Posts Tagged ‘Richard Armitage’


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 psychological drama “The Lodge,” the poignant Brit com “Military Wives,” the Netflix comedy “The Lovebirds,” the family drama “The Roads Not Taken” and the Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon comedy “The Trip to Greece.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

THE LODGE: 3 STARS. “a haunting exploration of trauma.”

“The Lodge,” now on VOD, may be mostly set in the great outdoors it is, nonetheless, a claustrophobic thriller that plays on dark psychological trauma.

Richard Hall (Richard Armitage) is the father of Aidan (Jaeden Martell) and Mia (Lia McHugh) and the soon-to-be-ex-husband of Laura (Alicia Silverstone). The estranged couple share custody until Richard breaks the news that he has met someone new and wants a divorce so he can marry Grace (Riley Keough). Distraught, Laura kills herself. The kids, traumatized, blame Grace for their mother’s death. In an attempt to bring his kids and fiancée to something close to speaking terms, Richard plans a “family” trip to a remote cabin so they can all get to know one another.

Almost as soon as they arrive Richard is called back to the city for work, leaving Grace, Aiden and Mia alone. “Things are very uncomfortable between us,” Grace says to the kids, “but we’re stuck in a house together.” That growing sense of unease is exacerbated after Aiden and Mia google their soon-to-be-step-mom and discover she is the daughter of religious leader and the only survivor of his cult’s mass suicide.

They are stranded—the car won’t start and the weather has made travelling on foot impossible—as strange things happen in the cabin and Grace begins to spiral. “We need to sacrifice something for the Lord,” she says.

“The Lodge” builds slowly creating eerie unease while peppering in some shocking scenes. Directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala play up the small details to create an uncomfortable atmosphere. The vastness of the icy outdoors playing against the claustrophobia of the cabin provides the backdrop for story ripe with religious imagery and surreal touches.

As the aura of paranoia grows, so do the questions. Is Grace is being tormented by the kids, or is she a victim of a supernatural force—possibly her father—who wishes her harm. Keough is terrific as a woman tormented by the past, unpredictable in the present. It’s hard to know whether she is dangerous or in danger and that pouch and pull is the movie’s strong point.,

“The Lodge” is a bit too ponderous in its early moments but finds its groove in the haunting exploration of Grace’s trauma.


Richard and CP24 anchor Cortney Heels have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “The Call of the Wild,” the alpha dog of dog movies, the homecoming dramedy “Standing Up, Falling Down,” the family drama “Ordinary Love” and the psychological drama “The Lodge.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the canine-coming-of-age story “The Call of the Wild,” the you-can-never-go-home-again dramedy “Standing Up, Falling Down” and the heartfelt cancer drama “Ordinary Love.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


A weekly feature from! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at “The Call of the Wild,” the alpha dog of dog movies, the homecoming dramedy “Standing Up, Falling Down” and the psychological drama “The Lodge.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


HobbitBattleoftheFiveArmies-01“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is the end of an era, and the beginning of one of the biggest movie franchises in history. As the third part of the Hobbit trilogy, it brings to an end the Peter Jackson movies inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. In the chronology, however, it is midway, the film that sets up the “Lord of the Rings” movies.

The action picks up seconds after the Dwarves evicted greedy dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) from the gold filled Lonely Mountain in “The Desolation of Smaug.” With the wicked worm gone exiled Dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) has now reclaimed his homeland and all the gold and power but wearing the crown has made him paranoid. He trusts no one, not even his loyal warriors and won’t listen to Bilbo Baggins’s (Martin Freeman) attempts to make him see reason. His irrational behavior leads to the epic showdown mentioned in the title. Legions of bloodthirsty Orcs (complete with their giant, hard-headed War Beasts) face off with Dwarves, Elves of the Woodland Realm, King Dain II Ironfoot of the Iron Hills and the Men of Laketown. The fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance as alliances are made and skulls are cracked.

At least I think that’s what happens. There is so much going on, so many characters struggling for power and survival it’s sometimes hard to keep track. Jackson wraps up the series with a movie that tries to close every door it has opened which leads to a cluttered film short on story but long on characters and action scenes.

