Posts Tagged ‘Victor Garber’


I appear on “CTV News at 11:30” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend, including the Crave historical soap opera “The Gilded Age,” the final season of the Netflix series “The Crown” and Disney’s laytest animated film “Wish,” now playing in theatres.

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 19:43)




I sit in with CKTB morning show host Tim Denis to have a look at the epic “Napoleon,” the surreal “Dream Scenario” and two family friendly films, “Leo” and Disney’s “Wish.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the epic “Napoleon,” the surreal “Dream Scenario” and two family friendly films, “Leo” and Disney’s “Wish.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

WISH: 2 ½ STARS. “has all the elements of classic Disney, but…”

In “Wish,” a new musical-comedy featuring the voices of Chris Pine and Ariana DeBose, Disney celebrates 100 years of animated entertainment with a fairy tale featuring Easter Eggs referencing their classic films. There’s a deer named Bambi, snippets of the Pinocchio theme “When You Wish Upon a Star,” a magic mirror, and many other tributes.

Question is, does “Wish” live up to the tradition of the memorable films that came before it?

“Wish” takes place on the island kingdom of Rosas, a magical place where King Magnifico (Chris Pine) stores the wishes from people all over the world. “Imagine a place where wishes come true,” says Magnifico. “Where your heart’s desire can become a reality. What if I told you that place is within reach? All you have to do is give your wish… to me.”

At the age of 18 everyone in Rosas gives the King their deepest desire, which he then seals up in his castle’s observatory. “I grant the wishes I am sure are good for Rosas,” he says. Once a month he announces a winner and grants their dreams come true.

When 17-year-old Asha (Oscar winner Ariana DeBose) meets the king to apply for a job as his assistant, she hopes to convince him to grant her 100-year-old grandfather Sabino’s (Victor Garber) wish. When the king refuses, Asha uncovers a terrible secret. Magnifico not only deletes the memories of those who tell him their wants, he hoards the wishes to keep the citizens of Rosas compliant.

“King Magnifico has wishes in his castle,” Asha says. “He’ll never give them back. We have to free the wishes and return them to the people.”

To aid in her mission, Asha prays to the heavens and is visited by a cosmic force, a glowing, playful yellow star, named, appropriately enough, Star. “Joy, hope and possibilities, the most loving light,” says Asha. But the king sees the glowing star as a threat

As they join forces to stop Magnifico, the king manifest all his dark magic powers to stop them. “There is a traitor amongst us,” he bellows. “Find Asha.”

“Wish” has all the elements of classic Disney, but falls just short of memorable. The built-in nostalgia should appeal to fans as a centurial celebration, and aficionados will get a kick out of spotting the hidden tributes to the older movies, but the film is stuck in looking in the rearview mirror. It feels old fashioned, a celebration of what came before, from its look, to its storytelling. As pleasant as it is, there’s not much new happening here in its themes of the magic of dreams and power of good to defeat evil.

The mix of 2D and 3D animation evokes the look of Disney’s watercolor animation, but there is a dullness to the color palette that doesn’t jump off the screen. But, surreal talking mushrooms,

a carriage that sprouts legs and a sequence with Ziegfeld Follies style dancing chickens are fun, and inject some much-needed oomph to the artwork.

Character wise, its standard stuff, although Valentino (Alan Tudyk), a talking goat with a surprisingly deep voice earns laughs as he announces, “I cannot swim,” like Greek herald Stentor as he dives into the water. Best of all is the Star, a simple character with very expressive face, which is virtually guaranteed to move a bunch of plush toys as Christmas approaches.

Like the animation, the generic songs don’t perk up the ears, save for De Bose’s powerhouse vocals and Pine’s showstopping, villainous anthem.

As a celebration of 100 years of animation, “Wish” isn’t awful, just underwhelming. It feels like a blast from the past, with both eyes on the past, and none on the future.


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.

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

DARK WATERS: 3 STARS. “compelling David and Goliath story.”      

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 new feature from from! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Blade Runner 2049,” the survival flick “The Mountain Between Us” and the J.D. Salinger biopic “Rebel in the Rye.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the much anticipated “Blade Runner 2049,” the survival flick “The Mountain Between Us” and the J.D. Salinger biopic “Rebel in the Rye.”

Watch the whole tying HERE!

Metro In Focus: The struggle is real: The challenge of depicting a writer’s process

By Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

There’s a meme that occasionally pops up on my social media pages. It’s a picture of a person slumped over a typewriter, fists clenched, captioned with the words, “Writing is easy. You just sit at your typewriter until little drops of blood appear on your forehead.”

Anyone who has tried to put words on a page will understand the joke. Writing at a high level requires a combination of talent, study, life experience and dedication; a folio of concrete and ephemeral elements that can blend easily or remain frustratingly difficult to access, depending on the day.

The story of James Joyce’s exasperation while writing his modernist novel Ulysses perfectly illuminates the writer’s frustrating process. As the story goes, a friend dropped by Joyce’s home to find the author upset that after a full day of work he had only written seven words.

“Seven?” his friend says. “But James that’s good — for you, at least.”

“Yes,” Joyce says. “I suppose it is. I’m just not sure what order they go in!”

It should come as no surprise that writers love to write about writing. Screenwriters have tapped out thousands of pages in an effort to illuminate the mysterious process.

From biopics like The End of the Tour and Capote to dramas like Adaptation and Misery, movie after movie has focused on the various ways words make it to the page in the right order.

This weekend Rebel in the Rye is a glossy look at author J.D. Salinger’s unlikely journey from losing a girlfriend to Charlie Chaplin, to the Second World War, from eastern religion to writing the classic novel Catcher in the Rye.

Movies about writers often feature scenes of typewriters clacking, pages crumpled and thrown in the garbage as authors attempt to whip their manuscripts into something readable. Crumpled loose-leaf is a tangible sign of the work, but does little to explain the author’s thought process.

The movie Genius, starring Jude Law as author Thomas Wolfe, does a good job of showing the very lifeblood that flowed through his veins. The You Can’t Go Home Again author creates exciting wordplay that could be compared to the free-flowing fluidity of jazz.

To illustrate the difference between his work and the more staid style of his contemporary Henry James, he pays a jazz band to play a straightforward, traditional version of Flow Gently, Sweet Afton.

“That’s Henry James,” he says as the players plod along. But as the band heats up, splintering off into melodic tangents, he grins and says, describing himself, “That’s Thomas Wolfe.”

The process by which artists go about their work is near impossible to effectively capture on film, but this scene comes close to explaining what it feels like when the creative juices are racing.

Subtler is Paterson, a gentle look at the life of a poetry-writing Paterson, N.J., bus driver played by Adam Driver.

The poems aren’t for publication, simply a way to express his joy in the beauty and art of everyday life. When his dog eats his notebook he has to start again but learns the writer’s greatest lesson.

“Sometimes the empty page presents the most possibilities.” There is great uplift in those words. The blank page isn’t a hindrance to the work but a canvas on which to create something new. It’s the simplest and most beautiful expression of how art is made I’ve ever seen in a movie.