Tag Archives: nicholas hoult

THE CURRENT WAR (2019) – My rating 7/10

The Current War is a historical drama inspired by the 19th-century competition between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over which electric power delivery system would be used in the United States (often referred to as the “war of the currents”). Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and written by Michael Mitnick. Martin Scorsese and Steven Zaillian also serve as executive producers. Not a lot of action but very informative and very interesting.

“The Current War” opens in the year 1880, with Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch), revealing his electric lightbulb. He has decided on Direct Current (DC), which is cheaper, cleaner and safer than gaslight but it is limited in range and very expensive. George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon), a successful businessman and inventor himself would like to learn more, so he invites Edison to dinner. Edison snubs Westinghouse who then sets out to prove Alternating Current (AC) is the better technology as it can work over greater distances and at a significantly lower cost. Edison and Westinghouse compete to get cities across the United States to use their system. Meanwhile, a brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult) arrives in the United States and begins working with Edison, but is disappointed by Edison’s unwillingness to reconsider his ideas and to fulfill what Tesla thought was a financial promise, which Edison passes off as a joke. Edison struggles to find ways to make DC more affordable, while Westinghouse attempts to get the high-voltage AC system to work with motors. And so, the fight for power gets more fierce and much longer.  Of course, the plot has many pockets of interesting discoveries as well as showing the depths at which desperate men will go.

The Current War, A period in time when life was less complicated and people were apprehensive about everything.  Electricity was a huge move forward.  Before it could get off the ground, a simple matter needed to be clarified.  AC vs DC.  This movie was made and due for release in 2017 but because of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which halted all things Harvey Weinstein, including The Current War, was never released until now.  If you’re not a history buff or have a thirst for historic events, you may want to skip this one. I found this true story interesting but more of a history lesson than a work of entertainment.  After two weeks released, “The Current War” has grossed $4,948,935 and has a 60% Rotten Tomatoes rating. I don’t think this box office flop will be around for another week.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie but not many other people were anxious to see it.  If you like history, Check It Out!


DARK PHOENIX (2019) – My rating: 8/10

Dark Phoenix is a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics X-Men characters, produced by 20th Century Fox and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the twelfth installment in the X-Men film series, a direct sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) and the seventh and final installment in the main X-Men series. Dark Phoenix is written and directed by Simon Kinberg. In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men must face the full power of the Phoenix after a mission in space goes wrong. Being the last of the X-Men series, I wasn’t sure I wanted the experience to end.  The “Dark Phoenix” film was decent but I think Kinberg has gotten a couple of things incorrect.


In 1975, eight-year-old Jean Grey (Summer Fontana) inadvertently uses her telekinesis to cause a car accident that kills her parents. Shortly afterwards, Professor Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) takes her to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, where he mentally blocks the accident from her memories and helps her hone her psychic abilities.
In 1992, the X-Men respond to a distress signal from the space shuttle Endeavour, which is critically damaged by a solar flare-like energy. While the X-Men save all the astronauts who are on the space shuttle, an all grown up Jean/Phoenix (Sophie Turner) is stranded and struck by the energy, however, she absorbs all of it into her body in order to save the X-Men’s aircraft from destruction. While Jean survives the event, her psychic powers are greatly embellished as a result. At the same time, Jean’s mental block, placed by Xavier, is destroyed. While the mutants are celebrating their successful rescue at Xavier’s school, Jean accidentally attacks the mutants after having a mental breakdown, then passing out. Eventually, Jean’s breakdown leads her to travel to the mutant refugee island of Genosha to seek assistance from Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) in controlling her powers, but is turned away by Erik after she engages in combat with U.S. military forces tasked with her arrest.

