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The Last Station-Movie Review*** 07/29/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Based on a novel, Biographical, British, Emotional Drama, Golden Globes, Hessian Film Award, Highly recommended, Independent Spirit Awards, Michael Hoffman, Movies, Romance, Satellite Awards.
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The Last Station (British) 2009 ***
Based on Jay Parini’s 1990 novel, The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy’s Last Year

Directed by Michael Hoffman
Starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, James McAvoy, and Paul Giamatti

Among other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Mirren); Best Supporting Actor (Plummer), Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Mirren); Best Supporting Actor (Plummer), Golden Globes
WINNER, Best International Literature Adaptation (Hoffman), Hessian Film Award
NOMINATED, Best Director (Hoffman); Best Feature; Best Female Lead (Mirren); Best Screenplay (Hoffman); Best Supporting Male (Plummer), Independent Spirit Awards
NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actor (McAvoy), Satellite Awards

As renowned and beloved author Leo Tolstoy’s (Plummer) life approaches its end, unwanted drama surrounds him in the form of his family and associates. His associates aim to convince Tolstoy that, in his final will, his works should become the property of the Russian people; his passionate wife, Countess Sofya (Mirren), fears that she and her children will be left with nothing.

Plummer’s Tolstoy tries (but doesn’t always manage) to retain a sense of peaceful dignity as he contends with his distraught wife. Mirren’s Sofya pulls no punches with increasingly erratic behavior as she once again puts in an outstanding performance that makes this a film worth seeing.

Highly recommended.

112 min. Rated R.


Mozart’s Sister-Movie Review 07/01/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Las Palmas Film Festival, Satellite Awards.
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Mozart’s Sister (French) 2010
Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart

Directed by Réné Féret
Starring Marie Féret, Marc Barbe, David Moreau, Lisa Féret, and Delphine Chuillot

WINNER, Best Actress (Féret), Silver Lady Harimaguada (Réné Féret), NOMINATED, Golden Lady Harimaguada (Réné Féret), Las Palmas Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actress (Lisa Féret), Best Picture-Foreign Language Film, Best Original Screenplay (Réné Féret), Satellite Awards

This is a fictional account of the teenage years of Maria Anna Mozart (Marie Féret), older sister of Wolfgang (Moreau) and most likely an accomplished musician and vocalist in her own right. Unfortunately, the times were not accepting of certain talents in women. As Réné Féret imagines it, Leopold Mozart (Barbe), a loving but strict father, does not permit Maria (who was nicknamed Nannerl) to compose or to play the violin, two pursuits considered unsuitable for girls. Instead he grooms Wolfgang to take center stage, while Nannerl accompanies him.

The movie ends with Nannerl starting to accept her fate; in reality, her life had many twists and turns, and, during a great part of it, she was estranged from her brother.

This film is worth watching not only for its imagined story, but for the music (the DVD is accompanied by a CD). Marie Féret, who sings and plays beautifully, is the daughter of the director. Another daughter, Lisa, plays the young princess Louise de France, who befriends Nannerl.

120 min. Not rated. Suitable for teens and preteens.