Hyde Park on Hudson

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Re: Hyde Park on Hudson

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:55 am

Not his responsibility but if he had given the film had a lighter touch like say O'Toole's earlier films, The Ruling Class and My Favorite Year, the film and performance would have been much easier to swallow and given O'Toole a better shot at the award almost everyone really wanted to give him.

Michel seems incapable of recapturing the light touch he displayed in 1999's Notting Hill, but maybe that was more the result of Richard Curtis' screenplay and the acting than his directing. Anyway, that's my take.

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Re: Hyde Park on Hudson

Postby HarryGoldfarb » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:10 pm

Big Magilla wrote:I doubt anyone could have made a hit out of this material, but Roger Michell whose heavy-handed directorial style killed Peter O'Toole's last chance at an Oscar for Venus, probably wasn't the best choice.


What do u mean? Why O'Toole's loosing was Michell responsability?
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Re: Hyde Park on Hudson

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:24 pm

Finally caught up with this dog on Blu-ray. Murray's performance is bad, but Linney's isn't much better. She plays a formidable woman who became FDR's curator and died in her hundredth year in 1991 as a little mouse. It's totally ridiculous. The supporting cast is ill-used with only Samuel West as King George coming off half decently. The film's climax has him taking a bite out of a hot dog.

I doubt anyone could have made a hit out of this material, but Roger Michell whose heavy-handed directorial style killed Peter O'Toole's last chance at an Oscar for Venus, probably wasn't the best choice. On the other hand, a film about the Roosevelts in which the British king and queen come off better could only have been made by an Englishman.

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Re: Hyde Park on Hudson

Postby Greg » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:18 am

I would think a decent actor should be able to do a respectable job with FDR's accent. He would just do the basic research of watching a few speeches of FDR on YouTube. Then, he would try to mimic what he heard, speak into a tape recorder, compare that to the FDR speeches, and go through a series of tial-and-errors with this. It is too bad that, in his time, Jim Backus, Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island, never played FDR. He had the perfect look and accent.
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Re: Hyde Park on Hudson

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:32 am

Jeffrey Wells panned it and In contention removed the film, Murray, Linney and Olivia Williams from its Oscar predictoins overnight. It appears to be one of those films that sounds good on paper but fizzles in reality.

Why the hell would Murray or anyone else play FDR with a "Southern" accent when he came from one of the oldest families in New York and had a cultured, speaking voice closer to a New England accent than a Southern one?

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Hyde Park on Hudson

Postby Sabin » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:34 pm

No Oscar for Murray?

Telluride Review: Bill Murray's Uneven FDR Performance Just One of Many Issues Plaguing 'Hyde Park on Hudson'


Bill Murray is a man of many talents who has lately struggled to find the right outlet for them. The latest example, "Hyde Park on Hudson," finds Murray in a tame, mannered costume drama delivering his best FDR impression. The actor's pathos and deadpan skills are buried in the material, which also suffers from a continuous lack of inspiration. It's high-minded entertainment with low ambition.

Taking cues from playwright Richard Nelson's screenplay, director Roger Michell ("Notting Hill") follows a curious tangent of FDR's presidency, when during the summer of 1939 the president left the White House to spend time at his family home in upstate New York. While there, he invites the King and Queen of England (Samuel West and Olivia Coleman) to pay him a visit to discuss Britain's mounting pressure to join the war against Germany. The meeting arrives around the movie's midpoint and contains ample entertainment value outside of the context of the story surrounding it.

Before that happens, however, FDR forms a different sort of special relationship -- with his neighbor, the shy and gullible Daisy (Laura Linney), also the movie's narrator. Taking Daisy on romantic trips through the town's natural splendor, FDR quickly romances Daisy and even assures her that he'll leave wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams) and move into a home with Daisy when his presidency is complete. Naturally, FDR's charm hides his hogwash, a lesson that Daisy learns the hard way once his pattern of marital indiscretions becomes clear.

Watchable but never particularly engaging, "Hyde Park on Hudson" progresses with its pedestrian scenario by relying on its actors to carry it along. Unfortunately, both leads deliver muted, unremarkable performances on the level of the material. Murray's delivery is particularly tiresome: His faux southern accent comes and goes, and despite a number of amusing asides his face often freezes into a typically restrained Murray expression that distracts from the character.

Linney bests her fellow actor with a functionally sad, restrained turn, although in spite of her narration she's largely marginalized by the plot. Elizabeth Marvel, in a supporting role as FDR's knowing secretary Missy, stands out for her fierce, icy approach to wrangling the president's quixotic nature. But the real star is cinematographer Lol Crawley ("Ballast"), whose advanced color palette alternates between bright imagery and deep shadows to convey both the serenity of the countryside and the secrets lurking within it. Unfortunately, the story can't keep pace.

Only once the King and Queen make their awkward entrance does "Hyde Park on Hudson" gain some enjoyable qualities. During a prolonged meeting between the president and the king, the duo bonds over handicaps (FDR can't walk and the king stutters) and Nelson's script strikes a complex note pitched between comedy and political intrigue. Unfortunately, the sequence works so well that it makes the rest of the movie appear shallow and generally useless by comparison, and when Daisy regains her prominent role "Hyde Park on Hudson" sinks back to its tedious foundation.

While easily comparable to "The King's Speech" for taking place during the same period and filling in a gap in that movie's timeline, "Hyde Park on Hudson" lacks the sort of conflicted protagonist that gave the earlier movie a semblance of high stakes. Despite his larger-than-life presence, FDR comes across as a blithe, untroubled man whose true depth is either obscured by his stealthy mannerisms or simply not contained in the screenplay. The story comes across like a quest to turn history into entertainment, and as a result it lacks any lasting value. "I helped him forget the world," Daisy tells us at one point, but in "Hyde Park on Hudson," she also helps the movie lose its way.

Criticwire grade: C

HOW WILL IT PLAY? At the Telluride Film Festival where it had its world premiere, "Hyde Park" received mixed reviews but scored accolades for its performances. While it next stops at Toronto and NYFF, Focus Features will release the film later this year and likely push hard for Murray and Linney during awards season. As a star-studded period drama pitched as entertainment, it could perform well among older audiences.
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