Posts Tagged ‘Max Landis’


Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Bain about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including Chloë Grace Moretz’s action thriller “Shadow in the Cloud” and the poignant documentary “Sing Me a Song.”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 24:18)


Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Anita Sharma to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Chloë Grace Moretz’s action thriller “Shadow in the Cloud” and the poignant documentary “Sing Me a Song.” Then we look at the top five movies to stream right now!

Watch the whole thing HERE!

SHADOW IN THE CLOUD: 2 ½ STARS. “twists tie it into a Gordian knot.”

A tribute to the pulpy adventure movies of the 1940s by way of “The Twilight Zone,” “Shadow in the Cloud,” now in select theaters and on VOD and digital, is a popcorn movie, for better and for worse.

Chloë Grace Moretz is strong willed Women’s Auxiliary Air Force officer Maude Garrett. The only female presence on a massive B-17 Flying Fortress military plane, her mission is to protect, at all costs, a precious piece of cargo but the chauvinistic attitude of the male crew makes the job next to impossible. Stuck in a turret in the belly of the plane, Garrett has an almost unobstructed, 360° view of their airspace. When she reports a “shadow in the clouds,” a possible enemy attack, she is ignored. When airborne gremlins (you read that right) attack, she is blamed. “Whatever is in that package,” the men say, “is what’s causing the failures on this plane.”

Cue the first of the movie’s outrageous twists.

The first half of “Shadow in the Cloud” is a showcase for Moretz. For much of the film’s running time it’s a one person show, with the “Kick Ass” star strapped into a gunner’s turret, spewing hardboiled dialogue. She’s energetic, holding the screen with sheer force of personality. Garrett even finds room in the generic 1940s style cliched dialogue to convincingly poke through the veneer of chauvinism from her plane mates.

The second half is frenetic, with airborne action and Gremlins! Gremlins! Gremlins! The movie becomes less character driven and more a vehicle for director Roseanne Liang’s prowess with a camera.

Each half has its strengths, but they are bound together by twists that would make even M. Night Shyamalan shake his head. There are logic holes big enough for a B-17 Flying Fortress to soar through which would be OK if the twists didn’t feel tacked on for the sake of shaking things up.

At just 83-minutes offers up two movies and while there are moments of interest in the busy second half, the film is strongest when Moretz is on screen alone, before the film’s twists tie it into a Gordian knot.


Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 3.54.23 PMRichard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s big releases, “X-Men Apocalypse,” starring Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, Johnny Depp in “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Mr. Right,” starring Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

MR.RIGHT: 2 STARS. “Mr Right doesn’t get everything right.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 3.19.30 PM“Mr. Right” is a rom crime com that plays a bit like “Pitch Perfect” with a very high body count.

Anna Kendrick is Martha, a twenty-something who dumps her boyfriend when he cheats on her. The morning after a wild bender—”I want to do something terrible,” she says.—she it’s love-at-first-sight with a stranger (Sam Rockwell) she meets at a supermarket. He’s a babyface assassin who cold bloodedly murders for money. “Killing is wrong,” he says, “but I’m not perfect.” Part Bruce Lee, part James Bond, he’s as lethal as he is charming. Ignoring the obvious warning signs—he won’t tell her his name and jokes about killing people—she falls for him and is only slightly conflicted on their third day together when she sees him shoot a man. “Are you upset that I killed that guy?” he says. “How I feel about that guy has nothing to do with how I feel about you.” They flirt, banter back and forth and after some metaphysical weapons training are a committed couple. “When I was little I had a dream I was dating Lex Luther,” she coos. Now if only the squads of hitmen sent to kill him would lay off, the couple could decide whether she is his weakness or the Bonnie to his Clyde or both.

Other movies have trod this path. “Something Wild,” “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “True Romance” all mix affection with offing, and all do it better than “Mr. Right.” What this movie has going for it is a handful of clever lines—for instance, Rockwell’s dusty charm is described as “fancy homeless”—and two people who know how to deliver them, Kendrick and Rockwell. Despite a seventeen-year age gap, or maybe because of it, they click.

The first half of the movie, before it turns into a shoot ‘em up, has many funny, charming moments. The preposterousness of the story aside, there are enough effervescent screwball moments in Max Landis’s screenplay to carry the day. But just about the time bad guy Johnny Moon (Michael Eklund) says, “Don’t let this become unfun… This is supposed to be fun,” it’s hard not to disagree with him. What was once a light and fluffy—if a little bloody—confection loses its way in a hail of bullets and beatings.

“Mr. Right” doesn’t get everything right, but in between the quirky trying-too-hard moments are some amiably charming moments.


Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 2.33.53 PMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for the “Rocky” reboot “Creed,” Pixar’s latest child-in-peril movie “The Good Dinosaur,” Daniel Radcliffe as Igor minus-the-hump in “Victor Frankenstein” and Bryan Cranston as black-listed writer Dalton Trumbo in “Trumbo.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro: Daniel Radcliffe keeps his ego in check post-Harry Potter

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 1.23.33 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

At the 2012 Canadian premier of The Woman in Black a young woman yelled, “I love you!” as Daniel Radcliffe and I took the stage to introduce the film.

“I love you too,” he replied with a smirk. “But I think we should see other people.”

