Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Mary Queen of Scots
(UK, 124 min.)
Dir. Josie Rourke, Writ. Beau Willamon
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Joe Alwyn, Adrian Lester, Guy Pearce, Adam Bond, Jack Lowden
Saoirse Ronan stars as Mary, Queen of Scots
400 years before Nancy and Tonya, there was the rivalry of Mary and Elizabeth. One of history’s biggest grudge matches receives a hot-blooded and contemporary adaptation in Mary Queen of Scots. The film pulses with regal tension as Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie face off as the royal rivals in two powerhouse performances.

'Ben is Back' and Roberts Returns

Ben is Back
(USA, 103 min.)
Written and directed by Peter Hedges
Starring: Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B. Vance, Kathryn Newton
Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges star in Ben is Back
Courtesy Elevation Pictures
Ben is Back might be the most depressing Christmas movie since It’s a Wonderful Life. But if there is a Jimmy Stewart in Hollywood today, his spirit endures in Julia Roberts’ infectious smile. Roberts is heartbreakingly good in Ben is Back playing Holly Burns, the devoted mother fighting to save her family with the same indefatigable goodwill that makes audiences cheer for George Bailey year after year. She gives one of her best and most surprising performances opposite Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased) in this engaging, emotionally draining, and ultimately rewarding portrait of addiction’s ability to tear families apart.

The Most Amazing Spider-Man Yet!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
(USA, 117 min.)
Dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman; Writ. Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake B. Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Kathryn Hahn, Kimiko Glenn, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage 
Peni Parker, Gwen, Spider-Man, Miles, Peter B. Parker, Spider-Man Noir
Courtesy Sony Pictures Animation
A few years ago, two-time Academy Award winner Sally Field described her experience playing Aunt May in one of the Spider-Man reboots, saying, “You can’t put ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag.” Unfortunately, that’s what far too many of these superhero movies try to do. Between putting lipstick on a pig and cramming poop into a sack, comic book movies often take themselves too seriously and forget why people are drawn to superheroes and crazy villains. Comics are great entertainment. They’re escapism and opportunities for anyone to dive behind the mask of a hero and have some fun while saving the world—and there’s nothing wrong with that.


'Roma' Tops Toronto Film Critics Association Awards

Alfonso Cuarón's Roma was named the year's best film by the Toronto Film Critics Association
Photo by Carlos Somonto / Netflix
Alfonso Cuarón's Roma is the best film of 2018 according to the Toronto Film Critics Association! The acclaimed Netflix drama won Best Picture and Best Director from the TFCA in a live vote held yesterday by film critics in the city of Toronto. Roma marks a deeply personal film for Cuarón following his special effects extravaganza Gravity, which won seven Oscars. The film is a portrait of two women in Mexico's Roma neighbourhood, a wealthy mother and her Mixtec housekeeper who cares for her children. Cuarón has called it a love-letter to the two women who raised him.


'The Go-Getters' and the Pigs of Hogtown

The Go-Getters
(Canada, 84 min.)
Dir. Jeremy LaLonde, Writ. Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall
Starring: Aaron Abrams, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Kristian Bruun, James Cade, Christine Horne
Tommie-Amber Pirie and Aaron Abrams star in The Go-Getters
People say Canadians are nice, but I say fuck that nonsense.

We’re not “nice.” We’re just nicer than people from the USA are, and they aren’t very nice to begin with. Like, really—have you ever been to Toronto? It’s colder than an outhouse in Whitehorse!


The Favourite: The Mother of all Catfights

The Favourite
(UK/Ireland/USA, 120 min.)
Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, Writ. Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
Starring: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn  
Rachel Wesiz and Olivia Colman in The Favourite
Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos / Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Favourite is a saucy delight. Buoyed by a trio of courtly wenches in award-calibre performances, this spirited portrait of the affairs of Queen Anne in 1700ish Britain is a darkly funny romp. It’s the cleverest take on All About Eve since Working Girl as social climbing strumpet Abigail (Emma Stone) seeks to dethrone her cousin, Lady Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Malborough (Rachel Weisz) as the Queen’s BFF. Both ladies cozy up to Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and assure her that she’s the bee’s knees when all evidence points to the contrary. These mean girls have cruel intentions.


Oscar Predictions: Round 2 - Golden Globe Predix

A Star is Born- if there was ever a "Globes movie", this is it!
I completely forgot that the Golden Globe nominations come out this week so here’s a quick crack at them along with updated Oscar predictions. I’ve had a chance to see nearly all the contenders so far with Vice, Mary Poppins Returns, and Ben is Back rounding out screenings before the end of the week and the upcoming TFCA vote, so I’ve been a bit busy…stay tuned for reviews of The Favourite, Mary Queen of Scots, On the Basis of Sex, Stan & Ollie, Vox Lux and more!