Posts Tagged ‘Olga Kurylenko’


Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 3.49.05 PMRichard’s CP24 reviews for “The Age of Adeline,” “The Water Diviner” and “Ex Machina” with host Nneka Eliot.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 9.59.41 AMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “The Age of Adeline,” “The Water Diviner” and “Ex Machina” with host Beverly Thomson.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

THE WATER DIVINER: 3 STARS. “a personal story set against a huge backdrop.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 1.21.02 PMIn his directorial debut Russell Crowe wasn’t content to simply make one movie. Instead he made “The Water Diviner,” an all-encompassing film that is a war story, a family drama, a road movie, a romance, an ode to tolerance and the tale of a man with mystical powers.

Crowe sets the backdrop for the story with an opening scene detailing one of the great Allied disasters of World War One, the Battle of Gallipoli. In a standoff between the Turkish Army, led by Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdogan) and the ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) horrific loss of life led to the Australian Army retreating, leaving behind many fallen comrades.

Cut to the Australian out back. Joshua Connor (Crowe) is a burly farmer with a gift for finding water in the arid countryside. His wife is a broken woman, devastated at the loss of their three sons, all killed in combat at Gallipoli. She switches between blaming Joshua for allowing them to go to war and pretending they are still alive. When her grief becomes too much, he makes her a promise, “I’ll find them, love,” he says, “I’ll find them and bring them back to you.”

Next stop, Constantinople. Connor travels to the exotic Turkish land to find the remains of his sons, bring them back to Australia and bury them in home soil. There he meets hotelier Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko) and her precocious son Orhan (Dylan Georgiades). Romance brews, war between the Greeks and the Turks heats up, and honour is tested as this fish-out-of-water makes his way through the Ottoman Empire.

There is much to like in “The Water Diviner.” Andrew “Lord of the Rings” Lesnie’s cinematography is handsome and effective throughout, particularly in the war scenes. The storytelling is clear and concise and doesn’t glorify war or demonize the Turkish Army and there are nice performances throughout. Young Georgiades is a spark plug and Erdogan is the epitome of grace under fire and dignity. Crowe brings low key determination tempered by stoicism while Kurylenko, who is usually treated as part of the set decoration, is soulful in her portrayal of a war widow who has a hard time accepting that her husband isn’t coming back from the battlefield.

As good as Crowe and Kurylenko are it’s their relationship that brings the melodrama to a movie that doesn’t need a love story to keep our attention. The goo-goo eyes on display bring to mind “A Good Year,” Crowe’s ill-advised attempt at adding rom com stardom to his resume. It feels out-of-place and unnecessary in a movie that already hits many organic emotional highs in the story of a father searching for his dead sons.

“The Water Diviner” is a sweeping historical drama about one man; a personal story set against a huge backdrop that studies a father’s sorrow and a nation’s tribulations.


Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 6.17.53 PM“Canada AM’s” film critic Richard Crouse shares his reviews for ‘The November Man,’ ‘Life of Crime,’ ‘The Calling,’ and ‘As Above, So Below.’

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THE NOVEMBER MAN: 3 STARS. “buoyed by Brosnan’s badass Bondness.”

_LAS9652.NEF“The November Man,” a new spy thriller starring Pierce Brosnan, has some James Bondian elements. There’s Olga Kurylenko, who was the Bond girl in “Quantum of Solace,” loads of intrigue and exotic locations. What makes this character different from Brosnan’s Bond are the gadgets. There aren’t any. The only gadgets he has here are two fists and a gun.

Brosnan plays Peter Devereaux, a violent CIA agent nick named the November Man, because once he passes through, nothing lives. He’s given up his lethal ways, and now enjoys a quiet retirement in Switzerland. When the proverbial one last job— extracting his former wife out of a sticky situation in Belgrade—goes wrong, he gets embroiled in a case that sees him protecting a witness Alice Fournier (Kurylenko) who could bring down the next president of Russia and dodging bullets from his former CIA protégé David Mason (Luke Bracey).

Based on Bill Granger’s novel “There are No Spies” from the bestselling November Man book series, the movie begins as a taut thriller but soon turns from perfectly functional espionage story to a messy tale of personal grudges and unresolved daddy issues.

The story splinters off in several directions, making perhaps one too many u-turns along the way, but ultimately succeeds because Brosnan brings the Bond. Sure, it’s more the violent Daniel Craig style 007, but it’s great fun to see the actor back in action man mode.

He punches, shoots and kicks his way through the movie, even when the story threatens to overpower him.

Director Roger Donaldson (“The Bank Job,” “No Way Out”) stages several exciting chase scenes and builds tension and even develops some subtext about the consequences of leading a violent life—“You can be a human or a killer of humans, but you can’t be both.”—but veers off into melodrama every now and again. By the time a bad guy says (NO SPOILERS HERE), “You just doomed us to another decade of conflict,” you could be forgiven for thinking “The November Man” was a cold war thriller parody.

As it is the movie is a somewhat generic thriller buoyed by Brosnan’s badass Bondness.


to-the-wonderTerrence Malick took twenty years between making “Days of Heaven” and “The Thin Red Line” and has released just six films in a career that dates back to Badlands in 1973.

Then in the last two years he’s shot and made five films—three set to come out this year and next—a hectic schedule for anyone but particularly remarkable for one of moviedom’s more notorious procrastinators.

But don’t imagine that he is on autopilot, pumping out movies for the sake of plumping up his resume.

His latest film, “To the Wonder,” starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem and Olga Kurylenko, is as daring as anything he’s ever made. In fact his disinterest in traditional narrative has taken him from the oblique to almost experimental.

The “story” begins with Neil (Affleck, as a character so taciturn almost all his dialogue could fit on the back of a matchbook) and Marina (Kurylenko) falling in love in Paris. He’s an American, she’s a Ukrainian divorcée with a small daughter (Tatiana Chiline). Relocating to the states their once torrid relationship becomes lice cold. She goes back to Paris, but soon finds herself missing her old life. Meanwhile Neil begins seeing Jane (Rachel McAdams), a friend from high school as a priest, Father Quintana (Javier Bardem), grapples with his own sense of faith.

Some will describe “To the Wonder” as lyrical and provocative while others will use words like impenetrable and pretentious.

It’s show me don’t tell me cinema—there’s very little actual dialogue, and what there is doesn’t really forward the story—that could easily have been subtitled “Olga Dances and Twirls” given the amount of time we spend watching her in whirling dervish mode.

Her endless dipping and weaving aside, “To the Wonder” has all Malick ‘s trademarks in place—LOADS of narration, the restless camera, even close-ups of grass—but as his films become more like visual poems they also become denser and harder to fathom.

Malik’s films are singular, dreamy experiences that polarize audiences. If you’re like Jane, whose mother said was “chasing moonbeams,” then you’ll find something in the abstract way the story is told.

If not, you may identify with another of her lines. “All we had was… nothing.”

Both views are valid and the deciding factor is you. Adventurous viewers will find something beautiful in the impressionistic storytelling and the subtle way Malik connects Mother Nature with human nature. Others may simply be frustrated by the director’s disregard for customary storytelling.