Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Late Quartet

2012

1 hr 45 min
English
Drama, Classical Music
5 Stars

The Fugue, a string quartet of 3 men and 1 woman, has been together for 25 years. They play well together; two are married to each other with a college-aged daughter. Christopher Walken is wonderful as the cellist who, for health reasons wants to leave the quartet. Philip Seymour Hoffman is tired of playing second violin and wants to play first violin, his wife thinks he should leave well enough alone. Drama ensues as they all face their own midlife crises, and have to decide if the sum of the parts is greater than their individual selves. Are they professional musicians in a quartet, or soloists? Note, this is not related to the movie Quartet, in any way, other than both play marvelous classical music. A beautiful movie, well worth your time.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Quartet

2012
1 hr 39 min
English
Romantic Comedy for the Silver Haired 

5 Stars

What a fun movie! The acting was superb, the direction spot-on. Like many British movies, I had to turn the volume up to hear (what is it with their sound systems?), but it was oh-so-worth it! The story takes place in a home for retired musicians, and I understand many of the actors are retired musicians, which just adds another depth of delightedness. Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine) is wonderful as are the rest of the cast. There is a love story in the background (yes, Victoria, old farts and fartesses still love), as the home is trying to set up a concert for the locals to earn enough money to keep the home going, and not have to charge residents. And the sound track is to die for. This is a movie to own and to watch more than once.


Salt of the Earth

2014

1 hr 50 min
English & subtitles
Documentary
5 Stars

A documentary about Sebastiao Salgado, a Brazilian photographer. It gives us his live, and his work. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will leave you filled with hope by the end. You have seen his work, but probably didn't realize it was his. He has done work for the UN and Doctors Without Borders. He reminds me of a modern day Edward S. Curtis. He has 'saved' many of the indigenous peoples of South America with his cameras. There were areas where it was a little long, but hang in there. It's a beautiful documentary and well worth the time investment.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

First Position

2100   

90 minutes
English
Documentary
5 Stars

What are you willing to forfeit to follow your dream? This documentary follows young dancers training for the Youth America Grand Prix competitions which very well will make or break their careers in ballet. Young people from around the world train and compete, and only a few in each category will progress. At stake are medals, scholarships, and possibly jobs. Would you give up your childhood to follow your dream? These kids did, and don't seem to miss it. I know nothing about dance, but I do love to watch it, and I found this documentary to be informative, and well done. Suitable for all ages.


Ansel Adams: American Experience

2002
1 hr 40 min
English
Documentary
5 Stars

A marvelous documentary about one of our greatest photographers and nature conservationists, and how he became so. Narrated by David Ogden Stiers, we meet Adams as a young boy, and follow his life as he follows his dream. His father is to be commended for the courage it must have taken to not just allow young Adams to live his own life, but to encourage it. Adams' photography spoke for his nature conservancy, rather than longwinded speeches. If you are looking for his technique, how he framed, how he used filters, etc., don't waste your time. This documentary doesn't give us that. Nor did it show how many shots he took of the same scene, bracketing each one. It somewhat gives the impression he saw, he shot, he developed a price winning photo.


The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn

1986   

1 hour 27 minutes
English
Documentary
4 Stars

This is an excellent tribute to one of, if not the best actors ever to grace a screen. (Is my bias showing?) My only complaint is the poor sound quality. If I turned the TV up loud enough to hear the voices, it seemed to vibrate. Hepburn and Tracy not only were lovers, they acted well together and appeared in nine or so movies with each other. It's obvious from this tribute their love did not die when Spence did. Hepburn reads a poignant letter at the end, one she wrote after his death.


Katharine Hepburn reads her letter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8szArd5dIBE