Monday, December 31, 2018

Top Ten Films of 2018


Documentary featuring Nadia Murad Basee Taha the reluctant spokesperson for the Yazidis people whose village in Northern Iraq was wiped out by Isis. She was repeatedy raped as a captive up in the mountains actually saying that she was thankful it happened to her instead of the girls younger than her in the group. She tells her story around the world to anyone who will listen at rallies in community centres and on radio stations. She builds her strength up to tell of her ordeal drained, shaking and sobbing at the end of each interview. She addressed the United Nations on the plight of her people. When not advocating she is visiting refugee camps bringing toys for the children optimistic that her scattered people will one day be able to return home.

After the filming of the documentary ended Nadia went on to win the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for speaking out against wartime sexual violence bringing more attention to the non-Muslim Yazidi people of Northern Iraq.


A delightful feature that has lessons pointing to the strength of family, being true to your friends and that kindness can triumph over cruelness. Paddington is literally plucked out of a Peruvian jungle set of river rapids ending up in London England with the Brown family. The CGI effects are subtle and not overwhelming. Paddington and the Browns get into a bit of an adventure, our hero has plenty of his favourite marmalade sandwiches to keep his belly full and best of all you do not need to see the first film to follow and be entertained fully by this one.


Hiokazu Koreeda's Palme d'Or winner follows the exploits of a group of hustlers thrown together to form a family.  Shibata ( Lily Franky) is the patriarch passing along his thieving ways to middle schooler Shota ( Kairi Jyo) who in turn introduces neglected 6 -year-old Juri (MijuSasaki) that the group take in to the ropes of stealing from stores. Koreeda's goal with the film is to bring attention to the section of Japanese society that is the working poor who don't earn a living wage forcing them into personal jeopardy to survive.


Director Pawel Pawlikowski's follow up to Ida again finds the director working in black and white telling a story about Poles in the Iron Curtain years. Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Thomas Kot) are star-crossed lovers who just can't get their timing right. He flees to the west but she balks at the last minute and dosen't go. Their paths continue to cross but their love seems to be so intense that they can't be in each others presence for too long. The film features my favourite sequence of the year as Zula perched at a Paris bar hears Rock Around The Clock strike up compelling her to move to the dance floor while an oblivious Wiktor continues on with his conversation in the smoke-filled lounge.


James Baldwin the author of the 1974 novel of the same name believed that if you were black and grew up in a black neighbourhood in any America city you grow up on Beale Street. The actual street is in Memphis declared to be the birthplace of Memphis Blues. Growing up on Beale Street is to face a real possibility of police and legal injustice that can lead to children losing their dads, parents losing their son's, wife's losing their husbands and young black men losing their lives. Barry Jenkins focuses is story on the central complete love between Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) they are optimistic despite their circumstance with Tish's mother Sharon (Regina King) fighting for justice in a rape case against the father of her future grandchild that occurred in a location that he could not possibly have been at.


Palace intrigue abound in this period piece absurd romp at the court of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). England is winning a war against France to the financial benefit of the cities but financed by the purse of the country landowners. Tory leader Harley (Nicholas Hoult) wants the war to end while Prime Minister Godolphin (James Smith) Whigs whose power base is in the cities wants it to continue. The unfirm Queen Anne has ceded her power to Lady Sara (Rachel Weisz) her childhood friend and most trusted advisor whose husband leads the English fores is hawkish on the war. Enter Abigail (Emma Stone) a fallen cousin of Lady Sarah who's father lost her in a bet. Abigail quickly wins favour at court, alinging herself with Harley becoming a real problem for Lady Sarah and Godolphin. The film features three superior female performaces that could see three female Oscar acting nominations from the same film since All About Eve.


Wakanda jumps off the screen fueled by vibranium in director Ryan Coogler's Black Panther. Wakanda has had the alien technology for generations but kept their society cloaked. New King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) wants to change that but must also face a challenger to the throne his long-lost first cousin who goes by the name of Eric Killmonger (Michael B Jordan). Letitia Wright cranks the comedy as T'Challa's little sister/ master of Wakanda's alien technology. The film explores the real world topic of isolation vs globalization that is centre stage fueled by recent actions in Britain and comments and actions of the American President.

