Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch this weekend, including the screen adaptation of “Hamilton,” the semi-biographical “Shirley,” starring Elisabeth Moss and “American Woman,” a new take on the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst.
Richard and CP24 anchor Leena Latafat have a look at the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the much anticipated small screen version of the big Broadway hit “Hamilton,” the semi-fictional psychological drama of “Shirley” and “American Woman,” loosely based on the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Todd Van Der Heyden to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the small screen version of the big Broadway hit “Hamilton,” the semi-fictional psychological drama of “Shirley” and “American Woman,” loosely based on the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst.
Richard and “CP24 Breakfast” host Pooja Handa have a look at some special streaming opportunities and television shows to help fill the hours during the pandemic, including the crime documentary series “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” a tip of the hat to Tom Cruise on his birthday, the surreal and sweet “Forever” on Amazon Prime and a rave review for “Hamilton.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the Disney+ presentation of “Hamilton,” the most popular musicals of recent years, the psychological drama of “Shirley” and the crime thrillers “American Woman” and “Strange But True.”
In the now-shuttered world of musical theatre the name “Hamilton” is said in hushed reverential tones. The groundbreaking show, which mixes-and-matches hip hop, R&B, pop, soul and traditional show tunes to tell the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, was called “the phenomenon of the season, perhaps of a generation,” by Forbes. Its appeal to a younger audience, who packed NYC’s Richard Rodgers Theater night after night, gave Broadway a desperately needed shot in the arm and at one point the show was responsible for more than 5% of the Broadway districts total gross.
A new, filmed version, headed by creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, offers up a chance for people who couldn’t afford to blow a mortgage payment on tickets to the original production, to watch the show from the comfort of their Disney+ stream.
The movie, shot in June 2016 at the height of “Hamilton”-mania is anything but hushed or reverential. The show, which features a diverse cast including Black, LatinX and Asian actors to tell the story described as being about “America then, as told by America now,” is passionately political, raucously rebellious and emotionally deep. “Just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry,” Miranda sings in a phrase that could be about the musical as much as it is Hamilton’s personality.
A toe-tapping history lesson, the show details the American Dream life of Hamilton, from an outsider born to unwed parents on the Caribbean island of Nevis to war hero to George Washington’s Revolutionary War aide, and, as first Secretary of Treasury under Washington’s administration, the founder of America’s economic system. It’s a bootstrap story about legacy, reputation, honor and if that wasn’t enough, there’s an extra-marital affair and, of course, the fateful duel with Aaron Burr.
Director Thomas Kail, who also directed the show’s Off-Broadway and Broadway productions, keeps the camera work to a minimum, simply and effectively capturing the show from a front row center perspective. It’s handsome work that tries to preserve the integrity of the live presentation while still creating a kind of cinematic experience.
As far as the show goes, what the filmed “Hamilton” presents is a moment in time when the musical lived at the very center of pop culture. The original cast, including Miranda, Phillipa Soo, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs and Jonathan Groff among many others, are working a peak form. As a document of a special show the filmed version doesn’t add anything to the presentation, but perhaps that’s the point. Miranda’s daring, genre busting show speaks for itself, often with beautiful tongue-twisting wordplay, and doesn’t need flashy cinematic theatrics to bolster what is already a provocative and timely story of creating a union where none existed.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “Frozen 2,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Marriage Story” and “Waves.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the icy charms of “Frozen 2,” Tom Hanks as television icon Mister Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” two films from Adam Driver, “Marriage Story” and “The Report” and one of the year’s very best films, “Waves” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
“Waves” feels like two movies in one. The first a story of teen angst writ large with a tragic outcome. The second is a tale of reconciliation and compassion. They dovetail to form one of the year’s best films.
Set in South Florida, “Waves” begins as a slice-of-life drama. We meet high-school wrestler Tyler (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) as he and girlfriend Alexis (Alexa Demie) flirt during school hours. We then witness the young athlete’s home life with empathetic mother Catharine (Renée Elise Goldsberry), quiet sister Emily (Taylor Russell) and domineering father Ronald (Sterling K. Brown). “We are not afforded the luxury of being average,” says Ronald. “We have to be 10 times better.”
Tyler is driven, a good student and star wrestler who seems bound for scholarships and the Ivy League. A closer look, however, reveals a troubling undercurrent that suggests he is slowly being crushed by the burden of expectations. He self-medicates for a shoulder injury that could end his wrestling career and when his relationship with Alexis takes a bad turn, so does his personality.
The second half focusses on Emily’s coming of age as she begins a relationship with Luke (Lucas Hedges), a sweet-tempered boy dealing with his own family drama.
No spoilers here. The beauty of writer-director Trey Edward Shults’s film is the discovery of it, being drawn into the story and the characters. Shults doles out emotional moment after emotional moment and yet there isn’t a melodramatic second to be seen. That’s partially due to the uniformly wonderful, naturalistic performances but also from a story that feels grounded in real life.
Shults camera is intimate, up-close-and-personal, allowing the viewer to be drawn in. His inventive visual sense and beautiful direction is the very definition of show-me-don’t-tell-me and provides for much introspection. This is a movie that speaks just as loudly when it is in silence as when its characters are talking. The real action in “Waves” happens behind the eyes of its characters.
Stylistically he uses ingenious methods to feed his scenes. In one sequence an annoying seatbelt chime adds tension to an already tense situation and a text conversation that devolves into an all-caps shouting match has a sense of urgency that is very compelling. It is exhilarating filmmaking that takes chances and, coming hot on the heels of his other films “Krisha” and “It Comes at Night,” cements Shults’s place as one of the most exciting filmmakers working today.
Fueled by a soundtrack by from Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor, “Waves” details the hardships that come with difficult decisions but also the redemption that can come with forgiveness. Highly recommended.