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Martha K. Baker

Friday, 19 September 2014 00:00

‘My Old Lady’ considers the law and love

The title does not refer to the Sixties’ idiom for “wife.” Rather, it refers to a real a 90-year-old woman who seems to come along with the apartment in Paris willed to a son by his dying father. That son, Mathias Gold, is 57 years and 11 months.
 

If you’ve been led to believe that “The Hundred-foot Journey” is all about whatever character Helen Mirren is playing this time, you might be vexed to discover she’s a secondary character, for this is not her character’s journey. It is Hassan Kadam’s, a young man from Mumbai, set down in France.
  

The comedy troupe known as Monty Python put a last show on stage that’s been filmed for all to see. It’s hysterically funny, if stupid, insular, sophomoric, and boyish, meaning there will be gas-passing. Watching it is like watching Gramps perform his old Shriners’ act for the neighborhood kids.

Yes, the verb’s in the wrong mood in the title: It’s indicative where it should be subjunctive: Wish I Were Here. Nevertheless, the mood of the movie is just right as it curses at death and laughs at life, especially life as a thirty-something or life as a teen-ager.
 

“Carnage,” the last film directed by Roman Polanski before “Venus in Fur,” involved a quartet of actors arguing with and among one another. He halves the company in “Venus in Fur”: a couple, a man and a woman, engage in an age-old argument, a battle, if you will, of the sexes.

“The Nance,” a stage play written by Douglas Carter Beane, presents a gay old time in the homosexual history of the United States. It includes references to well-known reformers such as Fiorello LaGuardia and lesser known hypocrites such as Paul Moss. At the center of the story is Chauncey Miles.
 

The complications of this film start with the title. “Third Person” refers, of course, to pronoun usage: he, she, it and they. The phrase can also refer to a third person in a party. A triangle. In the movie, “Third Person,” that extra member can be a lover with a married couple.

Not since 1972 has abortion been treated with so much compassion, humor, honesty and reality. November 1972 was when the title character on TV’s “Maude” chose to end her pregnancy via abortion, the same choice made by Donna Stern in Jenny Slate’s “Obvious Child.”

Ordinarily, a biodoc of a critic would appeal to a smallish audience, but a documentary about Roger Ebert appeals more widely. Before Ebert, film critics were rather a precious group comprising the likes of Sarris and Kael. After Ebert, especially after PBS’ “Sneak Previews” went on the air, film criticism entered popular culture.

One of the films currently showing at the IMAX theater of the St. Louis Science Center is this engaging look at lemurs. It puts the animated movies in the Madagascar franchise to shame, for this documentary, shot with the giant IMAX cameras, shows the creatures in their natural habitat.

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