Posts Tagged ‘The Color Purple’


I appear on “CTV News at 6” to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. I’ll tell you about the musical “The Color Purple,” the zippy “Ferrari,” the drama “The Boys in the Boat,” the Marvel animated series “What If…?” and the spy drama “Slow Horses.”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 40:16)


Fast reviews for busy people! Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to strum a guitar! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the musical “The Color Purple,” the zippy “Ferrari” and the drama “The Boys in the Boat.”

Watcxh the whole thing HERE!


I join CTV NewsChannel anchor Roger Peterson to talk about the musical “The Color Purple,” the zippy “Ferrari” and the drama “The Boys in the Boat.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Andrew Pinsent to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the musical “The Color Purple,” the zippy “Ferrari” and the drama “The Boys in the Boat.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


THE COLOR PURPLE: 4 STARS. “sure to entertain and inspire in equal measure.”

The glitzy new musical version of “The Color Purple” maintains the talking points of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and Stephen Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated film adaptation, but adds in a touch of old Hollywood glamor and rousing gospel, blues and jazz songs.

Set in Jim Crow era rural Georgia, Fantasia Barrino reprises her role from the Broadway stage to play Celie Harris, a timid young woman whose life is marred abuse and separation from loved ones. Impregnated by her father when she was just a teen, her baby is given away. Later, when she is shipped off to live with the abusive Albert Johnson (Colman Domingo), a man she is forced to call “Mister,” she is disconnected from her beloved sister Nettie (Ciara).

The cruel and overbearing Mister tells his terrified wife she’ll never see her sister again and blocks any communication between the two. “Whatever I say, go,” he tells her.

Isolated from everything she has ever known, she perseveres through strength of will, the power of imagination and the friendship of the indomitable Sofia (Danielle Brooks) and flamboyant blues chanteuse Shug Avery (Taraji P. Henson).

Reimagined as a period drama with a healthy dose of magic realism, the new “The Color Purple” is a journey of self-discovery and triumph over adversity as Celie opts to take agency over her life and not be a docile victim. Despite her trauma, she has an eye to the future, hope and, above all, resilience.

Barrino plays Celie as soft-spoken, allowing the songs, like the moving “Superpower,” to stand out, fuelled by cathartic, powerhouse performances. The role is a weighty one, a stand-in for the evolution of many marginalized people, but this version of “The Color Purple” is an emotional Broadway-style crowd pleaser that turns Celie’s ordeal into a journey of empowerment.

The addition of musical weaves joy into the story.

Director Blitz Bazawule allows Celie’s flights of imagination to temper the story’s built-in oppressive tone. The film’s opening scene, featuring Mister playing banjo, while his horse’s hoof clomps keep time, is subtle, while a scene in which Shug, (a terrific Henson), takes Celie to the movies, becomes a luscious Art Deco fantasy reimagination of the song “What About Love?” It is lavish and lovely.

In terms of staging, one show stopping scene sees Celie sing to Shug while perched atop of spinning gramophone record. It’s a blast of old-school Hollywood glamour that cleverly demonstrates Celie’s use of imagination as a coping mechanism.

This isn’t the “The Color Purple” of old. Boldly stylized, it embraces humor, music, imagination and leaves some space for Mister’s redemption and a slightly more explicit depiction of the relationship between Celie and Shug than in the previous film version. More than anything, though, it is a tuneful, joyful journey from powerless to empowered, from heartbroken to healed that is sure to entertain and inspire in equal measure.

Metro In Focus: Spielberg’s skill in listening is what sets him apart.

By Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

You don’t have to overtax the Google machine to find negative comments about being on set with Steven Spielberg. Type in “working with Steven Spielberg” and in 0.57 seconds 20,900,000 results appear, including an article where Shia LaBeouf rants, “He’s less a director than he is a f—ing company.”

LaBeouf’s resume is dotted with Spielberg-produced or -directed films like Disturbia, Transformers, Eagle Eye and, most famously, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but if Spielberg ever does the same search it’s unlikely they’ll ever pair up again. “You get there, and you realize you’re not meeting the Spielberg you dream of,” LaBeouf told Variety. “You’re meeting a different Spielberg, who is in a different stage in his career.”

But that’s pretty much it for the negativity. There’s a story about Crispin Glover suing Spielberg for using his likeness in Back to the Future Part II and the critical drone that his films are overly sentimental, but primarily it’s LaBeouf against Spielberg and the world. Most of his other co-workers have nothing but praise for the filmmaker Empire magazine ranked as the greatest film director of all time.

This weekend he returns to theatres with Ready Player One, a sci-fi film that brings a virtual reality world called the OASIS to vivid life. Star Tye Sheridan calls the director a great and passionate collaborator who makes everyone feel equal on set. Co-star Ralph Ineson calls Spielberg “one of the most iconic figures of the last 100 years,” adding that it was difficult to takes notes from him on set. “When he is speaking to you your mind vaguely goes blank the first few times because your internal monologue just goes, ‘My god, Steven Spielberg is giving me a note.’ And then you realize you haven’t actually heard the note.”

All directors give suggestions on set, but it seems it’s the way Spielberg speaks to his actors that sets him apart.

Ed Burns remembers making a mess of several takes on the set of Saving Private Ryan to the point where Tom Hanks said to him, “I’ve seen you act before, and this isn’t acting.” Afraid he would be replaced, he got nervous and continued to blow take after take but Spielberg didn’t offer guidance. Two weeks passed. The cast started laying bets on who would be fired first.

Turns out, no one was fired and Burns learned a lesson he would later take into his own directorial efforts like Sidewalks of New York. The actor reports that Spielberg said, “I like to give my actors three takes to figure it out. If I step in after the first take and give you a note, especially with young actors, you’ll hear me rather than your own voice.”

Burns calls the experience “a life changer” adding it taught him that being a director is “about knowing when to give direction.”

The superstar director says the listening lesson was learned early in life.  “From a very young age my parents taught me probably the most valuable lesson of my life: Sometimes it’s better not to talk, but to listen.”

There’s someone else Spielberg keeps in mind when making a film. “I always like to think of the audience when I am directing. Because I am the audience.”

Richard and Whoopi Goldberg on-stage at The Banff Centre

B-cz5NRCEAAUxi3On Saturday February 21 Richard hosted an Edwards Family Legendary Leaders Event at The Banff Centre’s Eric Harvie Theatre with Whoopi Goldberg. She is one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy (“Whoopi Goldberg,” 1985), the Academy Award (“Ghost,” 1991), the Golden Globe (“The Color Purple,” 1985 and “Ghost,” 1991), the Emmy (as host of AMC’s “Beyond Tara:  The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel,” 2002 and a Daytime Emmy for “The View” in 2009) and a Tony (Producer of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” 2002).  She is equally well-known for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of children, the homeless, human rights, education, substance abuse and the battle against AIDS, as well as many other causes and charities.  Among her many charitable activities, Whoopi is a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations.

The lively conversation lasted for 90 minutes and covered everything from Goldberg’s early life to finding success on stage with The Spook Show to Hollywood to getting an ill-advised Brazilian wax.

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