Tag Archive: Maggie Smith

The Lady In The Van

BBBB (out of 5) Having newly found his footing as a playwright on the London stage, Alan Bennett (portrayed with effortless delight by Alex Jennings) moves into a fashionable house in Camden and immediately… Continue reading

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

BB.5 (out of 5) The surprise runaway box office success of the first film draws the entire cast back to India for another visit to the titular establishment, where retired Brits on a… Continue reading

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Quartet (2012)

BB.5 (out of 5) A retirement home for successful classical musicians is the setting for this comedy adapted from Ronald Harwood’s play, which also marks the directorial debut of actor Dustin Hoffman.  Maggie… Continue reading

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Tea With Mussolini

BBB (out of 5) Lovely period piece by Franco Zeffirelli, based on his autobiographical novel about growing up among four British women living in Italy. Abandoned by his father who never married his mother… Continue reading

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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

BBB.5 (out of 5) Year five and counting. Following the tete-a-tete between Harry Potter and Voldemort (a noseless Ralph Fiennes) and the unfortunate demise of Harry’s friend Cedric in the last installment, the… Continue reading

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Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

BB (out of 5) Yet another academic year at the Hogwarts school as the kids grow older and their hormones start pointing them towards each other for more than just spells and potions.… Continue reading

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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

BB.5 (out of 5) Seven books, eight movies and a whole heck of a lot of merchandising finally come down to a final adventure featuring the plucky young wizard and his best friends… Continue reading

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The First Wives Club

BBBB (out of 5) Serious alterations have been made to Olivia Goldsmith’s original novel, but it’s possible that even devoted readers will still enjoy it. Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton are in peak… Continue reading

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Nanny McPhee Returns (Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang)

BBB.5 (out of 5) The fashion-challenged, frizzy-haired, homely nanny with the magical powers returns to set another group of children straight in this sweet sequel to the surprise 2005 hit.  Emma Thompson is once… Continue reading

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Murder By Death

BBBB (out of 5) This film and The Cheap Detective make for a terrific pair of mystery spoofs, both filled with hilarious situations and spot-on imitations of the genres they are parodying. In… Continue reading

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The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Maggie Smith earned her international reputation in this excellent British comedy-drama. She plays an eccentric Scottish teacher at an all-girls’ school in Edinburgh who pushes her pupils towards impractical passions… Continue reading

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

BBB.5 (out of 5) A sterling cast more than makes up for a forgettably twee screenplay in this enjoyable romp about love among the silver set. A group of seniors find themselves in… Continue reading

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Richard III (1995)

BB.5 (out of 5) So much effort has been put into the design of this stylish adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most violent plays that the original material is sunken into the background… Continue reading

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Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood

BBB (out of 5) Academy Award-winning screenwriter Callie Khouri (Thelma and Louise, Something To Talk About) once again explores the inner geography of Southern women in her adaptation of the same-titled Rebecca Wells… Continue reading

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Becoming Jane

BB (out of 5) Passable if unnecessary examination of the events that led to Jane Austen’s abandoning any hopes of marriage and living by her writing. Anne Hathaway plays the young authoress, daughter of… Continue reading

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Washington Square

BBB.5 (out of 5) Marvelously costumed, faithful adaptation of Henry James’ 19th-century novel is not as powerful as The Heiress thanks mainly to an overly-awkward performance by Jennifer Jason Leigh as heroine Catherine Sloper.… Continue reading

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The Secret Garden (1993)

BBBB (out of 5) Lush, sensual adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel is almost on par with the excellent version of A Little Princess that came out two years later.  Kate Maberly is excellent… Continue reading

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Hook

BB.5 (out of 5) If you’re young enough, this continuation of the Peter Pan story by J.M. Barrie will seem like a grand, glorious adventure; anyone over the age of 13 will see… Continue reading

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Death On The Nile

BBBB (out of 5) Like Murder On The Orient Express before it, this is an energetic and enjoyable adaptation of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. A group of strangers, old aristocrats and young… Continue reading

