No. of Recommendations: 1
"Quartet": This is pretty much "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" set to music, and without the flowers. A retirement home for musicians is the setting, a retired diva arrives and much confusion and hilarity ensues as she meets former rivals and a former husband, none of whom are particularly happy to see her. A "Snidley Whiplash is about to foreclose the mortgage" plot contrivance adds nothing more than it has in countless "Our Gang" serials and "Bikini Car Wash" or "Burlesque" movies ("Hey everybody! Let's put on a show and raise the money!"), but otherwise it's a pleasant enough film and good excuse to watch Maggie Smith take yet another final turn before parts run out for actors of her era.

"Side Effects" is a suspense film that requires little from the viewer for the first 2/3 of the movie, and then those nagging questions begin to creep in like "Wait, does that make sense?" and "Hang on, how did that part happen?" until at the end you're wondering if it's you or the scriptwriter who went on a peyote high. And that's a shame, because it had echoes of the tension of "Fatal Attraction" or "Chinatown" (without the noir) before it went off the rails. Mrs. Goofy liked it more than I did, but as she thought about for the next half-hour, the same plot holes began to open for her as well. Great performances by Jude Law and Rooney Mara.

"Chasing Ice" is the story of glaciers. Or glaciers receding, actually. It's a brief documentary trailing scientist James Balog as he follows the disappearing ice over several years, using untried, untested, and sometimes unsuccessful technology to document how far and how fast the ice sheets have receded all over the planet. He concentrates on a few dozen locations in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Montana and, uh, I forget, but suffice it to say that the ice pictures (and there are not enough of them) are sometimes startling. One statistic which I did not write down, and so my numbers are not perfect, is that there are several hundred glaciers around the world. Warming skeptics point to the fact that some of them are actually increasing, which is true. Four. Twenty or so have stayed the same over the past decade or two. The other hundreds are all shrinking, sometimes shockingly fast.

The story could be better told, in my opinion, with less footage of the explorers and more of the ice, but it's a small complaint. Worth seeing, although I suspect it will largely preach to the choir.
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