Moments of escape can be moments of clarity!

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

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"If it's a pinky promise...I'm a bit scared

It's time for one of my 50 favorite movies. This week it's 2007's "EASTERN PROMISES"

Anna (Naomi Watts) is a midwife at a hospital in London. One evening she delivers the baby of a 14 year old Russian girl who dies during the birth, leaving the baby without a name or a family. Anna wants to keeps the baby from the foster care system by finding the girls family. Her only clue is a diary written in Russian she finds in the young girl's purse.
Even though Anna herself is Russian, her grasp of the language is minimal. She decides to have the diary translated. She takes it to a Russian restaurant whose card she finds tucked within the diary.
That one decision catapults Anna into the dangerous world of the bratva. Her steadfast advocacy and foolhardy over-confidence renders her oblivious to the jeopardy she has put herself in. 
When she crosses paths with Nickolai (Viggo Mortensen), the driver and "clean-up man" for the family, she finally realizes her mistake and the threat becomes all too real.
"EASTERN PROMISES" is a dark, violent glimpse into Russian organized crime and human nature. A view of the lengths that people will go to retain a sense of belonging.
There are brief moments of charity and grasping towards goodness to thwart the unending violence.
Viggo Mortensen's performance was electric. His ability to absorb a character and reflect it back flawlessly & convincingly is a wonder to behold. I believed every word he uttered. It was mesmerizing. Vincent Cassel plays Kirill, Nikolai's boss. He played his pitiful character to perfection. You were equally drawn in and repelled.
No doubt , "EASTERN PROMISES" is not for everyone. It is gritty & extremely violent, but so is the subject matter.
I think the reason "EASTERN PROMISES" is on my 50 favorite list is the depth of character development and cleverly written story. Grant it, the violence is in your face, but the story requires it. Also it does have an unexpected twist that was brilliantly concealed.
Viggo Mortensen was top notch. I don't think anyone else could make a naked, fight to the death a teeny bit sexy. (What can I say?)
"EASTERN PROMISES' is not for the faint of heart, or the squeamish. But if you are game for a gritty romp..have at it.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bits & Bobs

It's Bits & Bobs time again. Sometimes it takes me a bit to regain my discipline.  I promise this blog post will be less ranty. Just a chat about books, music & acting.

I am still diligently working towards my ASL certification. I am currently working with an online finger spelling course to improve my reading skills. Other than that, it is practice, practice, practice. I hope to return to University in January.

On the acting front. I just finished a course on "Interactive Acting", a fantastic class. I'm strappin' on my tool belt. I currently have two electric company commercials running, but you will only recognize me if you really know me well. I hope to continue with some Acting workshops this winter. In the Spring I will be involved in the Playwrights festival again. Whatever comes my way is a blessing.

Now onto the business of reading (and a lovely business it is). I have just finished Lisa Gardner's "Say Goodbye". It was fantastically creepy. I promptly devoured it in three days. For me, the sign of a great book is when I put it down, I am already thinking about how soon I will be able to pick it up again. "Say Goodbye" is in that category.
Kimberley Quincy lives and breathes the FBI. She is an agent who works tirelessly & diligently and until the job is done. She learned from her father: an FBI profiler. Her husband Mac understands her all too well. He works for the ATF. A match made in heaven. They feel they have the formula for marriage success. Kimberley is now pregnant with their first child. She knows their are decisions to be made, but all that is put on the back burner when she is called in to speak to  Delilah Rose: a prostitute who believes that a serial killer prowls amongst her kind and her friends are disappearing. Kimberly is distrustful of Delilah, but none the less feels drawn to this case. After all her own mother and sister were victims of a serial killer. Her need to see this case through and her association with Delilah, leads Kimberly down a terrifying road of torture, murder, child abduction and the creepy, crawly kind of serial killer that profilers write about. She finds her marriage, pregnancy and life in danger.
Lisa Gardner flawlessly does it again. I didn't want "Say Goodbye" to end, but alas I couldn't put it down.
U.K cover