3., VICE

Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) is able to take a ceremonial post of Vice President and use his deft  political skills flanked by his inner circle Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell), his lawyer David Addington (Don McManus) and his Chief of Staff Scooter Libby (Justin Kirk) take control of the Presidency for 8 years arguing that because of the VP's role in both the executive and the Legislative branches he does not answer to either. Cheney power was so consolidated that during 9-11 while Dubya was circling in the air he was giving shoot down orders and consulting with Addington and his wilfe Lynne (Amy Adams) on next steps. Director Adam McKay continues his celebrity cameos to handle exposition which is as effective here as in his last feature The Big Short. The dialogue is sarcastic the narrative full-on satire with another How Could We Have Let This Happen subject matter explored by the director.


Daniel Day Lewis' retirement film that had its wide release at the beginning of the year and stayed in front of mind into the summer months. The inner working of London high fashion houses and the eccentricities of creative directors are explored to the fullest in the film. Director Paul Thomas Anderson immerses himself in all things mid 19th century from the cars, to the fabrics to the dependent relationships between men and women of the day. Reynolds Woodcock (Lewis) is a petulant child that lets his business partner his sister Cyril (Leslie Manville) do all of the mundane and dirty work of the Fashion house including telling Reynolds muse of the day it's time to leave when Reynolds tires of how she eats toast. He meets Alma (Vicky Kripis) while she waitresses in a country restaurant during a jaunt out of town. He has to dress her, making the willing Alma stand for hours as he pokes and prods. Jonny Greenwood's score rolls over the audience as the fabrics are crafted into works of art on screen. Not to forget the bonus of Reynolds obliterating the term "chic" with a clinical precision strike.

1., ROMA

Simply put this is a 5-star film. Alfonso Cuaron semi-autobiographical story of an upper-middle -class family in early 70's Mexico City. The film is built around two women. The matriarch of the family Sofia (Marina de Tavira) and the indigenous housekeeper Celo (Yalitza Aparicio) who lives in an apartment behind the family home with the other family housekeeper. She is family but she is also not. Cuaron takes the audience on a monochromatic journey around the city and out to the country side, into poor villages and out to the sea. The viewer experiences the politics of the day, an insane Christmas and New Year's at a lavish estate in the forest with parents, children, dogs, and guns.  Woven into the plot is failed relationship between Cleo and her one time boyfriend Fermin (Jorge Antonio Guerrero) and a failing one between Sofia and her husband Dr. Antonio (Fernando Grediaga) However the doctor does make the introduction of the year announcing his arrival rolling into the tight fit family garage in a full-sized gas guzzling Ford Galaxy.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Film Review - If Beale Street Could Talk

Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) have a true love forged over a friendship that started in childhood then blossomed when they became adults. They would do anything for each other  pledging to stand by each other then Tish becomes pregnant just before outside forces rip them apart. As in James Baldwin's source material novel director Barry Jenkins sees Beale street as larger than this couple, their story, the street in Memphis where blues is said to have originated a neighbourhood in Memphis, New York or Chicago its instead a commentary on what happens to young black men in America on a regular basis. A theme explored multiple times in 2018 in The Hate U Give, Blindspotting  and Monsters and Men to name just a few. Fonny is accused of a rape where the victim is long gone from the country and not coming back to testify. As she is out of the picture the policeman who has a beef with Fonny and brought the charges is on the other side of the ledger. Tish's mom Sharon (Regina King) goes as far as traveling to Puerto Rico to convince the victim to come back and tell the truth. She is a polar opposite to Fonny's devoutly religious mother (Aunjanue Ellis) flanked by Fonny's sisters who don't and never have approved of Tish setting the stage for one of the best family exchanges on film in 2018 when Tish calls the families together to announce that she is pregnant.

Jenkins takes his time to tell the tale that is set in the present of Fonny's incarceration but jumps to happier times in the past, when they get their first apartment, Fonny introducing Tish to his Village neighbourhood hangouts and friends, and when the couple makes love for the first time. The lush colours are centre stage throughout under the watchful eye of Jenkin's cinematographer James Laxton.

Relative newcomer leads Kiki Layne and Stephan James play the eternal optimist despite the latter's incarceration setting years of at penal facilities. Regina King commands the screen
as Tish's mom Sandra. She's the main advocate for the couple, gets Fonny a credible lawyer doing whatever she can to help his case. Look for Brian Tyree Henry of Atlanta fame who also has a significant role in Steve McQueen's Widows as Fonny's longtime friend who just was released from prison telling a haunting tale of his experiences while inside.

