Watching

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Movies

It’s been almost a YEAR since I talked about fine fil-ums. Jeepers. It’s not as though I haven’t seen any, either. I spend so much time with Netflix that I consider it a BFF. Anyhoo, here we go…

Advanced Style profiles the oft ignored, yet completely marvelous style of New York women over the age of sixty (it’s also a blog!). Fun, funny, beautiful, and absolutely inspirational, the film really challenges women to dress like we mean it and with great for love our bodies, despite the number of wrinkles and birthdays under our belt. I was especially charmed by the woman in red, Ilona Royce Smithkin. She’s a fabulously talented artist, makes her fake eyelashes from her own hair, and is one of the most positive, warm, and vivacious women I have ever seen.

Cairo Time follows a married woman (the always fabulous Patricia Clarkson) unexpectedly traveling on her own in Cairo. Beautiful and langorous, I felt as though I was spying  as she’s challenged, delighted, and surprised by this very foreign city and its magical river, which is as much a character as the actors. Cherry Blossoms is a beautiful story of lasting love, grief, and appreciating the here and now, for you never know how much time you have.

Departures is the touching story of a man who abandons his dreams of becoming a world class cellist to discover his rather surprising true calling of dressing the dead for burial.

Electrick Children – A young woman believes she’s been impregnated with the son of God by listening to music and goes on a quest to Las Vegas to find the maker of the song. Her innocence is simply dazzling!

I binge watched series two of The Fall over one spectacular afternoon. Gillian Anderson deftly plays a strong, intelligent, albeit flawed (a.k.a. human) detective eager to stop a serial killer.  Love this show!

The History of Future Folk - An alien sent to earth to kill humans and begin colonization changes his plans after hearing music for the first time (a being after my own heart). When an assassin comes to finish the work he never started and save their home planet, they form a band and other mayhem ensues. This was so much fun!

G-Dog – Gregory Boyle is a priest and, as far as I am concerned, a real life saint. Through tenacity, innovation, and so very much love, he created Homeboy Industries, a program that provides gang members with the emotional, spiritual, and vocational skills they need to become lawful, productive members of society, because, “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.” I wish every city had a program like this in place!

Living on One Dollar – Another inspirational story about four friends who stay in a remote Guatemalan village for 56 days. Through illness and uncertainty, they grow their own food, make lasting friendships with their neighbors, and learn what it means to struggle and thrive with so very little.

The Matador – This movie always takes me and the hubster to our happy place. In a role that is the antithesis of James Bond, Pierce Brosnan plays a contract killer with a penchant for sex, alcohol, and bull fighting, but without a single friend. Enter Greg Kinnear, do-gooder with a string of bad luck. Hilarity, friendship, and murder ensue.

Rectify – Exonerated for the murder of his girlfriend after nearly twenty years in prison, a man returns home to the oddities of freedom, the complications of family, and a community unsure of his innocence. Another binge-watch!

 

 

Sunday, early evening, my hand delightedly skimming the summer air. We had a lovely afternoon, with an early dinner at Guero. I had my favorite, and what I consider to be the best torta in town, the #3. It’s basically a bean sandwich, which seems unfair, because in their hands it is so much more.

We wandered around in the heat, taking in the fun and funny wares along 28th before enjoying the latest dazzler from Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive. It follows the measured, highly intellectual, and occasionally melancholy lives of vampires. It is neither glamorous nor frightening, at least not in the conventional sense. It is stunningly beautiful, a marvelous juxtapostion of life in Tangier and Detroit, cities and people alive and dead in their own way, full of zombies, beautiful music, and a certain yearning. Marvelous!

Home again, wandering again, the hour of vampires and the full warmth of an evening plucked from childhood. There were bats about, very apropos, we thought, and windows obscuring their occupants golden secrets. All was hushed, the breeze a whipping, jaunty exclamation point to a peach of a day.

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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.

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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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