The Favourite (2018)

The Favourite

Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman)

 

“Well, it is fun to be queen sometimes”.

 

This quite the understatement, as Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman), though suffering from gout, is really the character. She keeps over a dozen rabbits in her bedroom, races ducks, and is sometimes on the verge of insanity. She is also having an affair with her married helper Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) in one of the more bizarre comedies of 2018, The Favourite.

The palace life begins to see a change with the arrival of Lady Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone), a very kind-hearted soul who ends up winning the affection of the Queen, to the spite of Sarah. The rivals play a back and forth game that changes the course of all involved.

Director Yorgos Lanthimos gives a movie that, in the end, does take some time to digest. There is dialogue that is laced in dark comedy that makes you smile (though you feel a bit guilty about it). The acting is right in your face wonderful. The one with the biggest character development is Stone, proving once again how much depth and talent she has. Weisz is seems to have (at times) less of a showier role, but shines never the less. Yet the star of the show has got to be Coleman, who has fun with every second she is on-screen, but still shows pathos in the dramatic scenes as well. In short, all three actresses are on their A game.

Parents, this is a film that is not for kids. There are shots of nudity, and a lot of sexual material (not just seen but also suggestive). There is also a lot of swearing, so the R rating is by far justified.

Even if parts of The Favourite are part truth, there is no doubt that this is one of the more original films of the year. It is not for everyone, but for those that can handle it, The Favourite is something else, in a good way.

 

Overall: Four Stars ****

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

x-men Apocalypse

The younger versions of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-Mcphee) and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan).

X-Men: Apocalypse is sure to dazzle the biggest fanboy (or girl), but it is almost generic in being a summer film, one that may not completly be remembered by the end of the year.

After the brilliance of X-Men: Days of Future Past two years ago (I still have yet to see X-Men: First Class from 2011), we fast foward ten years and are introduced to the biggest baddie in all mutant history (also the first), En Sabah Nur (Oscar Issac), also known as Apocalypse (though I don’t think he is called anything else in the movie). His ability is to move his conscience into other beings, picking up their powers along the way (at least that is what I gathered: I was a fan of X-Men as a nineties kid, but never got around to Apocalypse).

Meanwhile, we see familiar faces such as Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), who is still running his school for the gifted with the help of Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) is leading a normal life with a wife and daughter, though still working in a steel mill seems awkward for the man once known as Magneto. Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), also known as Mystique, has become kind of a folklore legend, but refuses to be seen as a hero. We also see three young versions of familiar heroes; Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Bush), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee). However, Apocalypse has also managed to recruit some mutants of his own, including Angel (Ben Hardy), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and Psylocke (Olivia Munn).

Still, as it was with Days of Future Past, my favorite is still Evan Peters as Quicksilver. It is a difference character than the one we met in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and a better one (and not the because of the reason you think). He is witty, smart, funny, yet still has a tortured soul. He has a scene reminiscant of the one he had in Days of Future Past, and, as was the case in the previous movie, it is the best scene of this film as well.

All actors give strong performances (I did especially enjoy the chemistry between Sheridan, Bush, and Smit-McPhee), and the action sequences were very cool. Still, the story itself was just luke warm to me. Even at nearly two and a half hours (which it did not drag on as much as I thought it would), I feel they could have added a few more levels of depth to each character, as well as give a little more sinister-ness to the villian (though Issac does a fine job here).

Parents, the movie does have some revealing clothing, and some nudity (all Mystique, though the nudity is always her in blue). There is also some swearing (including one F bomb, though it is well placed). Basically, the PG-13 rating is justified, though it could have been rated R.

I will end by saying do still feel I liked this film better than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, though not nearly as much as Captain America: Civil War. I understand not all comic book stories are light and fun: some can be dark. I feel there is still some room left for another X-Men film or two (which will more than likely happen), but they need to stop looking at the horizon and take a leap of faith.

 

Overall: Three Stars ***