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Curtain Call (1998) HD online

Curtain Call (1998) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Comedy / Fantasy
Original Title: Curtain Call
Director: Peter Yates
Writers: Andrew S. Karsch,Todd Alcott
Released: 1998
Duration: 1h 34min
Video type: Movie
A bachelor afraid of marriage angers his long-time girlfriend by buying a splendid townhouse just for himself, only to find it haunted by the ghosts of a famous theatrical couple, who teach him about love and commitment.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Spader James Spader - Stevenson Lowe
Polly Walker Polly Walker - Julia
Michael Caine Michael Caine - Max Gale
Maggie Smith Maggie Smith - Lily Marlowe
Buck Henry Buck Henry - Charles Van Allsburg
Sam Shepard Sam Shepard - Will Dodge
Frank Whaley Frank Whaley - Brett Conway
Marcia Gay Harden Marcia Gay Harden - Michelle Tippet
Frances Sternhagen Frances Sternhagen - Amy
Peter Maloney Peter Maloney - Maurice
Nicky Silver Nicky Silver - Lee
Phyllis Somerville Phyllis Somerville - Gladys
Julianne Nicholson Julianne Nicholson - Sandra Hewson
Susan Berman Susan Berman - Miriam
Todd Alcott Todd Alcott - Larry

Filmed for theaters, it made its U.S. debut on the Starz network.

This is Cinematographer Sven Nykvist's final film. The Swedish cameraman, who was made legendary through his collaboration with Ingmar Bergman, was already at the time of shooting, suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Final cinema film of British director Peter Yates, which predominantly premiered on video.

Re-unites Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Micheal Caine for the first time, since they co-starred in Neil Simon's California Suite (1978).

Paul Auster: during end credits.



Reviews: [22]

  • avatar

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    The executive Stevenson Lowe (James Spader) moves to New York to work in the publishing house that has belonged to his family for generations. He buys an old townhouse to live alone, disappointing his girlfriend Julia (Polly Walker) that believed they would move in together. Soon he discovers that the house is haunted by two amicable ghosts, the former theater stars from the 20's Max Gale (Michael Caine) and Lily Marlowe (Maggie Smith). Further, they are married and argue most of the time. Meanwhile, Senator Will Dodge (Sam Shepard) woos Julia and she breaks up with Stevenson. His professional and private life turns upside-down, since the publishing house decides to accept to publish commercial and shallow books; his former lover Michelle Tippet (Marcia Gay Harden) hits on him; Julia travels to Washington to meet the Senator; and the two ghosts quarrels all the time. But he learns how much he loves Julia. Will he succeed to have she back?

    "Curtain Call" is a delightful romantic comedy, one of those films that is pleasant to see more than once. The wonderful cast with James Spader, Polly Walker, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Sam Shepard and Marcia Gay Harden has a perfect chemistry and seems to have fun while performing their characters. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "Adoráveis Fantasmas" ("Lovely Ghosts")
  • avatar

    Agalen

    A fun romantic comedy with Maggie Smith and Michael Caine as charming ghosts of a formerr era. The romance of the "alive" characters is fairly formula, but it is fun to watch Smith and Caine banter as they fade in and out of reality. Nothing serious, but a great movie for lovers of the theatre, or for bibliophiles.
  • avatar

    Ucantia

    This movie was on TV the other afternoon and I decided to give it a go. I'm not usually a fan of these type of movies but I sat down to watch this willing to ignore its flaws and just be entertained.

    I was entertained. Sure, it's not laugh-out-loud funny. It's utterly predictable. It's gimmicky. That's the type of movie it is. You have to meet it on its own terms and if you do that, you're likely to have a fun time.

    James Spader stars as a selfish bachelor who buys a new luxurious house to anger his long-time girlfriend because he is afraid of commitment. When he moves in he begins to be haunted by the ghosts of two former classical actors (Michael Caine and Maggie Smith), who instill morals and so on and so forth, giving him friendly advice.

