The Favourite (2018)

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In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. (IMDb)
Despite great turns from the three leads, it initially comes off feeling a little long, cold, and empty (though the style is fabulous-see the elaborate costumes and sets contrasted with the curt, crass dialogue; the marvelous cinematography and editing-love those fish-eye shots and slow cross-fades). Upon further rumination though the chilling arc for Stone’s Abigail comes into focus, as does the intriguing commentary on the volatile mix of political power games with romance and relationships.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

La La Land (2016)

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A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. (IMDb)
Fresh right from the unabashedly joyous opening song to its road rage at first sight (such humour is tastefully dotted throughout). Their ever-after isn’t what it could have been either, but the plot’s interplay between love and individual aspiration (each are marvelously portrayed by Gosling and Stone) shows it isn’t necessarily a bad thing–a nuance that adds depth to the film’s cute romance and gorgeous aesthetic of dream-like colours and camerawork, scrumptious sets, and magical music.
8.5/10 (Amazing)

Superbad (2007)

Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry. (IMDb)
Hill’s uninhibited diatribes and Cera’s patented awkwardness highlight relatable high-school comedy here that soon explodes into a wildly eventful booze-filled, sex-inspired Friday night romp with hilarious one-off characters and a juicy side-plot featuring two drunk cops and the unforgettable “McLovin”. To the film’s added benefit, hints of mature teen-culture commentary are subtly laced throughout the raunchy humour, coming to the forefront in a surprisingly mellow and endearing final scene.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Zombieland (2009)

The zombie-apocalypse setting here is mined for a truckload of blood, guts, and morbid humour. Eisenberg’s methodical, matter-of-fact narration creates a hilarious contrast with the savage goings-on, and his shy and paranoid Columbus paired with Harrelson’s rash Tallahassee makes for a fun duo that (predictably) teams up with two street-smart sisters. The plot is weak, but combine the film’s excellent horror-comedy with a short-lived Bill Murray cameo and you still have a very enjoyable romp.
7/10 (Good)

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

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Keaton, Norton, and Stone all put forth amazing performances that scream for their close-up shots, while the continuous-style cinematography is mesmerizing and creates an incredible and unique pace for the film, pulling you along like a fish on a line, right with the characters. The ending’s a little cheesy, but the film still stands as a wonderful work of art about artistic integrity and ego that’s only occasionally tainted by a couple of side plots that feel a little unnecessary.
8.5/10 (Amazing)