Posts Tagged ‘Spy’


Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 4.00.21 PMRichard sits in with NewsTalk 1010’s Jerry Agar to discuss “Ghostbusters” and the curious reaction to the film. (Starts at 25:03)







Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 2.28.29 PMRichard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s four big releases, “Ghostbusters,” the new Kristen Stewart sci fi flick “Equals,” “Captain Fantastic,” starring Viggo Mortensen and the new Canadian horror film “The Dark Stranger.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.06.26 AMRichard sits in with Marcia McMillan to discuss the most controversial movie of the week, “Ghostbusters,” starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Lesley Jones and Kate McKinnon.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Metro In Focus: Ghostbusters and Why Melissa McCarthy is Paul Feig’s muse

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 4.53.48 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Consider the muse.

Alfred Hitchcock made three of his greatest films with Grace Kelly and tried to lure her back to the big screen long after she retired. Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have a seemingly unbreakable cinematic bond and the world of movies would be far less interesting if Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski had never met. John Ford and John Wayne inspired one another to do their best work and Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s shared eccentricities gave us unforgettable nights at the multiplex.

Muses inspire their directors to aspire to new heights, to push the limits of their creativity.

Add another to the list: Melissa McCarthy.

Over the course of four films — including this weekend’s Ghostbusters — she has upped director Paul Feig’s game and in turn he gave her the roles that broke her out of the TV sidekick treadmill and turned her into a big screen star. “It’s not even like we go, ‘We’ve got to do the next movie together,’” Feig says.

“It’s just that suddenly the next movie will pop up and I’m like, ‘You know who would be great for this?’ So it’s funny that people think we have an agenda to keep doing this.”

Agenda or not, their creative chemistry is undeniable.

Feig describes McCarthy’s audition for the first film they made together, Bridesmaids, as a “religious moment.” She was less sure.

“The whole ride home from the audition,” she says, “I was thinking, ‘I got too weird. Should I turn the car around and do that cheesy actor thing of I can do it better! Give me another shot!’”

The director cast her in the scene-stealing role of Megan — imagine a feral, female Guy Fieri — and it was her flashpoint.

Her wonderfully weird performance, complete with sexual hijinks and an explosive bout of diarrhea —“It’s coming out of me like lava!” — stole the show out from under other, better-known stars like Kristen Wiig — and earned her an Oscar nomination.

Next up for the dynamic duo was The Heat, an odd couple, buddy cop movie set in Boston co-starring Sandra Bullock.

McCarthy plays a tough-talking street cop who forms an unlikely alliance with the uptight Sandra Bullock to bring down a murderous drug dealer.

The role riffed on McCarthy’s signature character, the aggressive but damaged comedic persona. “I’ve played a lot of characters who are very vocal, very aggressive,” she told me in 2014.

“For the women I’ve played there is a reason why they are so ballsy and it is nice when you see the crack in the veneer and you realize, ‘It’s part of their insecurity. They stay loud so nobody yells at them.’”

Feig knows when to let McCarthy off the leash — there are some wild slapstick scenes here — but he also knows when to pull her back and let the script do the work.

This week McCarthy headlines Feig’s all-female Ghostbusters reboot alongside Bridesmaids co-star Kristen Wiig.
Will that be their final collaboration? Don’t count on it.

Feig is reportedly writing a Spy sequel as we speak.

“She’s so good,” he says, “and we just really have the same sense of humour.”


GHOSTBUSTERS: 3 STARS. “save room on your shelf for new ‘Ghostbusters’ figurines.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 4.47.30 PMEveryone can relax.

Director Paul Fieg and Company are not the Ruiners of Your Childhood. Your youthful “Ghostbusters” memories are alive and well, in your head, in your DVD drawer or digital download file folder. Ghostbros, upset their 1984 favourite is being rebooted with an all female cast, flooded the internet with low-to-no star reviews. As it turns out, the time they spent trying to torpedo a movie they had not yet seen, might have been better spent making room on their basement shelves for the new “Ghostbusters” figurines. Feig hasn’t desecrated a classic, he has added a new chapter, creating a light and fluffy concoction that moves the franchise into the future while paying homage to the past.

