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.”
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 “War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Mermaids” and “The Little Hours.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies the ape-tastic “War for the Planet of the Apes,” the fin-tastic “Mermaids” and the sin-tastic situation comedy “The Little Hours.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies including the rebooted prequel “War for the Planet of the Apes,” the fin-tastic “Mermaids” and the updated 14th century situation comedy “The Little Hours.”
Despite critical raves and big box-office success, Roddy McDowell wasn’t nominated for his work as the sympathetic chimpanzee Cornelius in the original Planet of the Apes. Unless things change radically in the next few months Andy Serkis, star of War for the Planet of the Apes, won’t be either. He’s getting the best reviews of his career for playing chimpanzee Caesar, leader to a tribe of genetically enhanced apes in the new film, but the Academy refuses to recognize his style of acting.
Unlike Serkis, McDowell wore a rubber mask that took hours to apply, even for quick promotional appearances like his 1974 spot on the Carol Burnett Show.
Burnett introduced McDowell as “one of Hollywood’s most familiar faces,” then feigned shock as the actor came onstage in a tuxedo, but in full Planet of the Apes facial makeup. They launch into a spirited version of the love ballad They Didn’t Believe Me. By the end of the tune the audience roars as Burnett warbles, “When I told them how wonderful you are, They didn’t believe me,” as she mimes picking a bug off his lapel.
Later she thanked Roddy for undergoing the three-and-a-half hours it took to put on the makeup for that bit of funny business.
It’s not likely you’ll see Andy Serkis partaking in the same kind of promotional monkey business.
Times have changed since McDowell had to endure untold hours in the makeup chair, then smoke using an extra long cigarette holder so as not to light his faux fur on fire. “It’s about a foot long and makes me look like the weirdest monkey you ever did see,” McDowell told Newsday.
These days Serkis, who is best known for his motion capture performances of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films and The Force Awakens’ Supreme Leader Snoke, performs on a soundstage in front of multiple cameras that film his performance from every angle. He wears a body suit dotted with spots that allow the computers to register even the slightest movement. Serkis calls this “a magic suit” that “allows you to play anything regardless of your size, your sex, your colour, whatever you are.” Later, in post production the “digital makeup” adds in the costume and character details.
It saves hours in the makeup chair, but is no less a performance than McDowell’s more organic approach. “I’ve never drawn a distinction between live-action acting and performance-capture acting,” Serkis says. “It is purely a technology. It’s a bunch of cameras that can record the actor’s performance in a different way.”
Which raises the question of why the Academy refuses to acknowledge the work of Serkis and others who specialize in motion capture? The Independent calls him one of the greatest actors of this generation and the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films recognize his work but the Oscars have steadfastly ignored his specialty. It’s a slap in Serkis’ face that The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers won an Oscar for Visual Effects in part because of the genius of his performance.
Whether included in the Best Actor category or another, new grouping for Best MoCap Performance, it’s time Serkis and others were recognized for their work.