Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including the rebooted “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the fourth film in “Ghostbusters” franchise, the inspirational new Will Smith movie “King Richard” and Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Power of the Dog.”
Richard joins guest host Jim Richards and Jay Michaels of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush for Booze and Reviews! Today he talks about Wimbledon’s favourite cocktail, the Pimm’s Cup (catering staff at Wimbledon serve, on average, around 300,000 Pimm’s cups at The Championships each summer!) and the tennis flick “King Richard,” the crowd-pleasing look at the early life of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams and the influence of their father on their careers.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the fourth film in “Ghostbusters” franchise, the inspirational new Will Smith movie “King Richard” and the Alanis Morissette documentary “Jagged,” now streaming on Crave.
Richard joins CTV NewsChannel and anchor Lois Lee to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the rebooted “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the fourth film in “Ghostbusters” franchise, the inspirational new Will Smith movie “King Richard” and Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Power of the Dog.”
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 rebooted “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the fourth film in “Ghostbusters” franchise, the inspirational new Will Smith movie “King Richard,” Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Power of the Dog” and the Alanis Morissette documentary “Jagged,” now streaming on Crave.
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 guest host David Cooper 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 “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the fourth film in “Ghostbusters” franchise, the new Will Smith movie “King Richard” and Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Power of the Dog.”
Like all good sports films “King Richard,” the crowd-pleasing look at the early life of tennis superstars Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams (Demi Singleton), isn’t really about the sport. Sure, the action builds toward the climatic 1994 tennis match that made Venus a household name, but it is more about the back-and-forth between the family members than it is about batting a ball back-and-forth.
Exec-produced by Venus and Serena, “King Richard” begins with a plan and determination.
Compton, California parents Richard Williams (Will Smith) and Oracene “Brandy” Price (Aunjanue Ellis) are raising their five daughters with love, discipline and a plan. Tunde (Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew), Isha (Danielle Lawson) and Lyndrea (Layla Crawford) are all successful students in school, top of their class, but the film focusses on Venus and Serena, the tennis prodigies and subjects of Richard’s 78-page plan. It’s a bulky document written before their births, that lays out the steps to personal and professional success on the tennis court.
Richard’s mantra is, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
He is tireless in his devotion to Venus and Serena, training the pre-teens on a neighborhood court as if they were already playing at a professional level. The odds are stacked against them—the chances of one family producing this kind of genius, Richard is told, is like one family producing two Mozarts—but their talent, nurtured by both Richard and Oracene, and an unwavering allegiance to the plan, point them in the direction of Wimbledon and beyond.
“I think you might have the next Michael Jordan on your hands,” says tennis coach Rick Macci.
“No,” Richard replies, “I got two.”
“King Richard” may be the most inspiration movie of the year. Maybe ever. There is uplift in almost every frame. From Richard’s unswerving support for all his children and Oracene’s ability to always know the right thing to say, to Venus and Serena’s journey to the top in a sport typically dominated by white people, the movie exists in a tidal wave of heart-warming emotion.
It is occasionally cloying but Smith, in a career best performance, finds the complexities in Richard’s character. To call him single-minded is an understatement. “You are the most stubborn man I ever met,” says Paul Cohen (Tony Goldwyn), “and I coach John McEnroe.”
In real life the press asked aloud if Richard was a dreamer or a huckster, but the film digs deeper to reveal a man whose worldview was formed by childhood trauma. He wants his kids to have the childhood he never did, one filled with love, achievement and safety. Some of his most baffling decisions, in terms of the advancement of their careers, are rooted in his desire to protect his daughters, not exploit them.
When Venus wants to go pro at age 14, he tells her that decision is about more than the game. She will be representing “every little Black girl on earth,” he says, and he wants to protect her from that burden for as long as he can.
Smith is both cocky and vulnerable in the role, using his trademarked charisma in a different way. His usual swager is gone, replaced by determination and obstinance, and it’s a fascinating character study.
Smith is surrounded by a terrific cast whose naturalistic performances set the tone for this family drama.
“King Richard” doesn’t reinvent the film biopic wheel. Characters still make big pronouncements like, “Forget Ali and Frazier. If she wins this will be the biggest upset in the history of sports,” and it follows a linear path, but the indelible message of the power of family resonates.
“Joe Bell,” a new based-on-true events drama starring Mark Wahlberg and now on VOD, is a film with a message and a disarming way of delivering it.
Wahlberg is the good man of the title, Joe Bell, husband to Lola (Connie Britton), father to sons Joseph (Maxwell Jenkins) and Jadin (Reid Miller), a young gay man who took his own life after repeated bullying from the jocks at his high school. Unable to resolve his feelings, Joe hits the road, vowing to walk from La Grande, Oregon to New York City, the city of Jadin’s dreams. It’s a time of solitude for Joe to wrestle with his own complicity in his son’s death and make stops along the way to mumble his way through halting speeches about bullying at local high schools.
Written by the “Brokeback Mountain” screenwriting team of Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, “Joe Bell” has its heart in the right place but makes missteps along Joe’s journey.
Told with flashbacks interspersed throughout the present-day action, (the story takes place in 2013), “Joe Bell” looks for new ways to tell the true story. Using Joe’s anguish as a starting point, it conjures up images from his imagination to fill the screen while he is on his solitary journey. (MILD SPOILER ALERT) Jadin appears as a device for Joe to ease his guilty mind. It’s a way of establishing what could have been, had Jadin not ended his life and mostly it works as Reid gives his character a youthful exuberance that makes his absence in real life more acute.
Minus those scenes “Joe Bell” is a slight film. The message, that kids are marginalized and bullied every day, everywhere, is potent and important but the film’s earnest repetitiveness threatens to reduce the point to a series of platitudes.
Good supporting performances from Miller, Britton and Gary Sinise as a sympathetic police officer, share the screen with Wahlberg who is, essentially, a one note character with a scraggly beard. His inability to truly articulate his feelings hinders the character’s effectiveness. A message movie should have a central character able to bring the moral to life. Wahlberg’s take on Bell is not that character.
“Joe Bell” is a movie about soul searching, with a good message, that never finds its way.