Archive for the ‘Directors – James Ivory (Merchant Ivory)’ Category

Heat and Dust

January 6, 2018

Watched the Cohen Media Group’s restored version of Merchant Ivory‘s 1983, Heat and Dust today. For me this next line will be Merchant Ivory heresy. I did not like the film. I turned it off after 30 minutes. Shudder. The horror. I know! I am so ashamed. I simply could not get into it, understand it, or enjoy it. It wasn’t awful. It was flat and meandering. I’m still shuddering. Take away my lifetime membership card now. Someone quick, beat me with an old VHS of Howards End. For the record, I still consider Merchant Ivory’s quartet of films, A Room with a View, Maurice, Howards End, and The Remains of the Day beginning only two years after filming Heat and Dust to be four of the most perfect films every created. Meanwhile 2.5 out of 5 for Heat and Dust.


Christmas 2017

December 25, 2017

Benno Fürmann in Joyeux Noel

Another year older, another holiday season upon us. In your own special way, I wish you the happiest of holidays. Look for Reel Charlie’s year-end list of favorites from 2017 next weekend. Meanwhile celebrate! XOXOXO.

Vanessa Redgrave and Emma Thompson in Howards End

And if you’re sick of the traditional white Christmas kind of holiday, check out Kylie Minogue’s glorious 100 Degrees (with sister Dannii Minogue) – her modern song about a very sexy tropical Christmas!

Happy Birthday to Me (2017)

November 16, 2017

No, I’m not 2017 years old. I just feel like it some days. I’m in the air on my birthday this year. I thought it might be fun to post something like this:

If you really love me, you’ll watch a film by at least one of these directors sometime in November:

Alfred Hitchcock
Andrea Arnold
Andrew Haigh
Barbara Streisand
Cheryl Dunye
Christopher Guest
Dee Rees
Derek Jarman
Douglas Sirk
Eytan Fox
Ferzan Ozpetek
Glenn Gaylord
Gurinder Chadha
Ilene Chaiken
Ingrid Jungermann
James Ivory
Jill Soloway
John Cameron Mitchell
John Greyson
John Sayles
John Waters
Kenneth Lonergan
Lisa Cholodenko
Lisa Gornick
Lynne Ramsay
Mike Leigh
Mira Nair
Nicole Holofcener
Pedro Almodovar
Peter Paige
Rikki Beadle Blair
Robert Altman
Spike Lee
Stephen Frears
Susan Seidelman
Todd Haynes
Tom McCarthy
Ventura Pons
Xavier Dolan

It’s good to have choices.

Shakespeare Wallah at The Quad (NYC) with James Ivory and Madhur Jaffrey

November 8, 2017

Exciting news for Merchant Ivory fans in the metropolitan NYC area. The Quad is screening a restored version of Shakespeare Wallah this week with director/screenwriter James Ivory and star Madhur Jaffrey. I went to the city a few months ago and was honored to catch Ivory for the screening of Maurice. It was a magical evening. Loved hearing stories from one of my favorite film partners of all-time.

Shakespeare Wallah
1965, 120m, DCP, UK/India

Opens Friday—North American theatrical premiere engagement of 2K restoration
The second feature uniting director/screenwriter James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant—known then and forever as Merchant Ivory—with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and actor Shashi Kapoor secured the world cinema reputations of all concerned. Based in part on the diaries that Geoffrey Kendal kept while performing Shakespeare all across India with his wife Laura Liddell, the film introduced audiences to their daughter Felicity Kendal, who stars as the UK theatrical troupe’s ingenue, caught in a love triangle with an Indian playboy (Kapoor) and a Bollywood film actress (Madhur Jaffrey, named Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival). The Merchant Ivory tenets of literate wit, heartbreak, and cultural collision all take center stage.

With Madhur Jaffrey & James Ivory in person at 6.30pm on Fri November 10

Purchase tickets online at The Quad.

The Criterion Collection: Reel Charlie’s Top 17

September 15, 2017

Whenever I see a famous person list their favorite Criterion films, I wonder what my list would look like? I took a shot at this back in 2012. Criterion’s been adding films monthly so my favorites list is ever-evolving. Currently I have a list of 17 must-see films from Criterion’s Collection. If you have access to Kanopy, you can see these films any time.

Reel Charlie’s 17 favorite Criterion releases (in alpha order):

All That Heaven Allows
A Christmas Tale
Desert Hearts
Fox and His Friends
Howards End
The Ice Storm
In the Mood for Love
Monsoon Wedding
My Beautiful Laundrette
A Room With a View
Rosemary’s Baby
The Times of Harvey Milk
Weekend (Haigh)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown


Honorable Mention:

Being There
Do the Right Thing
Fish Tank
Frances Ha
The Great Beauty
Grey Gardens
La haine
The Lady Eve
Mildred Pierce
Shallow Grave
Three Colors: Blue
Valley of the Dolls

Explore all Criterion films at their website.

