I have not seen as many movies at the theatre this year as I normally do because I have been more picky in what I pay to see. So many movies are available for free elsewhere that it just doesn’t make sense to spend as much going to the cinema for me, personally, even though I would rather see films on the big screen. Also, I notice movies do not stay at the theatres as long as they used to, so by the time I get around to going, many movies are already gone. I have seen only a handful of good movies this year at the theatre and I just recently viewed two that I highly recommend.
The first is My Old Lady, starring Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith. Kristin Scott Thomas is also in this one and was excellent, as usual. Kevin Kine is one of my favorites, so I rushed out to see this one. He plays Mathias Gold, an alcoholic, unemployed, divorced New York writer, just inheriting a house in Paris from his estranged father who recently died. He arrives at the house to find that a 90-year old lady and her daughter live there and don’t have to vacate due to a viage, a French legal agreement entitling someone to stay where they live until they die. Of course, this greatly disturbs Mathias, who wants to sell everything. My Old Lady is a serious drama that deals with some serious family issues, but Kline manages to throw in some comedic moments because, well, he is Kevin Kline. But this movie was very dramatic and I cried as much as I laughed. Kline’s character is despicable and adorable at the same time. My Old Lady does not have a huge cast and I enjoyed the performances of all the supporting actors, most of them French. Dame Maggie Smith is just superb, as always.
This film was written and directed by Israel Horovitz.
The second film I highly recommend is The Judge, starring Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, and host of other well-known actors. Let’s just say that the two Roberts are absolutely superb in this film. The story centers around Hank Palmer, a high-price New York divorce attorney, and his relationship with his estranged father, a small town Indiana judge. If either of these Roberts are in a movie, chances are it’s worth going to see. But with both, it’s even better.
Hank’s mother has just passed away and he is called home. This is during a nasty split with his wife, who cheated on him probably because he is a workaholic. He and his wife have a young daughter who he has a great relationship with even though he has missed some important events in her life. Once Hank gets to his home town, he sees his brothers (Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong). Strong plays Hank’s younger, mentally-challenged brother obsessed with cameras and film. D’Onofrio plays Hank’s elder brother, who would have been a big baseball star if not for an accident in high school caused by Hank. Hank is the middle son, black sheep of the family, whom Judge Palmer (Duvall) has little patience.
After his mother’s funeral, the real drama with a murder mystery begins. The film was 2-1/2 hours long, but I wished it had gone on longer because I enjoyed the performances so much. Many twists and turns and surprises are in this film, which make it so superb. And the supporting cast includes Vera Farmiga and Billy Bob Thornton. I really cannot express how good this movie is–go see it for yourself.