Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including strange and beautiful period drama, “The Favourite,” the critic’s favourite “Roma,” the zombie musical “Anna and the Apocalypse,” the animated “Henchmen” and the documentary “Almost Almost Famous.”
A weekly 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 Golden Globe nominated “The Favourite,” the heartfelt “Roma,” and the zombie musical “Anna and the Apocalypse.”
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if you want to test a person’s character, give them power. That maxim is fully on display in “The Favourite,” an Oscar hopeful starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, as two women vie for the attention of Anne, Queen of Great Britain.
Set in the early 18th century, “The Favourite” begins as England, under the rule of Queen Anne (Coleman), is at war with France. A clueless and vain monarch stricken with gout from gorging on chocolate and cheese, the Queen is haughty in the style of, “Look at me! How dare you look at me!”
The real power behind the throne ismovie notes the Queen’s close friend and confidant Lady Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (Weisz). She’s a stern figure equally at home pampering the Queen or ordering a maid to be whipped for any minor transgression.
Life at the castle is a decadent push-and-pull for favour between those who want the Queen to end the war, like Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford (Nicholas Hoult), and those who feel the battle must continue. The battle for power becomes more intense when Abigail Masham (Emma Stone), Lady Marlborough’s cousin and fallen gentry whose father gambled her away in a card game, arrives looking for a job. Put to work as a maid she quickly moves up the ranks, befriending the Queen and aggressively pushing Lady Marlborough to the fringes. “As it turns out I am capable of much unpleasantness,” Abigail snorts.
Broken into chapters like “What An Outfit“ and “A Minor Hitch,“ the film is a wickedly nasty look at the inner workings of a personal coup d’etat. Smartly written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, it brims with court gossip, quotable lines—“If you do not get out I will start kicking you and I will not stop,” sneers Marlborough.—and machinations enough to make Machiavelli green with envy.
Bringing the intrigue to vivid life are the three leads. At the top of the pyramid is Coleman as Queen Anne. Insecurity and imperiousness are the toxic ingredients that fuel her childlike behaviour. Whether she is stuffing her face to the point of vomiting, faking a seizure at Parliament or indulging in her secret desires, she is unpredictable, ridiculous and, ultimately a sad character. Coleman embraces it all, delivering a beautiful, unsubtle performance.
As Lady Marlborough Weisz is cunning and kind, a power player who knows when to hold ‘em, knows when to fold ‘em. She’s icy hot, calm and collected but quick to temper when threatened. Weisz has rarely been this collected on screen, delivering complex dialogue with panache.
As a woman who admits, “I’m on my side, always,” Stone has the greatest range. From scullery maid to titled Lady her character travels the furthest distance and is capable of the greatest villainy.
Director Yorgos Lanthimos has made a strange and beautiful movie, one that has the twilight zone feel of his other films “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” They all feel like real life, but tilted by 180 degrees. With “The Favourite” he has made a revisionist history that comments not only on personal politics but also how political power is open to the whims of who holds it.
A weekly 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 clown prince of Asgard in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the grammatically incorrect “A Bad Moms Christmas,” and the strange “The Killing of the Sacred Deer.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Nick Dixon have a look at the weekend’s new movies including Chris Hemsworth’s funny take on his most famous character in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the lump of coal that is “A Bad Moms Christmas” and the strangest movie of the year, “The Killing of the Sacred Deer.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Lois Lee to have a look at the clown prince of Asgard in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the grammatically incorrect “A Bad Moms Christmas, the strange “The Killing of the Sacred Deer” and the religious drama “Novitiate.”
Director Yorgos Lanthimos makes idiosyncratic films. From the bizarre home schooling fantasy “Dogtooth” to “The Lobster,” a film about turning lovesick divorcees into wildlife, he is unafraid to let his freak flag fly. His newest film, “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer” starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, may be his most unapologetically odd film yet.
Farrell is Steven Murphy, an uptight cardiac surgeon married to ophthalmologist Anna (Kidman). Their two kids, Bob (Sunny Suljic) and Kim (Raffey Cassidy) are polite, happy kids. They eat dinner together every night and by all outward appearances lead a disciplined, quiet suburban life. It wasn’t always that way. Just three years before Steven was forced to stop drinking when it began to interfere with his work.
Now all is calm. The only strange thing is Steven’s attachment to Martin (Barry Keoghan), the son of a patient who died unexpectedly. Steven buys him expensive presents and always seems to have time to talk to the boy or take him out for lunch. Shortly after Martin is invited over for dinner, however, things in the Murphy household take a turn for the worse. Little Bob’s legs give out and soon he is paralyzed from the waist down. He’s given every test known to man and science but no diagnosis is forthcoming. Then Kim takes ill, collapsing at choir practice. Again, there doesn’t seem to be a medical reason for her paralysis.
There’s more, but there will be no spoilers here. If you want clues look up the Greek myth of Artemis’s demand of atonement from Agamemnon after he killed a sacred deer.
From this point on “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer” becomes a horror film about ideas rather than actions. It’s a study of extreme consequences, atonement and the length to which people will go to save their families. In many ways it’s the kind of story we’ve seen many times before but Lanthimos has filtered the domestic drama through his lens, creating an unsettling and absurd film that is as gripping as it is strange.
Lanthimos uses language and tone to bring us into his world. The actors have a eerie, mannered way of speaking as though they are always reading aloud from an Emily Post book. Before anything odd happens the matter-of-fact speech, often about the most trivial or, sometimes, inappropriate things, establishes the film’s otherworldly tone. It hangs heavy over every second of the movie and when the character’s veneers begin to crack it is even more disquieting.
“The Killing Of A Sacred Deer” does not offer explanations or apologies for anyone’s behaviour. Instead it is content to wallow in the cruelty and depravity of its story. Strange days indeed.