The audience laughed but probably missed the double meaning of his comment. For ten years Radcliffe was the face of Harry Potter, one of the biggest grossing movie franchises ever. Potter ended in 2011 (for Radcliffe, anyway) and the actor has moved on, and hopes his audience will follow along.

This week he’s taking on another classic character, one played in the past by everyone from Bela Lugosi to Marty Feldman. In Victor Frankenstein he transcends Igor’s traditional, “Yes master,” function to become the movie’s moral compass and emotional core. A reimagining of the Frankenstein story that focuses on the men rather than the monster, it’s a change of pace from an actor who likes to shake it up, career-wise.

“I want to try my hand at as many things as possible,” he told me in 2014. “Having played one character for a very long time, that builds up in you a desire to play a number of different characters and do as much different work as you can. I like that you can’t predict what my next thing is going to be.”

Since Potter wrapped he has kept audiences guessing. From the Gothic horror of Woman in Black and The F Word’s light romance to a biographical look at the Beat Generation in Kill Your Darlings and the twisted morality of Horns, the only predictable thing about his career is its unpredictability.

“It’s about finding out what I’m good at, finding out which things I prefer doing because I’ve only done Potter up until a few years ago, so now this period is really me going, ‘If I had my choice.’

“Being that I do have a semblance of control over my career, — which most actors my age don’t — I feel I might not always have this opportunity to try loads of different things.”

Radcliffe credits working with the likes of Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman and David Tennant on the Potter films with giving him some perspective on how to manage his career.

“The defining feature of Alan, Gary, David and many more that I’ve worked with, is that they never want to stop learning,” Radcliffe told me during an interview for The Women in Black.

“They never feel they are finished. Alan Rickman is constantly trying to get better and refined. When you see that in someone who is A) Brilliant and B) 30 years older than you, it’s very inspiring to see they have gone through their whole careers and never been satisfied.”

Radcliffe has perspective on where he’d like his career to go, but what about the fame that came along with playing Harry Potter? The next day after The Woman in Black premier I asked him about the screaming fans that greeted him and what that does to his ego.

“The thing you have to remind yourself is that it’s not about me. It’s about the fact that I played this character who became beloved. Anyone who took on this character would be getting this reaction. When I’m home, smoking a cigarette and it’s cold and I’m eating half a pizza — you have to take a picture of yourself then and play it to yourself when you’re on the red carpets and go, ‘Yeah, you’re not all that.’”

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN: 3 STARS. “stitches a monstrous story together.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 1.25.24 PMJust as Dr. Frankenstein stitched his creation together from the bodies of several people “Victor Frankenstein,” a new film starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe, stitches a story together using bits and pieces of other monster movies.

In a flip flop from most Frankenstein movies, the story begins with the nameless, hunchbacked circus freak that would become Igor (Daniel Radcliffe), studying the “science of life” when he isn’t pining after beautiful trapeze artist Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay). His detailed anatomical drawings earn the ridicule of his fellow carnies but when Lorelei is injured after a fall his quick thinking saves her life.

Victor Frankenstein, seeing his potential, smuggles the hunchback out of the circus with an eye toward making him his protégé. The good (or is he?) doctor gives his new friend the name of an old, deceased pal. Turns out the newly minted Igor’s back bump is just an abscess which, once drained, will allow him to stand upright and fit in with upper class Victorian society.

Frankenstein wants to use Igor’s knowledge of anatomy to help construct the “larger whole” the doctor has in mind. It will be, he says, “a scientific enterprise that will change the world.” In other words, he’s looking to reanimate the dead. “I’m of the opinion that death is a temporary condition,” he says.

As the pair work toward their scientific breakthrough Lorelei re-enters the story and a religious policeman (Andrew Scott) sniffs out sin, making it is his moral duty to stop Frankenstein’s experiments. “He reeks of an evil, sinful mischief.”

In the end Igor must look into his soul to decide whether his mentor’s motives are scientific or psychological.

As the title would suggest “Victor Frankenstein” is about the man not the monster. Just as Frankenstein’s work “challenges natural order,” the movie challenges our knowledge of the story, mixing-and-matching details from Mary Shelley’s source novel (which did not feature Igor) with the accumulated mythology from the dozens of films that followed.

Igor takes on a much larger role in the story, transcending the traditional, “Yes master,” assistant to become the movie’s moral compass and emotional core. The movie isn’t really about the monster or creating life. Victor Frankenstein figures out how to create life in a laboratory but, more importantly, he gives Igor a life—changing him from abused circus freak to English gentleman.

Victor is still not one to allow morality stand in the way of science, but here the psychological drama trumps any talk of ethics. Questions as to the implications of bringing the dead back to life are raised and dismissed with clever hypotheticals like, “Imagine that a murdered man can stand in court to face his murderer,” or simply lost in the frenetic action that keeps the movie moving at warp speed.

Also gone are any Gothic overtones. The setting and dusty old laboratories will look familiar to fans of the genre but get lost in the film’s rapid pacing. Director Paul McGuigan seems more intent on keeping the movie moving than fleshing out the story or allowing the atmosphere to take hold. Screenwriter Max Landis can be credited with devising a new take on an old story and doing so with some humour—“We’ll give him a flat head!” says Victor. Why? “Because I like flat heads!”—but both the direction and script feel too modern to snugly fit into the Frankenstein canon.


Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 4.36.25 PMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “Mistress America,” “Sinister 2” and “American Ultra.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!