Watch as Richard reviews three movies in less time than it takes to flag a cab! Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the all-star murder mystery “Death on the Nile,” the rom com (heavy on the com) “I Want You Back” and the Liam Neeson actioner “Blacklight.”
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including two rom coms for Valentine’s Day, “I Want You Back” (Amazon) and “Marry Me” (in theatres), the Agatha Christie murder mystery “Death on the Nile” (in Theatres), and the Oscar nominated “Drive My Car” (in theatres).
Richard joins host Jim Richards of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush for Booze and Reviews! Today we talk about the Agatha Christie all-star mystery “Death on the Nile,” the Valentine’s Say Prime Video entry “I Want You Back” with Jenny Slate and Charlie Day and “Blacklight,” the latest shoot ’em up from Liam Neeson. We’ll also give you the history of a two ingredient Spanish drink that was named after the ugliest man in the village where it was invented!
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 two rom coms for Valtentine’s Day, “I Want You Back” (Amazon) and “Marry Me” (in theatres), the Agatha Christie murder mystery “Death on the Nile” (in Theatres), the Liam Neeson actioner “Blacklight” (theatres) and the Oscar nominated “Drive My Car” (in theatres).
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the Agatha Christie all-star mystery “Death on the Nile,” the Valentine’s Say Prime Video entry “I Want You Back” with Jenny Slate and Charlie Day and “Blacklight,” the latest shoot ’em up from Liam Neeson.
In the whodunnit genre few names loom larger than Agatha Christie. The author of 66 novels and 14 short story collections was known as the Mistress of Mystery and holds a Guinness World Record as the best-selling fiction writer of all time.
Her books are the fuel for countless stage plays, television shows and movies, but the spark that make the novels so entertaining often goes missing in translation.
It speaks volumes that the best Christie movie of late, “Knives Out,” isn’t an adaptation of her work. It borrows the mechanics of her best stories, including the climatic singling out of the murderer in a roomful of suspects, to make the most enjoyable movie tribute to her style in years and that includes Kenneth Branagh’s 2017 thriller “Murder on the Orient Express,” which is actually based on a Christie classic.
The director takes a second kick at the Christie can with “Death on the Nile,” an adaptation of the writer’s best-selling 1937 mystery of jealousy, wealth and death.
The film begins with a flashback to World War I and the origin of Belgian soldier Hercule Poirot’s (Branagh) flamboyant moustache.
Cut to 1937. Poirot, now a world-renowned detective, is on vacation in Egypt aboard the lavishly appointed ship S.S. Karnak. Also aboard are heiress Linnet (Gal Gadot) and her new husband Simon (Armie Hammer), a glamourous, honeymooning couple cruising the Nile in an effort to hide from the jealous Jacqueline (Emma Mackey), who happens to be Linnet’s jealous former friend and Simon’s ex-lover. Jacqueline has other plans, however, and comes along for the ride. “It’s indecent,” says Simon. “She’s making a fool of herself.”
Linnet fears that Jacqueline is up to no good and reaches out to Poirot to look out for her safety on the ship. “Maybe Jacqueline hasn’t committed a crime yet,” she says, “but she will. She always settles her scores.”
When Linnet turns up dead, Jacqueline is the obvious suspect, but she has a rock-solid alibi.
So who could the killer be? Is it Linnet’s former fiancé Linus Windlesham (a very subdued Russell Brand)? Jazz singer Salome Otterbourne (Sophie Okonedo)? Maybe it’s Marie Van Schuyler (Jennifer Saunders), Linnet’s Communist godmother or Rosalie Otterbourne (Letitia Wright) Linnet’s old classmate.
Only one person can get to the bottom of the matter. “I am Detective Hercule Poirot and I will deliver your killer.”
“He’s a bloodhound,” says Rosalie, “so let him sniff.”
“Death on the Nile” has an old-fashioned Hollywood epic feel to it. There’s glamour, beautiful costumes and even more beautiful people set against an exotic backdrop shot with sweeping, expensive looking crane shots over CGI pyramids. There are, as they used to say, more stars than there are in the heavens populating the screen and a knotty mystery that only Poirot can untie.
