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 “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York” and the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies including “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York,” the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick” and Penelope Cruz in “The Queen of Spain.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the big weekend movies including “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York,” the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick” and Penelope Cruz in “The Queen of Spain.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with guest host Kristi Cameron to talk about the weekend’s big releases including the Sundance hit “Patti Cake$,” the New York City drama “The Only Living Boy in New York,” the civil war shoot ’em up “Bushwick” and Penelope Cruz in “The Queen of Spain.”
“I knew her very well,” says Penelope Cruz, “but in a way she was not exactly the same person because so many things happened to her and she changed over time, like we all do.”
Cruz isn’t talking about an old friend or a long lost relative. The Spanish superstar is referring to Macarena Granada, a character she first played a decade ago and revisits in the new film The Queen of Spain.
“She has a very intense life,” continues Cruz, “so that was the tricky thing. For the people who knew Macarena, how do I make her recognizable and what are the changes we can see in her after all these years?”
Audiences first met Macarena in 1998 when Cruz played her as an upcoming Spanish movie star in a frothy little confection called The Girl of Your Dreams. It’s years later in real and reel life as Cruz brings the character back to the screen.
Set in 1956, The Queen of Spain portrays Macarena as a huge international star lured back to her home country to star in the first American movie to be shot there since the Franco took power. It’s a wild production but complicating matters is the appearance—and subsequent disappearance—of Macarena’s former director and the man who made her a star.
“The first film was set at a time of interaction with Germany and Macarena had to protect herself from Goebbels,” says Cruz. “This time she is up against Franco. In a way every time she is acting in a film she is just not acting, she is some kind of political heroine. She is fighting for justice. What a life this woman has had! Every time she goes into making a movie she has to save somebody’s life or do something life changing for everybody. If we ever do the third one I don’t know who she’ll have to deal with. Depends on what country. Hopefully the third one will happen someday. Let’s see who she has to encounter this time.”
The Queen of Spain marks the third time Cruz has worked with Fernando Trueba, the Spanish auteur who directed her break out film Belle Époque.
“The knowledge he has of cinema, the passion he has for cinema is very contagious,” she says. “With Fernando it is always more than just entertainment. He is such a great filmmaker and he always talks about so many big subjects at the same time.
“I think Belle Époque is a masterpiece. The film was amazing and for me to start with somebody as brilliant as Fernando, well, it was a year that made it impossible for me not to fall in love with movies.”
The chance to show what goes on behind the scenes in The Queen of Spain’s film-within-the-film was another reason she decided to come back to Trueba and Macarena.
“There are not enough movies about that,” she says. “When I am on the set everything is so crazy and chaotic but at the same time it works. I feel like we need that chaos for it to work. It is magical that things happen and movies get done and get finished. I’m always on the set thinking, ‘These three days of shooting is enough material for three more movies.’”
Almost fifty years ago Simon & Garfunkel provided the memorable soundtrack to the equally memorable movie “The Graduate.” This year a wistful S&G song, “The Only Living Boy in New York,” inspired a wry movie of the same name by director Marc Webb.
Set in New York City, the movie centers around Thomas Webb (Callum Turner), a recent college grad in love with his best friend good friend, Mimi (Kiersey Clemons). When she rejects his romantic entreaties he’s crushed. Back at home in his parents Ethan and Judith’s (Pierce Brosnan and Cynthia Nixon) swanky Upper West Side apartment building he meets the boozy new neighbour, W.F. Gerald (Jeff Bridges), an author and sage who offers life advice.
When Thomas learns about Ethan’s affair with Johanna (Kate Beckinsale) he first becomes obsessed with learning more about her and then, perhaps to make Mimi jealous and possibly in an ode to “The Graduate,” begins a romantic affair with the older woman. Navigating his complicated personal life brings his combative relationship with the grizzled Ethan—who once told his son, a wannabe writer, that his work was only “serviceable”—in focus while opening his eyes to the world around him.