    Yeah, I know, it's a pretty lame plot, but it works - mainly thanks to Caine and Smith, whose chemistry together really sparks. I'd recommend this to anyone who's just looking for some decent entertainment, not a masterpiece of the genre or anything - just a film to help pass the time, which this does; it's not insulting and it doesn't try to be anything it isn't.
  • avatar

    Doukree

    CURTAIN CALL (2 outta 5 stars)

    Harmless, barely amusing tale of some blank-souled Yuppies who move into a house which turns out to be haunted by the spirits of a bickering husband and wife acting team (Michael Caine, Maggie Smith). James Spader plays the only person who can see them... as they continue to dispense advice... and turn his life upside down as he tries to avoid serious commitment to his long-time fiancée. Not really very funny, not really very romantic, not really very anything... just a way to kill some time. Not one of the more memorable comedies about ghosts annoying the living. Maybe with a better script the cast could have salvaged something out of it.
  • avatar

    Yananoc

    James Spader, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Julia Walker, Marcia Gay Harden, and Sam Shepard star in "Curtain Call," a 1999 film directed by Peter Yates.

    Spader plays Stevenson Lowe, a bachelor with a steady girlfriend (Walker) who buys a gorgeous old townhouse. However, he soon learns that it's haunted by its former owners, a married couple (Smith and Caine) who were theatrical stars in a past era. And even in death, they don't get along. Julia, his girlfriend, unhappy that he can't commit to her, breaks up with him, and his family publishing business is going in a direction he's not happy about. Through it all, he learns some things about love and taking a stand from his ghostly guests - though they would say he is their guest.

    This is a nice film, but formulaic, and the script isn't very strong. It's pleasant enough, and the performances are certainly good from this wonderful cast, which also includes Buck Henry and Francis Sternhagen. Although not groundbreaking, it's a pleasant way to pass the time if you're looking for light entertainment.
  • avatar

    Ubrise

    What a perfect gem of a film. It would be a mean and clumsy spirit that did not respond kindly to this wonderful confection. Above all, the expertise of a crew led by the director of The Dresser which includes actors of the calibre of Michael Cain, Maggie Smith, Sam Shepard , not to mention Peter Spader, Polly Walker and Buck Henry leaves the viewer with a sense of secure pleasure that is very rare in today's cinema. The only scene which didn't quite work for me was the confrontation scene with Shepard in Washington but everything else flowed like a premier cru. Add cinematography, wardrobe and music that add to the sense of professionalism (no wonder the house and the New Year's Eve party seem so desirable!) and you have ninety minutes of gentle good humour. Michael Cain says towards the end "they don't write tunes like this any more" but here, once again, they did make a film like those by George Cukor with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. What a Philistine society we live in now that acclaims those commercial potboilers with poor old Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts and overlooks a masterpiece like this.
  • avatar

    Valawye

    It's funny that these sort of films used to be the mainstream back in the 30s and 40s. Now they're the "small" films. First of all, I can't believe they got this cast together.Even the smallest parts have great people in them. And the camera loves few women like it loves Polly Walker. This is a film for adults. Spader's character is a book editor and the film concerns how to keep love going as you get older. Geez, no wonder it's not mainstream.
  • avatar

    Narim

    I really liked this film....admittedly not one of the top 100 of the decade but fun, light and clean enough for the entire family to watch. Maggie Smith and Michael Caine are, as usual, outstanding in their roles as fueding ghosts who have a bittersweet relationship even as ghosts. James Spader is excellent doing physical comedy. He is just having a good time in this role and the audience has a good time watching him. Great date movie. Fun and relaxing...
  • avatar

    Gandree

    The house is great. The movie is sweet, but boring. The characters are 2-dimensional (or less), and it has all been done before, and better (Topper, for example). Spader, who I usually like a lot, seems to have not a clue of what he is doing. Physical comedy by him looks clumsy, character motivation or depth is nonexistent. I did not like his character as a person or as a comedic device. Michael Caine overacted (as usual) but that is OK for the role. A pleasant hour movie that ran 1:40. I'd rent it if you are in the mood for a "chick flick", and it does have its moments when Spader is not on center stage. But it could have been a whole lot better!
  • avatar