If Beale Street Could Talk is at its centre a tragic love story. Jenkins presentation pulls at the audience's heartstrings in his non- linear telling of the events. The heart wrenching never wavering, love, devotion, and commitment of the couple rings true as they grow older evidenced by their son growing up in front of us coming to see Dad in prison. Its a nuanced tale that found the right hand to guide it making it a film that I can highly recommend.

**** Out of 4.

If Beale Street Could Talk | Barry Jenkins | U.S.A. | 2018 | 119 Minutes.

Tags: Harlem, Pregnancy, Rape, Victim, Line Up, Prison, Religion, Visitation, Puerto Rico, Beat Cop, False Accusation.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Flim Review - Vice

Perhaps the quietest voice of the rise of extreme right Washington politics was not even a true believer. When he turns up for his congressional internship in 1968 he chooses to go to work for Illinois congressman Donald Rumsfeld ( Steve Carell) because he's a plain speaker not because of party affiliation. Cheney (Christian Bale) had blazed a wild path that included getting kicked out of Yale for drinking and fighting, 2 DUI's and one too many jail bailouts for his fiancee Lynne (Amy Adams) who gave him an ulimatum to fly right or she was leaving. Cheney latches onto Rumsfeld who shows him the inside Washington game which the former quietly studies then perfects.

Director Adam McKay continues the storytelling style that he established in The Big Short celebrity cameo's are abound to keep the audience engaged during the exposition sections none better than Alfred Molina playing a waiter in a high end D.C. steakhouse laying out the strategy for Cheney and  and his cohorts to evisarate the rules of the capital in a post-2000 election dinner conversation. The subject matter has a similar How could we let this happen and not do anything element. The writing is sharp and witty dripping with large chunks of sarcasm and satire.

Christian Bale is unrecognizable as Dick Cheney. Bale nails the former Vice President's measured speaking pattern, head bob to emphasis points, love for sweets and laser -like striking ability when anyone challenges him or his interests. Steve Carell is comfortable as always in the sidekick role. Here as Donald Rumsfeld, he is the epotome of the old boys' network who wouldn't stand a chance in today's Me Too era. Amy Adams morphs into Lynne Cheney, a woman who could have been President herself but knowing her era realized that the best she could do would be to pick the right man to mold and push. Lynne singlehandledly turned around a failing Wyoming Senate bid for Cheney winning him his seat after the candidiate was sidelined following his first of many heart attacks, events that turn into a running gag in the film. Look for Jessie Plemons as Kirk who has a third act revealed relationship with Cheney serving as narrator for the piece. Sam Rockwell fresh off last years best -supporting actor win plays Dubya who appears to be President in name only, seeding a large swatch of his executive privileges to Cheney.

McKay lays out in broad strokes how Cheney and his inner circle Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz (Eddie Marsan) a Ford-era holdover, His chief of staff Sootter Libby (Justin Kirk) and his Lawyer David Addington (Don McManus) ran Washington. Cheney answered to no one. Addington along with a young Antonin Scalia argued for ultimate power worthy of a king. Since the VP has a role in the Executive along with the Legislative as President of the Senate he does not have to answer to either.
Along the way, the gang of 4 also managed to wipe out the fairness doctrine giving rise to partisan political television and Fox News. As Cheney states with a wink and a smirk to a returning from exile Rumsfeld we don't have to yell and shout because we have conservative commentators to do that for us.

**** Out of 4.

Vice | Adam McKay | U.S.A. | 132 Minutes | 2018.

Tags: American Politics, 9/11, Washington, Rupublican Party, Congress, Chief of Staff, Defense Secretary, Serial Hart Attacks, Iraq War, Big Oil, Fly Fishing,

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Film Review: Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse

Miles Morales (voice-Shameik More) is your typical teenager. He's reluctant to do his homework. His parents embarrass him and he has lots of friends in his Brooklyn neighbourhood. He's attending an upscale academy via a lottery where he's having a hard time fitting in. His best pal is his Uncle Aaron (voice- Mareshala Ali) who doesn't mind fracturing a few laws to the chargrin of his police officer bother, Miles Dad (voice- Brian Tyree Henry). The pair spay paid graffiti art in the back corners and underbelly of the city. It's on one of these outings where Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider gaining his powers. On another level Kingpin/Wilson Fisk (voice-Liv Schreiber) is determined to find a version of earth where his wife and son are alive and bring them to him.  Doc Ock (voice-Kathryn Hahn) builds the supercollider Kingpin backs the project and Miles stumbles onto the test where the one and only Spider-Man (voice-Chris Pine) who is quite the celebrity having 10 years on the job battles the Green Goblin as he tries to stop the device from firing. It does, melding universes together sucking in 4 other versions to this timeline. However, the machine goes offline and this timelines Spider-Man is killed in the battle.

