Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the on-line Toronto Jewish Film Festival (more details at TJFF.com), the Crave drama “The Night of Kings,” the VOD rock ‘n roll documentary “Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm,” and the Fourth Season of he South Side of Chicago ensemble drama “The Chi” on Showtime.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the inspirational horse movie “Spirit Untamed,” the latest from The Conjuring Universe, “The Devil Made Me Do It,” the rock doc “Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm” and the biopic “Hero: Inspired by the Extraordinary Life & Times of Mr. Ulric Cross.”
Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Jennifer Burke chat up the weekend’s big releases, the inspirational horse movie “Spirit Untamed,” the latest from The Conjuring Universe, “The Devil Made Me Do It” and the rock doc “Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the inspirational horse movie “Spirit Untamed,” the latest from The Conjuring Universe, “The Devil Made Me Do It,” the rock doc “Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm” and the biopic “Hero: Inspired by the Extraordinary Life & Times of Mr. Ulric Cross.”
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 family friendly Dreamworks animated film “Spirit Untamed,” the latest from The Conjuring Universe, “The Devil Made Me Do It” and the rock doc “Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm.”
You may not have heard of Rockfield, a recording studio located on a cattle and pig farm just outside the village of Rockfield, Monmouthshire, Wales, but you’ve heard the songs recorded there.
A new documentary, “Rockfield: The Studio on The Farm,” now on VOD, aims to illuminate the history of a place that helped create the sound of heavy metal, gave the world Queen’s signature tune when the band mastered the final section of “Bohemian Rhapsody” there in the summer of 1975, and inspired Chris Martin to write “Yellow” and Oasis to record “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?”
“It’s like the ‘Big Brother’ house with tunes,” says Liam Gallagher. “You go there and don’t leave until the album is done.”
The walls of the storied studio don’t have to talk, they have owners Kingsley and Charles Ward. The brothers began as farmers and wannabe musicians, but soon realized there was more money in offering a place for bands to get away from the hustle and bustle of London’s music scene than there was in raising pigs.
“Once we got rid of the pigs,” says Kingsley, the quirkier of the two, “we got into the music business. So, it was more and less the same, except the usage had changed.”
The Ward brothers provide a great deal of the film’s charm. From helping Lemmy find a place to store his drug stash in the band’s living quarters to Kingsley’s colorfully understated way of telling a story. They provide the doc’s backbone. The stories are fleshed out by the musicians who called the place home at one time or another.
“We started as a rock band dabbling in drugs,” Ozzy Osbourne says of Black Sabbath, who rehearsed their breakthrough album “Paranoid” at Rockfield, “and ended up a drug band dabbling in rock.”
Gallagher talks about trying to record after spending the day… and night… at one of the local pubs. “You’d have a go,” he says, “but you’d end up sounding like The Pogues.”
Robert Plant says he was “already a cliché” by the time he hit Rockfield to record his first solo album and seems to have genuine affection for the place and Kingsley. Like so many others before him, he used “this arboreal green and pleasant land” as a place of reinvention.
Rockfield is still a recording studio and a working farm, and that mix and match of pastoral and musical is key to the magic of the place. Chris Martin of Coldplay calls it a “musical Hogwarts,” where bands went to live, create and find their sound. “We were sent away to figure it out,” he says.
“Rockfield: The Studio on The Farm” is an exercise in nostalgia, but it’s an entertaining one. A look back at rock ‘n roll’s first residential studio, it’s a guided tour through several generations of British rock’s guitar.
As the first movie to jump ship from theatrical to VOD at the start of the pandemic, “Trolls World Tour” set a precedent. Dozens of movies have followed suit, but this will be remembered as the first. Unfortunately, that is the only groundbreaking thing about this Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake sequel.
Returning from 2016’s “Trolls” are Queen Poppy (Kendrick), and her best friends Branch (Timberlake) and Biggie (James Corden). They are pop music loving Trolls who pass the days singing, dancing and hugging until Poppy discovers that there are five other Troll tribes, divided by their musical taste. “The truth is we are not alone in this world,” says King Peppy (Walt Dohrn, who also directs). “There are other kinds of Trolls. They are not like us. They are different ways in you can’t even imagine. We love music with a hummable hook, a catchy rhythm, and an upbeat melody that makes you want to wiggle your butt. These others Trolls sing different. They dance different. Some of them can’t even grasp the concept of ‘Hammer Time.’”
The Queen and Company set off on a fact-finding mission to visit the other musical colonies. “I can’t stay home when I know there is a world of Trolls out there,” she says. On her journey she discovers sounds she doesn’t quite understand. “They must not know that music’s supposed to make you happy,” she says as a mournful (but not too mournful, this is a “Trolls” movie after all) country song fills the soundtrack. Later, after hearing classical music for the first time she wonders aloud, “Where’s the words?” But she also discovers a threat in the form of Metal Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) who plans to use “the ultimate power chord” to assert rock’s place as the official music of all Trolls. “By the end of my world tour we’re all going to have the same vibe,” says Barb. “We’ll be one nation of trolls under rock!”
“Trolls World Tour” is an update of the “Free To Be… You and Me’s” salute to individuality, tolerance, and comfort with one’s identity. Bathed in bright colours, set to kid friendly adaptations of pop, rock, rap and country hits (like “Trolls Just Wanna Have Fun”) and populated by vinyl creatures with DayGlo “Eraserhead” coifs and big goofy smiles, it’s a jukebox movie about finding the things that bring us together, not divide us, while maintaining the things that make us unique. “Denying our differences is denying the truth of who we are,” says King Quincy (Parliament-Funkadelic’s George Clinton).
Good messages wrapped up in a glitzy, frenetic package is the stock in trade of kid’s entertainment and “Trolls World Tour” delivers in those regards. The colourful visuals, seemingly designed by a Troll on acid, will make kid’s eyeballs dance and the messages are delivered with the subtlety of a slap to the face, so check and check. What’s missing is the wonderful weirdness that made the original “Trolls” film the strangest children’s entertainment since “H.R. Pufnstuf.” Story wise, this one feels formulaic with less of an edge, but it does deliver a blast of energy that will keep its target audience—kids and stoned adults—happy.