Tagged: Maggie Smith

Review – The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)

Director: John Madden

Starring: Maggie Smith, Dev Patel, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Richard Gere, Ronald Pickup, Tena Desae, Celia Imrie, Lilette Dubey

Second Best Exotic Marigold HotelWith its all-star cast of ageing British thespians, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was one of the surprise hits of 2012. It grossed $135 million worldwide – an astonishing figure for a film more interested in seventy-year-olds than seventeen-year-olds – by tapping the potential of the oft-ignored ‘grey-dollar.’ With none of its ensemble having ‘checked out’ how could 20th Century Fox resist a return visit with the riskily titled The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Sonny Kapoor’s idea was to outsource retirement to India, and eight months on from the events of the first film business is booming. The young entrepreneur has expansion on his mind and US retirement company, Everygreen has agreed to send an assessor to Jaipur to determine whether the Marigold Hotel is a worthwhile investment. When Guy, an American novelist claiming to be on a research trip, arrives shortly after, Sonny is adamant that he must be the assessor and sets about doing everything he can to impress him, though Guy seems to be more interested in Sonny’s mother than his hotel. In his single-mindedness, Sonny is neglecting the preparations for his upcoming wedding to the frustration of his fiancée Sunaina. Continue reading

Five Oscar Nomination Surprises

Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announce the nominees for Best Picture

Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announce the nominees for Best Picture

At 5:30am Los Angeles time, Oscars host Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announced the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards. While there were a few categories which panned out exactly as expected, the nominations did throw up more than the usual number of surprises. Here are five of the biggest…

1) Only 9 in the Best Picture

There were a few notable omissions in the Best Picture category. Moonrise Kingdom, The Master, The Sessions and, to a lesser extent, Skyfall had all been talked about as Best Picture contenders but all were notably absent from the nominees announced. What makes that even more surprising is the Academy chose only to give out nine of a possible ten nominations. So it wasn’t even that these films were simply squeezed out by other worthy pictures, rather they were deemed not worthy of a nomination.

2) Amour gets some love

It is not often that a foreign language film gets Academy recognition outside of the Best Foreign Language Film category. So it was somewhat of a surprise to see Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or winner, Amour, pick up five nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. If nothing else it means that Amour will be the shortest of short priced favourites to win the Best Foreign Language Film category.

3) Big names missing in the Best Director field

It was the Best Director nominations which contained the biggest surprises, primarily as a result of who wasn’t there. Ben Affleck, Quentin Tarantino and Kathryn Bigelow had all been talked about as serious contenders to take the award home, yet none of them managed to get a nomination. The most obvious beneficiaries of these ‘snubbings’ are the surprise – unexpected but not undeserved – nominations of Michael Haneke and Behn Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

4) Silver Lining Support

The surprise nominations in both the Supporting Actor and Actress categories both came from Silver Linings Playbook. Robert De Niro had only received a handful of lead up nominations, none of them major, for his role as Pat Sr. His surprise nomination means that there wasn’t room for some more fancied possible nominees, particularly Django Unchained’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson. Australian Jackie Weaver came from right out of left field to score a nomination in the Supporting Actress category having not received any lead up nominations, other than as part of an ensemble cast. The Golden Globes and SAG nominations had opted for Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy) or Maggie Smith (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) to round of their fields, but neither seem any more deserving than Weaver.

5) The Dark Knight does not rise

While I don’t think anyone was realistically expecting The Dark Knight Rises to earn a best picture nomination, most would have expected it to figure somewhere (maybe in visual effect?), but instead it became the highest profile film to be completely overlooked by the Academy this year.