Posts Tagged ‘Titanic’


Check out the new Cineplex newsletter at Richard writes about the 2oth anniversary of one of the most popular movies of all time.

“These days Hollywood routinely thinks in terms of billion dollar grosses. That’s billion with a b. In 2016 the movie biz broke records, raking in north of $11.4 billion and in the last two years eight movies have cracked the billion-dollar threshold.

“In 1990s, however, those numbers were a rarity. Jurassic Park stomped all over its competition in 1993 but it took the story of a sinking ship to float to the very top of the box office. For a good chunk of the Clinton years (Bill, not Hillary) Titanic, James Cameron’s lush romance-disaster, celebrating its twentieth birthday at Cineplex in February, was, as Empire noted, “the planet’s favourite film…” Read the whole thing HERE!

Cineplex celebrates James Cameron’s Titanic 20th Anniversary!

Richard’s look back at “Titanic” from “These days Hollywood routinely thinks in terms of billion dollar grosses. That’s billion with a b. In 2016 the movie biz broke records, raking in north of $11.4 billion and in the last two years eight movies have cracked the billion-dollar threshold.

“In 1990s, however, those numbers were a rarity. Jurassic Park stomped all over its competition in 1993 but it took the story of a sinking ship to float to the very top of the box office. For a good chunk of the Clinton years (Bill, not Hillary) Titanic, James Cameron’s lush romance-disaster, celebrating its twentieth birthday at Cineplex in February, was, as Empire noted, “the planet’s favourite film…” Read the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 1.42.28 PMWelcome to the House of Crouse. This week we dig into the vault to chat with James Cameron. The Avatar director has just announced he will make four Avataronian sequels and shoot them all at the same time. In this conversation from 2010 Cameron discusses making the original film, “I’ll be back,” and much more.





Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence & onscreen couples who fizzle in reel life

00_05_scene_serenarichard_md_lizBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence first paired off in Silver Linings Playbook — he was a divorced substitute teacher, jailed for beating his wife’s boyfriend half to death; she was a troubled widow who needed his help to win a dance competition — and sparks flew.

Next they shared scenes, but no romance, in American Hustle. And, this weekend, they make it a trifecta with the release of Serena. Based on the novel by Ron Rash, Cooper and Lawrence play husband and wife lumber barons whose marriage becomes strained after she suffers a miscarriage. Despite having shared love scenes in movies, Cooper says they have kept the romance onscreen.

“I mean, first of all, I could be her father,” he says.

The re-teaming of Cooper and Lawrence in Serena proves that lightning does not always strike thrice.

The “it” couple had chemistry to burn in their previous pairings but fail to set off sparks here. As George and Serena they are ruthless and selfish, which should be the stuff of interesting characters, but the story throws so many hurdles their way that eventually it becomes one big, boring blur.

Some onscreen couples, however, have managed to keep the flame alive through several films.

After a 16-year separation, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan — the pre-eminent cinema sweethearts of the 1990s — will reunite in the World War II drama Ithaca.

The three rom coms that made them superstars, Joe Versus the Volcano, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, were fuelled by the platonic chemistry they share in real life.

“He makes me feel less alone,” says Ryan.

Kate Winslet and co-star Leonardo DiCaprio are so close in real life that her children refer to him as Uncle Leo. As Titanic’s star-crossed lovers Jack and Rose, they defined romantic tragedy for a whole generation before recoupling 11 years later in the feel-bad love story Revolutionary Road.

Despite what fans thought, their friendship never turned romantic off-screen. “He always saw me as one of the boys,” said Kate.

Despite falling in love over and over again in movies like The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates and Blended, Drew Barrymore says she and Adam Sandler have exchanged nothing more than a “church kiss.”

“That’s probably why we’ve been able to stick together all these years,” she says, “because there never was that awkward moment.”

The lesson learned is that chemistry off-screen often leads to good results on the screen, but not always. Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe fogged up the lens in Some Like It Hot, but reportedly did not like one another.

“It was like kissing Hitler,” said Curtis.

INTO THE STORM: 1 STAR. “a disaster movie that is a disaster of a film.”

5d50bb50-fe44-11e3-85e8-4bca6cca68cc_into-the-stormAn exercise in “found footage” handheld camera technique, “Into the Storm’s” story is almost as shaky as its visuals.

