Quartet

Image_square_webby Susan

2012, Maggie Smith, Billy Connelly, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins. Written by Ronald Harwood (adapted from his stage play). Directed by Dustin Hoffman.

If you missed this one in theaters, then definitely look for it on disc, cable, or Netflix. It’s a charming, character-driven story about aging musicians and opera divas living harmoniously together in a retirement home. They each have their own lifetime’s worth of emotional baggage to bear, but when a new arrival brings some very complicated personal history with her, painful memories swell to the surface for several of the residents.

quartet

As if having to deal with the problems of aging isn’t enough, personality clashes strike a sour note when the annual Verdi tribute concert is suddenly overshadowed by the arrival of Jean Horton. She’s an infamous diva refusing to come to terms with her current living arrangements who happens to be the ex-wife of one of the other residents. They haven’t seen each other in decades and all the old feelings – good and bad – bring all the old tempers, drama, and rivalries to the forefront.

Billy Connelly is a real treat and Maggie Smith is in top form, as usual. Connelly has the most comedic role and portrays the delightfully sex-obsessed Wilf with flair and gusto. Stick around for the closing credits – most of the home’s residents are played by actual retired musicians and singers who shine with a special glow.

Three boxes of popcornRating: Triple Serving 

 

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Little Fockers

by CosmicTwin3

 

2010 Ben Stiller, Robert DeNiro, Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Owen Wilson, Jessica Alba. Directed by Paul Weitz.

The third installment in the Focker family saga was surprisingly good. I had low expectations going into it as it is the dreaded “yet-another-sequel” to what was a pretty good comedy in its first incarnation. It may have taken them a while to get this one made and I hope that’s because someone was working diligently on the script. If so, then taking their time really paid off. It’s the same cast of lovable characters from the first two movies in all their glorious quirkiness with a good mix of fresh jokes and a few cliches with a little Focker twist. I have to admit that Jessica Alba’s character seemed too over the top and I couldn’t really figure out why she behaved the way she did, but I laughed out loud and managed to enjoy it anyway.

Two boxes of popcornCosmic Twins rating: Double Serving