Film Review: The King (dir by David Michod)


Imagine a version of Shakespeare’s Henry V where Prince Hal is a lot less regal but a lot more whiny.  Also imagine a version where Falstaff is never publicly rejected by Henry but instead becomes one of his leading generals.  Furthermore, imagine that Robert Pattinson shows ups and does his best imitation of the obnoxious Frenchmen from Monty Python and The Holy Grail.  Also, finally, imagine a film that’s based on three of Shakespeare’s most popular plays but which does’t include any lines from those plays.  Imagine all of that and you’ve got The King.

Yes, The King is an odd film indeed.  It’s also a very long film.  You might expect that from a film based on three Shakespearean plays but, then again, since the film actually doesn’t feature any of Shakespeare’s celebrated language, you have to kind of wonder if it can actually claim to be a Shakespearean adaptation.  For instance, if I made a film about a sullen prince named Hamlet but totally leave out “To be or not to be” or the part where he sees his father’s ghost, am I truly adapting Shakespeare or am I just making a film about a guy named Hamlet?  Interestingly enough, while The King isn’t faithful to Shakespeare, it’s also not faithful to actual historical records.  It’s not Shakespeare and, despite using the name of actual kings and nobles from the 15th Century, it’s not really historical.  It could just as easily be about King Kevin and his struggle to lead the Land of Homily to victory over Possum Kingdom.  It’s hard to really understand what the point of this film is.

Timothee Chalamet plays Prince Hal, who will eventually become King Henry V.  Considering just how acclaimed Chalamet’s previous work has been (including receiving an Oscar nomination for Call Me By Your Name and probably coming close to getting a second one for Beautiful Boy as well), it’s a bit strange just how dull Chalamet is in this film.  As played by Chalamet, the future King of England is alternatively petulant and whiny.  He’s not happy about becoming king.  He’s even less happy about having to behead those who have been accused of conspiring against him.  He hopes to avoid war, even after the King of France taunts him by giving him a ball as an coronation present.  Chalamet wanders through the film with an eternally glum expression on his face.  When he has to rally the troops, he is unpleasantly shrill in a way that will remind viewers of one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s lesser performances.

Joel Edgerton, who also co-wrote the script, is a bit more convincing in the role of Falstaff.  Instead of the cowardly (but wise) buffoon who appeared in Shakespeare’s plays, The King portrays Falstaff as being a great warrior who merely likes to drink too much.  This, of course, means that Hal doesn’t have to publicly rebuke Falstaff or any of his friends but it also makes Falstaff a bit of a pointless character.  In Shakespeare’s plays, both the rebuke of Falstaff and the subsequent hanging of Bardolph were meant to show that the once irresponsible Hal was now placing his role of king above all else.  By removing that aspect of the tale, The King also removes the entire heart of the narrative.  That said, Edgerton is at least convincing as a warrior.

As usually happens when it comes to British historical epics, the film leads up to an eventual battle between the British and the French.  Robert Pattinson plays The Dauphin and gives one of the most brilliantly strange performances of 2019.  Wearing a blonde wig and speaking in an exaggerated French accent, Pattison gets all of the dirtiest lines and he has fun with them.  (“You have zee big balls,” The Dauphin says at one point, “and zee little cock!”)  In fact, Robert Pattinson seems to be the only person in the film having any fun whatsoever.  Chalamet looks miserable.  Edgerton comes across like a professional.  But Pattinson appears to be having the time of his life and you’re happy to see him if just because he provides a (too brief) respite from the film’s otherwise dour atmosphere.

As I said, The King is a strange film.  I’m not really sure what the point of it was.  The battle scenes are effectively bloody and the sets are all convincingly 15th century.  But otherwise, this movie is too pointless and too long.  Just because it’s about the 100 Years War doesn’t mean that film has to feel like a 100 hours.

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for December


Well, it’s that time of the month!

It’s time for me to post my Oscar predictions.  With precursor season in full swing, the Oscar picture has become a lot clearer.

If you want to see how my thinking has evolved over the year, be sure to check out my predictions of January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November!

Also, keep in mind — these are not necessarily my picks for the best of the year.  I’ll be posting those during the second week of January.  Instead, these predictions are based on the precursor awards and just my own guesses based on the Academy’s past picks.

