Tag Archives: Helen Mirren

Best Movies of 2020

  1. Soul: Though it is marketed as a kids movie, the subtext of appreciating life feels appropriate and potent this year.
  2. Mulan: The live-action reboot of the 1998 animated film Mulan rises above its predecessor, making it fresh and relevant.
  3. Emma.: Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Jane Austen‘s eponymous heroine, Emma Woodhouse, introduced as clever, rich, and handsome. Directed by Autumn de Wilde, this adaption is entertaining, funny, and a lovely addition to the list of Austen adaptations.
  4. The Trial of the Chicago 7: The film tells. the story of the 7 men accused of being responsible for the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. Though it is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it feels very 2020.
  5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire: This LBGTQ historical romance between a young woman and the female artist hired to paint her portrait is sweet, romantic, and powerful. It proves once more that love is love is love.
  6. Ordinary Love: Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) are your average middle-aged couple. When she is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, they both must deal with the rough road ahead.
  7. The Assistant: Jane (Julia Garner) is an assistant to a Harvey Weinstein-esque powerful movie producer. She starts to notice things that don’t sit right with her.
  8. I am Greta: This documentary follows teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as she advocates for the world to pay serious attention to climate change.
  9. Mank: Gary Oldman plays Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in a performance that is nothing but Oscar bait.
  10. #AnneFrank-Parallel Lives: Narrated by Helen Mirren, this documentary tells not just Anne’s story. It follows other young women who survived the Holocaust. Parallel to the stories of the past, the viewer is traveling with another young woman as she visits different countries in present-day Europe.

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#AnneFrank-Parallel Stories Review

To some, the Holocaust is ancient history. In 2020, we have more pressing problems to occupy our time with. But the Holocaust was only 80 years ago, and the issues from that era are as prevalent now as they were then.

#AnneFrank-Parallel Stories is one of the newest releases on Netflix. With a voice-over by Helen Mirren, this documentary tells the story of Anne Frank while telling the stories of other women who are among the few to have survived. While Mirren reads from Anne’s diary, the audience follows a young woman as she travels across Europe, asking questions that frankly, need to be asked.

I’ve seen many Holocaust films over the years. What makes it different is that it hard-hitting, emotional, and squarely aimed at the younger viewers. If I have walked away from this movie with one message, it is that we have a chance to ensure that the Holocaust in any variation never happens again. That requires asking difficult questions and learning from the mistakes of our predecessors.

I recommend it.

#AnneFrank-Parallel Lives is available for streaming on Netflix.

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The Good Liar Movie Review

We all want romantic love, no matter how old we may be. But that does not mean that every potential romantic partner we need is looking for the same love that we are.

In the new film, The Good Liar, Betty (Helen Mirren) and Roy (Ian McKellen) meet as many of us do these days: via the internet. Both single and at a certain age, their first date goes well. But Roy is much more than the lonely widower looking for love again. He is a con-man extraordinaire. Betty is his latest mark. A wealthy widow with only an adult grandson as her family, Stephen (Russell Tovey), Betty seems like a mark that is too good to be true.

But like all things that are too good to be true, this particular con is not going as planned. Roy begins to have feelings for Betty, which complicates his plans. But then Betty plays her hand and the game switches.

The Good Liar is not the best film of 2019. However, it is one of the more unique films of this year. As the film’s leads, Mirren and McKellen bring a gravitas and the obvious decades of acting experience to their roles. I appreciated that as an older woman, Mirren is given equal screen time and an equally powerful character arc as McKellen. There are not many actresses of her generation who are given these roles.

That being said, the film was a little too long. There were moments when I wanted the big reveal to drop instead of holding out a little longer.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

The Good Liar is presently in theaters.

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The Audience Review

Queen Elizabeth II is an interesting figure in British history. She is one of the most well known public figures in the world, but there are a few who are lucky enough to get beyond the public persona.