When we first meet Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) she’s a professor at Columbia trying to hide her past as a paranormal investigator. When a ghost-hunting book she co-wrote with Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) comes to light she is let go. Like Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler before her, she leaves academia and becomes a professional New York City ghostbuster alongside Abby, proton pack engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and former subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones).

After making a name for themselves they uncover a major plot hatched by hotel janitor Rowan North (Neil Casey). Upset his genius has been ignored by the world, he plans on unleashing an army of undead to come back and “pester the world” in an event he calls the Fourth Cataclysm. He has created a vortex that will allow whatever it is on that plane to come crashing down on this plane and flood New York City with ghosts. By the climax the movie dissolves into regular summertime C.G.I. tomfoolery as the Ghostbusters battle spirits in Times Square.

There is a sense of déjà vu hanging heavy over “Ghostbusters.” The new film doesn’t continue the original story, it reboots it, taking us back to the origins of the group. In other words, it’s a lot like the 1984 movie. From class four semi-anchored entities and proton streams to cameos from Slimer, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie “Ghostbusters, whaddaya want?” Potts plus a glimpse of a Harold Ramis statue, the movie feels familiar but has been freshened up.

The cast doesn’t try to imitate Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis and Hudson. The new characters are just that, new creations plunked down into an existing world.

McCarthy and Wiig, reteamed for the first time since “Bridesmaids,” are solid and Jones is a formidable presence but most interesting is McKinnon as engineering nerd Holtzmann. She is unapologetically weird, as strange as her unruly asymmetrical haircut and a glorious addition to the “Ghostbusters” family.

Also welcome is Chris Hemsworth as the dippy receptionist who doesn’t have glass in his eyeglasses and says things like, “An aquarium is a submarine for fish.” He’s a walking non sequitur and very funny.

Like the old Abbott and Costello horror comedies, “Ghostbusters” doesn’t have any real scares but it will make you laugh. The script, co-written by Feig and “Parks and Recreation” writer Katie Dippold, is funny, if not exactly in a slap the knee kind of way, then in a slow boil constant giggle respect. Is it an out-of-this-world hit like Feig’s “Bridesmaids” or “Spy”? No. It occasionally suffers from a weird rhythm where scenes end suddenly and at least one of the cameos feels wedged in, but the overall effect is one of a respectful resurrection of a beloved franchise.

Best of all, it is self-aware. Reading on-line comments Erin comes across one that reads, “Ain’t no bitches going to hunt no ghosts.” Later Abby says, “Don’t read what crazy people write in the middle of the night online.” Are you listening Ghostbros?

Metro Canada In Focus: Dreaming the same dream at the movies.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 7.58.44 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

The summer movie season began amid doom and gloom. I don’t mean George Miller’s filling screens with his dystopian vision of the future in Mad Max: Fury Road or the career ending fallout from the Sony hack. No, I mean the sky-is-falling predictions that circulated about the movie business.

Box office is down! No one goes to the movies anymore! And best of all: Movies are dead!

To paraphrase Mark Twain, I’m happy to say the reports of the death of cinema have been greatly exaggerated. The summer box office of 2015 will go down in the record books as the second-biggest in history with almost seven billion dollars generated by Minions, Ant-Man, Mad Max, dinosaurs and a sad little girl named Riley.

Superheroes helped put bums in seats, but 2015 won’t be remembered as the Year of Ultron. Now that the summer silly season is over, a definite trend toward female-driven movies like Trainwreck, Pitch Perfect 2 and Spy showed that, as Amy Schumer told me, Hollywood has finally realized “our money works, too. Our banks also accept the female dollar.”

But it wasn’t just women going to the movies. With Jurassic World pulling in 1.6 billion samolians worldwide, it seems everyone put down the remote and went to the cinema.

We didn’t rush out to everything — cash grabs like Ted 2 and Terminator: Genisys flopped — but the naysayers, the folks who, in January, were declaring movies to be a thing of the past, an old outmoded form of entertainment in the digital age, missed the point.

People flocked to the movies in huge numbers this summer, filling seats and studio bank accounts, not simply to sit in air conditioning for a few hours as relief from the summer heat or to dine out on popcorn and Twizzlers, but to engage in an age-old ritual.

