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.
Austere and theatrical, “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” in theatres on December 25, streaming on Apple TV+ on January 14, feels like an up-scale horror film in its examination of ambition and violence.
The plot is familiar from high school English class. Three witches (all played by Kathryn Hunter) prophesize that Macbeth (Denzel Washington), a heroic general in King Duncan’s (Brendan Gleeson) army, is bound for glory. He will be named Thane of Cawdor, they say, and one day, if he has the backbone, King. It’s welcome news for the ambitious warrior and his ruthlessly Machiavellian wife, Lady Macbeth (Frances McDormand), who helps kickstart her husband’s rise to power by devising a plot to kill the King.
Their bloody coup sees the well-liked Duncan murdered, triggering Macbeth’s ascent to the throne. The couple’s lust for power leads to a reign of terror, which includes the wholesale slaughter of King Duncan loyalist Macduff’s (Corey Hawkins) family and a civil war.
The crown sits heavily on their collective heads. The new power couple are soon overwhelmed by insomnia, festering paranoia and guilt. “By the pricking of my thumbs,” says one of the witches, “something wicked this way comes.”
Adapted for the screen by director Joel Coen, working for the first time without his brother Ethan, “The Tragedy of Macbeth” blends theatre and cinema in a seamless and powerful way. The expressionistic sets and minimalist soundtrack feel transported in from the theatre, while the beautiful stark black-and-white photography and charismatic performances are pure cinema.
Washington is quietly powerful as his immorality grows. His entrance, a bold walk straight up to the camera out of the fog, establishes his movie star cred. His letter-perfect line readings, imbuing meaning and emotion into even the most intimidating of Shakespeare’s passages proves he was born to say these words.
McDormand plays Lady Macbeth as her husband’s equal. She captures her ambition, but tempers the performance with notes of desperation.
Also striking is legendary stage actress Kathryn Hunter. She plays all three of the prophetic weird sisters in a physically transformative way that sees her bend into shapes that look almost supernatural.
All are ably supported by an exemplary cast, including Gleeson, Corey Hawkins as Macduff, the Thane of Fife, Bertie Carvel as Macbeth ally Banquo and Harry Melling as Malcolm, the King Duncan’s eldest.
“The Tragedy of Macbeth” is accessible without ever playing down to the audience. Masterful filmmaking mixes and matches the text with compelling images and wonderful performances to create a new take on the Scottish Play that is both respectful and fearlessly fresh.
Go see it, “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…”
A new movie called Anonymous asks a question that has kept academics debating for decades. Was it actually William Shakespeare, of Stratford-upon-Avon, who wrote the plays and poems attributed to him?
The film suggests it was Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) who actually put pen to paper.
Then to hide his identity he hired a semi-employed actor named William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) to act as his literary beard.
There is no evidence to support the movie’s theory but at least one detail is consistent with history — the likeness of Shakespeare. Even though no painting of the Bard was done during his lifetime, the 1632 Martin Droeshout portrait showing the writer with, “a huge head, placed against a starched ruff,” has become the accepted version of his appearance in art and on film.
Shakespeare and his ruffed collar has popped up in everything from The Simpsons’s 2007 videogame to the Bugs Bunny cartoon A Witch’s Tangled Hare.
Playing the Bard as a lusty poet in Shakespeare in Love made Joseph Fiennes a star, but he was far from the first actor considered for the role. Daniel Day-Lewis and Kenneth Branagh both turned it down before Ralph Fienne’s little brother snapped it up.
The movie, about how Shakespeare’s love affair with Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) helped him overcome writer’s block and pen Romeo and Juliet in her honour, earned 13 Oscar nominations and won seven, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Gwyneth.
One of the stranger depictions of Shakespeare on screen came in Jean-Luc Godard’s King Lear.
Called “Godard’s most insane, headache-inducing and inscrutable movie,” by one critic, it features Peter Sellars (not the Pink Panther actor, but an avant guard theatre director) as William Shakespeare Junior the Fifth.
In the movie’s post Chernobyl world, all of the world’s culture has been lost and it’s up to folks like Shaksper Junior to try recreate it. Searching for inspiration he scribbles familiar phrases in his notebook — “Love’s Labors Lost. As you wish. As you wish. As you wish. As you witch. As you which? As you watch. As you watch…” — as he tries to piece together the works of his long lost relative.
Best remembered as the Woody Allen movie you haven’t seen — the comedian plays Mr. Alien in an uncredited cameo — King Lear is a head scratcher, even for the often unfathomable Godard.