Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Monaghan’


A weekly feature from from! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the Tom Cruise action flick “Mission Impossible – Fallout,” the surreal and surprising “Blindspot” and the political drama “Shock and Awe.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the Tom Cruise smash-’em-up “Mission Impossible – Fallout,” the surreal and surprising “Blindspot” and the political drama “Shock and Awe.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the epic action of “Mission Impossible – Fallout,” the epic emotions of “Blindspotting” and the not-so-epic “Shock and Awe.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT: 4 ½ STARS. “an elephantine action epic.”

Writing a review for “Mission Impossible – Fallout” gave my thesaurus a workout. The film, the sixth instalment in the Tom Cruise franchise, is jammed to the gills with next-level stunts that require an expanded vocabulary to describe. Words like ‘extreme’ or ‘exciting’ or even ‘epic’ (and those are only the ‘e’ words) don’t come close to describing the behemothic action sequences contained within.

Cruise returns as the seemingly invincible action man and IMF (Impossible Mission Force) agent Ethan Hunt. Hunt and his crew, tech wiz Benji (Simon Pegg) and agent Luther (Ving Rhames), are charged with finding and capturing anarchist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), a baddie who was the leader of the Syndicate during the last film, “Rogue Nation.” “Whatever you heard about Lane,” explains Hunt, “if it makes your skin crawl it’s probably true.” Lane is working with the mysterious and murderous John Lark, a man with some extreme ideas about squashing the world order.

As Lark and Lane collect the necessary plutonium to fulfil their plan the CIA begins to have doubts about Hunt’s loyalty. Add to that the return of former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), and some newbies, CIA assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) and black market arms dealer and lady of mystery White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) and you have lots of characters to fill the space between the stunts. Complicating matters is the fallout from some of Hunt’s previous, well-intentioned missions.

There are a lot of very good-looking people in “Mission Impossible – Fallout.” Handsome fellas and femme fatale‘s, they are all woven into a stylish story of international intrigue and plutonium. Like the others “MI” movies it’s packed with exotic locations—only James Bond has more air travel points than Ethan Hunt—doublespeak and double crosses but the narrative doesn’t matter that much, it’s all in service of the Bunyanesque action.

Choreographed to an inch of Hunts life—Cruise really puts himself out there for this one—the realism of the stunts gives the movie a sense of danger and the Green Screen Department the day off. Monumental, vertigo inducing single sequences take place on land, wheels, water and air. Only the screeching of tires score one eye-peeling chase scene between a motorcycle and a car. Visually it is so visceral director Christopher McQuarrie wisely avoided cluttering the scene with frenetic music. It doesn’t need it.

Of course those looking for a finely crafted John le Carré style story of espionage in “Mission Impossible – Fallout” will be bitterly disappointed. While it does contain huggerymuggery it frequently falls just this side of making sense. That’s not to say it isn’t entertaining. Even when Hunt isn’t in action the movie is in perpetual motion, but Frederick Forsyth this ain’t. Instead it is an elephantine (although no actual elephants appear) action epic that breaks the blockbuster norm of cutting away to an action sequence every ten minutes or so. It’s made up of three Brobdingnagian set pieces stitched together by words that mostly make sense.


Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Patriot’s Day,” “Live By Night” from director-actor Ben Affleck and the terrible “Monster Trucks.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, Peter Berg’s ripped-from-the-headlines “Patriot’s Day,” “Live By Night” from director-actor Ben Affleck, the terrible “Monster Trucks” and the sublime “20th Century Women” and “Paterson.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

PATRIOTS DAY: 4 STARS. “raw and tremendously tense action movie.”

Director Peter Berg is remarkably consistent.

His trademarked approach involves beginning his films with long slice-of-life scenes.

There’s no story really, just people doing everyday things—playing with their kids, buying muffins for their wives—before being exposed to unspeakable tragedy. His last two films, “Deepwater Horizon” and “Lone Survivor” were built around that template, one he revisits in the real life drama “Patriots Day.”

In this case the movie begins on April 15, 2013 in Boston. Mark Wahlberg (Berg’s go to heroic everyman) is Sgt. Tommy Saunders, a cop with a bad knee and a caring wife (Michelle Monaghan), assigned to traffic duty at the Boston Marathon finish line. As he takes his place across town two brothers, Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff ) and Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) Tsarnaev, prepare homemade double boiler bombs and a plan to spread terror at the all American event.

