Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the “Little Women,” the war epic “1917,” the courtroom drama “Just Mercy,” the animated spy flick “Spies in Disguise” and Adam Sandler’s surprising work in “Uncut Gems.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the latest remake of “Little Women,” the war epic “1917,” the courtroom drama “Just Mercy” and Adam Sandler’s surprising work in “Uncut Gems.”
Director Greta Gerwig keeps the bones of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” in the new big screen treatment of the 19th century story, but reshapes the March sisters’ coming-of-age in fresh and exciting ways.
Set at the time of the Civil War, the eighth film adaptation of the tale sees the March’s, debutant Meg (Emma Watson), strong willed Jo (Saoirse Ronan), sickly and sweet Beth (Eliza Scanlen) and self-centerd Amy (Florence Pugh), with mother Marmee (Laura Dern), living a threadbare existence. The war has stripped them of whatever money they once had but they remain committed to charity—helping a destitute family down the road—and one another as they wait for the return of their father (Bob Odenkirk) from the battlefield.
As the story jumps through time their lives intersect with Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence (Timothée Chalamet), a charming, wealthy lay-about neighbor who has designs on Jo, his millionaire uncle (Chris Cooper), acid-tongued Aunt March (Meryl Streep) and Mr. Dashwood, the terse-talking newspaper publisher.
Told on a broken timeline, “Little Women” forgoes the linear structure of the novel to jump back-and-forth in time. It’s a clever device that takes some getting used to—at first it’s not immediately obvious the story is skipping around like a flat rock skimming across a lake—but ultimately it provides insightful perspective on the characters and why they make the decisions they do. Gerwig has fiddled with the story’s collision of feminism, romance and family dynamics just enough to amplify its resonance for a modern audience. Playing around with a well loved and well-worn classic is risky, but Gerwig pulls it off with panache, aided by an extraordinary cast who bring the material to vivid life.
As a collective the cast of “Little Women” are as finely tuned as the piano Beth practices on, pitch perfect with no sour notes.
Chalamet, reteaming with Ronan and Gerwig after the success of “Lady Bird,” drips charisma as the foppish and devoted friend/love interest Laurie. He’s equal parts awkward and arrogance, putting a new spin on a character that’s been played by everyone from Peter Lawford to Christian Bale.
Streep and Letts drop in for some comic relief but it is the chemistry between the sisters that is the film’s biggest success. Previous adaptations have tilted in Jo’s favor, giving her the most screen time and the juiciest character arc. Gerwig recalibrates, allowing each of the sisters to shine. The story still revolves around Jo’s interactions with each of the women, but here each of them push the story forward. Watson beings kindness and empathy to Meg. In Scanlen’s hands Beth is sweetly realistic about her lot in life. Ronan and Pugh leave the largest impression, imprinting the tale with their steeliness, humor and humanity.
“Little Women” is a rarity. It’s an adaptation of an often told tale that manages a rethink while still holding true to what made the source material so beloved.
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the historical betrayals of “Mary Queen of Scots,” the cortex boiling animation of “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” and the drug addiction drama of “Ben is Back.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the wild and webby “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse,” the political drama of “Mary Queen of Scots” and the Julia Roberts’s drug drama “Ben is Back.”
Mr. Parker, my grade nine history teacher, believed in learning by rote. Once a day thirty schoolmates and I would assemble in his class and were invariably confronted with Mr. Parker in his black suit dusted with chalk from writing, in perfect script, three chalk boards worth of notes. “Write it down and learn it.” A mishmash of dates and names, his notes were detailed but ultimately did not bring the story to life.
Watching “Mary Queen of Scots,” a new historical drama starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, I was immediately transported back to Mr. Parker’s class.
The convoluted tale begins in 1561 with Mary Stuart (Ronan) returning to Scotland being raised Catholic in France and widowed at age eighteen. She comes home to a world of intrigue. Her half-brother, the Earl of Moray (James McArdle) would seem to be an ally but holds resentment that he will lose his exalted place as King with her return. She also faces opposition from John Knox (David Tennant), a religious leader who brands the queen a harlot, unfit for the throne.
Meanwhile in England Mary’s twenty-five-year-old Protestant cousin Queen Elizabeth I (Robbie, under an inch of make-up) has a certain amount of sympathy for her long lost relative. The monarch understand what it means to be a woman ruler in a world of men but her advisers, including her chief council William Cecil (Guy Pearce) see Mary as a threat who must be dealt with.
Cue the intrigue and sharpen those axes.
There is a lot going on in “Mary Queen of Scots.” Political backbiting, betrayal, toxic patriarchy, romance, more betrayal and equal parts empathy and cruelty are all on display, making an already expansive story—it spans roughly twenty years—feel overstuffed. Locations, dates and motivations blur as the courtly manipulations pile atop one another, leaving behind a nicely acted film that feels weighted down by an excess of intrigue.
Robbie and Ronan, rivals for the Best Actress Oscar last year, share just one scene, an historically inaccurate meeting that features the film’s best moments. As Mary shifts from pleading for sisterhood to imperiously claiming the crown of England for herself—“I am a Stuart, the rightful queen.”—there is more drama in those few minutes than in the film’s entire middle section.
“Mary Queen of Scots” has some admirable, timely qualities. Colour-blind casting—most notably through the work of Gemma Chan and Adrian Lester—Mary’s attitude toward the gender-fluid minstrel David Rizzio (Ismael Cruz Cordova) and the portrayal of Mary and Elizabeth as strong willed women are thoroughly modern and to be commended. It’s too bad the narrative machinations bog down what otherwise is a fine tale of political manoeuvring.
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” an awkward wedding night in “On Chesil Beach” starring Saoirse Ronan and a documentary on one of fashion’s leading figures, “The Gospel According to Andre.”
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” an awkward wedding night in “On Chesil Beach” starring Saoirse Ronan, “Birthmarked” with Toni Collette and Mathew Goode and a documentary on one of fashion’s leading figures, “The Gospel According to Andre.”