On the October 11, 2020 episode of The Richard Crouse Show: This year is the 20th anniversary of Reelworld, a festival founded by my guest Tonya Williams, to showcase films, animation, shorts, music videos, industry panels and awards from racially diverse and indigenous filmmakers and media artists.
Missing this year are the parties and galas as ReelWorld has adapted to the pandemic and moved on line. The entire festival will be online – with live webinars from Oct. 14 to 19. They are also promoting www.accessreelworld.ca – which is now the largest national database for Canadian Black, Indigenous, People of Colour in the Creative Industries. Tonya Williams joins me from her home in Los Angeles.
Then, “Aladdin” star Mena Massoud joins me to talk about his new project, a book called “Evolving Vegan.”
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Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the Netflix animated movie “The Willoughbys,” the Netflix doc “Circus of Books,” the high school crime drama “Selah and the Spades” and a pair of big screen movies coming to VOD, “Bad Boys for Life” and “Run This Town.”
The Rob Ford Movie. That’s the shorthand being used to describe “Run This Town,” a film coming to VOD this week. It’s set during the tumultuous term of the late Toronto mayor but make no mistake this isn’t a Ford biopic or a study of his politics. It’s a film that uses Ford’s tumultuous time as a backdrop for an unconvincing study of millennial angst among other things.
Set in 2013, the film centers around Bram Shriver (Ben Platt). Fresh out of journalism school he’s keen to tackle the big stories, to write articles that will move the needle. His dream job of being a reporter at The Record, however, sees him writing Best Hot Dogs in the City clickbait lists instead of investigating city hall.
Meanwhile, it’s chaos at city hall. Rob Ford (Damian Lewis under a mound of Fat Bastard make-up), the popular 64th Mayor of Toronto, is making headlines for his erratic behavior. Keeping things on course is Kamal (Mena Massoud), spin wizard and special assistant to the mayor, who, it is said, “knows everything.“ A Greek chorus of Steamwhistle-beer-drinking communications folks provide the necessary exposition to explain how they spin bad news and behavior into good news and how to vilify the press.
Back at the newsroom Bram stumbles his way into the wildest political scandal in Toronto history when he happens to pick up the phone and become the first person to find out about “the crack video.“ Can he capitalize on the biggest break of his career and finally put his Frum Award to good use or will he be doomed to write lists forever?
Keep in mind Bernstein and Woodward he is not. The story runs parallel to the reporting done by Bram’s real-life counterparts at The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star. More pointedly Robyn Doolittle or Kevin Donovan, the real-life reporters who broke the story are nowhere to be seen or heard.
“Run This Town” is a mix of fact and fiction, of flights of fancy that live at the intersection of real reporting and fake news. A muddle of ripped from the headlines details, innuendo and fiction it takes on the Ford administration’s failings, the state of journalism, millennial angst, sexual harassment and more. Jam packed and lightening-paced it hop scotches around, pausing only long enough to linger on a grotesque caricature of Rob “Show me some respect, will ya?” Ford.
Ford, played by Lewis in a prosthetic suit, fake flab and a stereotypical “oot and aboot” accent, is portrayed as an incoherent buffoon. Misogynistic, racist, paranoid—and those are the good qualities the film grants him—he lurches about the office making inappropriate remarks, prone to fits of sudden temper. It’s an exaggerated interpretation of the mayor but it is also one that is all fat suit and no humanity. Say what you will about Ford’s behavior while in office, and there is much to be said about it, what we see here is larger-than-life without the enough life to make it feel real.
Richard and CP24 anchor Cortney Heels have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Run This Town,” Pixar’s “Onward,” the social criticism of “Sorry We Missed You” and the sports drama “The Way Back.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including Pixar’s quest flick “Onward,” the sporty you-can-never-go-home-again story “The Way Back,” the social commentary of “Sorry We Missed You” and the ripped-from-the-headlines “Run This Town.”
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the weekend’s biggest releases including Pixar’s newest, “Onward,” the new sports drama from Ben Affleck , “The Way Back” and the new social message movie “Sorry We Missed You.”
Richard speaks with the star of “Aladdin,” Toronto’s Mena Massoud about his breakthrough role.
“I grew up with it,”: he says of the original, animated ‘Aladdin.’ “It was one of the only films I could relate to as a kid. Before I even understood things subconsciously he was a character that looked like me, that I could relate to, that has similar culture. So it meant a lot to me. I have two older sisters who had it on at the house before I was even aware of what was going on.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Aladdin,” “Booksmart” and a doc about the life and times of a Canadian legend, “Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind.”