    Wrathmaster

    I caught this on TV the other night and am so sorry I wasted my time. This was a boring, completely predictable, stupid movie. I thought it was going to be good and was looking forward to watching it considering all the great talent, but the story was awful and jokes were so lame. The writing wasn't clever at all. I'm sure that Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, and James Spader have this turkey on the "Ones I'd Like to Forget" list. These are all terrific actors and usually make great movies. How did all these good actors get roped into this fiasco? I guess it must have looked good on paper. My advice is to avoid this movie at all costs, unless you are looking for something that will put you to sleep.
  • avatar

    Moonshaper

    Stevenson is a young publishing executive. He buys a house with his girlfriend despite he non-committal nature of their relationship. His problems are made worst by the discovery of two bickering ghost sharing his house. However when his girlfriend leaves him, they help him win her back and teach him about lasting love.

    This wants to be a romantic comedy about eternal love. However it fails in two areas – romance and comedy. The story is very simple – man loses girl, man meets ghosts, ghosts help win back girl. However it feels so heavy you'd think you're watching War & Peace. This effect isn't helped by the total lack of laughs in this `comedy'. Few if any of the lines are funny (mainly because they totally lack any sort of charm or wit) but what makes it worse is that the actors are playing to the laughs! There are plenty of scenes where gaps seem to have been left in dialogue or in routines to allow the audience to finish rolling in the aisles. These may only be a split second long, but in the absence of laughter they feel longer.

    I watched this with another Caine comedy – `Without a Clue'. That was average as well but his performance really lifted it. Here he can't do the same – his character is charmless and occasionally resorts to mugging to get by (witness his dancing after returning from Rio). Similarly Maggie Smith has nothing to do and feels too snobbish to be likeable. The relationship between the two is also dry and it's unfortunate that their `eternal' relationship is supposed to be the model for true love. Spader, who can do good given the chance, seems totally out of his depth with his two classy co-stars. He resorts to doing some sort of sub-par Hugh Grant impersonation – full of stuttering and blinking when under pressure, except he can't make it seem charming in the same way that Grant can (when he's on form) and his character quickly becomes shallow and uninteresting.

    The film collapses to a happy ending at a new years party – but by then any interest I had in the characters had evaporated. The film is only about 90 minutes long – but it felt like 3 hours, every scene felt dull and dragged out.

    Overall, even with Caine, Smith and Sam Shepherd filling out an impressive cast list – this totally fails to impress. It's not that it's the worst film ever made – but it's an average story, with average characters, average performances and comedy that totally misses the mark. The end result? A dull, unfunny film that is impossible to care about or enjoy.
  • avatar

    Cerar

    if it weren't for the incredible talent that both MAGGIE SMITH and MICHAEL CAINE possess this movie would not be worth watching. seeing them both together is an ABSOLUTE TREAT. maggie smith is a genius, if she wants to make you laugh she makes you laugh, if she wants to make you think she makes you think and if she wants to make you sad she makes you sad - and often she can do this all in one scene. james spader doesn't seem to know what to do most of the time and that polly walker takes herself much too seriously... she looks good but come on - stop acting like you LOOK GOOD and start acting like a real person. the story itself seems to go in too many directions at once. there are so many elements you WISH were more developped and are not.
  • avatar

    happy light

    One would think that with this excellent cast, a film maker could create somewhat of a classic. That didn't happen in this case. James Spader is a brilliant and natural actor, but he just can't pull off romantic comedy. This film reminded me of the plot of "Topper" where the poor bumbling fool is haunted by married ghosts in their former home. Spader looked totally lost when it came to delivering his lines, and the ghosts (Michael Caine and Maggie Smith) were an old couple who were typically snippy with each other during the duration of the film in a feeble attempt to create comedic situations. If you're planning to see this one because of the cast, please invest your time in some other movie.
  • avatar

