Currently browsing the "Rachel Weisz" tag.

Review: The Favourite

The Favourite was another of my top picks at The Middleburg Film Festival. England’s Queen Anne was such a sad queen. But this period dramedy of the fight to be her favorite is wickedly funny and full of Oscar-worthy performances, particularly Olivia Colman (The Lobster, Broadchurch) who plays the gout-ridden, isolated monarch with little interest in doing the job she was born to. Fortunately, she has Lady Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) to take care of her and all those pesky decisions she’s supposed to make. But when Lady Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives at court and finagles her way into the Queen’s good graces, the gloves come off and it’s every woman for herself. And it’s savage and hilarious! The dialogue alone in this film makes it worth seeing, but the direction and attention to detail make it sing.

Arty Chick’s Middleburg Film Festival Download 2018

Another year at a fabulous festival! I wonder how long this little Virginia horse country festival can keep it up. It’s sure to burst its seams soon. This year’s slate was amazing, as usual. I was only able to fit in 10 of the 29 films offered in my three days of the festival and missed quite a few I really wanted to see. But what I saw was impressive. The big winner for me (it won the audience award, too) was Peter Farrelly’s Green Book, which will certainly be vying for the Oscar. But there really were quite a few standout films. Here’s my list with trailers and my preliminary impressions. Full reviews of select films will come later, so check back.

Denial

I hate to get political in a review, but it’s hard to watch Denial and not think about what’s happening in the current election cycle. A guy with an inflated ego and a propensity for spouting lies and crazy theories manages to convince others that he is being wronged. Sound familiar? That’s sort of what happens in Denial. The film is based on the true story of a legal battle between American historian Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) and British historian David Irving (Timothy Spall). In 1996, Irving sued Lipstadt for libel after she called him a liar in her book, “Denying the Holocaust”. Irving claimed the Holocaust never happened, and that the gas chambers at Auschwitz were merely storage units, or used for disinfection. Uh-huh. You’d think that with history and truth on Lipstadt’s side, the law would be too. But it’s not that simple, especially in London, where the burden of proof is on the defense, i.e. Lipstadt.

The Light Between Oceans

Some people (particularly those who hate melodrama) may scoff at the manipulative nature of The Light Between Oceans, with its sweeping score and dramatic pans of crashing waves and remote landscape; but for fans of a solid romantic drama with a two-kleenex tearjerker quotient, The Light Between Oceans is worth the view.

The Lobster

Without doubt, The Lobster is one of the most unconventional love stories I’ve seen. The film stars Colin Farrell as David, a recently dumped man in an alternate world where single people are not tolerated. So he must check into a somewhat creepy hotel where he has 45 days to find a new love or be turned into the animal of his choice. Yes, he chooses a lobster.

Youth

Italian writer/director Paolo Sorrentino was responsible for one of my favorite foreign films of the last few years, The Great Beauty aka La grande bellezza. That film dealt with a Roman writer’s shifting view of his life following his 65th birthday bash. In Sorrentino’s newest film Youth, he again looks at men of a certain age, coming to terms with their place in the world. This one is in English and stars Michael Caine as Fred and Harvey Keitel as Mick, two long time friends who are vacationing in a luxurious alpine spa.

Oz the Great and Powerful

The consensus on Oz the Great and Powerful seems to be that it’s neither great nor powerful. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing. I actually liked it well enough for what it is – a simple, entertaining prequel to a beloved classic. Don’t over think it. You can’t dare to compare this fantastical flick to the original Wizard of Oz. For one, there’s very little singing (bummer). And two, there’s no Dorothy. But hey – this is the wizard’s backstory. The film is colorful and quirky – much like its star James Franco – and doesn’t take itself all that seriously. So, if you can forgive a few potholes along the Yellow Brick Road, you may actually enjoy this journey back to Oz.

The Bourne Legacy

Confession time: I have only seen the first Jason Bourne movie and that wasn’t until it was on basic cable. So I am not fully versed in the Bourne backstory. Take that for what you will but I thought you should know. As for The Bourne Legacy, I was not blown away. For an action movie, it could do with a little less conversation and a little more action. On the plus side, the man in the middle of the action is Jeremy Renner and there’s nothing wrong with that. He plays his part with a focused intensity that is one of the best things about the movie.

The Brothers Bloom

What is it about Adrien Brody that is so attractive? He is not classically handsome. It’s the eyes. Those sad puppy eyes. In The Brothers Bloom he plays the younger brother named Bloom with Mark Ruffalo as older brother Stephen. (Strangely, they never explain why they are the Brothers Bloom and it is his first name.) The brothers are con men and have been at it since childhood. Now grown, Bloom has tired of always living “a scripted life” since Stephen comes up with all the cons and he just plays his part. Bloom has decided to leave this con man life behind, but Stephen wants him to come along for just one last job.