This week at the cinema - January 9, 2019

This week at the cinema - January 9, 2019

Times of Malta takes a look at the latest big screen releases

Olivia Colman delivers an award-winning performance in The Favourite.

Olivia Colman delivers an award-winning performance in The Favourite.

The Favourite (2018)
Genre: Biopic
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn
Duration: 119 minutes
Class: 15
KRS Releasing Ltd

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster) makes a departure from his exploration of mildly dystopian dream worlds and takes on a new project in the period drama The Favourite.

Perhaps overlooked in the wider lens of pop culture, Lanthimos turns his gaze towards the court of Queen Anne, the last monarch of the House of Stewart.

Set in the later years of her rule, Queen Anne’s (a Golden Globe-winning performance by Olivia Colman) attentions are divided between her long-time  friend and adviser Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) and new lady-in-waiting Abigail Masham (Emma Stone).

The rivalry between her companions is only a faction of the solitary monarch’s reign, stoking her bizarre antics and an increasingly urgent political landscape they all inhabit.

The Favourite has opened to wide acclaim, with particular praise to the three title performances, Colman’s being a stand-out in her approach to the role in this dirty, biting satire.

A deliciously nasty and alienating comedy,” wrote David Sims of The Atlantic.

Lanthimos also manages to smuggle a shred of humanism into this chaotic world of backstabbing, leaving the audience with more than simply the impression that life among royals can be a pain in the neck.”

Despite the nominally historical setting, this has none of the staid distance of a costume drama,” Mark Kermode, of The Observer, said. On the contrary, it feels cruelly, deliciously contemporary, shot through with a sense of modernist absurdity.”

And David Edelstein of Vulture said: Lanthimos should always work at tempos this brisk. His philosophy regards humans as little more emotionally evolved than animals.”

IMDB: 8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Empire: 4 stars

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly play the title characters in Stan & Ollie.Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly play the title characters in Stan & Ollie.

Stan & Ollie (2018)
Genre: Biopic
Director: Jon S. Baird
Starring: Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly, Nina Arianda, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston, Rufus Jones
Duration: 97 minutes
Class: U
KRS Releasing Ltd

Jon Baird (Filth) takes on a softer project, exploring the later days of the wildly successful comedic duo Laurel and Hardy.

Stan and Ollie follows the eponymous duo (Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly respectively) in the 1950s, their star relatively waning and following a brief hiatus of their partnership.

Following a departure from their long-time producer and a tumultuous move to a new studio, the pair embarks on a less than stellar UK tour to drum up support for an upcoming feature.

Hard times, however, put pressure on their partnership on stage, as well as their increasingly fragile business relationship.

The film has received a warm welcome as a soft tribute to these beloved performers.

The set-up would suggest a nearly unbearable display of slow-melting pathos,” wrote Emily Yoshida of Vulture.

Nevertheless, it still finds its way to some kind of profundity about the nature of long-term working relationships, something a little more complicated than the mere idea that the show must go on (which it must, and does).”

Stan & Ollie wisely uses the thin, almost imperceptible difference between the comedians’ lovable façades and their real, painful, personal squabbles to push the film forward,” William Bibbiani, of IGN, said.

It’s a film about people who lose themselves in their characters but it’s also an impressively tender romance between these two men.”

Stan & Ollie opens in Malta on Friday.

IMDB: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Empire: 4 stars

Steve Carrell retreats into an imaginary town in Welcome to Marwen.Steve Carrell retreats into an imaginary town in Welcome to Marwen.

Welcome to Marwen (2018)
Genre: Comedy, drama
Directors: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merritt Wever, Janelle Monáe, Eiza González
Duration: 116 minutes
Class: 12A
KRS Releasing Ltd

In this strange yet well-meaning drama, Steve Carrell tops the bill in Welcome to Marwen, a creatively introspective look at one man’s healing process.

Based on real life events, Mark Hogancamp (Carrell) is beaten within an inch of his life, losing all of memory of the life he had before the attack.

During a long and painful road to physical and mental recovery, Hogancamp retreats into his creation of a scale-model town of an imaginary Belgian village.

The film is far from incompetent and it brims with ambition, but too much of the time what’s happening just sits there,” wrote Owen Gleiberman of Variety.

A lavishly odd concoction,  like a feel-good movie for OCD miniature-world-Barbie-doll fetishists.”

 Peter Travers of Rolling Stone commented: It’s a major missed opportunity. Welcome to Marwen isn’t hack work; there are ideas buried beneath its high-gloss surface and relentless uplift. But good luck trying to dig them out.”

IMDB: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Empire: 3 stars

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