Baby Driver: Although it contains more music than most tuneful of movies “Baby Driver,” the new film from director Edgar Wright, isn’t a musical in the “West Side Story,” “Sound of Music” sense. Wallpapered with 35 rock ‘n roll songs on the soundtrack it’s a hard driving heist flick that can best be called an action musical.
The Big Sick: Even when “The Big Sick” is making jokes about terrorism and the “X-Files” it is all heart, a crowd-pleaser that still feels personal and intimate.
Call Me By Your Name: This is a movie of small details that speak to larger truths. Director Luca Guadagnino keeps the story simple relying on the minutiae to add depth and beauty to the story. The idyllic countryside, the quaint town, the music of the Psychedelic Furs and the languid pace of a long Italian summer combine to create the sensual backdrop against which the romance between the two blossoms. Guadagnino’s camera captures it all, avoiding the pitfalls of melodrama to present a story that is pure emotion. It feels real and raw, haunted by the ghosts of loves gone by.
Darkest Hour: This is a historical drama with all the trappings of “Masterpiece Theatre.” You can expect photography, costumes and period details are sumptuous. What you may not expect is the light-hearted tone of much of the goings on. While this isn’t “Carry On Churchill,” it has a lighter touch that might be expected. Gary Oldman, not an actor known for his comedic flourishes, embraces the sly humour. When Churchill becomes Prime Minister his wife, Clementine (Kristin Scott Thomas) makes an impassioned speech about the importance of the work he is about to take on. He raises a glass and, cutting through the emotion of the moment, says, “Here’s to not buggering it up!” It shows a side of Churchill not often revealed in wartime biopics.
The Disaster Artist: The key to pulling off “The Disaster Artist” is not recreating “The Room” beat for beat, although they do that, it’s actually about treating Wiseau as a person and not an object of fun. He’s an outrageous character and Franco commits to it 100%. From the marble-mouthed speech pattern that’s part Valley Girl and part Beaker from The Muppets to the wild clothes and stringy hair, he’s equal parts creepy and lovable but underneath his bravado are real human frailties. Depending on your point of view he’s either delusional or aspirational but in Franco’s hands he’s never also never less than memorable. It’s a broad, strange performance but it may also be one of the actor’s best.
Dunkirk: This is an intense movie but it is not an overly emotional one. The cumulative effect of the vivid images and sounds will stir the soul but despite great performances the movie doesn’t necessarily make you feel for one character or another. Instead its strength is in how it displays the overwhelming sense of scope of the Dunkirk mission. With 400,000 men on the ground with more in the air and at sea, the sheer scope of the operation overpowers individuality, turning the focus on the collective. Director Christopher Nolan’s sweeping camera takes it all in, epic and intimate moments alike.
The Florida Project: This is, hands down, one of the best films of the year. Low-budget and naturalistic, it packs more punch than any superhero. Director Sean Baker defies expectations. He’s made a film about kids for adults that finds joy in rocky places. What could have been a bleak experience or an earnest message movie is brought to vivid life by characters that feel real. It’s a story about poverty that neither celebrates or condemns its characters. Mooney’s exploits are entertaining and yet an air of jeopardy hangs heavy over every minute of the movie. Baker knows that Halley and Moonie’s well being hangs by a thread but he also understands they exist in the real world and never allows their story to fall into cliché.
Get Out: This is the weirdest and most original mainstream psychodrama to come along since “The Babadook.” The basic premise harkens back to the Sidney Poitier’s classic “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” In that film parents, played by Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, have their attitudes challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African American fiancé. The uncomfortable situation of meeting in-laws for the first time is universal. It’s the added layers of paranoia and skewered white liberalism that propels the main character’s (Daniel Kaluuya) situation into full-fledged horror. In this setting he is the other, the stranger and as his anxiety grows the social commentary regarding attitudes about race in America grows sharper and more focussed.
