Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the kid-friendly Halloween flick “The House With A Clock In Its Walls,” the politics of “Fahrenheit 11/9” and the faux tear-jerkery of “Life Itself.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, Jack Black in “The House With A Clock In Its Walls,” the birth of Trump in “Fahrenheit 11/9,” and the tear-inducing (but not for the reason you think) “Life Itself.”
Richard has a look at Jack “o’-lantern” Black in “The House With A Clock In Its Walls,” the birth of Trump in “Fahrenheit 11/9,” and the tear-inducing (but not for the reason you think) “Life Itself” and the fist-in-your-face stylings of “Assassination Nation” with the CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
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 kid-friendly Halloween flick “The House With A Clock In Its Walls,” the politics of “Fahrenheit 11/9” and the faux tear-jerkery of “Life Itself.”
If the title itself didn’t give it away, fans of the sappy television hit “This is Us” will know what to expect from “Life Itself.” The new film from “This is Us” guru Dan Fogelman is a Xerox of his TV show. Grab some Kleenexes and cue the schmaltz.
Divided into chapters, Fogelman goes multigenerational in “Life Itself,” guiding us through the lives of a handful of people on a couple of continents. Anxious New Yorker Will (Oscar Isaac) bends his therapist’s (Annette Bening) ear, droning on about his failed marriage to Abby (Olivia Wilde) and Bob Dylan.
Cut to the future. There’s Will and Abby’s daughter Dylan (Olivia Cooke), an angry punk chanteuse who specializes in, SURPRISE, Bob Dylan songs.
Jump across the pond to Spain. There the wealthy Mr. Saccione (Antonio Banderas) promotes one of his workers, Javier (Sergio Peris-Mencheta). With the extra money is able to marry his girlfriend Isabel (Laia Costa), but later a tragedy, witnessed by their son Rodrigo (Àlex Monner), traumatizes the boy. Saccione pays for therapy and later, after some turmoil, pays for Rodrigo to go to school in New York, which co-incidentally is where the story comes full circle.
See how everything connects in the grand soap opera of life?
There’s more. Mandy Patinkin pops up as Will’s father, a cancer diagnosis rocks a family and don’t forget molestation. It’s a litany of tragedy—suicide, mental health issues, abandonment and family dysfunction—that feels like a sappy Afterschool Special written by Nikolai Gogol, coated in a fine dusting of schmaltz. It longs to be a rich, complex look at life, love, loss and olive oil but is instead a metaphorical Crock-Pot—a slow burn of the story that never comes to a boil—that, unlike the one on Fogelman’s TV show, never actually catches fire.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the PG-scares of “The House With A Clock In Its Walls,” the politics of “Fahrenheit 11/9,” and the tear-jerking of “Life Itself.”
Can there be any more daunting an assignment for a film critic than to review a documentary about the life of one of the greatest movie reviewers of all time? “Life Itself,” is an affectionate look at the life and death of Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize winning writer and television host whose name has become synonymous with the film criticism.
Ebert lived a public life. Between television appearances—on his own show with Gene Siskel and hundreds of talk show visits—and countless words splayed across the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times, his books and later his website, it seems like there might not be much left that we don’t already know about Ebert.
Director Steve James, who also made “Hoop Dreams,” one of Ebert’s favorite films, digs deep to present something that is beyond a simple biography. We learn about how the critic wrote the screenplay for the Russ Meyer’s opus “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,” the legendary ego clashes with his TV partner and that he met his wife at an AA meeting but that’s just trivia. Instead, using a mix of talking head interviews, archive footage, and most importantly, interviews with Roger and wife Chaz, James crafts an intimate, revealing and moving portrait of a complex man.
Ebert passed away on April 4, 2013 during the production of the documentary. Stricken with cancer, he knew he would likely not live to see the finished film, but communicated through his laptop (with voice translation) for as long as he was able. One of his last messages to James said simply and eloquently, “I’m fading.” It’s a heartbreaking and bittersweet moment in the movie that gives life to Ebert’s theory of movies being “a machine to generate empathy.”
“Life Itself” never shies away from the difficult parts of the story. Moments of frustration and pain are included but ultimately the doc is a wake for the late film critic. Stories are shared, secrets are told and a life is celebrated.