Directors Bob Perischetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman, watched by the brains behind the Lego Movie Phil Lord and Chris Miller bring a fresh take to a story that's been told for decades with origin stories serving as a running gag. What would happen if that spider bit someone else, or someone in a different universe? What would be the spark that made them take that leap of faith, how would there costume reflect their experiences and personality? The production also uses a version of animation where the edge of frame characters appear to be in soft focus 3D in addition to the brush work being sharped edged representing the jaggedness of a comic book.

Peter B. Parker (voice-Jake Johnson) is the version of Spider-Man most recognizable to the audience.  He's older than the one from Miles' world, has dark hair but is written more like Deadpool than Peter Parker.  Spider Gwen /Gwen Stacey (voice-Hailee Steinfeld) was bitten in her world she's about Miles age and the person she could not save in her timeline was her best friend Peter Parker.  Her suit is black and white, she dons ballerina shoes and plays drums in a band back home. The most interesting take on the hero belongs to the Nicholas Cage voiced monochrome Sam Spade channeling version that's a cross between Watchmen's Rorschach and Sin City's Hartigan. In his world, Spider-Man is active in the '30s and works as a private detective.  Rounding out the crew are Peter Porker ala Porky the Pig (voice- John Mulaney) who comes from a looney tunesih version of the multiverse and anime inspired Peni Parker (voice- Kimiko Glenn) who co-pilots a Robot with the spider powered off her father's sole plucked back from the future by Doc Ock's device.

The Universal themes of the character come through in the piece. Anyone can wear the mask and be a hero in their own right. If you make a promise you keep it and the signature with great power comes great responsibility. Look for Lily Tomlin voicing Aunt May who in this version is more Batman butler Alfred than Peter's sweet Aunt. Lastly, the film contains what might be Stan's Lee's final cameo in a Marvel film. It's a touching sequence where he interacts with the newest hero in the Marvel Universe imparting some sage advise that is helpful to all.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse | Bob Persihetti / Peter Ramsey/ Rodney Rothman | U.S.A. | 2018 | 117 Minutes.

Tags: Marvel Comics, Animation, Spider-Man, New York, Brooklyn, Parallel Universe, Multiverse, Super Hero, Graffiti, Tagging, Air Jordans, Stan Lee.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Film Review - Divide and Conquer : The Story of Roger Ailes

Television viewers have an appetite to watch people on T.V. talking about subjects they find interesting. We have a desperate need to return to the basics. The New York and California elites don't understand the people who grew up with values.  When I was young in Warren, Ohio. I slept in the top bunk with my brother in the bottom. My father came into the room and told me to jump into his arms when I did he moved back and I fell on the floor.  These group of paraphrased statements plus a childhood diagnosis of hemophilia are the vision and the fear that drove Roger Ailes throughout his life.  His talk of midwest values rings false as director Alexis Bloom points out over and over. The first sobering account from Kellie Boyle a marketing consultant building career momentum until she rebuffed Ailes in the back of a limo to find herself on a no hire list effectively ending her career.

Ailes first foray into television came in 1965 when he obtained a job as a production assistant on the Mike Douglas show. He rose quickly through the ranks rising to assistant producer then lobbying for the producer role landing it before anyone know what was going on. It was here where he met Richard Nixon the first man he would make King.  He told Nixon he needed a media consultant to avoid a repeat of the debacle with JFK in 1960 inventing the position for himself. He framed Nixon in close-ups angles that he admired from Leni Riefenstahl's 1935 Hitler propaganda film Triumph of The Will starting the forerunner of today's town hall.  A series of televised events that featured Nixon speaking in the round answering questions that were billed as spontaneous but in reality orchestrated by Ailes.  Nixon appeared warm, a regular guy or your next door neighbour that you talked to in the driveway or over the back fence. Nixon swept to victory, Ailes became big daddy leading to a hand in electing Ronald Reagan, Bush the First and of course setting the stage for Donald Trump.

