Flash Movie Review: Empire of Light
THE WEEK HAD BEEN EXTREMELY STRESSFUL. Work was challenging and my kitchen demolition was just starting up. The idea of going home and dealing with the new logistics of eating and washing dishes was too much for me to handle after work; so, I decided to go to the movies. With the Academy Awards ceremony taking place in a few weeks, I was excited that I could catch an Oscar nominated film before the telecast. Traffic was heavy which added to the negativity of the past week and my stress, because I was cutting close the time it would take me to get to the theater before the start of the movie. By the time I found a parking space at the theater, it was past the start time; but, I knew there was at least fifteen minutes worth of previews before the actual start of the picture. I ran from the parking garage to the lobby of the theater, checked in with the ticket taker, made a stop at the restroom, then made my way down the hallway to my theater. By the time I settled into my assigned seat, the last film trailer was nearly finished. I had made it in the nick of time and was hoping the movie would provide me with what I needed. A QUICK AD FOR THE THEATER flashed on the screen as an announcer stated the feature presentation was starting. The lights, which were already dim, lowered completely and the theater was filled with only the tiny LED lights outlining the stairs and exits. The movie started on the wide screen; a setting from an international city in a different time appeared before me. I was familiar with the city, having visited it some time ago. The few patrons in the theater (it was weeknight after all) were quiet and far enough away for me to get transported into the story uninterrupted. This is the ultimate form of relaxation for me; to find myself teleported and inserted into the actions taking place in front of me. All thoughts about the various stresses I was dealing with were pushed out of my mind; or at least out of my consciousness for the time being. I was in that city and experiencing the same effects as the main characters. The story was beautiful and by the end I felt completely relaxed and cozy. That is the magic of being in a movie theater; I can find myself anywhere based on what was showing on the screen. There are very few theaters I have been to that have not allowed me this wonderful experience and I just know the theater set in this romantic drama would be one that would provide me such a trip. DURING A TIME OF UNREST, A small group of individuals find refuge in their local movie palace where they work. With Olivia Coleman (The Lost Daughter, The Crown-TV) as Hilary, Micheal Ward (Blue Story, The A List-TV) as Stephen, Colin Firth (A Single Man, The King’s Speech) as Donald Ellis, Toby Jones (The Wonder, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Norman and Tom Brooke (The Death of Stalin, Preacher-TV) as Neil; this Oscar nominated film had moments of magic in it. Foremost, it was the cast led by Olivia and Micheal that kept me in the story. Next, I enjoyed the way human connections were on display. What I did not understand in parts was the script/story. I could not tell if the story was supposed to be a tribute to movies and I found one of the character’s revelations of racism did not ring true for me. At least the acting and sets were wonderful as I watched Olivia prove she was worthy of her Oscar nomination. This was a touching, adult movie that was almost great.
2 ¾ stars
Flash Movie Review: The Favourite
BEING CHOSEN AS THE FAVORITE ONE does not necessarily make one’s life easier; the title can come with some pitfalls. At a previous job where I worked, there was an employee who was the favorite of the owner. Everyone at the company knew it. In fact, even if it was your first day you would soon realize this employee had a special relationship with the owner. Here is just one example of how the owner treated this employee differently than the others. During the holidays we used to receive a variety of gifts for the owner. He would always open these packages in his office, bringing out the shipping boxes for us to break down and recycle. I would say on the average he kept 75% of the gifts sent to him; the ones he did not, he would give to this employee right in front of the rest of us. Depending on what the item was, this employee would either leave it sitting on her desk (which used to annoy all of us) or take it out to her car to bring home. Not once did the owner offer a rejected gift to one of us. Now, I did not care whether I got a gift or not; but I, like everyone else around me, felt it was not fair and was certainly not a morale booster. AS TIME PASSED SOME OF THE EMPLOYEES grew resentful of the “favorite” employee. When anyone would bring in a taste treat of food; if they were going around and offering pieces of it as opposed to putting it out in the kitchen, they would bypass this one employee. Actually, they would wait until the person was away from her desk then go around passing out their food items, so as to avoid the favorite one altogether. I could not say for certainty if this type of treatment was proper because as far as I knew it was not this employee’s fault. Now if there was something going on between the two of them, I had no knowledge. Let me say this though, it seemed from time to time she used her favorite role status to her advantage. For example, there was never a problem for her to leave early from work; but for the rest of us, the owner would always resist our requests while trying to make us change the day or the time, so we would not have to leave early. It came to a point where I just stopped thinking about it; it wasn’t worth the energy. And when I say energy this biographical, comedic drama will give you an idea of how much energy it takes to deal with such things. USING HER POSITION AS THE QUEEN’S CONFIDANTE Lady Sarah, played by Rachel Weisz (My Cousin Rachel, Disobedience), enjoyed exerting her power over others. But that show of power could be quite enticing for anyone who wanted some of the same. This film festival winning movie starred Olivia Coleman (The Lobster, Hot Fuzz) as Queen Anne, Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes, Magic in the Moonlight) as Abigail, and James Smith (In the Loop, The Iron Lady) as Godolphin. I was so intrigued with this story that I had to do some research about Queen Anne. It quickly became apparent to me that the writers took a basis of facts and elaborated on it to funny extremes. The three actresses were dynamite with the conniving, the wickedness and humor of the script. As much as I enjoyed this aspect of the movie and its super acting, I felt some scenes were unnecessary. There were several that felt like they were added to give this picture an artistic flair; it only slowed the story down for me. All in all, I cannot say this will be a favorite of mine this Oscar season, but I still had a good time watching it.