“The Only Living Boy in New York” doesn’t have the buoyancy of “(500) Days of Summer,” Webb’s other study of the way relationships work and, sometimes, how they don’t work. It’s more quasi-Phillip Roth than RomCom but it is propped up with some terrific performances.
English born actor Callum is cut from the Benjamin Braddock school of lovesick, confused young man, but it’s the seasoned pros who are worth the price of admission. Nixon is brittle yet steely as a long time New Yorker who was friends with Andy Warhol and mourns the loss of Greenwich Village’s famed Bottom Line club. Beckinsale is more than a plot device, bringing real humanity to a woman caught between the two men.
Bridges, now firmly entrenched in the old coot phase of his career, brings craggy charm to the role of mentor but it is Brosnan who shines. He’s at his best as a man who is simultaneously a father and romantic rival to his son.
“The Only Living Boy in New York” frequently feels like it is about to spin off its axis but Webb fights past the clunky dialogue and overly complicated story to present an engaging coming-of-age story.
Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s big releases, the comedy of “Keanu,” the maudlin humour of “Mother’s Day,” the kid’s sci fi of “Ratchet & Clank,” the punk rock fury of “Green Room” and the b-movie action of “Precious Cargo.”
Richard and “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson kick around the weekend’s big releases. They find out if “Keanu,” the kitten caper movie from Key & Peele is worth a look, if “Mother’s Day” is more than a Hallmark card come to the screen and if “Ratchet & Clank’s” good messages for kids make it a good movie.
When I think of Patrick Stewart I think of heroes. I picture Jean-Luc Picard, stern faced on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, courageously going where no man has gone before. Or I see the chrome-domed Professor Charles Xavier telepathically (and once again heroically) reading and controlling the minds of others.
“Green Room,” a grisly new survival horror flick from Jeremy Saulnier presents a new, but not necessarily improved Patrick Stewart. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great in the film, but heroic he is not.
The action begins with The Ain’t Rights (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner), a punk rock band struggling to make money for gas after a failed tour of the Pacific Northwest. Existing on the kindness of strangers, siphoned gas and Ramen noodles, hoping for a quick payday they take a gig at a skinhead bar in remote Oregon. “Don’t talk politics,” they’re warned by the promoter. Run by the homicidal white supremacist Darcy (Stewart), it’s a hellhole of a place that hosts Racial Advocacy Seminars when they aren’t hosting a hard-core punk shows. Following a contentious set, kicked off with a song called “BLEEP Off, Nazi BLEEPS,” the band grabs their money and gear but just as they are about to leave witness the aftermath of a murder in the club’s dingy green room. While Darcy and his jackboot lieutenants figure out how best to dispose of the band The Ain’t Rights and a friend of the dead woman (Imogen Poots) have to fight for their survival.
Like his Saulnier’s previous film, “Blue Ruin,” the new movie is a stripped down thriller with a focus on the gore and the characters. He takes his time getting to the gruesome stuff, setting up the story as we get to know and like the members of the band. Why else would we care when they (NOT REALLY A SPOILER) start to get picked off one by one? Otherwise it would just be torture porn, and while there are some unpleasant images that wouldn’t be out of place in one of the “Hostel” movies, the point of the story is survival not icky deaths.
The band’s life and death struggle is at the center of the film but the chilling malicious force that propels the movie forward is Stewart’s coldly methodical Darcy. At first he seems reasonable—well, as reasonable as a neo Nazi can be—but by the time he says, “We’re not keeping you, you’re just staying,” you know he lives in a world of his own construction; a world where his acolytes will do almost anything to protect him and their cause, no matter how wet and wild. Stewart is icy calm, a coiled spring capable of anything. Images of Professor X and Jean-Luc Picard will be forever erased from your memory.
“Green Room” is a nasty piece of work, a tense Tasmanian Devil tornado of a movie with solid performances and a DIY feel that meshes perfectly with its punk rock heart.