Moments of escape can be moments of clarity!

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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bits & Bobs, Dear Maeve & 3 Dogs in Chicago

I'm a little over due with my Blog, but I have the double excuse of school and the Maine Playwrights Festival. It was a glorious success. Going back to the theater keeps my acting chops in working order and gives you that adrenalin rush of playing to the unknown. That's the part of theater I find so exhilarating.
I'm in the final stretch of university, working on finals and hoping I have moved forward in my knowledge of ASL (American Sign Language).
Now onto what is keeping me entertained this month. My book review will be on Maeve Binchys "Nights of Rain and Stars". I am a die hard mystery, Murder and Mayhem gal, but in between my Mayhem fixes I need a little distraction, kind of like a palate cleaner between rich courses. I supplement my Murder & Mayhem with relationship drama, historical sagas and the occasional Western.  No one delves into the inner workings of the heart like Maeve Binchy. I reach for her books time and time again, when I just want to read a straight forward book about life's trials & tribulations and the never ending quest for love and understanding. "Nights of Rain & Stars" certainly fit the bill. It's about four young travelers who meet at a Greek tavern during the midst of a horrific tragedy in the small coastal village. Fiona a nurse , trying to escape her parents' influence on her life. Thomas,a divorced dad on sabbatical 
and missing his son,hoping his absence will help his son adjust to the changes in his life. Elsa, looking to run from everything familiar in her life including her lover and David desperate to to prove to himself that he is the polar opposite of his father and wants no part of the family business. They all find advice and solace in the small town of Aghia Anna. They end up making decisions that surprise the town folk and themselves. 
"Nights...." was an easy read, but at times a little too simplistic. Some of the characters annoyed me to no end. They made me wonder..was I that stupid in my 20's? God I hope not.  "Nights..." delivered what I expected, a good, uncomplicated story. It wasn't one of Maeve Binchys best like "Circle of Friends" and "Tara Road", but it was adequate.If you want to try one of her books reach for "Circle of Friends" first.

let's move onto what's playing on heavy rotation in my MP3 player. It's been kinda of an old school week for me. In heavy rotation is Chicago and Three Dog Night. They're both great for taking along on a walk and dancing by yourself!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

'What Fresh Hell is this?"

Once a month I will be writing a review of one of my favorite movies.(in no particular order). The Reel for this week is 1981's "Das Boot". I first saw this movie on it's theatrical release.
Jurgen Prochnow stars as Capt.Henrich lehmann-Willenbrock, the Captain of a U-boat during WWII. Captain Willenbrock is sent with his crew on a search and destroy mission. The crew is young and inexperienced, Captain Willenbrock is seasoned and war-weary. He looks into the fresh, naive faces of his charges and must walk that fine line between being the no-nonsense leader and the empathetic father figure.
The track record during WWII for U-boats returning safe with their crew is dismal. Captain Willenbrock is fully aware of this fact, but must suppress his jaded view of Hitler's war. 
The cinematography is stark and vivid. "Das Boot" is riveting with edge of your seat suspense, you get the full brunt of the claustrophobic closeness of being crammed into what is essentially an underwater tin can.
For those who have never seen it, "Das Boot" is a must see. For those who have already seen it, it's definitely worth a second look.
I was in my 20's when I first saw it. Watching it years later as the person I am now, was like seeing it for the first time.
My one recommendation is , please see it in it's original form, which is  in German with sub-titles. It lose the directors vision in the dubbed version.

Watch "Das Boot" on a quiet evening, you'll need time to come down from the suspense and digest it all.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Power of Love

It's late, but finally here. My Reel of the week is 2007's "Far North". It's the story of two women, Saiva (Michelle Yeoh) and Anja (Michelle Krusiec) who are pounding a life out of the Arctic Tundra, isolated from the rest of the World. The reason they are there, is revealed in Flashbacks. They are dependent on one another for survival and emotional sustenance.
Their lives are turned irreversibly upside down by the appearance of Loki (Sean Bean), a soldier escaping his own fate who ends up lost and freezing on the frozen Tundra.
For one woman, he represents hope and a glimpse into a life she knows nothing about, but desperately wants to experience. To the other woman it's something completely different, but for both, he  unleashes unimaginable devastation.
This movie stayed in my head for days after watching it. The story was compelling and impactful. The acting was top-notch.
This movie is not for everyone, but everyone will take away something from it. It's about those universal emotions that make us human .