Lady Bird: Greta Gerwig’s skilful handling of the story of Lady Bird’s busy senior year works not just because it’s unvarnished and honest in its look at becoming an adult but also, in a large degree, to Saoirse Ronan’s performance. I have long called her ‘Lil Meryl. She’s an actor of unusual depth, a young person (born in 1994) with an old soul. Lady Bird is almost crushed by the weight of uncertainty that greets her with every turn—will her parents divorce, will there be money for school, will Kyle be the boy of her dreams, will she ever make enough cash to repay her parents for her upbringing?—but Ronan keeps her nimble, sidestepping teen ennui with a complicated mix of snappy one liners, hard earned wisdom and a well of emotion. It’s tremendous, Academy Award worthy work.
The Post: Steven Spielberg film is a fist-pump-in-the-air look at the integrity and importance of a free press. It’s a little heavy-handed but these are heavy-handed times. Director Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are entertainers first and foremost, and they do entertain here, but they also shine a light on a historical era whose reverberations are being felt today stronger than ever.
The Shape of Water: A dreamy slice of pure cinema. Director Guillermo del Toro uses the stark Cold War as a canvas to draw warm and vivid portraits of his characters. It’s a beautiful creature feature ripe with romance, thrills and, above all, empathy for everyone. This is the kind of movie that reminds us of why we fell in love with movies in the first place.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: The story of a mother’s unconventional war with the world is simple enough, it’s the complexity of the characters that elevates the it to the level of great art.
Wonder Woman: Equal parts Amazon sword and sandal epic, mad scientist flick, war movie and rom com, it’s a crowd pleaser that places the popular character front and centre. As played by Gal Gadot, Diana is charismatic and kick ass, a superhero who is both truly super and heroic. Like Superman she is firmly on the side of good, not a tortured soul à la Batman. Naïve to the ways of the world, she runs headfirst into trouble. Whether she’s throwing a German tank across a battlefield, defying gravity to leap to the top of a bell tower, tolerating Trevor’s occasional mansplaining or deflecting bullets with her indestructible Bracelets of Submission, she proves in scene after scene to be both a formidable warrior and a genuine, profoundly empathic character.
Richard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies including ”Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the no-bull kid’s tale “Ferdinand” and the coming-of-age romance “Call Me By Your Name.”
Welcome to the House of Crouse. ”Atonement” director Joe Wright’s new film is a spirited—and funnier than you’d imagine—retelling of the machinations behind World War II’s Operation Dynamo. In a tour de force performance, “Darkest Hours” stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in a movie that would make a great double bill with Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk.” Wright swings by the CrouseCast to talk about the movie and active resistance against bigotry and totalitarianism. Then “In the Cage” award winning Kevin Hardcastle author offers up why you should always back up your MacBook and more! It’s good stuff, so c’mon in and sit a spell.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the Winston Churchill biopic “Darkest Hour, “The Shape of Water,” a movie Richard says “is the kind of movie that made me fall in love with movies in the first place,” and the not-so-wondrous “Wonder Wheel.”
Winston Churchill, born 143 years ago, is suddenly hot again.
“When I started work on this movie in 2016 the only Churchill I had in mind was Albert Finney’s A Gathering Storm which was brilliant,” says Darkest Hour director Joe Wright. “It had been made more than a decade ago. We weren’t aware of the Brian Cox movie, we weren’t aware of Dunkirk, The Crown hadn’t come on yet. It didn’t feel topical at all. Then suddenly the events of 2016 happened and this wave of topicality came and overcame the film.”
The fireworks in Darkest Hour begin in May 1940. It’s less than a year into the Second World War and Winston Churchill, played by Gary Oldman, is made prime minister after Neville Chamberlain lost the confidence of parliament.
He’s an unconventional choice. His own party thinks of him as a drunkard — it is said that between 1908 and 1965, he partook in 42,000 bottles of his favourite champagne Pol Roget — and members of his war cabinet favour negotiation with the Nazis over resistance and war. The so-called English Bulldog battles them and nagging self-doubt as he stays steadfast in his determination to fight the Nazis while finding an exit strategy for 300,000 British troops stranded at Dunkirk.
Wright likens Churchill’s crusade against Hitler to the resistance that has sprung up around the world in reaction to various far-right groups.
“Churchill got a lot of things wrong in his life,” Wright says, “but in this particular instance, in this context, with this enemy, he understood the perils totalitarianism and Nazism and bigotry and hate and he resisted. I think we are living in a society now that would not be the same if not for his resistance. I think that is really important to remember to fight back. To look outside of our important domestic concerns and look at our global domestic concerns.”
