Sunday, February 10, 2013


Crime thriller

Rooney Mara: 28-year-old Emily “Em” Taylor
Channing Tatum: her husband Martin
Ann Dowd: Martin’s mother
Jude Law: psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan “John” Banks
Catherine Zeta-Jones: psychiatrist Dr. Victoria Siebert
Vinessa Shaw: Jonathan’s wife Dierdre

Too often new drugs for old problems have unfortunate side effects that can result in some very serious consequences. Given that premise, the first half of the movie unfolds pretty much in a straightforward manner. The acting by Mara and Law is particularly noteworthy although the musical score too often intrudes and makes it difficult to catch all of the dialogue.

Like any good thriller there are twists and turns but at one point (about three-quarters of the way through) there is too much rapid-fire exposition to easily grasp what has transpired.

At the risk of giving anything just let me say you should really pay attention when Emily and Jonathan are alone in the institution and she tells “her side of the story”. Miss that and you’ll exit the theatre like many people did when I saw the film asking their companion “What was that all about?” or saying things like “I don’t know what happened, do you?”

 for violence, profanity, sexual content and brief nudity.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Al Pacino: ex-convict Valentine “Val”
Christopher Walken: his former partner and best-buddy Doc
Mark Margolis: Mafia head “Claphands”
Julianna Marqulies: nurse Nina Hirsh
Alan Arkin: her father Richard
Addison Timlin: coffee shop waitress Alex

What a waste of talent: Al Pacino who had us mesmerized as Michael Corleone or enthralled us as Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman is relegated to a potty-mouthed mumbling low-life character. And Alan Arkin, who starred most recently in Argo, is given a bit-player role as an ailing old man who has little of consequence to say but has one of the fastest recoveries in medical science.

The thin plot line with its pandering to the young-adult-randy-male includes visits to the local brothel not just once, but twice. To say there are serious plot holes is an understatement: almost total suspension of disbelief is necessary to get though this cliché-ridden contrived mess.

for language, sexual content, violence and brief drug use.  

  • While talking with Val the orientation of Doc’s coffee mug changes from one shot to the next although he never once touches it.
  • Doc parks the car at a local bar facing in but when they go to leave he drives straight off without having to first backup.
  • Bloodletting, the ancient medical procedure was practiced as late as the 19th century but has no place in a modern day hospital.
  • As a passenger in the car, Doc has his seatbelt on when viewed from the front but is without it when seen from the driver’s perspective.
  • It is impossible to execute a bootlegger’s turn (to reverse the direction of travel of a forward moving vehicle 180°) with a vehicle having an automatic transmission.

Friday, February 1, 2013



Michael Gambon: Cedric Livingstone
Billy Conolly: Wilfred “Wilf” Bond
Sheridan Smith: Dr. Lucy Cogan, the home’s director
Pauline Collins: Cecily “Cissy” Robson
Tom Courtenay: Reginald “Reg” Paget
Maggie Smith: Jean Horton

Beecham House, an English country retirement home for musicians and performers, is thrown into a turmoil with the arrival of Jean, a former diva.

Geared to the more mature audience, it has a lot in common with “The Best Exotic Hotel in the World” in that both star Maggie Smith and are about elderly people dealing as best they can with an unfamiliar changing situation. And both have their share of amusing moments albeit of a different sort.
for brief strong language  and suggestive humour.

The end credits pairing old black and white promotional material beside current colour photos highlights the fact that most of the supporting cast are retired professional musicians.


 Original title: En kongelig affære
In Danish and German with English subtitles
Historical drama

Dowager: a widow who holds a title derived from her deceased husband.

Alicia Vkiander: British aristocrat Caroline Mathilde
Louise von Plessen: her Danish lady-in-waitng
Mikkel Boe Følsgaard: Christian VII, King of Denmark
Trine Dyrholm: Dowager Queen Juliane Marie
Bent Mejding: Count von Bernstroff, Chief Minister of State
Mads Mikkelson: German doctor Johann Struensee
This true story of the immature, infantile King of Denmark and his young bride provides an insight into the romance and intrigue in the Danish court during the Age of Enlightenment.

The acting is uniformly excellent and production values are first-rate with great attention to period detail. The unhurried pacing results in a running time in excess of two hours but it’s not a minute too long as a lot needs to be said.

 for sexual content and some disturbing images.

Caroline’s ladies-in-waiting address her as Your Majesty. Her correct title as a member of the British Royal family before her marriage was Your Highness.