Best Picture

BlackKklansman

Black Panther

The Favourite

Green Book

If Beale Street Could Talk

Roma

A Star is Born

Vice

Best Director

Ryan Coogler for Black Panther

Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born

Alfonso Cuaron for Roma

Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite

Adam McKay for Vice

Best Actor

Christian Bale in Vice

Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born

Ethan Hawke in First Reformed

Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen in Green Book

Best Actress

Yalitza Aparicio in Roma

Glenn Close in The Wife

Olivia Colman in The Favourite

Lady Gaga in A Star is Born

Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali in Green Book

Timothee Chalamet in Beautiful Boy

Sam Elliott in A Star is Born

Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams in Vice

Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk

Thomasin McKenzie in Leave No Trace

Emma Stone in The Favourite

Rachel Weisz in The Favourite

 

Here Are The 2018 Houston Film Critics Society Nominations!


Finally, the only state that matters is starting to make it’s voice heard in this year’s Oscar race!

On Sunday, the Houston Film Critics Society announced their nominations for the best of 2018.  Houston really, really liked both The Favourite and If Beale Street Could Talk.  The winners will be announced on January 3rd.

Here are the nominees!

Best Picture
A Star is Born
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Eighth Grade
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Favourite
First Reformed
Green Book
Hereditary
Roma
Vice

Best Director
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Adam McKay, Vice

Best Actor
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Best Actress
Glenn Close, The Wife
Toni Collette, Hereditary
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Vice
Claire Foy, First Man
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Best Screenplay
Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade
Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara, The Favourite
Paul Schrader, First Reformed
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Adam McKay, Vice

Best Cinematography
Rachel Morrison, Black Panther
Linus Sandgren, First Man
Robbie Ryan, The Favourite
James Laxton, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Best Animated Film
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Mirai
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Original Score
Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther
Justin Hurwitz, First Man
Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs
Thom Yorke, Suspiria

Best Original Song
“All the Stars,” Black Panther
“Ashes,” Deadpool 2
“Hearts Beat Loud,” Hearts Beat Loud
“Revelation,” Boy Erased
“Shallow,” A Star is Born

Best Foreign Language Film
Burning
Border
Cold War
Roma
Shoplifters

Best Documentary Feature
Free Solo
Minding the Gap
RBG
Three Identical Strangers
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Texas Independent Film Award
1985
An American in Texas
The Standoff at Sparrow Creek
Support the Girls
Tejano

Visual Effects
Black Panther
First Man
Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Best Poster
BlacKkKlansman (two)
Mandy
Suspiria (two)

Best Worst Film of the Year
The 15:17 to Paris
The Happytime Murders
Life Itself
Peppermint
Venom

The Kansas City Film Critics Circle Announces Their Picks For The Best of 2018


And here they are!

Best Picture: ROMA and The Favourite (tie)

Robert Altman Award for Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, ROMA
Runner-up: Paul Schrader, First Reformed

Best Actor: Christian Bale, Vice and Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (tie)

Best Actress: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Runner-up: Yalitza Aparicio, Roma

Best Supporting Actor: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Runner-up: Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Vice
Runner-up: Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Leave No Trace

Best Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman
Runner-up: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Original Screenplay: The Favourite
Runner-up: Eighth Grade

Best Animated Feature: Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
Runners-up: Incredibles 2 and Isle of Dogs (tie)

Best Foreign-Language Film: ROMA
Runner-up: Cold War

Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Runner-up: Free Solo

Vince Koehler Award for Best Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror Film: A Quiet Place
Runner-up: Sorry to Bother You

Tom Poe Award for Best LGBTQ Film: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Runner-up: Love, Simon

Ethan Hawke and Regina King Are Snubbed By The SAG


On Wednesday morning, the SAG announced their nominations for the best of 2018.

The SAG nominations are usually a fairly good precursor of what will actually be nominated when the Oscar nominations are announced.  (For instance, last year, no one was paying much attention to Christopher Plummer until he picked up a SAG nom.)  This year, the nominations are a little bit strange in that neither Regina King nor Ethan Hawke received nominations, despite dominating the critics awards.  While King’s campaign can probably recover from being snubbed, Hawke may be in trouble.  He’s now been snubbed by both the Golden Globes and the SAG.

A lot of people are shocked that Bohemian Rhapsody picked up a nomination for Best Ensemble.  I’m not.  Bohemian Rhapsody is the type of crowd pleaser that often defies the critics and sneaks into the Oscars.

For me, the big news is that Black Panther is still showing a lot of strength.  That nomination for Best Ensemble was not necessarily expected and it goes to show that Black Panther may have the backing necessary to become the first comic book film to be nominated for best picture.

