Richard joins Ryan Doyle and guest host Tamara Cherry of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show to talk about Squirt soda and the origin of the tequila-based cocktail the Paloma, and some movies to watch on the weekend, including “Black Widow” and “No Sudden Move.”
Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including “Black Widow” (on Disney+ with premium access), the all-star Crave film “No Sudden Move” and the Netflix slasher flick “Fear Street Part 2: 1978.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “Black Widow” (on Disney+ with premium access), the all-star Crave film “No Sudden Move” and the Netflix slasher flick “Fear Street Part 2: 1978.”
Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Marcia MacMillan chat up the weekend’s big releases including “Black Widow” (on Disney+ with premium access), the all-star Crave film “No Sudden Move” and the Netflix slasher flick “Fear Street Part 2: 1978.”
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 “Black Widow” (on Disney+ with premium access), the all-star Crave film “No Sudden Move” and the Netflix slasher flick “Fear Street Part 2: 1978.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about the Marvel family drama “Black Widow” (on Disney+ with premium access), the all-star Crave film “No Sudden Move” and the Netflix slasher flick “Fear Street Part 2: 1978.”
If you were to make a Venn diagram of “Black Widow,” now on Disney+ with premium access, and the recent animated film “The Boss Baby: Family Business,” you’d be surprised by the overlap. Both movies are about estranged families coming together and siblings finding a path forward after years of bitter feelings. One is much louder than the other, but underneath it all they are both all about family. “I chose to go west and become an Avenger,” Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) says. “They treated me like family.”
The story begins with a flashback.
It’s 1995 and sisters Natasha (played as a child by Ever Anderson) and Yelena (Violet McGraw) are separated from their Soviet sleeper cell family in Ohio. Removed from their undercover agent parents, scientist mother Melina (Rachel Weisz) and super-soldier father Alexei (David Harbour), they are placed under the supervision of evil Soviet General Dreykov (Ray Winston) in a training camp called the Red Room where they are brainwashed and taught the deadly ways of the Widows.
Jump forward twenty-one years to the gap between the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and “Infinity War.” Natasha (Johansson) is cut loose from her Avengers pals after breaking the Sokovia Accords. The superhero clan have gotten “divorced,” and Natasha is hiding out in Norway. When she is attacked by Dreykov’s bodyguard, the mysterious Taskmaster, she reunites with her estranged “family” to take on the Russian general.
“Black Widow,” the first Marvel Cinematic Universe solo outing for Johansson’s character, has spent a year bouncing around the pandemic release schedule and brings with it high expectations from fans.
Directed by Cate Shortland, Romanoff’s convoluted backstory is handled in a fairly straightforward way, part Marvel, part “The Americans.” The movie does offer up a fair amount of fan service but still provides eye-scorching action and basic, relatable themes of the importance of family and responsibility for the casual viewer.
Despite the wild CGI action and Jason Bourne style one-on-one combat, the film feels more grounded than most other Marvel movies. Perhaps it’s because Natasha and Yelena (Florence Pugh) don’t have super powers (although they are VERY resilient) or perhaps it’s because the story details the dysfunctional, tragic past that put Natasha on the road to becoming an assassin or maybe it’s because the villain Dreykov barely makes an impression, but the usual stakes—saving the world—take a backseat to more personal concerns.
“Black Widow” is a swansong for Natasha. The character jumped off a cliff in “Avengers: Endgame,” sacrificing herself so her superhero buddies could acquire the Soul Stone and help defeat genocidal warlord Thanos. Johansson sends her off with a suitably steely yet vulnerable performance, and when she isn’t running, jumping, punching or shooting, she brings some real humanity to the quieter scenes.
Pugh and Harbour bring some much-welcomed levity, the former as the eye-rolling sarcastic younger sister, the latter as the insecure wannabe super soldier who is just a bit too concerned about his legacy. Their bickering and subtle character touches help add life to the family vibe so important to the story the movie is trying to tell.
Like so many of the Marvel films, near the end “Black Widow” succumbs to overkill, noise and frenetic CGI action scenes. The family is united, à la “The Boss Baby” but the onscreen fireworks overwhelm the compelling family story that lies at the heart of Natasha’s journey.
The Legend of Barney Thomson is a movie Robert Carlyle was almost destined to make. The Once Upon a Time star not only plays the lead character, he directed the Scottish black comedy about an awkward barber who unwittingly becomes a serial killer.
“I was offered this four or five times purely as an actor over a period of five or six years,” he says. “I was over here in Vancouver working and a friend of mine said he had a Scottish script that I might be interested in. I said, ‘Of course I’ll read it,’ and it was that again. I can’t get away from it.”
The script is based on The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson by Douglas Lindsay, a novel The Scotsman described as “gleefully macabre.”
Carlyle, a Maryhill, Glasgow native, liked the screenplay but says, “there were certain aspects of Glasgow culture that were missing from it.”
“In Glasgow we have a way of speaking to one another that is kind of harsh. That was missing.”
He drew from personal experience to find Glasgow sites that “fitted in with Barney’s life.”
“A lot of the locations you see in the film like the Barrowland Ballroom are places that are kind of dying and might not be around for much longer so I thought this was an interesting way of documenting some of these places.”
Initially he signed on only as an actor but soon found himself doing double duty.
“Believe me when I say, it certainly wasn’t my idea. I don’t know if (the idea) came from the financiers or not. I can’t remember but from whichever source it came from it seemed to be an interesting hook to hang this on that not only was I going to be in it but direct it also. That enthused the financiers.”
The first time feature film director says he took his lead for the tone of the movie from the book and the script.
“Let’s not have the camera moving around and spinning around in circles. Let’s spend the time on the performances and not the camera angles, which you end up cutting anyway.”
He recruited an all-star cast, including Sir Tom Courtney, Ray Winstone and his old Trainspotting cast mate James Cosmo. In a casting coup, he hired two time Oscar winner Emma Thompson to play against type as Barney’s monstrous mom.
“Many, many years ago at the beginning of my career she did a piece on Scotland TV called Tutti Frutti,” he says. “She’s played a Scot in that, from Glasgow. I thought, ‘She’s remarkable. I thought she was English.’ Then suddenly I realized, she is English and just did this terrific accent. There’s not many English people who can do a Scottish accent that well.”
The Legend of Barney Thomson has already won Best Picture at the Scottish BAFTAs and Carlyle is keeping busy on the small screen as Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin on Once Upon a Time.
It’s his next project, however, that has the Internet buzzing. In May he’ll reprise the role of the pint glass-wielding psychopath Francis Begbie in the sequel to Trainspotting alongside the film’s original director and cast.
“We were all very emotional when we read it,” he says, “even Danny (Boyle), because these four characters have followed us around for twenty years. Where ever I go people are talking about Begbie. It is very close to us.”