Howards End is for sale

July 25, 2017

Peppard Cottage, the location for the 1992 Merchant Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Howards End.

The home featured in the 1992 Merchant Ivory film Howards End is up for sale. Named Pepppard Cottage, it’s a steal at just over 5 million (U.S.). From Henley Standard,

At a glance


l Bedrooms: nine

l Bathrooms: four

l Reception rooms: seven

l Other: stunning character reception hall, utility room, larder/pantry, boot room, study, cellars, two downstairs loos as well as outbuilding loos, extensive outbuildings with stables, mature gardens with orchard, swimming pool, drive way, garaging

l Land: 2.33 acres

l Space: 6,390 sq ft /
590 sq m

Guide price £3,950,000

Read the full article on Henley Standard.
I have a framed photo of this house hanging in my kitchen. No joke.
Read Reel Charlie’s glorious review of the sumptuous Howards End.

Director James Ivory (Merchant Ivory) at the NYC 30th Anniversary Screening of Maurice

May 21, 2017

What an honor to spend an evening watching the 4K remastered version of Merchant Ivory’s Maurice last night. For Maurice’s 30th Anniversary, the Quad Cinema in New York City hosted director James Ivory in a Q&A after the screening of the film. Truly a masterpiece, E.M. Forster’s adaptation felt just as fresh and necessary today as it did 30 years ago. And to think Forster and Ivory had the audacity to leave us with a hopeful ending. A sumptuous feast for romantics at heart. Always a 5 out of 5.

88 year-old James Ivory discussing the making of Merchant Ivory’s Maurice to a sold-out audience at the Quad Cinema in New York City. May 20, 2017.

Merchant Ivory’s ‘Maurice’ Gets Another Walk on the Beach (Variety)

May 19, 2017

The article, ‘Maurice’ Gets Another Walk on the Beach published in Variety is a total geekfest for film lovers and those interested in film restoration. It’s also short enough to scan and marvel at the delicacy of older film and the painstaking process some companies take to bring these masterpieces back to life for new and future generations. At the top of this list (with Criterion) is Cohen Media Group who is overseeing 30 Merchant Ivory restorations.

Read the full article at Variety.

Maurice at The Quad (NYC)

May 16, 2017

NYC peeps!

Opens Friday

New York Premiere of 30th Anniversary Restoration in 4K

A gay art cinema trailblazer about love and loss, Merchant-Ivory’s adaptation of E.M. Forster’s posthumously published novel follows a young man’s (James Wilby) struggle to come to terms with his sexual identity after his first love (Hugh Grant) abandons him for a respectable marriage.

With James Ivory in person following the 6:40pm screenings this Friday and Saturday
Reel Charlie’s got his tickets for Saturday night. See you there.
Purchase tickets.

‘Maurice’ returns to the big screen 30 years later (LA Blade)

April 29, 2017

My favorite film of all-time, Maurice returns to theaters after 30 years. From the Los Angeles Blade,

It’s been 30 years since “Maurice,” the Merchant-Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster’s posthumously published novel of gay love, made its theatrical debut.

A lot has happened across that time span, not the least of it being the rapid gains LGBT rights have made, climaxed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s approval of same-sex marriage. Two entire generations of gay men suffered the ravages of a deadly AIDS epidemic. In that context, it is striking to see the film again, given all we have achieved since its release.

On the screen many gay love stories have come in “Maurice’s” wake, the most famous being the closeted sheepherder saga “Brokeback Mountain” (2005). But that was a gay love story with an unhappy ending. Those with happy ones like “Maurice” include “Beautiful Thing” (1996), a tale of gay lower middle-class British teenagers, and “Weekend” (2011), about an adult pair of British bohemians. But none have quite the special charge of “Maurice,” stemming from its lush setting and aristocratic-commoner breeding.

E.M. Forster (1879-1970) has long been acknowledged as one of Great Britain’s greatest writers. But he was largely the subject of academic study until the 1980s, when film adaptations of his work made him popular.

Cohen Media Group has re-mastered 30 films by the legendary Merchant Ivory Productions, including Maurice, which is set for release in select theaters this month.

Read the full article at Los Angeles Blade.
Read Reel Charlie’s review of Maurice.

I’m not thrilled with the new 4K poster. It should have James Wilby front and center with Rupert Graves next to him and Hugh Grant fuzzed out in the background. Hopefully the Blu-ray will have better cover art.

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