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Indian Summers (2015)
What a long slow yawn !
With all they hype surrounding this programme (Jewel in the Crown meets Downton Abbey etc)I expected something special. What a disappointment. The storyline is so slow and the camera seems to linger for so long on facial shots that I am losing the will to live (or see it out to the end). Fortunately I record it on 'skyplus' so I can replay on faster speed which serves to put me out of my misery quicker. After two episodes I don't know whether I am interested enough or care enough about the characters to see it to the series finale. It seems as though every character has a 'back story' which must be woven into the plot, which together with the interminable slowness of the storyline makes for a long and winding road with no end in sight. The only plus is the scenery, which like the facial shots, we get to linger over interminably. Some of the acting is extremely wooden and colourless, especially the main male character and the missionary and even Julie Walters, who seems to rely on facial expressions to play Cynthia, can't lift the pace.
Wonderful to welcome back old friends
Have looked forward to this sequel and was not disappointed. It was so good to catch up with old friends (literally and metaphorically). Maybe the storyline was more diluted as less concentrated on the 'guests' and more on Sunni and his attempts to expand his empire and get married but the journey that the 'guests' had started was still ongoing. For me the film is a testament to the fact that old age need not be a slow descent into oblivion; we can lose interest before reaching the terminus or we can hang onto the strap handles and stick it out to the end, which is the message in the film and I know which I prefer. I have n't yet found my personal Best Exotic Marigold Hotel but when I do hopefully Dames Judi & Maggie,Bill, Celia, Ronald, Diana will be my fellow travellers, all haphazardly supervised by Sunni. To those expecting gratuitous violence, blood and gore, gritty reality and leave the cinema feeling life is on a downward spiral, then stay away. To those who want to enjoy a heart warming film,rekindle faith in human nature and joy and expectation in life, go see it and escape this miserable, violent world we live in; go with your friend/lover/partner or alone - just go and enjoy. I am in the age group that would qualify me as a guest but I, like them, am still on a wonderful journey, determined to strap-hang to the end.
A Late Quartet (2012)
This may seem like nit picking but .....
Poignant and emotional story that proves that life and its experiences does not come to an end in later life - they are always there to catch you out. The acting was exceptional - you are made to feel part of each of the quartet's lives and feel their pain and joy. However, my one gripe is why oh why when actors are portraying musicians (especially those playing stringed instruments) they cannot be thoroughly coached in the art of playing their instrument. All four actors looked very uncomfortable when playing, except perhaps for Christopher Walken who did give a passable impression of a cellist. It is more than just holding the instrument; it's about moving the fingers up and down the strings, it's about holding the bow correctly and also body position. It did spoil my enjoyment in that I felt so uncomfortable watching the actors being uncomfortable when playing. There gripe over. Don't let my gripe spoil you enjoying what at the end of the day is not a film about instrumentalists because what they experience can happen to anyone and very often does which is why the the film is so poignant
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
boring and oh so predictable
The story takes a long and circuitous path to get to the predictable ending. Wished I had watched it on DVD so that I could have fast forwarded to shorten by at least 50%. Why Jennifer Lawrence got her Oscar on the strength of this film/performance above other contenders is a total mystery. If this is a story about someone recovering from a mental condition then that seems to take second place to the predictable story line about boy meets girl/ they both have issues/they sort out the issues and live happy ever after (as does every one else in the movie) The secondary story line about father's (Robert de Niro) gambling only serves to add to the predictability of the ending. If this is supposed to be a 'feel good movie' it certainly did not work for me
Les Misérables (2012)
Almost perfect .....
Absolute priority - take a very big hankie. This screen version captures an intensity of emotion that I feel is impossible with the stage version, simply because you feel you are there, sharing all the experiences, which you cannot do seated in a theatre. Anne Hathaway's rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream' is breathtaking and heartbreaking in its emotion as is Eddie Redmayne's of 'Empty Chairs'. There were two elements that for me did not work: the 'Master of the House' scene was not as raucous and rumbustious as seen on stage (twice)-it involved too many customers and therefore the interplay between 'Master' & Mistress'did not come across as effectively, plus I was not taken with Amanda Seyfried's singing voice - reminded me of the type of voice one would hear in a 30's/40's musical film. Although Russell Crowe's voice was not as strong as some may have liked, for me it reflected a character that was damaged and vulnerable and it worked. And for those wondering if Hugh Jackman could make 'Bring Him Home' work - a resounding Yes ! I left the cinema feeling that I had fought on the barricades, suffered alongside a brave man (Jean Valjean), cried over the unrequited love of Eponine, had a flickering of compassion for Javert and all to the background of wonderful overpowering music. And you wonder why I recommended a big hankie !
A wonderful tapestry
This is a wonderful tapestry of colour, music and characters that people of my generation can relate to. The settings are glorious; the house, the gardens and colours of autumn in the woods. What a joy to see genuine musicians playing instruments instead of actors 'faking it' - very badly in some cases. And characters that are dealing with the consequences of ageing- health problems,loss of independence- without losing hope and a sense of humour. Just like another reviewer I laughed a lot and definitely cried. What was telling that when the film ended no one wanted to leave their seats but continued to enjoy the wonderful music and the pen pictures of the cast. The casting of the main characters is inspired but they do no overshadow other characters who all contribute to this wonderful tpaestry