Here are some insights into you might want (or not want) to see on the big screen or your flat screen. I have added ratings to each, based on Rotten Tomatoes, IDMb (Internet Movie Database) and my own assessment, which is simply a likability score.

“The Favourite”

Not your mother’s movie. But a movie nonetheless loved by critics. The New York Times critic called it a “bracingly cynical comedy of royal manners.” To me it is a black comedy, and bizarre at times, often difficult to watch. There are some truly comedic moments. At a formal ball, Rachel Weisz’s character, Sarah, and her partner, break into a dance worthy of a 2019 rave party. Or the Duke of Marlborough, Sarah’s husband, calmly reading what appears to be a newspaper (did they actually have newspapers in 1711?) as soldiers ride into the grounds of his estate, intent on making his arrest.

For those of you who are fans of “The Crown,” you will know Olivia Colman as the actress replacing Claire Foy as the Queen. Olivia on the right. Claire on the left. Olivia has starred as well in “Broadchurch” (Netflix) and “The Night Manager” (AMC).

Olivia, along with Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, form a female triangle of tension, intrigue and eroticism in “The Favourite,” with Olivia as Queen Anne. Rachel’s character, Sarah Churchill, has the ear of Queen Anne to the extent that nothing happens, politically or personally, without the influence of Sarah. But that all changes when Emma Stone’s character, Abigail, arrives at the royal palace. Abigail quickly rises from kitchen help to Sarah’s maid, and on to be the confidant of the Queen. The tension rises between Sarah and Abigail, as the latter transforms from a seeming innocent to a cold, manipulative power seeker. Rachel as Sarah below. (Rachel in real life is married to Daniel Craig of James Bond fame).

Emma Stone, as we know, won an Oscar for “La La Land.” Not sure what it is about her, but she is always good – as in “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Birdman.”

This is a movie that sticks in the mind. But difficult to sit through. There is much tension and uncertainty. Would I see it again? No. Am I happy to have seen it? Yes. Would I recommend you see it? Maybe not. The performances are exceptional. The movie will be a contender for a Best Picture Oscar, and each of the main actors – Colman, Weisz, Stone – stand a good chance to be nominated for Oscars for their achievements.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%/60% (Critics/Audience)
IDMb Rating: 8.1 (out of 10)
My Rating: 8 (out of 10)

“The Mule”

Clint Eastwood is 88 years old and still directing movies. In “The Mule” he is featured in the starring role. I have been an Eastwood fan since “Rawhide” and his move into the so-called spaghetti westerns, the “Dirty Harry” series and more. Clint elevated squinting and mumbling to an art form. His best work came in later years – “Unforgiven,” Million Dollar Baby” – to name just two. He has proved himself a producing and directing force, along with some solid acting that almost made you forget you were watching Clint Eastwood. But maybe he should just stick to directing, based on “The Mule.”

A few of us agreed that “The Mule” could have been so much more. Bradley Cooper and Michael Pena were pretty much wasted in their roles as FBI agents. Plus a lot more drama could have been inserted into scenes that took the “Mule” (Eastwood) on his drug-laden cross country trips from New Mexico to Illinois. “The Mule” will make a lot of money. But not really worth a trip to the cinema.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 65%/67% (Critics/Audience)
IDMb Rating: 7.2 (out of 10)
My Rating: 5 (out of 10)

“Roma” (Netflix)

You may not recognize the name Alfonzo Cuaron, and I guarantee you will not know the name Yalitza Aparicio. Mr. Cuaron directed “Roma.” He also directed “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” “Children of God,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” and “Gravity.” He has been nominated for 6 Academy Awards, and has won two – for Best Director and for Editing for “Gravity.” And has added 6 British Film Academy Awards.

Set in the early 1970s in Mexico City, “Roma” presents a year in the life of a middle class family living in a gated house, with a mother, grandmother, four young children, and two servants, including the maid played by Yalitza Aparicio. As Cleo, she is an indigenous Mexican, who works hard, without complaining, and who is impregnated by Fermin, a young revolutionary. Cleo reveals to her pregnancy to Fermin in a movie theatre, whereupon he excuses himself to go to the bathroom, never to return. She finally tracks him down and he erupts in violent denial, leaving Cleo to solve her own problems. What Cleo is good at solving are her employer’s problems. Cleo is the glue that holds the family together – the husband has left them abruptly and without resources – and the children are like her own.

This is movie that draws you in – albeit gradually. Ms. Aparicio is remarkable as Cleo: there are few characters in cinema who portray such feeling or strength without hyperbole. One of the most touching scenes is Cleo giving birth to a still-born daughter. She conveys the kind of feeling that the viewer cannot be anything but deeply affected. And on a beach vacation, despite not being able to swim, and in heavy currents, she rescues two of her young charges (Yalitza as Cleo with the children in the following image).

