Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Angie Seth to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the Agatha Christie-esque “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at whodunnit “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig, the papal buddy picture “The Two Popes” and the timely drama “Queen & Slim.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig and a cast of n’ere do wells, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp,” the odd couple picture “The Two Popes,” the corporate legal drama “Dark Waters,” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the who dunnit “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp,” the buddy picture “The Two Popes” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim.”
In 2017 Kenneth Branagh delivered a new version of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” that was as big and bloated as a new crime dramedy, “Knives Out,” is sleek and entertaining. Both feature large ensemble casts and twists galore but director Rian Johnson manages to breathe life into the creaky whodunnit genre.
The action takes place in a small up-state New York town on an estate one character says resembles a “Clue” board. In the film’s opening minutes the dramatic theme song sets the stage for what’s to come… murder most foul.
Marta (Ana de Armas), caregiver to Harlan Thrombrey (Christopher Plummer), the best-selling mystery writer of all time, is shocked to discover his dead body in his office. Throat slit, knife on the floor beside him, the local police Det. Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) and Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan) think it is a suicide but a private investigator, the silver-tongued Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), disagrees and says so in an accent as thick as gumbo. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he says to the family, “I would like to request that you all stay until the investigation is completed.”
The assembled family stick around, partially at Blanc’s request but mostly for the reading of the will. “What will that be like?” asks Marta. “Think of a community theatre production of the reading of a tax form,” replies Blanc.
As the investigation unfolds everyone seems to have a motive for killing the old man, from his children the imperious Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis) and the hair-trigger tempered Walt (Michael Shannon) to various others, including the spoiled-rotten grandson Ransom (Chris Evans), devious son-in-law Richard (Don Johnson) and alt-right troll grandson Jacob (Jaeden Martell). These are people who believe they deserve to be rich and won’t hear any talk to the contrary.
The mystery has more layers than a Vidalia onion but Blanc unpeels it, one tier at a time leading up to the film’s climatic reveal.
“Knives Out” mixes pointed jabs at the 1%–Linda started her company with a modest one-million-dollar loan from her father—with social commentary about class divisions in American life to form the backdrop of this engaging mystery. Add to that a collection of characters that would make Miss Marple suspicious and the game is afoot.
Leading the charge is Craig. As Benoit Blanc, the American Poirot, he rides the line between ridiculous and shrewd, chewing the scenery with an accent unheard since the days of Colonel Sanders television ads. His flowery language—”Physical evidence can tell a story with a forked tongue,” he says—gives Craig a chance to show off his comedic side mixed with a physicality that suggests he can get the job done if need be. It’s a dramatic (maybe that’s not the word but you see what I mean) and welcome shift from his grim-faced 007 role.
What begins as a melodramatic comedy in the vein of “Murder by Death,” gets a little darker as the true nature of the crime is presented, and then funnier again in its wild ‘n woolly resolution. It’s an old-fashioned set-up but slowly echoes of modern-day issues of immigration, deportation and white entitlement are introduced to add edge to the story.
Director Johnson, he of “Looper” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” is having fun here, finding a perfect rhythm in the unveiling of the story’s details. We always learn just enough to carry us through to the next twist and it is an enjoyable ride.
Check out the Richard Crouse Show on NewsTalk 1010 for December 16, 2017! This week Richard has an hour long, spoiler free look at “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
Here’s some info on The Richard Crouse Show!: Each week on The 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 find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favorite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Richard also lets you know what movies you’ll want to run to see and which movies you’ll want to wait for DVD release. Click HERE to catch up on shows you might have missed! Read Richard NewsTalk 1010 reviews HERE!
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A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at ”Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the no-bull kid’s tale “Ferdinand” and the coming-of-age romance “Call Me By Your Name.”
One of the most famous quotes from the “Star Wars” saga must haunt the dreams of every director who signs on to make one of these continuing stories. “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The “Star Wars” films aren’t simply a night out at the movies, they are part of the fabric of many people’s lives. Some take it VERY seriously. On a 2001 census 21,000 Canadians put down their religion as Jedi Knight. That is serious fandom.
Finding a balance between the nostalgia many aficionados hold for the iconic series and moving it forward in an entertaining and organic way is a juggling act, one that director Rian Johnson has pulled off in “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.”
Tried he did. Fail he did not.
Johnson, who has already been hired to pilot a new three-film “Star Wars” franchise, pushes the characters and the story into new territory while maintaining the gist of George Lucas’s vision.
Beginning immediately after the events of “The Force Awakens,” Force-sensitive Resistance fighter Rey (Daisy Ridley) is in the most “unknowable place in the galaxy,” the planet Ahch-To, home to the exiled Jedi Master (and Mister Miyagi stand in) Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). As she tries to convince him to train her in the ways of the Jedi, General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and her Resistance do battle with the First Order, lead by the evil Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his minions, General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Vader-wannabe Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
Like the other films “The Last Jedi” is basically a tale of good versus evil. Snoke wants control of the galaxy while the Resistance is exposed and fighting back. It’s an echo of the original story but our real world has become a more complicated place since the first movie hit theatres and this movie reflects that. There have always been grey areas and nuance in the portrayal of heroes and villains in the franchise but here Kylo wrestles with primal urges. His leader Snokes, eggs him on—“Kylo you are no Vader,” he taunts. “You are just a child in a mask.”—as he battles with the yin and yang of his personality. That to and fro gives Driver the latitude to surprise the audience in ways (NO SPOILERS HERE!) that may shock even the most hardened fans.
Johnson has not simply remade “Empire Strikes Back,” he’s made a film that bristles with energy and invention. With one eye on the past and one to the future “The Last Jedi” finds a winning mix of humour and humanity, of old and new and good and evil.
When the talk of resistance and legacy of the Jedi threatens to weigh things down Johnson counters with some comic relief. It’s a treat to see Carrie Fisher in her last turn as Leia—the film is dedicated to her: “In loving memory of our Princess Carrie Fisher”—and Hamill with light sabre in hand but it’s the spirit of the thing that will please audiences. Although a tad long, “The Last Jedi” is a giddy, gripping good time.