I have moved on to my next read, but if you're like me, sometimes you have trouble picking your next read. If you love mysteries, I have the perfect book.
While I was in Dublin, I attended a book launch for my fave writer & friend John Connolly. It is a compilation of essays by mystery writers about their favorite mysteries. An dictionary of ...mystery.  It's called BOOKS TO DIE FOR. It's edited by John &  writer Declan Burke. Now instead of wandering about the bookstores wondering what to read. You can simply open up BOOKS TO DIE FOR and you can read about 122 different books and open up 122 possibilities and make 122 new friends or perhaps rediscover some old friends.
U.S. cover

I can't close without letting you know what moves me lately on the musical realm. I have gone either quite senile or quite nostalgic. take your pick. I have been drawn to the heavenly strains of Led Zeppelin & The Band. As a drummer I am rather fond of the magic of John Bonham & Levon Helm. Ahh taste the magic. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012


This weeks Reel is 2006's THE FALL. I approached this film reluctantly, because I am not a fan of films that bounce back in forth between two different storylines.
My daughter convinced me to give it a try.
I'm so very glad I did. THE FALL takes place in 1920's Los Angeles. Roy Walker (Lee Pace) a stuntman is paralyzed in an accident and is recuperating in a hospital.He is anti-social and despondent over his injuries. Alexandria  (Cantica Untaru) is a 9 year old , who is also recovering from a fall. She is intrigued by the mystery that surrounds Roy. The doctors who come to his bed, whispering, and the seemingly famous people who drop by.
All day long the nurses attentions are fixed squarely on the adults recuperating around her. Alexandria is left to her own devices most of the day. Unable to contain her curiosity, she slips into the adult ward to visit Roy. At first he finds her a nuisance, but slowly he draws her to him with a daily weaving of tales. His stories excite her with their color & whimsey.

 Tarem Singh,   the Director of THE FALL, draws you into the tales with overly bright  & vivid  colors and child-like dialogue. You see the story through Alexandria's eyes.
Roy's daily tales bring joy to Alexandria's otherwise dull & boring hospital stay.
He plies her with cliffhangers to leave her wanting more. He has his own selfish reasons for gaining her confidence. 
Cantica Untaru is magical as Alexandria. Her exuberance & innocence is intoxicating. She was a wonder.
Lee Pace's Roy was played brilliantly. I found myself as drawn to him as Alexandria was. But as an adult I was keen to his deceptions. It was a subtle dramatic irony, a slow dawning. At times I found him calculating & manipulative, but I started to see him through Alexandria's eyes and he was transformed.
THE FALL was part love story, part fable. A vivid wondrous journey through the eyes of an enchanting 9 year old.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Special Bits & Bobs (A TD Bank Rant)

Today I still sit seething as I go over my frustrating day spent trying to get the answer to a simple question from TD Bank. The question? "Why are you taking $4.00 a month out of my savings & checking accounts  and calling it a "maintenance fee". What are you maintaining? You are taking my hard-earned money and keeping it for yourself. Because I am too poor to maintain a $250 balance? Does that make sense? You are taking my money, that you did not earn and pocketing it. Their answer? "It's our policy: They simply repeated it over and over like a mantra.
My savings account earns between 2 & 3 cents a month and they take $4.00. People who maintain a balance between $250 & $2,000 are charged no "maintenance Fees" Try to figure that one out. The poorer you are, the more fees you are charged. If it is truly a "maintenance fee" it should be across the board not just for people with less money. Call it what it is : it is a Penalty Fee for not having enough money
I work in the mental health field. We work with the Homeless & indigent. The people with the least. The federal government gives them a check for $10 every month.To cover things like toothpaste or a pair of socks. Things not covered by food stamps. Most have no bank accounts. TD Bank will cash that $10 check: for a non bank fee of $5.

What kind of system is this. I have banked at TD for 30 years, through all their various incarnations. I am angry and stupefied. I just bought 5 boxes of checks last month. Can I afford to lose the $60 I paid for them? I may have to.
TD Bank is not a bank I would recommend to anyone.
How dare Mitt Romney say that Corporations are people. If so they are people with no souls.
I will reblog this post daily....into perpetuity so that as many people as humanly possible can read it.  By the way TD Bank gave me back $9 in fees, which next month they will take back $4........

Monday, October 1, 2012

"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...."

