Posts Tagged ‘Scarlet Johansson’


Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 4.02.01 PMWatch Richard’s CP24 reviews for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Far From the Madding Crowd” and “Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police” with host Marci Ien.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro: Avengers save the world again? Been there, watched that

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 4.16.23 PMIt’s not a spoiler to let you know the Avengers save the world in The Age of Ultron. The spectacular six have rescued the planet before and, no doubt, will save it again in future. In superhero movies the globe is always on the eve of destruction.

The original movie, 2012’s The Avengers, saw the team protect the planet from Thor’s evil brother Loki while in Superman II the Man of Steel battles three Kryptonian criminals set to obliterate our orb. A baddie named M tries to wage world war in The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and recently the Fantastic Four prevented a giant cosmic entity called Galactus from gobbling up the earth.

“I see a suit of armour around the world,” says Tony Stark in Age of Ultron. “Peace in our time, imagine that.”

The movies get bigger every time out and with thirty more superhero flicks scheduled for the five years—including Deadpool, Doctor Strange and Gambit—the mind reels at the ways villains might endanger our world. It sounds entertaining but haven’t we’ve already been there? Where do you go from the threat of total annihilation?

Diminishing returns in terms of audience reaction, that’s where. We all know The Avengers will pull out all the stops to save the earth. Buildings will crumble, trucks will go airborne and giant cracks will appear where city streets used to be but by the end credits you know everyone will emerge relatively unscathed, with the bad people vanquished and the good guys grinning from ear to ear. Viewers are left with CGI fatigue, but dammit a catastrophe was averted. Again.

But we’ve been there, done that. Why not freshen things up and turn back the hands of the doomsday clock a few minutes to create tension in the form of different kinds of situations? It sounds counter intuitive—bigger is always better, right?— but imagine Captain America going mano a mano with Kim Jong-un or Iron Man shrinking down to the size of a microbe to battle cancer from the inside à la Fantastic Voyage.

The real world is a very complicated place. Every day the news delivers more bad information than all the tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles combined. Stories of beheadings, terrorism and all manner of terrible behaviour flood the airwaves aching to be corrected by some sort of superhero. How great would it be to see warrior princess of the Amazons Wonder Woman unleash the Lasso of Truth on the Canadian Senate or weather maven Storm get all medieval on climate change?

An injection of real world issues might not make for big box office, but it certainly would infuse the movies with a sense of unpredictability—just like real life events. Real life is messy and volatile and that’s what keeps it interesting.

I understand one of the reasons we go to movies like The Avengers: Age of Ultron is to see things we’ll never witness in real life, but it’s hard not to agree with Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) when he says, “We’re fighting an army of robots and I have a bow and arrow—it makes no sense!” These movies try to dazzle our eyes—and they do!— but bringing them down to earth, literally, might help us engage our brains as well.


Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 9.48.31 AMWatch Richard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Far From the Madding Crowd” and “Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police” with host Marci Ien.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON: 2 STARS. “Cue the metalocalypse.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 4.17.19 PM“Can we hold them?” asks evil scientist Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) as a team of superheroes tear up his supposedly impenetrable HYDRA lair.

“They’re the Avengers,” comes the reply. The only thing missing is the “Duh!” at the beginning of the sentence.

Not only does the exchange answer the question of every film producer who has a movie opening opposite “Avengers: Age of Ultron” this weekend but it also sets a loose, funny tone for the film.

Twenty seconds into the movie we’re already engaged in a wild action scene that puts them in possession of an ancient gem containing artificial intelligence. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) intend to use the technology to build a peacekeeping army—“I see a suit of armour around the world,” says Stark. “Peace in our time, imagine that.”—but the plan backfires and instead of creating a global peace initiative they create a robot monster named Ultron (voice of James Spader). “I really miss the days when the weirdest thing science created was me,” says Captain America (Chris Evans). Hell-bent on improving the world by exterminating humanity, Ultron says, “When the dust settles the only things left will be metal.”

Cue the metalocalypse.

While many superhero movies have chosen a dark road—think Christopher Nolan’s ennui ridden “Batman” movies or the dour looking “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”—director Joss Whedon delivers action with a grin. There’s always time for a quip in “Age of Ultron.” The wisecracks are the glue that hold the film together, acting as a bridge between the battle scenes.