Darkest Hour is a historical drama with all the trappings of Masterpiece Theatre. Expect sumptuous photography, costumes and period details. What you may not expect is the light-hearted tone of much of the goings on. When Churchill becomes prime minister, his wife makes an impassioned speech about the importance of his work. He raises a glass and, cutting through the emotion of the moment, says, “Here’s to not buggering it up!” It shows a side of Churchill not often revealed in wartime biopics.
When I tell Wright I found the movie funnier than expected, he laughs. “Especially when it is called Darkest Hour.”
“I think Churchill was a very funny individual. Anyone you read who was with him, from his secretaries to his bodyguards to the politicians who were working with him, all talk about his humour. It was one of his overriding characteristics. We wanted to make sure it didn’t turn into Carry on Churchill so there were gags in there we cut.
“I think, like all of us, it was kind of a coping mechanism. The reason sex and death seem to be the main sources of humour is that they help us deal with things that might otherwise cause us anxiety. “
Wright adds that as the battle against totalitarianism unfolds the film becomes more serious. “His foe was probably the most terrifying adversary we had ever encountered, so the stakes were very high.”
”Atonement” director Joe Wright’s new film is a spirited—and funnier than you’d imagine—retelling of the machinations behind World War II’s Operation Dynamo. In a tour de force performance, “Darkest Hours” stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in a movie that would make a great double bill with Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk.”
The fireworks begin on May 9, 1940. It’s less than a year into the war and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) has lost the confidence of parliament. His handling of the Nazi threat brought Britain into the war and, as a result, in poor health, he is forced to resign. On May 10 Winston Churchill is made Prime Minister.
He’s not exactly a man of the people. “I’ve never been on a bus,” he wheezes. “I’ve never cute for bread. I believe I can boil and egg but only because I’ve seen it done.”
He’s an unconventional choice. His own party thinks of him as a drunkard—it is said that between 1908 and 1965, he partook in 42,000 bottles of his favourite champagne Pol Roget—and members of his War Cabinet, who favour negotiation with the Nazis over resistance and war, begin plotting to remove him almost as soon as he takes power. “I’m getting a job because the ship is sinking,” he says. “It’s not a job. It’s revenge.”
In the coming days he battles politicians and nagging self-doubt as he stays steadfast in his determination to fight the Nazis while finding an exit strategy for 300,000 British troops at Dunkirk. “Nations that go down fighting rise again,” he says.
“Darkest Hours” is a historical drama with all the trappings of “Masterpiece Theatre.” You can expect photography, costumes and period details are sumptuous. What you may not expect is the light-hearted tone of much of the goings on. While this isn’t “Carry On Churchill,” it has a lighter touch that might be expected. Oldman, not an actor known for his comedic flourishes, embraces the sly humour. When Churchill becomes Prime Minister his wife, Clementine (Kristin Scott Thomas) makes an impassioned speech about the importance of the work he is about to take on. He raises a glass and, cutting through the emotion of the moment, says, “Here’s to not buggering it up!” It shows a side of Churchill not often revealed in wartime biopics.
We also see the great man in quiet moments with Clementine, the source of much of his strength. The way he is a cowed by his wife when she’s called him out for not being kind to his new secretary (Lily James)—”I want others to love and respect you the way I do.”—reveal his vulnerabilities and tenderness.
Of course the film also showcases Churchill as a tactician, an orator—“He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle,” says Lord Halifax (Stephen Dillane) after one fiery speech—and a single-minded leader who came to embody the very spirit of English defiance in the face of threats from Germany.
At the heart of the movie, and on almost every frame of film, is Oldman who hits a career high. Underneath layers of makeup and with a cigar wedged in his face, he brings history to life in a performance that goes far past impersonation. The role is a study in resistance and leadership and is sure to earn Oldman an Oscar nomination.
“Darkest Hour” director Wright brings his trademarked visual flair. During Churchill’s first BBC speech to the nation, for instance, an overhead shot of the bombing in France turns into the face of one of Hitler’s nameless victims but the movie succeeds because Oldman breathes new life into a historical figure we thought we already knew.