A new feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York” and the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York,” the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick” and Penelope Cruz in “The Queen of Spain.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the big weekend movies including “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York,” the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick” and Penelope Cruz in “The Queen of Spain.”
“I knew her very well,” says Penelope Cruz, “but in a way she was not exactly the same person because so many things happened to her and she changed over time, like we all do.”
Cruz isn’t talking about an old friend or a long lost relative. The Spanish superstar is referring to Macarena Granada, a character she first played a decade ago and revisits in the new film The Queen of Spain.
“She has a very intense life,” continues Cruz, “so that was the tricky thing. For the people who knew Macarena, how do I make her recognizable and what are the changes we can see in her after all these years?”
Audiences first met Macarena in 1998 when Cruz played her as an upcoming Spanish movie star in a frothy little confection called The Girl of Your Dreams. It’s years later in real and reel life as Cruz brings the character back to the screen.
Set in 1956, The Queen of Spain portrays Macarena as a huge international star lured back to her home country to star in the first American movie to be shot there since the Franco took power. It’s a wild production but complicating matters is the appearance—and subsequent disappearance—of Macarena’s former director and the man who made her a star.
“The first film was set at a time of interaction with Germany and Macarena had to protect herself from Goebbels,” says Cruz. “This time she is up against Franco. In a way every time she is acting in a film she is just not acting, she is some kind of political heroine. She is fighting for justice. What a life this woman has had! Every time she goes into making a movie she has to save somebody’s life or do something life changing for everybody. If we ever do the third one I don’t know who she’ll have to deal with. Depends on what country. Hopefully the third one will happen someday. Let’s see who she has to encounter this time.”
The Queen of Spain marks the third time Cruz has worked with Fernando Trueba, the Spanish auteur who directed her break out film Belle Époque.
“The knowledge he has of cinema, the passion he has for cinema is very contagious,” she says. “With Fernando it is always more than just entertainment. He is such a great filmmaker and he always talks about so many big subjects at the same time.
“I think Belle Époque is a masterpiece. The film was amazing and for me to start with somebody as brilliant as Fernando, well, it was a year that made it impossible for me not to fall in love with movies.”
The chance to show what goes on behind the scenes in The Queen of Spain’s film-within-the-film was another reason she decided to come back to Trueba and Macarena.
“There are not enough movies about that,” she says. “When I am on the set everything is so crazy and chaotic but at the same time it works. I feel like we need that chaos for it to work. It is magical that things happen and movies get done and get finished. I’m always on the set thinking, ‘These three days of shooting is enough material for three more movies.’”
Almost fifty years ago Simon & Garfunkel provided the memorable soundtrack to the equally memorable movie “The Graduate.” This year a wistful S&G song, “The Only Living Boy in New York,” inspired a wry movie of the same name by director Marc Webb.
Set in New York City, the movie centers around Thomas Webb (Callum Turner), a recent college grad in love with his best friend good friend, Mimi (Kiersey Clemons). When she rejects his romantic entreaties he’s crushed. Back at home in his parents Ethan and Judith’s (Pierce Brosnan and Cynthia Nixon) swanky Upper West Side apartment building he meets the boozy new neighbour, W.F. Gerald (Jeff Bridges), an author and sage who offers life advice.
When Thomas learns about Ethan’s affair with Johanna (Kate Beckinsale) he first becomes obsessed with learning more about her and then, perhaps to make Mimi jealous and possibly in an ode to “The Graduate,” begins a romantic affair with the older woman. Navigating his complicated personal life brings his combative relationship with the grizzled Ethan—who once told his son, a wannabe writer, that his work was only “serviceable”—in focus while opening his eyes to the world around him.
“The Only Living Boy in New York” doesn’t have the buoyancy of “(500) Days of Summer,” Webb’s other study of the way relationships work and, sometimes, how they don’t work. It’s more quasi-Phillip Roth than RomCom but it is propped up with some terrific performances.
English born actor Callum is cut from the Benjamin Braddock school of lovesick, confused young man, but it’s the seasoned pros who are worth the price of admission. Nixon is brittle yet steely as a long time New Yorker who was friends with Andy Warhol and mourns the loss of Greenwich Village’s famed Bottom Line club. Beckinsale is more than a plot device, bringing real humanity to a woman caught between the two men.
Bridges, now firmly entrenched in the old coot phase of his career, brings craggy charm to the role of mentor but it is Brosnan who shines. He’s at his best as a man who is simultaneously a father and romantic rival to his son.
“The Only Living Boy in New York” frequently feels like it is about to spin off its axis but Webb fights past the clunky dialogue and overly complicated story to present an engaging coming-of-age story.
A new 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 bombastic entry from Vin Diesel and Company, “The Fate of the Furious,” the family drama “Gifted” and the romantic biopic “Maudie” starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.
Richard and CP24 anchor Stephanie Smythe have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the redonkulous new “Fast & Furious” entry from Vin Diesel and Company, “The Fate of the Furious,” the family drama “Gifted,” the romantic biopic “Maudie” starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke and the bizzaro “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea”!
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the latest bombastic entry from Vin Diesel and Company, “The Fate of the Furious,” the family drama “Gifted” and the romantic biopic “Maudie” starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.
“Gifted” is the story of a fractured family. Like a hybrid of “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Little Man Tate” (with a taste of “Good Will Hunting” thrown in), it bases a family custody story around a child prodigy.
Chris Evans leaves his Captain America mask at Avenger’s HQ to play Frank Adler, a single man trying to give his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) a normal life in a Florida coastal town. As the seven-year-old’s guardian, he enrols the high-spirited girl in public school. “Please don’t make me go,” she says. “No more argument, we’ve discussed this ad nauseam,” he replies. “What’s ad nauseam?” “You don’t know? Looks like someone need school.”
In school she outpaces all her classmates academically, particularly in mathematics. When her teacher (Jenny Slate) tries to stump her, asking what 57 multiplied by 135 is, the little girl pauses and says, “7695” off the top of her head. Then goes on to supply the square root. “87.7 plus change.” It is clear she is gifted, but her abilities raise concerns for Frank. “I promised my sister I’d give Mary a normal life,” he says. “She has to be here,” and not in the special school her grandmother (Lindsay Duncan) wants to place her in. “You are denying her potential.” Cue the custody battle.
“Gifted” doesn’t exactly reinvent the family drama wheel. Frank is the “quiet damaged hot guy,” Mary the precocious kid with a snappy line and many a heart tugging moments. We’ve seen all that before but it’s the chemistry between Evans and Grace that elevates the material. The poignancy of their relationship cuts through the film’s clichés, taking some of the saccharin edge off the story.
Evans is a superhero of a different sort in “Gifted.” As the protective uncle of a brilliant niece he is a fully engaged father figure. He’s a man who saw his sister’s brilliance turn her life upside down and does everything he can to avoid the same fate for his niece. It’s a nice, sensitive performance that provides a nice break from his Avengers’ work.
Grace offers up a nicely balanced blend of brains and childhood behaviour. She’s the smartest person in the room, but she’s also a child, prone to temper tantrums and confusion. Still she is capable of great insight. Why does she want to stay with Frank? “He wanted me before I was smart.”
The movie works best when it focuses on the surrogate dad and niece. There is nice supporting work from Jenny Slate as Mary’s teacher, Octavia Spencer (in her second film about gifted mathematicians) as the girl’s much older best friend and Duncan as the stern Evelyn do solid work, but this is a basically a two hander.
“Gifted” is a warm and funny family drama, a film so well cast it overcomes its conventional idea.