Posts Tagged ‘Sam Troughton’


Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch this weekend including the Winnipeg rom com “I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight” on VOD, Apple TV+’s “The Oprah Conversation: President Barack Obama” and David Fincher’s “Mank,” coming soon to Netflix.

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 38:33)


Richard and CP24 anchor Stephanie Smythe have a look at david Fincher’s Hollywood biopic “Mank,” now in theatres, the Disney+ Christmas movie “The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special,” “Sound of Metal,” the new film from “Rogue One’s” Riz Ahmed and the family drama “Rustic Oracle,” now on VOD.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

MANK: 4 STARS. “brings a lesser known historical figure to bawdy life.”

William Randolph Hearst and Orson Welles will forever be connected in our imagination courtesy of “Citizen Kane.” In the film, often regarded as one of the best ever made, Welles plays a thinly veiled version of newspaper magnate Hearst as self-absorbed, power-mad and wounded. “Mank,” a new film directed by David Fincher and streaming on Netflix on December 4, isn’t a making-of story about the film, but more the unmaking of its screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman).

Former drama critic, playwright, columnist and Algonquin Round Table wit. Mankiewicz moved to Hollywood with the promise of a contract and a career. Heading west from New York, he quickly found himself working steadily ghost-writing films. As his reputation grew, so did his bank account. “Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots,” he telegraphed to writer Ben Hecht. Known as a hard drinker and inveterate gambler, when we first meet him in “Mank,” he’s bandaged up from a recent, drunken car accident. Welles (Tom Burke) and John Houseman (Sam Troughton) have sent the writer to a ranch in the sunbaked Mojave Desert to dry out with the help of a German nurse (Monika Grossman) and a secretary (Lily Collins), and work on the script for what will become “Citizen Kane.”

At one point in the film Mankiewicz says, “You cannot capture a man’s entire life in two hours. All you can hope is to leave the impression of one.” Fincher, working from a script penned by his late father, columnist Jack, supplies a vivid snapshot of a man from a particular point of view.

Shot in luscious black and white, the story is told on a broken time line, à la “Citizen Kane,” as the action springs back and forth between the past and the present. Oldman, as Mankiewicz, staggers through the movie causing a scene at a costume dinner party at Hearst’s San Simeon estate and platonically courting his friend, movie star Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), who also happens to be Hearst’s mistress. He’s poured into bed by his long-suffering wife (Tuppence Middleton) and goes to war with Louis B. Mayer (Arliss Howard), professionally and politically– “If I ever go to the electric chair,” he says of Mayer, “I’d like him to be sitting in my lap.”—while ignoring potentially career saving advice from his brother (Tom Pelphrey). Each vignette adds DNA to the portrait, as his disillusionment with Hollywood, politics and power grows by the moment. “Every moment of my life is treacherous,” Mank says.

Oldman plays Mankiewicz as a sharp wit who has grown tired of the world he inhabits. Drink, as his brother Joe says, has made him the “court jester” of Hollywood, a man whose genius is squandered in pursuit of booze and a sure bet at the racetrack. There’s a mischievousness to the performance that is tempered by the profound sadness of someone who sees their genius reduced to doing creative work for hire. His script for “Citizen Kane,” which was supposed to be credited solely to Welles, earned him an Oscar and may have been his last chance to speak his truth to power. “Write hard,” he says. “Aim low.”

Oldman is suitably ragged and ribald, bringing a lesser known historical figure to bawdy life but it is Seyfried who almost steals the show. As Marion Davies he is the epitome of old Hollywood glamour but behind the sequins and wide eyes is a deep well of intelligence that Seyfried slyly imbues into her character. When she and Oldman are side-by-side, the movie sings.

In many ways “Mank” echoes “Citizen Kane.” In structure, in its fragmented storytelling approach and its luscious recreation of the period but as a portrait of a man it feels lesser than. Mank is an engaging character but the depth that Kane plumbed to portray the character is missing. It succeeds as a look at power and its corrosive effects but as a character study its colorful but feels slightly under inflated.

THE RITUAL: 2 ½ STARS. “not eerie enough to justify its 95 minutes running time.”

Apparently none of the characters in “The Ritual,” a new survival flick from director David Bruckner, have ever seen a cabin in the woods horror movie. If so they might have spared themselves a lot of trouble.

Luke (Rafe Spall), Phil (Arsher Ali), Robert (Paul Reid), Dom (Sam Troughton) and Hutch (Robert James-Collier) are best friends on a bender. After a night of drinks they drunkenly decide to take a lad’s vacation.

“Berlin?” “Nein.” “Belgium?” “No one has ever gone to Belgium by choice.”

After some back and forth they decide on The King’s Trail, a hiking trail in northern Sweden. “It’s like the Appalachian Trail but with more history and fewer hillbillies,” they joke.

At the tail end of the night Luke and Rob, not ready to head home, go to a store to buy more booze but walk into a robbery in progress. Rob is killed as Luke hides. Cut to six months later. The remaining friends travel to Sweden to pay homage to their late pal.

After the brief ceremony Dom stumbles, twisting his knee. Unable to navigate the harsh conditions of the King’s Trail the boys decide to go off trail and take a short cut through the forest.

Come nightfall things take a mysterious turn. They find gutted animals hanging in trees, strange symbols carved into the bark and an abandoned cabin in the woods. Anyone who had ever seen a horror movie would know to keep on walking but these guys decide to break in and wait until daylight. “This is clearly the house we get murdered in,” someone jokes.

They survive the night but in the morning everything is different. Luke has a strange, bloody paw print on his chest, Dom and Hutch are traumatized by realistic nightmares and Phil is found, naked, upstairs kneeling before a pagan artefact.

What has happened and what does it have to do with the strange Wicker Man statue in the attic? One by one the friends will find out.

“The Ritual” is a ritualistic horror movie with little to no special effects. It’s just tension, atmosphere and four guys you kind of hope survive. It’s the kind of movie where the characters say things like, “Something is not right here.” Well, duh. There’s gutted animals hanging in trees probably put there by shadowy things that go chomp in the night.

[MILD SPOILERS AHEAD] The obvious stuff aside, “The Ritual” does have an element of psychological horror—the men are troubled by their pal’s violent death—which works better than the actual horror elements. The monstrous creature at the root of all the bloody goings-on is rarely seen so these guys spend a great deal of time running, terrified, from rustling trees. From an audience point of view it’s a little less than horrifying. Things pick up in the last half hour when the movie turns a corner and becomes a Nordic “Deliverance.” There are creepy woodland people and while there’s not quite enough creature to qualify this as a creature feature at least the trees have stopped swishing.

“The Ritual” has some great elements but despite an anxiety-inducing droning soundtrack and a building sense of dread, it is not eerie enough to justify its overlong 95 minutes running time.

Available on Netflix.