Watch Richard Crouse review three movies in less time than it takes to ring for the butler! Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the return of the Crawleys in “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” the menacing “Men” starring Jessie Buckley and the warm-hearted comedy “The Valet.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the return of the Crawleys in “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” the menacing “Men” starring Jessie Buckley, the warm-hearted comedy “The Valet” and the wild and wacky “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers.”
Richard joins CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to talk about “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” the animated adventures of “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers,” the heartwarming humour of “The Valet” and the menacing “Men.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the return of the Crawleys in “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” the menacing “Men” starring Jessie Buckley, the warm-hearted comedy “The Valet” and the wild and wacky “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper 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 return of the Crawleys in “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” the menacing “Men” starring Jessie Buckley and the warm-hearted comedy “The Valet.”
You can’t spell “menacing” without the word “men.”
The new Jessie Buckley psychological thriller, now playing in theatres, takes a look at toxic relationships and gender politics through the lens of British folk horror and surreal body terror.
Buckley is Harper, a young widow smarting from the death of her husband James (Pappa Essiedu) by suicide. To heal her soul, she rents a 500-year-old house in the English countryside. Miles from anywhere—“The pub is ten minutes down the road,” says her socially awkward landlord Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear), “thirty minutes on the way back.”—the tranquil surroundings should be a balm, but she is haunted by visions of the last moments she spent with her controlling, abusive husband.
On the verge of a divorce he didn’t want, they argued. “I’ll kill myself,” he says, “and you’ll have to live with my death. That’s not a threat, it’s a warning.”
Minutes later, he plunges to his death, changing Harper’s life forever.
At the rental house Harper has a close call with a scarred, bloodied and naked man she thinks is stalking her. The local police assure her she is not in danger, and yet unsettling things continue to happen, including a run in with a rude boy in a Marilyn Monroe mask, microaggressions, stand-offish men in town and the world’s most unhelpful vicar, whose advice is not exactly welcome.
The trip to the country culminates in a hallucinogenic sequence that combines body horror (the kind that might make David Cronenberg envious), British folk horror, pagan imagery and even some stunt driving.
“Men” feels like two movies. The first half is a domestic drama, a divorce turned ugly, played out in flashbacks. The idyll of the country retreat, featuring long dialogue-free sequences, is briefly interrupted by memories and some rather creepy men. It is uncomfortable but earthbound.
The second part, which makes up the film’s last third, is a grotesque, surreal psychological thriller with images best seen after you’ve finished your popcorn and Twizzlers. Director and writer Alex Garland gruesomely and memorably (perhaps a little too memorably) illustrates a never-ending cycle of male rebirth into crisis and toxicity. It’s never clear where the metaphor starts or ends and the head trip begins, but the message of menacing toxic masculinity is made bloody clear (literally).
Both sides of the story have interesting moments, most courtesy of Buckley, the rare effortless performer whose face contains multitudes, but despite some memorable flourishes, they don’t feel like a whole. It’s like there is a puzzle piece missing in the storytelling. As a result, “Men” is interesting, but isn’t exactly an effective genre film or study of trauma.
Metro’s Reel Guys columnists Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin take a look at this year’s crop of potential crowd pleasers at the festival.
Richard: Mark, every year I look forward to covering the festival with a mix of dread and anticipation. The dread part comes from knowing how I’m going to feel once the 10 days of 18-hour shifts is finally over. The drooling anticipation part comes along with the slate of films TIFF offers up. This year the new David Cronenberg film is top of my list. In Maps to the Stars, he showcases the stupid, venal and stratospherically self-involved behaviour that goes on behind the scenes in Beverly Hills’ gated communities. The idea of debuting a jaundiced look at Hollywood at the biggest film festival in North America appeals to my rebellious side.
Mark: Can’t wait, Richard, for this or any other Cronenberg! I’m also a big fan of Jason Reitman, who consistently delivers movies that plumb the abyss of the zeitgeist. His latest, Men, Women, and Children, should be no exception. Based on one of my favourite novels by Chad Kultgen, it’s a look at how the Internet is warping families, twisting our sexuality and mediating our desires. Oh, and it’s a comedy.
RC: Mark, the sci-fi musical genre has been sadly overlooked at TIFF in past years. That changes with Bang Bang Baby, starring Jane Levy as a 1960s teenager whose dreams of rock ’n’ roll stardom are dashed when a chemical leak in her town causes mass mutations and “threatens to turn her dream into a nightmare.” Then there’s The Editor, a giallo-comedy tribute to the films of Mario Bava and Dario Argento about a one-handed film editor who becomes the prime suspect in a brutal series of murders.
MB: Sounds great, Richard! I’ll stand in line to see the new Denys Arcand film, An Eye For Beauty. Here’s a director not afraid to take a satirical look at our modern mores, but he’s never tackled a love story before. Some of it takes place in Toronto, so I’m expecting a sly gimlet-eyed view from this great Québécois director.
RC: Speaking of great Québécois directors, Jean-Marc Vallée, the Canadian Oscar nominee for Dallas Buyers Club, returns to TIFF with Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon in the story of a woman who finds an escape from her self-destructive ways on a 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m also psyched about Haemoo. With a script by Snowpiercer penner Bong Joon-ho, this movie about a fishing crew smuggling illegal immigrants from China to Korea promises wild action and unexpected thrills.
MB: Richard, do you realize all our picks inadvertently turned out to be Canadian directors? I’m looking forward to Black and White by Mike Binder. It promises to be a heartfelt drama about an interracial family with issues. Binder is from Detroit but went to summer camp in Muskoka, so he qualifies as an honorary Canuck.