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Loving Stanley

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Transformers Age of ExtinctionSo this past weekend, our youngest made a point of watching Transformers: Age of Extinction. Baseball is finished and the boy had a friend over spending the night.

All that was left to do was make popcorn and salt it down.

In this version, Optimus Prime has become an outlaw in the minds of the American people and the government. In the opening scenes, we see Rachet hunted and killed by soldiers and different creature, Lockdown, willing to tear apart the metallic creatures for scrap.

It is sad and disheartening.

That is till we find out Optimus Prime is alive and hiding out. Once he is ‘found’ by a poor mechanic/inventor played by Mark Wahlberg, it is only a matter of time before havoc is wreaked upon the lives of all humans who try to help him.

So I am watching because I find the special effects in these movies just fascinating. We are watching metal beings have fights but in reality they are computer programs. But then I noticed something else. There are some good actors in this movie. People such as Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci.

I can hear it now. Kelsey Grammer? That guy who played the snobby psychiatrist for nearly 20 years? Yes, I do mean him because he plays a great villain. Grammar uses his deep voice and hulking manner to make us fearful of him. We know that he is always in complete control and that control might mean the end of someone else’s life.

Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci in Transformers: Age of Extinction

Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci in Transformers: Age of Extinction

It was seeing Tucci that really made me stand up and notice. I mean this is a guy who repeatedly works in some of the best movies of our day. He works with Merle Streep because he can keep up with her. But every now and then I have seen him in cheesy action/adventure movies like the Transformers.

It makes me wonder why he does it. My personal theory is that after a very dramatic role that takes a high amount of energy, it is fun to perform in these movies that require much physical exertion and the chance to pop off fun one-liners. Stanley Tucci works in high profile movies such as The Hunger Games, The Lovely Bones, Julie and Julia. I have seen him in light-hearted fare such as Shall We Dance and Maid in Manhattan. I have also seen Tucci do action adventure in The Core.

Stanley Tucci in Burlesque

Stanley Tucci in Burlesque

You know what? It is worth it every time. He makes bad movie better just by showing up.

Tucci has perfected self centered characters. But he can be powerful and good-hearted. It doesn’t what type of character he is playing, I just want to watch him to see what his choices will be in whatever project he is working because it is always interesting and compelling. No matter what, I always believe him in whatever role he is playing.

That is the sign of a good actor.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Do you ever watch an older movie and wonder whatever happened to the cast?

Last week, for whatever reasons, I decided to watch Godspell. You know, the religious movie for the Pepsi generation.

GodspellIt’s the one set in New York City with deserted streets and building tops where the cast dances and sings about the Gospel of Matthew. It is a little quirky with people dressed in tee shirts and jeans and suspenders. Jesus has a huge afro and clown paint around his eyes. John the Baptist wears a multi-colored morning coat.

People are happy and incredibly intune with each other. It’s a hippy version of the Messiah story that still ends with Jesus dying but being with us. It is a very 60s kind of thing.

When I watched it this time, I finally understood how one could have a personal relationship with Jesus. He was there holding hands with his disciples, singing and laughing. It was natural for these people to do that with the master. I remember people in college talking about having that kind of relationship and it made me wonder how such a thing could happen with an onipotent being like God or Jesus.

But there was Victor Garber, looking so young and beautiful. His eyes simply captured a person. Even now, 40 years later, Garber is still handsome. Maybe you know him from Sleepless in Seattle as Tom Hank’s brother-in-law or as Jack Bristow from Alias. But now I have this picture of baby-faced adult Jesus in my head thanks to Victor. I loved how credible he made the character. He was Jesus but still human at different points, sweet without being sickening. That is hard to do.

Godspell ParkAnother actor I recognized was Lynn Thigpen. She was great. I knew her from the old children’s program Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego​? She played the Chief who was always trying to find super thief, Carmen Sandiego, with the help of the pre-teen contestants. Lynn played that role a little crazy and over the top. But she had other roles where she played it serious such as in the TV show The District. Sadly. Thigpen died of an aneurism in 2003 but her memory lives on as the name of a huge grade school in Joliet.

To me, the biggest cast member is the city of New York. They were able to close off sections for short times of filming. One dance was done on the top of the World Trade Center just after construction had been completed. Another takes place in a deserted mansion filled with antique furniture. There is the fountain scene and the entire time in Central Park that amazes me for being so deserted. We get to see the beauty of New York without the distraction of people.

It is a simple movie about complex ideas. I planned to allow our youth group members to watch this movie. I also realized that I was going to have to stop it after each segment to explain what was being taught, such as during the scene discussing the beatitudes. It may not stand the test of time as Jesus Christ Superstar has done but it is still very interesting to watch.

Here is the best song I remember from this movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

I have chives that have lived for near 20 years in the same pot. And every year I wonder what plants to mix with it to look pretty against the chives.

From yougrowgirl.com

From yougrowgirl.com

Sometimes I have luck with it, other times the flowers die out too quick. and leave a mess. This time around I went searching for some potting ideas. What could I put with them to make it worth while. That is when I came upon this idea.

I really like what this blogger did with her pot. She used two different types of thyme along with a viola plant to add some purple. I liked it, really liked it. The purple against the pink chives, the variant colors of green from the thyme.

So I gathered the components. The chives pot was the easiest. Next came a four pack of violas along with two thyme plans. I told the husband to pick up two varieties. What I got was two plants of the same variety. Well, I guess it should have been me doing the buying so no whining this time.

container components I don’t have a nice galvanized bucket with handles but I guess the one I do have will have to do. This year, the chives are not as full as they have been. I suspect my husband became over anxious and took out last year’s dead leaves a little too soon. Our spring this year has been something close to normal. We had a frost the other night so when I did this pot, the chives were not as thick and full as they had been in the past.

Having recently attended a seminar on tricks from the pros, I guess I could have done things differently. Like leave the plants in the plastic cups so I could easily interchange them. Violas will not last through the hot summer and it will be a pain to dig them out. But that is not how I roll. I dug out holes for the plants, removed the plastic pots and stuck them in.

After they found their new home, I took the other half of the violas and put them in a back shade garden. Everyone was happier once I showered them with water.

Will this end of looking as nice as the picture above? I don’t know yet.

But I do know that the replica Easter Island statue is keeping an eye out on everything.

container with statue

How is your container garden growing?

Lately, I have been on a book reading binge. A purposeful one.

I have been reading about Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I want to know, I need to know, if it was her writing in those legendary books. Or was it a collaboration between herself and her daughter, Rose.Or was it all Rose.

Call me crazy, call me obsessed, call me a fan of the TV show and books that started back in the 1970s. But there is a part of me that loves these books and hates seeing an author besmirched, especially when it is Laura who inspired so many childhood adventures and dreams. I might not have taken it to the extremes that Wendy McClure did but her book, The Wilder Life:My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie. But McClure gave me the idea to someday camp at the South Dakota homestead in a Conestoga wagon.

1911

Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1911

I want to believe that Laura was the sole writer. After all, she did write a farming column for years. You try writing 500 words every week and see how easy it is not. Remember, too, she was an excellent student and a lover of poetry. I still remember when she accidentally found the book of Tennyson poetry, meant to be her Christmas gift in one of the later books. She loved that book.

I am willing to concede that Rose helped Laura with structure and plotting. I know from various sources that they discusses the books intensely. I know that Rose typed the books for her mother. I would not be surprised if she constantly edited whether it was needed or not. In Pamela Smith Hill’s biography Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, Hill discusses what both women talked about through the remains of letters and papers. But as time went on Laura relied on Rose less and less.

Which is why the last option really rankles me. After reading Susan Wittig Albert’s fictionalized account, A Wilder Rose, about the writing of the Little House books from Rose’s perspective, I wondered how far Albert had crawled up RWL’s ass. Her dismissive attitude towards Laura stood out from the first page. Norma Lee Browning was depicted as a simpering follower wanting nothing more than to fawn over Rose’s words of wisdom. Laura turns out to be a passive aggressive manipulator who is either constantly harping on her daughter and her choice of friends or interrupting Rose once she finally gets down to work. In the notes at the end of the book, Albert made sure to besmirch Manly as well as Laura. Did Albert only read Rose’s diaries and papers to get her story?

Wilder RoseAfter reading this and other biographies, I truly believe that Rose should have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder. Her world truly stopped six inches from her nose. Rose builds a dream house for her parents without consulting them and demands they live there while she lives in the farmhouse they built for themselves – perfectly suited for their size and needs. Did it ever occur to her that all the little sniping was because Mom wanted to live in the house she built for herself? A gift is no gift when gratitude is demanded.

