No easy answers here!

Hello readers!

I hope you had a good (though short) vacation over 4th of July wknd.  (It was cloudy and rainy, so we didn’t see much fireworks- TOO BAD!!!) Dad and I went to see Mom and lil bro in Indy.  Evan will be 20 later this month- WOW!  He looks a BIT taller- maybe he’ll grow until 21.  Did you know that a person’s brain keeps developing until age 25?  OK, I feel old now…   

My 2 blogs help keep me sane during this tough time of being jobless!  This month, I’ll have plenty of movie reviews for you (as usual).  BTW, I found a film Dad was looking for (Swades) at a VERY low price online recently.  Even though Swades is an Indian (Hindi) movie w/ Shah Rukh Khan, it’s NOT totally Bollywood (has more subtlety & originality).   If you liked Lagaan, you should see it.

I’m on the lookout for interesting blogs.  If you have a blog, please leave a comment w/ the address.  I’ll keep adding to the blogroll…

Thanks for visiting,

EMMA.

  

 doubt_poster

In Moonstruck, another work by John Patrick Shanley, we met a group of loud/loveable/quirky Italian-Americans in Brooklyn.  Doubt (set in 1960s Bronx) couldn’t be further from that- the predominantly black/white/gray color scheme, nuns in restrictive habits, and a priest who could be a predator or a prayer to a needy community.  By now, many people have seen the critically-lauded Doubt.  This is a thinking person’s movie w/ many layers!  (Each of you may have a different interpretation.)  It’s NOT just about whether the priest is guilty or not…   

 

Sister Aloysius (Merlyl Streep)
Sister Aloysius (Merlyl Streep)

While I was watching this film, my sympathies lay w/ different characters at different times.  I liked the liberal views of the approacheable Father Flynn; the congregation and the boys at the school seemed to like & respect him.  I REALLY liked how the gentle/naive Sister James (Adams) was committed to teaching her kids.  I wanted to know more about sensitive student Donald and his mother, Mrs. Miller! 

 

I sided w/ the stern principal, Sister Aloysius (Streep), who was certain that the priest had done something VERY wrong.  It’s easy to believe Meryl Streep, right?  She truly disappeared into her role!

 

Father Flynn (Phillip Seymour Hoffman)
Father Flynn (Phillip Seymour Hoffman)

Streep was the 1st one cast in the film.  Then Shanley wondered who was an actor who could “stand up to Meryl Streep?”  That would be Hoffman- he was honored to work w/ Streep, BUT able to challenge her as well.  Father Flynn is a complicated character, and Hoffman is able to convey that.  As one reviewer said, “we never see the gears moving” while he’s acting.  I was VERY impressed w/ his work!  

            

Sister James (Amy Adams)
Sister James (Amy Adams)

Amy Adams is easy to relate to in this film; she doesn’t know exactly what’s going on, but wants to “do the right thing.”  Like many young teachers, she’s full of enthusiasm, smiles, and concern for her students.  But Sister Aloysius comes to teach her about discipline b/c she needs that as well.  I liked learning more about the Catholic church, but I thought it was unfair how the hierarchy limited the nuns’ options (even when dealing w/ VERY serious issues).       

 

Streep and John Patrick Shanley (playwright)
Streep and John Patrick Shanley

Doubt is about more than meets the eye, though Shanley attended Catholic school for many yrs in the East Bronx where he was taught by nuns who wore the strange/old-fashioned bonnets seen in this film.  The boys were usually Italian or Irish (like Shanley).  There was once a black student (like Donald Miller), and he wondered “how does that guy feel?”  If you want to know what this film is REALLY about: Shanley commented that “I’m comfortable w/ some uncertainty.”  Obviously, Sister Aloysius feels differently in the end.             

 

 

 

man_push_cart

Somtimes little/mundane events in one person’s life are equal to big/dramatic ones in another person’s world.  Man Push Cart is slice-of-life film that was recently shown on IFC.  The director, Iranian-American Ramin Bahrani, was featured in an article in the New York Times Magazine a few months back.  It centers around Ahmad, a young/sad-eyed/lonely Pakistani immigrant who runs a breakfast cart in Midtown Manhattan.  He sells bootleg videos at night.  Ahmad lives in a tiny attic room in Flatbush, Brooklyn.     

 

 

pushcart_closeup

One day, a customer (and fellow Pakistani) recognizes him as a popular singer in the old country.  This customer, a wealthy young businessman named Muhammad, gives him some work and even offers to help Ahmad w/ his music career.  We sense that Ahmad is uncertain about singing again.   

 

 

pushcart_love

Ahmad has a (potential) love interest, a petite beauty from Spain who’s running a newspaper stand a few blocks away from Ahmad’s cart.  They become friends quickly, but she wants to be closer to him.  Check this film out for yourself!   

 

 

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