Watch the whole thing HERE!
Watch the whole thing HERE!
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 Wes Anderson’s animated political allegory “Isle of Dog,” Claire Foy as a woman trapped in a mental facility in “Unsane” and “Flower,” starring Zoey Deutch.
Watch the whole thing HERE!
Max Winkler, director of the coming-of-age movie Flower, corrects me when I mention the film was shot in only 16 days.
“Fifteen-and-a-half days,” he says. “I would have done wonders with that extra half!”
Star Zoey Deutch chimes in. “It is not my job to go, ‘I don’t have enough time.’ My job is to figure out a way to make it work and service the story and the character. All I know is that what is important for a movie that shoots for 15-and-a-half days or for six months is preparation and what you bring to the table before the table is set. That is the most important element.”
Flower is a coming-of-age story in reverse. When we first meet the adolescent main character Erica, played by Deutch, she is already jaded by life. Her father is in jail and she is involved in a very dubious blackmail scheme to earn his bail money.
Over the course of time she regains her innocence, flip flopping the usual teen movie formula.
Winkler, the son of television icon Henry (The Fonz) Winkler, says the success of Flower is a testament to Deutch’s handling of the role.
“It is such a fine line to tread, to have that bravado but at the same time the intense vulnerability to know that she is really just doing this to cover up all this intense fear she has.”
The actress, best known for turns in Before I Fall and Why Him?, finds the qualities that make us feel for Erica. Do we care about Erica the blackmailer? Not particularly. But we can care about why she resorts to blackmail and that’s where Deutch shines.
“I was 20 when we shot this,” says Deutch, “which isn’t so far from 17 so I was able to pull and be inspired from my own experiences. … Erica is very frustrated by the world and she is very frustrating. I remember being frustrated and being frustrating to other people for sure.”
Deutch is winning raves for her work as the rebellious and sassy teen — The Wrap called her performance “truly exceptional” while The Playlist christened her as “charismatic, uber-magnetic” — but don’t ask her about her craft.
“The truth is, and the reason you can probably sense my hesitancy,” she says, “is that I find it really pretentious when actors talk about process. The way I talk about it sounds pretentious so I steer away from it. I would rather be self-deprecating than sound like overly precious about the whole thing.”
She will say that the authenticity of the character came from research and conversation with her director and fellow cast members.
“I did a lot of reading,” she says, “everything from books about female teenage angst and struggle, like Reviving Ophelia. We were always talking about consent and how Erica always relies on her charms and never allows anyone else any semblance of control over her.”
Winkler and Deutch only spent 15-and-a-half days on set but have forged a mutual appreciation for society. “My greatest feeling about this movie is just how brilliant Zoey is in it,” Winkler says.
“There is something really special in pure entertainment,” says Deutch, “and I think Max made something super entertaining and super interesting and super different.”
“Flower” is a coming of age story in reverse. When we first meet the adolescent main character Erica (Zoey Deutch) she is already jaded by life. Her father is in jail and she is involved in a very dubious plan to earn his bail money. Over the course of time she regains her innocence, flip flopping the usual teen movie formula.
Erica lives with her mom (Kathryn Hahn) and the latest of mom’s new boyfriends-turned-fiancées (Tim Heidecker) in the San Fernando Valley. A hellraiser, Erica and her pals Kala (Dylan Gelula) and Claudine (Maya Eshet) target older men to blackmail. When she has enough cash she hopes to buy dad his freedom. Her rebel-with-a-cause life is turned upside down by the arrival of Luke (Joey Morgan), her troubled soon-to-be stepbrother. Luke brings with him a dark secret that could change everything in Erica’s life for better and for worse.
No spoilers here.
The beauty of “Flower” is less in its wonky storyline and more in its effervescent performances. The down ‘n dirty indie—it was shot in just 16 days by Henry “The Fonz” Winkler’s son Max—focuses on Erica’s journey which rests comfortably in Deutch’s capable arms. The actress, best known for turns in “Before I Fall” and “Why Him?,” navigates the film’s uneven tonality, hurtling over its implicit quirkiness to find the qualities that make us feel for Erica. Do we care about Erica the blackmailer? Not particularly. But we can care about why she resorts to blackmail and that’s where Deutch shines.
