Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the final instalment of the Skywalker Saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the weirdest movie of the year, “Cats” and the ripped from the headlines drama “Bombshell,” starring Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Todd van der Heyden to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the end of the road for the Skywalker Saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the weirdest movie of the year, “Cats” and “Bombshell,” featuring Charlize Theron as Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Cats,” the weirdest movie of the year, the lightsaber action of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Bombshell,” the inside story of Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment suit against Roger Ailes.
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at the conclusion of everybody’s favourite space opera, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “Cats,” starring a collection of half human-half cat rejects from The Island of Dr. Moreau and “Bombshell,” the inside story of sexual harassment at Fox News.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the final instalment of the Skywalker Saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” and the weirdest movie of the year, “Cats.”
“Cats,” the mega-musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” has had nine lives.
Opening in London’s West End in 1981, it ran for 21 years and 8,949 performances, while the Broadway production ran for 18 years and 7,485 performances. It has played in over 30 countries in 15 languages and has been seen by more than 73 million people worldwide. The showstopping hit song “Memory” has been recorded by everyone from Liberace to Barbra Streisand. It is truly a show that always lands on its feet.
Oscar-winner director Tom Hooper puts out the litter box one more time in an all-star film that tells the tale of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles. The all-star cast, including James Corden, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift and Rebel Wilson, hidden under layers of CGI fur and whiskers, spend one-night singing and dancing as Old Deuteronomy (Dench) makes the Jellicle Choice to decide which cat will be sent to the Heaviside and reborn into a new life. The film version, with dialogue that links many of the tunes, does a better job of expressing the story but perhaps it’s best to remember that Lloyd Webber said to Hal Prince when he asked the composer if “Cats” was a political metaphor. “Are those cats Queen Victoria, Gladstone and Disraeli?’ the Broadway legend wondered. “Hal,” the composer replied, “this is just about cats.”
Let’s not pussyfoot around. “Cats” will go down in history as the weirdest studio movie of 2019. With actors who appear to have been put through the full-body Snapchat cat filter, a Ziegfeld Follies style chorus line of dancing cockroaches and felines with human hands and feet like rejects from “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” you’ll wonder if the theatre popcorn is laced with cat nip.
It’s an example of spectacle over substance. The songs are catchy, the cats swing and sway in a manner that would make Cirque du Soleil envious, but the story, such that it is, is still simply a collection of show tunes bound by theme but unconcerned with the niceties of plotting. In other words, instead of a story “Cats” is essentially a cluster of songs of introduction based on a weird, plotless collection of Eliot’s poems.
Where director Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables” worked to downplay the musical’s theatricality, “Cats” embraces it, allowing the felines to slink about the set, part ballet, part pantomime, part cat in heart. It’s big and silly, but unfortunately the high-tech veneer of the CGI costumes and sets erases much of the charm present in the more modest stage versions. One of the movie’s highlights is one stripped of (almost) all artifice. Dame Judy stares down the camera to deliver a playful “The Ad-dressing of Cats,” which has the kind of simple, absurd fun the rest of the film lacks.
There are other not-so-bad moments. Laurie Davidson’s “The Magical Mr. Mistoffelees” has a touch of, well, magic and Taylor Swift sashays convincingly through Bombalurina’s number but while the cast works hard to sell the material but the film is so unrestrained, so in search of meaning in a story that offers up religious resurrection metaphors but not much else, that I suspect audiences will make the Jellicle Choice and go see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” instead.
Mr. Holmes” stars Sir Ian McKellen as the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, but the game that’s afoot isn’t so much a mystery as it is a revelation. “It is my business to know what other people don’t know,” Holmes said in “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.” Here, he discovers something many people know, but was unknown to him.
Set in May, 1947 Holmes is a lion in winter. The once great detective is 93 years old, retired for many decades after a case went awry and drove him out of the business. He’s in self imposed exile, living in the country far from 221B Baker Street, accompanied only by his stern housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her young son Roger (Milo Parker).
As his memory fades he tries to piece together the true story of his last case, not the embellished version made popular by his former associate Dr. John Watson. “I told Watson if I ever write a story myself it will be correct the million misconceptions created by his writing.”
Told in flashbacks between the present and a recent trip to Japan—to collect some Prickly Ash, a rumoured remedy for senility—coupled with the fragmented memories of his last case in 1919, Holmes comes to the startling realization that human nature is not a mystery that logic alone can unravel.
There are no hounds, very few deerstalker hats and his signature pipe is nowhere to be seen. Arthur Conan Doyle’s character, the way we’re used to seeing him, is gone save for a glint in McKellen’s eye. “Mr. Holmes” is a contemplative movie about aging, friendship and human frailty.
As the title would suggest, this is a character study and McKellen makes the most of the opportunity to play the man at various times in his life. From the sharp edged Holmes in the flashbacks to the diminished detective in Japan to the reflective, frustrated and struggling man in later years, he fits them together like pieces of a jigsaw to form a whole. It’s a tour de force performance—actually three—that provides the fireworks in what is otherwise a deliberately paced story.
Director Bill Condon, reteaming with McKellen for a second time after “Gods and Monsters,” once again presents a radically rethought story of a man’s life. While a bit more drama would have been welcome, there is not mystery why the reflective nature of the material and McKellen’s graceful work are so appealing.