FlixChatter Review: Interlude in Prague (2017)

I had heard about this film when it was still development a few years ago. Having visited both Vienna AND Prague a few years ago, naturally I’m intrigued to see this as it was filmed on location.

I know that many viewers and critics would compare this movie to the Oscar-winning Amadeus. Now, not only that it isn’t really fair, but it’s also not really accurate as this one isn’t so much a biopic, but focuses more on Mozart’s time in Prague in 1786, so no Antonio Salieri in sight here. Director Brian Ashby, who co-wrote the screenplay with John Stephenson fuses real-life elements with fictitious events, that is a scandal involving the woman he was having an affair with while he was in Prague. Supposedly the event inspired his work in ‘Don Giovanni,’ which in actuality was based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer.

Mozart’s arrival in Prague was quite highly-anticipated by the elite society in Prague, at least those who gathered at Baron Saloka’s lavish dinner party. The talented James Purefoy portrayed Saloka with such an air of arrogant pomposity that seemed intriguing at first. The baron wasn’t as enthused about the musical genius, but he decided he’d invite Mozart to Prague anyway. Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard, who I think is a musically-gifted actor, is wonderfully-cast as Mozart. Being that he was in his early 30s during filming, he’s also age-appropriate for the role and he brought a fun, playful take to the music maestro who’s got a reputation for being a flirt and a womanizer.

I’ve actually never seen Samantha Barks before (though most people might have seen her in 2012 Les Misérables), but I quite like her as Josefa Duchek. I do know she can sing and her beautiful operatic voice is on display here. Morfydd Clark, whom I saw in Love & Friendship a few years ago, also got to sing in this movie as Zuzanna Lubtak, the woman Mozart has an affair with.

It’s Purefoy’s Baron Saloka who I think is the weakest part of this film, and it’s not a dis to the talented actor’s performance. On the contrary, I think the actor’s acting still saved the poorly-written and one-dimensional character. The baron just seemed evil for evil’s sake, but his motivation isn’t clear or well-explored at all. I think part of it it’s the film’s identity crisis, if you will. It tries to be a musical drama as well as a murder mystery thriller, but the latter is so undercooked given the lack of suspense.

Despite the flaws though, I still quite enjoy watching this film as I like Mozart’s music and am a fan of the period drama genre. Visually, the movie is beautiful to–the production design, set pieces and costumes are meticulously designed. The fact that it’s filmed on location, both indoor and outdoor, certainly lends authenticity and the cinematography by Michael Brewster is quite stunning.

If you’re a classical music fan, you might enjoy this one. There are certainly plenty of scenes of Mozart composing music and conducting his work, so clearly the filmmakers have huge admiration for the musical genius. The filmmaker’s idea of reimagining the events in Prague as his inspiration for Don Giovanni perhaps sounds good on paper, but somehow it doesn’t turn out as compelling as it could have been.


Have you seen Interlude in Prague? Well, what did you think?

OCTOBER 2020 Viewing Recap + Movie of the Month

Happy first Monday in November! It’s also the day before the general election… which means we’re truly at a tipping point in the United States. I have to say it’s a bit of an unsettling time for me. I mean, election is always a very interesting time, but more so this year than ever… not only because it’s the first time election happens during a Pandemic in a looong time, but also because of how divided this country is.

In any case, this is a film blog and so I’m going to keep the focus about movies. Hey, we all need escapism during these strange times, don’t you? Well, I’m glad Twin Cities Film Fest went ahead with its first ever hybrid film festival, which means I saw movies online AND at the theater. I actually went to the theater three times in a week, which is unusual in itself given the time we live in now, but Covid protocols were followed carefully with temperature-checking, seatings arranged at least six-feet apart and vigorous theater cleaning. I certainly felt safe going to the movies, though I understand some people might not feel comfortable going just yet.

Anyway, here’s my recap:

New-to-me Movies

The Wine of Summer

I only watched it for Ethan Peck… and the Italian scenery. It’s got an intriguing premise that promises mystery and romance, but the execution is lacking both. Elsa Pataky and Sônia Braga are both alluring women but they’re given barely anything to do. Marcia Gay Harden is also criminally-underutilized as a drama teacher. Now, Ethan has the looks of his famous grandfather Gregory Peck but not quite the talents, but perhaps he just needs the right role

Kissing Booth 2

Maisie Richardson-Sellers – deserves sooo much better than this movie!

I have to admit I only watched this as I’m curious to see Maisie Richardson-Sellers in a supporting role. Oh man, this movie is absolutely awful that I could barely finish it. I fast-forwarded so much of it and STILL it felt too long. So pointless and full of ridiculous and annoying characters, I can’t believe there are TWO of this garbage masquerading as a film, ugh. I’m surprised at the 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it should’ve been waaaay lower than that!!