With the character introductions out of the way the race begins with hundreds of people running through the streets, careening toward the finish line and devastation.

Berg, like Hitchcock, knows that showing the bomb but not saying when it will go off is almost unbearably tense. You know it’s there, you know what will happen, but the waiting is the thing that builds suspense.

When the two bombs do explode, maiming and killing dozens of people as the brothers slip off into the crowd, Berg recreates the mayhem, splicing together hundreds of shots, many only four or five seconds long. It’s hellish collage that places the viewer amid the action.

The remainder of the running time is spent making sense of the situation and tracking the terrorist brothers.

Berg fills the time with several very tautly staged scenes—a carjacking is memorable for its quiet menace—but the violence, especially an extended shootout on a residential street is not glamorized. It’s raw and tremendously tense.

Wahlberg is the film’s conscience—he says things like “We can’t go back to all these families with nothing. We owe them better.”—but the movie’s beating heart is Berg’s celebration of the indomitable spirit of victims and law enforcement alike. He is an unapologetic champion of everyday heroes, people who don’t flinch in the face of adversity. His heroes are the real greatest generation types who live next door and always do the right thing.

In Berg’s last film, “Deepwater Horizon,” the explosions were the stars. In “Patriots Day” the action and the fireworks propel the story, showcasing instead of overwhelming the heroics.


Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 2.05.20 PMRichard’s CP24 reviews for “Southpaw,” “Pixels” and “Paper Towns.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro: Pixels could be Adam Sandler’s last chance after a string of flops

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.05.01 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

From a career point of view, Pixels may be the most important movie of Adam Sandler’s career. The big-budget action comedy sees the comedian help save the world from aliens who attack using classic video arcade games like PAC-MAN, Donkey Kong and Centipede as models for their assaults.

In real life, it’s not Donkey Kong Sandler needs to battle, but audience apathy. A string of box office flops, controversies and terrible reviews — critic Liam Maguren was so horrified by Sandler’s 2011 “comedy” Jack and Jill he wrote, “Burn this. This cannot be seen. By anyone” — have threatened to torpedo his career.

Even his own studio seemed to have turned against him. In last year’s Sony email hack, one employee complained, “we continue to be saddled with the mundane, formulaic Adam Sandler films.”

Movies like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmour and Big Daddy were hits that established his persona as the angry but sweet everyman, a misfit character he trotted out for two decades. Occasionally he’d get serious in pictures like Punch-Drunk Love or Reign Over Me and soak up some good reviews, but by and large, the Sandleronian oeuvre has been ripe with anger management issues and jokes of … how to put this delicately: a gastrointestinal nature.

Not highbrow, but that’s OK — not everything has to be Noel Coward — as long as audiences care.

But at some point, it seemed they stopped caring.

Perhaps it was the inconsistent nature of his movies. Just when you think he’s turned a corner with the excellent Reign Over Me into interesting adult roles he slaps you in the face with the zero-star rated follow-up I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

Or maybe it’s quality control issues. Last year Kevin Nealon told me about being offered a role in the Sandler-produced Grandma’s Boy.

“It was so lowball and crass,” said Nealon. “I thought it might be a little embarrassing to be in that one. So I told Sandler I’d probably pass on it and he called me and said, ‘I really hope you do this because if you don’t do it and it’s a big hit I’ll feel bad, but if you do it and it’s not a big hit, no one is going to see it anyway.’”

That attitude may be realistic but it doesn’t exactly speak to high standards. More than that, however, is the static nature of Sandler’s comedy. His everyman character hasn’t changed much throughout the years. Usually these days he lives in nicer houses or has more money but it’s the same old shtick.

The old saying, “He got bigger, but didn’t grow up,” perfectly applies to Sandler.

He may have matured (chronologically at least) but the urination gags and rageaholic jokes that characterize his comedy haven’t.

We don’t need to feel sorry for Adam Sandler. He has movies in the pipeline and a new deal with Netflix, but Pixels is still an important moment for him. Rolling Stone called his last film, The Cobbler, “beyond awful and beyond repair,” and it went on to become his biggest flop to date.

If Pixels is a hit, and it may be, the trailer generated 34.3 million views worldwide in its first 24 hours online, he will be redeemed — at least until his next movie’s new round of toilet humour and cleavage shots.