Moments of escape can be moments of clarity!

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

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Looks can be deceiving

My Reel of the week is 2007"s "Run fat boy Run". When I first picked out the DVD, I was a little leery. I thought , I hope it doesn't rely on tired fat jokes and lame humor with absolutely no plot line. I was pleasantly surprised. I am not a huge comedy movie person, but I have never laughed as much at any movie. It's wonderful when you find a movie that is laugh out loud funny, but also has heart.
Simon Pegg plays the part of Dennis an average working class guy who is deeply in love with Libby (Thandie Newton). Libby gets pregnant, so they decide to get married. On the wedding day Dennis gets a major case of the jitters, escapes out the bedroom window, leaving Libby jilted at the altar. Fast forward 5 years. Dennis is a security guard at a lingerie store, living in a basement apartment. Libby has moved on and is in a new relationship. Dennis seems to be frozen in time. He does have a relationship with his son, who loves him unconditionally, more than Dennis loves himself. Libby's new love is everything Dennis is not , confident ,charming ,handsome and fit. He also runs marathons,which Dennis can't seem to wrap his head around. Dennis decides to whip himself into shape and win back the respect and maybe even the love of Libby by entering a marathon and finishing something for the first time in his life.
Simon Pegg has a charm and innocence, which shows in his acting, also a bit of bad boy randiness. He and Thandie Newton have a palpable chemistry that jumps off the screen. The movie is full of quirky lovable characters like Libby's cousin and Dennis' best friend  Gordon played hysterically by Dylan Moran and Dennis' landlord Mr. Goshdashtidar played by Harish Patel who gives Dennis fatherly advice.
Dennis' decision to run a marathon, turns out to be not only a run to the finish line, but a run for redemption and possibly the love he never thought he deserved.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gettin' my gadgety on!

My Reel of the Week is "Mission Impossible 4: Ghost protocol" In order for me to lay out my VERY hard earned cash to go see a movie, it has to have real promise. I was enticed not so much by Tom Cruise (really , not at all) but by Simon Pegg and Paula Patton.
The movie opens with Ethan Hunt (Cruise) languishing in a Russian prison. Below the prison, his team is gadgeting about trying to break him out.
Dunn (Pegg) is the computer geek, Carter (Patton) is the explosives ninja. They come to the rescue and with Mission Impossible tricks, gadgets and lights & mirrors, Ethan is freed. 
The team is off and running, their mission (Should they choose to accept it.) is to break into the Kremlin and steal the launch codes for Russia's nuclear bombs. Unbeknownst to Ethan & his team, a nuclear zealot is also after the codes. The action filled race is on.
M4 has all the best of it's predecessors. It was full of fast cars, gadgets (love that word,can you tell?), scary heights, disguises and camera tricks. It was a carnival ride worth wating in line for.
Tom Cruise was Tom Cruise, nothing new there. but I appreciated and enjoyed the fact that he continues to do his own stunts. Impressive, but he never quite lets you forget he's Tom Cruise.  Jeremy Renner (Brandt) was a welcome addition to the cast and added depth to the storyline. Simon Pegg (Dunn) took me from chortling to guffawing out loud. Paula Patton (Carter) held her own amongst all the testosterone. She fought like a true ninja and I loved it. It was also refreshing to see a strong Black women still alive at the end of the movie. I haven't seen that since Sanaa Lathan took on Predator in "Predator vs Alien"
M4 was great fun. I think I'd pay to see M5. with a repeat of this cast. Come on you know it's coming!

Bits & Bobs

Happy New Year! It's out with the old (2 weeks ago) In in with the new, but I must say the end of 2011 was pretty damn good. 2012 has started well also. I'm waiting on some late December audition results. The songwriting is going well, and I've learned a few new drum techniques. I start school again on the 18th (will I ever finish? Who knows,but shall continue the fun.)
Now onto what's playing on my Mp3 and what's keeping me up at night, or putting me to sleep.
I've been listening to Litefoot a lot! I have him to thank for keeping me on the straight and narrow during the Holidays. I put his latest CD "Relentless pursuit" on my Mp3, get on the elliptical and I'm good to go. Every song is spurring me on with pulsing beats, relevant  and uplifting lyrics and catchy rhythms. I will be happy when mainstream radio finally gets it, but in the meantime Native America will continue to reap the benefits!


Now what is keeping me up at night or in this case, putting me to sleep. I just finished reading Laura Lippman's " What the Dead know"  the story of two sisters who disappear from a Mall in 1975. Years later a woman , who is being treated at a hospital after an accident, claims to be one of the missing girls.
The book starts out excruciatingly slow, but at the same time was missing the richness of adequate character development. It was sorely lacking that element ,which makes us care what happens to these people. I found the Jane Doe character really annoying, I didn't care if she was one of the missing girls or not.
The only character that was the least bit interesting was the missing girls mother, Miriam.
 I found her  sympathetic and intriguing. When the chapters were about her I was thoroughly engrossed. I wanted to get to know the other characters, but was left with wispy ghost figures.
Maybe if Ms. Lippman had spent less time convincing us how beautiful the women were, (willowy, slim ,tight ,blonde, long-legged, translucent skin) and more time on what was going on inside these characters , I might have cared what happened to them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Only with an orange juice chaser!

I feel I have sufficiently recovered from all the Holiday festivities to resume my Reel of the Week. This week I am reviewing 2008's "35 shots of Rum" written and directed by Claire Denis. Now when I picked out this video I read the back which described the movie as "The relationship between a father and daughter is complicated by the arrival of a handsome young man." I did not come away from the film with that as the plot line. I'm still trying to figure that out. For me it was a kind of voyeuristic film, a glimpse from afar of not only a father (Alex Descas) and daughter (Mati Diop) relationship, but a series of intertwined lives.

It was like following a family around for a week, but not knowing anything about them. Sometimes just sitting on a bench outside their building watching the comings and goings. Parts of the story were about Lionel (Father) and Josephine's (Daughter) relationship. His worry that she is putting her life on hold for him, waiting until he is happy before she can pursue her own happiness. There is a young man, played brilliantly by Gregoire Colin (Noe), who lives in their building. He travels frequently and entrusts his cat to Lionel in his absence. Josephine is smitten with Noe (Gregoire Colin), but reluctant and unsure of what to do with these feelings. Her Father senses the attraction and wants happiness for his child, but feels Noe is not the right choice. Meanwhile Lionel has some kind of past relationship with an upstairs neighbor which is merely hinted at, so as a viewer I was left wondering what that was. In fact the whole movie just hinted at all of the relationships. I was on that park bench through most of the movie, seeing glimpses and snapshots. I yearned for more, but alas I was left wanting. I really don't know what to say as far as recommending this movie. If you want to watch a movie where you get the merest whisper of insight into the characters, this is the movie for you. It's not a bad movie , I just wanted more.....I'm a glutton like that or just very needy.