Adding insult to injury, Rose writes a book (Let the Hurricane Roar,1932) based on her mother’s stories that had been collected in Pioneer Girl, using the same names as her grandparents, hides the notices from her mother (documented in her own diary) and then wonders why her mother is angry. Really? I think I would have taken a switch to that girl despite the fact she was over 40 years old at the time. I kept thinking “Get over yourself, Rose. Yes, you grew up poor and didn’t have a silver spoon. But people reached out to you and gave you opportunities. And stop blaming your mother for everything.”

Now, as to who wrote what. After reading Let the Hurricane Roar/Young Pioneers, I doubt Rose’s ability to write in a lyrical manner. Her prose is very straight forward, utilitarian. Why, like that of a journalist. Which is exactly what Rose did for a living for many decades. She might have edited, it is easy to edit some one else’s work to make it sing, much harder to write the flowery descriptions from scratch. And their letters back and forth show more collaboration than out-and-out work by Rose alone.

Rose Wilder Lane

Rose Wilder Lane

Am I angry over this book? Damm straight. You want to show that Laura Ingalls Wilder did not write those books then you had better come up with better proof than only the daughter’s diary and a fake conversation with a woman who died in 2001 and cannot be contacted for verification. This book might be fiction but its overly smug attitude towards LIW reminds me of what was said about Shakespeare. How can a person with so little education write so good of a book?

Nor could I deal calmly with her attitude about the royalties, how the library had to sue in order to get what was willed to them. That if it wasn’t for Roger MacBride allowing the rights to be sold to the TV show, there would not have been over $800,000. Well, there would have been no tv shows if Laura had not written the books. But why should a tiny, leaky library in a podunk town get the money that was willed to them?

To me, that is simply another example of Rose being a jerk. Her mother knew the importance of helping a community. Laura was one of the community members who helped create that library. Apparently, Rose could not understand that sometimes you have to help the community be better by giving them access to a broader range of information. Her method seemed to involve a permanent sneer and running away with the middle finger raised high.

Pioneer GirlI am awaiting the new Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography edited by Pamela Smith Hill. Will it give a balanced story? Will it satisfy my LIW Hunger without destroying her image? I don’t know. But I would rather know she was a woman who tried than one who had to have her way by hook or by crook, even if it destroyed her daughter.

Has a book ever angered you so much you are willing to slap not only the author but the subject of the book as well?

How to Have a Big Year

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This past week, I noticed a lot of stuff as I drove or walked around our community.

The town accountant readied his boat for a cruise or perhaps some fishing on April 16th. Yep, he probably deserves a break right about now.

Look, even the tulips are getting in the act.

Look, even the tulips are getting in the act.

As I walked Lady around, I noticed all of the beautiful spring flowers and flowering bushes- daffodils, narcissus, crocus, blue star, and forsythia – in bloom right now. In my own garden I have a new narcissus I am pretty sure I did not plant. I love those surprise volunteers.

Last week, I came home after a night of work only to hear the frogs from the nearby pond. It is about a quarter mile from my house as the crow flies. But the frogs were making a racket that made me think about opening the window so I could fall asleep to that sound.

But that might not have been the best sound. Hearing the birds make a racket might have been the best sound. I could pick out the red wing black birds and the bird that makes a sound like a Star Wars fighter plane. I am seeing blue jays and cardinals. Occasionally, I hear a wood pecker working on a tree but I haven’t seen one yet.

Birding is a different type of sport. It becomes more about making the impossible sighting, the wondrous vagrant, the birds sent off course by storms and high winds. I know parents of college friends who go to Texas for the winter not to winter but to work at a bird sanctuary. Walking into the woods with Neil Case is never a straight forward hike, you are going to see things.

While I enjoy watching the birds that come to our feeders, I never knew or imagined that there was such a thing in the birding world as a Big Year. This is when bird watching enthusiasts take a calendar year from January 1 till December 31 to see as many birds as you possibly can. The record is over 700 species seen in a one year period.

The Big Year PosterI became interested in finding all of this stuff out when the kids turned on this movie, The Big Year (2011) one night during spring break. Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson are three men who decide to do a Big Year in the same calendar year. Martin and Wilson are wealthy businessmen while Black is a working stiff getting over his divorce.

