Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Oscar nominated “The Father” (in theatres), the kid friendly “Yes Day” (Netflix), the true life crime drama “Above Suspicion” (EST, VOD, DVD, Blu-ray) and the Danish feel-good flick “Food Club” (VOD/Digital).
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 the Anthomny Hopkins tour-de-force “The Father” (in theatres), the kid friendly “Yes Day” (Netflix), the true life crime drama “Above Suspicion” (EST, VOD, DVD, Blu-ray).
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the Oscar nominated “The Father” (in theatres), the kid friendly “Yes Day” (Netflix), the true life crime drama “Above Suspicion” (EST, VOD, DVD, Blu-ray) and the Danish feel-good flick “Food Club” (VOD/Digital).
“The Father” is a family drama about taking care of a loved one with dementia that manipulates reality to tell the story from two very different points of view, the caretakers and the patient.
Anthony (Sir Anthony Hopkins) is an eighty-year-old former engineer with a luxurious London apartment filled with art and music. What’s missing is a carer, someone to make sure he eats, takes his pills and is comfortable as dementia makes his behavior increasingly unpredictable. By times charming, other times angry, confused and controlling and always convinced someone has stolen his prized wristwatch, he’s scared away a series of caretakers. “I don’t need anyone,” he bellows in denial. His daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) moved in to run the house, but she’s relocating to Paris and needs to find someone to look after her father.
That is the set-up. From here director Florian Zeller, who co-wrote the script with Christopher Hampton, artfully toggles between realities, Anne’s story and the way Anthony sees what’s happening in his beloved apartment. It is a disorienting technique that switches perspectives without warning, creating a knotty drama where nothing is as it seems in a carefully crafted depiction of dementia.
“The Father” is a sensitively made portrait of a failing mind anchored by a towering, emotional performance from Hopkins. The Oscar winner has made a career playing characters etched in ice; cool and collected. Here we see the vulnerable side, the lion in winter slowly losing himself to the vagaries of disease. It’s a tour de force of a performance that is often a difficult watch but his control of the character, particularly in the film’s final heartbreaking moments, as Anthony’s real and illusory lives intersect, is astonishing.
Coleman brings subtlety and warmth to the long-suffering Anne, but it’s Imogene Poots who makes the most of her small but wonderfully written scene. In the course of just a few minutes she falls prey to Anthony’s charm only to feel the bite of his poison tongue, navigating a range of emotions and reactions like a character on the run from an Edward Albee play.
The success of “The Father” isn’t the structurally complex storytelling but the performances that traverse the trickery of the telling to find the humanity of the situation.
Maps to the Stars
Directed by David Cronenberg
Starring Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams
With this tale of a secret-filled Hollywood family on the verge of implosion, award-winning director David Cronenberg forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from our celebrity-obsessed culture. From a screenplay by acclaimed author, screenwriter and West Coast chronicler Bruce Wagner, and featuring an ensemble cast that includes Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams and Sarah Gadon, MAPS TO THE STARS tours the seductive allure and the tender, darkly comic underbelly of contemporary success.
“The Last Days on Mars” is the kind of movie that used to play the bottom -of-the-bill at drive-ins. Set on the red planet, it’s a sci fi thriller that b-movie king Roger Corman would have called “Space Zombies,” with at least two exclamation marks. As it stands, “The Last Days on Mars” might have been more fun if director Ruairi Robinson had embraced drive-in quality of the story and left any illusions of becoming the next Ridley Scott at the concession stand.
An adaptation of Sydney J. Bounds’ short story “The Animators,” the film begins near the end of a long mission on Mars. The exhausted crew—Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Romola Garai, Olivia Williams, Johnny Harris, Goran Kostic, Tom Cullen and Yusra Warsama—is tired of being cooped up and itching to get back to earth. Days before their exit a mysterious algae is found growing on an underground supply of H2O. What should be an exciting discovery turns nasty when the two astronauts who perished making the discovery come back to terrorize the remaining crew with some bloody zombie carnage.
It all seems familiar, and it is, so the trick for Robinson was to create characters that we’d care about if they happen to get infected with alien germs and turn into bloodthirsty virus carriers. By and large he manages to up the emotional ante by casting good actors. Schreiber, Koteas, Garai and Williams elevate the b-movie story to something approaching a b-plus-movie, the plus being some real human interact during the scenes where they aren’t turning tail and fleeing hungry zombies.
There is the standard “I’ll-do-anything-to-survive-including-leaving-you-to-be-devoured” character, the hardnosed scientist type, but there’s also an interesting relationship between Schreiber and Garai that brings one of the movie’s best climatic moments.
“The Last Days on Mars” spends a bit too much time in faux Kubrick Mode before switching to full-on Corman style exploitation, but once it clicks over it’ll make your pulse race. The zombies are appropriately angry, there’s some good shocks and by the time the crew is whittled down to the essentials—that’s not a spoiler, this is a total Who’s Gonna Get It Next flick—a good hero and a nasty bad guy, it’s a bit of drive-in style fun.