis: Combatants and sweethearts Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) have returned victorious from the 74th Annual Hunger Games. While on a Victory Tour to Panem’s various downtrodden districts, revolution is in the air. The people see Katniss as a symbol of freedom, which, of course, doesn’t sit well with President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the country’s autocratic leader. To quell the revolution he and his head gamesmaker (Philip Seymour Hoffman) devise the trickiest Hunger Games yet, the Quarter Quell that will pit former winners against one another in the battle to the death.

•    Richard: 4/5
•    Mark: 3/5

Richard: Mark, I’m glad I saw the first Hunger Games movie because I’m not sure if I would have a clue as to what was going on if I didn’t have that background. I may have been taken in by the beautiful art direction, or Jennifer Lawrence’s intense performance, but I don’t think I would have been able to connect all the dots. Plot points become more obvious in the second hour, but for non-Hungerites it might be confusing. What did you think?

Mark: I don’t think anyone who didn’t see the first one would even be interested in seeing the second instalment. So the question becomes: how do they compare? And surprisingly, I kind of prefer the sequel. The issues of state control, of media manipulation, and of income disparity are sharper and less cartoonish here. But more important, the secondary characters are more interesting and better drawn. Some of the contestants are intriguing, like Jeffrey Wright’s techno-nerd, and his partner Amanda Plummer, doing her nutso thing. I even liked Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci this time around — the characters seemed more grounded in the story.

RC: I do think this is a better movie than the first instalment. It is set decorated and costumed to within an inch of its life, but nonetheless has a gritty edge. It doesn’t feel like a budget big franchise movie and that’s a good thing. Visually as well as thematically it has more edge than any of the recent Marvel movies. And it skirts around the thing that upset many people about the first movie — the idea of kids killing kids — by setting the action between former victors ranging in age from in their 20s to in their 70s.

MB: You know what else it skirts around? The killings themselves, many of which happen off-screen, to protect the delicate psyches of our tweener population. But that’s OK; this isn’t really a film about body count. The only thing that left me queasy was the cliffhanger ending, with a plot twist that will seem arbitrary until we catch the next instalment.

RC: The cliffhanger ending is a bit of a shock after the almost two-and-a-half hour running time, but I felt as though enough had happened to keep me interested for the next one.

MB: And I think the next one may show Woody Harrelson to be the  trilogy’s most valuable player.

HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE: 4 STARS. “creates a world with its own rules and customs.”

the-hunger-games-catching-fire-comic-con-trailerI’m glad I saw the first “Hunger Games” movie because I’m not sure if I would have a clue as to what was going on if I didn’t have that background. I may have been taken in by the beautiful art direction, or Jennifer Lawrence’s intense performance, but I don’t think I would have been able to connect all the dots. Plot points become more obvious in the second hour, but for non-Hungerites it might be confusing.

If you haven’t seen the first movie, or read one of the 26 million copies of the book that are currently in print, here’s a glossary of terms to get you up to speed.

Katniss Everdeen: Sixteen year-old protagonist and citizen of District 12, a poor mining area in the dystopian nation of Panem.

Peeta Mellark: A baker’s son, who, according to Wikipedia has “extensive strength and cake decorating skills that contributed to the art of camouflage.”

Both are “tributes” chosen from the young people of District 12 and forced to participate in an annual Hunger Games, The Hunger Games, an annual televised event in which one teenaged boy and girl from each districts surrounding the Capitol are chosen by lottery to fight to the death until only one remains.

There’s more, but you’ll figure it out.

In the new film combatants and sweethearts Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) have returned from the 74th Annual Hunger Games victorious to become the toast of the nation. While on a Victory Tour to Panem’s various downtrodden districts, revolution is in the air. They see Katniss as a symbol of freedom, which, of course, doesn’t sit well with President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the country’s autocratic leader. To quell the revolution he and his head gamesmaker (Philip Seymour Hoffman) devise the trickiest Hunger Games yet, the    Quarter Quell that will pit former winners against one another in the battle to the death. If Snow gets his way Katniss will be killed and the revolution squashed.

“Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is a better movie than the first installment.

Set decorated and costumed (as played by Elizabeth Banks, District 12 minder Effie Trinket has the most elaborate futurist art deco costumes since “Metropolis”) to within an inch of its life, but has nonetheless has a gritty edge. It doesn’t feel like a budget big franchise movie and that’s a good thing,

Visually as well as thematically it has more edge than any of the recent Marvel movies. And it skirts around the thing that upset many people about the first movie—the idea of kids killing kids—by setting the action between former victors ranging in age from 20s to 70s.

It creates a world with it’s own rules, style and customs and does so convincingly. In part it’s comprised of things we’ve seen before in everything from the human sacrifices of Greek Mythology to reality television to stories of government corruption on the news, but author Suzanne Collins and director Francis “I Am legend” Lawrence tie it together to create something new.

In many ways it breaks the mold of what we expect from a young adult a blockbuster. The focus is on the characters and the underpinning of romance that snakes throughout the story. The action sequences are few and far between and it takes almost an hour before any of Katniss’s trademark bow-and-arrow dexterity comes into play. (Silly complaint: the number of arrows in her quiver changes from shot to shot! Just when you think she’s out, arrows magically appear.)

Sure there’s poison fog, angry animals and vicious victors but it’s about survival and relationships not the wholesale slaughter of the characters. It’s grim, shot in hues of grey with a perpetually overcast sky, which lends it a classic feel, more like 1970s sci fi than the brightly couloured eye catchers Hollywood makes these days.

“Hunger Games: Catching Fire” has a who’s who of a cast—Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone, Brit heartthrob Sam Claflin and Amanda Plummer—who all perform well, lending some gravitas to the story, but it is carried by Lawrence whose vision for Katniss is as straight as an arrow.