Richard and “CP24 Breakfast” host Pooja Handa have a look at some special streaming opportunities and television shows to kill time over the weekend including the oddball Netflix series “Teenage Bounty Hunters,” the Jason Sudeikis sports Apple TV+ show “Ted Lasso,” the Ben Affleck drama “The Way Back” on Crave and “We Hunt Together,” the Showtime/BBC drama about a pair of killers on the loose in London.
Richard and CP24 anchor Cortney Heels have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Run This Town,” Pixar’s “Onward,” the social criticism of “Sorry We Missed You” and the sports drama “The Way Back.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including Pixar’s quest flick “Onward,” the sporty you-can-never-go-home-again story “The Way Back,” the social commentary of “Sorry We Missed You” and the ripped-from-the-headlines “Run This Town.”
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 Pixar’s newest, “Onward,” the new sports drama from Ben Affleck , “The Way Back” and the new social message movie “Sorry We Missed You.”
“The Way Back,” a new drama starring Ben Affleck, is a riff on the you-can-never-go-home-again story with a sports twist.
Affleck is Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball phenom who left a full scholarship at the University of Kansas on the table as he walked away from a promising career and into years of addiction. “I spent a lot of time hurting myself,” he says. “I made a lot of bad decisions. I got a lot of regrets.”
Cut to years later. Jack’s drinking—he starts the day with a beer in the shower—has cost him everything but when his alma mater recruits him to coach their basketball team he reluctantly agrees. “Is the team any good? he asks. “No,” he’s told. “In fact, the last time they made the playoffs, you were still playing.”
The team is in tatters, a laughing stock in the league but being back on the court gives Jack a renewed sense of being. “It keeps me busy,” he says. “Keeps my mind off other things.” As he molds the ragtag team into a force to be reckoned with, he discovers that the inspirational lessons he is teaching the kids—”The players decide the game!”—apply to his life as well.
“The Way Back” has the form of many other sports flicks—a new coach helps a failing team find their mojo—but this one digs deeper to focus on the characters rather than the rah rah of the sports. It’s “The Days of Wine and Rose” with basketball and a bleary eyed, beer-bellied and vulnerable Affleck at the center.
A quiet movie that tells the story of a man living in quiet desperation, “The Way Back” benefits greatly from Affleck’s raw but understated performance. Jack is damaged goods, a man wounded by life who subverts his pain by staring at the bottom of a pint glass. Director Gavin O’Connor gives Affleck nowhere to hide, shooting up-close-and-personal, and you can practically smell the beer breath as he shouts instructions at his players from the sidelines.
Rebuilding his life doesn’t come easily for Jack and the lack of easy life hacks, and a great central performance, elevates “The Way Back” above the run-of-the-mill sports drama.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the weekend’s biggest releases including Pixar’s newest, “Onward,” the new sports drama from Ben Affleck , “The Way Back” and the new social message movie “Sorry We Missed You.”
The first time I interviewed Saoirse Ronan she was fifteen years old and the veteran of six movies.
I had seen her in Atonement, where she played a Scottish teenager who accuses her sister’s boyfriend of a crime he didn’t commit. Next I saw her as the English daughter of a psychic who tries to con Harry Houdini in Death Defying Acts. Then came roles in the sci-fi City of Ember and The Lovely Bones both featuring flawless American accents.
I had always admired her performances and as I walked into the interview suite I congratulated her on the film.
“T’anks pure much,” she said with an Irish lilt that could charm the label off a bottle of Jameson Whiskey.
It was the first time I had heard her natural accent and confirmed what I already knew, that she was a chameleon with a propensity for accents that could give Meryl Streep a run for her money.
Since then she’s played everything from the title character in Hanna, a blonde, blue-eyed killing machine (with a German accent) to a spirited Polish orphan in The Way Back and an American girl injected with a parasitic extra-terrestrial soul in The Host.
This weekend in Brooklyn she drops the drawls to play an Irish girl who immigrates to New York in the 1950s. She’s 21 now and as one of the great faces in movies she can speak volumes with a look. Here, as a girl whose body is in Brooklyn but heart lies in Ireland, her melancholy and homesickness is so real you can reach out and touch it. Call her Little Meryl if you like, but there is no denying the power of her work.