Playing like a cross between “Twister,” “Wizard of Oz” and “The Blair Witch Project,” the story is set in Silverton, a small Midwestern American town besieged by tornadoes. In just one twenty-four hour span deadly twisters rip through the town, sending sensible citizens rushing for cover while a storm chasing documentary crew led by director Pete (“Veep’s” Matt Walsh) and meteorologist Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies of “The Walking Dead”) rush headlong into the cyclone to get some up-close-and-personal footage. Meanwhile Gary (Richard Armitage) and son (Nathan Kress) are on the hunt for their son/brother Donnie (Max Deacon) who went missing when the storm started.

Director Steven Quale was the visual effects supervisor on “The Abyss,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “True Lies,” “Titanic” and “Avatar,” so the guy knows how to stage an action scene. It’s the other stuff he has trouble with.  When the wind isn’t tearing the town apart it’s as if Quale doesn’t know what to do with the characters or the story.

To kill time between the wild wind storms the characters tell you what is about to happen—“Oh [crap],” says Allison, “it’s headed for the school!”—and talk about shooting anything that movies. “I can’t stop filming or I’ll be fired!” says cameraman Jacob.

Everyone seems to have a camera crazy-glued to their hands, and those who don’t seem to spend their time yelling, “Make sure you keep filming,” to the people who do. In fact, this movie should have been called “Keep Filming,” because it is the film’s mantra.

Mix that with a wooden performance from Richard Armitage that would make Woody Pecker’s mouth water, a series of tornadoes and a Firenado—an idea so silly I imagine the makers of “Sharknado” rejected it as too over the top—and you get a disaster movie that is a disaster of a film.

Pompeii movie offers cardboard acting, and plenty of molten cheese.

pompeii1By Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin – Reel Guys Metro Canada

Synopsis: Set in the shadow of the gurgling volcano Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii stars Game of Thrones heartthrob Kit Harington as the muscle-bound Milo. His tribe, including his entire family, was wiped out by the vicious Roman Senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) dooming him to a lonely life of servitude under the thumb of Roman masters. Years later as a gladiator in Pompeii’s coliseum he sees a way to exact revenge and save Cassia (Emily Browning), the most beautiful girl in the lush resort town. As warriors Milo and Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) battle Roman soldiers in the coliseum, the volcano erupts, causing havoc. Will Milo get vengeance and save Cassia before a rolling mountain of lava and ash covers the city?

•    Richard: 2/5
•    Mark: 2/5

Richard: Mark, the spirit of Steve Reeves lives on. If you aren’t familiar with Mr. Reeves’ oeuvre, he was Hercules before Kevin Sorbo, a legend of beefcake historical drama movies. His movies were all about bulging muscles, swinging swords and damsels in revealing togas. Which brings me to the spiritual cousin to the Reeves movies — Pompeii — which adds spewing lava, but not much else to the sword and sandal genre. Physically, Jason Statham sound-a-like Harrington is up to the heroic Reeves role but is slowed down by the thick layer of molten cheese that covers almost every frame of this film.

Mark: Richard, the movie reminded me of Titanic, but not in a good way. It’s 90 minutes of derivative and irrelevant narrative, a love story between an upper class woman and a commoner, followed by a half hour of the special effects you came to see in the first place. Harrington is fine, but it doesn’t matter. The real star is the volcano, and unfortunately, it has the best lines. The gladiator plotline is inferior to other films in the same genre, although I thought the 20 slaves versus 20 centurions scene was handled with great verve.

RC: It does take too long for Mount Vesuvius to blow its top — complete with flying lava meteorites — and when it does, the special effects aren’t quite as spectacular as you might hope from a CGI extravaganza. On top of that is muddy-looking 3D. The film overall is dark as though the whole thing was shot through a cloud of volcanic ash. Having said that, I didn’t think the volcano had all the best lines. I got a kick out of a prison guard loudly waking up the jailed gladiators by shouting, “Wake up, scum!”

MB: Oh. I thought he was shouting that to the audience. And poor Kiefer Sutherland, given a cardboard role in a papier-mâché film. I kept expecting him to look at the volcano and shout, “We’re running out of time!” What I think I would have liked was a drama that showed a cross section of Pompeii life all too tragically snuffed out by the erupting volcano. But maybe that would have been Pomp-ous.

