Posts Tagged ‘Maika Monroe’


A new feature from from! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the killer birthday blues of “Happy Death Day,” Jackie Chan’s return to adult drama “The Foreigner” and Liam Neeson in the self explanatory “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the birthday blues of “Happy Death Day,” Jackie Chan’s return to adult drama “The Foreigner” and Liam Neeson in the self explanatory “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the birthday blues of “Happy Death Day,” Jackie Chan’s return to adult drama “The Foreigner” and Liam Neeson in the self explanatory “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


The name Mark Felt was one of Washington DC’s best-kept secrets for years. From 1972 to 2005 theories and rumours echoed through the halls of power as to the real name of Deep Throat, the pseudonym given to the secret informant who provided information to Bob Woodward that kick started the Watergate scandal. Now that it’s known that the mysterious figure was actually Mark Felt, the Deputy Associate Director of the FBI, how is it possible to make a cloak-and-dagger thriller out of the story when even the name, the lengthy, “Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House,” gives away the plot?

The film begins as stone-faced keeper of secrets Felt, played by Liam Neeson, learns his boss of thirty years, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, has died. It is presumed that, given his years of experience and service—he’s the G-man’s G-man—that he’ll be offered the top job. “You’re the chief dragon slayer and keeper of the American dream,” says his wife Audrey (Diane Lane).

His new case looks promising as well. He and his team are investigating a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington. It’s a case that Felt feels will have major repercussions, perhaps leading to the very top office in the land, President Nixon’s Oval Office.

His dreams of running the F.B.I. and breaking the explosive Watergate case are scuttled when Hoover’s job goes to an assistant attorney general from Nixon’s Justice Department, L. Pat Gray (Marton Csokas). “Hoover is gone,” Felt is told. “You’re alone now holding the end of your own leash.” Felt, once the second in command is now the odd man out. More than that, Gray wants the Watergate investigation shut down. “You are never going to find what you were looking for,” says Gray. “End it. Shut it down.”

Felt knows the burglars are all ex CIA and FBI with connections to the Committee to Re-Elect the President so rather than let it drop he turns to the press and becomes the most famous—and for a time anonymous—whistleblower in American political history.

“Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House” is a timely look at the role of the FBI versus the White House. Much of Felt’s dialogue—lines like, “No one can stop the driving force of an FBI investigation. Not even the FBI.”—feel like they could have been lifted from James Comey’s Congressional testimony. The story predates Presidents Ford, Jimmy Carter, two Bushes, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama but feels ripped from today’s headlines.

Déjà vu aside, there isn’t much else here of interest. Neeson is the very model of a company man, someone who gave his life to the FBI only to see outside forces—i.e. Nixon’s White House—compromise the Bureau’s effectiveness. “We don’t answer to them,” he grunts. “The White House has no authority on the FBI.” It’s a compelling reason but Neeson is so stoic he’s barely a character and more a mound of finely sculpted grey hair with an attitude. As Felt he has a very particular set of skills. Skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that include stoicism. If you don’t give him what he wants he will hunt you down and tell you secrets.

A grafted on story about his missing, possibly radicalized daughter, does nothing to humanize the man who has spent a career as a cipher and only distracts from the intrigue.

“Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House” is based on an explosive story and should be an engaging picture of the backrooms of power and the machinations that brought down a government. Instead it is a talky affair that relies on exposition rather than thrills.


Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 4.03.28 PMRichard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s three big releases, “Independence Say: Resurgence,” with Jeff Goldblum, “The Shallows”with Blake Lively and “Free State of Jones” with Matthew McConaughey.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RICHARD’S CTV NEWSCHANNEL REVIEWS “Independence Day” & More for JUNE 24.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.05.34 PMRichard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to talk about the big releases in theatres, including “Independence Say: Resurgence,” with Jeff Goldblum, “The Shallows”with Blake Lively, “Free State of Jones” with Matthew McConaughey and the weird and wonderful “The Neon Demon.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro In Focus: Superheroes Save Your World… Again and Again and Again.

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By Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

In today’s world it’s not enough to simply be a hero. Now you must be a superhero. Unlike the old days when square-jawed movie stars rescued damsels in distress or battled cold-hearted landlords, today’s champions won’t get out of bed for anything less than the threat of complete world annihilation. Liberating a cat from a tree or performing the Heimlich Maneuver is considered HeroLite™, the work of lesser lifesavers.

Today it’s all about averting the apocalypse. In Captain America: Civil War the idea of how to police and ultimately save the world is at the heart of the action and X-Men: Apocalypse’s bad guy has grandiose plans to “cleanse mankind and create a new world order.”

This weekend the heroes of Independence Day: Resurgence join Mystique, Quicksilver, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, Captain America and legendary do-gooders Batman and Superman in some good, old fashioned world saving.

The twenty-years-in-the-making sequel to Will Smith’s mega-hit sees aliens from outside the Solar System attack our planet. It’s life and death on a planetary scale, a premise that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

It’s not a surprise the stories are getting larger and louder. Audiences want a big bang for their buck and Hollywood is pleased to oblige with high stakes situations that provide frenetic action and happy endings (unless, of course you’re rooting for the bad guy). These days Hollywood also looks to overseas markets for mega-revenue and presenting globe-spanning stories helps to attract crowds in other countries.

Business aside, why have audiences embraced world-on-the-brink movies?

