A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at Denzel Washington in “The Equalizer 2,” the delightful “Eighth Grade” and the biopic “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.”
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including Denzel Washington in “The Equalizer 2,” the delightful “Eighth Grade” and the biopic “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, Denzel Washington in “The Equalizer 2,” the delightful “Eighth Grade” and the biopic “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.”
Like a perfectly cooked egg, or popping the individual pockets of air on bubble wrap or the “pawooof” sound a properly opened bottle of champagne makes, watching Denzel Washington open up a can of whoop ass on bad people is extraordinarily satisfying. His latest film, “The Equalizer 2,” the first sequel in his long and stories career, offers up a cornucopia of fisticuffian delights that should keeps fans of tough guy Denzel happy.
Denzel returns as former secret agent and righter-of-wrongs Robert McCall. Although he’s looking to scale back his ongoing quest to protect and serve the exploited and oppressed, when his former boss and close friend Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) is murdered, he goes looking for revenge. “You killed my friend,” he says to the baddies, “so I’m going to kill each and every one of you. My only disappointment is that I only get to do it once.” Cue the carnage, Denzel-style.
There’s more, like a subplot with a young artist McCall tries to steer away from gang life and some double crosses, but you don’t go to an “Equalizer” movie for the social messaging or the plot. You go to see Denzel reign holy hell down on people that deserve a punch or two. That’s why the first, largely plot free, half of the movie is more satisfying than the second. We see McCall in random situations doing what he does best, not getting bogged down by the vagaries of narrative style or thematic statements. The fight scenes are don’t vary much, he scopes out the room, mutters a killer one-liner and devastates those who get in his way. It’s in the second half, after Susan’s murder that it sags as the movie strays into procedural territory. McCall’s investigative work leads to another improbable “Equalizer” style climax, although this one, set in a beach town during a hurricane, isn’t quite as ridiculous as the Home Hardware shootout—who knew those places were so dangerous?—in the first film, but it still requires some suspension of disbelief. (Start by asking yourself, when did he have time to hang up all those pictures of Susan in a wild windstorm?)
Director Antoine Fuqua has snapped up the pace from the first film, showcased the action, and added in two great motivators, betrayal and grief. Washington brings gravitas and ferocity to a character stuck somewhere between atoning for his violent life by helping those around him and knocking the snot out of people who get on his bad side. This sequel muddies the character by presenting him as a one-man posse, meting out his own brand of over-the-top justice. You can root for him, just don’t get on his bad side.
Not as trashy as “Death Wish” or as action-packed as “John Wick,” two other exemplars of the man on a crusade genre, “The Equalizer 2” is a solidly entertaining popcorn flick with pretensions of bringing Shakespearean level of pathos to the tale of vengeance. Instead, it’s “Taken” with the special set of skills and without the annoying daughter character.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nick Dixon have a look at the weekend’s new movies including Chris Hemsworth’s funny take on his most famous character in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the lump of coal that is “A Bad Moms Christmas” and the strangest movie of the year, “The Killing of the Sacred Deer.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Lois Lee to have a look at the clown prince of Asgard in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the grammatically incorrect “A Bad Moms Christmas, the strange “The Killing of the Sacred Deer” and the religious drama “Novitiate.”
“Novitiate,” the new drama from director Margaret Betts, is a story of love, piety, obedience and sacrifice that is as tightly wound as one of Reverend Mother’s (Melissa Leo) Rosaries.
Cathleen (played as a youngster by Eliza Stella Mason) is a just seven years old when she falls in love for the first time. Taken to church for the first time by her non-religious mother Nora (Julianne Nicholson) the little girl becomes attracted to the solemnity of the service. It’s the polar opposite of her home life where Mom and Dad (Chris Zylka) are constantly at one another’s throats. When she’s offered a chance to attend Catholic school for free Cathleen jumps at the chance despite Nora’s misgivings.
At the convent school Cathleen (played by Margaret Qualley from age seventeen on) finds the life she was always unable to enjoy at home. Under the watchful eye of Reverend Mother the teenager decides to give herself over to the church, become a nun and devote herself to the worship and servitude of God.
“That’s the craziest thing I have ever heard,” comes Nora’s stunned reaction.
“I was called,” says Cathleen. “I want to become a nun and there is nothing you can do to make me change my mind.”
Her training—from postulant to the novitiate—coincides with the introduction of Vatican II, a reaction to changing cultural practises after World War II that signalled widespread changes in the church. With change afoot Cathleen determines what it means to embark on a life as a servant of God, as Reverend Mother grapples with what the changes mean to her faith.
“Novitiate” is a detailed, sombre look at the nature of faith that sometimes feels like two movies in one. Cathleen’s narrative leads the story and is the most compelling part of the film but her story of love and sacrifice is diluted by Reverend Mother’s reaction to the reformist and more-liberal-than-she’d-like Vatican II dictums. The characters are bookends but even with the two hour run time there isn’t quite enough story to dive deep into their lives and make us care about both.
Better stated are Cathleen’s quandaries. She wrangles but rarely waivers with her faith, presenting a complex look at the personal toll that comes with the gruelling novitiate process. Qualley and her supporting cast of “sisters”— Liana Liberato, Eline Powell, Morgan Saylor, Maddie Hasson and Ashley Bell—are a mosaic of characters placed together to show the various reasons the young women chose to become nuns.
Leo humanizes the severe Reverend Mother, turning her from stern mistress to a person caught in the tide of change and unable to swim.
Betts, who also wrote “Novitiate’s” script, brings nuance and thoughtfulness to most characters but as a whole the meditative mood of the movie’s two storylines never coalesce.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. At it’s very core Snowden, the story of Ed Snowden, an American computer wiz who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency to The Guardian, is about privacy, and how much of it you can expect to enjoy every time you turn on your computer or pick up your mobile phone. Learn more in the HoC conversations with director Oliver Stone and the film’s stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. C’mon in and sit a spell… but leave your cell phone in the microwave.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies the long awaited sequel to “The Blair Witch Project,” the biopic “Snowden,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the return of Renée Zellweger’s most famous character in “Bridget Jones’s Baby.”