Interlude in Prague

Having just visited both Vienna AND Prague last year, naturally I’m intrigued to see this as it was filmed on location. Naturally it’s going to be compared to Amadeus but this historical fiction actually focuses more on Mozart’s time in Prague and imagines a scandal involving the woman he’s having an affair with which supposedly inspires his work in ‘Don Giovanni.’

I might review it in details later but I must say the murder-mystery aspect isn’t as suspenseful as it could be and there’s actually a lot more focus on Mozart working on his music. I do enjoy watching Aneurin Barnard‘s (who’s a musically-gifted actor himself) playful and emotional take of the music maestro, while the talented James Purefoy deserves so much better than a vile, one-dimensional evil baron. I’d imagine it’s still worth a watch for Mozart fans however.

Hollywood Fringe (read my review)

Born Just Now (read my review)

Sylvie’s Love

I had the privilege of seeing this at Twin Cities Film Fest (TCFF). It’s a charming romance that’s beautifully shot and wonderfully-acted, but I have some issues with the narrative. It has a bit of a La La Land vibe given the music-themed. I’ll review it in more in depth later in December as it gets closer to its release date.

Rebecca

Well, despite the supremely beautiful cast (Armie Hammer and Lily James look ravishing in period costumes) and gorgeous Monte Carlo and English scenery, this film just lacked the mystery/intrigue of the Hitchcock version. It’s still worth a watch for the cast, especially Kristin Scott-Thomas as Mrs. Danvers, but I feel like it doesn’t really give us a compelling reason to exist.

Sold Out

I actually saw this film sort of by accident, but I’m glad I did as I really enjoyed it! I have written the review already but will post it at a later date as I’m hoping to interview the filmmaker as well. All I can say for now is watch out for Kelsey McMahon, such a talented performer!!

Uncle Frank

It’s one of the three films I saw on the big screen at TCFF and I practically went to see it blind, not knowing anything about the story other than it stars Paul Bettany and Steve Zahn. All you need to know is this: Frank Bledsoe (Bettany) and his 18-year-old niece Beth take a road trip from Manhattan to Creekville, South Carolina for the family patriarch’s funeral. I’ll review it closer to Thanksgiving which is the date it’ll drop on Amazon Prime.

Nomadland

You’ve likely read about this here if you read my blog regularly. I’m a big fan of Chloe Zhao and this is another reflective, thought-provoking film she wrote & directed, starring Frances McDormand. It’s a rather slow film with not much going on, but definitely a fascinating film nonetheless as we follow a woman in her 60s living as a modern-day nomad in her rackety van.


TV Series

I haven’t even seen the original Perry Mason series but I LOVE this one and it’s a compelling, well-crafted origin series on how the titular character became the defense attorney he’s known for. Matthew Rhys is truly one of the best, most-underrated actors working today… he reminds me of another criminally-underrated Welshman who should be a much bigger star than he is, Timothy Dalton.

My hubby and I had been wanting to binge on The Expanse for a while and we finally started it a few weeks ago. Soooo good!! We finished two seasons in under two weeks and it just keeps getting better and better. We definitely will be on track to catch up on all four seasons before season 5 hits on December 15. Can’t wait!!

On the flip side, I’ve only managed to see one episode of Emily in Paris and I don’t even know if I want to watch anymore. It’s just so superficial, clichéd, silly and kind of insulting to French people or anyone who’s even been to Paris! There’s less froth in this show than even in your regular Starbucks latte! Morceau de merde!


Rewatches

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Not too many rewatches this month but I did see two of my favorite Jane Austen films, Persuasion and Sense & Sensibility with some friends, which is always a lovely time. The only horror-related movie I saw the entire October was Sleepy Hollow, which isn’t that scary but I just love the production design of Tim Burton’s classic, and I find it much more comical than I originally did. I mean, what’s with the sharp teeth of the Hessian aka the Headless Horseman. Poor Christopher Walken must’ve bitten himself so many times wearing those fake teeth!

After I saw Interlude in Prague, I rewatched Hunky Dory again as I just love Aneurin Barnard‘s voice. I’d love to see him in a huge Hollywood musical similar to The Greatest Showman or Singing In The Rain as this Welshman (yes I have a thing for the Welsh don’t I?) can act AND belt a tune!


MOVIE OF THE MONTH

Now, even though I’m not as in love with NOMADLAND as I thought I would, I still think it’s the best film I saw this month and I can see why it’s winning rave reviews all over major festivals. Such glorious visuals with a quiet, meditative grace. I’ll do a proper review of this sometime in December.


Well, what have you been watching in October? What’s YOUR fave movie you saw last month?