Richard joins CP24 to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the final instalment of the Skywalker Saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the weirdest movie of the year, “Cats” and the ripped from the headlines drama “Bombshell,” starring Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly.
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Todd van der Heyden to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the end of the road for the Skywalker Saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the weirdest movie of the year, “Cats” and “Bombshell,” featuring Charlize Theron as Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Cats,” the weirdest movie of the year, the lightsaber action of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Bombshell,” the inside story of Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment suit against Roger Ailes.
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 the conclusion of everybody’s favourite space opera, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “Cats,” starring a collection of half human-half cat rejects from The Island of Dr. Moreau and “Bombshell,” the inside story of sexual harassment at Fox News.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the final instalment of the Skywalker Saga, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” and the weirdest movie of the year, “Cats.”
“Cats,” the mega-musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” has had nine lives.
Opening in London’s West End in 1981, it ran for 21 years and 8,949 performances, while the Broadway production ran for 18 years and 7,485 performances. It has played in over 30 countries in 15 languages and has been seen by more than 73 million people worldwide. The showstopping hit song “Memory” has been recorded by everyone from Liberace to Barbra Streisand. It is truly a show that always lands on its feet.
Oscar-winner director Tom Hooper puts out the litter box one more time in an all-star film that tells the tale of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles. The all-star cast, including James Corden, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift and Rebel Wilson, hidden under layers of CGI fur and whiskers, spend one-night singing and dancing as Old Deuteronomy (Dench) makes the Jellicle Choice to decide which cat will be sent to the Heaviside and reborn into a new life. The film version, with dialogue that links many of the tunes, does a better job of expressing the story but perhaps it’s best to remember that Lloyd Webber said to Hal Prince when he asked the composer if “Cats” was a political metaphor. “Are those cats Queen Victoria, Gladstone and Disraeli?’ the Broadway legend wondered. “Hal,” the composer replied, “this is just about cats.”
Let’s not pussyfoot around. “Cats” will go down in history as the weirdest studio movie of 2019. With actors who appear to have been put through the full-body Snapchat cat filter, a Ziegfeld Follies style chorus line of dancing cockroaches and felines with human hands and feet like rejects from “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” you’ll wonder if the theatre popcorn is laced with cat nip.
It’s an example of spectacle over substance. The songs are catchy, the cats swing and sway in a manner that would make Cirque du Soleil envious, but the story, such that it is, is still simply a collection of show tunes bound by theme but unconcerned with the niceties of plotting. In other words, instead of a story “Cats” is essentially a cluster of songs of introduction based on a weird, plotless collection of Eliot’s poems.
Where director Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables” worked to downplay the musical’s theatricality, “Cats” embraces it, allowing the felines to slink about the set, part ballet, part pantomime, part cat in heart. It’s big and silly, but unfortunately the high-tech veneer of the CGI costumes and sets erases much of the charm present in the more modest stage versions. One of the movie’s highlights is one stripped of (almost) all artifice. Dame Judy stares down the camera to deliver a playful “The Ad-dressing of Cats,” which has the kind of simple, absurd fun the rest of the film lacks.
There are other not-so-bad moments. Laurie Davidson’s “The Magical Mr. Mistoffelees” has a touch of, well, magic and Taylor Swift sashays convincingly through Bombalurina’s number but while the cast works hard to sell the material but the film is so unrestrained, so in search of meaning in a story that offers up religious resurrection metaphors but not much else, that I suspect audiences will make the Jellicle Choice and go see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” instead.
Richard’s “Canada AM” reviews for the new releases “In the Heart of the Sea” with Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in “Carol,” Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl” and “Youth” with Michael Caine!
As Caitlin Jenner graces the covers of magazines and films her own reality show, “The Danish Girl,” takes us back to a time when doctors prescribed “treatment for perversion” for transgender pioneer Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne).
Based on David Ebershoff’s 2000 novel, when we first meet painter Einar Wegener (Redmayne) it’s the mid-1920s and he’s married to struggling portraitist Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander). They’re happy and supportive, but a shift occurs when he dresses in female clothing to pose for one of Gerde’s paintings. It’s a playful moment and they even create an alter ego for the model, Lili Elbe. For Gerde it’s a lark, for Einar a revelation. Years of confusion come into sharp focus as he realizes he was born into the wrong gender and takes extreme steps to become the person he knows he should be. “It doesn’t matter what I wear,” he says, “it’s what I dream, they are Lili’s dreams.”
Health professionals suggest locking him up and electro therapy to “cure” him. “Do you keep a lock on your wardrobe?” asks one doctor. “You must not encourage this kind of behaviour.” Hope for the life she always dreamed about comes from a German sexologist who offers risky experimental sex reassignment surgeries. “God made me a woman,” says Lili. “The doctor is healing me of the sickness that was my disguise.”
“The Danish Girl” is Redmayne’s movie. It’s a delicate, studied performance but one that reveals the character’s inner strength. Lili lives in hope, hope for the life she was meant to live, hope that she will get to live it. Redmayne is sensitive and sensual as he sheds Einar’s affectations to become Lili.
Vikander has a less showy role, but holds the screen as the film’s emotional core, a woman who valued her relationship regardless of the changes that came her way.
The film itself hits the emotional notes, but feels a bit too glossy overall. Director Tom Hooper’s camera caresses every scene, luxuriating in the finely wrought period details giving a “Downton Abbey” sheen to the whole thing when a more raw approach would have lent some urgency to the story. The quietly melodramatic presentation showcases the actors but lessens the story’s impact.
“The Danish Girl” is a zeitgeisty movie that gives a “Masterpiece Theatre” veneer to a timely and important story.