Review of THE FAVOURITE – Rated R – 1 hr. 59 mins.

The Favourite Movie Poster

THE FAVOURITE – Rated R – 1 hr. 59 mins. 

DIRECTOR:  Yorgos Lanthimos 

WRITERS:  Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara 

STARRING:  Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz 

As we are thrust into the early 18th century, France and England are at war, but sadly the fragile and feeble Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), has more impressing engagements, like duck racing…and playing with the rabbits that occupy her chambers…

And it seems too with the Queen so preoccupied by her own ailments, rather than the matters of state, her dear friend Sarah (Rachel Weisz) must take the course of action needed to keep the countries affairs afloat…

But when a beautiful new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) enters the fold at the palace, it seems that more than one fair maiden is now vying for the Queen’s attention, and affections…leaving England, and its Queen to be ruled by nothing more than promiscuity and passion…

I give THE FAVOURITE a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN:  Talk about stepping beyond the standard 18th Century period piece – THE FAVOURITE enlightens us not only to the beauty of the Victorian age, but also to the passions and pitfalls of this rather unconventional and unstable Monarchy.  This film is so incredibly fueled with exceptional performances throughout – that you literally can’t miss one second of what is being portrayed on screen – as Coleman Weisz and Stone too, should be award bound all the way through the impending awards season.  Lanthimos has brought to life a rather bodacious and uninhibited storyline, that is as unconventional, as it is enjoyable to behold.  Truth be told, I was very uncertain of how all the promiscuity and passion promised within its frames was going to unfold, amidst its Victorian laden backdrop, but it pleases me to share that it all manages to work together quite magically!  Alas, THE FAVOURITE is one of those rare films that manages to ignite an interest from within each viewer, as it manages to captivate you throughout its every frame, until you manage to arrive at its quite bitter, and rather abrupt ending…

Kathy Kaiser

MY COUSIN RACHEL – Rated PG-13 1 hr. 46 min

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MY COUSIN RACHEL – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 46 min

Starring Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Iain Glen and Holliday Grainger

From the man who brought us such classic rom com’s as 1999’s NOTTING HILL, & 2010’s MORNING GLORY – Roger Michell – comes the early 20th Century mystery and romance, based from English Novelist Daphne Du Maurier’s work by the same name ~ THIS IS MY COUSIN RACHEL!

Orphaned at a young age, we meet Philip (Sam Claflin), who is taken a back when his life-long guardian leaves to wed Philip’s cousin – the mysterious Rachel Ashley (Rachel Weisz).

Smitten since childhood, the young and beautiful Louise Kendall (Holliday Grainger) steps up to aid Philip in his search for his guardian, only to realize rather quickly that Cousin Rachel, her charms, and her deep rooted secrets, are nothing to be messing with…

When his guardian mysteriously dies, and it looks like it is at the hands of his “new wife” Rachel, Philip is hell bent on revenge, trudging to find this horrific wench, with plans of making her pay for this atrocity.

But, as fate would have it, once in the presence his divinely exquisite cousin, Philip too finds himself entranced not only by her beauty, but by her mysterious “healing powers” as well…

I give MY COUSIN RACHEL a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN! – This film is absolutely breathtaking throughout ~ from the mysterious twists and turns of its storyline, to the incredible performances by Weisz ~ as the stunning sociopath Rachel ~ and by Claflin ~ as the young lover ~ falling fast and hard for his cousin and her “extremely enchanting” ways. Holliday Grainger also manages to light up the screen, playing the lovelorn Louise. This entrancing film is nothing shy of sheer perfection – as Michell brings to life the world of early 20th Century England, and Du Maurier’s exquisitely written characters. Between Weisz pulling off one of the most beautiful and sinister women I’ve viewed in a very long time, to Claflin’s innocent, yet super-sexy portrayal of young Philip, each moment of MY COUSIN RACHEL is delightfully beautiful, and opulently disturbing, with each passing frame…making this film a definite MUST SEE!