The Black character does everything he can, including racking up several credit cards to the limit, to do this Big Year thing which means a lot of traveling across the United States and Canada in order to see over 700 varieties of birds from North America and others that get blown off course. This includes Alaska, Florida, Texas, boat tours on the Pacific, and Colorado. They will miss work, spouses, and the little things to make this dream of seeing every possible species come true.

I found this movie worthwhile although slowly paced at times. It is a movie meant for adults, context-wise, but my ten-year-old could watch it for the most part. As we watched this movie while at my parents’ house, I wondered if my dad had ever seen it or if he would watch it. There were some exciting moments of almost making the plane and almost catching sight of a bird but no explosions or gun fights.

Perhaps Dad would have just changed the channel if he saw this movie coming on.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

As Easter creeps closer, there are things to be done.

It is the traditional time of Spring Cleaning. So much dust and dirt collects in my house that I feel like I can never keep up with it. One week I clear cobwebs and the next week they are back again. Dirt and sand gather for some party I was never invited to join.

During this time of the year, now that taxes are done, I find myself going through a ton of paper that needs to be shredded. I always think I am going to get at those big closets or piles of clutter but the regular stuff gets me distracted every time. In the end my goal becomes to get through one nasty place a day.

All of this is in preparation for Easter, making sure the house is ready. Or maybe it hearkens back to the Jewish holiday of Passover in which cleaning happens in earnest. There can be no leavening agent left in the house before the start of Passover which is the night of April 3rd this year.

I always remember this because the Last Supper was the Seder dinner, the first night of Passover that Jesus and his disciples would have observed.

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

For this week we think about those Christian movies more than usual. And in the past few years, Hollywood has responded to people wanting more movies about Christian faith. I recently watched Heaven is For Real starring Greg Kinnear. I am not sure a movie like this would have starred a big name of a name or talented actor of an actor as Kinner as recent as a few years ago if the script was poorly written.

If you are looking for a movie that is family friendly, this one is beyond a few outbursts of anger and one scene in which dad tells his daughter she needs to punch someone without hurting herself. But content wise, this movie is better for pre-teens and up. Their minds are better able to understand the nuances.

The story is about a four-year-old boy who nearly dies from mis-diagnosed appendicitis. It is during this time that he goes to heaven, meeting family members, Jesus, and God. As the boy recovers he slowly begins talking about his experiences with his family. For the dad, who is a minister, it causes a crisis of faith. He is torn by people who support him and others who doubt that such a thing could happen.

Kelly Riley, Connor Corum, and Greg Kinnear in Heaven is For Real

Kelly Riley, Connor Corum, and Greg Kinnear in Heaven is For Real

Many of my friends who have seen this movie state that the book is better and I do not disagree. In the book, much of the action took over two years to happen. As the movie goes, much of the action takes place within a year’s time. But Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly give heartfelt sincere performances as parents trying to understand what has happened to their son and how that affects their life in the present.

I enjoyed the movie because of that sincerity. I likes the little boy who focuses on what he saw for minutes at a time while his father seems to want to dig deeper. That’s how we adults operate, we want every detail and the little kids want to play in the sand box. I believed the story that this child saw something but defining it for adults was not always easy. Isn’t that faith in a nutshell?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Colin Goes Gangster!!!!

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Last week when I was doing my research for one of the movies I planned to write about, I kept seeing people refer to this Colin Farrell movie call London Boulevard, a decidedly adult movie.

I had never heard of it let alone even seen a trailer for it. After a little digging, I found out that this movie may have never made it to the big screens in America despite it’s American director, William Monahan. If Monahan sounds familiar it is because he wrote The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven.

The story is gritty and rough as we follow an ex-con trying to make sure he does not go back to prison. His first night back sees Mitchell getting his druggy sister out of one rough situation while he also makes it possible for another girl to get to an ATM without trouble. That encounter leads to a possible job as a handyman/protection for a fragile and reclusive actress played by Kiera Knightly.

London BoulevardMeanwhile, one of his hoodlum friends has him come along for a few ‘collection’ calls which brings him to the attention of a gangster boss. Gant, played by Ray Winstone, is evil and mean. He is willing to kill the innocent for showing up at the wrong place and time. And let’s not talk about what he will do to people who say ‘no’ to him.

