Of Things That Matter (Film Thoughts: Nostalgia)

nosI recently moved and had to deal with realizing that I could not bring a lot of material things with me. I mentioned this to the manager of my new building and she said, “you will realize you will not miss them.” I had to stop for a second and realized she is right. From the moment I left them I had let go of them and life is about the journey moving forward. What you leave behind is at times not as important.

But is it? ‘Nostalgia’ laments on remembrance, on what we leave behind, and how important those things are in our lives. It presents interlocking stories threaded upon an insurance agent (John Ortiz) who assess things.  It used to be that physical mementos are what we use to remember people. But nowadays with social media abound, that may no longer be true. These stories are touching and affecting. Ellen Burstyn plays a woman whose house has burned down and has to deal with what of her things are left behind. She is fantastic here – subtle but showing deep emotion. She manages to save a beloved baseball and flies to Las Vegas to have it appraised (by Jon Hamm) and he picks up the story as he goes home and deals with parents who have left a house full of memories behind as they retire in Florida.

npstThis is a very internal film – much of what happens is not said, but felt. I thought the whole film very touching, and as I took a long walk after, made me think about a lot of things, of what things ultimately matter in my life.

It’s Just Another

Ending the New Year in a quiet note – there are a lot of life-changing changes coming up for me, and I am just sitting and contemplating what the year has been for me. It was good, it was not so good, but I survived and 2018 will be great. I know, I can feel it already.

I am watching the CNN coverage and I am missing Kathy griffin – this was a tough year for her but I hope she hears that she is missed – the two Andys are boring together, and Cohen seems smug and unlikable, dragging Cooper with him. And Mariah is salvaging what she ruined for herself last year – but barely.

I hope I get to feature everything I want to in the New Year.

In The Ordinary (Movie Thoughts: The Sense Of An Ending)

large_sense_of_an_endingI am such an Anglophile that a bunch of British people reciting the phone book to each other with their posh accents would be enough for me, and I would be entertained and delighted by it. So of course, I was equally delighted by ‘The Sense Of An Ending,’ which I think is a very British film – it’s very genteel, quite wholesome, and they all speak with impeccable British accents (well, it has a great British cast, so…)

Directed by Ritsh Batra from Julian Barnes’ Booker Prize winning novel, it is a drama with mystery aspects to it.  Jim Broadbent stars as Tony Webster, a divorced elderly man, who one day finds out that he has inherited a diary of one his childhood friends, and he is baffled. He gets drawn into the narrative of why – and in the course connects with a childhood love interest, Veronica (Charlotte Rampling)  There’s not much more to the story, to be honest, and even the ‘big reveal’ is just much ado about something light, but I was taken by the actors. These felt like normal, everyday people – British people – who I wanted to meet in my normal, everyday life. I fancied their story, even if perhaps they aren’t fantastic or bombastic. Normal people really lead simple, normal lives most of the times. I also like the film’s message, which is cherish the moment, for you may never get them again.

Teen Beat (Movie Thoughts: November Criminals)

DNF6mEZWkAE5q8-Ansel Elgort stars in ‘November Criminals’ and I bet this film was shot before this year’s hit ‘Baby Driver’ because this is such a bland film that no one would ever think this would be a good follow up after that film. Here he stars as Addison, a teenager whose friend is killed. For no real valid reason, he becomes obsessed with finding out who his friend’s killer is, and doesn’t really map out to us why we should care either. As a murder mystery, it’s a bit of a dud. The resolution felt commonplace and perhaps that’s just the jaded side of me talking. But there’s more here. This film is also a quasi romantic story between him and Phoebe, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. Both actors seem to be bored by the film, and who can really blame them. I can’t think of anything about this film i could recommend.

Turn The Holiday Lights On (Music Thoughts: Lumieres D’Hiver, Emilie Claire Barlow)

6000197700178I have been listening to Emilie Claire Barlow for a while now, having discovered her on a trip to Montreal many years ago. She has just released her second Holiday album, ‘Lumieres D’Hiver’ (Winter Lights) and I think it is my favorite Holiday album so far this year.

Most of the songs are in French, and it really gives a different atmosphere when you are listening to ‘White Christmas’ and ‘The Christmas Waltz’ in French. One of my favorite recent Holiday songs is Wilson Phillips’ ‘Hey Santa’ and she does a great arrangement of that here, and yes, sings it in French. And she does a very minor arrangement of ‘I’ll be Home For Christmas’ that is weirdly sadder than normal. She includes some original compositions – ‘Le Darnier Noel,’  and the title track – and they are wonderful and evokes the same mood as the rest of her album. Her breathy jazzy vocals are the real highlight here, and provides just the right amount of warmth on a cold winter night.

Bossa Beat For The Holidays (Music Thoughts: Christmas In Bossa, Cecilia Dale)

cdaleCecilia Dale’s ‘Christmas In Bossa’ is a delightful, unique Christmas album. Well, it’s unique because of it’s the Brasilian/Portuguese sound, and why not, I am sure they celebrate Christmas in Brasil as well. I wish I knew more about Ms. Dale. Before writing this, I spent an amount of time trying to google her, but there seems to be not much information about her, except that I think this album was originally released in 2005, and has been re-released this Christmas season 2017. But as I said, it is wonderful, and only a fine singer like Dale can sing ‘Let It Snow’ with a bossa nova beat. (And she sings the rarely-heard verse of it, too!)  When she sings ‘White Christmas,’ you hear a different sense of honesty in her rendition. This really is a fun listen, and I have played it numerous times already.

Keep Em Pumping (Television Thoughts: Season 6, Vanderpump Rules (Mondays on Bravo)

s592Can you believe I have (more or less) followed Vanderpump Rules from its first season to its now sixth season? I guess I have and I have no shame in admitting that even now, it is still one of the juiciest and most engrossing reality shows on television right now. And I think it’s because we kind of know all these characters so much by now, and plus, they are all still there, after all these years. I mean, even people who have left the show – Stassi, Kristin, Lala – have all retrenched and are all back this year. These are all troublemakers, and these people’s lives are so entwined with each other that even the most simple revelatory anything has reason for multitudes of ripples that affect each of their lives.

This season starts explosively with the big reveal that Jax slept with Faith, one of the SUR servers. Duh, you would think that this is a boring plot – I mean, how many times is Jax going to cheat on his girl – but I found myself engrossed, yet again. Yes, I felt so sorry for poor lil Brittany, who seems to be the poor girl here. But then again, you get mad at her as well for being so dumb, and taking back Jax even after what happened (and even slept with him the night after everything went down) and you see all the girls rally behind her, and on the guys side, everyone with Jax, in various modes of emotions – chastising, berating him, commiserating with him, and in a lot of ways shrigging things off, as if to say ‘Well That’s just Jax.’  And then you realize that there are deep friendships in the root of all these relationships, and yes, this is a reality shows and a lot of things are set up. But I gotta say, whatever happens, I do feel the bond and friendship between all of the cast here, and perhaps that’s why people relate and the show strikes a nerve to anyone watching (I read that this is one of the Bravo shows with the most emotional viewerships)  Really, we do sometimes see ourselves in these characters – liek us they are not perfect, but by Gosh, we also feel a little better abotu ourselves that we don’t make as big mistakes, or do we?

I love this show.