Posts Tagged ‘Vox Lux’


A weekly feature from from! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns,” Natalie Portman in “Vox Lux” and Jason Mamoa as the underwater monarch “Aquaman.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Lois Lee to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ness of “Mary Poppins Returns,” the Transformers prequel “Bumblebee,” the underwater adventures of “Aquaman” and Natalie Portman as a pop star in “Vox Lux.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

VOX LUX: 3 ½ STARS. “Portman anchors the second half with a broad performance.”

“Vox Lux” sees Natalie Portman play a pop idol in a film that aims to expose popular culture’s obsession with false idols.

The film begins on a sombre note. An early morning drive through winding streets ends at a high school. Shots ring out. Panicked kids slip and slide on bloody footprints in the hall. One student, 13-year-old Celeste (Raffey Cassidy), tries to reason with the shooter, asking him to pray with her. Her efforts are rewarded with a gunshot to the neck, leaving her with a bullet permanently lodged in her spine. Later, at a memorial for the fallen students, Celeste and sister Eleanor (Stacy Martin) perform a self-penned tribute song. A video of the tune goes viral, attracts the attention of a fast-talking manager (Jude Law) and earns Celeste a record deal. A quick tweak to the tune’s lyrics, the manager changes the “my” to “we,” and the song becomes an anthem for the nation, an expression of shared grief. She’s a pop superstar. “I don’t want people to think too hard,” she says. “I just want them to feel good.”

Jump forward 17 years. Celeste is now 31-years-old, still a glitter-covered pop star but now an alcoholic and mother to Albertine (Raffey Cassidy, again). Another shooting rocks her world, this time on a beach in Croatia. Terrorists, wearing masks similar to ones seen in one of the singer’s videos, attack and murder dozens of innocent people. Not responsible but certainly implicated in the violence, Celeste barely responds. She’s more concerned with her homecoming concert in Staten Island and ranting about the minutia of her life. She’s gone from the girl next door who survived tragedy to jaded celebrity teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

“Vox Lux” feels like two movies. The first half is a textured examination of pop music’s place as a chronicle and catalyst of societal mores. Two terrible events, a school shooting and 9/11 frame Celeste’s rise to fame. Director Brady Corbet considers how tragedy has helped shape much of recent pop culture; how stars like Celeste have become symbols of those tragedies and the receptacles of the public’s need for comfort and catharsis. It’s powerful, if a little obtuse, stuff.

Portman anchors the second half in a broad performance. Covered in PVC and glitter she has more hard edges than her younger self. She’s more closed off, more superficial more concerned about how the press are speaking to her on a junket than the shooting on the other side of the world. It’s a detailed portrait of what happens when people breath rarefied air and aren’t the person the public thinks they are, but it isn’t as interesting as the film’s first hour.

A stand-out in both halves is Law as the aggressive manager. Law has morphed very comfortably into character roles and brings just the right mix of obsequiousness and grit to play the kind of guy who can toss off insider showbiz lines like, “She couldn’t sell a life jacket to Natalie Wood.“

Ultimately, while interesting, as a look at celebrity culture the last half of “Vox Lux” is as auto-tuned as the songs the Celeste sings at the end of the film.

THE MARILYN DENNIS SHOW: The must-see holiday movie releases!

’Tis the season to cozy up with the bucket of popcorn and a great film. Richard joins “The Marilyn Denis Show,” Canada’s number one rated mid-morning show to talk about the must-see holiday movie releases.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

The Favourite: December 7

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if you want to test a person’s character, give them power. That maxim is fully on display in “The Favourite,” an Oscar hopeful starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, as two women vie for the attention of Anne, Queen of Great Britain.

Vox Lux: December 14

In the psychological thriller Black Swan Natalie Portman played Nina, a “beautiful, fearful and fragile” ballerina who dreamt of dancing the lead in Swan Lake. She won an Academy Award for her work in that film and hopes lightening strikes twice with the release of Vox Lux, a musical drama about a drug addled pop star whose fame is built around a trauma suffered as a teen. The Hollywood reporter said her raw performance could “buy it a ticket into the Oscar race.”

Welcome to Marwen: December 21

Steve Carell stars as Mark Hogancamp, a real-life artist who suffered brain damage after being assaulted by five men in 2000. With little memory of his life, he reinvents himself in dioramas as a World War II hero backed by a cadre of female commandos.

Destroyer: December 25

Kidman plays Erin Bell, a police detective ground down by years on the job, booze and the haunting memory of a case going wrong.

The last time Nicole Kidman slathered her face in heavy theatrical make-up she won an Academy Award. To play Virginia Woolf in The Hours she wore a fake nose to look more like the novelist. The second time could be a charm. In her new film Destroyer she once again dons a layer of greasepaint to play a troubled detective embroiled in a life-or-death case. Despite the time intensive process—it took three hours to do her make-up for The Hours—Kidman says she liked it. “I did enjoy being anonymous,” she said. “It was fun to be able to go out of my trailer and not have anyone know me.”

If Beale Street Could Talk: December 25

A woman in Harlem desperately scrambles to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while carrying their first child.

Based on a well-loved James Baldwin novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is a story of love in the face of injustice. Director Barry Jenkins, in his follow-up to the Oscar winning “Moonlight,” has crafted a stately film that takes us inside the relationship at the heart of the story and the heartlessness that threatens to rip it apart.