Hypable TIFF Review: ‘Quartet’

4:00 pm EDT, September 17, 2012

Acting icon Dustin Hoffman has made a new movie, and it’s something new for the 75-year-old thespian: it’s his first time in the director’s chair. The film is Quartet, a charming story of the drama and hilarity that ensue at a British retirement home for singers and musicians when egos collide and old flames are reignited. Hoffman has wisely decided to sit this one out and devote his attention to solely working behind the scenes, and the result is a social register of British veterans working in front of the camera.

The narrative takes place at Beecham House, a glamorous retirement village in the English countryside where retired musicians come to live their twilight years and indulge in music. Wilf (Billy Connolly), Reginald (Tom Courtenay) and Cissy (Pauline Collins) all reside here and are part of a one-time operatic sensation that abruptly came to a close when infighting tore the group apart. Decades later, they live in peace at Beecham, playing odd gigs and reliving the glory days any way they can.

The film’s conflict comes in the form of Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), the final piece of this group’s quartet. Upon her arrival at Beecham, it’s clear that aside from being their long-forgotten singing partner, Jean is also a notorious diva who was instrumental in the group’s split. It doesn’t help matters that she has unfinished business with everyone in the group, including one member who also happens to be an ex-flame. Old grudges are quickly resurrected and this once-successful quartet is reduced to fighting like babies for maximum comedic effect.

Hoffman seems to be enjoying himself crafting Quartet behind the scenes as he confidently relies on his veteran actors to run loose and have fun. The comedic build-up of this group coming together and resolving their differences to play one final concert is as straightforward as they come, but where the story lacks originality it more than makes up for in sheer charm. All four leads bounce off each other with such hypnotic chemistry that you can’t help but leave the theatre with a huge grin on your face.

It’s obvious that Hoffman has picked up plenty of tips from his decades on movie sets. The man has worked with established directors like Steven Spielberg, Barry Levinson, Warren Beatty, Sydney Pollack, Mike Nichols, John Schlesinger and Sam Peckinpah, just to name a few. Ingenious touches from several of these veterans are present in Quartet, but the best thing Hoffman has learned from them as a director is to be confident in crafting your story and hire the right people for the job. He’s done it here with his actors and he’s also done with it with the film’s screenplay. It’s written by Ronald Harwood, who based it on his own play of the same name. He also wrote The Pianist, a completely different movie involving musical instruments.

Grade: B

Rated: NR

Quartet is scheduled for release December 28, 2012, and was screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviews from theater critics are glowing, so when the hell can Americans get a chance to see the play in New York?

With just days to go until The Cursed Child script book is released around the world, The New York Post’s theater reporter has spoken to sources who say the play will be coming to Broadway sooner rather than later. Producers are currently holding discussions to bring the play to NY as early as 2017.

They haven’t yet announced a Broadway engagement for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” but New York theater people say it’s only a matter of time. Word is that Friedman and Callender are in negotiations for a Shubert theater possibly for next season. They may hit Toronto first, however.

The idea of The Cursed Child hitting Broadway so soon (“next season” could mean around May 2017) will come as a relief to American Harry Potter fans who would rather not travel overseas to see “the eighth story” (though it’s a little more affordable to do so right now thanks to #Brexit). It also speaks to this important fact: It’s important to see The Cursed Child rather than reading it.

If the show does go to Toronto first as The New York Post suggests it might, a trip to Canada would also be easier for Americans. Sorry, people who don’t live in North America.

This writer saw the play in June and absolutely loved the characters and magic happening on stage. But the story is… not the best. I’m very eager to see what fans, myself included, think of the story after reading the script book this weekend.

For her part, Rowling has promised that fans around the world will get to see the play. Only time will tell if she’s hinting at a movie or a world tour:

If ‘Cursed Child’ comes to Broadway next year, will you try to see it ASAP?

The West End production currently has dates running into May 2017, but additional dates are expected to go on sale in early August.

Present day Han Solo may’ve left the main Star Wars series after the events of The Force Awakens, but the character’s time in movie theaters is far from over.

The new Han Solo film from Lucasfilm — scheduled to hit theaters in May 2018 — might turn into a trilogy for the reluctant hero, according to the New York Daily News.

The paper reports that star Alden Ehrenreich has signed a three-picture deal, suggesting that the studio intends to expand the Han Solo spinoff into a trilogy. “They feel that his character has the right potential to become a central figure in several movies,” a source told NY Daily News. “They’re keeping things under wraps at the moment, but the deal is that he has signed for at least three movies.”

This makes a lot of sense given the popularity of the character coupled with his absence in Episode 8 and beyond. We also know that Lucasfilm and Disney have many, many grand plans for Star Wars in the years ahead: The very first Star Wars theatrical spinoff, Rogue One, opens later this year. Episode 8 then hits theaters a year later (2017), followed by Han Solo’s own movie (2018). Next comes Episode 9 in 2019, followed by yet another spinoff reportedly focused on Boba Fett in 2020.

As for 2021 and beyond? Only time will tell, but we expect more movies set in the worlds of The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and now Han Solo.

The Han Solo spinoff will be directed by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. They’re currently deep into pre-production, as this tweet from Lord this morning shows:

“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with,” the directors said last July. “We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”

Barnes & Noble has announced that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is already a gigantic hit. In fact, it’s the most pre-ordered book since Deathly Hallows.

It’s been 9 years since J.K. Rowling publsihed Deathly Hallows in the summer of 2007, but Harry Potter fans are evidently still eager for more stories from the Wizarding World. In a press release on Monday, the biggest book chain in the United States revealed that they haven’t seen pre-orders this huge since the last Harry Potter book.

deathly-hallows-book-cover

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is Barnes & Noble’s most pre-ordered book since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and we expect it to be our biggest selling book of the year,” said Mary Amicucci, Chief Merchandising Officer at Barnes & Noble in a press release. “To guarantee that our customers get the new Harry Potter book as quickly as possible, Barnes & Noble is the only national retailer that’s guaranteeing delivery of the book on August 1, for both online and ship-to-home pre-orders placed by noon ET on Friday, July 29. Our booksellers are also preparing to host big crowds for our signature Midnight Magic parties on July 30.”

If you’ve passed by a brick and mortar Barnes & Noble in the past few months you’ve probably seen the heavy promotion they’ve been doing. Headers that state “HARRY POTTER IS BACK” will clearly entice people to pre-order.


HARRY POTTER IS BACK! (Spotted at a Barnes & Noble) #harrypotterforever #harrypotter

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In a report from the Wall Street Journal earlier this month we learned that Scholastic was printing 4.5 million copies of “the eighth story” for the United States and Canada. This is a far cry from the 12 million printed for Deathly Hallows, but still a very large print run for a book in modern times. (Also worth noting: Many readers have switched to eBooks in the years since Deathly Hallows.)

It’s nice to see that Harry Potter fans haven’t lost their interest in the series. Perhaps the success will inspire J.K. Rowling to continue writing within Harry’s world?

The book has also been a huge success on Amazon. The Cursed Child has sat at the top of the online retailer’s bestseller list for months.

Hypable will have lots of coverage surrounding The Cursed Child once it’s released this weekend. Stay tuned! AHHHH!