As Gant and Mitchell spar, it becomes clear a battle is brewing and in the end it is not going to be pretty.

Monahan wanted to make his first film as a Boston gangster drama. But at some point he decided he had done that and choose to make the setting in London instead. The film has plenty of violence and swearing so that anyone who doesn’t like that in a movie would probably not like this. But it is a movie filled with wonderful small performances from Farrell, Knightly, Winstone, Anna Friel, and David Thewlis complete with spare but revealing dialogue.

They add depth to these roles, making us like or hate these people. I was most impressed with David Thewlis’ character, trying hard to remember where I know him from. It took a minute before I got to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Thewlis was Professor Lupin, the werewolf Dark Arts professor who was friends with Harry’s parents. It is during this adventure that Harry learns about his godfather and his parents’ group of friends along with their betrayal.

Harry Potter and Prof LupinI loved his performance in this third movie of the series because Thewlis appeared to take on some of the traits of Claude Rains in his characterization of Lupin. Claude Rains played the father of Lon Chaney Jr., the original wolf man in the 1941 movie, giving himself quiet dignity as he dealt with the changes in his son he could not prevent. Thewlis continues this tradition and is quite believable as a man haunted by a condition he cannot change. His performance, along with Gary Oldman’s, makes Prisoner of Azkaban worthwhile family viewing.

These days of changeable weather might demand we stay in but stay in with a good movie on hand.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

The last few weeks, my reading pile has included a variety of books whose focus is North Korea.

These were not easy books to read, in fact it was dammed dis-heartening. I read about a country suffering through near poverty while its leader lives the good life.

Well, when he is not having his mistress shot because his wife found out about the affair. Granted I have only hearsay for that one. But it is pretty certain that his uncle is dead after some of his bolder acts came to be known. The man disappeared and no one has seen him. It is assumed that he is dead – somewhere. If one story is true, it was a very public and nasty death.

esape from camp 14This does not surprise me. Especially after I finished reading Escape from Camp 14. This non-fiction book, which is currently up for the Lincoln Award, tells the story of a young man , named Shin, who was born in Camp 14, a brutal gulag meant for those who went against the government in some way. If that isn’t enough, the government gathers your family, have people ‘mate’ or marry so that they can punish your children.

It is the whole idea of punishing three generations of wrongdoers. People within the camp are taught to snitch on each other, to always work alone, and to never trust one another. God forbid if you try to escape and fail. Chances are you will shot or hung in front of a crowd so your mistakes are an example to everyone else.

Recently it has come out that Shin changed facts around such as his mother, brother, and himself were transferred to a different camp, and that one escape attempt led him to being repatriated to North Korea.

Reluctant CommunistIt could lead you to discount the whole story until you read The Reluctant Communist by Charles Robert Jenkins and Jim Frederick. Jenkins was stationed in South Korea during the 1960s. While this was his second stint in South Korea, it was one filled with depression and loneliness. After eight years in the service, the Sargent wanted to go home and not be sent to Vietnam. That is when he deserted the Army and walked over the border to North Korea. Jenkins thought he would be sent home to face a court martial.

Instead he lived 40 years in a country that was brutal in its rations of food and money. He knows he had it better than most of the citizens but he dealt with irregular heating, electric service, and food sources. He was lucky to meet a Japanese woman and to have a true love match. Other American captives were ‘given’ women or eventually given a woman for a wife.

Because the Japanese government came looking for their abducted citizen, Jenkins’ wife Hitomi, was allowed to go back home. It would take nearly two years of effort on the part of the Japanese government  to get Jenkins and his two daughters into Indonesia to re-unite the family.

I raced through this book but would read various passages again so that I could truly understand what happened to Charles and Hitomi.

Without You There is no UsThe book that started me on this journey is the memoir by Suki Kim, Without You, There is No Us. It details the time Kim spent as a teacher at a university in Pyongyang, teaching English to children of the Korean elite. But even here, life is not privileged. Food seldom tastes good, even if there is meat. The electric service is spotty. Everyone’s computer is bugged so officials know what you are looking up at all times which was a huge fear when one of the other teachers stated they googled each of their co-workers.

