Matthew Lickona noon, April 29
Good acting has seldom been more excellent than in this, Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut. Dusty lives up to his nickname with a whiskered senior moment of a movie. (It’s best that Hoffman started late in the game; audiences won’t have to put up with too many more vanity projects like this.) A group of opera singers sequestered in a lavish retirement home are thrown into a tizzy by the arrival of Jean (Maggie Smith), a prima donna’s prima donna and the former wife of one of the pampered residents (Tom Courtenay). Each year, the group celebrates Verdi’s birthday with a public performance, but rigor mortis sets in long before they get around to Rigoletto. There is one ‘f’ bomb, but the most profane term, according to playwright Ronald Harwood’s big screen adaptation, seems to be "story development." After 10 minutes of Pauline Collins’ doe-eyed dementia, one wishes Amour was playing on an adjacent screen so that Jean-Louis Trintignant could jump auditoriums and bring a pillow with him. Hoffman fans would be better off renting Racing Stripes. With Michael Gambon and Billy Connolly. 2012.