I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the mockumentary “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,” the Netflix Kevin Hart comedy “Me Time” and the gritty coming-of-age story “Funny Pages.”
Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to do a pushup! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the mockumentary “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,” the Netflix Kevin Hart comedy “Me Time” and the gritty coming-of-age story “Funny Pages.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the mockumentary “Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul,” the Netflix Kevin Hart comedy “Me Time” and the gritty coming-of-age story “Funny Pages.”
I join NewsTalk 1010 guest host Dave Kaufman on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the mockumentary “Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul,” the Netflix Kevin Hart comedy “Me Time” and the gritty coming-of-age story “Funny Pages.”
“Funny Pages,” a new, chaotic rite-of-passage movie now in theatres and on VOD, seems to have taken the advice of one its characters to heart. Early on, an art teacher in urges his student Robert (Daniel Zolghadri) to “always subvert.” Director Owen Kline, in his quirky directorial debut, challenges the notion of a traditional coming-of-age tale in this gritty celebration of life’s outsiders.
When we first meet Robert, he is being mentored by Mr. Katano (Stephen Adly Guirgis), an encouraging teacher who heaps praise on the teenager’s drawings. “Michael Jordon!” he shouts when he sees a drawing he really likes. When Katano suddenly dies, Robert is left adrift, caught between his suburban parents (Josh Pais and Maria Dizzia), who want him to go to college, and his ambition to create “Mad Magazine” level artistry.
One quick brush-with-the-law later Robert quits school, and subverts his life by renting a space in a rundown rooming house, already occupied by creepy roommates Barry (Michael Townsend Wright) and Steven (Cleveland Thomas Jr.). He’s hoping some of the unusual living situation will provide him with the edge he needs to create great art.
While working as an assistant for Legal Aid attorney, Cheryl (Marcia DeBonis, Robert meets Wallace (Matthew Maher), a techy criminal who once worked as a “color separator” at Image Comics. Despite Wallace’s crusty exterior and occasionally violent outbursts, Robert is drawn to his talent and tries to recruit him as his new mentor.
Most coming-of-age stories rely on a certain amount of uplift to provide an inspirational punch to the storytelling. Not “Funny Pages.” This is the kind of movie that offers unlikable characters with no happily-ever-afters. It lives in the fringes of society, and the abrasiveness of the story’s denizens may turn off some viewers, but the richness of the performances is rewarding, no matter how edgy.
The movie’s gritty, grainy look matches its subject matter. There is nothing slick about “Funny Pages.” Like the comic books it reveres, the movie is outsider art unconcerned with the niceties of coming-of-age conventions. It feels destined to become a cult film, much like the movies that movies—“Crumb,” “Ghost World”—and people—Joe Franklin, Peter Bagge—that serve as its inspiration.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. “If it bleeds it leads,” is an accepted mantra around newsrooms these days but back in 1974 it was a new, controversial idea. In the based-on-true-events film Christine Rebecca Hall plays Christine Chubbuck, an investigative reporter at a local ABC affiliate in Sarasota, Florida. She was particularly disdainful of the idea until she became the poster child for news sensationalism by announcing to her viewers, “In keeping with WZRB’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see complete coverage of an attempted suicide,” before putting a gun to her head and pulling the trigger. Rebecca Hall stops by the HoC to discuss the film and the life of Christine Chubbuck.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies,“The Accountant,” starring Ben Affleck as a deadly bookkeeper, “American Honey” starring Sasha Lane, “Unless” with Catherine Keener and “Christine” with Rebecca Hall!
“If it bleeds it leads,” is an accepted mantra around newsrooms these days but back in 1974 it was a new, controversial idea. Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall), an investigative reporter at a local ABC affiliate in Sarasota, Florida, was particularly disdainful of the idea until she became the poster child for news sensationalism.
In “Christine,” a based-on-true-events film, Chubbuck is working at local station WZRB. She’s a steely presence, a serious person doing light news. “People are listening to me,” she says, “so I have to be sure I’m really saying something.” Reports on strawberry festivals and local events are the station’s stock in trade but the station manager (Tracey Letts) is desperate to get higher ratings. How? “Juicier stories,” he says. “If it bleeds it leads.” When the station owner (John Cullum) decides to poach one or two of the Sarasota on-air talents for his much larger Baltimore new division, Christine sees that as a way out. “So if I get some footage of fat people burning in cars and I’m on my way to Baltimore?”
Her progression to the larger market is stymied by illness and depression—“My life is a cesspool,” she says.”—and culminates with the news reporter becoming the news. On July 15, 1974 Chubbuck was on air, reading the news when announced, “In keeping with WZRB’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see complete coverage of an attempted suicide,” before putting a gun to her head and pulling the trigger.
The events in “Christine” are well documented, so the shocking finale doesn’t come so much as a shock but the inevitable consequence of history. With the element of surprise removed what’s left is a look at the woman at the heart of the story. Hall plays Chubbuck as an almost otherworldly presence, someone who doesn’t quite feel comfortable in her own skin, always judging herself and those around her. “You’re not always the most approachable person,” co-worker George Ryan (Michael C. Hall) tells her, and that is the beauty of Hall’s work. In a terrific performance that elevates the movie, she plays Chubbuck as aloof but human, edgy and without a trace of sentimentality.