Posts Tagged ‘Sanaa Lathan’


A new feature from from! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the mind bending Jennifer Lawrence movie “mother!” and the Michael Keaton thriller “American Assassin.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Jenifer Burke to have a look at the Jenifer Lawrence freak-out “mother!,’ the most confounding studio movie to hit theatres in years and the generic thrills of “American Assassin.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

AMERICAN ASSASSIN: 2 STARS. “too many revenge plots but not enough thrills.”

In this weekend’s American Assassin a Cold War veteran trains undercover executioners. Movies like “The Mechanic” and “The Professional” have breathed similar air, but the new movie updates the tale, adding in a terrorism subplot.

Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Vince Flynn, the film stars Dylan O’Brien as Mitch Rapp, a student whose life is changed forever when his girlfriend Katrina (Charlotte Vega) is killed by terrorists while on vacation. Stricken with grief and hungry for revenge he trains himself in the art of counter terrorism to the point where he is able to go undercover and infiltrate an Islamic terrorist cell.

Turns out, however, he’s not as undercover as he thought. The CIA, have their eye on him, impressed by his MMA skills and general hatred of terrorism. To fine-tune his kill skills he is teamed with black ops expert Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). Why did they bring him on? “To kill people who need to be killed.”

Hurley teaches his student the fine art of slicing and dicing for fun and profit, prepping him for a giant mission involving a nuclear device and an ex-American Navy officer (Taylor Kitsch) turned bad and looking for revenge on his fellow service members.

The opening scene is harrowing. The full-scale attack on a beach is so tense because we’ve seen footage like this in real life in recent years. It kicks the movie off with a realistic bang. Too bad everything that follows barely rises to the level of cartoon cliché that borrows heavily from everything from “The Karate Kid” to the JBs—Jason Bourne and James Bond.

In as generic and unmemorable a role as Keaton has ever played—and that includes a bit of cannibalism—he redefines tough guys, spewing platitudes word for word from the 1984 edition of the Macho Man Handbook. O’Brien is stoic, yet reckless in the most profoundly uninteresting of ways. There’s sullen and then there’s this guy.

The action scenes have a bit a snap to them, but would have benefitted from the “John Wick” treatment; fess frenetic editing, more focus on the handiwork involved.

“American Assassin” has one too many revenge plots but not enough thrills.

THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY: 2 ½ STARS. “As the World Turns as told by Teresa Giudice.”

11When the nine old friends of “The Best Man’s Holiday” get together for Christmas it’s like a cross between a soap opera and a reality show. Imagine “As the World Turns” as told by Teresa Giudice and Flavor Flav.

In this sorta sequel to 1999’s “The Best Man,” The Sullivans, NFL legend Lance (Morris Chestnut) and wife Mia (Monica Calhoun), plan on a happy Christmas holiday when they invite their closest friends to spend the Christmas holidays at their palatial home.

Here’s a scorecard of the attendees: Former best selling author Harper (Taye Diggs), his pregnant chef wife Robin (Sanaa Lathan), network head (and Harper’s former flame) Jordan (Nia Long), school dean Julian Murch (Harold Perrineau) and his ex-stripper wife Candace (Regina Hall), heavy-lidded party boy Quentin (Terrence Howard) and Shelby (Melissa De Sousa), a reality TV star.

Instead of eggnog and Yuletide carols around the hearth, however, old rivalries rear their ugly heads before a tragedy reminds everyone what friendship is all about.

“The Best Man’s Holiday” is one long cliché. The script telegraphs every plot twist and turn with the subtlety of a kick to the shins and never misses an opportunity to overplay a big melodramatic moment or perform an illegal tonal u-turn mid-scene.

And yet it is a crowd pleaser.

Sometimes clichés are clichés because they’re true and resonate with people, and I guess that is one of the strengths of “The Best Man’s Holiday.” You’ll see everything coming a mile away, you’ll feel manipulated but you’ll also laugh and maybe even shed a tear.

It’s a film built for audiences who enjoy the vulgar rowdiness of reality TV and the comforting clichés of soap opera storytelling.

Is it a good film? Not really, but the better-looking-than-average ensemble cast brings with them loads of charm and the chemistry they share actually puts you onside with the characters despite the paint-by-numbers script.

They’re all engaging performers but Howard stands out in one of his rare forays into comedy.

“The Best Man’s Holiday” isn’t “Best Of” list material but despite being about half-an-hour too long is engaging holiday fare.

Best Man Holiday continues long tradition of reunion movies. Metro Nov 13, 2013

dudesThe Return of the Secaucus Seven sees a group of college friends come together 10 years after they were arrested on the way to a 1970 peace protest in Washington D.C.

In the 1979 film they reminisce about the good old days, flirt and establish the basic theme of all reunion movies: “What’s a little reunion without a little drama?”

This weekend Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs and Morris Chestnut are part of a core group of college friends who put that theory to the test in The Best Man Holiday. As IMDB says, expect “long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited.”

The idea of seeing old friends and frenemies after a long break offers loads of opportunities for drama and comedy.

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion played their high school 10th anniversary get together for laughs. The pair of friends big up their post Grade 12 adventures in an effort to intimidate their old friends.

“Well, I thought the whole point of going to the reunion was to impress people,” says Michele (Lisa Kudrow). “I mean, how am I gonna impress anybody by selling ban-lon smocks at Bargain Mart.”

National Lampoon’s Class Reunion takes a different comedic approach to the subject.

Mixing murder with nostalgia, it’s the story of Walter Baylor (Blackie Dammett, father of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ singer Anthony Kiedis), an unhinged nerd seeking revenge during his 10th high school reunion as payback for a mean prank played on him during senior year.

“One more move and she gets a hole where she doesn’t need one,” says Walter.

Grosse Pointe Blank takes a more wistful approach to post school socials. John Cusack plays a mysterious graduate who has a life changing epiphany 10 years after graduation.

“You know,” he says, “when you started getting invited to your 10-year high school reunion, time is catching up.”

Complicating matters is his job. He’s a hit man.

“What am I gonna say? ‘I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How’ve you been?’”

He’s hired to bump off the father of his high school girlfriend for whom he still has feelings.

More somber is Young Adult, a Charlize Theron dramedy about Mavis Grey (Theron), a ghostwriter of novels for teens who accepts an invite for a baby shower from her high school ex-boyfriend, hoping that he will fall back in love with her during their reunion.

“Sometimes in order to heal,” Charlize Theron says, “A few people have to get hurt.”