Ailes turn toward the politics of fear first took hold during the George H.W. Bush 1988 campaign. Bush was losing by double digits to Michael Dukakis until Ailes latched onto the fact that Dukakis had given convicted murderers weekend passes.  One of these prisoners Wille Horton a black man killed a man and raped his wife repeatedly while out on the pass. Ailes spun it to mean that a vote for Dukakis will lead to violent black men raping your wives. He also helped many a struggling senator get elected as well including a sniveling trailing little known Mitch McConnell back in 1983 who he gave a backbone and is Senate majority leader today.

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes, tells the story of a Republican political whisperer who saw every threat as a lethal one whether it was Bill Gates buying N.B.C.'s America's Talking (MSNBC) out from under him a breeding ground for many of today's leading media personalities or the sleepy local Putnam New York Newspaper where he threatened and surveilled those that opposed his views. Director Bloom keeps a steady stream of opposing voices present including many that he assaulted often telling stories with similar patterns. Come sit next to me, turn around so I can see you better or we have to have some quality alone time for your career to advance. His fingerprints are all over today's Cable News Network formula and unfortunately the politics of division that are so pervasive today.

*** Out of 4.

Divide and Conquer : The Story of Roger Ailes | Alexis Bloom | U.S.A. | 2018 | 107 Minutes.

Tags:  Warren, Ohio, Mike Douglas Show, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, America's Talking, N.B.C. Fox News, Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson, Sexual Harassment, Lawsuit, Putnam New York, Republican Party.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Raven Banner Film Review - SuperGrid

Deke Campbell (Marshall Williams) is on a bad loosing streak. His estranged brother Jesse (Leo Fafard) the best smuggler wheelman has retired. His last mission went sideways resulting in a tragic personal loss plus a failure to deliver. On top of everything else, he might be in the early stages of the terminal disease that has wiped out a good chunk of the population. As he is trying to lay low Lazio (Jonathan Cherry) the aggrieved party of the recent botched run turns up forcing Deke back out onto the traitorous SuperGrid for one final mission. Seeing the desperation of his younger brother and wanting to test out a homemade secretly powered vehicle Jesse agrees to come out of retirement to drive. The brothers are not told their cargo get access to the Grid through the local ruling mining conglomerate Sino-Gasam and head out onto the highway North through the Dakota's towards the Canadian border to pick up their cargo.

Director Lowell Dean underpinned by a script by Justin Ludwig and T.R. McCauley jump into the dystopian future road film genre falling in step with George Miller, Neill Blomkamp and Paul Verhoeven visions of the past. The projects hits all of the request buttons. A deadly virus, here an airborne microbial pneumoconiosis named The Black Lung. The have's work for the ruling entity in this case mining conglomerates the local one being Sino-Gasam. The have-nots are outside the protective bubble in a lawless space portrayed as an unruly lot that would just as easily kill you as look at you. There's even cheery P.S.A.'s from the ruling corporation winding up fear in between wishes of have a nice day.

The trip up and down the grid is an ideal setting for action and violence. Our heroes make a pit stop at Deke's crush Eagle's (Tinsel Korey) community as she works frantically to keep her indigenous flock healthy despite dwindling supplies. The brothers run into several Jackal Tribes along the journey. The pair has back up supplied by Jessie's ex-wife North (Natalie Krill) and her techie partner Owl (Daniel Maslany). The smugglers locate the cargo but upon securing it find themselves with even bigger problems than they had before.

Several familiar faces from  Dean's Wolfcop franchise are back in this new setting. Leo Farfad is the protective brother to Deke as Jesse. Jonathan Cherry barks out threats and demands results as villain Lazio. Amy Matysio turns outlaw as fixer mechanic Spanner. Look for former WWE Superstar Christian billed under his real name Jay Reso as Jackal head border guard Kurtis. Dean shot the piece in his native Saskatchewan and the local presence and familiarity with two fellow natives Farfad and Matysio were helpful on a tight shoot. The production also gave the piece a different look employing a drone to shoot key scenes out on the grid. The vantage was effective especially in a pivotal scene when the brothers first move in on their cargo.

