Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week we have a look at the Maggie Q revenge thriller “The Protégé,” the Rebecca Hall horror film “The Night House” and the relationship drama written, directed and starring Billie Piper.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the Maggie Q revenge thriller “The Protégé,” the Rebecca Hall horror film “The Night House” and the relationship drama written, directed and starring Billie Piper.
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 the Maggie Q revenge thriller “The Protégé,” the Rebecca Hall horror film “The Night House” and the relationship drama written, directed and starring Billie Piper.
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about the Michael Keaton’s assassin story “The Protégé,” Rebecca Hall’s haunted house horror “The Night House” and the surreal relationship drama “Rare Beasts.”
“The Night House,” a new thriller starring Rebecca Hall and now playing in theatres, explores the psychological damage left behind after tragedy and secrets tear a couple apart.
When we first meet upstate New York high school teacher Beth (Hall) she is lost in grief in the aftermath of her husband Owen’s (Evan Jonigkeit) sudden death. She’s angry, self-medicating with alcohol to dull the pain.
At night, alone in the beautiful lake house he built for them, she is tormented by ghostly visions. Bloody footprints appear, the stereo snaps on by itself to play “their song” and there are loud knocks at the door, but when she opens the door, there’s nobody there. During the daylight hours, she’s left with her grief and a nagging sense that Owen left behind as many secrets as he did memories.
Her friend Claire (Sarah Goldberg) and neighbour Mel (Vondie Curtis-Hall) offer support, but the horrifying visions and aural experiences continue, pushing her to the edge. As she packs up his things, clothes, books, the compiled ephemera of a life, she uncovers evidence that Owen had a hidden life involving the occult and a number of women who look remarkably like Beth.
“The Night House” is a gothic psychological horror film anchored by Hall’s remarkable performance. She turns the idea of the grieving widow on its head, playing Beth as indignant and unsympathetic. As she cycles through the stages of grief, focusing on the anger, it’s gut wrenching. An early scene with the mother of one of her students complaining about her son’s poor grade is brutal in its honesty laid bare. She is an open wound and Hall commits to the edgier aspects of the character, allowing the viewer a window into Beth’s world.
Director David Bruckner builds plenty of atmosphere and a sense of the strange that keeps the off-kilter story afloat despite the script’s leaps of logic. As Beth’s inner turmoil escalates the story adds in too many elements that don’t go anywhere like a second house in the woods and Beth’s doppelganger. As the script becomes more and more convoluted the intensity built in the film’s first half dissipates.
“The Night House” is a provocative look at grief with a great lead performance but is undone by a drawn-out approach to the story.
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 Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns,” Natalie Portman in “Vox Lux” and Jason Mamoa as the underwater monarch “Aquaman.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Lois Lee to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ness of “Mary Poppins Returns,” the Transformers prequel “Bumblebee,” the underwater adventures of “Aquaman” and Natalie Portman as a pop star in “Vox Lux.”
“Vox Lux” sees Natalie Portman play a pop idol in a film that aims to expose popular culture’s obsession with false idols.
The film begins on a sombre note. An early morning drive through winding streets ends at a high school. Shots ring out. Panicked kids slip and slide on bloody footprints in the hall. One student, 13-year-old Celeste (Raffey Cassidy), tries to reason with the shooter, asking him to pray with her. Her efforts are rewarded with a gunshot to the neck, leaving her with a bullet permanently lodged in her spine. Later, at a memorial for the fallen students, Celeste and sister Eleanor (Stacy Martin) perform a self-penned tribute song. A video of the tune goes viral, attracts the attention of a fast-talking manager (Jude Law) and earns Celeste a record deal. A quick tweak to the tune’s lyrics, the manager changes the “my” to “we,” and the song becomes an anthem for the nation, an expression of shared grief. She’s a pop superstar. “I don’t want people to think too hard,” she says. “I just want them to feel good.”
Jump forward 17 years. Celeste is now 31-years-old, still a glitter-covered pop star but now an alcoholic and mother to Albertine (Raffey Cassidy, again). Another shooting rocks her world, this time on a beach in Croatia. Terrorists, wearing masks similar to ones seen in one of the singer’s videos, attack and murder dozens of innocent people. Not responsible but certainly implicated in the violence, Celeste barely responds. She’s more concerned with her homecoming concert in Staten Island and ranting about the minutia of her life. She’s gone from the girl next door who survived tragedy to jaded celebrity teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown.
“Vox Lux” feels like two movies. The first half is a textured examination of pop music’s place as a chronicle and catalyst of societal mores. Two terrible events, a school shooting and 9/11 frame Celeste’s rise to fame. Director Brady Corbet considers how tragedy has helped shape much of recent pop culture; how stars like Celeste have become symbols of those tragedies and the receptacles of the public’s need for comfort and catharsis. It’s powerful, if a little obtuse, stuff.
Portman anchors the second half in a broad performance. Covered in PVC and glitter she has more hard edges than her younger self. She’s more closed off, more superficial more concerned about how the press are speaking to her on a junket than the shooting on the other side of the world. It’s a detailed portrait of what happens when people breath rarefied air and aren’t the person the public thinks they are, but it isn’t as interesting as the film’s first hour.
A stand-out in both halves is Law as the aggressive manager. Law has morphed very comfortably into character roles and brings just the right mix of obsequiousness and grit to play the kind of guy who can toss off insider showbiz lines like, “She couldn’t sell a life jacket to Natalie Wood.“
Ultimately, while interesting, as a look at celebrity culture the last half of “Vox Lux” is as auto-tuned as the songs the Celeste sings at the end of the film.