Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about movies on VOD and in theatres to watch this weekend including “On the Rocks,” the new film from Bill Murray and Rashida Jones, the Gloria Steinem biopic “The Glorias” and the apocalyptic rom com “Save Yourselves!”
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 timely period piece “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “On the Rocks,” the re-teaming of Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola, the cerebral sci fi of “Possessor Uncut” and the unusual Gloria Steinem biopic “The Glorias.”
Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray have only worked together twice, but “On the Rocks,” in select Theatres now and on Apple TV+ on October 23, makes you wish they would become exclusive. She gets him in all his scampish glory, allowing the septuagenarian to revel in playing a smooth talking, lovable old scamp who drinks Cutty over ice and teaches his young grandkids to bluff at poker. Murray is the Michelangelo of mischief, a clown prince with heart and soul and Coppola knows how to mine it.
Set in pre-pandemic New York City, the story centers on Laura (Rashida Jones), an author and mom who discovers that she’s not as happily married as she thought. Her high tech businessman husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) is aloof, never home and when she finds a strange make-up case in his luggage, he makes a lame excuse straight out of “Cheaters 101.”
Her father Felix (Bill Murray), a loquacious, jet setting art dealer knows about infidelity. He’s a scoundrel who knows, for instance, that The Plaza is the best place to have an affair because it has exits on three different streets for a fast extra-marital escape. He’s not shocked Dean might be having an affair, he’s just surprised he’s doing it at the Soho House, a building he considers déclassé.
Over a birthday dinner at the ritzy 21 Club, at the table where Bogart proposed to Bacall, Felix suggests they investigate on their own, using his knowledge if the cheating mind to catch Dean in the act. In a cherry red sports car they set out on their mission—“This is wartime,” he says.—but the relationship they expose isn’t the one they expected.
“On the Rocks” isn’t a rom com or a screwball comedy or an adventure film. It’s a Sofia Coppola film, a movie that teleports the viewer into a heightened world of privilege while still mining a deep emotional core. And it’s laugh out loud funny, for a time anyway.
It is light, plot wise, but exists to showcase the chemistry between Murray and Jones. Their relationship is the real love story in the film, as fractured and dysfunctional as it may be. They look at the world through very different eyes but are bound by blood.
During the caper portion they have an almost Nick and Nora vibe, exchanging sharp, smart and funny repartee. Later when the action turns introspective, they get real, exposing their feelings in a raw, real and regretful way.
Murray is loose, droll and deadpan. He’s a walking, talking anachronism who says things like, “Women. You can’t live with them. You can’t live without them. That doesn’t mean you have to live with them,” and yet there is a bittersweet quality to the work that adds unspoken layers. It is a very particular performance and one unique to his style.
Jones plays off Murray with a different kind of performance. She’s warm, vulnerable and naturalistic, even when they are mid-escapade. The trick here is to not let Murray steal the show, and she ably manages to share the spotlight.
“On the Rocks” also features nice supporting work from Wayans who dials down his comedy instincts to play it straight and Jenny Slate as an over-sharer Laura bumps into now and again. Both bring much to the proceedings but the main attraction here are the leads. Coppola knows that and while the ending may be a bit pat, the endearing characters are the draw, not the story.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the “Little Women,” the war epic “1917,” the courtroom drama “Just Mercy,” the animated spy flick “Spies in Disguise” and Adam Sandler’s surprising work in “Uncut Gems.”
The animated “Spies in Disguise” features the voice of one of the biggest movie stars in the world and one of the strangest premises we’ve seen all year.
Will Smith voices Lance Sterling, the world’s greatest spy. “I’m out here saving the world,” he says. “That’s what I do.”
Back at HQ after a daring mission, he’s drinking from his #1 Spy mug when he’s taken into custody for stealing a secret weapon called the M9 Assassin. He claims he’s innocent, that a villain named Robot Hand (Ben Mendelsohn) stole his identity and made off the weapon. One daring escape later Sterling sets off to prove his innocence.
Trouble is, he’s easy to find so he tracks down the one person who can help him, MIT grad Walter (Tom Holland), a junior inventor in the agency’s Gadget Lab. “I need to disappear,” he tells the youngster.
Walter obliges, sharing his biodynamic concealment potion with Sterling. The spy disappears but not in the way he hoped. Instead of becoming invisible the next best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) thing happens. He turns into a pigeon. “There are pigeons in every major city,” Walter says. “It’s the perfect disguise.”
It’s a good way of going incognito perhaps but not practical in the hunt of Robot Hand. “I’ll come with you,” Walter says, “and show you all the advantages of being a pigeon. It might even make you a better spy.” Together they set off to find Robot Hand as Marcy (Rashida Jones), the agency’s head of security, tries to find and arrest them.
Featuring Pierce-Brosnan-era-007-style action and gadgets “Spies in Disguise” is frenetic, family friendly James Bond Lite. Directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane keep the pace brisk, pausing only to emphasize a gag but the movie works best not when it’s in action but when Sterling is adjusting to life as a pigeon. As his latent avian instincts come on strong, for instance, he finds he can’t resist eating garbage on the road. It’s goofy good fun that is more interesting than Sterling’s human form, which is all swagger.
The script, by Brad Copeland and Lloyd Taylor, also mines a considerable amount of humor from the odd couple pairing of Sterling and Walter. Sterling is a shoot first and ask questions later kind of spy while Walter favors unusual methods, like disarming the baddies with wild, glittery cat videos because, well, everyone loves a cat video. “You can do more by bringing people together than blowing them up,” he says.
“Spies in Disguise” is buoyant enough to entertain the eye but the messages for kids about the benefits of being part of a flock and celebrating our differences are expertly woven throughout.
This week on The Richard Crouse Show, Richard has an in-depth look at “Toy Story 4.” To talk about the creation of Pixar’s first ever Canadian character, the patriotic daredevil Duke Caboom, Richard chats with Greg Mason, Vice-President of Marketing for Walt Disney Canada and Ben Su, one of the Canadian animators who helped create the character. Keanu Reeves also chimes in on why he wanted to play Caboom. Then Tony Hale, who plays the new character Forky in the film, swings by to talk about his character’s existential crisis.
Each week on the nationally syndicated Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to hear in-depth interviews with actors and directors, to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favourite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Recent guests include Ethan Hawke, director Brad Bird, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, Eric Roberts, Brian Henson, Jonathan Goldsmith a.k.a. “The most interesting man in the world,” and best selling author Linwood Barclay.
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Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” the devilish doll Chuck in “Child’s Play,” the tuneful coming-of-age story “Wild Rose” and the high-fashion assassin of “Anna.”