Kathy Kaiser 

DENIAL – Rated PG-13

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DENIAL – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 50 mins.

 Starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall and Andrew Scott

 Based on the Real-life story of American Historian and Educator Deborah Lipstadt) and the libel suit brought against her by former historian and English Holocaust denier David Irving… this is DENIAL!

Educating at the collegiate level, we meet Historian and Professor Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz), sharing her profound knowledge of the Holocaust with her students.

When a conference about this subject is most abruptly interrupted by one David Irving (Timothy Stall), it seems that he questions Ms. Lipstadt’s portrayal of him in her latest book, as a Holocaust denier, unfounded and unjust.

Taking these matters into his own hands, Irving decides to sue Lipstadt for libel in an English court of law, stating that she cannot prove that his rendition of what did or did not happen at Auschwitz, during WWI, is false.

Securing the services of the best lawyer she can find in England, Deborah brings on the highly educated, and very charming Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott) to lead her defense team. When Penguin Books also brings their own BIG GUN to these proceedings, Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson), Mr. Irving better get ready to get his touchy kicked, as these boys are about to go through everything Irving has ever read or written with a fine tooth comb, proving that his denial of the Holocaust may just be his own undoing in the end…

I give DENIAL a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS ONE ON DVD: Weisz is wonderful as always, Stall and Scott are too, but Wilkinson absolutely steals the show! We will have to wait and see if he gets another Oscar nod by years end for his performance, as the one of the best litigators I’ve seen up on the big screen in quite some time. This film is filled with a mass of intrigue in both directions, as I sat there pondering what would make someone want to support Hitler, and defy the mass murders of thousands of Jews during WWII, but as I followed along in this real life story, I started to truly understand both sides of this equation. If you enjoy real-life stories filled with lots of history, and legal sparing, then definitely catch DENIAL this weekend at a theater near you. But if like your films filled with lots of action and/or suspense, you might want to wait to catch this very good film in about 6 weeks, when the DVD is released, as you relax upon your comfy couch at home.

Kathy Kaiser

COMPLETE UNKNOWN – Rated R

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COMPLETE UNKNOWN ~ Rated R – 1 hr. 30 min – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Starring Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates and Danny Glover

“There is this moment when you are a blank slate…it’s like a high…and you’re deciding what’s next?”

When the walls of life seem to be closing in, what’s a girl to do but to change her direction, and her identity: THIS IS COMPLETE UNKNOWN!

In the midst of struggling with yet another birthday, we meet Tom (Michael Shannon), who is also overwhelmed at the moment with keeping his marriage in tact, and keeping his career on the right path.

When a “new friend” of his co-worker ends up at his birthday bash, Tom is caught off guard by her familiarity, even though her name is acutely not so. As Alice (Rachel Weisz) explains her mystical life and captivating past, everyone seems to be mesmerized by her life stories, and her beauty too.

Able to sneak away for just a moment with Alice, Tom must know if this special guest is really Jenny ~ a love interest from his past ~ as he contemplates her seemingly far fetched stories, and questions why she vanished unexplainably so many years ago.

As Jenny explains how she has perfected becoming whomever she wants, whenever she wants, Tom is intrigued, even stepping into one of her psychotic “portrayals” himself for a little while. But, as reality sinks in, Tom finds that living life as someone else, isn’t the reality he wants for his own life, in the end…

I give COMPLETE UNKNOWN a rating of CATCH THIS FILM ON DVD OR NETFLIX: Weisz again gives an adequate performance, as the whimsical maiden compelled to become a chameleon in life, at the flip of a switch. Shannon is good too, as the man torn between this woman from his past and his present existence. I was even intrigued by the storyline going in, as how many different lives can one woman actually pull off in her lifetime. So why isn’t this a MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN for me? From the lack of visual acuity within many of the scenes, even with my glasses on, to the questions throughout the storyline that you never get answers to, to the unconvincing chemistry between Weisz and Shannon, as past love interests, this film seems subpar across the board. It feels more like a rainy day Sunday viewing on your comfy couch, than a rush out to see this one at a movie theater near you, so that is exactly what I am suggesting that you do. 😉

