Posts Tagged ‘Michael Smiley’


Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Pixar fantasy “Luca” (direct-to-streaming on Disney+), the action comedy “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” (in theatres) and the English psychological drama “Censor” (VOD).

Watch the whole thing HERE!


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 Pixar fantasy “Luca” (direct-to-streaming on Disney+), the action comedy “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” (in theatres) and the English pychological drama “Censor” (VOD).

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about “Luca,” the kid’s fantasy film from Pixar, the action adventure of “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” with Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek, and the English psychological drama “Censor.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

CENSOR: 3 STARS. “explores the relationship between art and real-life.”

In “Censor,” a new psychological horror film on VOD, Niamh Algar plays Enid, a stern young woman who brings childhood trauma to her job as an English film censor.

Set in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, “Censor” makes it clear that Enid sees her job as an essential service. Her profession, as she sees it, is to protect the public by cutting out eye gouges, intestinal tug of wars and other ghastly staples from the “video nasties” she screens before they are released. Convinced those bloody exploitation films feed anti-social behavior, she’s snip happy. Her co-workers mockingly call her “Little Miss Perfect” but she has a dark side.

When she reviews a gorefest called “Don’t Go in the Church,” it brings back long suppressed memories of the disappearance of her sister Nina. Delving deeper into the work of the movie’s notorious director Frederick North, she comes across Alice Lee (Sophia La Porta), an actress who looks exactly like her late sister. Searching for answers Enid visits the set of North’s new film, and her descent into madness begins. “People think I create the horror,” North says. “But I don’t. Horror is already out there, in all of us.”

“Censor” works on several levels. It has elements of the video nasties Enid tries to suppress, but as fact and fiction intertwine, it is her efforts to edit her memories that resonates. She is driven in her work by trauma in her life, and vice versa. As “Censor” drifts from tribute to the video nasties that fuel the early part of the story to a psychological portrait of Enid’s problems, it is clear she can no longer tell what is real and what is not. Driven by guilt, she is unable to move past grief to acceptance. That is the root of her problems, not the outside influence of art, no matter how grotesque.

The Welsh-born director Prano Bailey-Bond doesn’t have quite enough steam to keep the intriguing premise going straight through to the end but she does fill the screen with compelling images, some inspired by the lurid video nasty period VHS horror aesthetic, others reflecting the dull grey of 1980s England. It adds up to a movie that stylishly explores the relationship between art and real-life.


Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” an awkward wedding night in “On Chesil Beach” starring Saoirse Ronan, “Birthmarked” with Toni Collette and Mathew Goode and a documentary on one of fashion’s leading figures, “The Gospel According to Andre.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

BIRTHMARKED: 1 STAR. “The use of a narrator is weak dramaturgy.”

A science experiment with real world repercussions is at the heart of “Birthmarked,” a new comedy starring Toni Collette and Matthew Goode.

The action in the film begins with a simple, timeless question, “Could we have been anyone other than who we are?” Married scientists Ben (Goode) and Catherine (Collette) attempt to answer the question by staging a social experiment that they hope will once and for all determine what is more important in shaping young lives, nature or nurture.

In a remote cabin under very controlled circumstances Ben and Catherine, with the help of sex-starved Russian assistant Samsonov (Andreas Apergis), condition their kids to defy expectations. Their son Luke (Jordan Poole), their biological child is be raised as an artist. Two adopted children, daughter Maya (Megan O’Kelly), from a “long line of dimwitted people,” is trained as an intellectual while son Maurice (Anton Gillis-Adelman), adopted from a family with angry, aggressive ancestors, is taught the ways of peace and love. The artist. The brain. The pacifist. “No one is a prisoner of their genetic heritage,” says Ben, who “teaches” his kids unorthodox classes like Stimulated Self Expression.

Their carefully documented experiment takes a turn when their patron (Michael Smiley) demands results. “Remember our deal,” he says. “If this fails you owe me every cent I put into this.”

“Birthmarked” has the kind of low-key quirk that Wes Anderson has mastered. Unfortunately it eludes Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais. Example: “The use of a narrator is weak dramaturgy,” Ben says by way of criticism of his son’s play, in a movie with loads of narration.

You can imagine “Birthmarked” being given a freshening up by someone who looks past the character’s idiosyncrasies instead of embracing them. A little less cleverness might have left room for whatever humanity these characters possess. As it is the film never lifts off because Ben, Catherine and Company don’t feel like real people. They feel like characters thrown into an odd situation and not like people living in, and dealing with, a strange state of affairs.