Big themes abound—greed, power, love, loyalty, family, all cloaked in a story about dragons, halflings, wizards, ill tempered Orcs and a struggle for a mountain filled with gold but the one thing, by and large, missing from the story is a strong presence from the title character. That’s right, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” treats Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) like a supporting character.

Baggins bookends the action and appears sporadically throughout, but the spotlight is fixed firmly on the other characters, rendering the “Hobbit” part of the title a tad superfluous.

The “Battle” part, however, is bang on. The movie is essentially a series of combat scenes stitched together and within those bruised and bloody sequences are some of the film’s highlights. Legolas (Orlando Bloom) running atop bricks, Mario Brothers style, as they fall through the air from a disintegrating bridge is a striking visual image and a scene where Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Saruman (Christopher Lee) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) thrash away at evil spirits will entertain the eyes.

Jackson’s grey palette infuses “The Battle of the Five Armies” with an ominous air as the dozens of characters breath life into the fight scenes. Heroes and villains abound, and while there isn’t quite enough actual story to justify the two-hour-and twenty-minute running time, the battle between good and evil is so primal, so elemental you can’t help but let it get your blood racing.

Richard’s CP42 weekend reviews of “Hundred-Foot Journey,” “TMNT” and more!

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 2.39.13 PMCP24’s film critic Richard Crouse as he shares his reviews for ‘Hundred-Foot Journey’, ‘Into the Storm’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ with George Lagogianes.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 12.02.53 PMCanada AM’s film critic Richard Crouse as he shares his reviews for ‘Hundred-Foot Journey’, ‘Into the Storm’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.’

Watch the whole thing HERE!

The Desolation of Smaug review: If you’re a Tolkien fan, you’ll love it.

hobbitBy Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin Reel Guys – Metro Canada

Synopsis: Picking up where An Unexpected Journey left off, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) join with Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his army of 12 dwarves. Their goal is to traverse Mirkwood, Esgaroth and Dale to locate the fire-breathing dragon Smaug who hoards the wealth of the Lonely Mountain. On the way they battle giant spiders, make a deal with Bard the bowman (Luke Evans), the descendant of the original Lord of Dale, and some helpful and not-so-helpful elves (including a good lookin’ and deadly She-Elf played by Evangeline Lilly).

•    Richard: 4/5
•    Mark: 2/5

Richard: Mark, despite the sense of mild confusion I felt as I tried to piece the story together, I really enjoyed The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. It took a lot of backstory to get to the fifth film based on Middle-earth and its inhabitants and it will help if you know your Shire from your Sauron or your Skin Changers.

But having said that, Peter Jackson has crafted a great action adventure with the same consistency of tone, style and spirit that runs through the LOTR and Hobbit movies. They feel like story shards chipped off the same block.

Mark: Richard, there are two kinds of people in this world — those who admire and enjoy the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, and those who are repelled by his neo-medieval, Druidic nonsense.

You can guess which camp I fall into. I sat through the Rings trilogy under great duress, and skipped the first Hobbit entirely. So the only question was how much I would loathe this picture. The good news is: not that much. True, the entire movie and everyone in it needs a haircut, but the set pieces worked, especially the barrel escape down the river and the entire dragon sequence. But the movie felt so long I could have flown to Tokyo for dinner and gotten back in time for the end credits.

RC: I think fans will find the length just about right… non-fans, maybe not so much. This one worked for me. There’s a Richard Attenborough old school epicness about it. It is about good and evil without troubling nuance or antiheroes.

Perhaps because Englishman Tolkien penned these action adventure stories during the Second World War when evil was clear-cut, his books are ripe with allegory but straightforward in their approach to morality and good vs. evil.

MB: A good point, but maybe it’s precisely that serious, hectoring tone that always turned me off. Evangeline Lilly, on the other hand, did not turn me off — quite the opposite.
She really holds the screen even if her ears need cosmetic surgery. But the ending — a cliffhanging cheat, if you ask me — elicited a collective groan from the audience and made the experience feel incomplete. Did you like the dark look of the picture?

RC: I did like the look. It’s darker in tone than the Hobbit books for sure, but I thought it suited Peter Jackson’s take on the story. I also liked the Walking Dead style battle scenes — lots of arrows in heads.

MB: I kept hoping for someone to show up with a gun and put them all out of my misery.