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my wedding and other secrets

Review: Sondheim’s Company, She Stoops to Conquer, A Dangerous Method, The Most Fun You Can have Dying and The Lucky One

By Cinema, Reviews

The most pleas­ure I have had in a cinema so far this year wasn’t at a film. In 2011, the New York Philharmonic pro­duced a brief con­cert reviv­al of Stephen Sondheim’s mas­ter­piece about emo­tion­al oppor­tun­ity cost, Company. For three per­form­ances only, they assembled a star-studded cast of well-known tele­vi­sion faces includ­ing Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, along­side Broadway vet­er­ans like Patti LuPone, and the show was filmed in high-definition for dis­tri­bu­tion to cinemas around the world. Several Wellington pic­ture houses are play­ing this sort of altern­at­ive con­tent these days – the Metropolitan Opera etc – so, even­tu­ally, this stun­ning pro­duc­tion was likely to arrive here and, golly, I am so glad it did.

In Company, Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) plays Robert – a 35 year old con­firmed New York bach­el­or sur­roun­ded by mar­ried and soon-to-be-married friends. Throughout the show they give him some good, bad and indif­fer­ent advice about the import­ance of rela­tion­ships versus free­dom and inde­pend­ence versus – well – com­pany. This is a con­cert pro­duc­tion so the orches­tra is on the stage rather than tucked away in a pit, and dir­ect­or Lonny Price does mar­vels with the shal­low area that remains. Transitions are invent­ive and smooth and the char­ac­ters some­how man­age to relate to each oth­er des­pite being – as Sondheim would have it – side by side.

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Review: Get Low, My Wedding and Other Secrets, Limitless, Battle Los Angeles, Force of Nature and Red Riding Hood

By Cinema, Reviews

Regular and attent­ive read­ers to this column will know that I heart­ily endorse mem­ber­ship of the Film Society as the best value cinema-going in town. For example, a few weeks ago this year mem­bers (and pro­spect­ive mem­bers) were treated to a sneak pre­view of a lovely little film not yet released to the gen­er­al public.

Get Low posterGet Low is the kind of film that gets made all too rarely these days: a thought­ful, detailed, slow paced med­it­a­tion on char­ac­ter and per­son­al his­tory. It’s a drama, but with plenty of amus­ing moments, and it’s a show­case for two great screen act­ors – two act­ors who spend far to much of their time these days repeat­ing old per­form­ances but here they prove that they’ve still got it when it counts.

Screen legend Robert Duvall (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) plays Felix Bush, a lonely her­mit liv­ing in Tennessee in the 1930s. Unkempt and iras­cible, the loc­als steer well clear because of his dan­ger­ous repu­ta­tion and that’s just the way he seems to like it. But some­thing is eat­ing away at him and he decides to throw a party – a funer­al party for him­self so that people can tell their stor­ies about him to his face and, maybe, he can tell one or two of his own. He enlists the help of loc­al under­taker Bill Murray and, with the help of his assist­ant (Lucas Black), the old man gets a chance to set some records straight.

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