The Audience, a new play by Peter Morgan is about a little known meeting that the Queen has had with her Prime Ministers. Every Tuesday evening, the Prime Minister and Queen Elizabeth will meet for twenty minutes to hash out the past week’s events and to speak of what is to come for the next week.  This has been a tradition for sixty years, 12 Prime Ministers have sat opposite the Queen in those six decades.

Playing Queen Elizabeth II once more is Helen Mirren. But this is not the just the older Queen Elizabeth that Mirren played in The Queen. The play jumps back and forth in time, going back to her childhood (Sadie Sink & Elizabeth Teeter alternate the part of young Elizabeth).  As an adult, we see Elizabeth with her Prime Ministers, starting with Winston Churchill (Dakin Matthews) and ending with the current Prime Minister David Cameron (Rufus Wright).

This play is nothing short of a masterpiece. Helen Mirren has proved once more why she is goddess that she is. Her Elizabeth is more than a ceremonial figurehead. She is witty, intelligent and extremely interested in the day to day running of her country.  We also see her growth as a woman and as a young girl, she chafed that rules placed upon her when her father became King.  Like any manager, her relationships with her Prime Minister vary from professional to warm.

Tonight was the last performance of this show. I’m usually not a fan of revivals, but next time this show comes around to NYC, I would see it again. Especially if Helen Mirren reprises her role.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Thank You, Helen Mirren

Thank you, Helen Mirren, for your grace.

Thank you, Helen Mirren for your class.

Thank you, Helen Mirren for the excellent performances that you have given audiences over the years.

And finally, Helen Mirren, thank you for speaking the f*cking truth.

 

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June 17, 2015 · 9:45 pm

The Woman In Gold Movie Review

History is a funny thing. We try to forget, but it always come back when we least expect it. And sometimes, when our history comes back, it allows us to make peace with the past.

Maria Altmann ( nee Bloch-Bauer) lived a charmed life during her early years. The daughter of an influential and wealthy Jewish Viennese family, she lived comfortably until World War II. Then the Nazis invaded Austria. Maria and her husband barely escaped, leaving everyone and everything they loved behind in Vienna. Among her family’s possessions that was confiscated by the Nazis was the portrait of Maria’s aunt, Adele Bloch- Bauer, painted by famed painter Gustav Klimt.

The new film, Woman In Gold, is the story of Maria’s fight to regain possession of the painting and other works of art that the Nazis confiscated from her family.

The film sees Maria during very different stages of her life. Helen Mirren plays the elderly Maria and Tatiana Maslany plays the younger Maria. Fighting along with Maria is Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a young lawyer whose family has been long connected to Maria’s family.

Helen Mirren, is well, Helen Mirren. She is one of those actresses who never fails to displease an audience. Her Maria is an elderly woman who goes back to Vienna despite the ghosts and the  memories that linger. As the younger Maria, Tatiana Maslany proves why she is one of the best young actresses in the business. Ryan Reynolds, in stepping out of his comfort zone to play Randol, a young lawyer who not only comes to understand and appreciate his heritage, but also knows when it’s time to fight the big boys.

I absolutely recommend this film.

Woman In Gold is presently in theaters. 

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Behind Every Great Man- A Hitchcock Review

Behind every great man is a great woman who is loyal and hardworking & Alfred Hitchcock was no exception.

The movie Hitchcock details the making of the horror classic Psycho while allowing the audience a glimpse into the life of the movie’s iconic director, Alfred Hitchock (Anthony Hopkins) and his marriage to Alma Reville (Helen Mirren).

Alfred Hitchcock may have been public face of his movie and tv empire, but his wife, Alma was the brains behind the face, working tirelessly from begginning to end to help her husband maintain his success.

The supporting cast is well chosen: Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson), star of the movie, Peggy Robertson (Toni Collette), Hitch’s assistant, Whitfield Cook (Danny Huston), a writer friend of Alma’s with and Vera Miles (Jessica Biel), an actress who worked with Hitch in the past, but gave up part of her career to start a family.

The movie is entertaining and well done and an interesting view of a very iconic man whose personal life has been overshadowed by his work.

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