I appear on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the theatrical release of “Amsterdam,” starring Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington, the period comedy “Catherine Called Birdy” and the Netflix docuseries “Eat the Rich: The Gamestop Saga.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the all-star “Amsterdam,” the period piece comedy “Catherine Called Birdy” and the kid’s flick “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the all-star “Amsterdam,” the period piece comedy “Catherine Called Birdy” and the kid’s flick “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile.”
I join NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the all-star “Amsterdam,” the period piece comedy “Catherine Called Birdy” and the kid’s flick “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile.”
Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to write the name Amsterdam three times! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the all-star “Amsterdam,” the period piece comedy “Catherine Called Birdy” and the kid’s flick “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile.”
“Amsterdam,” a quirky new film starring John David Washington, Margot Robbie and Christian Bale and now playing in theatres, is a convoluted story fueled by everything from fascism and birding to murder and music. If there ever was an example of a film that could have benefitted from the KISS rule, Keep It Simple Silly, this is it.
The madcap tale begins in 1933 New York City. WWI vet Dr. Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale), once a Park Avenue physician, he now runs a downtown clinic where he caters to the needs of soldiers who came back from the war broken and in pain.
When Berendsen and his best friend, fellow vet and lawyer Harold Woodsman (John David Washington), are hired by Liz Meekins (Taylor Swift), the daughter of their beloved commanding officer, to ascertain the cause of his death, they are drawn into a murder mystery involving secret organizations, ultra-rich industrialists and a crusty Marine played by Robert DeNiro.
In a flashback to the final days of WWI, we learn their backstory and meet Valerie (Margot Robbie), a nurse who treats their wounds, physically and mentally. As a trio, they swear allegiance to one another during an extended bohemian get-a-way in Amsterdam, a city that becomes a metaphor for freedom and friendship.
Reviewing “Amsterdam” stings. The production is first rate, from Academy Award nominated director David O. Russell, to the a-list cast to the ambitious script that attempts to link events of the past to today’s headlines. But, and this is what stings, the film is definitely less than the sum of its parts.
From the off-kilter tone, part screwball, part deadly serious, to the glacial pacing, which makes the already long two-hour-and-fifteen-minute running time seem much longer, and the script, which casts too wide a wide net in hope of catching something compelling, “Amsterdam” flails about, lost in its own ambition. This is the kind of story, it’s easy to imagine, the Coen Brothers could make look effortless, but Russell does not stick the landing.
He does, however, forward some lovely ideas about embracing kindness and the full experience of being alive, but even those are muddied by the inclusion of heavy-handed, and not particularly original, warnings about domestic terrorism and authoritarianism. Ideas get lost in a sea of exposition and narration, that not even these interesting actors can bring to life.
There may be an interesting story somewhere within “Amsterdam,” but it is hidden, lost in the movie’s epic ambitions.
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010 host 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 to talk about the big screen adaptation of the Broadway hit “Dear Evan Hansen,” the Melissa McCarthy dramedy “The Starling” and the Mark Wahlberg family drama “Joe Bell.”
There is a scene in “The Starling,” Melissa McCarthy’s maudlin new study of grief and ornithology, where a psychiatrist-turned-vet (that’s the kind of movie this is) tells Lilly (McCarthy), whose husband has spent almost a year in a psychiatric care home, that starlings “are different from other birds. They build a nest together. They’re just not meant to exist in the world alone, on their own.”
“That’s real subtle stuff,” she replies sarcastically but in truth, his remark is subtle compared to the rest of this well-meaning but ham-fisted movie.
Small town supermarket employee Lilly and her school teacher husband Jack (Chris O’Dowd) lives were changed when their baby daughter Kate passed away unexpectedly. Grief strikes each differently. Lilly looks forward, while Jack breaks down and checks into a mental health facility. Left alone, Lilly turns to tending her garden where a rogue starling attacks her every time she ventures outside.
Seeking guidance, she talks to Dr. Larry Fine (Kevin Kline) the psychiatrist-turned-vet reluctantly who councils her on grief and bird problems. As her relationship with the starling changes, so does Jack’s situation with his psychiatrist Dr. Manmohan (Ravi Kapoor) and the couple take steps toward reconciliation.
“The Starling” isn’t the first movie in recent memory to use a bird as a metaphor. “Penguin Bloom” covered similar territory last year and movies like “The Thin Red Line,” “Ladyhawke” and “Black Narcissus” have used birds as an emblem of freedom. It’s too bad that the CGI bird in “The Starling” doesn’t inspire the same kind of sense of wonder as it does in those other movies. As it is, the bird’s flitting and flirting only adds to the muddled feel of the story.
A strange mix of heartfelt drama and slapstick comedy, “The Starling” relies on very likable actors to try and bring a sense of balance to the material but not even McCarthy, Kline and O’Dowd can bend this mishmash of tones into a cohesive whole.