The Favourite **
In 18th century England, the close relationship between Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill is threatened by the arrival of Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Hill, resulting in a bitter rivalry between the two cousins to be the Queen’s favourite.
A cool and fairly ostentatious dissection of sexual dynamics and historical rumour, punctuated by Lanthimos’ typical deadpan drollery. It’s held together by an exceptional ensemble of players rather than its script, which regrettably mistakes acidity for wit.
d – Yorgos Lanthimos
w – Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
ph – Robbie Ryan
pd – Fiona Crombie
ed – Yorgos Mavropsaridis
cos – Sandy Powell
p – Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos, Lee Magiday
Cast: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss, Jenny Rainsford, James Smith
While on probation, a man born and raised in Oakland CA begins to re-evaluate his relationship with his volatile best friend.
Winner of the top prize at Sundance this year; themes of gentrification, racial discrimination and police brutality are served up with blunt force, despite the ever present use of permissive comedy. There is evident talent from all involved but this is another example of something that would’ve been more magnetic as a half-hour short.
d – Carlos López Estrada
w – Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal
ph – Robby Baumgartner
pd – Thomas S. Hammock
m – Michael Yezerski
ed – Gabriel Fleming
cos – Emily Batson
p – Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Jess Calder, Keith Calder
Cast: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Wayne Knight, Kevin Carroll
Colette is pushed by her husband to write novels under his name. Upon their success, she fights to make her talents known, challenging gender norms.
Glossily presented period drama with very little going on under its pretty surface. It would be nice to see Knightley put down the corset once and for all.
d – Wash Westmoreland
w – Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland, Rebecca Lenkiewicz
ph – Giles Nuttgens
pd – Michael Carlin
m – Thomas Adès
ed – Lucia Zucchetti
cos – Andrea Flesch
p – Elizabeth Karlsen, Pamela Koffler, Michel Litvak, Christine Vachon, Gary Michael Walters, Stephen Woolley
Cast: Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, Robert Pugh, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ray Panthaki, Dickie Beau
Hearts Beat Loud *
A father and daughter form an unlikely songwriting duo in the summer before she leaves for college.
Uninspired observational dramedy of a familiar kind, tenderly performed by its accomplished cast.
d – Brett Haley
w – Brett Haley, Marc Basch
ph – Eric Lin
pd – Erin Magill
m – Keegan DeWitt
ed – Patrick Colman
cos – Melissa Vargas
p – Sam Bisbee, Houston King, Sam Slater
Cast: Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Sasha Lane, Blythe Danner, Toni Collette, Quincy Dunn-Baker
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse **
Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his reality and crosses paths with his counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat to all reality.
Hilarious, visually inventive animated feature that breaks from the norm of current big-budget American animated fare, both stylistically – in the decision to do much of the animation on 2’s – and thematically – with much of the humour and given circumstances being aimed more at adults. The former prevails more than the latter, with the plot getting far too bogged down in comic book church-service (including a weak villain) so that any emotional connection either falls flat or is nonexistent. It’s all very hip, but it’s essentially delicious empty calories.
d – Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
w – Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman
pd – Justin K. Thompson
m – Daniel Pemberton
ed – Robert Fisher Jr
p – Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Avi Arad, Christina Steinberg, Amy Pascal
Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage, Kimiko Glenn, John Mulaney, Mahershala Ali, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine, Jorma Taccone, Zoë Kravitz, Kathryn Hahn, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Lake Bell