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Act Two Magazine issue 1

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					     ENTERTAINMENT                             BRAVO




   JOHN SCHWAB                                                THE BEST EXOTIC
                                                              MARIGOLD
   REVIEWS
                                                                                                                            BRAVO


                                                              HOTEL
                                                              ‘Everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, it’s not yet
                                                              the end.’ This is the recurring mantra of The Best Exotic Marigold
                                                              Hotel and I can say, that this wonderfully heartfelt, life affirming film
                                                              lives up to its optimistic view. I’m fascinated by films that have
                                                              anything to do with India and have been eagerly anticipating its
                                                              release.
                                                              This film, like India itself, has a way of seducing you into loving it.
                                                              The mostly older crowd that I saw it with laughed throughout and
                                                              even clapped at the end, which rarely happens in a cinema. We
                                                              aren’t alone, it’s already a huge hit in the UK among greying
                                                              audiences.
                                                              The movie is about a group of disparate English retirees, due to
                                                              varying circumstances, who are lured into traveling to India by an
                                                              enchanting vision of a luxury Jaipur retirement hotel as seen on the
                                                              internet. When they arrive, they find it’s not quite what they expected,
                                                              to say the least, as the hotel has yet to be renovated. While
                                                              overcoming major culture shock, some manage to cope better than
                                                              others with their unusually dire surroundings.
                                                              Directed by the acclaimed British filmmaker John Madden, who is
                                                              behind such films as Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Captain
                                                              Corelli’s Mandolin (2001), the first rate cast is played by some of
                                                              British cinemas most renowned and acclaimed thespians including
                                                              Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Bill Nighy. It’s the
                                                              fabulous performances by these wonderful actors, including Dev Patel
                                                              who was recently seen in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) that makes this
                                                              film really stand out.
                                                              Upon arrival, we see the sheer panic of people coming from a quiet
                                                              orderly English life style thrown into the chaos of India’s crowded and
                                                              completely unregulated free-for-all streets. Some have come for love,
     some for sex, and others just can’t wait to leave. Through the excellent cast we get a conservative look at India as they deal
     with some controversial issues. There is lots of humor throughout with regards to the problems of old age but the personal
     stories are quite poignant and the genuine performances give an emotional impact that makes the movie relatable
     regardless of age.
     Based on the novel, These Foolish Things (2004) by Deborah Moggach, Marigold Hotel is beautifully filmed by Ben Davis,
     who was the cinematographer on such recent films as Kick-Ass (2010) and Wrath of the Titans (2012). Visually, we get to
     see plenty of Jaipur India’s bustling street life, which reminded me of other films worth seeing if you’re drawn to the visceral
     milieu of India’s cities like The Pool (2007) in Goa, Amal in New Delhi (2008), and Slumdog Millionaire in Mumbai
     (2008).
     People in their twilight years are frequently undervalued by our society and this film deals with this issue head on. Some of
     these seniors have been marginalized, or pushed aside by an indifferent society that values youth over experience and
     loyalty, but as this movie shows, seniors, more than anyone, want to be useful and feel that they are valued for their
     experience and years of contribution. When an institution they have loyally served for most of their lives discards them, they
     feel lost and betrayed. In many eastern countries, however, seniors are revered and looked up to by society as teachers and
     valuable contributors to the well-being of society, passing on traditional knowledge to the next generation, something that we
     have lost here in the west.
     Our intrepid seniors gradually adjust and discover a whole new and rewarding way of life in India while learning that they
     still have much to offer to the very appreciative local citizens as their romantic vision of India wins out in the end.




10 act two magazine Fall 2012
ENTERTAINMENT                                                        BRAVO

ON HOME VIDEO


The Artist                                                                                                                                                                   BRAVO

                                                                                                             THE ARTIST
                                                                                                              The less you know about The Artist going in, the more likely you will be to go see it. The
                                                                                                              Artist is one of those movies that has certain elements associated with it that may diminish
                                                                                                              your interest in seeing it. It’s like last year’s movie The Social Network. No matter how
                                                                                                              much I tried to convince people that it was a great movie worth seeing, people were just
                                                                                                              turned off by the idea of a movie about Facebook.
                                                                                                              So when asked what The Artist is about, I would reply ‘I can’t tell you, if I did, you wouldn’t
                                                                                                              want to see it.’ Even by choosing my words carefully to describe it, and to make it sound as
                                                                                                              interesting as possible, certain words would inevitably need to be used that I knew would
                                                                                                              have a negative effect on the listener.
                                                                                                              Let’s do this. I will be as blunt as possible and get all the offending words out of the way
                                                                                                              first. Then I will ask you to forget about all that because this movie is so lovingly made, that
                                                                                                              it will transcend any negative effect of these words.
                                                                                                              OK here goes: It’s a love story, it’s black & white and it’s a silent film, filmed in 1.33: 1
                                                                                                              aspect ratio. (not widescreen) and no Dolby digital surround sound.
                                                                                                              Now, unless you’re a fan of silent films, forget the previous sentence because despite all
                                                                                                              that, this is a new film, not an old one from the 20s, although it is set in the Hollywood of
                                                                                                              the 1920s and 30s. It follows a Hollywood silent film star at the beginning of the sound era
                                                                                                              in movies, marking the end of the silent film. Many silent films stars were not able to make
                                                                                                              the transition to sound as they were mostly physical actors more like stunt men in many
                                                                                                              ways. It was particularly sad for the big stars like Buster Keaton who tried to adapt their
                                                                                                              style of comedy to sound films but was just not successful. Such incredible talents were
                                                                                                              instantly made obsolete and a whole art form vanished overnight.
                                                                                                              The effect was devastating for silent actors and The Artist, which is filmed and performed in
                                                                                                              the style of an authentic silent film, shows the decline of a dashing Douglas Fairbanks type
                                                                                                              of silent leading man after sound revolutionized the film industry and killed his career.
                                                                                                              The film also has lots of heart, humor, and charm, and after you get used to the silence of
                                                                                                              the film (there is only a music track) and begin to appreciate the physical performances and
                                                                                                              expressions through body language and visual art, you really get a sense of how alien
                                                                                                              sound must have seemed when it first arrived and added a whole new dimension to film.
                                                                                                              The Artist is full of wonderful visual homages commonly used in silent films to communicate
                                                                                                              emotions and ideas to the audience and it recreates old Hollywood so realistically that you
think you are actually seeing a silent film from the time. Also lovingly recreated is the acting style and filming style of the time. The film pulls you in with its excellent cast of relatively unknown
actors and a compelling story that’s funny, sad and emotionally satisfying in a wholesome way that’s appropriate for the time period.
The Artist proves that you don’t need sound or color or digital effects to tell a great story or make a great film. Unfortunately, The Artist will probably never get a big audience precisely because it
doesn’t have the trapping of a modern movie. But it has recently won a number of big awards that should help it find a bigger audience, including the Critic’s Choice Movie Award for Best Picture,
The Golden Globe Award for Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), 7 British film Awards (BAFTA) including Best Picture and is now the favorite to win the best picture award at the Oscars this year.




              JOHN SCHWAB                                                                               John Schwab is a Toronto based movie blogger who takes a
                                                                                                        visual and story concept based approach to film viewing with
                                                                                                        special attention to the overall emotional experience of the
                                                                                                        film.
                                                                                                        He blogs at http://my-filmjournal.blogspot.com.




                                                                                                                                                                     11 act two magazine Fall 2012

				
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