If you thought you never liked chamber music, put those thoughts aside for a couple of hours and see the new film A Late Quartet. After 25 years of worldwide fame, this quartet is coming to a crossroads. The cellist, whose wife died not too long ago, is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which spells the end of his career. The husband-wife duo of second violin and viola are having relationship difficulties, and the first violinist refuses to relinquish any portion of his first-chair duties so that the second violist might have a chance to shine a bit.
Columbus, Ohio, native Josh Radnor is best known for his lead role in the TV sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” But in his spare time, Radnor also indulges in multi-faceted filmmaking. Liberal Arts, his second film, has his name all over the credits as writer, co-producer, director and star of this tale of coming to grips with how your life has turned out after college, and how his character, and others in the film, deal with the disappointment and loneliness of it all. Virtually every character in this exploration is angst-ridden and looking for something different.
Other than politics of late, the other conversation-starter is always the release of the latest James Bond film. Everyone has opinions about the best and worst of the entire series, which now encompasses 23 films over the past 50 years. It doesn’t matter if you are staunch supporters of Sean Connery, or Roger Moore, or Pierce Brosnan or any of the others. All Bond fans are ready to sway you to their point of view.
A long, long time ago, in a century not so far away, a filmmaker named Godfrey Reggio stunned movie audiences in art houses around the world with his film Koyaanisqatsi. Hard to say, harder to spell, it was an unusual documentary in that it had no narration and an ecological theme. Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi Indian term for “life out of balance.” It was a masterfully edited collage of stunning imagery, some in real time, some not so real, all accompanied by a mesmerising score by Philip Glass.
Sometimes filmmakers seem to have the most fun when they turn the camera on their craft and themselves. Among titles that come to mind are Singin' in the Rain and Sunset Boulevard. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths falls in line with that theory. The talented writer-director of the quirky In Bruges from a few years back seems to be using Seven Psychopaths as a cathartic experience to work through a bout of writer’s block.