    Gaudiker

    Romantic comedy's are hard to do well;"Curtain Call" succeeds better than most. It has a sweet taste to it, corny and a bit slow paced but its good for that day when you just want a fun film to entertain you. Good actors charm,with Michael Caine and Maggie Smith in fine form this movie is fun to watch. The supporting cast is strong but not given enough to do and includes Sam Shepard, Marcia Gay Hardin and Buck Henry in a comedic turn. The core of the film is Caine and Smith as two wisecracking ghosts, who even after death, cannot seem make peace with each other. You want blood, guts, horror, cursing and swearing find another movie. Your family can watch and enjoy this movie with few regrets and have a good time. There is no nudity and my only caution with be some cursing in one scene. James Spader, a truly good actor play a befuddled bachelor who eventually finds out whats important in life,with the help of two bickering ghosts ,from a time long past, but still warm in memory. Try it you should like it.
  • avatar

    santa

    A delightful light comedy in the "Why am I the only seeing these ghosts" genre. James Spader plays a publisher only remotely in contact with this life, until he moves into the house of two Broadway ghosts (Smith and Caine). With the dubious help of this quarrelsome couple who carried their stage personae into their private lives and then into their deaths, Spader works out not only his own problems, but those of the ghosts as well.
  • avatar

    Daigami

    Spader silly and annoying; plot hackneyed; Walker and the house gorgeous, especially the old wood. Boring overall. Not as comedic as it intends Don't bother to see it
  • avatar

    Heri

    Though I originally was unsure of renting this movie, it was well worth the money. Though the movie appears not to be anything special, it is an especially sweet, though at times trite, movie. A great date movie.
  • avatar

    Breder

    Curtain Call was very well casted. The chemistry of the actors and actresses flowed from the screen into your heart, by reminding you of the time you tried to give an explanation of the unexplainable, such as 'I swear what I saw was a U.F.O.,' and trying to explain, but not being able to find the right words in order to explain. This film was witty, as well as embracingly charming. Curtain Call had that unrealistic nature, yet it was imaginative. That's what gives this movie it's charm!
  • avatar

    Kale

    I am a James Spader fan, and based on his being in this film, along with Michael Caine, I went ahead and rented it. Unfortunately, the movie was so lame that I gave up on it half way through.

    Spader's acting suggested he had his mind on other things the entire time he was on screen. And the pacing and editing almost seemed random with very little driving the narrative.

    As I watched this tripe, I thought of the expression that "nature abhors a vacuum"...well I believe nature would abhor this as well, since a vacuum and this movie both suck.
  • avatar

    doesnt Do You

    James Spader is always fun to watch and he is the only reason I rented this movie. He seemed to spend all his time chasing his girlfriend begging her to listen and she just kept running away. Add in two ghosts that only he can see and you've got the idea behind the movie. The ghosts are played well by Michael Caine & Maggie Smith. If you are a Spader fan, it's worth watching, once, otherwise don't bother.
  • avatar

    hulk

    This movie has a good cast although one would think from the way James Spader acts that the Director really wanted Hugh Grant for the part. Indeed the actress playing his girlfriend looks a lot like Elizabeth Hurley. She has an accent that hints of Julie Christie from "Heaven Can Wait." This movie is not in that league either. A previous reviewer emphasized how nice the house was. If anything the house should have had the leading role. Maggie Smith and Michael Caine overacted in the context of their roles as old thespians but with such a lame script even those greats couldn't do much with it. Behind their professionalism was the hint that even the greats have to appear in stinkers sometimes.
  • avatar

    Mezilabar

    I liked this movie! It's not perfect - James Spader is a little too clumsy, and it's a bit too predictable, but it's fun and Michael Caine is great. Anyway, I'm looking for a quote from the movie when James Spader's character is talking to the new board of his company about books. He describes books as worlds that can completely capture the reader. I'd love to get his whole speech to the board from the scene... if anyone's got it or would be willing to transcribe it for me, email it to me

    Thanks!

    Elisabeth