On this week’s Richard Crouse Show we tell you about “Elvis,” the new film about the King of Rock and Roll from Moulin Rouge director Baz Lurhmann. The movie covers the twenty-ish years in the lives of Elvis and his manager Colonel Tim Parker. Through the birth of rock ‘n roll of the late 1950s and the cheesy Hollywood years to the legendary 1968 Comeback Special and the Las Vegas rise and fall, Elvis and the Colonel shimmied and shook their way to the top of the charts and into the history books.
I caught up with director Baz Lurhmann and his stars Austin Butler, who hands in a terrific performance as Elvis and Olivia DeJonge who plays Elvis’ wife, Priscilla. We talked about what the story of Elvis’s life can tell us about America, Priscilla’s role in the singer’s life and mushc more.
Then, Nyla Innuksuk, director of “Slash/Back,” a cool new coming of age story with an Indigenous and sci fiction twist, and a message about friendship and what it means to fight for community, stops by to tell us about the challenges of taking a crew of 50 people to Baffin Island in the summer of 2019, to make this film.
Finally meet writer Cian Cruise. He has a degree in film studies and philosophy and is a new dad. He combines all those avenues from his life in his new book, “Dad Bod: Portraits of Pop Culture Papas.”
A clever collection of essays about father figures in popular culture, he has a look at everyone from Gandalf to Homer Simpson, to unpack the qualities that inform our collective image of fatherhood. Stick around and find out what he says Rambo, as seen in First Blood, can teach us about the behaviour of toddlers.
Each week on the nationally syndicated Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to hear in-depth interviews with actors and directors, to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favourite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Recent guests include Chris Pratt, Elvis Costello, Baz Luhrmann, Martin Freeman, David Cronenberg, Mayim Bialik, The Kids in the Hall and many more!
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I appear on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the Marilyn Monroe biopic “Blonde,” the Oprah Winfrey-produced doc “Sidney” about the life of Sidney Poitier and the heist movie “Bandit.”
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about “Don’t Worry Darling,” the psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, “Blonde,” an intimate look at the life of Marilyn Monroe starring Ana de Armas and “Sidney,” the Oprah Winfrey-produced doc on the life of Sidney Poitier.
I join CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to talk about the Florence Pugh and Harry Styles thriller “Don’t Worry Darling,” Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in “Blonde” and the Sidney Poitier doc “Sidney.”
I join NewsTalk 1010 host David Cooper on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about “Don’t Worry Darling,” the psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, “Blonde,” an intimate look at the life of Marilyn Monroe starring Ana de Armas and “Sidney,” the Oprah Winfrey-produced doc on the life of Sidney Poitier.
We also talk about the Toronto International Film Festival, how Apple is delaying release of a Will Smith movie, and why Kevin Smith’s Dogma isn’t streaming: Harvey Weinstein is “holding it hostage.”
Watch Richard Crouse review three movies in less time than it takes to do a handstand! Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about the Florence Pugh and Harry Styles thriller “Don’t Worry Darling,” Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in “Blonde” and the Sidney Poitier doc “Sidney.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Don’t Worry Darling,” the psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, “Blonde,” an intimate look at the life of Marilyn Monroe starring Ana de Armas, “Sidney,” the Oprah Winfrey-produced doc on the life of Sidney Poitier and the true-life crime drama “Bandit” with Josh Duhamel.
Marilyn Monroe is one of the most documented movie stars of all time. Her time on earth inspired hundreds of thousands of posthumous column inches, hundreds of books and a slew of biopics and documentaries, the first, narrated by Rock Hudson, coming out less than a year after her 1962 death. There is a Broadway musical and even videos games bearing her likeness.
It begs the question, What is left to learn about this Hollywood icon in 2022?
If a new movie, “Blonde,” with Ana de Armas as the “Some Like It Hot” star, and now playing in theatres before it moves to Netflix, is any indication, not much.
The film begins its 166-minute journey with Norma Jeane Mortenson’s (Lily Fisher) unstable single mother Gladys (Julianne Nicholson) gifting her child with a surprise, a battered photograph of a prosperous looking man in a fedora. That’s your father, the little girl is told. He is a very important man.
Thus begins, according to director Andrew Dominik, a Freudian lifelong search for a father figure, that would see her cycle through famous husbands like Joe DiMaggio (Bobby Cannavale) and Arthur Miller (Adrien Brody), both of whom she calls daddy in an annoying baby-doll voice.
In Hollywood, now known as Marilyn Monroe, she makes a splash working as a model before being sucked into the studio system in a flurry of casting couches, emotional auditions and the creation of her bombshell image, a look that sold movie tickets but didn’t resonate with Norma Jeane. “She is pretty I guess,” she says, “but it isn’t me.” At one point, she yells, “Marilyn is not here,” during a contentious call with her studio boss.
As her life spirals downward, accelerated by alcohol and pills, depression caused by everyone’s inability to look past the blonde dye job to see who she really is and career dissatisfaction, her life and career begin to fall apart. “She is not a well girl,” her make-up artist (Toby Huss) says. “If she could be, she would be.”
“Blonde” is an art house biography. Fragmented and often impressionistic, it attempts to take you, not just inside Marilyn’s life, but also her psyche and body. Dominik’s camera does offer never-before-seen views of Monroe, from the considerable nudity to literally travelling inside her womb.
But to what effect? The insights into Monroe’s life and career, that she was, essentially, two sides of the same coin, Norma Jean on one, Marilyn on the other, aren’t original, even if their daring presentation is. The film’s advertising tagline, “Watched by all, seen by none,” sums up most of the film’s message in a much more powerful, and mercifully succinct, way.
Dominik does create memorable moments, a nightmarish red carpet walk at the “Some Like It Hot” premier, for instance, visually conjures up the horror Marilyn must have felt as a reluctant superstar constantly in demand by people who wanted to use her. Less successful is footage of a missile launch to emulate the goings-on during a sex scene—most definitely not love scene—between Marilyn and JFK (Caspar Phillipson).
Dominik, who adapted the script from the fictionalized and controversial Joyce Carol Oates novel “Blonde,” does craft some interesting dialogue to bring Marilyn’s state-of-mind in focus—”Marilyn doesn’t have any well-being” she says, “she has a career.”—but he also includes some absolute clunkers, like the unintentionally hilarious, “I like to watch myself in the mirror. I like to watch myself on the toilet,” uttered by Edward G. Robinson Jr. (Evan Williams). That is “Mommy Dearest” level writing.
As Marilyn, de Armas is fearless, and does inhabit Monroe’s vulnerability and intellect, and looks enough like her to complete the illusion. My only quibble is that sometimes de Armas sounds like Marilyn and sometimes sounds like Marilyn doing an impression of de Armas.
I’m sure “Blonde” won’t be the last Marilyn Monroe biopic, but it will be the last one I devote three hours to watching. Not because it is definitive, but because I think that everything that needs to be said about the later movie star has already been said.
Watch Richard review three movies in less time than it takes to get all shook up! Have a look as he races against the clock to tell you about Baz Luhrmann’s flashy king of rock n’ roll biopic “Elvis,” the one-ringy-dingy terror of “The Black Phone” and the Arctic thrills of “Slash/Back.”