By A.D. Beal

Creed II
Adonis Creed’s relationships with his wife Bianca and mentor Rocky are tested when the latter’s former rival, Ivan Drago, comes back to the spotlight with his son, who challenges Creed.

Creed II is like a combo of Rocky 2 and 4, and like those films, it ups the clichés and traditions. However, here Steven Caple Jr. (who manages to keep within the world that Ryan Coogler created while having his own style) still gets you to take it seriously, and the cast are all great again. Dolph Lundgren also gets to humanize Ivan Drago some more, though I would have liked to see more insight into how his training routine and steroid use affected his character. More quick edits and handheld cam this time around, but it’s not distracting compared to other films that use both. Lastly, the ending still leaves you with the triumphant feel you want from a Rocky film.

The Favourite
Queen Anne, slowly losing her mind, becomes the center of a fight for power between cousins Sarah Churchill and Abigail Hill for control over who will be her “favourite”.

You would think a historical drama starring real people would mean Yorgos Lanthimos would dial back on the weirdness/disturbing nature of some of his prior films (The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, The Lobster, Dogtooth), but instead, it’s arguably the most strange and horrifying of his filmography, and I love it. Each of the three main leads are fantastic and show all sorts of range in their performances, from Olivia Colman doing needy and dominant, to Emma Stone going from desperate to vicious. Nicholas Hoult was absolutely hilarious here, and this was probably my favorite performance from him. Also, the camera angles and lenses used here sometimes gives off a warped image, as if reality is breaking for our three leads. In the hands of a more boring filmmaker, this could have been an average drama film. But thankfully, Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara’s fantastic screenplay gets a great filmmaker.

Once Upon A Deadpool
Fred Savage is kidnapped by Deadpool, where he retells the story of Deadpool 2 in a family friendly way.

Okay look, this is basically DP 2 but with less swearing and no violence. If you don’t remember my review of that film, I didn’t like it, and I still don’t here. The only difference is the editing is a bit more clunky, and some of the gore removal is strange (including a scene involving a gun shooting through a hand). But Fred Savage makes it more tolerable, as he’s genuinely funny, and his chemistry with Deadpool works (plus it resists making too many Princess Bride jokes). And hey, some of the cash from each ticket ($1) is donated to charity, so there is a good cause behind this film.

Ralph Breaks The Internet
Ralph and Vanellope go into the internet to search for a replacement for the latter’s game after it’s broken.

This is a simple film and follows a lot of the traits you’ve seen from previous Disney films. However, it’s the themes of neediness and letting go that really make it work. Not everything goes back to normal by the end, giving a more real feel to a film with such a strange plot. The animation, as per usual, is an improvement over previous films. I also love how the internet is incorporated with things like spam and the ‘dark net’ used as plot points or characters. And yeah…even the princess scenes are funny.