Richard joins Ryan Doyle and Jay Michaels of the NewsTalk 1010 afternoon show The Rush for Booze and Reviews! Today he talks about the Death in the Afternoon, a drink that sprung from Ernest Hemingway’s legendary liver, the Death in the Afternoon, the new “Velvet Underground” documentary, the latest from Michael Myers “Halloween Kills” and the reason Andrew Lloyd Weber bought a comfort dog.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the lumbering return of Michael Myers in “Halloween Kills,” the emotional family drama “Mass” and the rock ‘n’ roll documentary “The Velvet Underground.”
Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Jennifer Burke chat up the weekend’s big releases including the relentless return of Michael Myers in “Halloween Kills,” the emotional family drama “Mass” and the rock ‘n’ roll documentary “The Velvet Underground.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the lumbering return of Michael Myers in “Halloween Kills,” the emotional family drama “Mass” and the rock ‘n’ roll documentary “The Velvet Underground.”
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 return of Michael Myers in “Halloween Kills,” the emotional family drama “Mass” and the rock ‘n’ roll documentary “The Velvet Underground.”
Fans of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones may disagree, but The Velvet Underground are arguably the most influential band of the late 1960s and early 1970s. “The Velvet Underground didn’t sell many records,” said Brian Eno, “but everyone who bought one went out and started a band.”
They pointed the direction for everyone from David Bowie and Patti Smith to U2 and The Black Angels, and “The Velvet Underground,” a striking new documentary from director Todd Haynes, and now playing on Apple TV+, aims to bring people up to date on one of the most ahead-of-their-times bands of the 20th century.
Narrated by interviews with friends, family, colleagues, and, most importantly of all, the band, guitarist and singer Lou Reed, guitarist Sterling Morrison, bassist and violist John Cale, singer Nico, and drummer Maureen “Moe” Tucker, the film is a trippy look at the tumultuous time in New York City’s art world that gave birth to the band. “That love and peace crap,” says Tucker, “we hated that.”
Using split screens, montages and plenty of archival footage, Haynes paints an impressionistic portrait of the influences—early rock n’ roll, doo-wop, gay life in New York, drugs, Andy Warhol and more—that go a long way to reconcile how Cale’s experimental “drone” work—the “hum of Western civilization,” he calls it—blended with Reed’s more melodic sense to form a renegade sound nobody had heard before. Add to that, lyrics that essayed heroin addiction, death, sado-masochism and other topics not usually sung about in three-minute pop songs and the result is aggressively radio unfriendly rock whose echoes are still felt today. “We didn’t put things in,” Reed said, “we took things out.”
Haynes meticulously walks us through the band’s history, the rise, fall and ugly dissolution, wallpapering the movie with a visual onslaught of images that suggests the multi-media presentation Andy Warhol created for the band’s live performances. The pop artist saw those shows as a “chance to combine music, art and films,” and the documentary continues that spirit to capture the excitement of the story. The storytelling is rather conventional, linear, but the visuals are an idiosyncratic eyeful that match the ambitious nature of the music.
“The Velvet Underground” focusses on the band’s classic line-up heyday, giving later incarnations a bit of a short shrift. Nonetheless, the doc captures the mood and the spirit of a band music journalists have struggled to pigeonhole for decades.
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including “Knives Out” with Daniel Craig and a cast of n’ere do wells, the Disney+ revamp of “Lady and the Tramp,” the odd couple picture “The Two Popes,” the corporate legal drama “Dark Waters,” and the thought provoking “Queen & Slim” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
The only thing big and green in Mark Ruffalo’s new film “Dark Waters are the hulking wads of cash a major corporation is willing to pay to cover up an ecological disaster.
Based on true events, Ruffalo plays corporate defense lawyer Robert Bilott, a native West Virginian now working for an upscale Cincinnati firm. He makes a living defending big companies but when Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp), a friend of his grandmother shows up complaining that chemical giant Dupont is poisoning his livestock, Bilott is at a loss for words. “I defend chemical companies,” he stuitters. “Well, now you can defend me,” replies the plainspoken Wilbur.
Bilott knows the farm. As a kid he rode horses and milked his first cow there and even though the he doesn’t think he can help, he agrees to have a look. On the land he finds horrifying things. 190 cows dead, many born with birth defects and tumors. Wilbur is convinced that runoff from a nearby landfill is responsible. What was once a pastoral paradise is now a poisoned plot of land.
To paraphrase the famous John Denver song, country roads lead Bilott back home to place he belongs, defending a farmer done wrong by a conglomerate more concerned with profit than people.
“Dark Waters” is about accountability. Bilott spends more than a decade of his life, putting his health and family life at risk to take a corporate Goliath to task for their irresponsible behavior. Ruffalo does a good job at portraying the Bilott’s decline as he is worn down by the tactics of his foe, the impatience of the people he is trying to help and his inability to force the power brokers to play fair. It humanizes a story that otherwise would be a high level legal procedural.
Director Todd Haynes shoots the story in drab tones that echo much of the colorless work—i.e. cataloguing the mountain of paper sent over by Dupont in the form of discovery. It doesn’t make for a compelling looking film but it helps set the scene and tone. Fighting back isn’t glamourous work. It’s about late nights, crappy food and a constant feeling of exhaustion.
“Dark Waters” isn’t a thriller. From the first frame there is no question about who is guilty. The question here is how guilty and will they ever pay for what they have done? It is geared to outage and infuriate, to underscore that the big guys don’t always win. It is marred by a leisurely approach and some paper-thin characterizations, but the David and Goliath story is compelling.
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 Matt Damon film “Suburbicon,” the dreamy “Wonderstruck” and one of the year’s best films, “The Florida Project.”