Posts Tagged ‘Mia Wasikowska’

RICHARD’S CTV NEWSCHANNEL WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FOR SEPTEMBER 18!

Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “The Nest,” Jude Law’s story of avarice and privilege, the mind-bending Janelle Monáe drama “Antebellum,” Susan Sarandon’s end of life story “Blackbird” and the documentary “The Way I See It.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

CFRA IN OTTAWA: THE BILL CARROLL MORNING SHOW MOVIE REVIEWS!

Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the twisty-turny Janelle Monáe drama “Antebellum,” “The Nest,” Jude Law’s story of greed, the documentary “The Way I See It” and Susan Sarandon’s end of life story “Blackbird.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

BLACKBIRD: 3 ½ STARS. “celebrates life in all its messy glory.”

“Blackbird,” the new Susan Sarandon end-of-life drama now on VOD, is a remake of the 2014 Danish film “Silent Heart.” Equal parts heartbreaking and humorous, it’s a movie whose humanity is first and foremost.

Sarandon is Lily, a vey sick woman whose body has betrayed her. Her long battle with ALS has taken the use of one of her arms and she struggles to maintain her dignity in the face of ever declining health. A self-diagnosed A-type personality, Lily has made the decision to end her life    on her own terms. With her husband Paul (Sam Neill) she has arranged one last weekend with the family, a celebration of life complete with holiday traditions.

In attendance are daughters Jennifer (Kate Winslet) and Anna (Mia Wasikowska), their significant others, husband Michael (Rainn Wilson) and girlfriend Chris (Bex Taylor-Klaus), grandson Jonathan (Anson Boon) and Lily’s lifelong friend Liz (Lindsay Duncan).

Lily has found a sense of comfort in her decision, but as the fateful time nears, unresolved issues arise as the children reveal they may not be accepting of her choice.

“Blackbird” is an end-of-life drama, bold in its presentation of delicate matters, that never dips into soap-opera sentimentality. With sensitivity and unexpected humor director Roger Michell transcends the disease-of-the-week genre, staging intricate scenes that allow for drama and discourse.

A Christmas dinner scene, for example, begins as a lighthearted gathering. It’s funny, warm, even romantic but deepens into something else as Lily gifts some of her prized possessions to family members.  “I haven’t taken this bracelet off in 22 years,” she says, passing it along to her daughter. “I’ve never taken this wedding ring off.” It could have dipped into melodrama but Sarandon, in a tremendous performance, never allows the scene to become maudlin. It’s incredibly sad and for the members of her family, and for the viewer, it’s the moment when Lily’s decision to say goodbye becomes heartbreakingly real.

All the action in “Blackbird” happens inside Lily and Paul’s beautiful home, a powerful architectural presence that almost becomes a character on its own. On the downside the limited setting gives the movie a stagey feeling, as though we’re watching an elaborate play instead of a movie.

The lack of backgrounds, however, helps focus on the issue at hand. “Blackbird” doesn’t debate the ethics of assisted suicide or wallow in any sort of moral quandary. Instead, it celebrates life in all its multi-faceted and messy glory as the characters approach Lily’s end of life in their own, unique ways.

In its examination of the end-of-life “Blackbird” packs an emotional punch, illuminating not only Lily’s end but the entirety of a precious life well lived.

CTV NEWS AT 11:30: MOVIES AND TV TO STREAM DURING THE PANDEMIC.

Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch during the pandemic including some new movies on VOD including darkly comedic revenge story “Judy and Punch,” the home invasion “thriller” “Survive the Night” and the eco doc “2040.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

CTV NEWSCHANNEL: NEW MOVIES COMING TO VOD AND STREAMING SERVICES!

Richard and CTV NewsChannel anchor Andrea Bain talk about the latest movies coming to VOD and streaming services, including the darkly comedic revenge story “Judy and Punch,” the Hitchschlockian thrills of “Last Moment of Clarity,” a pair of home invasion movies, “Survive the Night” and “Becky” and the eco doc “2040.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

CFRA IN OTTAWA: THE BILL CARROLL MORNING SHOW MOVIE REVIEWS!

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 darkly comedic revenge story “Judy and Punch,” the Hitchschlockian thrills of “Last Moment of Clarity,” a pair of home invasion movies, “Survive the Night” and “Becky” and the eco doc “2040.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

JUDY AND PUNCH: 3 ½ STARS. “a sly story of love and vengeance.”

“Judy and Punch,” a new film starring Mia Wasikowska and now on VOD, is set in mid-17th century. There’s lace collars and cuffs, petticoats, breeches and jerkins on display but make no mistake, this is a timely tale of ideology over logic, of justice, revenge and puppetry.

