Posts Tagged ‘Maggie Gyllenhaal’


Richard and CTV NewsChannel host Angie Seth have a look “The Tender Bar” (Amazon Prime), the Olivia Coleman drama “The Lost Daughter” (on Netflix) and the heartwarming “June Again” (VOD/Digital).

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard joins hosts Jay Michaels and Jim Richards of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush for Booze and Reviews! Today we ask, “To Lick, Shoot and Suck, or NOT to Lick, Shoot and Suck?” and review the Ben Affleck coming-of-age story “The Tender Bar” (Amazon Prime), the Olivia Coleman drama “The Lost Daughter” (on Netflix) and the heartwarming “June Again” (VOD/Digital).

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


Richard joins CP24 to pay tribute to Sidney Poitier and have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “The Tender Bar” (Amazon Prime), the Olivia Coleman drama “The Lost Daughter” (on Netflix) and the heartwarming “June Again” (VOD/Digital).

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard joins CTV NewsChannel and anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Ben Affleck coming-of-age story “The Tender Bar” (Amazon Prime), the Olivia Coleman drama “The Lost Daughter” (on Netflix) and the heartwarming “June Again” (VOD/Digital).

Watch the whole thing HERE!


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 Ben Affleck coming-of-age story “The Tender Bar” (Amazon Prime), the Olivia Coleman drama “The Lost Daughter” (on Netflix) and the heartwarming “June Again” (VOD/Digital).

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


CrazyHeart_QuadIn “Crazy Heart” Bad Blake, played by Jeff Bridges in what will likely become his fifth Oscar nomination, is Willie Nelson if the IRS had their way with him, or Kris Kristofferson if he hadn’t written “Me and Bobby McGee.” “I used to be somebody,” he sings at one point, “but now I’m somebody else.” That someone else is a broke, drunk country music has-been whose idea of a great gig is playing a bowling alley where he isn’t even allowed to run a bar tab.

In a story that echoes “The Wrestler” “Crazy Heart” follows the tail end of the career of a man who once had everything but threw it away. Bad Blake was a big country music star whose life seems ripped from the lyrics of a hurtin’ Hank Williams song. On the road he’s so lonely he could die, so he fills his time with groupies; women who follow him back to his seedy hotel room, remembering the star he once was and not the sweaty, drunk wreck he has become. His downward spiral is slowed when he meets Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a journalist and single mother who becomes his anchor.

“Crazy Heart” is an average movie buoyed by a great central performance. We’ve seen stories like this before but Bridges’s performance and the film’s details make this a recommend.

First the details. As a general rule most movies about fictional musicians get the most basic thing wrong—the music. Forgettable songs have ruined many a music movie but “Crazy Heart” and composers T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton (who died of cancer before the film was released) nail an authentic country sound. The songs sound Grand Ole Opry ready and once filtered through Bridges’s weathered vocal chords could be echoes from any small town honky tonk or dive bar. It’s hurtin’ music and is spot on.

Beyond the music there are the small details that add so much to the film. There are the nice shards of dialogue like Bad’s flirty remark to Jean as they do an interview in a dingy motel room, “I want to talk about how bad you make this room look” and the accurate portrayal of small town bars and bowling alleys.

It all helps to elevate the predictable story, but none of it would matter a whit if Jeff Bridges wasn’t firmly in control. His Bad Blake is pure outlaw country, a hard drinking and cigarette smoking poet who breathes the same air as Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggart. Bridges throws his vanity out the window, allowing his gut to peak out from behind his guitar and wrinkles to peer out from the sides of his aviators. More than that, however, he nails the troubled charm that made Bad a star and then brought him to his knees. It’s complex work but Bridges, with his smooth, relaxed way with a character makes it look easy. Don’t be fooled; this is the work of a master who is often underrated.

“Crazy Heart” has some major flaws but is worth a look for the performances from Bridges, Gyllenhaal (although she seems a tad young for the part) and Colin Farrell in a small un-credited part as Bad’s former protégé.


hysteria001-560x365“Hysteria” could easily have been called “Desperate Housewives (of 1880).” Set in 19th century London, the story centers around Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) — a young handsome doctor whose carpal tunnel syndrome led directly to the invention of the vibrator.

The year is 1880 and hysteria is “the plague of our times,” according to Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce), a doctor whose magic fingers bring relief to London’s upper class ladies. His solution to their dilemma is simple. He offers manual stimulation until his patients achieve “paroxysm.”