Kathy Kaiser

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS – Rated PG-13

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THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS – Rated PG-13

Starring Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender and Rachel Weisz

Based on the novel by the same name by M. L. Stedman, and written for the screen and directed by Derek Cianfrance, we meet Australian Veteran Thomas Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender), as he returns home from Europe after WWI.

Contemplating taking on a new position as Light House Keeper on a tiny island off the coast of Point Paraguese, Sherbourne meets the Australian harbormaster’s beautiful daughter Isabel (Alicia Vikander). Smitten by his rugged good looks, and quiet demeanor, Isabel and Tom start exchanging love letters to pass the time away, till Tom returns from his post at sea.

Venturing back to the mainland to marry his angel on earth, Tom and Isabel return to the Lighthouse as newlyweds, as their love and joy in being together is all they need to keep them happy in their secluded paradise.

As the years pass by and Isabel must face the fact that she may never be able to give Tom the family they both so desire, miraculously, a little one washes up abandoned in a boat off the coast of their island, and Isabel is determined to keep this child, and raise her as their own.

Tormented by the fact that keeping this child goes against every grain in his being, Tom must now face the agonizing truth that her mother Hannah (Rachel Weisz) has been searching desperately for the beautiful child she lost years ago, along with her husband, when they drifted out to sea…

I give THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN!!! : As much as I complained about Michael Fassbender’s academy award nomination last year for his portrayal of STEVE JOB’s, I know a lot of you are going to be surprised by what I am about to say – but both Fassbender and Vikander’s performances this time around are absolute perfection as the loving couple who want nothing more than bring a child into this world. I haven’t seen such incredible chemistry on screen, since we got to witness Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fall in love in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. There is so much passion and fire exuding on screen ~ that you can’t miss watching these actors fall in love in real life, right before your very eyes. Weisz is also fabulous playing the grieving and childless widow; desperately searching for the child she lost. And talk about picturesque cinematography, this film is filled with incredibly glorious images throughout the entire film too. You also need to bring along the tissues ladies, as I haven’t seen a love story this touching since THE NOTEBOOK, and by the end, no matter how hard you try, you will be using them, I promise. Know going in to, that the subject matter of this film is so real and heart-wrenching, that it may hit too close to home for some viewers, as the emotional turbulence that you will endure throughout this very moving film, was too much for some viewers during the advanced screening.

So, by now you have to be thinking, “this is definitely not a flick that guys are going to want to sit through” and you may be right, unless your guy doesn’t mind showing off his softer side, as the raw emotion and painful circumstances that play out on screen, might just break down his emotional barriers too, as this tremendously touching and vividly raw storyline plays out on screen…

Kathy Kaiser

 

THE LOBSTER – Rated R

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THE LOBSTER – Rated R

 Starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz

Grecian Writer and Director Yorgos Lanthimos takes us into a world of dystopian despair for any single that is…but no worries, hope is near, as there is a special Hotel that’s been made especially for you. Within the walls of this “palace” your future mate may reside, but if you haven’t coupled yourself within 45 days of entering this humble abode ~ you must be turned into an animal of your own choosing…oy vey!!!

When divorce’ David (Colin Farrell) finds himself single again, instant dismay settles in, when he is taken to the Hotel for mentioned, seeking a partner during his stay. As the prospects aren’t looking favorable, and it feels like the inevitable may be closing in, David venture into the woods where he must hunt others of his kind, you know, single and without a mate…

As the craziness becomes epic, and David’s new partner completely turns mad, it seems that a new partner, a shortsighted beauty (Rachel Weisz) from the distant woods, may be his perfect match instead. But, will all the perfect matches that seem to be happening, be as dyfunctionally ended, as how they began???

