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James Quillinan, known primarily for his expertise in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, Trusts, Conservatorships and related Litigation is also an avid movie-goer.  His reviews started in the Law Office around 1998 when associates and clients began asking him about the movies he had seen.  He began sending his reviews by email to a list of friends and movie fans which now has grown to include world-wide distribution.

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Monday, September 15, 2014 

The Trip to Italy Four years after their successful but aggravating restaurant review tour of Northern England (The Trip), British comics Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are at again, but this time they tour Italy in search of the Romantic Poets.  Their journey is filled with witty repartee as they try to one up one another with clever impersonations, movie history, poetry and their personal victories. All of this against the beautiful Italian scenery and fabulous meals as they visit world-class restaurants and hotels all over Italy. The latest film feels a bit forced where the first one was fresh and full of tension as the two “buddies” were at first rivals stuck with each other whose relationship grew.   This time the trip is just an excuse for a lot of clever, scripted dialogue. The film is actually six BBC comedy episodes rolled into one, which explains it’s hit or miss vignettes.   It is still amusing to watch and listen to these guys try to out wit each other with words.   Not rated but would be R for some language.

The DropA crime drama that utilizes spare dialogue to create a world of crime and alliances in Brooklyn. The characters develop through their actions as their secrets are slowly revealed. James Gandolfini in his last role is Marv, a former bar owner now working for the Chechen mob managing his old bar. His cousin Bob (Tom Hardy) is the bartender that keeps the place going. The bar is a “drop bar” where the mob’s cash take is deposited in a secure safe. Marv plots to regain his dignity as “the man”. A bar robbery goes awry that drags Bob into a web of deception. Bob seems more interested in a stray dog and a pretty girl. But the neighborhood's code requires Bob to take action and for transgressors to pay the price. Nuanced performances by Gandolfini and Hardy make the film. Rated R for some strong violence and pervasive language.

Love Is StrangeThe film on the surface is about gay marriage, but it is really about family coping with life, love, aging and angst. After 39 years together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) marry in a beautiful ceremony in Manhattan.  George loses his job because of their marriage and they must sell their NY apartment to make ends meet. Their family of nieces and nephews and friends pitch in to help, but Ben and George end up temporarily living apart until they can find an affordable apartment. George moves in with two cop friends. Ben bunks with his nephew, his wife (Marisa Tomei), and their moody teenage son; with whom Ben actually shares a bunk bed.  All of this disruption puts huge pressure on the family. Multi-generational family all living together in cramped quarters tests their mettle, but there is a basic respect and love among them that keeps them going and growing. A touching, quiet movie that just presents a simple, modern story of family. Rated R for language.

My Old Lady.  Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith and Kristen Scott Thomas make this film very enjoyable as their performances light up the screen. All of this with the beauty of Paris in the background. Kevin Kline is Mathias Gold, a failed and broke author. He travels from New York to Paris to collect his inheritance, a Parisian apartment, from his estranged father.  When he arrives in Paris with plans to sell the enormous two-story apartment with gardens, he is stunned to discover a live-in tenant Mathilde (Maggie Smith) who has a life estate and is not prepared to budge.  The apartment is a viager. The seller is allowed to stay in the premises for life, with monthly purchase payments for life. Mathias not only cannot sell the premises he has to pay Mathilde 2400 Mathilde and her daughter Chloe (Kristen Scott Thomas) have a huge history that involves Mathias. The great drama of the movie is the reveal of this history and how it changes all of their lives. Rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual references.

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