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California Suite

BBB (out of 5) A collection of Neil Simon characters are gathered into one hotel for a multihued look at life in the world of Beverly Hills wealth. Jane Fonda has come from… Continue reading

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Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit

BB.5 (out of 5) All the fun is gone from the original musical comedy that preceded this uninspired sequel. Whoopi Goldberg is once again brought back into the fray and asked to don… Continue reading

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Clash Of The Titans (1981)

BBB.5 (out of 5) The mythology of ancient Greece is combined with the effects of Ray Harryhausen in this incredibly cheesy and endlessly fun adventure film. Harry Hamlin plays the heroic Perseus, who… Continue reading

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Ladies In Lavender

BBB.5 (out of 5) Spinster sisters Maggie Smith and Judi Dench live an idyllic existence on the coast of Cornwall while the rest of the world is preparing for war. One day a… Continue reading

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Travels With My Aunt

BB.5 (out of 5) Maggie Smith is fabulous-til-it-hurts in this somewhat draggy but very colourful adaptation of Graham Greene’s story. Alec McCowen is the prim and proper man who, on the day of… Continue reading

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Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

BBBB (out of 5) Year three has begun, and this time Harry Potter feels like he’s ready for anything.  After defeating You-Know-Who (twice!) he is suddenly back in the throes of peril when… Continue reading

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Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets

BBBB.5 (out of 5) It’s Year Two for your favourite little wizard, and the new term isn’t bring anything but trouble.  Initially warned against returning to the Hogwarts school of magic by a… Continue reading

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Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone)

BBBB (out of 5) Spirited adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling’s phenomenally successful children’s books is so keen on being faithful to its original source that it loses a bit of its… Continue reading

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Quartet (1981)

BB (out of 5) As in all Merchant Ivory films, the physical qualities of this production are top notch: the sets and costumes are gorgeous, the music beautifully scored, and the quality of… Continue reading

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A Room With A View

BBBBB (out of 5) Merchant Ivory earned their first major international attention with this inspiring adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel, the first of three of the author’s works that the group would make and… Continue reading

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Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Harry’s fourth year is rife with ghouls, ghosts, evil wizards and….girls? Sex has entered the Hogwarts scene in this highly enjoyable entry of the popular film series based on… Continue reading

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The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

BBB.5 (out of 5) Maggie Smith is terrific as a lonely Irish old maid whose devotion to Catholicism has kept her prim and naïve for just about her whole life. When Bob Hoskins,… Continue reading

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The Pumpkin Eater

BBBB.5 (out of 5) This excellent, provocative drama still has enough intensity to make it daring by today’s standards.  Anne Bancroft gives one of the finest performance of her career as an unhappy British… Continue reading

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Othello (1965)

BBBB (out of 5) Fans of Shakespeare will definitely want to take a look at this dramatic adaptation of the Bard’s tragedy, a highly superior film to the one Oliver Parker made in… Continue reading

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Gosford Park

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Robert Altman’s experimental style of throwing a giant ensemble cast into a situation and seeing what they make of it pays off in great measure. This delightful comedy about… Continue reading

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Oh! What A Lovely War

BB.5 (out of 5) Already a celebrated actor, Richard Attenborough made his directorial debut with this bloated, partly enjoyable war epic. Based on the stage play of the same name, it re-imagines the first… Continue reading

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The V.I.P.s

BBBB (out of 5) Jolly, multi-casted romp about the jet set that transcends its Sidney Sheldon-esque trappings by featuring characters actually worth caring about. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton head a large group of famous… Continue reading

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Gnomeo & Juliet

BB.5 (out of 5) The Bard’s eternal romance is retold in a most unusual setting: the rival neighbouring homes of Montague and Capulet are both populated by garden gnomes who, when the lights… Continue reading

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Sister Act

BBBB (out of 5) This tune-filled Disney comedy came out of nowhere to become one of the biggest hits of the year. Whoopi Goldberg is marvelous as a lounge singer and mobster’s girlfriend… Continue reading

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