Tag: Joely Richardson

Papa: Hemingway in Cuba

April 29th, 2016 — 11:39pm


Papa: Hemingway in Cuba- sp

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 8.51.04 AM

Ernest Hemingway is the iconic writer who is forever linked to Cuba where he spent much of his life. Denne Bart Petitclerc was a reporter for the Miami Globe in the 1950s and for very personal reasons idolized the great writer and wrote him a letter telling him so. This led to a correspondence and then a friendship with “Papa” Hemingway and his wife, Mary Hemingway.” Petitclerc visited Cuba several times and subsequently wrote about his relationship with Hemingway, which is the subject of this outstanding docudrama. This movie offers a sensitive insight into this brilliant writer, driven, complicated man who was an alcoholic, had severe depression and possibly a bipolar disorder as well as a complicated love life. In addition, he was drawn into the Castro Communist revolution and was also in conflict with the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover.

While this all makes a fascinating story, the attraction and success of this movie is the portrayal of Papa Hemingway by Adrian Sparks. This veteran award winning actor has played Hemingway in one-man-shows on the stage for several years in addition to his other stage and film accomplishments. He was the natural choice for this role. Giovanni Ribisi is excellent as Petitclerc and he is called Ed Myers in the film. The movie also stars Joely Richardson as Mary Hemingway and Minka Kelly as Myers’ girlfriend.

Director and producer, Bob Yari also scored an amazing accomplishment in that he received permission to film this movie in Cuba. After much negotiating he was able to do this because the movie is portrayed as a docudrama rather than a commercial film. However, the movie will hold the audience’s attention as well as any good drama. In fact, if you have had any occasion to be a tourist in Cuba in the past several years as we have, you will appreciate the familiar sights. We were particularly pleased to see Hemingway’s house, which is now a treasured museum but was used in the film. In fact, in a post screening discussion, we were told the real items in the house were substituted with props but at the last moment, Cuban officials allowed Hemingway’s actual typewriter to be used in the movie. Knowing this lends a special realism when we see him typing on it in the film. Enlightening, moving and totally engaging, this movie is well worth seeing. (2016)


Comment » | 4 Stars, Documentary, Drama


October 22nd, 2011 — 2:21am


Anonymous– sp- John Orloff, as an undergraduate was always interested in the question of whether or not William Shakespeare really wrote the masterpieces that have been attributed to him. Orloff pondered this concern during his time in film school and has been pitching various versions of this screen play for the past 15 years. Finally Columbia Pictures put up 30 million dollars (a relatively small sum) for this movie to be made under the direction of Roland Emmerich who is best known for elaborately staged blockbuster films such as Independence Day, Godzilla, The Patriot, 10000 BC and 2012. This movie as you might imagine is a period piece with lots of 16th century costumes and filled with Shakespearian dialog (or dialog from whomever actually may have written it back then). The setting which encompasses  many streets, buildings including the famed Globe Theater and hoards of people appears quite authentic although they were mostly produced by the magic of computer technology and digitalization. The storyline is that Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford, (Rhys Ifans) was the original author but in his royal position he couldn’t acknowledge the nature of his writings. He secretly gave his written works to a young writer named Ben Johnson (Sebastain Armesto) who was too involved in his own budding literary works to want to take ownership or produce them. He instead passed them on to William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall), a journeyman actor  who also was sworn to secrecy but gladly took credit for them. Shakespeare who was far from a writer himself began to stage the plays which immediately received great acclaim. Vanessa Redgrave played Queen Elizabeth I and Redgrave’s own daughter (Joely Richardson) had the role of the Queen at a younger age. There of course were subplots and various intrigues including flashbacks in time.   Many fine Shakespearian actors were cast in this film which were a great showcase for their talents. At times we lost track where in time we were or who was who in the secondary characters. History buffs of this period of time as well as Shakespearian aficionados will enjoy the storyline and dialog respectively. Rather than solve  the age old authorship conundrum, in the end this movie made an all out effort to entertain us with a fanciful dramatic well acted story.

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

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