Films, says Dr. Norman Holland, Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar Emeritus at the University of Florida, work on different parts of your brain.

“The parts that turn off are the parts that plan action because you’re not going to act on what you see on the screen in front of you,” he says. “You turn off the systems that plan, that look ahead that evaluate futures. That explains the phenomenon of the willing suspension of disbelief. You accept the most improbable things, like Stars Wars or Spider-Man or whatever. At the same time the lower centres of your brain are generating emotions like mad in response to what you’re seeing. This is the peculiar phenomenon that you can feel and care about these people on the screen while at the same time knowing they are nothing but a fiction.”

In other words, it’s what legendary purveyor of thrills Alfred Hitchcock said. “People like to be scared when they feel safe.”

We live in unsettling and troubled times and going to the movies can provide an escape. In these heroic tales good almost always wins out, a comforting antidote to the nightly news where stories often don’t have happy endings. It makes us feel good, but, as Dr. Holland notes, it’s also restful.

“As you know they are redesigning movie theatres with recliner chairs so you can sleep through the movie,” he says. “Yes, it is relaxing. This is the part of your brain that worries, that plans for the future, that is concerned about the state of your body. All that shuts down. It’s restful, no question.”

Going to the movies is restful? Good for us? Seems like in our busy, stressful world it’s the films that are the heroes, not the characters.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE: 1 STAR. “bigger but not better.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 9.08.21 AM“That is definitely bigger than the last one,” says David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum).

He’s talking about the alien spaceship that puts our planet in peril in “Independence Day: Resurgence,” the twenty-years-in-the-making sequel to Will Smith’s 90s mega-hit, but he could also be talking about the movie itself. It’s certainly bigger and louder than the original, but is it better?

In the two decades since the first invasion the world has become a better place. “Our survival is only possible when we stand together,” says President Lanford (Sela Ward). The White House has been rebuilt, a woman is President and countries now work together. There’s a military installation on the moon and using the ET technology salvaged from the downed spaceships they have safe guarded the planet from another attack.

Or so almost everyone thought.

Ex-President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) is plagued by bad dreams—or are they premonitions?—of another extra-terrestrial incursion and it turns out he’s right. A distress signal from the first wave of space invaders triggered another assault, this time with bigger, badder aliens from deep, deep, deep space.

“Make them pay,” says ex-first daughter Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe) to her boyfriend, warrior pilot Jake (Liam Hemsworth). “I’m not going out there to make friends,” he says. Look out aliens! Cue the computer generated carnage.

At their best big special effects movies like this should fill the viewer with wonder. Large-scale spectacle, like the world on the verge of collapse, should fill us with shock and awe but in “Independence Day: Resurgence” we have to settle for an unsettling sense of déjà vu. It’s a movie that exists as an excuse to showcase the special effects in a cynical attempt to recycle an idea that worked well enough the first time. Not only have we seen virtually everything here in the original film, we’ve seen similar images in every end-of-the-world movie from the last twenty years. Here they are bigger and louder, but not better.

Ditto the dialogue. It feels like a first draft to the original movie, updated for a new cast. Goldblum is always a welcome presence but he’s saddled with terrible, trite words and he gets most of the good lines. It’s the kind of movie were people ask questions instead of saying anything interesting. “How the hell did we miss this?” “What’s going on?” Or the classic, “What the…??!!,” delivered with mouth agape. It’s less a script than a series of catchphrases and questions cobbled together and sounds like it was all run through the Blandizer® before being handed over to the actors.

It’s the kind of movie where you root for the aliens, hoping they make quick work of humanity because that would be less painful than sitting through one more minute of this mess. You don’t watch “Independence Day: Resurgence,” you subject yourself to it because even though it could be the end of humanity there’s no real humanity here, just empty heroics.

The most alien thing about the movie is the presence of Lars Von Trier’s favourite actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. If anyone in the movie noticed she was there I’m sure they would say, “What the hell is she doing here?” Cashing a paycheque I imagine.

I really hated “Independence Day: Resurgence.” It’s a popcorn flick but this popcorn stale. “Independence Day”? More like “Groundhog Day.” We’ve seen it before and better.

IT FOLLOWS: 4 STARS. “one of the most unsettling horror movies of the year.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 2.14.07 PM“It Follows” is a hybrid of genres. It’s a scary film through and through, but it’s the dual horror of teenage boredom and ennui coupled with a strange and terrifying supernatural virus that is transmitted sexually. Coming of age and body/mind horror steeped together in an unholy mix and it is an effective brew.

Jay (Maika Monroe) is a typical, slightly bored teen living in a sleepy suburb of Detroit. There’s not much for the teens to do there except watch TV, hang out and have sex. After a one-night stand with Hugh (Jake Weary) Jay finds herself in trouble, but not “in trouble” as in pregnant. He has infected her with a curse that will cause her to see ghosts, terrifying, shape shifting visions like living nightmares that could drive her to the brink of madness. He tells her the only way to get rid of the virus is to pass it on by hitting the sack with someone else. Until then, he warns her not to let the “ghosts” touch her and “never go anywhere with only one exit.”

It would be easy to write ”It Follows” off as a teen horror, but it is much more than that. It’s a study—and a creepy one at that—of teen angst filtered through primal dread—fear of the dark, being alone, apparitions—and physical fear. An anxiety inducing synthesizer score adds to the atmosphere of unease, making this one of the most unsettling and original horror movies of the year.