Wednesday, May 30, 2018

DARKEST HOUR a fine fine film starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill

In 1940, Hitler and the Nazi war machine were rolling  througb Belgium, Norway and France. The German machine looked unstoppable. The entire British army was trapped in France, falling back to the channel beaches near Calais and around Dunkirk. Much of the British government wanted to sue for peace via Mussolini in Italy. Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, was named Prime Minister with heavy opposition by Chamberlain and Attlee. Churchill had initiated a disaster at Gallipoli in WWI and still carried the stigma. The  movie is the very real moves by Churchill and his few supporters to rally the nation to fight the scourge of Nazi Germany. Since World History is rarely if ever taught in high school. EVERYBOdY should see this excellent film.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


The Flower Girl Murder
By Keith Hirshland
ISBN: 0692046682
A 2018 release from Amazon

Daisy Burns was a likable, devoted wife and mother who spent her spare time volunteering at school events. Everyone loved Daisy. Really? So why did someone shoot her and then dump her body behind a Planned Parenthood chapter in North Carolina? It actually doesn’t matter much, except as it relates to the title of this wide-ranging detective story.
By turns engaging, witty, tongue-in-cheek and clever, Hirshland’s story bounces around some of the more visually interesting parts of the North American continent. The story has a pretty hairy beginning—no, not what you might expect.
Lancaster Heart is a big-time TV star in a small East Coast community. He pretty much has it all, including a sexy willing and bright girlfriend, plus the genes for a really nice head of hair. But his heart is in Reno, where his dad owned a good television station and he wants to return.
Meanwhile, the rest of the cast, principally in Nevada, is tuning up, cleaning their weapons and looking for somebody to shoot.
The novel jumps the continent and lands Lancaster and his girlfriend Brodie in the middle of a murder investigation. Meanwhile readers are treated to some occasionally overlong character and place development, but in general the story sails along at a good pace, seasoned with clever and relevant dialogue. There are a few plot lines that seem to wander off into the desert, but most of the story is wound up in a very enjoyable and satisfactory way. This reviewer will look for other stories by this author.

Saturday, April 14, 2018


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


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


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.