Sunday, March 10, 2013
two films

This year, 2012, that is, there were two films with the word Quartet in the title. (I wonder what the odds are on that??)
There is "A Late Quartet" and just "Quartet". Both of these films are very worthy pictures. 

Let's start with 'A Late Quartet'. It is about a String Quartet  (two of the four---the 2nd Violin and the Viola), are married to each other--Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener) and two others, Christopher Walken, the cellist in the quartet, who's performance was impeccable---he should have had an Oscar nomination....and the 1st Violinist, Mark Ivanir.

They have been a very successful Quartet for many many years....but, when Christopher Walken's character begins to falter physically, everything changes. One would have to say this is a 'grown up' picture. It is about people and their triumphs and their flaws as human beings.....
It is a small Independent film that has much to recommend it---wonderful performances by some truly wonderful actors and a story we can all relate to on very human terms.
It is available for rent and 'on demand'. Definitely worth seeing, especially for this monumental performance by Mr, Waken....We never see this wonderful actor in a part such as this---so we forget what a truly gifted actor he is.
"Quartet" is a really delightful film with, again, some wonderful wonderful actors---Maggie Smith, Tom Courtney, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly, plus the always perfect Michael Gambon.....It is the story of some retired and fallen-on-hard-times classical musicians and opera singers---many once quite famous----who live in a very special country estate, specifically earmarked for them, so they can continue to live with dignity even though they cannot afford this way of life anymore.

This story is based on a real place in Italy funded, underwritten and left by Giuseppe Verdi for just such wonderful musicians who gave so much to their profession, but, as I said, fell on hard times.
Another thing that makes this a special film is that this is actor Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut...And what a wonderful debut it is....!
Of course, there are personal relationships that are revisited in this lovely 'mature' film.....
Maggie Smith and Tom Courtney were once married to one another, but haven't seen each other for many many years---theirs was a contentious relationship.....Other interesting and complex relationships are explored here, as well....
The 'Quartet' alluded to in the film's title is referred to because each year there is a fund raiser for the place they live in, and this year they decide to present the famous foursome of long ago---singing together, once again, the quartet from "Rigoletto"; a rare opportunity since all of the principles are now living right there in this lovely and special retirement home.....
One might feel this is a slight story, but I personally didn't. I found it very sweet and  funny and endearing and ultimately very touching and completely satisfying as a movie experience..  And, do watch the credits at the end. Mr. Hoffman cast so very many "real" retired musicians and opera singers in this very dear dear film---For me, this enriched the experience of watching this picture, ten-fold.
So....if you are looking for some films about people and their lives----where no one is shot or killed---or where no blood is shed, only human relationships are dealt with, look for "A Late Quartet" and 'Quartet"....I highly recommend both of these pictures.  And, the bonus in all of this is seeing Christopher Walken, as we have never seen him before---His is more than a 'stellar' performance. It is an Award winning performance!


More To Come.........







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21 Comments:
had this to say:

thanks for the reviews, Naomi. I don't watch many films---and I am not generally aware of new ones. Your reviews and suggestions always intrigue me!

Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 1:25:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I so hope both of these come to my small city, though I suspect the first we'll see on demand. I know Rick, being the classical musician and fan that he is, would love them both. Thanks for introducing me!

And, today we saw The Sessions -- you are right about Helen Hunt. She was amazing. But then, the whole movie was.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 6:11:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks so much for the review. I hadn't heard of the first film, and only caught the end of the trailer for the second one. Both sound like good stories. I will look for them.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 6:17:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

I had already decided I wanted to see the Maggie Smith ensemble but the other one sounds a must-see too.
Christopher Walken is a fascinating man and always watchable. I love the dance he does seen on you tube. So coool.
Thank you Naomi:)

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 2:57:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

Oh dear - my comment has disappeared so this will be smaller.
The first one I knew I wanted to see - all brilliant actors but Tom Courteny I especially enjoy because he reminds me - with his accent - of people I grew up with in Lancashire.
The other one sounds a must-see too. Christopher Walken is always watchable. I love the dance he did on you tube - so cool.
Thank you Naomi:)

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 3:14:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks Naomi. I have Quartet in my Netflix queue all ready. I am a huge fan of Billy Connolly.
Now I will go add A Late Quartet. I am always looking for good movies and you don't disappoint.

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 5:24:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you so much dear Naomi, for the reviews! I love always them!
Both films will be in my "to watch" list for sure. I hope that I could to see them soon.
Many (((HUGS)))

PS: Me and Carlos arrived from Sofia's house yesterday. We had a wonderful time!! Sofia and me
walking a lot on shopping center, and principally we went to bookstore and restaurant. And we eat much pasta and chocolate ice cream! LOL!

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 8:40:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

As you know I loved Quartet! I have not heard of the other but will now look for it and hope it comes to a theater near me! :o)

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 10:07:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

So I just tried to comment and it glitched - thanks for the recommendations, I love your reviews and both of these sound great. And sorry it takes me a day or two to comment, blogger can't pick up a "feed" for your blog even though I tried to follow it, so I check in here every couple of days to see if you have a new post.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 9:45:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Will look for a download over here for the first one, A Late Quartet... Sounds great!

Thanks for the review, I love reading of the movies you see... It makes searching for a movie that little bit easier!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 2:45:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Sounds endearing. I would like to see something different and more mature since we as a family rarely see these types of movies. Thanks for another wonderful review, my friend. xo

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 5:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I have been waiting to see both of these films, for all the reasons you mention, so many of my favorite actors and I am curious to see Hoffman's debut. I say, "BRAVA," and please more films like these...the important reasons we keep hanging onto life--each other.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 2:15:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

maggie smith is a goddess to me!!
I haven't seen quartet yet but I will

nice to hear such good reviews of Walkens performance

hugs from me and Hope

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 5:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I really love Maggie Smith now. On the plane coming home from the States I watched "The Prime of Miss Brody" which I'd never seen and her performance was excellent. I really enjoyed the film although I'm not sure why!

I will definitely check out these two you've reviewed too. Thanks!

Coming back to your comment made on my blog, I've seen my viewing figures and comments dropping too. I wonder with Facebook and Twitter whether the blogging world is losing out to all the other forms of online communication? I don't do either, and like you use my blog to express my views. I sure hope things pick up soon. ;)

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 1:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Dustin Hoffman! Who knew he had it in him?!

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 4:04:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

both of these movies sound amazing!!! I especially adore Mr. Walken and Mr. Connolly :-) Love a man who can make me laugh!

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 8:48:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Between these two movies, I can see six of my favorite actors. Thanks so much for cluing us into Late Quartet, because I hadn't heard of this movie at all. I had heard of Quartet of course, because nothing Maggie Smith does goes unnoticed these days (and hurrah for that).

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 5:53:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That's a great review of "The Quartet" which I did enjoy at our local theater. I do agree with your view.

I haven't heard of "The Late Quartet" -- don't think it's been here -- but I certainly will look forward to seeing it after reading your reaction.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 12:05:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This does look like my types of movies. Thanks for this great review. I saw ads on Quartet because of Maggie Smith I think. It sounds like the whole cast is worth watching.

Monday, March 18, 2013 at 4:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

i'm late reading, but both of these movies are on my must see list! thanks, sugar! xoxox

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 5:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I just saw a trailer for the first one and it looked good. There was a scene where they were played continuously through all re-tunings etc.that looked intense.

Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 8:05:00 AM PDT 

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