Richard joins CP24 anchor Jee-Yun Lee to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the horror film “Us,” the romantic drama “The Aftermath,” the high tech tale of “The Hummingbird Project” and the indie “An Audience of Chairs.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Beverly Thomson to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “Us,” Jordon Peele’s follow-up to the Oscar winning “Get Out,” the melodramatic love story “The Aftermath,” the high tech drama of “The Hummingbird Project” and “An Audience of Chairs” starring Carolina Bartczak.
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 the horror film “Us,” Jordon Peele’s follow-up to the Oscar winning “Get Out,” the melodramatic love story “The Aftermath” and the high tech drama of “The Hummingbird Project.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the doppelgänger danger of “Us,” Jordon Peele’s follow-up to the Oscar winning “Get Out,” the melodramatic romance “The Aftermath,” the high tech drama of “The Hummingbird Project” and “An Audience of Chairs” starring Carolina Bartczak with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
Director Jordan Peele follows up the Oscar-winning success of his social thriller “Get Out” with a trip to the “Twilight Zone.” No, not his reboot of the famous anthology series (that will come to small screens later this year) but to a storyline he says was inspired by an episode of the Eisenhower-era show called “Mirror Image.”
According to Rod Serling’s original opening monologue when look-a-likes torment a young woman, “circumstances assault Millicent Barnes’s (played by “Psycho’s” Vera Miles) sense of reality and a chain of nightmares will put her sanity on a block.”
Peele updates the doppelgänger danger premise but also ups the horror elements to tell the story of a trip gone wrong for the Wilsons, overprotective mom Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), goofy dad Gabe (Winston Duke) and young kids Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex).
On vacation in Adelaide ‘s hometown of Santa Cruz, site of an upsetting incident when she was a child, the young mom is tormented the past. Her attempts to squash the unhappy memories have been unsuccessful and now she is troubled by the fear that something bad will happen to her family if they don’t pack up and head home. “I can’t be here,” she says. “It’s too much. I feel like there’s a black cloud hanging over me and I don’t feel quite like myself.”
Her worst nightmares come true when strange beings in red jumpsuits, carrying scissors, show up in their driveway. The really creepy part? They call themselves the Tethered because they look like each member of the Wilson family. When they invade the house, the horror is kicked up a notch or three. “They look exactly like us,’ says Adelaide. “They think like us. They know where we are. We need to move and keep moving. They won’t stop until they kill us… or we kill them.”
When the family first spies the mysterious family in the driveway Gabe puts on a brave face. “Let’s all stay calm,” he says. But this isn’t the kind of movie where people stay calm. Especially when feral shadow people with a grudge against anyone who grew up in the light are out for revenge. The Wilsons are a nice family confronted by something they could not imagine, let alone control. “How many of anybody are there going to be,” asks little Jason.
Peele proves, as if there was any doubt, that “Get Out” was not a fluke. He skilfully navigates “Us’s” story, establishing the Wilsons as a regular, likable family with a teen daughter prone to rolling her eyes and a father who’s always quick with a dad joke. When the going gets grim Peele uses ingenuity, humour, a creepy kid choral score and some very scary images to add life to what might have been a simple home invasion movie. From the opening scenes in a California carnival to an audaciously choreographed climax, Poole crafts a memorable horror film with a message.
For much of the film it’s the Wilsons against the world but soon the subtext sinks in. The Tethered aren’t exact replicas of the Wilsons, they are the Wilsons if they didn’t have advantages—education, money—and they are here to get what they think they deserve. It’s a gory take on class structure, on the chasm between rich and poor, between those with power and advantages and those without. It’s an outlandish story but the powerful message resonates in Trump era America.
“Us” is given it’s humanity by Nyong’o’s Adelaide. Even when she’s cracking heads with a fireplace poker she has compassion. She is by times a mom, a monster, a victim and the aggressor but never less than compelling. For too long women of colour have been dispensable in genre films. Nyong’o’s deft touch makes one hopeful for more colour-blind casting in the horror and fantasy genres, even if the overall tone of this film is one of hopelessness.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Us,” Jordon Peele’s follow-up to the Oscar winning “Get Out,” the melodramatic love story “The Aftermath,” the high tech drama of “The Hummingbird Project” and “An Audience of Chairs” starring Carolina Bartczak.
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 Wes Anderson’s animated political allegory “Isle of Dog,” Claire Foy as a woman trapped in a mental facility in “Unsane” and “Flower,” starring Zoey Deutch.
Max Winkler, director of the coming-of-age movie Flower, corrects me when I mention the film was shot in only 16 days.
“Fifteen-and-a-half days,” he says. “I would have done wonders with that extra half!”
Star Zoey Deutch chimes in. “It is not my job to go, ‘I don’t have enough time.’ My job is to figure out a way to make it work and service the story and the character. All I know is that what is important for a movie that shoots for 15-and-a-half days or for six months is preparation and what you bring to the table before the table is set. That is the most important element.”
Flower is a coming-of-age story in reverse. When we first meet the adolescent main character Erica, played by Deutch, she is already jaded by life. Her father is in jail and she is involved in a very dubious blackmail scheme to earn his bail money.
Over the course of time she regains her innocence, flip flopping the usual teen movie formula.
Winkler, the son of television icon Henry (The Fonz) Winkler, says the success of Flower is a testament to Deutch’s handling of the role.
“It is such a fine line to tread, to have that bravado but at the same time the intense vulnerability to know that she is really just doing this to cover up all this intense fear she has.”
The actress, best known for turns in Before I Fall and Why Him?, finds the qualities that make us feel for Erica. Do we care about Erica the blackmailer? Not particularly. But we can care about why she resorts to blackmail and that’s where Deutch shines.
“I was 20 when we shot this,” says Deutch, “which isn’t so far from 17 so I was able to pull and be inspired from my own experiences. … Erica is very frustrated by the world and she is very frustrating. I remember being frustrated and being frustrating to other people for sure.”
Deutch is winning raves for her work as the rebellious and sassy teen — The Wrap called her performance “truly exceptional” while The Playlist christened her as “charismatic, uber-magnetic” — but don’t ask her about her craft.
“The truth is, and the reason you can probably sense my hesitancy,” she says, “is that I find it really pretentious when actors talk about process. The way I talk about it sounds pretentious so I steer away from it. I would rather be self-deprecating than sound like overly precious about the whole thing.”
Flower is a coming-of-age story — in reverse.
She will say that the authenticity of the character came from research and conversation with her director and fellow cast members.
“I did a lot of reading,” she says, “everything from books about female teenage angst and struggle, like Reviving Ophelia. We were always talking about consent and how Erica always relies on her charms and never allows anyone else any semblance of control over her.”
Winkler and Deutch only spent 15-and-a-half days on set but have forged a mutual appreciation for society. “My greatest feeling about this movie is just how brilliant Zoey is in it,” Winkler says.
“There is something really special in pure entertainment,” says Deutch, “and I think Max made something super entertaining and super interesting and super different.”