In those days hysteria was a catchall phrase used to encompass all manner of female ailments. According to Wikipedia, “women considered to be suffering from it exhibited a wide array of symptoms including faintness, nervousness, sexual desire, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and ‘a tendency to cause trouble.'”

Enter Granville, an idealistic doctor who keeps losing jobs at old-fashioned hospitals because of his new-fangled ideas about germs. He accepts an apprenticeship with Dalrymple and soon his nimble fingers and good looks have attracted the attention London’s desperate housewives and daughter Emily Dalrymple (Felicity Jones). She’s an English Rose who stands in contrast to her sister Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a live wire suffragette who is passionate about working with the city’s disadvantaged.

Business booms at the doctor’s office until Granville suffers hand and wrist ailments from vigorous overuse. In short order he co-invents the world’s first vibrator with the help of his friend Lord Edmund St. John-Smythe (Rupert Everett). He also discovers true love and the true nature of hysteria.

Despite its racy premise “Hysteria” is rather tame. As social commentary it’s lightweight, shedding little light on the repressive Victorian attitude toward women and sexuality. Sure, the female patients know exactly what the cause of their so-called hysteria is and Gyllenhaal speechifies on women’s rights, but a movie about the invention of the tool that revolutionized sexuality should focus on that and not the predictable rom-com love triangle.

As a comedy it misses the opportunity for big laughs by under-using Everett, whose hammy performance breaks through the stodgy Englishness repressiveness of the setting. The slapstick and masturbation hat make up much of the movie and wears out their welcome early on.

Still, there is something inoffensive about the movie. It’s a sweet attempt to tell an unusual story, but feels like a missed opportunity — which is why “Hysteria” didn’t work for me as well as it might have. I expected more than a comedy of manners with an off-colour edge from the story. This is a rental, not a night out.


emma-thompson-in-nanny-mcphee-returns-wallpaper-2_1600x1280_84479Imagine Mary Poppins with a W.C. Field’s nose, a fanglike front tooth and earlobes big enough to land a 747 on and you have Nanny McPhee, the magical babysitter who shows up only “when you need her but do not want her.” She teaches each of her family’s five lessons and with each lesson learned one of her facial markings disappears until she ends up looking like Emma Thompson (who also wrote and produced the film) by the time the credits roll.

Set in wartime Britain, “Nanny McPhee Returns” revolves around Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal) a young mother of three trying to raise her kids and run the family farm while her husband is off at war. She’s also trying to keep the farm out of the hands of her scheming brother-in-law (Rhys Ifans) who will stop at nothing to convince her to sign over her half of the land so he can pay off gambling debts. Add to the mix two snotty cousins from London, some acrobatic pigs, an unexploded German bomb and you have a family primed for spinster Nanny McPhee’s unique brand of care giving.

“Nanny McPhee Returns” is a fantasy for kids that is more about the life lessons than it is about the title character. The kids learn about good behavior and cooperation while McPhee lurks in the background, almost disappearing completely from the movie for a long stretch in the middle. Which is just as well. As wonderful as Thompson is, a little of the Nanny goes a long way, but luckily the movie is brimming with appealing character and winning performances.

As Isabel, Gyllenhaal proves she has a Gwyneth Paltrow-like facility with English accents. She’s wonderful as the kind hearted but frazzled mother, but really delivers in the movie’s emotional moments. She brings a realism to certain scenes that isn’t often found in kid’s entertainment.

At the other end of the scale is Ifans who, as the villain, seems to have lurched off the stage from the local Christmas pantomime. He plays Uncle Phil as broadly as possible, but somehow it works. The subtlety and nuance of his recent work in movies like “Greenberg” is absent, replaced with a delicious sense of fun. If this was a live show the audience would boo every time he stepped on stage.

The real draw, however, is the kids. As Cyril, a pompous little twit who learns to be… well, less of a pompous little twit, Eros Vlahos is a mini Benny Hill in the making, with great comic timing and a way with a line. The other kids, Vincent (Oscar Steer), Norman (Asa Butterfield), Megsie (Lil Woods), and Celia (Rose Taylor-Ritson) more than capably hold the screen, playing against Oscar winners and heavy weights like Ralph Fiennes and Maggie Smith.

Even though “Nanny McPhee Returns” gets a little CGI silly near the end it is a crowd pleasing mix of gentle humor, fantasy—check out the pigs as they take a page from the Esther Williams playbook—and family fun.