Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Bain about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the “2nd Annual Windrush Caribbean Film Festival,” the Disney+ series “Love, Victor” and Liam Neeson in the VOD movie “The Ice Road.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s guest host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about “F9” (theatres and drive-ins), the celebrity chef documentary “Wolfgang” (Disney+) and “The Ice Road,” the the latest from the Neesonator.
Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Marcia MacMillan chat up the weekend’s big releases including “F9” (theatres and drive-ins), the celebrity chef documentary “Wolfgang” (Disney+) and “The Ice Road,” the the latest from the Neesonator.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Stefan Keyes to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the loud-and-proud “F9” (theatres and drive-ins), the celebrity chef documentary “Wolfgang” (Disney+) and “The Ice Road,” the the latest from the Neesonator.
In recent years we’ve seen Liam Neeson morph from dramatic actor to action star. He’s battled everything from human traffickers and Mexican cartels to hijackers and murderous drug dealers. His latest, “The Ice Road” sees him up against his most daunting adversary yet—a long stretch of frozen ocean.
Neeson is Mike, a grizzled big rig driver who cares for his Iraq war veteran brother Gurty (Marcus Thomas). Gurty is a master mechanic but his PTSD has made it difficult for the brothers to stay employment. When a diamond mine in Northern Canada collapses, they accept a job offer from Goldenrod (Laurence Fishburne) to be part of a convoy delivering lifesaving equipment to the remote mine location.
The brothers team with Goldenrod and Tantoo (Amber Midthunder), a fearless young woman whose brother is trapped in the mine, to navigate three 65,000 pound vehicles over “ice roads,” frozen lakes, rivers and oceans to deliver life-saving equipment.
There’s more but I can’t describe the plot’s main thrust without a major spoiler. Suffice to say, there is a villain so dastardly all that’s missing is a giant moustache to twirl.
The drama in “The Ice Road” quickly melts away like ice before a fire, leaving behind a residue of clichés, long, drawn out action and fight scenes and dialogue borrowed from a hundred other, better action movies.
Director Jonathan Hensleigh, writer of the screenplays for “Jumanji,” “Armageddon” and “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” struggles to bring the popcorn thrills of his best-known work to this movie.
Even the death of one of the major players (NO SPOILERS HERE) is so abrupt and undramatic, it’s as if the actor had a doctor’s appointment and had to leave the set suddenly.
It’s too bad because there’s lots to work with. Start with Man-against-nature. Move along to a pantomime villain and throw in some of Neeson’s trademarked grimaces and growls and you could have an enjoyable b-movie but the hackneyed relationships and threadbare special effects sink the whole thing.
“The Ice Road” is a long (why did this have to be 103 minutes long?) winding road to nowhere; all build up and no pay off.
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 devil doll flick “Annabelle: Creation,” the Jeremy Renner thriller “Wind River” and Brie Larson in “The Glass Castle.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies including the devil doll flick “Annabelle: Creation,” the Jeremy Renner thriller “Wind River” and Jenny Slate’s dramedy “Landline.”
Last year Taylor Sheridan helped breathe new life into the western genre with the script to Hell or High Water. It was a hot and sweaty West Texas crime drama that earned four Oscar nominations. Before that he penned Sicario, the Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro drama about an idealistic FBI agent working with an elite task force to stem the flow of drugs between Mexico and the US.
His latest film, this time as both writer and director, is another neo-western but feels much different. “Wind River” is a wintry murder mystery set on a First Nations Reserve.
“They are each exploration of the modern American frontier,” he says, “a real examination of the exploitation of these areas. [They are also about] fathers managing grief and moving on or overcoming and accepting perceived failures as fathers. I had become a new father when I wrote these and obviously was terrified of the notion of failing my child. So what does a writer do? He imagines the worst scenario and writes about it.”
In the film Jeremy Renner plays Cory Lambert, a Wyoming Fish and Wildlife agent called to a reserve to track a mountain lion that has attacked local livestock. While hunting his prey he discovers the dead body of local teen. She’s miles away from the nearest house, barefoot and frozen solid. Lambert figures she died running away from something or someone until her lungs froze and burst in the 20 below weather. When FBI agent Jane Banner, played by Elizabeth Olsen, arrives the pair soon discover that mountain lions aren’t the most dangerous predators in the area.
Wind River, like his other films, explores social issues. Sicario dove into the soft underbelly of the American war on drugs while Hell or High Water was a financial-crisis drama set against a backdrop of outlaws, buddies and banks. Wind River shines a light on law enforcement’s apathy in investigating the disappearance of indigenous women. All are, as he says, “examinations of grief,” a topic he admits isn’t exactly the stuff of summer blockbusters.
“Obviously the studio system is trying to figure out what most people want to watch and make a movie that appeals to most people,” he says. “I’m not trying to do that. I’m trying to write a film that I want to go see. I assume I am not that unique about things that matter to me. That’s what I do. I can’t go into the writing of a screenplay with concerns about the audience I’m trying to reach or the expense or difficulty of making them. When I am struck with something I care about and I’m curious about the way a character might deal with this issue or that issue, then I explore. I have no regard for who is going to come see it and I can’t.”
Sheridan, who, when he isn’t directing or writing, is also a busy actor, most recently starring on the hit show Sons of Anarchy, says making Wind River was difficult but he’s happy with the film.
“The ultimate goal is to do what you set out to do,” he says, “which is make a movie that excites and entertains and has you thinking about it later. That is the Holy Grail of filmmaking. If I can do that, I’ve done my job.”