So if you’re not familiar with Ronan, here’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Saoirse Ronan But Where Afraid to Ask.
How do you pronounce her name? Saoirse is an Irish or Scottish name meaning freedom roughly pronounced SEER-shə. “I get very confused about my name all the time,” she said in a recent sit-down. “Sometimes I look at it when I’m writing it down for people and I go, ‘This is actually a ridiculous spelling of a name.’”
In what part of Ireland was she born? Despite her Irish accent, she was actually born in The Bronx in 1994. “(My parents) went to New York in the ’80s. There was a really bad recession in Ireland at the time. A lot of young people went to New York because that’s our trek, that’s our journey. The Irish always go to New York or somewhere on the East Coast.” Monica Ronan and Paul Ronan lived in NY for eleven years in total, moving back to County Carlow, Ireland when Saoirse was three years old. “This film is more than just a really lovely movie to be involved in with great writers and a great character and all that. It’s my heritage.”
Can she beat me up? Probably. To play teenage assassin Hanna she studied knife fighting, stick fighting, martial arts and learned how to shoot a gun. She performed most of her own stunts in the film and says if she was ever offered the action-star role of James Bond she would happily accept. “That tux? I could totally rock it.”
That’s all the info we have space for today, but really the only thing you need to know about Ronan is that she is one of the best actors of her generation.
The Way Back, a new drama from Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World director Peter Weir, is a sprawling epic with a very personal focus. Set against the backdrop of war, inhumanity and an almost insurmountable challenge, it is about that most personal of things, survival.
Based on a controversial memoir written by Slavomir Rawicz, the film begins with Polish solider Janusz (Jim Sturgess) sent to a hellish Siberian gulag in 1941 on trumped up charges. Sentenced to ten years—a term he knows he won’t survive—he and a group of prisoners, including a grizzled American soldier (Ed Harris) and a violent Russian criminal (Colin Farrell) make a break for it. Their goal? Freedom. The obstacle? A 4000 kilometer walk through the harsh terrain of Mongolia, China and Tibet on the way to India and a new life. Along the way they pick up one more traveler, a young girl (Saoirse Ronan) whose camaraderie helps bond the ragtag band of escapees.
“The book was published in 1956 and called The Long Walk by Sławomir Rawicz,” Peter Weir said on a recent stop in Toronto to promote the movie. “There is no question from documents that later appeared after the fall of the Soviet Empire when KGB documents were briefly available, that yes, Rawicz had been in a gulag. But did he go on the walk or not? Question mark.
“So the first thing I said was, ‘I can’t do a true story called The Long Walk, but I can fictionalize it based on, or inspired by the book and based on true events if I can prove the walk actually happened.’ We got that proof and I felt comfortable going around the Rawicz question and not saying it’s his personal story.”
To add detail to his fictionalized tale Weir says he became deeply immersed in the subject.
“I became somewhat obsessed with it I think, even though I was fictionalizing it,” he says. “[I learned] through deep background reading, through accounts of those who had gone through the situation in one form or another, including Polish prisoners and soldiers who had been caught up, rather like my central character. I then interviewed survivors in Moscow and Siberia and in London and I just crammed as much as I could into the screenplay.”
Weir says that while he strove for absolute authenticity in the film, he had to temper the depiction of life in the gulag for the big screen.
“I did restrain myself from what I was finding in research. Obviously in the worst situations there was a commandant who was a sadist and there were, to a degree, worse situations. So I chose something that I felt was reasonably representative of a number of these hundreds of camps and gulags.”
At the heart of the film is Jim Sturgess as Janusz, the determined and kind-hearted leader of the escapees.
“I’d seen Jim Sturgess for the first time in Across the Universe and thought how well cast he was as a young Beatle as it were,” says Weir. “He has that kind of guilelessness and openness that I needed for my character.
“He’s one to watch. In my film firstly,” he laughs, “and in whatever else is coming up for him.”