Posts Tagged ‘Oona Laurence’


A new feature from from! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Baby Driver,” “The Beguiled” and “Despicable Me 3.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard and CP24 anchorTravis Dhanraj have a look at the weekend’s new movies, pedal-to-the- metal action of “Baby Driver,” the Coppola-ness of “The Beguiled,” “Despicable Me 3’s” million dollar Minions and the eco satire “Okja.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the big weekend movies including the wild-and-wooly action of “Baby Driver,” the Coppola-ness of “The Beguiled,” “Despicable Me 3’s” adorable and funny Minions and “Okja’s” tale of super pigs, the people who love hem and the people who want to eat them.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

THE BEGUILED: 3 ½ STARS. “interesting & entertaining feminist story.”

In 1971 the Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood Civil War drama “The Beguiled” was written off as “heavy handed,” “funny when it shouldn’t be, sentimental to a fault.” The story of a wounded Union soldier convalescing at a Southern girls’ school didn’t find an audience in North America but was a substantial hit in Europe.

Forty-six years later Sofia Coppola’s remake of the overwrought story grabbed the attention of a European audience, wining Coppola the Best Director Award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Whether the film, which stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in the roles originated by Geraldine Page and Eastwood, will be a hit on these shores remains to be seen, but one thing is certain, the damning reviews from 1971 are unlikely to be repeated.

Coppola has taken the simple story, toned down some of the lurid aspects of the take to create a film that corrects the knocks against Siegel’s version. The director’s touch is lighter, the laughs are earned and has replaced the sentimentality with subtlety.

It’s 1864 Virginia, three years into the Civil War. Farrell is gravely wounded Union deserter Corporal John McBurney, an Irish charmer, fresh off the boat who took a payday of $300 to fight in a war he didn’t understand. Discovered by Amy (Oona Laurence), a young student at Miss Farnsworth’s Seminary for Young Ladies, he convinces her to help him. She brings him to the white columned school where the headmistress Martha Farnsworth (Kidman) and teacher Edwina Dabney (Kirsten Dunst) make a fateful decision. Sensing he will die soon they patch him up. If he lives they’ll turn him over to the first passing Confederate Army patrol. If not they’ll bury him. It is, as they say, “the Christian thing to do.”

His presence causes quite a stir in the house. Despite initial misgivings the residents of the house fall for McBurney’s charisma. At first its subtle—they start dressing nicer, wearing necklaces and pins that haven’t been taken out of the jewellery box for years—the flirtations increase during his convalescence. A profession of love to Edwina sets in motion a series of events that leads to betrayal and a life or death decision.

Coppola’s telling of the story takes its time establishing the atmosphere inside and outside of the Seminary for Young Ladies. As the war rages on around them, the teachers and five students (Laurence, Elle Fanning, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke and Emma Howard) are sheltered, self-sufficient. They study French, learn to do needle point and become proper ladies. But life during the Civil war has also exposed them to the harsher realities of life. The younger ones may look like giggling schoolgirls but even they are no strangers to the dangerous vagaries of life during wartime. Coppola establishes their ecosystem and deftly displays the subtle changes that occur with McBurney’s arrival.

Removing the pulpy aspects of the story, Coppola is able to focus on the characters. Kidman is terrific as the pious but protective headmistress. A woman who could have been played as a one note straight and narrow caricature—all Southern charm and clasped hands—is instead given layers as the situation spins out of control.

Dunst is the model of repression while the younger actors are given distinct personalities from the bratty—Fanning and her devious grin—to sweet to infatuated. It’s a showcase for each and every one of them.

Farrell plays McBurney as a kind-hearted rapscallion, a man who can’t help but be charming. With sly wit and an even slier grin he is at once a welcome guest and a menace.

“The Beguiled” is an interesting and entertaining feminist take on a story that in the past was played as a sexualized fantasy.


Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 2.14.17 PMRichard and CP24 anchor Travis Dhanraj talk about the weekend’s big releases, including Seth Rogen’s smarter-than-you-think “Sausage Party,” “Pete’s Dragon,” a new look at Disney’s most famous dragon and Meryl Streep as the world’s worst singer in “Florence Foster Jenkins.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 10.27.57 AMRichard sits in with Marcia McMillan to have a look at the family friendly “Pete’s Dragon,” the un-family smörgåsbord of swears and smut that is “Sausage Party” and the marvellously off key “Florence Foster Jenkins. ”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

PETE’S DRAGON: 4 STARS. “boils the fanciful tale down to its basics.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 2.40.31 PM“Pete’s Dragon” is a reboot of a much-loved 1977 Disney musical starring Helen Reddy as the kind-hearted daughter of a lighthouse keeper who adopts Pete, a young boy whose best friend is a dragon named Elliot. Pete and the dragon are back but the songs and Helen Reddy are gone, replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard and an updated look at the story.

Wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) likes to tell tale tales about a dragon who lives nearby in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. But are they really tall tales? His daughter, forest ranger Grace (Howard), thinks they are until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley), a feral 10-year-old mystery boy who says he has survived, solo, in the woods for six years. “Nobody can survive in a forest for six years,” says Mr. Meacham, “at least not alone.” “He says he wasn’t alone,” replies Grace.

Seems Pete’s story echoes the tales Mr. Meacham has been telling about a giant, furry green dragon. The boy says the beast’s name is Elliott (voice of John Kassir). “I need to get back to him,” says Pete. “He gets scared when he’s alone.”

Rather then turn the boy over to Social Services Grace decides to discover if Elliot is real or figment of her father and Pete’s imaginations. “I know these words like I know the back of my hand,” she says. “I couldn’t have missed a dragon.” “Well, you missed Pete,” says her dad.

She enlists the help of her father and Natalie (Oona Laurence), the daughter of Jack (Wes Bentley), the local lumber mill owner. Complicating her search is Jack’s aggressive brother Gavin (Karl Urban) who thinks the dragon is dangerous and plans on capturing it. “Going to go catch a dragon,” he says in a note to his brother.

There be dragons in “Pete’s Dragons,” but “Game of Thrones” this ain’t. As subtle and underplayed as a movie about a dragon can be, the movie is so gentle even the death of Pete’s parents is handled with kid gloves. Instead of wowing the audience with action director David Lowery aims for the heart and hits a bull’s-eye.

The touching story of a boy and his dragon is actually about family and where you find it. The snaggletooth dragon is Pete’s adopted father, a playful gentle giant—he large enough to cover the entire flatbed of an 18 wheeler—who purrs like a kitten and chases his own tail but is fiercely protective of the young boy. It’s a familiar theme in Disney films but Lowery knows that sometimes clichés are clichés because they’re true. He establishes the relationship between Pete and Elliott early on and it is at the heart of the story.

“Pete’s Dragon” feels somewhat old fashioned, harkening back to a time when kid’s movies didn’t contain an ounce of cynicism. This is a simply told story that succeeds because it boils the fanciful tale down to its basics, the power of belief, relationships and friendship… and tops it all off with a cool dragon.


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 Canada: Jake Gyllenhaal gets fighting fit for Southpaw

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 4.07.13 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

As World Middleweight Boxing Champion Billy Hope in the new film Southpaw Jake Gyllenhaal learned a thing or two about anger. He plays a man ruled by fury who must learn to fight with his head, not just his fists.

“That journey was really interesting for me,” says Gyllenhaal, “the idea that I could explore that in my own anger. Sometimes things pop up, things that could be very destructive in my own life, like my own anger and I think, ‘Man, if I was only curious about this feeling instead of letting it kind of control me. If I could only stop and say, ‘What is that?’

“I saw this Australian comedian talking about gun control and he was saying, ‘Everyone should own a musket because by the time you finish putting the powder in and everything it takes a minute-and-a-half and by the time a minute-and-a-half has passed [the anger is gone] and you’re like, ‘You’re not a bad guy. It’s fine.’

Gyllenhaal says studying the character set him on a “journey about being curious about myself,” which seems counterintuitive. Doesn’t the actor inform the character?

“I think the experience of preparing for a role, meeting people along the way while you’re preparing for a role and the experience of that is what I learn from. It is really that that teaches me. The people I spend time with, the accumulation, that’s what I learn from. I don’t think I bring my own experience yet to a role. Right now my life is about learning from other people.”

One revelation from his time inhabiting Billy Hope’s persona was insight to what made Billy tick—fear.

“Billy is a really scared character who is fronting in some ways to present himself in a certain way. I think fear is a great motivator for him. That was a big thing. I think the idea of being tough is also about admitting your fears.”

The thirty-four-year-old actor certainly has no fear when choosing roles. From the extreme weight loss of Nightcrawler to Southpaw’s physical transformation—he gained 15 lbs of sheer muscle—Gyllenhaal is curating a challenging and interesting resume.

“I think the people I admire as artists are the people who really listen to themselves even if it is to the detriment of what people might consider success. I’d rather be myself and do what I love than listen to someone else and follow that role and be unhappy.”