Monday, November 19, 2018

The Favourite









It’s safe to say that Direcor Yorgoa Lanthimos’ The Favourite is in no way my favorite film of the year.  In fact, except for some excellent performances by Rachel Weitz and Olivia Colman, the film is too long, eventually too boring and has a terrible ending.  
 
Despite that, Olivia Colman may earn a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Queen Anne of England and Fiona Crombie could be nominated for Production Design. 

The story involves two cousins, (Weitz and Emma Stone) vying for the favor of the Queen.  Both are reprehensible and, therefore, the viewer doesn’t care who wins and gets tired of their bickering.

Cinematographer Robbie Ryan uses some “fish-eye” wandering camera techniques that are out of touch with time period and, therefore, annoying.  The constant vomiting of characters on screen is gross.  And, after a while, the film seems a director’s self-indulgence.

The more I think about it, this is a film to skip.

Nevertheless, I give The Favourite a 3.3 out of 5, mostly for the worthy performances of Weitz and Colman.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Tale











Writer/Co-Producer/Director Jennifer Fox’s The Tale is a super-excellent drama based on her own life, when, at age 13, she was drawn into a sexual relationship with her running coach (Jason Ritter).
 
This film is the epitome of an independent film with, due to financing issues, Fox having to stop the shoot and regroup several times in order to keep her fabulous cast of Laura Dern, Elizabeth Debicki, Ellyn Burstyn, Common, Frances Conroy, Laura Allen, Isabelle NĂ©lisse and the late John Heard.

Fox also had to change her Cinematographers from Denis Lenoir to Ivan Strasburg and Editors from Anne Fabini to Alex Hall to Gary Levy for the same reasons.  And, yet they all turned in seamless performances with the editing being immediately striking as exceptional.

The fact Fox was able to handle this on her first feature a is phenomenal.


The Tale is unique in its take on sexual violation, forcing one to wonder whether childhood and adulthood should be defined only by age or by mental capacity, as well.  Whatever your opinion, the film will stick with you.

The film is on HBO and I strongly urge you to see it. (It's sad that a movie this fine is not in theaters.) 

I give The Tale a 4.7 out of 5.

Widows












Writer/Producer/Director Steve McQueen’s Widows is a gritty thriller with a slow build that finally delivers in the excellent last 20 minutes.

It’s problem is not in the fact you’re not quite sure who the good guys are for a while, but in the fact that, except for Elizabeth Debicki’s character Alice, you don’t really care about anyone else. That can make one antsy for the almost two-hour wait for the climax.

The other issue for me was the last 2 shots of the film, which caused a groan after the thrilling wideup.  Instead of a The Devil Wears Prada ending, McQueen went for sweetness. Wrong move.

Nonetheless, I give Widows a 3.9 out of 5.