“Flower” is all over the place. In its quest to be unconventional it covers a lot of ground. It’s part quirky family drama, part rebellious teen comedy and even part “Bonnie and Clyde” but Deutch and cast, including Morgan as sad sack Luke and the always fantastic Hahn, breathe life into it.
A new feature from from ctvnews.ca! 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!
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.
“Rebel in the Rye” is a glossy look at author J.D. Salinger’s unlikely journey from losing a girlfriend to Charlie Chaplin to World War II, from eastern religion to Holden Caulfield. It’s a long strange trip, but would Caulfield label it phoney?
Nicholas Hoult plays Jerome David Salinger, a young man with a talent for words but a father (Victor Garber) who wants him to go into the meat and cheese distribution business. The sharp-tongued teenager isn’t accepted into uptown New York City society and is too square for downtown. The only things he’s good at are getting kicked out of school and writing.
His talent leads him to Columbia University and the Creative Writing class of Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey). Burnett recognizes Salinger’s gift but isn’t sure of his commitment to the writing life.
Meanwhile, Salinger is a man about town who begins a tumultuous and ill-fated relationship with Eugene O’Neill’s daughter Oona (Zoey Deutch), a pairing that begins his journey towards writing his most famous book.
First though, he yearns to get a short story published. Sights set on Esquire and The New Yorker he receives rejection after rejection until Burnett publishes “The Young Folks,” in a small literary magazine.
Salinger gets some notice, a high-powered agent Dorothy Olding (Sarah Paulson) and a healthy disdain of “phonies,” superficial people who talk one way and behave another. “My father hides the fact that he’s Jewish from our neighbours,” he says. “The first phoney I ever met was on my first day.”
At Burnett’s urging Salinger begins writing a book. “Holden Caulfield deserves a novel all his own,” Burnett drunkenly slurs after a night on the town. “Imagine the book you would like to read and then go write it.”
His burgeoning career is cut short, interrupted by World War II. Overseas he continues to write—he storms Normandy with six chapters of what would become the classic “Catcher in the Rye” in his pack—but when he returns to the United States he suffers PTSD and is unable to continue. “I have nothing left to say about Holden Caulfield,” he says. “Nothing left to say at all.”
Spiralling downward, his life is changed when he discovers meditation as a way to quiet his mind. He picks up the story of a troubled kid during the Christmas holidays, finishing “Catcher in the Rye.” The book is an immediate hit, capturing the consciousness of the nation. Salinger becomes a media star but his newfound fame and interactions with disturbed fans people who think they are Caulfield drive him from public life. In his remote New Hampshire home he built walls, physically around his home and mentally, to keep everyone out. “When people become a distraction,” he says, you remove the distraction.” He dedicates his life to writing—something his mentor Burnett was unsure he’d be able to do—but removes the pressure of having to follow up one of the most popular novels of all time by never publishing another word.
The word “phoney” looms large in the legacy of J.D. Salinger. His process was a search for authenticity, a journey writer and director Danny Strong seems to have veered away from. The handsome production design and period details bring style to a film that is almost completely without substance. The complex issues of innocence, identity, belonging, loss and connection that Salinger loved and brought to his work are reduced to platitudes. Yes, the World War II scenes effectively showcase the horrors of war but Salinger’s reaction to them feel, well, phoney. Later, when he finally begins to create again it’s because he “learns to write not to show off his talent, but to display what is in his heart.” It’s a line that would have made the real life Salinger red faced and the movie is full of them.
From its on-the-nose title to the standard biopic conventions “Rebel in the Rye” could probably best be described by Caulfield himself: “You never saw so many phonies in all your life.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Logan,” the latest (and greatest) Wolverine flick, the time travel teen angst movie “Before I Fall,” the animated “Ballerina,” the quirky “Table 19” with Anna Kendrick and the controversial Christian movie “The Shack.”
Watch the whole thing HERE!