Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies!
The Secret Garden (2020)
Starring: Dixie Egerickx, Richard Hansell, David Verrey, Tommy Gene Surridge, Julie Walters, Maeve Dermody, Colin Firth, Isis Davis, Amir Wilson, Fozzie, Anne Lacey, Edan Hayhurst, Rupert Young, Jemma Powell, Sonia Goswami, and many more
Director: Marc Munden
Genres: drama, family
Synopsis: Set at the turn of the 20th Century, the two main characters are an English girl who was raised in India but sent to live with her wealthy uncle after both of her parents die of cholera (in the movie it looked like a rebellion though, which suggests they were killed by other people not a disease); and a sickly boy bedridden cousin about her same age. In this movie the girl is feisty (in the book she is more of an invalid) and she makes it her mission to get her cousin out of the mindset that he will never leave his bed. In the process of exploring the vast estate, the girl finds a mysterious overgrown garden behind a tall wall.
Impressions: It’s a movie designed for young kids maybe 10 – 12 years old. Probably too slow-paced to the hold the attention of kids used to Pixar movies, but maybe not. The plot points they chose from a popular book from over a century ago was like scattershot. Some parts didn’t need to be added while others were not fully developed. Probably most important, there was nobody in the film developed enough for the audience to care about. Also a movie where everybody keeps secrets geared towards kids is not wholesome to me.
Etc.: English movie filmed in England; finally released 2 years after being filmed d/t Covid.
Awards: too soon
Trivia from wikipedia: This is the 4th movie adaptation of “The Secret Garden” a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. First published in book form in 1911 after serialization in The American Magazine. Set in England, it is one of Burnett’s most popular novels and seen as a classic of English children’s literature. Several stage and film adaptations have been made. There have been several television adaptations as well.
Concert for George (2003)
Starring: Joe Brown, Eric Clapton, Jools Holland, Sam Brown, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Billy Preston, Ringo Starr, Dhani Harrison, Olivia Harrison, Malcom Abbs, Ron Blair, Gary Brooker, Mark Brown, Mike Campbell, Jim Capaldi, Michael Clarke, Carol Cleveland, Ray Cooper, Andy Fairweather Low, Steve Ferrone, Terry Gilliam, Bob Hunter, Eric Idle, Neil Innes, Terry Jones, Michael Kamen, Jim Keltner, Kathleen Kissoon, Albert Lee, Marc Mann, Tessa Niles, Michael Palin, Tom Petty, David Porter Thomas, Anoushka Shankar, Ravi Shankar, Benmont Tench, Scott Thurston, Fred Tomlinson, Klaus Voormann, Tom Hanks, George Harrison (archival footage and in spirit.)
Director: David Leland
Genres: musical tribute concert
Synopsis: friends of George Harrison gather at Royal Albert Hall on the one-year anniversary of his death to pay tribute to their friend with music and sharing
Impressions: Excellent concert and recommended for anyone who is a fan of George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, or any of the very talented assemblage
Etc.: This was the first time Paul and Ringo shared the stage since the breakup of The Beatles
Awards: none listed
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Steve Zahn, Heather Burns, Dave Chappelle, Dabney Coleman, John Randolph, and many more
Director: Nora Ephron
Genres: romantic comedy
Synopsis: remember the days of AOL and dial-up internet? This movie was made right then, when AOL, instant messages, email, etc. were all new and exciting and people were meeting and falling in love online. The characters played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, under nifty handles, begin an online flirtation despite each being in relationships with others. Both live in NYC, and as it happens fairly near each other. She runs a small independent book store (remember those?) that she inherited from her mother. He and his mega-rich family are building a chain store across the street from it. Neither one has a clue who the other is but they meet each other again and again for various business and social reasons and she sees him as the enemy that will put her out of business.
Impressions: The world in this movie seems so far away now. It was a kinder and gentler place for book sellers and the digital age. Anyone who enjoys Hanks and Ryan will like this movie. I really love how Tom Hanks’ character does how he does in this one. Decent support cast but the camera is mostly on these two.
