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 the clown prince of Asgard in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the grammatically incorrect “A Bad Moms Christmas,” and the strange “The Killing of the Sacred Deer.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Nick Dixon have a look at the weekend’s new movies including Chris Hemsworth’s funny take on his most famous character in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the lump of coal that is “A Bad Moms Christmas” and the strangest movie of the year, “The Killing of the Sacred Deer.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Lois Lee to have a look at the clown prince of Asgard in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the grammatically incorrect “A Bad Moms Christmas, the strange “The Killing of the Sacred Deer” and the religious drama “Novitiate.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with host Bill Carroll to talk about the clown prince of Asgard in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the grammatically incorrect “A Bad Moms Christmas” and “The Killing of the Sacred Deer.”
Director Yorgos Lanthimos makes idiosyncratic films. From the bizarre home schooling fantasy “Dogtooth” to “The Lobster,” a film about turning lovesick divorcees into wildlife, he is unafraid to let his freak flag fly. His newest film, “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer” starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, may be his most unapologetically odd film yet.
Farrell is Steven Murphy, an uptight cardiac surgeon married to ophthalmologist Anna (Kidman). Their two kids, Bob (Sunny Suljic) and Kim (Raffey Cassidy) are polite, happy kids. They eat dinner together every night and by all outward appearances lead a disciplined, quiet suburban life. It wasn’t always that way. Just three years before Steven was forced to stop drinking when it began to interfere with his work.
Now all is calm. The only strange thing is Steven’s attachment to Martin (Barry Keoghan), the son of a patient who died unexpectedly. Steven buys him expensive presents and always seems to have time to talk to the boy or take him out for lunch. Shortly after Martin is invited over for dinner, however, things in the Murphy household take a turn for the worse. Little Bob’s legs give out and soon he is paralyzed from the waist down. He’s given every test known to man and science but no diagnosis is forthcoming. Then Kim takes ill, collapsing at choir practice. Again, there doesn’t seem to be a medical reason for her paralysis.
There’s more, but there will be no spoilers here. If you want clues look up the Greek myth of Artemis’s demand of atonement from Agamemnon after he killed a sacred deer.
From this point on “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer” becomes a horror film about ideas rather than actions. It’s a study of extreme consequences, atonement and the length to which people will go to save their families. In many ways it’s the kind of story we’ve seen many times before but Lanthimos has filtered the domestic drama through his lens, creating an unsettling and absurd film that is as gripping as it is strange.
Lanthimos uses language and tone to bring us into his world. The actors have a eerie, mannered way of speaking as though they are always reading aloud from an Emily Post book. Before anything odd happens the matter-of-fact speech, often about the most trivial or, sometimes, inappropriate things, establishes the film’s otherworldly tone. It hangs heavy over every second of the movie and when the character’s veneers begin to crack it is even more disquieting.
“The Killing Of A Sacred Deer” does not offer explanations or apologies for anyone’s behaviour. Instead it is content to wallow in the cruelty and depravity of its story. Strange days indeed.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about Chris Hemsworth’s funny take on his most famous character in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the lump of coal that is “A Bad Moms Christmas” and the strangest movie of the year, “The Killing of the Sacred Deer.”
We’re about to reach the tipping point of the summer and it’s not even the end of May. In a summer crowded with sequels like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Pitch Perfect 2, reboots like Terminator Genisys and Jurassic World, remakes like Poltergeist and Entourage, a TV show blown up for the big screen, along comes Tomorrowland, a big budget film based on an original idea.
Not every film this year is a sequel, prequel or the like, but Tomorrowland, with a budget topping out at $190 million, is the most expensive original film to come down the pike this year.
Borrowing its name from the futuristic themed land found at Disney theme parks, the movie stars George Clooney and Britt Robertson as a former boy genius and gifted teenager who, according to the press materials, “travel to a place somewhere in time and space only known as Tomorrowland where their actions directly affect the world and themselves.”
Disney is deliberately keeping plot details under wraps, hoping the allure of mysterious trailers will draw people in. It’s the opposite of the usual strategy of showcasing the film’s high lights in a two-minute promo.
I was at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California—imagine the Disney version of Comic Con—in 2013 when Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof unveiled the name of the movie, but little else. In a splashy presentation they claimed a “dusty old box” labelled 1952 found in the Disney Imagineering archives had inspired the story. Containing a mysterious mishmash of items, including a 1928 copy of Amazing Stories magazine, a photograph of Walt Disney and Amelia Earhart allegedly taken after her disappearance, a short animated documentary and an unidentified metal object, they said the idea of the film is to ask “what if these mystery clues were real?”
Teasing the potential audience into buying tickets is an intriguing but risky idea. It’s a risk Bird was willing to take. He turned down the chance to direct Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens to make Tomorrowland, saying, “it’s rare to do a film of this size that’s original, so those opportunities can’t be missed either.”
But will it be an opportunity that moviegoers will embrace? Suggesting that Hollywood only feels comfortable with movies that are presold via brand recognition is an understatement. Whether it is a familiar title with a number added or any movie from the mighty Marvel stable, the big studios aren’t in the habit of taking chances and it’s not their fault. It’s ours.
One of the main complaints I hear from people is that there are no interesting movies in release and yet Furious 7 and Age of Ultron have grossed amounts equal to the GNP of some small nations. By supporting big budget “branded” movies we send the message that original stories don’t interest us, only ones that give us what we expect.
While we have the chance why not take a chance on a movie that takes a risk? That’s the tipping point. Check out Tomorrowland or Ex Machina. If sci fi isn’t your thing, how about Aloha or Inside Out? There is room for all kinds of movies but why not vote with your feet and let the studios know that their steady diet of sequels, prequels and reboots is quickly nearing its best by date.