Anyway, here are the weird SAG film nominations:

Outstanding Performance By a Cast in a Motion Picture
“A Star Is Born”
Black Panther”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“Crazy Rich Asians”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture
Bradley Cooper, “A Star is Born”
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
John David Washington, “BlacKkKlansman”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture
Emily Blunt, “Mary Poppins Returns”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Timothee Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Emily Blunt, “A Quiet Place”
Margot Robbie, “Mary Queen of Scots”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“Ant-Man and the Wasp”
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”
Black Panther”
“Mission: Impossible – Fallout”

The San Diego Film Critics Name Leave No Trace The Best of 2018!


On Monday, the San Diego Film Critics picked their best of 2018!  Check out their nominees here and the winners below!

Best Picture
LEAVE NO TRACE
Runner-up: GREEN BOOK

Best Director
Debra Granik, LEAVE NO TRACE
Runner-up: Peter Farrelly, GREEN BOOK

Best Actor, Male
Ethan Hawke, FIRST REFORMED
Runner-up: Viggo Mortensen, GREEN BOOK

Best Actor, Female
Glenn Close, THE WIFE
Runner-up: Melissa McCarthy, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

Best Supporting Actor, Male (tie)
Richard E. Grant, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Timothée Chalamet, BEAUTIFUL BOY

Best Supporting Actor, Female
Nicole Kidman, BOY ERASED
Runner-up: Nina Arianda, STAN & OLLIE

Body of Work: John C. Reilly, THE SISTERS BROTHERS, RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, STAN & OLLIE

Best Comedic Performance
Hugh Grant, PADDINGTON 2
Runner-up: Jesse Plemons, GAME NIGHT

Best Original Screenplay
Bo Burnham, EIGHTH GRADE
Runner-up: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, GREEN BOOK

Best Adapted Screenplay
Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows, Fabien Nury, THE DEATH OF STALIN
Runner-up: Joel Edgerton, BOY ERASED

Best Documentary
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS
Runner-up: FREE SOLO

Best Animated Film
ISLE OF DOGS
Runner-up: SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Best Foreign-Language Film
SHOPLIFTERS
Runner-up: CAPERNAUM

Best Costume Design (tie)
Sandy Powell, THE FAVOURITE
Lindy Hemming, PADDINGTON 2

Best Editing
Jamie Gross, David Egan, GAME NIGHT
Runner-up: Christopher Tellefsen, A QUIET PLACE

Best Cinematography (tie)
Bruno Delbonnel, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
Joshua James Richards, THE RIDER

Best Production Design
Fiona Crombie, THE FAVOURITE
Runner-up: John Paul Kelly, STAN & OLLIE

Best Visual Effects
READY PLAYER ONE
Runner-up: CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

Best Use Of Music In A Film
BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE
Runner-up: BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Best Ensemble
GAME NIGHT
Runner-up: THE FAVOURITE

Best Breakout Artist
Thomasin McKenzie, LEAVE NO TRACE
Runner-up: Charlie Plummer, LEAN ON PETE

The Chicago Film Critics Association Makes Roma An Offer It Can’t Refuse


Last night, the Chicago Film Critics announced their picks for the best of 2018!  Like many other critic groups, they selected ROMA as the best film of 2018.  (They also picked Olivia Colman for Best Supporting Actress, though she’s being pushed for an Oscar nominations for Best Actress for her role in The Favourite.)

Ethan Hawke for First Reformed is coming on strong, as far as the precursors are concerned.  Right now, I’m assuming First Reformed will do well when the Oscar nominations are announced but the fact that the film was not only snubbed but apparently loathed by the Golden Globe voters does give me reason to wonder if maybe we could see a repeat of what happened with Nightcrawler (i.e., a film and a performance loved by the critics but totally ignored by the Academy).

Check out their nominations here and then check out the winners below!

BEST PICTURE
Roma

BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

BEST ACTOR
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

BEST ACTRESS
Toni Collette, Hereditary

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Olivia Colman, The Favourite

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
If Beale Street Could Talk by Barry Jenkins

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
First Reformed by Paul Schrader

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Minding the Gap

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Roma

BEST ART DIRECTION
The Favourite

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Roma – Alfonso Cuaron

BEST EDITING
Roma

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
If Beale Street Could Talk – Nicholas Britell

BEST USE OF VISUAL EFFECTS
Annihilation 

MOST PROMISING FILMMAKER
Ari Aster, Hereditary

MOST PROMISING PERFORMER
Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade