Happy New Year everyone!
When the Queen delivered her annual speech on Christmas, Twitter users were outraged by the fact that she, a famously very rich and very old person, had a golden piano. So it’s fitting the cinema in January 2019 is filled with royalty.
The Favourite (out now) explicitly deals with royalty as Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) is at the centre of a war between cousins Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail (Emma Stone). A period drama with an explicit LGBTQ twist, The Favourite earned raves on the festival circuit with director Yorgos Lanthimos and cinematographer Robbie Ryan being singled out. But, this is really an actors showcase — don’t be surprised if Colman, Stone and Weisz are all nominated for an Academy Award.
Famously, there is one movie in the race for the Oscar that is so bad, it becomes infamous. Life Itself (4 Jan) is that movie. Written and directed by Dan Fogelman, this intergenerational weepy is an example of a movie you have to watch to see if it is as bad as everyone says. And, even if it is awful, you can at least spend the whole time wondering how Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde and Olivia Cooke ended up in it.
Moving onto kings of comedy, Stan and Ollie (11 Jan) follows silent movie maestros Laurel and Hardy as they tour the UK in hopes of reigniting their film careers. Starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, director Jon S. Baird lets his stars spar as the squabbling duo — all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.
King of twists M. Night Shyamalan returns with Glass (18 Jan), the Split sequel you wanted and the Unbreakable one you didn’t. David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is trapped in a mental asylum with his arch foe Mr Glass (Samuel L Jackson) and Kevin (James McAvoy). Their doctor (Sarah Paulson) believes she is in control, but the super-intelligent Glass manipulates the situation and releases the Beast. Dunn must then do everything he can to stop the two villains. Anya Taylor-Joy reprises her role from Split, and honestly, this film has no right looking as good as it does.
Mary Queen of Scots (18 Jan) focuses on warring queens, the titular Mary (Saoirse Ronan) and Queen Elizabeth the First (Margot Robbie). Josie Rourke has made a more traditional period drama than The Favourite. Visually stunning with a great supporting cast, this is really about two of the most promising actresses sharing the screen together.
From the future to the past, Clint Eastwood keeps pumping out films. Starring on screen for the first time since 2012, everyone’s favourite cowboy goes for one last ride in The Mule (25 Jan), playing an octogenarian drug runner. Pursued by Bradley Cooper’s DEA Agent, this is a tense cat and mouse with another great performance from Eastwood. Andy Garcia, Michael Peña and Dianne Wiest also star.
Also out: Welcome to Marwen (out now), The Front Runner (11 Jan), Destroyer (25 Jan) and Vice (25 Jan)