Vanessa Taylor

It’s quite convenient that David Frankel’s Hope Springs kicked its original title – Great Hope Springs – because such a tiny edit saves the film from a rash of mocking spins on its name. Just Okay Hope Springs. Totally Adequate Hope Springs. Hey, Not So Bad Hope Springs. The film, which centers on the crumbling marriage of Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) and their apparent last ditch effort to save it by way of an intensive relationship workshop with therapist Dr. Feld (Steve Carell), is perfectly acceptable stuff, but it’s by no means “great” and it’s not nearly as frank, honest, and mature as it would like to be. Instead, it’s a gentle enough take on the romantic comedy for the older set that struggles to find its tone and aim, before settling into something that’s strangely pleasing and oddly compelling. Hope Springs is both a rare bird (how often do we see mature studio films that examine faltering marriages and place importance on the value of lovemaking?) and a strange duck (how many films about faltering marriages encourage a first act of chuckles and titters before dropping the emotional boom, and repeatedly?).

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Game of Thrones: The Old Gods and the New

It’s time to call you back in, my Bannermen. And Bannerladies. As you well know, Winter is Coming. And as we steam past the midpoint of season two, the big season finale is also coming to the lands of Westeros. So our weekly Blog of Thrones can see the end of this round, not clearly, but on the horizon. This week we learn plenty of lessons along with the denizens of Winterfell, King’s Landing, Harrenhal and whatever the hell they call those mountains north of The Wall. These lessons will likely come back to be important later in the season, as many a collision course is being set. War may be upon these gamers of thrones, but we are yet to see the real bloodbath that is to come. As always, Blog of Thrones is written from the perspective of a relative novice to George R.R. Martin’s books. It focuses solely on Game of Thrones the show and assumes that you’ve seen everything up to the latest episode. If you travel down this Kingsroad and find yourself spoiled, the king will know the reason why. 

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