I give THE LOBSTER a rating of: DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY ~ Even though I have enjoyed many of Farrell’s films (Horrible Bosses, Seven Psychopaths, Saving Mr. Banks) and Weisz’s films too (The Mummy, Constantine, Definitely, Maybe) over the years, this film came across as an EPIC FAILURE for me.   I know it is written to be an escape from “the norm” but from the perverse dichotomy of the life choices unfolding on screen, to the epic craziness involved in finding your “suitable mate”, to the extraordinary dysfunction that plays out in almost every frame of this film ~ none of it entertained me, in any way, shape of form. So, if you are transfixed by the possibilities that this premise suggests, then by all means head out to see THE LOBSTER and all of its psychological mess ~ but just remember… I warned you before you ventured out upon this quest…

Kathy Kaiser

Check out the new trailer for LIGHT BETWEEN THE OCEANS – Hits Theaters

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Michael Fassbender stars as Tom Sherbourne and Alicia Vikander as his wife Isabel in DreamWorks Pictures poignant drama THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS, written and directed by Derek Cianfrance based on the acclaimed novel by M.L. Stedman.

Here’s a first look at the trailer for DreamWorks Pictures’ “The Light Between Oceans,” a heart-breaking drama about fate, love, moral dilemmas and the lengths to which one couple will go to see their dreams realized. The film, which is based on the best-selling novel by M.L. Stedman and stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Bryan Brown and Jack Thompson and is written for the screen and directed by Derek Cianfrance, opens wide September 2.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheLightBetweenOceans

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TLBOmovie

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelightbetweenoceans/

YOUTH – Rated R

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YOUTH – Rated R

“At my age, getting in shape is merely a waste of time…”

Writer and Director Paolo Sorrentino brings his later-in-life tale to life though the masterful acting of a seasoned and award-winning cast ~ so sit back and relax, as we journey into the psyche of reflecting upon one’s life…THIS IS YOUTH!

On holiday in the Alps with his daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz) and best friend, Film Director Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel), Maestro Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is approached by one of Queen Elizabeth’s Emissaries, requesting he perform his for his majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, to celebrate his birthday…

While flattered by the notion, Ballinger must refuse this request, as he no longer conducts his work, or anyone else’s for that matter, as he finds himself enjoying his retirement, and his time to reflect on days gone by…

As Fred basks in his apathetic existence, Mick is hard at work, putting together his latest “masterpiece of a film”, as he wants to make one last film for the world to experience…

As our friends attempt to find some semblance in what life may still hold for them ~ young actor Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano) is on holiday with then too, and he soon finds that listening to these two ~ and their experiences through life ~ is making his own life seem rather dull and unsatisfying…

When Mick’s STAR of his past films ~ the talented, yet past her prime Brenda Morel (Jane Fonda) arrives to discuss her thoughts on his next film, It seems that Mick might have bitten off more than he can chew with this feisty ol’ broad this time around…

I give YOUTH a rating of WAIT AND CATCH THIS ONE ON DVD ~ Even though the casting is superb ~ There are Oscar winners gracing every frame ~ and all perfectly cast in their respective roles too, I found that the story unfolding on screen was rather boring and depressing at times ~ and even though Fonda has been nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal in this film, I felt that her performance, while memorable, was extremely too short and undeserving of such an accolade. I also enjoyed “the reflection periods” throughout this film, as I am sure we all look back on our lives with not only a sense of fondness, but also a sense of regret too…but the deep and underlying physiological elements that forged this film into what it became, made it so depressing and draining as the frames rolled by, that I felt it might have met with a more enjoyable viewpoint from my own perspective, if I had viewed it in the comfort of my very own home…so I am suggesting that you follow my recommendation for your most enjoyable viewing experience J

Kathy Kaiser