For the remainder of Dark Phoenix, we are privy to all that makes Professor Charles and Jean Grey tick, leading up to her rise as the Phoenix.  The film goes from dark to light to dark and so on and so on.  During Jean’s confusion and adventurous search to find and control herself, we get to see and enjoy other mutants at their best as they try to stop Jean from destroying everything  around her.  There are some earth shattering events that take place during Dark Phoenix, so be prepared for significant changes.  I’m not sure why these changes were made, I only know that they make a huge difference to the whole X-Men saga.  From deaths of favorites to name changes, you will be surprised.  Due to some of the more violent occurrences, I’m not sure I favor what has become of Jean Grey. For one, I don’t know why this is the last installment of  X-Men in the main series (whatever that means) because I think they have some explaining to do.  Hopefully, another X-Men will be made and some of the more upsetting situations will be fixed.  The film was entertaining, the plot was decent and the acting was brilliant.  In my opinion, Dark Phoenix was not the best of the X-Men but still entertaining.  FYI: The film was dedicated to the memory of X-Men co-creator Stan Lee, who passed away on November 12, 2018. Check It Out!


TOLKIEN (2019) – My rating: 8/10

Tolkien is a biographical drama directed by Dome Karukoski and written by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford. The film is about the early life of English professor J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as other notable academic works. Tolkien is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures under the Fox Searchlight Pictures banner, making it the first film released by Searchlight after an acquisition by Disney.  I wasn’t sure about Tolkien — I thought it might be a documentary, but it isn’t. The film was well done and I’m glad I got to see it.

Tolkien opens with young J. R. R. Tolkien (Harry Gilby) lying in a field of leaves fantasizing about two fully armored men on their horses, fighting amidst fire, with spears drawn. Reality sets in and he awakens as an officer in WWI who is badly in need of medical assistance.  He then drifts back to his childhood, daydreaming; he is on break after playing rugby with friends and his younger brother Hilary (Guillermo Bedward), older Hilary Tolkien (James MacCallum). JRR and his brother are called in from Rugby by their mother Mabel (Laura Donnelly). With Father Francis (Colm Meaney) in attendance, the boys are told to start packing because “with your father gone, I have to go to work in order to support us”. Currently, the house they were living in was too expensive to maintain now that Mabel is widowed. JRR is so upset at the news of their moving, he runs out of the house with his mother trailing behind.  She catches him, they embrace and the scene changes to their new environment, a boarding house with several rooms.  The scene changes again with a woman reading a fantasy story to the boys about a dragon.

An older J. R. R. Tolkien’s (Nicholas Hault) life experience in WWI crossed with his fantasy world of magical people, places, animals and more, is all crossed with his present and future adventures in Oxford college which would be somewhat complicated, if not for director Dome Karukoski, who does a brilliant job of separating JRR’s youth, fantasies and years as an officer in WWI from his days as a young student at Oxford. Kudos to Dome for his foresight.

One day when young JRR returns home from school, he finds his mother dead sitting in the kitchen chair.  Now orphaned, and with the help of Father Francis, JRR. attends King Edward’s school. While there, he befriends a group of fellow artists and writers, with whom he finds inspiration and courage. Their bond of fellowship grows with the years, as they experience life together. Again with help from Father Francis, JRR attends Oxford College on scholarship.  JRR’s friends are Christopher Wiseman (Tom Glynn-Carney), a man who is socially adept beyond his years and the class clown. He spots Tolkien’s potential and invites him into his social group. Young Christopher Wiseman (Ty Tennant)Geoffrey Bache Smith (Anthony Boyle), a poet who was very close to Tolkien.   Young Geoffrey Bache Smith (Adam Bregman); Robert Q. Gilson (Patrick Gibson)Young Robert Q. Gilson (Albie Marber).  Soon after an alliance was formed and while attending King Edward’s School, the boys formed a secret society called T. C. B. S. (Tea Club and Barrovian Society).

Meanwhile, Tolkien meets young Edith Bratt, (Mimi Keene) — older Edith Bratt (Lily Collins), with whom he falls in love. Edith lives in the same boarding house as JRR and plays piano for the owner of the house, Mrs. Faulkner (Pam Ferris).  Also orphaned, Edith grows close to JRR, as they sneak out to restaurants, residuals, picnics and a trip to meet the boys of T.C.B.S. Eventually, Edith also served as a muse for JRR and was the inspiration for the fictional characters Lúthien Tinúviel and Arwen Evenstar. But when World War I breaks out, Tolkien’s relationships with his friends and Edith are tested.