Stark is his old cocky self with none of the insecurity of the emo “Iron Man 3” in sight. Gone is the introspection of “Winter Solider.” Sure, Banner is still tormented by his Hulk alter ego—but let’s be honest, if you take away his torment, you take away his character—but nonetheless finds time to do a faceplant into Scarlett Johansson’s chest and Black Widow (Johansson) shows more of her feminine side than ever before, but the film is less interested in the characters than how carnage the characters can cause.

There are action scenes galore. If all you want are trucks flying through the air, buildings crumbling and Iron Man assembling and disassembling, look no further. It’s a smorgasbord of skirmishes, a constant barrage of action scenes, many of which appear in a blur, just glints of metal and flashes of colour. These sequences are stuffed to bursting with an overload of CGI that becomes less interesting the more you watch.

One of the reasons we go to the movies like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is to see things we’ll never see in real life, but it’s hard not to agree with Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) when he says, “We’re fighting an army of robots and I have a bow and arrow—it makes no sense!” Whedon has tried to dazzle our eyes—and he does!— but has forgotten about engaging our brains.


Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 9.33.58 AMRichard Crouse sounds off on his reviews for this week’s releases: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and ‘Island of Lemurs: Madagascar.’

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 10.02.49 AM“Canada AM’s” movie critic Richard Crouse sounds off on his reviews for ‘Lone Surivor,’ ‘August: Osage County,’ and ‘Her.’

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Hes-Just-Not-That-Into-YouHe’s Just Not That Into You, a new romantic comedy with an all star cast, is being described as Love Actually meets Sex and the City. Not surprising since the book it was based on was inspired by a line from the latter. The book’s authors Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s eureka moment came when they saw the episode Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little. On the show Miranda (if you don’t know who that is, stop reading now) was telling Carrie’s boyfriend Berger about a date who declined her invitation to come up to her apartment. “I have an early meeting,” he said by way of an excuse. Berger analyzes the situation and concludes that “he’s just not that into you,” adding that “when a guy’s really into you, he’s coming upstairs, meeting or no meeting.” That one exchange inspired a self help book which became a bestseller and now a two hour movie starring Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Aniston.

The multi-pronged plot involves a seemingly unconnected group of Baltimore men and women who by the time the movie is over have swapped spit, broken up, gotten back together, dated, stalked and generally dabbled in all forms of human interaction. The unifying theme is that one person in each relationship is more “into” the other person than vice versa. According to director Ken Kwapis the relationship tango goes like this: “Character A is going out with character B, character B is really into Character A, but Character A is really into Character C who’s dating Character D…”

The first thing you’ll notice about He’s Just Not That Into You is that every good looking actor or actress in Hollywood is in this movie. It’s a panoply of blue eyes, shiny coiffed hair and jaw lines so sharp you could use them to cut granite and, of course they all live in beautifully designed homes and have cool jobs. So go see the movie for the clothes, the apartments, the general beauty of the cast, but don’t expect anything useful in terms of relationship advice.

Despite the movie’s source material and general self-help premise this is one of the most toxic looks at male – female relations since the Brittney Spears, Kevin Federline wedding video. The women are either portrayed as a.) incomplete without a man in their lives, b.) home wreckers, or c.) pathetically man crazy.

The men don’t fare much better. The guys are needy, cheaters, slobs or downright smarmy. One man, played by Bradley Cooper, has a slip of the tongue where he says “funeral” when the word he should have said was “wedding.” That’s about the extent of the character development on display here. (In case you don’t get it, he’s wondering if he ruined his life by marrying too young.) All in all despite their obvious genetic gifts it’s no wonder these characters are terminally single.

He’s Just Not That Into You makes the point that dating is hard and relationships are difficult and confusing. Well, thanks for the info. I get it. I got it after the first hour. By the end of the second hour of watching these hapless characters flop around from one warm body to the next I could only think of one sure fire way to test for a prospective mate. Make them watch He’s Just Not That Into You. If they want to leave midway through you may have found someone worth hanging out with.