SuperGrid is a sci-fi action film with a strong message mixed between the high-speed antics, explosions, and standoffs. It's often the outsiders, lesser thans and cast offs that do the right thing at the big moment. The conglomerates, corporations, and politicians are caught up in their machines too slow or unwilling to change a system that's working for them. It's the others that are willing to disrupt the status quo often resulting in change that benefits many.

*** Out of 4.

SuperGrid | Lowell Dean | Canada | 2018 | 80 Minutes.

Tags: Virus, Water, P.S.A., Smuggling, border, Vials, Briefcase, Bullet Resistant, Fuel Cell, Sniper, OverWatch, Drone.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Fox Searchlight film Review- The Favourite

Jealousy, Jeopardy, Sex, Love, and Politics in VIII Acts is at the crux of Yorgos Lanthimos tale of life at Court during the reign of the last Stuart monarch Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). England is at war with France and doing well. The countryside Lords are financially supporting the war to the benefit of the city dwelling merchants.  Prime Minister Godolphin (James Smith) leader of the ruling Whigs with heavy support from the cities wants the war to continue. A second victory would put England is a stronger position to sue for peace. Harley (Nicholas Hoult) leader of the opposing Tory's whose power base rests outside of the cities wants the opposite. Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) childhood friend, closest companion and most trusted adviser of the Queen whose husband Lord Marlborough (Mark Gatiss) leads the English forces is hawkish as well.

Into this world literally falls Abigail (Emma Stone) a cousin of Lady Sarah who has landed on hard times stemming from her father's gambling woes. She has come to court in hope of finding employment ending up in the scullery performing mundane tasks. On one occasion she gets the chance to tend to the Queen directly, boldly following up to give Queen Anne more comfort resulting in recognition at Court landing her the role of her influential cousins' maid. As Lady Sarah becomes more wrapped up in politics in the place of the ailing and disinterested Monarch, Abigail slides in as the Queen's companion plotting the restoration of her status and usurping Lady Sarah permanently from the Queen's side.

Director Yorgos alongside writers Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara create early18th-century European court-life with sharp-tongued, backstabbing brilliance. Abigail has a noble suitor Masham  (Joe Alwyn) who she both draws in and pushes away with equal force driving him absolutely mad. She has her firm grip on him while her mind is focused on her next maneuver at Court.  Harley is first to sport her rising star taking her into his confidence as a link to the Queen to learn of the plans of Godolphin and Lady Sarah while having her as a vessel to plant his agenda into the ear of the monarch. The dialogue between the three female leads drips with pointed barbs and sarcasm. The language is delightfully way more sailorish than the Queen's English. Production Designer Fiona Crombie leads the Art, Set and Costume design teams that lock the audience into Kensington Palace circa 1710. The viewer's eyes are first drawn to the opulence of the castle, the intricate art in Queen Anne's bedchambers, the narrow fine wood staircases, and walkways plus the detailed relief work on the ceilings that jump off the screen from the first frame of the piece.

The film features the strongest written treble of female leading roles since possibly All About Eve. Olivia Colman revels in sloth and malady as Queen Anne. Her legs failing, eyesight going dotting over her 17 bunny rabbits attempting to fill the void for suffering a similar number of failed childbirths but despite her apparent mental haze never misses a crucial point although it may seem so at the time.  Rachel Weisz as Lady Sarah has a sharp mind for politics and military strategy, a keener skill for riding and shooting anchored by a wit that is without compare. Emma Stone's Abigail is the ultimate survivor and adaptor. She can be dropped into any situation observe, listen, improvise and adapt looking out for her best interest at all times.

The Favourite is a beautiful looking crisply written tale centering on the intrigue and absurdities of life at Court in 18th century England. Lanthimos subtly switches to a fisheye lens when he truly wants to point out the ridiculous as The Queen of England sits on the floor in her bedchambers playing with a maid amongst her bunnies celebrating the death day of one of her miscarriages.  Or standard shot as Lady Sarah and Abigail go out shooting trading insults and veiled threats with loaded weapons in their hands. Its a must see film that could very well net three female acting Academy Award nominations for the first time since the aforementioned All About Eve.

**** Out of 4

 The Favourite | Yorgos  Lanthimos | Ireland/ U.K. / U.S.A. | 2018 | 119 minutes.

Tags; Queen Anne, House of Stuart, War of Spanish Succession, Torys, Whigs, Parliament, Kensington Palace, Court, Poison, Throw.