A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the missing daughter story of “Searching,” the adult rom com charms of “Juliet, Naked” and the slow burn of “Cardinals.”
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the missing daughter story of “Searching,” the adult rom com charms of “Juliet, Naked” and the slow burn of “Cardinals.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the missing daughter thrills of “Searching,” the adult rom com charms of “Juliet, Naked” and the slow burn of “Cardinals.”
“Juliet, Naked,” based on a Nick Hornby novel, is a rom com for adults. Ethan Hawke and Rose Byrne play folks who have lived untidy lives and yet find one more chance at happiness.
Byrne plays Annie, an English woman who dreamed of living a glamorous life in London but settled for taking her father’s old job at a museum in the sleepy coastal town of Sandcliff. She lives with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd), a pop culture obsessed college professor who has built a shrine to 90s emo rocker Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) in the basement. Crowe is an enigma, a Jeff Buckley type who only released one album. He is now the stuff of legend and speculation on a fan site run by Duncan.
When a package arrives one day containing a rare demo Annie opens it and listens to it before Duncan comes home. Displeased he dramatically declares, “I have to leave. It smells like betrayal in here.“ To get even Annie writes a lukewarm review of the demo’s “half-sketched” songs, posts it on Duncan’s site and waits for the reaction. What she doesn’t expect is to hear from Crowe himself. “Bingo,” he replies. “You nailed it. It couldn’t have said it better myself.” The unlikely pair forms a friendship via e-mail, sharing details from their lives. Soon they go from pen pals to real life friends when he comes to England to visit his daughter (Ayoola Smart).
The transatlantic epistolary of the film’s first half gives way to a charming series of scenes that sees the relationship between Annie and Tucker blossom. Director Jesse Peretz avoids most of the clichés that push rom coms into Katherine Heigl territory. Instead he conjures up a situation with lots of moving parts.
Tucker has lots of kids by different mothers, and in one great scene almost all of them arrive to visit him at the same time, with their mothers in tow. Annie is looking back at her life, wondering what might have been different if she had made different choices. “At least you have a past to live up to,” she writes to Tucker, “creative remnants from your life.” On top of that is Duncan, a monomaniac whose fandom approaches toxic levels.
All three are compelling characters brought to life by Hawke, Byrne and O’Dowd. Hawke is a leading man who is also a character actor. He brings a grungy charm to Tucker, a man who has made mistakes and owns up to them. Byrne portrays Annie’s frustration in her life but never allows her to become maudlin. She’s hopeful and you’ll want the best for her as well. O’Dowd’s fixation with Crowe, though over-the-top, is earnest.
“Juliet, Naked” has a great deal of warmth and terrific, charismatic performances. The thing that makes it great is what it doesn’t have. It’s a rom com that doesn’t pander to obvious choices—there’s no airport run or contrived fight that keeps the characters apart—and instead relies on the grown up pleasures the genre can provide.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the high tech Hitchcock thrills of “Searching,” the adult rom com charms of “Juliet, Naked” and the slow burn of “Cardinals.”
Richard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn,” the Seth Rogen Christmas comedy “The Night Before” and the Julia Roberts thriller “Secret in Their Eyes.”
The first time I interviewed Saoirse Ronan she was fifteen years old and the veteran of six movies.
I had seen her in Atonement, where she played a Scottish teenager who accuses her sister’s boyfriend of a crime he didn’t commit. Next I saw her as the English daughter of a psychic who tries to con Harry Houdini in Death Defying Acts. Then came roles in the sci-fi City of Ember and The Lovely Bones both featuring flawless American accents.
I had always admired her performances and as I walked into the interview suite I congratulated her on the film.
“T’anks pure much,” she said with an Irish lilt that could charm the label off a bottle of Jameson Whiskey.
It was the first time I had heard her natural accent and confirmed what I already knew, that she was a chameleon with a propensity for accents that could give Meryl Streep a run for her money.
Since then she’s played everything from the title character in Hanna, a blonde, blue-eyed killing machine (with a German accent) to a spirited Polish orphan in The Way Back and an American girl injected with a parasitic extra-terrestrial soul in The Host.
This weekend in Brooklyn she drops the drawls to play an Irish girl who immigrates to New York in the 1950s. She’s 21 now and as one of the great faces in movies she can speak volumes with a look. Here, as a girl whose body is in Brooklyn but heart lies in Ireland, her melancholy and homesickness is so real you can reach out and touch it. Call her Little Meryl if you like, but there is no denying the power of her work.
So if you’re not familiar with Ronan, here’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Saoirse Ronan But Where Afraid to Ask.
How do you pronounce her name? Saoirse is an Irish or Scottish name meaning freedom roughly pronounced SEER-shə. “I get very confused about my name all the time,” she said in a recent sit-down. “Sometimes I look at it when I’m writing it down for people and I go, ‘This is actually a ridiculous spelling of a name.’”
In what part of Ireland was she born? Despite her Irish accent, she was actually born in The Bronx in 1994. “(My parents) went to New York in the ’80s. There was a really bad recession in Ireland at the time. A lot of young people went to New York because that’s our trek, that’s our journey. The Irish always go to New York or somewhere on the East Coast.” Monica Ronan and Paul Ronan lived in NY for eleven years in total, moving back to County Carlow, Ireland when Saoirse was three years old. “This film is more than just a really lovely movie to be involved in with great writers and a great character and all that. It’s my heritage.”
Can she beat me up? Probably. To play teenage assassin Hanna she studied knife fighting, stick fighting, martial arts and learned how to shoot a gun. She performed most of her own stunts in the film and says if she was ever offered the action-star role of James Bond she would happily accept. “That tux? I could totally rock it.”
That’s all the info we have space for today, but really the only thing you need to know about Ronan is that she is one of the best actors of her generation.