Saturday, April 14, 2018

THEIR FINEST AN EXCELLENT ENGLISH WWII FILM

we just watched a fine film released in 2016 Their Finest. Set during the bombing of England in WWII. A young woman arrives in London looking for work as a writer. She signs on with a documentary film company working for the Ministry of Public Education. They make films to buck up the populace. A project to document Dunkirk becomes a dramatic film because of the fine writing and persistence of Catlin, a new hire to the company. Great acting, writing and fine production. Long film ends twice., but in the end its a moving, funny and sad drama. I recommend it especially for people who may be forgetting how important personal, human relations are, particularly in parlous times like these.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

A WINNER FOR JENNIFER ANNISTON AND HER CAST


Cake, The movie 2015.
Jennifer Aniston stars. Yes, that glamorous, wonderful-looking Jennifer A. You almost don’t recognize her as Claire Simmons, a pain-wracked survivor of a terrible accident. She is struggling to recover. Her body doesn’t work the way it is supposed to anymore and she uses copious amounts of pain pills. She attends therapy sessions which seem to depress her even more than she already is.
This is a movie about depression. There is no glamour here. No make-up, frumpy clothes, no hair styling. This is a movie about pain, enduring, persistent, stultifying pain. And this is a movie about one woman’s struggle, through her inquisitiveness about another woman’s suicide, to come to terms with her life and its ongoing reality.
Aniston is the star and she lifts this movie out of the doldrums of hundreds of ordinary Hollywood flicks. Cake lets its audience experience some of the weighty characteristics of pain and depression. I wonder if some of the negative elements of some reviews are not because the reviewers were experiencing personal feelings of déjà vu. In the end, this movie is affirmation of life and gut-clenching determination.
Anniston should have received an Oscar nomination for Cake. For a lot of reasons, I strongly recommend this movie, not just to depressed among us, but to everyone.

Monday, March 05, 2018

MUSIC IN THE PARK SERIES POSTS ANOTHER FINE CONCERT



Sunday, March 4, I was privileged to be in the audience for a wonderful concert by the Lincoln Center Chamber Society’s Artistic Directors, David Finkel on the cello and Wu Han, piano. It was another outstanding, moving, performance from the Music in The Park Series, in Saint Paul. It was easy to understand why these two rank among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world. Their talent and synchronicity are outstanding with a nuanced, varied program featuring pieces by Beethoven, Adolphe, Auerbach, Mendelssohn, and Grieg.
The concerts for Music In The Park are held in a lovely venue with outstanding acoustics, Saint Anthony Park United Church of Christ. The series is more than thirty-five years old and has introduced Twin Cities residents to a wide variety of classical musicians in an intimate setting.
During the intermission, Andy and Linda Boss, long-time park residents and strong supporters of the series were honored.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

THE DARKEST HOUR DESERVES AN OSCAR



Tonight (3/3) we watched "The Darkest Hour," Britain and Winston Churchill's struggle in the early years of the Nazi invasion of Europe. Dunkirk was a difficult rescue of the British army and there were many who wanted to engage with Mussolini to plead for peace with Herr Hitler. Churchill, as portrayed by Gary Oldman, came unglued a few times but in the last analysis, as we all know, prevailed and Britain, wikth eventual assistance from America, crushed the Axis powers. The film is a stunning look at the machinations of the British government, a good story for those of us old enough to remember WWII. And, the film is an excellent lesson for those who are too young to remember that war. In addition to being a mesmerizing drama, well-acted by all involved, excellently and carefully produced with restraint and authenticity, the film has lesson for all of us today. I highly recommend the film THE DARKEST HOUR.

Friday, March 02, 2018

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA PERFORMS EXCELLENT AND VARIED COFFEE CONCERT



We attended a coffee concert of the Minnesota Orchestra this week (March 1). The Program was comprised of a varied number of pieces, all well-performed under the able direction of guest conductor, Juraj Valcuha.
The initial work was a lyrical, other-worldly vision of a mythical body of water by Anatol Lyadov. Calm, peaceful and misty, The Enchanted Lake, Opus 62, is the kind of music one might hear as background to a sensual massage.
Guest pianist Kirill Gerstein thrilled the audience and used all his skill and endurance to perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto Number 3 in D minor, with able assistance from the orchestra. The work carries themes of two world wars, the conflict in the Ukraine and visions of the Asian Steppes and other catchy tunes.
The final two pieces also provoked sustained ovations from the audience, Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Debussy’s La Mer. All in all an excellent concert, well worth repeating.