Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekend Entertainment Recs for Seniors & Others

Film: Another Earth made by Mike Cahill and starring Brit Marling
I was not expecting much from this movie despite its being the big winner at Sundance Film Festival in 2011. Ironically, this is because i was a huge sci fi fan as a kid and young adult. However, i got rather burned out in the genre by the explosion of special effects movies over the decades. So I thought, ho hum, another razzle dazzle sci fi movie. No, it isn't. It has a significant sci fi element to it but the bulk of the movie is about her attempt to redeem herself with the man whose family she killed at a crossroads traffic collision four years ago. She was somewhat drunk from a party and looking up at the other earth planet when she plowed into their car.

Her brilliant future at MIT is smashed to pieces as she serves a four year jail sentence. It is then that she seeks out the man whose life she ruined. Simultaneously, she writes an essay so she can be one of the people allowed to go on the first flight to the alternative earth. She sees that as a way of redemption too, after she fulfills this first redemption. This very much reminds me of an art house feature which at one time i would have seen at the film society. Nowadays i see it online. I highly recommend it.

My Hero - Season One starring Ardal O'Hanlon

If you love UK comedies, you will love this one. If you find most of them barely comprehensible, much less funny, you might hate this. Quite simply, the Brits have a unique sense of humor which takes some getting used to but once used to it, you come to love it. I remember the first time i saw Absolutely Fabulous and thought it was absolutely dreadful. A few years later, trying it again, I was laughing myself silly. So if i weren't used to these comedies by now, I'm sure i would have thought this comedy was quite dreadful too.

What they do is turn the whole Superman comics idea on its head. Thermal Man has all the same powers as superman but in his private life he is a bit of a dork named George. One day he rescues nurse Janet from falling into the grand canyon. He falls in love with her on the spot and moves himself to her village and sets himself us as a health food store proprietor. His wares are so ultra healthy that he has virtually no customers. This is good because his real job is saving people. His secret identity gets more hilarious from there. He says he is Irish but he doesn't drink and comes from a part of Ireland where the pub in his village is non alcoholic!

He meets Janet in her clinic and they do fall for one another and move in with one another. But the fun is only beginning as we now meet the potential in laws from both sides of the family, all of whom of course want to break them up as does Janet's employer doctor, a good looking, conceited prima donna, who wants to get her away from our caped hero. There is also: a crazed neighbor next door; a hilarious office manager in Janet's clinic with an acidic view of life; and George's cousin in New York, now running a diner there since he was fired from George's job by the planetary elders when they caught him charging people for heroic feats. George turns to this character for advice whenever he has problems with Janet or the in laws.

If you are having a bad day, week, month or year, tune in to this show. it will transport you to a much funnier world at once.

Novel: Defending Jacob by William Landay

This novel reminds me of Scott Turow's classic PRESUMED INNOCENT. That novel was also written in the first person and was a legal thriller. The plot is one heck of an idea. Most of these legal thrillers go over the same well trod ground in book after book, never carving out new territory to engage our interest. This novel, however, tells us very quickly, after the son is accused of the murder, that the father has a long line of murderers in their shared genetic line. Thus, they may all have the murder gene which could be used as a partial defense to drop the conviction down to manslaughter if the murder trial starts going south. I was hooked from the moment I heard that phrase "murder gene" and the family began meeting with both the psychiatrist and the lawyer to work with that defense. This novel very quickly became a big seller as word of mouth on it spread.

Debussy: Complete Works for Piano, played by Walter Gieseking
If you love DeBussy, and I do, then this is a flawlessly rendered piano performance of his work. This was some undertaking with four complete discs made as recordings. I have prior to this listened to DeBussy with full orchestral performances, not just a single instrument. I imagine this is the way the pieces must have originated. It's a pared down minimalistic way of listening to DeBussy but that is not a detraction. I am not going to say this is the only way I would listen to DeBussy. It is one way of listening to his music and I still will enjoy listening to the full orchestral alternative. I don't listen to that much classical music but DeBussy is right at the top of of the list of what I like when I do.

Everything reviewed above is carried by Amazon, iTunes, Audible, the Overdrive app for your public library and most other outlets both online and in the real world. These are taken from my five star reviews at Amazon where I am a Top Reviewer.

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