Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including John Cena’s goofy comedy for kids “Playing with Fire,” Martin Scorsese’s tour de force “The Irishman,” and “Doctor Sleep,” the direct sequel to “The Shining.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the epic gangster story “The Irishman,” the broad comedy for kids “Playing with Fire” and “Doctor Sleep,” the long-awaited sequel to “The Shining.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at the ninth collaboration of Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman,” the action-comedy for children “Playing with Fire” and “Doctor Sleep,” the long-anticipated sequel to “The Shining.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including John Cena’s goofy comedy for kids “Playing with Fire,” Martin Scorsese’s tour de force “The Irishman,” and “Doctor Sleep,” the direct sequel to “The Shining” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the epic gangster story “The Irishman,” the broad comedy for kids “Playing with Fire” and “Doctor Sleep,” the long-awaited sequel to “The Shining.”
The last time we saw Danny Torrance, son of Jack and Wendy Torrance by way of Stephen King, he was a young boy who had trapped his father in a deadly maze outside The Overlook Hotel. In Stanley Kubrick’s film “The Shining” little Danny has psychic powers known as the “shining.” A new film, “Doctor Sleep,” brings us up to date on Danny’s later life and the effects of family tauma.
Now going by the more adult name Dan (Ewan McGregor), Torrance is still haunted by the events of his youth. Alcoholic and unhappy, he pursues peace by working in a hospice, using his unique power to comfort the dying. His patients call him Doctor Sleep and soon his work, along with the help of AA, help him overcome his torment. His tranquility is undone when he meets psychic teenager Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran). “You’re magic,” Abra says, “like me.” “I don’t know about magic,” Dan replies. “I always called it “the shining.”
Abra’s abilities—“Her head is like a radio that sometimes picks up strange stations.”—have caught the attention of the True Knot, a tribe of demonic psychics led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), an almost-immortal being who feeds off children’s telepathic abilities to prolong her own life. “They eat screams and drink pain,” says Dan’s mentor-in-shining Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly). To battle Rose and her evil minions Danny must face his greatest fear, returning to the psychological horrors of the Overlook Hotel.
The spirit of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” hangs heavy over “Doctor Sleep”—visual homages and callbacks abound—but where the 1980 film is an exercise in icy exterior thrills the new one, directed by Mike “Oculus” Flanagan, brings a thaw to the action. He has opened up the action and the characters. Kubrick created claustrophobia by setting the action mostly in the closed off rooms and hallways of the Overlook Hotel while Flanagan, who also wrote the script, lets the characters roam free, exploring the world around them and the inner workings of their extra-special-psyches. It makes for a much different feeling film that contains similar amounts of suspense—although it must be said, not nearly the same level of outright fear—but an added dose of emotional resonance and friendship.
McGregor is never quite as compelling as Jack Nicholson was in the original film but the supporting characters pick up much of the slack. As Abra, Curran is the most compelling character on screen. Fearless and resilient, she has an open heart and it is her friendship with Torrance that brings his lifelong journey for peace to a head. In one nicely rendered scene Dan speaks through her in a moment ripe with danger. Curran embodies the character and it is eerie to see the thirteen-year-old take on the weight of her adult counterpart.
Ferguson plays Rose the Hat as a bohemian villain. Callous and cruel, she brings a much-needed sense of unpredictability and danger to a story that isn’t particularly scary. It’s atmospheric and the character work brings us in, but it likely won’t haunt your dreams with the exception of one scene.
(MILD SPOILER ALERT) The True Knot believe that pain purifies the “steam,” the essence of their victims, which leads to a very unpleasant scene involving the demise of Jacob Tremblay as a young baseball player. You either remember him as the vulnerable child in “Room” or the foul-mouthed star of “Good Boys,” but this grim scene will give you new, nasty memories of his work.
“Doctor Sleep” often feels like a tribute to “The Shining” but brings enough of its own ideas on the effects of childhood trauma and the lingering pain of a shattered family to add richness and originality to the movie.
Richard and CP24 anchor Stephanie Smythe have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the up-close-and-personal action of “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” the supernatural thrills of “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” the spy comedy “Keeping Up with the Joneses” and the new Canadian indie “Mean Dreams.”
Richard sits in with Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the up-close-and-personal action of “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” the supernatural thrills of “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” the spy comedy “Keeping Up with the Joneses” and the new Canadian indie “Mean Dreams.”
For almost 100 years Ouija Boards have caused trouble on the big screen. From the 1920 movie Ouija Board to this weekend’s Ouija: Origin of Evil, characters have used witchboards to communicate with the dead to disastrous results.
The most famous Ouija design features the alphabet, numbers from 0 to 9, and the words yes, no and goodbye printed on the board in an elaborate font. The spirits use a wooden heart-shaped planchette or a pointer to answer the living’s questions from beyond.
Changes have been made to the basic design over the years. There have been glow-un-the-dark versions, a pink board marketed to teen girls and one with a light up planchette that illuminates the board’s hidden messages.
Whatever the look, the spirit board has also been a springboard for many movies.
The 1960 film 13 Ghosts begins when a wealthy occultist bequeaths his home to his nephew. In a scene that almost plays like a commercial for Ouija, the home’s new residents soon discover a spirit board. “Ouija, the mystifying oracle, “says Medea (Jo Morrow), “the most modern method of fortune telling. Anyone want to try it?” They gather round the board and ask, “Are there any ghosts in this house?” The answer is yes and soon the spirits make their presence known.
The kitschy movie was a hit and helped spark the Ouija craze of the 1960s, which hit a high in 1967 when sales of the talking boards surpassed Monopoly. “In the late 1800s continuing all the way into the 1960s, the Ouija board was considered good, clean, family fun,” says designer Roman Mars. Then in 1973, along came a movie that scared audiences and consumers alike.
The Exorcist, the most famous of all demon possession movies, is based in part on the 1949 case of an anonymous Maryland teenager. The Catholic Church declared the boy to be under a diabolical spell when strange things started happening — levitating furniture and holy water vials crashing to the ground — after he played with a Ouija board.
In the famous film a teenage girl is possessed by a demon after she finds an old Ouija Board in a closet. Playing with the board, she encounters Captain Howdy, a.k.a. Pazuzu, king of the demons of the wind. “I ask the questions and he gives the answers!” she says before her head starts spinning.
Ouija historian Robert Murch compares The Exorcist’s effect on the decline in popularity of the boards to a famous thriller’s influence on everyday hygiene.
“It’s kind of like Psycho,” he says. “No one was afraid of showers until that scene.”
Immediately following the release of The Exorcist witchboards were suddenly perceived as an instrument of the devil, a conduit between demons and regular folks.
Sales of the boards took a hit but filmmakers were quick to respond. The Turkish movie Seytan and Spain’s Escalofrío were first out of the gate, opening the floodgates for dozens of films like Witchboard, What Lies Beneath and the wildly popular Paranormal Activity who all used the boards as a tool of terror.
Not everyone is afraid of the boards, however. “People have told me ‘Betty, Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with old friends,’” joked ninety-four-year-old actress Betty White. “At my age, if I wanted to keep in touch with old friends, I’d need a Ouija board.”