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Non-Review Review: Quartet

Quartet is an entertaining light comedy, and a solid directorial début from Dustin Hoffman. The film itself isn’t too surprising or demanding, but – as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel demonstrated earlier in the year – there is something to be said for putting a bunch of older actors together in a room and letting them remind you what they can do. Quartet is a fairly standard “life doesn’t end at retirment” film, and one that makes smart use of a talented ensemble cast. Indeed, as the credits roll, we’re reminded of just how talented as Hoffman introduces us to each of the performers – many of whom have long and impressive careers in theatre or music.

There’s nothing here that will surprise anybody, but it is occasionally nice to be reminded just how superb some of the older generation of actors can be.

... in with the old...

… in with the old…

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Bealtaine Film Tour Schedule

I’m always a fan of bringing cinema to as wide an audience as possible, especially to those who can’t or wouldn’t normally attend. After all, I think it’s a wonderful thing to share – but then you probably suspected as much, given you’re reading a blog about film and pop culture. Anyway, I just received the schedule for the Bealtaine 2012 festival. It celebrates creativity as we age, and involves a rich slate of cultural activities aimed at sharing culture with those who wouldn’t normally have access to it. accessCinema and the wonderful folks at the Irish Film institute (with support from Seven Seas Active 55) will be taking three films on tour, including Maggie Smith in My House in Umbria, the classic Gene Kelly film An American in Paris and the underrated Last Chance Harvey. I am quite fond of that one. For those in Dublin, the IFI will also be screening Little Miss Sunshine and Cinema Paradiso, both of which are genuine classics.

The full schedule for the May festival is below. I’d just like to reiterate how cool it is that they do this, and to encourage any readers with any elderly friends or relatives to consider checking out some of these. Visit their official website here. Continue reading

Non-Review Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

Coming from director John Madden, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is fairly straight-forward in what it offers audiences. Unlike Dev Patel’s entrepreneurial “Sonny”, who lures foreign tourists to his Indian hotel using a carefully photoshopped image, there’s no sense that the movie is in any way misleading. It’s a feel-good travel comedy-drama that throws together a wealth of experienced British talent in a story about embracing life and change and various other wonderful aspects of existence. It’s always thrilling to see these sorts of actors afforded the opportunity to shine, and a huge amount of the appeal of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is in watching its veteran thespians just cut loose and have a bit of fun.

Lounging around...

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Non-Review Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II is probably the strongest entry in the film series, and offers a fitting code to the saga of the famous boy wizard. Sleaker, leaner and meaner than most of its predecessors, I can actually understand – artistically – why Warners opted to split the final book into two distinct chapters. In many ways, the previous instalment (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I) felt like another year with the Hogwarts crowd, while the finale here represents an epilogue to the entire series. Threads hinted at and developed since the first film are all tied up here, and – isolated from a lot of the soap opera of early episodes – the last in the series provides some stunning closure.

The wiz kid returns...

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