Roger Michell

Le Week-End

It’s not that Nick and Meg Burrows are looking for an easy fix (though, returning to the site of their honeymoon for a romantic weekend away may indicate that’s very much the case), but that the long-married (and apparently long-suffering) couple are looking for anything to mix up their stale marriage. Paris sounds like as good a place as any, and why not go for a nostalgia-fueled romp in a city that, even without personal baggage, comes complete with all the romance one could ever wish to find? Though it’s clear from the start of Roger Michell’s Le Week-End that there are bigger problems afoot in the union of Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) than general annoyances may indicate, the trick of the film is to navigate the sort of issues that come with being married for thirty years without coming across as shrill or overwrought. Most of the time, Michell and his two very talented stars are able to do that, and Le Week-End switches between comfortable humor and biting revelations with ease, all bolstered by the charm and beauty of Paris. And yet Hanif Kureishi’s script doesn’t put as much faith in the trio as it should, loading down the film’s final third with wacky supporting characters and over-the-top confessions.

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Le Weekend

If I’ve learned anything from the movies, it’s that you go to Paris when you’re in love or when you need to remind yourself why you fell in love in the first place. In Roger Michell‘s Le Week-end,  older married couple Nick and Meg (Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan) take their anniversary to do just that: visit the city of lights and rekindle their long romance. But as the trailer shows, sometimes being in love is hard when it’s been about 30 years and your spouse is grumpy old man and you want to go sightseeing. Or a fussy woman who wants to walk everywhere, and you just want to read the paper in peace, dammit. Fortunately,  meeting up with old friend Jeff Goldblum kicks things back into gear, and seeing his vivavious, fulfilling life inspires them to reignite that spark. Check out the trailer for yourself here:

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Editor’s note: Hyde Park on Hudson cruises into theaters this week, so please get handsy with our New York Film Festival review of the film, originally published on September 30, 2012. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is considered to be one of our greatest presidents — a strong, charismatic leader during World War II, beloved by his nation. Roger Mitchell’s Hyde Park on Hudson reveals FDR to be all those things… and also quite the Don Juan. The film tries to reveal FDR “the man,” a history-making president who can also seduce the ladies, befriend shy kings, and possess a mean stamp collection. While Hyde Park on Hudson is consistently entertaining, its tendencies to meander in tone and to veer too far into the ridiculous prevent it from succeeding as a whole. One fortuitous day, FDR (Bill Murray) requests that his fifth cousin Daisy Suckley (Laura Linney) visit him at his country home in Hyde Park, New York. Naturally, Daisy obliges, and shortly after being dazzled by FDR’s stamp collection she becomes a fixture at his country home. Their visits turn into full days of merriment and long aimless drives on country roads. When FDR stops the car in the middle of a field of purple wildflowers one afternoon, however, there is only one direction their relationship can go in (not to reveal too much, but watching Bill Murray as FDR receive pleasure in a car is mildly disturbing and somewhat hilarious). Eventually, though, Daisy comes to realize that besides the First […]

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“What stutter? This goddamn polio!” – FDR, Hyde Park on Hudson “You have all of the skills in the world but you have no confidence. Now, sack up, man!” – Sydney Fife, I Love You, Man In recent years, the bromance genre has come into full fruition. Most of these films center on male relationships with similar dynamics, with one man taking the role of ribald bad influence on his more nebbish, uptight friend. Take I Love You, Man, for example – uptight, friendless Peter (Paul Rudd) meets freewheelin’ Rush enthusiast Sydney (Jason Segel) and gradually comes out of his shell over the course of their bonding. Similarly, the heart of Roger Michell’s Hyde Park on Hudson (review here) is the “special relationship” between FDR (Bill Murray) and King George VI (Samuel West). In a sense, the film connotes that the US supports Britain during WWII because of the fact that FDR and Bertie become bros. After some bonding and chatting (and presumably some deep research in foreign policy), FDR makes the decision to help his buddy out and encourages him to have confidence in himself as a leader. Thus begs the question: what if Hyde Park on Hudson was re-purposed as a bromance? And so it goes:

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After The King’s Speech won the Oscar for Best Picture and got multiple theatrical releases, it was always just a matter of time before Hollywood tried to capitalize on its success by releasing a whole slate of King George VI movies. So here we are, getting the release of the trailer for the first of these films, Hyde Park on Hudson. It’s not quite as exciting as the inevitable news that King George will be joining The Avengers in the summer of 2014, but for now it will have to do. Seriously though, all joking about King George showing up on the cover of “Tiger Beat” aside, everyone is actually looking forward to Hyde Park on Hudson for one reason: the chance to see Bill Murray play Franklin Roosevelt. So, how does he do? From what we can tell from this first look at the film, it seems like he does wonderfully. He’s not quite doing an F.D.R. impression, but he’s not just being Bill Murray either. Most importantly, it seems as if Murray’s version of Roosevelt is a charismatic troublemaker – something of a Woody Woodpecker archetype – who’s not just being portrayed as a historical figure and a powerful man, but instead as a multi-faceted individual with his own quirks, hang-ups, and small pleasures. Quite simply, it appears as if getting the chance to watch Murray live in the skin of this character for a couple of hours is going to be a terribly entertaining experience.

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Back when he was blowing up gophers and busting ghosts there probably weren’t too many people who though Bill Murray’s career trajectory was taking him on a path to portray Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a historical drama. But here we are, in a world where a script for a third Ghostbusters movie exists, but Bill Murray refuses to read it and instead is looking to star in an adaptation of a British radio play called Hyde Park on Hudson. If you had told twelve year old me that not only would this be the case, but that I would be in agreement with Murray’s decision, he would probably be very angry right now. But, despite how much it might disappoint that little guy, I have to say I’m really intrigued to see how Murray will do playing FDR. Hyde Park on Hudson is a telling of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s weekend visit to Roosevelt’s upscale New York home in 1939. As the weekend unfolds, details of Roosevelt’s personal life are put on display, including a rumored affair with his cousin Daisy. This being ’39, the year before World War II started, nobody really knew much about the president’s personal life at the time. There was real stuff on people’s minds. Rumors of his too close for comfort relationship never came out until much later, and still haven’t been fully explored. I think if anybody has the chops to be a shameful, incestuous version of FDR and still make […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is like a runaway train filled with toxic chemicals. He could derail and explode at any moment. And it’s a good thing Tony Scott isn’t making a movie of his life because there aren’t enough whip pans and helicopter shots to capture his awesomeness. While he raps Scott’s knuckles with a railroad tie, he also gets giddy over the beautiful Rachel McAdams and gives some props to the Brothers Strause for the effects in Skyline. And then he explodes, and all the toxic chemicals threaten to wipe out a small town in Pennsylvania.

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The inner workings of the media have not been depicted onscreen with the incisiveness of Morning Glory in years. Twenty-three of them to be exact, since James L. Brooks released his seminal Broadcast News, the ensemble comedy that convincingly revealed the behind-the-scenes machinations and romantic triangles at an evening news program. Roger Michell’s film is the 2010 morning show set answer to Brooks’ work. Above all, it trades in two fundamental truths: the media has gotten dumber and even more filled with personalities slavishly devoted to a fast-paced, go-getter, plugged-in workaholic lifestyle. Fundamentally ensconced in the longstanding tradition of screwball boardroom comedies, Morning Glory is nonetheless attuned to the way we get our information and to the pressures of a society placing an increasingly sharp emphasis on networking and fraternization — superficiality over substance.

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