Tag Archives: Maggie Smith

Downton Abbey: An Empire in Change

I’ve lost count of how many times various actors have come to my country to promote a new season of Downton Abbey. Because of the sprawling size of the cast it hasn’t always been the biggest names. But each cast member has become like family, especially to the viewers, and to a large extent each … Continue reading Downton Abbey: An Empire in Change

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The whole gang (almost) is here for another round of love, intrigue and fun under the sun at that charming hotel for seniors near Jaipur, India. The sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) suffers from the same problems as so many others; it’s contrived, overlong and whatever points the concept has were made … Continue reading The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: Truth, Beauty and Fascism

OUT OF JEAN BRODIE WOULD COME A WHOLE GENERATION OF JEAN BRODIES… EXPERIMENTING WITH SEX, SOCIETY AND EVERYTHING ELSE.   When Muriel Spark attended James Gillespie’s School for Girls in Edinburgh in the 1930s, her most memorable teacher, the one who would inspire her to become a writer, was Christina Kay. This was a complex … Continue reading Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: Truth, Beauty and Fascism

Keeping Mum

SOME FAMILY SECRETS ARE BEST KEPT… BURIED. When a new housekeeper (Maggie Smith) arrives in an English hamlet to work for the vicar (Rowan Atkinson) and his family, strange but not entirely negative things begin to happen. A very pleasant and cozy comedy with traditionally English streaks of darkness. The atmosphere is just right, with … Continue reading Keeping Mum

Quartet

FOUR FRIENDS LOOKING FOR A LITTLE HARMONY.  When the famous soprano Jean Horton (Maggie Smith) arrives at Beecham House, a home for retired musicians, old feelings are stirred up. Dustin Hoffman’s directing debut is a pleasant adaptation of a stage play that fuses drama and comedy in a very British manner. The story is simple … Continue reading Quartet

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Get these veteran actors together and it’s hard to fail; they play six elderly Brits who relocate to a hotel in India for various reasons, ultimately hoping to improve their lives. The dialogue and the characters they play may be clichéd, but as expected the stars perform with conviction (especially Judi Dench) and that goes … Continue reading The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Gnomeo & Juliet

AN EPIC TALE ON A TINY SCALE.  Two families of gnomes who live in adjacent gardens are mortal enemies, but then one of the blue-hats falls in love with a red-hat. The concept for this movie may seem like someone’s drunken idea, but it was nevertheless a major hit that likely appealed to fans of … Continue reading Gnomeo & Juliet

Murder by Death

BY THE TIME THE WORLD’S GREATEST DETECTIVES FIGURE OUT WHODUNNIT… YOU COULD DIE LAUGHING! Six of the world’s greatest detectives gather at a remote mansion, but are not prepared for the mysterious host’s (Truman Capote) deadly games… This film is a delight for anyone who knows how to appreciate Neil Simon’s sense of humor as well … Continue reading Murder by Death

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2: Closing the Book

IT ALL ENDS. There are people who enjoy the Harry Potter books and films… and then there are Potterheads, the fanatics. I’ve always belonged in the former category. I read the first novel, then concentrated on the movie adaptations. I did care about what would happen to Harry and his friends, but never had the … Continue reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2: Closing the Book

Clash of the Titans

An epic entertainment spectacular! Perseus (Harry Hamlin) becomes a pawn in the game between two gods, one of which is his father, Zeus (Laurence Olivier). Greek mythology is the stuff of this fantasy adventure where gods behave just like men (i.e. badly). It was the last movie Ray Harryhausen worked on as a visual effects artist; … Continue reading Clash of the Titans

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

DARK SECRETS REVEALED. When Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) returns to Hogwarts for another year, Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) wants his help in trying to learn what a new teacher knows about Voldemort. Director David Yates made the previous film as well, but this sixth chapter feels like more of the same without the passion and tension that … Continue reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The V.I.P.s

A MODERN LOVE STORY. When fog prevents any aircraft from leaving a London airport, a group of well-to-do passengers headed for New York are stranded in the V.I.P. lounge. Director Anthony Asquith and writer Terence Ratigan reportedly based this film on a real-life incident between Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier; the infidelity drama played out … Continue reading The V.I.P.s