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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Murray’

Harold Ramis: So Long, Beloved Ghostbuster

February 25th, 2014 No comments

‘He wrote movies that shaped different comedic fashions of their time, movies that inspired comedians to go out further on a limb, try harder, be more accessible, make their jokes land better. It’s hard to explain how much Harold Ramis mattered to us, and to the men who make us laugh.’ Raja Sen pays tribute to the late comedy legend.

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Harold Ramis: So Long, Beloved Ghostbuster

Hyde Park on Hudson, an Affair to Remember (Theatrical Review)

December 13th, 2012 No comments

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Our longest serving President has a heyday in Hyde Park on Hudson, an interesting look at Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s affairs while in office. The historical, humorous and intriguing story puts our 32nd President in a rather awkward situation derived from an excerpt of the diary of his cousin Daisy. A questionable motive for the piece of entertainment, yet the film’s cast puts on an admirable show.

Taking place north of New York City in an area called Hyde Park, the home estate of his mother that covers 3 to four miles on the Hudson River, this small voyeuristic glance into Roosevelt’s private life came to light from his cousin Margaret (Daisy) Suckley’s diary.  The snippet points out Roosevelt’s erotic lifestyle and his historical meeting with the stuttering King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Britain at the estate.

It’s 1939 and FDR has been in office for six years. He’s succeeded in rising from the decimation caused by the US depression and we find him living at his mother’s cottage where he has taken residence. It’s sort of a respite and recovery period for Franklin and he’s been making interesting use of his private time.

FDR summons his cousin Daisy (Laura Linney) to visit him at the estate as a diversion from the other women surrounding him, his wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams), mother Sara (Elizabeth Wilson), and his personal secretary Missy (Elizabeth Marvel).  At first just a companion of sorts, Daisy finds herself captivated by the iconic figure, one of the most powerful men in the world.  As time goes on she becomes helpful, an amusement, a minder, and then a sexual object to FDR.

Elenore (Olivia Williams) Daisy (Laura Linney) and FDR (Bill Murray)

Elenore (Olivia Williams) Daisy (Laura Linney) and FDR (Bill Murray)

The story continues delving somewhat into the relationships he has with the other three women, but centers mainly on Daisy. When he gets notice that the King and Queen of England have an urgent need to meet with him at the estate, Franklin accepts leading to some decisions that challenge Daisy, a huge option that will affect the future of the USA and difficult personal choices that will dampen the hearts of his women.

Bill Murray as FDR

Bill Murray as FDR

The acting in Hyde Park on Hudson can only be described as brilliant.  The film provides a stage for the fine actors, especially Murray and Linney who have the chemistry, posh and personality down pat of their characters. Murray takes on make-up, dons period piece suits, sports a cigarette holder, drinks heavily and provides the walk of the crippled man who fought the adversity to become the 32nd President of the United States. At times he puts on an aloof personality so strong that even striking a smile can put a situation on hold.  His commanding stare at times makes FDR look controlling; evident in several scenes where the President needs to look strong and demanding.

Linney shows her stuff as the shy woman who’s astonished at the opportunity of meeting the President of the United States.  Timid and respectful she approaches FDR with hesitation and kindness, becomes protective, and then when her emotions take over she succumbs to an affair. There’s never a moment that Linney’s Daisy isn’t realistic or unemotional as the new ‘hobby’ in Roosevelt’s life.  She moves through each frame with a beseeching charm, alluring and decisive in her role.

The downside comes with a combination of things including a secondary story that doesn’t get fleshed out as well as it should due to the central adultery theme. During the film many things get brought to bear involving FDR’s affair with relatives and an employee. Each of these measures works well together, but adding the visit of the King and Queen becomes a distraction to the film. Even though it’s included to make the point of Roosevelt’s pain and struggle with his life long illness, the silly private meeting with the stuttering King George VI only distracts from the real meat of the story.

Hyde Park on the Hudson has been rated R by the MPAA for brief sexuality.  The film also includes abusive drinking and smoking.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Point well taken, but was it necessary to make a film about it. (C )

Additional Film Information:

  • Cast: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Marvel, Elizabeth Wilson, Eleanor Bron, and Olivia Williams.
  • Directed by: Roger Michell
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Historical
  • MPAA Rating: Rated R for brief sexuality
  • Running Time: 1 hr 34 min
  • Opening Date: December 7, 2012
  • Distributed by: Focus Features

GET LOW written review

August 26th, 2010 No comments

“ALIVE AT YOUR OWN FUNERAL”

getlowLARGE posterStarring: Robert Duval, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, Lucas Black and Bill Cobbs

Directed by: Aaron Schneider

MPAA Rating: PG 13 for some thematic material and brief violent content.

Genre: Drama, Dark Comedy, based on a true story

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Running Time: 1hr 40 min

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

By John Delia

Inspired by a true story, Get Low transports the audience to the late 1930’s for a very unusual event.  Top notch acting, directing and smart cinematography makes the film an exceptional piece for those that like their drama with some dark comedy.  Get Low stands a chance for award nominations in all aspects, especially the acting of Robert Duvall and Bill Murray.

Felix (Duvall) Buddy (Black) and Quinn (Murray)

Felix (Duvall) Buddy (Black) and Quinn (Murray)

The film tells the remarkable real account of Felix Bush, a lowly hermit who lived in a cabin far from a small town for forty years.  Although most people only knew about him from tales that he was involved in wrong doing, most loathed his demeanor when he came to town, a deep secret to why he decided to spend so many years as a recluse had never been substantiated.  One day following a trip to town for getting supplies a ruckus breaks out between Felix and a villager.  Felix decides he’s had enough as a hermit.  With his shotgun and a roll of money he waltzes into town and approaches Frank Quinn (Bill Murray), the local funeral director, to set up a memorial service, but an unusual one.  Deciding that he wants to hear what the townspeople feel about him he wants his service while he is alive.  Thus begins a tale that takes Felix, Quinn and his salesman Buddy (Lucas Black) on an emotional journey.

Quinn and Buddy make a deal

Quinn and Buddy make a deal

The casting for Get Low gives the audience a chance to see remarkable actors Duvall and Murray in action.  The two amazing stars give one of the best performances of their long careers.  Although Duvall as Felix did remind me a lot of his strong performance in The Apostle for which he was nominated for an Oscar, the cool as a cumber actor pervades his character with anger, loathing, then sympathy and a desire for forgiveness.  Murray puts on the show as fast-talking salesman Quinn who will go to any length to make a buck.  He’s the epitome of the word schmooze and taker, but when the tables get turned the word humble comes to mind.

Quinn's 1930's Hearse

Quinn's 1930's Hearse

Direction by first timer Aaron Schneider is pinpoint and creative bringing 1938 to life with a 30’s hearse, costumes and sets.  His ability to bring out remarkable performances from his cast that also includes six time academy award nominee Sissy Spacek, Lucas Black (Jarhead, Legion) and the amazing Bill Cobbs, shows he’s an up and coming directorial star.

Get Low is rated PG 13 for some thematic material and brief violent content.

FINAL ANALYSIS: An acting tour de force. (4 of 5)