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 the devil doll flick “Annabelle: Creation,” the Jeremy Renner thriller “Wind River” and Brie Larson in “The Glass Castle.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies including the devil doll flick “Annabelle: Creation,” the Jeremy Renner thriller “Wind River” and Jenny Slate’s dramedy “Landline.”
Jeannette Walls’s childhood was the stuff of movies. Raised by free-spirited parents, she and her siblings were nomads, shunted around the country chasing the dream of an uncompromised life. “Daddy says where we are,” young Jeannette (Chandler Head) says, “is where home is.”
When we first see Jeannette (played as an adult by Brie Larson) it’s 1989. She is a successful gossip columnist for New York Magazine, engaged to David (Max Greenfield) an up-and-coming investment banker. Her cab ride home from a fancy dinner is interrupted by two homeless people who disrupt traffic as they garbage pick from a dumpster. Upset, she ignores them as the cab drives through the intersection.
Turns out the two are her parents, Rex (Woody Harrelson) and Rose Mary (Naomi Watts). The two are happily squatting in an abandoned building, continuing a lifelong tradition of living off the grid. He schools them by experience. “You learn from living,” he says. “Everything else is a damn lie.”
Rex is short tempered, an often drunk dreamer always looking for a place to start over. Rose Mary is an artist who redefines free-spirited. Together they raised their kids in an uncompromising manner. On the road constantly they hopscotch around the country at Rex’s whim, kept going by his promise of building them a gleaming new home, their very own Glass Castle. “All this running around is temporary,” he says. “We just need the perfect location for our castle.”
Throughout good times and bad Jeannette has a special relationship with Rex but his drinking spins out of control she realizes the kids have to go their own way.
Shades of last year’s ode to antiestablishment living “Captain Fantastic” hang heavy over “The Glass Castle.” Both chronicle overbearing fathers and their pliable children but the new film feels different because it never entirely embraces the alternative lifestyle it portrays. Walls—whose memoir forms the basis of the movie—is ultimately sympathetic in her portrayal of the man who infuriated her as much as he raised her. It is a father and daughter story about overcoming a non-traditional upbringing while also realizing he made her the person she is today.
It’s Jeannette’s life but it is Harrelson who steals the show. Is he the most versatile actor working today? He’s a journeyman who jumps from franchises to character dramas, from comedies to tragedies. As Rex he’s a volatile presence, loving one second, throwing a chair threw a window the next. Harrelson never plays him as a villain. Rather he explores the depths of the complex character, finding the kernels of humanity that allow us to look past his bluster.
By the time the end credits roll “The Glass Castle” feels stretched, as though director Destin Daniel Cretton doesn’t want the story to end. It’s a little too flashback-y in its last half hour, showing us things we already know, and a big epiphany moment—complete with swelling orchestra—feels forced. There are some heartfelt and emotional moments early on but as the story unfolds Creton allows it to melt into a puddle of unnecessary sentimentality.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with guest host Ken Connors to discuss the weekend’s big movies including the creepy doll flick “Annabelle: Creation,” the Jeremy Renner thriller “Wind River” and the Jenny Slate dramedy “Landline.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “The Lost City of Z,” starring Charlie Hunnam as an obsessed Amazonian explorer, the unforgivable “Unforgettable,” the wild and wooly “Free Fire” and the rom mon “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose drunken stumbling has far reaching effects.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, “The Lost City of Z,” starring Charlie Hunnam as an obsessed Amazonian explorer, the unforgivable “Unforgettable,” the wild and wooly “Free Fire” and the rom mon “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose drunken stumbling has far reaching effects.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with host Bill Carroll to talk about the weekend’s big releases, “The Lost City of Z,” starring Charlie Hunnam as an obsessed Amazonian explorer, the unforgivable “Unforgettable,” the wild and wooly “Free Fire” and the rom mon “Colossal” starring Anne Hathaway as a woman whose drunken stumbling has far reaching effects.
The worst part of writing reviews is regurgitating the synopsis. Perhaps that’s one of the reason I liked “Free Fire,” the new shoot-em-up from director Ben Wheatley, so much. His follow-up to the psycho sci fi movie “High Rise” can be described with an economy of words: Ten bad people meet, a grudge emerges, bullet fly. The End.
For those craving more detail, the story begins at a rundown warehouse in Boston with Irish Republican Army out-of-towners Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley) and their henchmen Bernie (Enzo Cilenti) and Stevo (Sam Riley) buying thirty rifles from Vernon (Sharlto Copley). Vernon’s team includes Martin (Babou Ceesay), Gordon (Noah Taylor) and Harry (Jack Reynor). Bringing them together are Justine (Brie Larson) and Ord (Armie Hammer) fixers who stand to make mucho bucks.
The deal goes south, however, when a beef erupts between Stevo and Harry. Words, then punches and finally bullets are exchanged as the situation spins out of control. Soon it’s every man or woman for himself or herself as everyone exchanges bullets and barbs.
The gun battle makes up the bulk of the film but this is no average bullet ballet. Wheatley and co-writer Amy Jump carefully calibrate the action, mixing gunfire with sharp dialogue and plenty of irreverent, dark humour. Their best trick is keeping it real. When people get shot in “Free Fire” they don’t shake it off like most action movie characters. Instead they shriek, whine, wince and in pain, putting the strong silent type clichés of most first person shooters in the rear view mirror. As the situation grows more desperate so do the characters as they struggle to stay alive long enough to grab the elusive suitcase filled with cash, settle old scores and trade schoolyard taunts.
It’s hard not to see echoes of “Reservoir Dogs” in “Free Fire.” The warehouse setting and sketchy characters suggest Tarantino but Wheatley has done something else here. He’s packed away all pretension, all sentiment and focussed on making a down-‘n-dirty but wildly entertaining b-movie.