Watching

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It’s amazing how much a person can see when really looking. I wonder how much I miss on a daily basis, how much I don’t spy with my little eye: drops of water, chimes on high, giggle worthy stickers, and creepy looking heads; all fun, all magic, that quotidian spark.

Movies, etc.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – I would like to preface this by saying that I do not like The Office, and, in particular, Steve Carell’s character. The hubster and I tried and tried but could only get through one episode without turning it off. Believe me when I say that was one of the longest twenty-two minute stretches of our lives. Different strokes for different folks. I say this because I learned there are others like us (who knew?!), and every time I mention how much I liked this movie, they said they would not see it because he was in it. Food for naysayers thoughts. Anyhoo, the world is ending, and Steve Carell’s wife left him for another man. He decides to find his first love and help his neighbor try to get back to her family, despite the fact that her bumbling ways have left him behind the game. It’s a bit of a wild road trip movie, with every kind of madness and kindness. And love, too! Very sweet.

Drew: The Man Behind the Poster – If you are my age and do not know Drew Struzan by name, you most certainly know his work, for he is the artist behind some spectacularly iconic movie posters, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Police Academy, just to name a few.  It is a starving artist makes it big story, with Drew literally choosing paint over food early in his career. As much as I hate the thought of it, I am grateful for the work that came of his sacrifice. Growing up, I thought many of the posters were photographs, not the meticulous works of art they are. So cool!

Jeepers, this is a doozie of a fil-um, under my skin and spooking my dreams for days. Martha escapes a creepy and violent cult (is there any other kind?) to live with her estranged sister. Her mind thoroughly changed by her experience, Martha has difficulty separating fiction and memory from reality, among other quirks, and that is putting it kindly. Beautifully filmed and fluid in the storytelling (is this past or present?), this kept the hubster and I on the edge of our seats!

Three Iron – A young man breaks into the homes of people on vacation. He stays a while and generally leaves the house in a fairer state than he found it, cleaning, doing laundry, making small repairs. He encounters the wife of a violent and controlling man, who chooses to leave with the vagrant rather than stay with her husband. Their life together follows his previous and rather beautiful rhythm, with some tragic bumps along the way. Spare, lovely, and meditative, unlike anything I have ever seen.

Snow Cake – Oh my goodness, is this ever sweet! A man enters the unusual world of an autistic woman when her daughter is killed in a car crash while hitchhiking with him. A great tale of compassion, forgiveness, and friendship.

Beauty is Embarrassing - Follow the exploits of Wayne White, from his humble beginnings as an outcast in Alabama, to working on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, to being the guy who makes the irreverent and awesome thrift store found paintings. He’s talented, funny, and says FUCK a lot. And the reason why beauty IS embarrassing is worth waiting until the end to learn. I promise!

Les Revenants / The Returned – Dead people return to their small town home. They reunite with families and search for others. They are neither entirely evil nor entirely good, though there is one cannibal among them, which makes for rather unpleasant viewing. Why are they back? It’s a tad creepy and mysterious and so very addictive. The hubster and I can’t wait for season two!

Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive – Oh me, oh my, does he make me laugh! Aside from one weird riff on child molesters at the beginning, this is quite stellar. He is also one of my live and in person celebrity sightings. I saw him walking down the street in Montreal a couple summers ago. We shared a smile! Hi Aziz! BOOM!

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Movies

Pariah – As difficult as it can be to navigate the waters of high school, imagine the added burden of being lesbian in a community generally not accepting of gay people. The poignant rendering of crushes and confusion, love and family, of caring for those who matter most, and being rejected by them, too. It broke my heart and put it back together again.

Iron Maiden: Flight 666 – This was not my top choice, by any stretch of the imagination, but the hubster l o v e s them, and I love a good documentary, so there you go. Watch the band tour the world in their very own 757, piloted by lead singer Bruce Dickinson (No kidding! And he’s quite serious about it, too) and called, rather appropriately, Ed Force One, after their mascot of sorts, if you aren’t in the know. These are terrific men and musicians. Case in point, to quote guitarist Janick Gers, “If you like our music, God bless you. And if you don’t like our music, God bless you, too.” All class. They care deeply about each other, the music, and their legions of fans. I had no idea there were so many. From Mumbai to Columbia (!), they sell out shows, delivering joy and hope along with some seriously rockin’ tunes.

Starbuck – Kindhearted and a bit of a baffoon, David Wozniak is in a bit of a bind. His girlfriend is pregnant, he owes some serious money to a loan shark, and he’s just learned that he is the father of more than 500 children, via sperm bank donations as a youth. Determined to change and be a good parent to his unborn child, he begins to secretly help the 142 now adult children who’ve filed a class action lawsuit against him to learn his identity. Silly and sweet and very touching, too!

Upstream Color – A woman comes under the spell of a thief and loses all that she has, nearly all that she is, too. Later, she meets a man on a train with the same affliction. They fall in love and unravel the mystery of their meeting and strange bond. Beautiful and wild and one heck of a mind bender. Oh golly, Shane Carruth, do I ever love your fil-ums!!

