Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including Golden Globe winners “The Mauritanian” and “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” and a new coming-of-age movie on VOD “My Salinger Year.”
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 Disney’s animated action flick “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Disney+ with Premier Access and theatres), the long awaited sequel “Coming 2 America” (Amazon Prime Video), the biopic “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” (VOD), the legal drama “The Mauritanian” (premium digital and on-demand), the coming-of-age story “My Salinger Year” (VOD) and the look at the war on drugs “Crisis” (on digital and demand).
“The Last King of Scotland” director Kevin Macdonald makes good use of his background in documentary film for his latest release “The Mauritanian,” now on premium digital and on-demand. The story of a 9/11 suspect held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay despite never being officially charged, is a drama based on true events, but uses documentary style devices to convey the nuts and bolts of the case.
Jodie Foster is Nancy Hollander, an attorney who takes on the pro bono case of Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim), a Mauritanian national accused of acts of terrorism related to 9/11. While he is housed at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp without charge and, as a high-value detainee, subjected to torture, Hollander begins her investigation. “I’m not just defending him,” she says. “I’m defending you and me. The constitution doesn’t have an asterisk at the end that says, ‘Terms and Conditions apply.’”
On the prosecution is Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), a straight arrow with a personal connection to the case. “He recruited the SOBs who flew your friend into the south tower,” he is told. Couch lost a good friend in 9/11 and is seeking the death penalty for Slahi. “If we miss something,” he says to his team, “this guy goes home. Let’s get to it.”
As the trial looms Couch learns federal agents, including his friend and former classmate Neil Buckland (Zachary Levi), are withholding crucial documents. Powerful people want a quick and decisive conviction and are willing to bury an evidence that may get in the way of that. “Your job is to bring charges,” he is told. Couch fights back, believing the only path to an unequivocal verdict, one without the possibility of appeal, lies in having all the facts. “I’ve never been part of a conspiracy,” he says, “but I’m starting to think this is what it must feel like to be on the outside.”
“The Mauritanian” is an uneven film with several standout elements. As a procedural it is fairly straightforward, but within the story are complex legal questions. At what point does fear circumvent the law? How can human rights violations be condoned under any circumstances? How can habeas corpus, the right to appear before a judge, to know why you’ve been arrested and detained, ever be denied?
Each question is a conversation starter and Hollander wasted no words clarifying her stance on these questions. “I’m not just defending him,” she says. “I’m defending the rule of law.” It’s a powerful reminder that ethics and rules matter. “You built this place and you abandoned all your principles and all of your laws,” Hollander says. “What if you were wrong?”
Adding humanity to the story’s tale of inhuman behaviour is Rahim who hands in a layered, interesting performance in a film that isn’t quite as complex as his work.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nick Dixon to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the romantic nautical disaster flick “Adrift,” Ethan Hawke in “First Reformed” and the thought provoking “Black Cop.”
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 romantic nautical disaster flick “Adrift,” Ethan Hawke in “First Reformed” and the thought provoking “Black Cop.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the romantic nautical disaster flick “Adrift,” Ethan Hawke in “First Reformed” and the thought provoking “Black Cop.”
“Apocalypse Now,” offers up some life advice in the form of one salient quote about crossing lines and the point of no return. To paraphrase. “Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goshdarn right. Unless you’re going all the way.” In the case of “Adrift,” a new film starring Shailene Woodley, it might have been a good idea to never have gotten on the boat in the first place.
Based on the true story of Tami Oldham (Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin), two sailors who meet disaster on a journey across the Pacific from Tahiti to San Diego, “Adrift” is an adventure tale in search of dramatic tension.
When we first meet her Oldham is a twenty-four-year old on hiatus from real life. Struck with a case of wanderlust, she is metaphorically adrift, jumping from place to place with the goal of making enough money to get to the next port. When she meets experienced seadog Sharp she finds someone who can provide companionship on her travels.
“I’ve never met anyone like you,“ he says. “You’re like a bloke.“ “I’ve never met anyone like you,” she replies. “You’re like a woman.“ Cue the kisses.
The newly minted couple take a job to sail a luxury yacht across the ocean they immediately set off on their nautical adventure. All is well until they sail into a class four tropical storm that goes all “Poseidon Adventure” on the yacht. During the storm that Sharp is banged up, left with a broken leg and ribs. His survival is in her hands. The couple drift for forty-one days, exhausted, dehydrated, delirious and hallucinating but not dead. ‘If this hadn’t happened,” she says, “I wouldn’t have us to remember. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”
Flashing them backwards and forwards from their courtship, to the trip and the disaster, “Adrift” is choppier than the waves kicked up by the storm. The broken timeline shatters any kind of forward momentum. Just as a scene starts to build some heat director Baltasar Kormákur jumps around, skipping through time like a flat stone skimming along the water.
In his interpretation of the material director Kormákur seems intent on creating a new genre, the Young Adult Disaster Romance. The film leads up to the storm, an exciting-ish climax in a movie where nothing interesting happens until the final moments. The romance segments have a light feel, brightly coloured, set to bouncy music. They are cut, in sharp contrast, against the stark scenes of survival. Throughout Woodley and Claflin speak to one another in lines seemingly ripped from a Harlequin Romance Jr. “I sailed around the road to find you,” Richard coos. “I’m not letting you go.” “I just want to go everywhere with you,” she replies. How juvenile is it? It takes them 18 days at sea to discover the booze below deck. Any mature disaster artist would have found it in hours.
”Adrift” is meant to be a voyage of self-discovery but is a little more than a trip to the Young Adult section of the library. With little to no insight on the characters and uneven storytelling, for most of the running time “Adrift” is just that… adrift.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. At it’s very core Snowden, the story of Ed Snowden, an American computer wiz who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency to The Guardian, is about privacy, and how much of it you can expect to enjoy every time you turn on your computer or pick up your mobile phone. Learn more in the HoC conversations with director Oliver Stone and the film’s stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. C’mon in and sit a spell… but leave your cell phone in the microwave.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies the long awaited sequel to “The Blair Witch Project,” the biopic “Snowden,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the return of Renée Zellweger’s most famous character in “Bridget Jones’s Baby.”