See “Roma.” Available on Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%/83% (Critics/Audience)
IDMb Rating: 8.2 (out of 10)
My Rating: 8 (out of 10)

“Call My Agent”

Another offering from Netflix. Season 3 has just arrived. “Call My Agent” (in French, “Dix pour cent”) is a clever satire about a Paris-based talent agency, ASK, whose agents are totally immersed in personal issues while trying to manage the careers of their clients, all of whom are prominent French actors and entertainers. With each episode comes a different client with a challenge: for example, preparing Juliette Binoche for a speech at the Cannes Film Festival; or trying to repair a rift (a rift, in fact caused by one of ASK’s agents) between Isabelle Adjani and a movie director. The agents have a penchant for wounds that are self- inflicted, be they personal or professional wounds. If you don’t mind subtitles, this is fun to watch.

Our agents above. The Globe and Mail reviewer called this “an absolute gem.”

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A
IDMb Rating: 8.1 (out of 10)
My Rating: 9 (out of 10)

“The Sisters Brothers”

You put John C. Reilly in a movie and I will probably watch it. Well, maybe not. But not because of Mr. Reilly. He is always worth watching, as in “Boogie Nights,” “Chicago,” “The Hours,” “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” and now “The Sisters Brothers.” This is a brutal western – with some great comedic moments – based on the novel by Patrick deWitt. The movie pairs Mr. Reilly with Joachin Phoenix as Eli and Charlie Sisters, hired gunmen out to track down and kill Hermann Warm, who, allegedly, has stolen from the brother’s employer, the Commodore.
Perhaps more a movie for guys. The critics liked it, I liked it, but few others seemed to as it failed to break even at the box office. That has not stopped Mr. Reilly from moving on to other projects. “Holmes and Watson” (with Will Ferrell as Holmes and Mr. Reilly as Watson) is currently in theatres, and apparently is awful. Not on my list of flicks to see. Mr. Reilly and Mr. Ferrell team up quite often, and often with mixed results. Then there is “Stan and Ollie,” with Mr. Reilly as Oliver Hardy and Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel. A must see for me.

Ratings for “The Sisters Brothers?”

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%/66% (Critics/Audience)
IDMb Rating: 7.1 (out of 10)
My Rating: 7 (out of 10)

“A Star is Born”

A movie that has been done four times, starting in 1937, with Fredric March and Janey Gaynor; in 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason; and in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. The 1937 and 1954 versions are worth seeing, as is the 2018 film. Think of the current “A Star is Born” as “Crazy Heart with Gaga.” As good as Bradley Cooper is as director and lead, Lady Gaga stripped down, makes the movie. And I only mean “stripped down” in the sense that she is not wearing meat or some such, for a change, but she is without make-up with only her talent to be seen. This is a movie I will see again. The story still works, and is even more timely considering the addiction crisis that is upon us. The ending is a sad reminder that often there is only one solution to addiction.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90%/81% (Critics/Audience)
IDMb Rating: 8.1 (out of 10)
My Rating: 9 (out of 10)

“Bohemian Rhapsody”

I am a big Queen fan, mainly because of Freddie Mercury. Hard to believe that Freddie (born Farrokh Bulsara) has been gone so long (he passed on in 1991 at age 45) but it is tribute to Freddie and his bandmates that their music still lives on. I enjoyed “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the music, and for the performance of Rami Malek as Freddie. The movie itself is pretty predictable, but Mr. Malik really holds it together. He was able to capture the excitement of the Live Aid concert of 1985, where Freddie had the Wembley audience spellbound (go to YouTube to see Freddie at Live Aid). The movie was well received by audiences, but not so much by critics.

Freddie on the left, Rami on the right.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 62%/90% (Critics/Audience)
IDMb Rating: 8.2 (out of 10)
My Rating: 6 (out of 10)

“Can You Ever Forgive Me”

This is a very entertaining movie, with Mellissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant starring. Ms. McCarthy plays Lee Israel, a down-on-her-luck author who, out of desperation, forges letters, supposedly written by famous cultural figures, and sells them to art and book dealers. A nice, profitable business, and as the cops close in on her, she turns to Mr. Grant to act on her behalf. She forges, he sells. This is Ms. McCarthy as have never seen her; a slovenly, curmudgeonly character, but one who is gradually embraced by the viewer.
Mr. Grant is her antithesis; well-groomed, out-going and charming. Despite their differences, they make an unforgettable screen couple. Worth seeing.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%/83% (Critics/Audience)
IDMb Rating: 7.6
My Rating: 8 (out of 10)

More to come. Apart from “Stan and Ollie,” I plan to see “They Shall Not Grow Old,” a documentary created by Peter Jackson about the Great War (Peter Jackson is responsible for the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies); “Vice,” starring Christian Bale: “Destroyer,” with Nicole Kidman; and “The Punisher,” its second season coming soon to Netflix.
I will report back …