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 Richard Gere in “Norman,” Emma Watson in the cyber thriller “The Circle” and the animated movie “Spark: A Space Tail.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, Richard Gere in “Norman,” Emma Watson in the cyber thriller “The Circle” and the animated movie “Spark: A Space Tail.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with host Bill Carroll to talk about the weekend’s big releases, Richard Gere in “Norman,” Emma Watson in the cyber thriller “The Circle” and the animated movie “Spark: A Space Tail.”
One day someone may write about Emma Watson without mentioning the Harry Potter franchise, but today is not that day. Few child stars have faced the glare of the spotlight as acutely as the core Potter cast and the fame that came along with playing Harry, Ron and Hermione will likely follow them around for as long as Potterheads roam the earth.
It’s not like they are crying over spilt potion, however. On screen Daniel Radcliffe takes on demanding roles that give him the chance to distance himself from Harry and, apparently, show his bum at every opportunity. Rupert Grint has kept a lower profile, starring in a few independent films and playing an upper-crust criminal on the television adaptation of Snatch.
Of the three Emma Watson has maintained the highest professional profile. Whether addressing the United Nations or starring opposite a heartbroken furry beast or accepting British GQ’s Woman of the Year Award she has rarely been far from view.
This weekend she follows up her biggest post-Potter hit, starring as Belle in the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast, with the high-tech thriller The Circle. Appearing opposite Tom Hanks she plays a young woman hired at The Circle, America’s most influential and possibly dangerous tech company.
She says, “I pick movies, not roles,” and has amassed a carefully curated IMDB page—including everything from This is the End’s axe wielding version of herself to Noah’s adopted daughter—designed to challenge an audience used to seeing her as Hermione and showcase strong and independent characters.
A year after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 she surprised fans by playing a wise-beyond-her years free spirit in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. “If you had told me that the first movie I was going to do coming out of Harry Potter was an American high school movie,” she told the Hollywood Reporter, “I would have laughed at you.”
Based on a popular junior adult novel, it uses one of the building blocks of teen drama—the friendless teen trying to navigate high school in his freshman year—but layers in equal amounts of teen angst and exuberance before the final class bell rings. Watson is terrific, avoiding the square-peg-in-a-round-hole clichés that could have dogged her character.
Her next starring role silenced Hermione comparisons forever. The Bling Ring plays like a Law & Order episode of The Hills. Based on actual events, it centers on a group of narcissistic Los Angeles teenagers who track the comings and goings of their favourite celebs on the internet. While one-named millennial stars like Paris, and Lindsay are out on the town the Ring “go shopping,” breaking into their homes, helping themselves to jewels, designer clothes and loose cash.
Watson’s performance nails the vapidity that made the robberies possible. Dead eyed, with a bored infliction on every word she mispronounces, her take on Nicki shows there’s more to her than being a wizard’s sidekick.
“I am aware I have a long way to go,” she told Elle UK. “I am not sure I deserve all the respect I get yet, but I’m working on it.”
The twenty-seven-year-old may have a long way to go, but one thing is for sure, if she continues to choose daring and exciting roles, she’s not going anywhere.
There’s an old saying that says a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. “The Circle,” a new Emma Watson, Tom Hanks’ thriller updates the message for the cyber age. “Knowing is good, but knowing everything is better,” is the chilling message.
Based on the Dave Eggers bestseller of the same name, “The Circle” stars Emma Watson as Mae Holland, a young woman who lands a gig at The Circle, a social media company with the influence of Apple and Facebook combined. It’s high tech glamour with a human touch, the chaos of the web made elegant. When Mae’s father falls ill her health coverage is extended to include her extended family. “You are a valued member of the Circle,” says the Zuckerbergesque company head and co-founder Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks). “We care about everybody you care about.”
As she moves up the ranks Bailey convinces her to take part in a radical test. “Mae,” he asks, “do you think you behave better or worse when you are being watched?” It is a grand social experiment that sees her observed on-line every minute of the day via a new, lightweight, wireless portable camera. On the surface it’s a utopian idea, a way to make people better—“When we are our best selves,” says Bailey, “there isn’t a problem we can’t solve.”—that soon has some unexpected consequences.
When her co-worker Ty (John Boyega) warns her that “all the information, everything broadcast, recorded and seen is stored there and they can use it however they want,” she realizes the possibilities of a surveillance culture.
“The Circle” is a snapshot not of today but of two years ago. It’s almost impossible to tell a dystopian or cautionary cyber tale when Russian hackers are throwing American elections and your laptop is already spying on you and likely has been for years. The film feels as current as it’s musical guest star Beck, a musician old enough to be Watson’s father.
It does raise questions about the usage of personal data for the gain of personal wealth, the role of technology in government—“The government needs us more than we need them,” snarls The Circle’s COO (Patton Oswalt)—and the nature and importance of privacy in the wild west of the internet but it doesn’t add much to the conversation. The messages are earnest, but Watson’s Mae is a passive player, a shallow character too gullible and easily influenced to maintain our interest. The solution to her moral quandary feels better suited to a Facebook post than the climax to a movie.
While it is a pleasure to see Bill Paxton in his last big screen performance, “The Circle” often feels like an Exposition-A-Thon, a message in search of a story.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the drug addled “T2 Trainspotting” and the no-holds-barred “Goon: Last of the Enforcers.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with host Bill Carroll to talk about the weekend’s big releases, the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the drug addled “T2 Trainspotting,” the no-holds-barred “Goon: Last of the Enforcers,” and “The Sense of an Ending” with Jim Broadbent.