Fat Kid Rules the World – Fat kid Troy nearly takes his life by jumping in front of a bus. His effort is thwarted by Marcus, a drug addict from his high school. They become friends and form a band, despite the fact that Troy knows nothing about music or how to play the drums, online gaming being more his shtick. Hijinks, much drumming, disappointment, and redemption ensue. A new twist on an old story, I suppose, and I liked it.

How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? follows the career of Norman Foster, from his very humble beginning on the wrong side of the tracks (literally) to designing some of the world’s most iconic structures. How I love to see great minds at work. And then there are the buildings, swoon!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – filled with every possible cliché about being young, gay, depressed, and misunderstood, but delivered in such a fine package that I did not care.

Kon-Tiki follows the true story of Thor Heyerdahl (plus four crew men and a parrot) on his 1947 quest to prove that Peruvians sailed the South Pacific to discover Polynesia. This is a great example of what can be done without the aid of modern implements and a good head on one’s shoulders, however frightening and stressful. As a matter of fact, I kept shouting, “this movie is so stressful!” at the television while we watched. Yeah, I’m dorky like that.

Everybody’s Fine – Frank Goode, bored and lonely after losing his wife, decides to take to the road to visit his four children, though he only manages to see three. Their love is awkward and strange, now that their mother, the glue of the family, is gone, and each, in their own way, lies to him, about who they are, their own lives, and the whereabouts of their missing brother. A splendid tale of coming to terms with who we really are. A side note: the fact that I am now middle aged and that Robert DeNiro sometimes moves and gestures like my dad had me pondering the big questions and balling like a baby, too.

And now, for something completely different -  I was walking behind this couple, heard snippets of their conversation and saw the way their arms were entwined, the way they leaned in and laughed, and it made me so happy to witness. My pace can be fierce and I passed them, nearly all the way, but then I turned and remarked on how adorable they were and asked for a picture. I am so glad they obliged!

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Hello, and happy Monday to you!

I’m gonna make this lickety-split quick because I need to exercise, specifically push-ups with Shiva Rea for my challenge.

If you are a local and like the arts, more specifically, modern dance, please do yourself a ginormous favor and buy tickets to POV Dance 3×3! I went last weekend and was dazzled, truly. It was unlike anything I have ever seen, beautiful and evocative, like a dream:

You converge with other people, small groups of them. It’s a modern space in an old building, exposed brick and beams. There is a film playing, of dancers using the very walls that surround you. Suddenly you realize the dancers are there, behind you, next to you, so close you can hear the slap of feet and sigh of exertion and movement. You share a moment, eye to eye. They use their bodies to climb walls and banisters. They tangle, fly, slither. It is glorious, exquisite. They beckon you to follow, down dimly lit hallways, up stairs, around corners. More dancers appear. They change partners, seamlessly, beautifully. The air is charged with wonder, music, and their ceaseless dance. It’s is a mystery and a delight.

Here’s a little preview, too.

I liked it so much that I am going back with the hubster. Maybe we will see you there!

 

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Movies and More!

Take Shelter - An edge of your seat psychological thriller that follows a man quite possibly on the verge of psychosis or just the only witness to myriad and all-too-real signs of impending doom. Stunning, truly.

See Girl Run – A woman stuck in a marriage rut returns home wondering if her first love, a man desperate for her, is the one she should have married.

Broken English – A train wreck of a woman meets a quirky and quite handsome Frenchman who accepts her, just as she is.

The Fall - Jillian Anderson as an ace homicide investigator. Sold!

Any Human Heart - I love it when film adaptations (this is a BBC mini series) of my favorite books are as marvelous as the original. Oh, yes! Follow Logan Mountstuart from his first memory to his last, as much a story of life as the 20th Century.

Thumbsucker – What happens when you replace one habit with another? A great coming of age tale, filmed in Oregon!

 

The Big Picture – A man accidentally kills his wife’s lover and hatches a terrific plan of escape. It’s not what I expected.

Birders: The Central Park Effect – Birds! Watch the motley collection of Central Park birders and the objects of their obsession. Sweet and even a little sad, it really made me and the hubster want to get on a plane to New York come migration time.

Long Way Down – The follow up to the fabulous Long Way Around, ultimate pals Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor take their motorcycles south from Scotland through much of Africa over a period of eighty-five days. Beautiful!

A Buddy Story – A woman in an abusive relationship and her kindly neighbor become travel companions and friends on a tour of the Northeast.

Top of the Lake - Hmmm. A pregnant girl, a troubled detective, creepy misdealings, drugs, and an odd encampment of damaged women. It is Jane Campion, after all, and quite good.

p.s.

The Hour – A late addition! We watched the first three episodes of Series Two last night and are loving it just as much as the first. A suspenseful drama that navigates around the people associated with a burgeoning news show. Relationships, politics, intrigue, fabulous clothes – all the usual suspects.

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