It also feels old fashioned in its storytelling. Branagh takes his time setting the scene, adding in two prologues before landing in Egypt. It takes almost an hour to get to the sleuthing and the weaving together of the clues and the characters. The leisurely pace sucks much of the immediacy out of the story, and despite all the moving parts, the mystery isn’t particularly intriguing.
More intriguing is Branagh’s take on Poirot. On film the detective has often been played as the object of fun, and while the character’s ego, persnickety personality and quirky moustache are very much on display, but here he is a serious man, heartbroken and brimming with regret. We learn how the death of a loved one changed him, turning him into the man we see today. It’s a new take on the crime solver that breathes some new life into the character’s lungs.
Then there is the pyramid in the room. Yes, Armie Hammer, the bland slab of a leading man, has a large role in the action. He is so interwoven into the movie that he couldn’t be cut out, à la Kevin Spacey in “All the Money in the World,” despite his recent scandals. At any rate, despite having one of the larger roles, he doesn’t make much of an impression.
“Death on the Nile’s” high style and all-star murder mystery may please Agatha Christie aficionados but it could use a little more of the “Knives Out” vibe to make it feel less old fashioned and conventional.
Vin Diesel is a Witch Hunter in the appropriately named “The Last Witch Hunter,” Christopher Plummer hunts Nazis in “Remember,” while Brie Larson searches for freedom in “Room” and Bill Murray looks for redemption in “Rock the Kasbah.” Richard reviews them all with “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson.
Usually the scariest thing about Vin Diesel is the amount of money his movies make. The Fast and Furious franchise has raked in more than $4 billion. Add in revenue from Guardians of the Galaxy and Riddick and you have a truly terrifying amount of money.
In his new film, The Last Witch Hunter, the raspy-voiced actor boasts, “You know what I’m afraid of? Nothing,” as he delivers scares playing an immortal warrior who must prevent evil New York witches from destroying the world. The 48-year-old is so convinced the movie will do well, he’s already announced that the studio is developing a sequel.
“The first one doesn’t hit theatres until October 23rd,” he wrote on Facebook in July, “yet they want me to commit and already block out time to film it.”
Before Fast and Furious made him Hollywood’s version of an ATM, Diesel made baby steps towards becoming a superstar. Director Steven Spielberg saw Multi-Facial, Diesel’s self directed, written, produced and scored über low budget short film and was so taken with the young actor he had the role of Private Caparzo in Saving Private Ryan specially written for him. The result was an effective performance that mixed physicality with poignancy. Winning the role, he says, was “like one of those Hollywood fairy tales that you never believed.”
Critics began to take notice. New York Times critic A.O. Scott said he, “may be the sexiest ugly man in movies since Anthony Quinn” as Diesel lent his distinctive gravelly voice to the title character in the animated film The Iron Giant and played streetwise stockbroker Chris Varick in the 2000 stockbroker drama Boiler Room.
His breakout performance came with the sci-fi film Pitch Black. “Richard B. Riddick,” he says by way of introduction. “Escaped convict. Murderer.” Artificial eyes allow Riddick to see in the dark, making him very useful when bloodthirsty creatures attack during a month-long eclipse. The character became a franchise for the actor, spawning sequels, video games and animated films.
“I know it sounds corny but I feel like I learn about myself when I play that character,” said Diesel. “Going to that dark isolated place produces some kind of vision or understanding about myself. He mirrors my own quest for identity, my eternal quest as a child.”
Movies like Knockaround Guys and Babylon A.D. played on his tough guy persona, but with The Pacifier he tried to switch from cracking ribs to tickling funny bones. Playing a Navy Seal assigned to protect a house full of out-of-control kids, he attempted to prove he was more than just a muscle mass that got lucky in pictures. The chaotic comedy made some money, but ultimately proved Diesel’s strength lay in muscle, not mayhem.
Since then he has stayed the course, pumping out action-adventure films — including the soon-to-be relaunched xXx — proving himself to be a great action star. Smarter than Stallone, younger than Schwarzenegger and with even less hair than Bruce Willis, his appeal transcends his biceps, as he also appears to have a brain in his head. Throw in a large dollop of charisma and look out Jason Statham, you’re about to be kick boxed into the old age home.