J. R. R. Tolkien’s accomplishments are stunning.  He wrote Lord of the Rings, The hobbits and The Silmarillion to name a few.  He learned to read at the age of four and invented real languages such as Nevbosh and Naffarin.  He was close friends with C. S. Lewis and both were members of the Inklings, a literary society, as well as an artist who liked to draw trees and landscapes.  JRR was also named “Commander of the Order of the British Empire” by Queen Elizabeth II in March of 1972 and was 2nd Lieutenant in WWI. He was also listed sixth on a list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.  Forbes ranked him the fifth top-earning “dead celebrity” in 2009.  I think the film, Tolkien, is a worthy piece of art that anyone can enjoy.  There is so much to this movie, as Tolkien’s life was filled with more accomplishments than most.  From his tumultuous courtship with Edith Bratt, the outbreak of WWI and being orphaned by the age of 12, there wasn’t much to make up for this film to be entertaining.  I highly recommend Tolkien.  Check it Out!


THE FAVOURITE (2018) – My rating: 9.5/10

The Favourite is a period piece and a comedy-drama directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara. It is a co-production by producers in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Set in the early 18th century, the story examines the relationship between two cousins vying to be court favourites of Queen Anne. The American Film Institute selected The Favourite as one of its top 10 films of 2018. Among other accolades, the film received five Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. My favorite category (no pun intended) of motion pictures to watch is a period piece. I’m more than glad I got to see The Favourite — It was brilliant.

In 1708, Britain is at war with France and a somewhat weakened Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) is on the throne. Having been ill for some time, Queen Anne is frail and shows little interest in governing, instead she races ducks and plays with her 17 rabbits, each of which represents a child she has lost over the years. Her confidante, adviser and furtive lover, Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz), the Duchess of Marlborough, effectively rules the country through her influence on the eccentric Queen. Sarah’s efforts to control Anne are undermined only by Robert Harley (Nicholas Hoult), a Tory Member of Parliament and the 1st Earl of Oxford, who as a landowner, argues against a doubling of property taxes proposed in order to fund the war.  Life is good for Sarah.

****  SPOILERS BELOW  ****

Change comes when Abigail Hill (Emma Stone), Sarah’s impoverished younger cousin, arrives at Court in search of employment. Abigail’s standing is tainted by her father, who gambled away his good name and lost his daughter to a German in a card game. Abigail is initially forced to do menial work as a scullery maid in the palace, but after seeing the Queen’s condition, she fines an opportunity to ingratiate herself with Sarah and eventually, Queen Anne herself. Sarah picks herbs from the garden and formulates a paste to heal the Queen’s inflamed legs. Though she is initially punished by Sarah for her presumptuous actions, Sarah relents when she realises the remedy does ease the Queen’s suffering. In gratitude, Sarah makes Abigail her lady of the bedchamber.  In the meanwhile, Harley approaches Abigail, hoping to use her as a spy in order to find out what Sarah’s schemes are and figure out a way to circumvent her authority. Abigail initially rebuffs him, but soon she becomes aware of the secret lesbian relationship between Queen Anne and Sarah.

At this point the fun really begins, Sarah vs  Abigail vs Queen Anne.  I cannot say enough about the goings on in The Favourite palace.  I was thoroughly entertained.  I haven’t seen a period piece as lively, clever and as well executed since the 1988 movie, Dangerous Liaisons.  I don’t want to give away the whole movie, so I’ll stop here and hope that you will see it for yourself.  It’s no wonder The Favourite won so many awards and nominations, it’s brilliant.  There are quite a few twist and turns that you won’t see coming.  Who will win the controlling position between Sarah and Abigail?  My only criticism is the ending, which left me a little confused.  I would have liked the final action defined so that what was happening would be perfectly clear and not ambiguous or left to the imagination. At any rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Favourite takes home a few Oscars.  BTW: Olivia Colman won the Golden Globe for Best Actress — Check it Out!

[The Favourite is Oscar nominated for Best:  Picture, Actress, 2 Supporting Actress nominations, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Production Design, Custome Design and Film Editing]