Posts Tagged ‘Our Brand is Crisis’


Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 2.25.14 PMRichard’s alter ego Zomald Trump reviews the teenage Halloween freak-out “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” and some more adult fare in the ghostly form of “Our Brand is Crisis,” “Truth” and “Suffragette.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 11.24.05 AMRichard’s alter ego Zomald Trump reviews the teenage Halloween freak-out “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” and some more adult fare in the ghostly form of “Our Brand is Crisis,” “Truth” and “Suffragette.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

OUR BRAND IS CRISIS: 3 STARS. “best James Carville impersonation ever.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 8.21.11 AM

Based on real event, “Our Brand is Crisis,” a new dramedy starring Sandra Bullock as a strategist working on a Bolivian election, shows just how fragile and easily manipulated the political process can be.

Bullock is ‘Calamity’ Jane Bodine, a reformed political animal now living a quiet life. She has traded smoking, drinking and the stresses of her old job for mountain air and a pottery kiln. When she is pulled back in the game to run the presidential campaign of unpopular Bolivian politician Pedro Gallo (Joaquim de Almeida) she finds herself face-to-face with her nemesis, Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), a Machiavellian politico who wants his candidate to win at any cost. Jane knows her candidate is unlikeable and with him railing in the polls by a whopping 28 points, she crafts a wining strategy. “Don’t change the man to fit the narrative,” she says, “change the narrative to fit the man.” With Bolivia facing severe hardships she creates a campaign that plays up the country’s crisis and positions her man as a tough guy who won’t pussyfoot around the problems. “It’s better to be feared than loved,” she says.

A mix of satire, cautionary tale and earnest social commentary, “Our Brand is Crisis” succeeds primarily because of Bullock’s work in the central role. It’s her Erin Brockovich, the story of a person’s realization that her efforts can affect, both positively and negatively, the lives of a great many people. Bullock walks a fine line between Gracie Hart, her character in “Miss Congeniality” and her more serious work in films like “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” The tone of her performance shifts between slapstick to heartfelt and she pulls it off, carefully calibrating the character to fit the mood of the scene.

As for Thornton, if this acting thing falls apart for Billy Bob he will be able to find work as a James Carville impersonator.

“Our Brand is Crisis” is a cynical movie that lays its cards on the table. The political electoral system, it says, is an easily manipulated game not always played in the best interests of the people. The Bolivian setting seems exotic and otherworldly at times, but the basic principles, the dirty tricks, are anything but. The film is a thought provoking piece that may make you think twice the next time you vote.

An insider’s look at TIFF: Behind the scenes with Richard Crouse

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 5.00.16 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

The backstage room at the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s press conference area is a beehive of activity.

“Is George here yet?”

“Is that Johnny vaping in the corner?”

It’s a place where no last names are necessary and the star wattage is blinding. Actors, directors, publicists and gofers mingle while air kisses, handshakes and Hollywood hugs are exchanged.

This year the Toronto International Film Festival is mounting 11 press conferences featuring everyone from Matt Damon and Sandra Bullock to George Clooney and Keith Richards.

I’m hosting four of them — Demolition, The Martian, Our Brand is Crisis and Black Mass — with, as MGM used to brag, “More stars than are in the heavens.”

Despite the buzzy nature of the events, backstage is a casually chaotic place where actors get caught up with one another before taking the stage.

Matt Damon made the rounds, glad-handing with his The Martian cast mates, many of whom he hadn’t met because he spent 90 per cent of his of screen time alone, stranded on Mars.

The business of the press conferences happens on stage. Moderating these things provides a fascinating glimpse into both sides of the publicity machine.

Ideally the press conferences are a reciprocal event: Reporters ask questions to actors and filmmakers they might not otherwise have access to, and in return the stars get publicity for their films. It’s a pretty simple but often unpredictable transaction.

Gone are the days of the legendary “journalist” who asked all her questions in rhyme, but for every sensible inquiry about the movie, there is inevitably another off-the-wall query that leaves panel lists either annoyed or scratching their heads.

At the Our Brand is Crisis conference someone asked Bullock about her character’s grown-out roots. The Oscar winner replied as best she could and when she finished, Clooney chimed in, “Aren’t you glad you asked that question?”

Later she shut down a silly query regarding how she keeps her bum as toned as it is in the film. “It’s so sad that you just want to talk about the butt,” she said, before tersely adding that leg lifts are the secret to posterior pertness.

Not that the attendees are the only ones to pull a gaffe or two. During the Demolition conference, I asked Chris Cooper a long, rambling question about his character. He seemed genuinely perplexed, and you know what? I was, too. Sometimes you can overthink these things.

Later at The Martian presser, there were 13 people on the stage, everyone from Michael Pena to Damon, Scott, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jessica Chastain, and in the shuffle I made the horrifying mistake of forgetting to ask the great Sean Bean a question and didn’t realize it until we were out of time.

Who doesn’t acknowledge Lord Eddard Stark?

Me, idiotically. Next year I promise to go to him first and frequently.

Canada AM: Richard talks TIFF’s first weekend with Marci Ien!

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 7.36.31 AMRichard talks TIFF’s first weekend and hosting press conferences with George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Matt Damon, Ridley Scott and Jake Gyllenhaal with “Canada AM” host Marci Ien!

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Richard hosts the Our Brand is Crisis Press Conference with Bullock & Clooney!

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 5.43.09 PMRichard hosts the “Our Brand is Crisis” TIFF Press Conference with Bullock & Clooney!

“Who’d have thought Donald Trump would be at 30 percent,” said Clooney,”aAnd that will end up working out well for the film.”