After my fantastic Dublin adventure, it's back to business as usual. It's Reel of the Week time. My Reel for this week is 1993's "Untamed Heart". It's taken from my list of all time favorite movies. "Untamed Heart" is a movie I reach for at least once a year, sometimes twice. It's a yummy, quirky love story. My go-to film if I need a good cry.

Marisa Tomei is Caroline, a waitress working the night shift. She's a hopeless romantic, looking for love and forever hopeful. She works at Jim's Diner with Cindy (Rosie Perez). They are sisterly BFF's  at Jim's, where regulars and employees commiserate and hold each other up like family.
Adam (Christian Slater), the dishwasher is a mystery. He faithfully does his job day in and day out speaking not a word. Rumors fly left and right about who he really is and where he comes from, but he is embraced by this family, because dysfunction is just part of being in a family.
When Caroline & Adam are thrown together during a life-altering moment in Caroline's life. She finds a deep well in which to pour all her hopes & dreams of happy endings. Adam finds his voice. As they navigate what is new territory. Adam's painful past and recent events from Caroline's life collide, their future happiness is threatened.
I don't know why "Untamed Heart" moves me. I will admit there are cheesy moments, but everyone involved plays their part so convincingly I'm pulled in. I just feel so good when I'm watching it, even through my "My god are you crying AGAIN" tears. 
Christian Slater was perfectly pitiful, sexy and puppyish as Adam. Marisa Tomei was totally in her element.  Even though at times her laugh bordered on annoying.
All in all "Untamed Heart" moves me, woos me every time I watch it. It remains my go to tear-jerker. Sometimes a girl's just gotta cry!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Do in Dublin, Last Day

I arrived back home very late  last night. It was just as surreal coming home as it was arriving in Dublin. I kept saying to myself as I headed closer & closer to home, "I was in Ireland just this morning". Just a few pictures, kinda a look over my shoulder as I blew a kiss to Dublin. A last breakfast at "Bewleys", a street performer from my last walk down Grafton Street, my hotel room,the street I stayed on, and my last Irish/English sign. I learned so much about myself on this trip. You are in charge of every moment, every decision. You have to come out of yourself, speak up, speak to strangers, find your way and I loved that. I made new friends and learned new things. Dublin was a kind and loving teacher who I hope to see again.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Do in Dublin Days 7 & 8

My Glorious days in Dublin are starting to wind down. I combined 7 & 8 because I was too tired to upload the photos from Day 7 until today. I spent day 7 leisurely. I slept late and headed to my beloved "Bewley's" I have fallen in love with the atmosphere and history of that cafe. It's been open since the 1700's. I took some pics of the memorbilia on the wall. I loved the poem written about 'Bewely's". If you can't read it. Here it is:
                                           Bewley's I have boasted of your roasting coffee
                                            I have told the thirsty travellers,
                                            that seek the way. To make for fabled
                                            Oriental cafe, settle down to heaven for
                                            the day.
                                            I didn't mean to seem a statue
                                            milky white & overripe,staring blindly at you.
                                            I am dull until you find me fascinating.
                                            Why bother, when beside you sits
                                            a thousand-eater bedlam
                                            locked inside my talk of Bewley's
                                            scene of all my finest failures.
                                            She has never haunted me or taunted me for lies
It will be among my fondest memories.  After lunch I headed for the little museum of Dublin. This museum covers just the 1900's. It was quaint and for such a small museum it was stocked with history. They devoted on a whole room to the history of the band U2.
On Day 8, I finally had victory in getting to St. Michan's. It was a fantastic crescendo to my visit. Our tour guide Rory was appropriately mysterious & creepy when describing the church & the vaults containing the mummified remains of many of Dublin's most influential 17th, 18th & 19th century families. 
There aren't many pictures, because we weren't supposed to take pics, but I did'nt know. When I found out I stopped. It was one of the more fascinating tours of my trip. We got to rub the hand of one of the soldiers encrypted there. It's supposed to be good luck.
I took more pics of the fabulous architecture of Dublin. The buildings are so beautiful. I took some pics of the horses who take tourists around town, especially for my sister. Horsey pictures.
Tomorrow I start the packing process, and get ready to leave my beloved Dublin. I have fallen in love.