RC: Ha! I felt that when slave trader Graecus said, “You dragged me from a perfectly good brothel for this?” he was speaking directly to me.

MB: Unfortunately the movie didn’t speak to me in any way, shape or form.


100 years later, we’re still Titanic-obsessed In Focus By Richard Crouse Metro Canada April 4, 2012

Titanic4601As the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic approaches, there are no shortages of cinematic ways to pay tribute to one of the most famous disasters of the 20th century.

This weekend, James Cameron’s Titanic sets sail again in theatres, this voyage in 3D. The story of Jack and Rose and their unsinkable love may be the best known of all the big boat movies, but it isn’t the only one.

The first films about the sinking were made within a year of the event; 1912 saw three 10-minute films released to quench audience’s thirst for Titanic news. The most famous of the movies featured an actual Titanic survivor.

Saved from the Titanic starred Dorothy Gibson, an actress who was also a first class passenger on the ship. Premiering on May 14, 1912, (just 29 days after the Titanic sank) the movie has Ms. Gibson recalling her experiences as a passenger, while wearing the same dress she had worn when the ship went down.

In a fictional twist she is shown as one of the last people to leave the ship when, in fact, she was the first person to enter lifeboat number seven.

Cut to 1929. British International Pictures was forced to release their epic film on the Titanic under the name The Atlantic when White Star Line threatened legal action. Seems the Titanic’s owner was actively trying to dissuade producers from cashing in on the Titanic disaster.

The next mention of the doomed ship on film came in 1933 in the best picture winner Cavalcade. In its most famous scene, newlyweds embark on their honeymoon cruise. Standing on the deck they discuss their plans as the ship pulls out of dock. Soon it’s revealed they’re standing in front of a life preserver embossed with the name Titanic.

Best of the bunch are Titanic, an all-star docu-drama headlined by Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Wagner, that debuted on April 14, 1953, exactly 41 years after the disaster and A Night to Remember, which is still regarded as the most accurate of all the Titanic films.
Nazis also cashed in on the Titanic

Even Hitler had a hand in making a Titanic film. 1943’s S.O.S Titanic was a propaganda film suggesting British incompetence was to blame for the disaster.
As water funnels into the ship, Captain Smith says, “See if you can find any German people on board.  They’ll know how to save the ship.”

James Cameron is not the only perfectionist in the film industry In Focus by Richard Crouse FOR METRO CANADA December 18, 2009

Unknown-1In the gap between James Cameron’s last theatrical feature, Titanic, and his new film, Avatar (in theatres this weekend) Clint Eastwood directed 11 movies, Michael Bay made six and even Uwe Boll, a director so reviled an on–line petition demands he stop making films, has made 15 in the time it took Cameron to make just one.

So what’s the hold up?

Some suggest Cameron takes so long between gigs because his commitment to his projects is so intense he wants to be sure he is on the right track before camera starts to roll.

“I want you to know one thing,” he allegedly told one producer, “once we embark on this adventure and I start to make this movie, the only way you’ll be able to stop me is to kill me.”

Also, Cameron isn’t bound by the same considerations as most directors.

He wrote the script for Avatar in 1994 and was prepared to wait until special effects technology caught up with his vision.

The luxury of having time is what happens when you make the highest grossing movie in history, a fact he celebrates, wearing a t-shirt that reads “Time Means Nothing in the Face of Creativity.”

Like Cameron, Stanley Kubrick spent more time off movie sets than on. In a career that spanned 46 years he made only 13 movies but spent years developing pictures that never went into production — like Napoleon, an epic look at the life of the French Emperor that he expected to be “the best movie ever made.”

Others choose long lay-offs between projects for different reasons. Actor Casey Affleck (Ben’s younger brother) had three movies released in 2007 but nothing else scheduled until 2010. Why the break?

“To be perfectly honest, I don’t really enjoy playing anybody,” he says, “except Casey Affleck lying on the couch watching the Red Sox … usually, when I’m working, I’m not really having a good time.”

Then there’s Daniel Day-Lewis, an actor whose lapses between projects makes Affleck look like a workaholic. The There Will Be Blood star routinely takes years off between films, once disappearing from the big screen for five years.

When asked why he doesn’t work more often he said, “I like to cook things very slowly. I learnt early on that I couldn’t jump from one kind of work to another. I did it a couple of times and it didn’t work.”