Richard joins CTV NewsChannel and anchor Lois Lee to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the virtual reality of “The Martrix Resurrection,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and the jukebox musical “Sing 2.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the virtual reality of “The Martrix Resurrection,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and the jukebox musical “Sing 2.”
Can Richard Crouse review three movies in just thirty seconds? Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the Neo’s return to virtual reality in “The Matrix: Resurrections,” the coming of age dramedy “Licorice Pizza” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” in less time than it takes to buy a pack of Twizzlers.
“Licorice Pizza,” the new slice-of-life drama from director Paul Thomas Anderson, and now playing in theatres, is a very specific movie. It transports us back in time to Los Angeles circa the 1970s. Nixon is president. In Hollywood the Tail o’ the Cock restaurant is the place to see and be seen and gas stations face country wide fuel shortages. But against that specific backdrop comes a story ripe with freewheeling charm, nostalgia and universal themes.
Cooper Hoffman, son of the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman, is Gary Valentine, a cocky fifteen-year-old actor with a blossoming career and a back pocket filled with get rich quick schemes. At picture day at his high school he spots photographer’s assistant Alana (Alana Haim). She is ten years older than him, but he’s feeling lucky and asks her out on a date. She agrees, but says it isn’t a date, just dinner. He takes her to hotspot Tail o’ the Cock and at the end of the night tells her, “I’m not going to forget you. Just like you’re not going to forget me.”
It is the beginning of a mostly platonic relationship that sees them drift in and out of one another’s lives, start a water bed business and navigate maturity. “Maybe fate brought us together,” Gary says to her. “Our roads brought us here.”
“Licorice Pizza” (the name refers to a defunct Californian record store chain) isn’t a movie overly concerned with plot. Instead, it relies on the characters to keep things interesting.
Newcomers Hoffman and Haim, (she plays guitars and keyboards in the pop rock band Haim), do just that. Each are magnetic performers on their own, she is all glowering intensity, he’s got teenage swagger down to a tee—“I’m a showman,” he says, “it’s what I’m meant to do.”—but put them together and sparks fly. From their first exchange in the high school gym to the film’s closing moments they win us over. In the movie the characters experience the first blush of friendship and love. In the audience we get to experience another first, the debut of two new, very promising actors.
Later, after the film, I found myself daydreaming that perhaps we could revisit them every ten years or so à la the relationship trilogy “Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight.”
Some old-timers get to strut their stuff as well. Sean Penn plays a riff on hard drinking actor William Holden with equal parts smarm and charm and Bradley Cooper pulls out all the stops to bring Hollywood hairdresser-turned-movie mogul Jon Peters to vivid, excessive life.
It is an evocative rendering of a specific time and place, but it doesn’t all sit right. In his recreation of the 1970s, director Paul Thomas Anderson includes two scenes featuring John Michael Higgins as Jerry Frick, owner of the San Fernando Valley’s first Japanese restaurant, The Mikado. In his two scenes he is seen speaking with an over-the-top, buffoonish Japanese accent in conversation with his Japanese wives, played by Yumi Mizui and Megumi Anjo. Both scenes stick out like sore thumbs. I imagine that they are meant to represent the causal racism of the time but they break the movie’s magical spell with cultural insensitivity that adds nothing, save for a cheap laugh, to the story.
“Licorice Pizza” is kind of flipping through a diary. Some details are intense, some glossed over, but everything is relevant to the experience being written about. Like diary entries, the movie is episodic. Each passing episode allows us to get to know Gary and Alana a bit better, and just as importantly, remind us what it means to be young and in love.
Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Halloween,” the late Rob Stewart’s ecology documentary “Sharkwater Extinction,” the drug drama “Beautiful Boy” and the film Robert Redford says may be his swan song “The Old Man and the Gun.”
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 drug drama “Beautiful Boy,” the wistful “The Old Man and the Gun” and the eco-doc “Sharkwater Extinction.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the tricks and treats of “Halloween,” Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek in “The Old Man and the Gun” and the drug drama “Beautiful Boy.”
Richard has a look at the 2018 reboot of “Halloween,” the ecology documentary from director Rob Stewart, “Sharkwater Extinction,” the film Robert Redford says may be his swan song “The Old Man and the Gun” and the political comedy “The Oath” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
Low key and amiable, “The Old Man and the Gun” is a crime drama about the nicest bank robber ever. Robert Redford, age 82, plays a stick-up man whose victims gush about how polite and well-mannered he was as he relieved them of their cash.
Forest Tucker (Redford), career criminal and all round nice guy, is part of a gang the press would later name the Over-The-Hill-Gang. All north of seventy the thieves (Danny Glover and Tom Waits) rob rural banks, usually making off with hundreds, not thousands of dollars. Calm and collected, they get in and out quickly. “Don’t do anything stupid,” Tucker says to the tellers. “I wouldn’t want to have to hurt you ‘cuz I like you. Don’t break my heart.” For Tucker it’s not about the cash, it’s about the rush.
Driving the get-a-way car after one bank job Tucker stops to assist a stranded motorist. As the police whiz by he gives Jewel (Sissy Spacek) a line of chat that charms her enough to agree to go for a cup of coffee. The pair hit it off and begin a friendship that borders on the romantic.
Meanwhile Tucker and crew are robbing banks, sometimes more than one a day, a streak that draws the attention of detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) and the FBI.
The mostly true story of Tucker and his life of crime and passion is a low-key affair anchored by the easy charms of Redford and Spacek.
Redford made a career playing rascally anti-heroes like the leads in “The Sting” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Here there is a wistfulness in the character that comes with age and the realization that the end of the road is just around the bend.
Spacek plays Jewel as a woman of strength; a person who has seen it all but is still open to finding something new. Together the pair bring life experiences that create a lived-in chemistry that is never less than watchable.
Add to that a scene-stealing performance from Tom Waits—every line of his dialogue sounds like a line from one of his songs—and you have a new take on an American staple, the charismatic scoundrel.