Of course, you can watch movies at home or on your phone. New technology has made it easier than ever to enjoy a film from the comfort of your coach on a 60-inch screen with surround sound and healthy, homemade snacks, but no matter what set-up you may have in your living room, the thing missing is the ancient practice of sharing entertainment with a large group of strangers. It’s a primal thing, hard-wired into our DNA, that dates back to when tribes of cave dwellers would sit around fires and tell stories through to the Globe Theatre, vaudeville, the talkies and right up to today’s IMAX and AUX screenings.

People have gathered to be entertained since there were tales to be told because there is no better way to enjoy the storytelling experience than surrounded by strangers who are laughing, crying, gasping— whatever — in response to a shared event.

No matter how large your TV or comfortable your sofa, home viewing misses the magical element of community. In the theatre you’re getting the sound and the picture the director intended, but more than that the experience brings people together, inspires conversation, respect and triggers actual physical interaction with others. Try that as you stream a movie on your iPhone.

Of course, as in any other community there are a few troublemakers — texters, seat kickers — but I spend more time in theatres than most and find the pros far outweigh any negatives.

In the era of home entertainment the idea of going to the movies may sound old fashioned or quaint but I like the way English novelist Angela Carter described watching a film in a theatre. She called it “dreaming the same dream in unison” and that, for me will never go out of style.




Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 2.35.00 PMRichard’s CP24 reviews for “Spy,” “Entourage,” “Hungry Hearts” and “Insidious: Chapter 3.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 2.38.03 PMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “Spy,” “Entourage” and “Hungry Hearts.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Metro In Focus: I Spy another Melissa McCarthy blockbuster

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 3.48.18 PMBy Richard Crouse

I used to find Melissa McCarthy frustrating.

Director Paul Feig calls her “one of the funniest people in the world.” Her husband, actor Ben Falcone, says she “will do anything to get a laugh” but her tendency to go for the easy gag often put me in the mind of Will Ferrell in his Blades of Glory nadir.

Thanks to a string of hits like Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, The Heat and Tammy and an $809,163,263 box office total, McCarthy is a rarity in Hollywood, a female comedy superstar. Everyone agrees she is a skilled comic actor who amplifies the funny in good movies and elevates the jokes in lesser scripts but the latter is why I used to find her exasperating. Much of her recent work—this weekend’s very funny Spy notwithstanding—has relied on her major personality to magnify minor material.

There’s no arguing with the kind of financial success she has enjoyed but critical accolades have been elusive. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, said of Tammy, “The movie’s principal intention is to make you laugh at a loser, and revel in scenes from which polite people would instinctively turn away.”

Bridesmaids was her flashpoint, the film that broke her out of the TV sidekick treadmill. As Megan—imagine a feral, female Guy Fieri—she stole the show out from under other, better known stars like Kristen Wiig and earned an Oscar nomination. It’s a wonderful, weird performance that hinted at great things to come but aside from a few inspired moments she has not made good on the promise of Bridesmaids. Her work has come to rely too heavily on a stock character, the obnoxious loser with a heart of gold buried beneath a thick shell of one-liners and non sequiturs.

“I’ve played a lot of characters who are very vocal, very aggressive,” she told me in 2014. “For the women I’ve played there is a reason why they are so ballsy and it is nice when you see the crack in the veneer and you realize, ‘It’s part of their insecurity. They stay loud so nobody yells at them.’”

It’s an interesting character breakdown but one that played itself out by the end of 2013’s Identity Thief when I believe she became infected with Will Ferrell disease.

There was a time when Will Ferrell could do no wrong. At least that’s what the directors of Blades of Glory, Land of the Lost and Semi-Pro thought. Popular with audiences, he was allowed to run riot in a series of so-so films resulting in the bleak middle period of his career where manic energy replaced humor in his films.

McCarthy suffers from the same affliction. She is funny, she knows how to deliver a line, but in Identity Thief, The Heat and Tammy she’s off the chain, Ferrelling her way through underwritten scripts.

Ferrell turned things around and so has McCarthy. In St. Vincent she took a step away from her well-established comedic persona to deliver laughs and show her dramatic range.

Her latest film, Spy is also welcome return to form. Paired once again with director Feig, the movie offers up the best of both worlds, a funny, smart script and a director who knows how to maximize her talents. As Susan Cooper, a CIA computer-analyst-turned-international-field-agent-on-a-mission-of-revenge, she’s likeable, funny and most importantly, reigned in.