Awards: 6 wins and 8 nominations
Trivia from imdb: The children’s bookstore scenes in the film were filmed at Maya Shaper’s Cheese and Antique Shop on 106 West 69th Street. The film makers wanted to use the antique shop because it had the quaint, homey feel they were going for. They sent the owner of the antique shop on vacation for a few weeks and while she was gone they turned the store into a children’s bookstore. After filming was finished, they put everything back the way they had left it, and it became an antique store once again.
Starring: Daisy Ridley, George Mac Kay, Devon Terrell, Mia Quiney, Calum O’Rourke, Nathaniel Parker, Naomi Watts, Jack Cunningham-Nuttall, Lenka Olsanova, Clive Owen, Dominic Mafham, Daisy Head, Sebastian De Souza, Tom Felton, and many more
Director: Claire McCarthy
Genres: drama, history
Synopsis: This is a re-telling of the Hamlet story but told from the perspective of Ophelia. It starts where Ophelia is raised in the royal household of King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude as a lady-in-waiting. She becomes friends with the prince and he promises they will be together when he returns from college (?) In the meantime a bunch of stuff happens in the kingdom and the young prince comes back to a very different place. I don’t want to give away plot points, but the love between a low-class lady-in-waiting and the next in line to the throne not only will not be tolerated but could cost someone their life.
Impressions: I enjoyed Ophelia. It’s about time some of this history was shown from a female perspective. The acting is good. Naomi Watts is always a standout for me. I just realized that Daisy Ridley, who plays Ophelia, is also the lead in the latest Star Wars movie, “The Rise of Skywalker.” She plays Rey, a main character in Star Wars VII, VIII and IX (the last one) (2015, 2017 and 2019 ) She’s really good in this role as well. George MacKay as Young Prince Hamlet is also a standout. Just looked him up. He’s not quite 30 and already has 43 acting credits? He’s on an upward trajectory, mark my words.
Etc.: UK film, but filmed in 5 locations in the Czech Republic.
Awards: 4 wins and 3 nominations
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Starring: John Lennon, Paul MacCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfred Brambell, Norman Rossington, John Junkin, Victor Spinetti, Anna Quayle, Deryck Guyler, Richard Vernon, Edward Malin, Robin Ray, Lionel Blair, Alison Seabohm, David Janson, and many more
Director: Richard Lester
Genres: comedy, music
Synopsis: lifted directly from imdb:
Over two “typical” days in the life of The Beatles, the boys struggle to keep themselves and Sir Paul McCartney’s mischievous grandfather in check while preparing for a live television performance.
Impressions: Not only is the film a piece of musical history, it is a work of art. It’s also danged funny. There is a second disc of special features that includes interviews with many of the people either in the movie or involved in the making of it in some way. One consistent comment heard by them is that the roles were written to reflect the personalities of each of the Fab 4 so you’re seeing John, Paul, George, and Ringo close to how they really were at the time. There are also several great live performances of their music. I loved Paul’s mischievous grandfather in this. He elevated this movie to a higher level than it would have been without him. I also didn’t know that he’s on the cover of A Hard Day’s Night! Never noticed him before!
Etc.: English film; trivia from imdb: Pattie Boyd appears in several scenes in the first act, all on the train. 1) She is one of the two “schoolgirls on the train” they first encounter 2) Sir Paul McCartney chats her up with her friend. 3) She sits next to Paul and smiles and sings on “I Should Have Known Better”. She and George Harrison, who met during filming, married within eighteen months.
Awards: 7 nominations and 2 wins
Everything Will Be Fine (2015)
Starring: James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Jack Fulton, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Patrick Bauchau, Robert Naylor
Director: Wim Wenders
Synopsis: Writer suffering from writer’s block and has commitment issues gets into a fatal traffic accident and someone dies. While processing the death, he is able to get past both.
Impressions: Set in winter most of the time; often rural and waterway settings; Franco isn’t a very energetic or optimistic person, but he’s written at least a few bestsellers. It has all of the pieces that might have made a great movie, but somewhere along the way, it stumbles. Maybe it is just the oppressive mood of everyone in it? Gets a little disturbing at the end, but that’s where it seems to be at its best.
Etc.: German director, English language, filmed in Canada
Awards: 1 win and 2 nominations