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.

Your wish is Marvel’s command. Fans have wanted to see a live-action Squirrel Girl adaptation, and it looks like it might actually happen thanks to New Warriors.

If you don’t know who Squirrel Girl is, do yourself a favor and look her up. Her name is Doreen Green and, shockingly, she can talk to squirrels. (Who would’ve guessed?) But it doesn’t stop there! She’s also got super strength and speed.

Fans have been fantasy casting the role for a while, but when Anna Kendrick said she wanted to play the character, the internet went wild.

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Your wish is Marvel’s command. Fans have wanted to see a live-action Squirrel Girl adaptation, and it looks like it might actually happen thanks to New Warriors.

If you don’t know who Squirrel Girl is, do yourself a favor and look her up. Her name is Doreen Green and, shockingly, she can talk to squirrels. (Who would’ve guessed?) But it doesn’t stop there! She’s also got super strength and speed.

Fans have been fantasy casting the role for a while, but when Anna Kendrick said she wanted to play the character, the internet went wild.

Shannon Purser has also declared her interest in the role. You’ll know her as Barb from Stranger Things, but she’s also just been added to Riverdale.

Before we can start casting, however, we need a show, and according to TV Line, that show is New Warriors.

Marvel and ABC Studios are currently shopping the project around, which would be a half-hour comedy based on the character. One of the tell-tale signs of a Squirrel Girl story line is its lighthearted and humorous nature, so this sounds like a perfect fit.

TV Line reports that the show is being described as “the junior version of The Avengers,” and that “the New Warriors are a superhero squad made up of teenagers.”

Marvel has, of course, brought plenty of its characters to the small screen and to great success. There’s even a chance that this project could be tied to some of the Netflix properties, as Doreen acts as a nanny to Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ daughter, Danielle, in the comic books.

Just think about that crossover potential.

Are you looking forward to this ‘New Warriors’ show if it stars Squirrel Girl?

Shannon Purser plays fan-favorite character Barb on Stranger Things and now she’s joining a new project on The CW.

A lot of people instantly fell in love with Barb the moment she graced our screens in the Netflix hit series Stranger Things, and who can blame them? She was cool, confident, and not at all worried about what the popular kids thought of her.

Then the Demogorgon arrived. But that’s a tale for another day.

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Shannon Purser plays fan-favorite character Barb on Stranger Things and now she’s joining a new project on The CW.

A lot of people instantly fell in love with Barb the moment she graced our screens in the Netflix hit series Stranger Things, and who can blame them? She was cool, confident, and not at all worried about what the popular kids thought of her.

Then the Demogorgon arrived. But that’s a tale for another day.

EW is now reporting that Purser has joined Riverdale, the television show based on the Archie comics.

Purser will be portraying Ethel Muggs for at least three episodes.

Don’t expect her to follow in the footsteps of her comic book equivalent, however. Ethel may have a crush on Jughead in the source material, but EW is reporting that she’ll have her heart set on someone else.

Ethel will also be teaming up with Veronica and Betty as they set out to get revenge on Reggie Mantle, Archie’s nemesis.

In July, we brought you our thoughts on the Riverdale pilot after we saw it at San Diego Comic-Con. It’ll be premiering midseason next winter on the CW and provides a darker spin on the original Archie characters as they become wrapped up in a murder mystery.

Though the pilot has already been shot, the remaining 12 episodes have yet to be filmed. Production on the rest of the season will begin in early September, and the show is expected to premiere in early 2017, barring any complications.

Are you looking forward to seeing Shannon Purser on ‘Riverdale’?

The Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, Dwayne The Rock Johnson-led Jumanji sequel/reboot/whatever has completed its family with the addition of Karen Gilan.

In a Facebook post on Monday, The Rock announced that the Doctor Who alum will be joining Jumanji 2 and rounding out the cast. The Rock bills her character as having “the most important role in our movie.”

“We had to find a girl,” The Rock wrote of casting Gillan in Jumanji 2, “but not just any girl.” He continued:

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The Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, Dwayne The Rock Johnson-led Jumanji sequel/reboot/whatever has completed its family with the addition of Karen Gilan.

In a Facebook post on Monday, The Rock announced that the Doctor Who alum will be joining Jumanji 2 and rounding out the cast. The Rock bills her character as having “the most important role in our movie.”

“We had to find a girl,” The Rock wrote of casting Gillan in Jumanji 2, “but not just any girl.” He continued:

A girl who has “Chutzpah”. Guts and talent to stand her ground and hold her own against Nick’s cool rockstar ways, Jack’s relentless energy and genius, Kevin’s masterful timing and skills and the big, brown, bald tattooed guy who just simply stands there and oooooozes smoldering, captivating, sizzling, can’t take your eyes off this brilliant manly man… never mind I got drunk on the ol’ DJ kool aid again.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to announce a girl who’s playing the most important role in our movie – the talented, beautiful and down for a Scottish fight at any time, Ms. Karen Gillan.

And yes, this is the girl who is so bad ass she shaved her freaking head for Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Rock goes on to promise that “this isn’t a remake or a reboot, but a continuation of the awesome Jumanji story we love.”

Filming begins next month in Hawaii and is slated to hit theaters next year.

Gillan is best known for her role as Amy Pond in Doctor Who and, as The Rock notes, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

original-jumanji-movie

The Jumanji “continuation” has been met with lots of skepticism since the original was led by the late Robin Williams. It just seems like an unnecessary, unoriginal idea.