Moments of escape can be moments of clarity!

"Oh, had I but followed the Arts"-William Shakespeare

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Excitement and Adventure, not Lion !

The Reel of the week is 1997's "The Ghost and the Darkness". It's the true story  of the 1896 "Lions of Tsavo"
Val Kilmer plays Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson a construction engineer who is hired to build a bridge in Tsavo, Kenya for the British Railway. During the building of the bridge workers are attacked again and again by a pair of rampaging Lions. This brings the project to a complete standstill. Patterson is unable to restore calm, and the workers refuse to continue so long as the attacks continue.
Patterson needs help, which comes in the personage of big game hunter Charles Remington (Michael Douglas) who has loved Africa and hunted in Africa for decades.
The two embark on a quest to rid Tsavo of the man eaters and finish the bridge.
I found the movie riveting. There was tension galore and all the characters were fully formed so that you really felt for their plight. Michael Douglas (Remington) gave a rousing performance, I was taken in by his swash-buckling personality, Val Kilmer (Patterson) was captivating  as Patterson, not to mention oozing sensuality.
You totally understand why his wife missed him. She did not leave him out in the bush alone for very long.
this movie was an exciting little Gem. If you missed it in 1997, rent it tonight.

After watching this movie I wanted to read about the real story. I recommend "The Man-eating Lions of Tsavo" written by the real Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson, recounting his experience, written in 1925.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Super Summer

My fingers trembled at the thought. A movie with the names J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Cloverfield,  Armageddon) and Steven Spielberg (E.T, Schindler's List, True Grit). So I was there , first show, first day, popcorn in hand. The advertisements for "Super 8" were vague, you don't really know what it's about, but you want to know. I'm not a fan of Spoilers because I like to experience the film first hand. Which makes it a little difficult to review this movie. It's about a group of friends in 1979 who decide to enter a  movie making  contest. While filming the movie they end up witnessing a train crash and filming it by accident.. That moment,changes their town and their lives forever. The 1979 feel of the film was so spot on, I found myself waxing nostalgic. I was mesmerized from the very beginning. You just couldn't  wait to find out what was going on. The young actors who played the group of friends (Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths ,Ryan Lee, Elle Fanning and all the others) were enchanting. There was humour, excitement and tender moments. It was like a coming of age movie, an amalgamation of  "Stand by Me", "Goonies","Alien" and "E.T" all in one. It worked, I was drawn into the story.  If I had one complaint it would be that the ending was a little abrupt and , let's see how can I say this without spoiling the magic of discovery.  I'll just say , why wasn't what was sought rescued and used and why wasn't their a final encounter? There... WHEW. See it, you'll get it. It was worth the popcorn. It was Super!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

An afternoon with Ivy

My Reel of the week is 1968's "For the love of Ivy"  Ivy (Abby Lincoln) is a black maid, who has worked for Frank (Carroll O'Connor) and Doris (Nan Martin) Austin for 9 years. She starts to realize that if she doesn't change things, this will be the story of her life. So she decides to quit her job, move to the city, and go to secretarial school.
Needless to say Mr. and Mrs. Austin are upset. Mrs. Austin proclaiming, "You're part of the family"  (Which is a unique delusion, I mean she never sits at their table, doesn't spend holidays with them. Cleans their house, cooks their dinner, does their laundry, serves dinner and they pay her...I think that's a maid. Ahhh  the 60's, oh wait, things haven't changed.) The  teenage children Tim (Beau Bridges) and Gena (Lauri Peters) are devastated. The kids decide to hatch a plot to keep Ivy from leaving. They believe all she needs is the distraction of male companionship.  Tim decides to bribe Jack Sparks,played brilliantly by Sidney Poitier into asking Ivy out . Jack owns a trucking company that does business with Tim's Dad. Tim knows Jack is a playboy who is not interested in marriage so their is no danger of him taking their beloved Ivy away from them.
The situation becomes sticky when Ivy falls hard for Jack. This has disastrous results when Ivy learns of the Bribery.
A simple story, but it is elevated by superb performances by Sidney Poitier, Beau Bridges and Abby Lincoln.
 A lazy afternoon spent loving Ivy.