The action begins in Seaside, an English town the movie tells us is nowhere near the sea. It’s the first clue that not everything is right in this small settlement. It’s a place where women are stoned to death on the suspicion of witchcraft (one woman is killed because she stared “at the moon for a suspiciously long time.”) and law and order is administered by angry mobs. It’s here that Judy (Wasikowska) and Punch (Damon Herriman) eke out a living as puppeteers, making money by passing around a hat. She is clearly the more gifted artist but there is little room left for her in the spotlight as his ego takes up so much space. He is an ambitious but arrogant artist who craves attention almost as much as he thirsts for booze.

When his drinking leads to an unspeakable turn of events, Punch’s venal nature comes to the fore, and in a case of his Punch and Judy style art imitating real life, he puts his own self interest ahead of everyone, particularly his gentle-natured wife who must seek vengeance for his deeds.

“Judy and Punch” finally gives Punch his comeuppance after centuries of bad behavior. That’s not a spoiler, just the premise of the movie. The why and how of his punishment provide the subtext that makes the movie timely. A study in toxic masculinity, of abuse and misogyny, the movie mixes very dark satire, brutality and puppets to tell a story of addiction and domestic abuse.

Wasikowska grounds the story, playing Judy as a gentle soul pushed to extremes by tragic circumstances. Herriman—who played Charles Manson in both “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Mindhunter”—is a flamboyant Punch, a calculating drunk incapable of loving anyone as much as he loves himself. They are the movie’s yin and yang, and the conflict between them leads to a dark conclusion, equal parts magic realism and real life.

“Judy and Punch” is an impressive debut from actor-turned-director Mirrah Foulkes. Although uneven it cleverly balances everything from humour and tragedy to fairy tales and feminism, in a sly story of love and vengeance.

RICHARD’S WEEKEND MOVIE REVIEWS FROM CP24! FRIDAY MAY 27, 2016.

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!

Metro: Wasikowska returns to Wonderland in Alice Through The Looking Glass

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 8.30.44 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Alice Through The Looking Glass, the six-years-in-the-making sequel to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, takes place in a world where chess pieces come to life and the Cheshire Cat’s grin is as toothy as ever. It’s a flight of fantasy, based on a story published by Lewis Carroll in 1871, but grounded by the very human character of Alice Kingsley.

Mia Wasikowska has played Alice since the 2010 film, signing on to the first movie when she was just 18 years old.

“There is always a little bit of trepidation especially when you’re dealing with a character who is so iconic and so beloved by so many people and so many generations,” she told me on the release of the first film.

“But there is also a certain amount of realism to it because you know you can’t please everyone and not everyone is going to be pleased so it is more just making the character your own and feeling comfortable in the decisions you make.”

Originally imagined by Carroll in 1865, the little girl who found a world of wonder down the rabbit hole has become one of literature and film’s more enduring and malleable characters.

She was the insane character of America McGee’s video game Alice and the martial arts instructor of a Syfy channel adaptation. In 2010 Wasikowska said she thinks the stories have lasted because people relate to the strange characters and situations.

“I don’t believe in normal,” she said. “Nobody is normal. Everyone is crazy in his or her own way. So although these are extreme characters I think that just makes them more identifiable.

People want to see these characters, understand these characters, love these characters, feel comfortable with these characters because they are like everybody in this world who are kind of crazy. Everyone has felt like an outsider at some time in their life so it is a very identifiable story.”

Alice first got the big screen treatment in 1903 in a 12-minute silent version starring Mabel Clark, who was also employed on the set as a “help-out girl,” making costumes and running errands.

In 1966 director Jonathan Miller cast Anne-Marie Mallik as the lead in Alice, a mad-as-a-hatter made-for-BBC movie. Miller called Mallik, who auditioned by reciting a poem, a “rather extraordinary, solemn child.”

Not everyone agreed. Peter Cook’s biographer described the teenager’s take on Alice as “sullen, pouting, pubescent with no sense of bewilderment.” Mallik later said she wasn’t impressed with her illustrious co-stars — John Gielgud as the Mock Turtle and Peter Sellers as the King of Hearts — because she had grown up surrounded by the very accomplished friends of her “much older” parents.

After production wrapped she “retired” from acting and afterward the BBC had trouble paying her a royalty because they couldn’t find her.

It’s hard to know what Alice Liddell, the young girl who inspired the character would have thought of any of the wild and wacky versions of the story, but we do know she enjoyed the 1933 Paramount version.

“I am delighted with the film and am now convinced that only through the medium of the talking picture art could this delicious fantasy be faithfully interpreted,” she told the New York Times. “Alice is a picture which represents a revolution in cinema history!”