Private conversations can only be had if you walk outside in the compound. And there is no such thing as a private conversation with students. You never know who is an informant and who is a rebel.

Kim tried to subtly introduce Western ideas but came to realize that she was only putting her students, whom she grew to love, in danger. Field trips for the teachers pointed out the abject poverty of the people. With her students not even allowed visits from their parents until school break times, Kim wondered about the life that her students lead outside of the university, if they had any freedom or were able to see other students like themselves.

You might say “That Shin guy lied, couldn’t these others be lying, too?” The problem is that there are too many stories from too many defectors. Why would thousands of people lie so grandly if this country was better than what it appears to be?

Then this week I heard about the Wired magazine article that talks with a man who smuggles thumb drives filled with American TV shows into North Korea. These are easier to hide than DVDs, easier to move around.  In doing this, the smugglers hope to show North Koreans that Americans do not focus on how to destroy their tiny country at all hours of the day.

Once upon a time, about 70 years ago, we said never again to things like the Holocaust and genocide. But with examples from North Korea and ISIS and Darfur and the break up of Yugoslavia, I wonder if that is ever possible. The only thing I do know is that we must keep working against the evil that deems we must obey or die.

Pulling out the Big Words

When I am not focused on anything else or when I do not want to be focused on anything else, I play Words With Friends.

words with friendsIt is my relaxing task, the one that helps me keep it together when I am about to spin out from grief. It also distracts me from tasks at hand and the things I need to get done.

It is my sin and my salvation.

Through Words with Friends, I have become a master with four-, five-, and six-letter words. If the opportunity strikes, I can place a seven-, eight-, or nine-lettered word. But those moments are rare. Satisfying, as when I was able to place ‘seances’ on two triple letter tiles and the triple word tile.

But recently my daughter competed in a conference spelling bee. She forced asked me to help her study for this contest. Before I would have said I am a woman of letters, i know tough words. I am willing to use those words in a sentence.

I was wrong.

oxford dictionaryOh, sure there were some simple words such as ‘wok’ and ‘aria.’ Then came some of the simple hard words such as ‘zygote’ and ‘quiche.’

None of these compared to ‘chiaroscuro’ or ‘fuliginous’ or ‘mulligatawny.’

I pulled out the dictionary for a pronunciation guide. I tried pulling it up on google to hear the words spoken out loud. After we got through her list, I felt as if I should be crumpled on the kitchen floor waiting for a bit of wine to revive me. Shakespeare had never made me feel this incomplete.

In the end, the girl was third overall in the spelling bee. One of her girlfriends made it to first place and their team won the competition overall over seven other schools.

Now that the bragging is done, you must excuse me. I am still trying to figure out ‘persiflage.’

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

By the time you read this, St. Patrick’s Day will be over. The corn beef and cabbage with exist in dribs and drabs. The potatos are crumbs.

But don’t let that stop you from watching some Irish movies. What I like are the ones that mix myth/fairy tales into real life. In the middle of land lacked farm land, we do not get seals that might be able to transform into humans.

But that is the subject of the movie Ondine starring Colin Ferrell and Alicja Bachleda. Ferrell is a down-on-his-luck fisherman in Ireland who shares his daughter with his ex. One day his nets pick up a beautiful young woman. She doesn’t want to be seen by anyone else, so Ferrell hides her in his mother’s old house.

OndineHis daughter eventually finds her and decides that the woman is a selkie. That is a seal which can take human form. A selkie cannot go back to the sea if her human husband finds and hides her seal coat. While Ferrell and Bachleda fall in love, you begin to think that maybe, just maybe, she really is a selkie.

The setting is beautiful and the dialogue feels both real and poetic. I listened to an interview with Ferrell and his conversation was never as lyrical although he is an intelligent man. Director Neil Jordan has made some movies focused on Irish ghosts (High Spirits) that were a waste of time. But this one carried me through even when the fear aspect took over the fairytale.

This movie has an adult context that would not be suitable for younger children. Older tweens and teens might enjoy it a bit more.

One movie that I like for younger children is Into The West. Gabriel Byrne stars as the father of two boys who are given a horse by their grandfather. This is not just any horse, this is Tír na nÓg who comes from the land under the sea that holds eternal youth. The problem is the motherless family lives in an apartment building in the slums of Dublin. Hiding a horse is quite difficult.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Worse yet, a greedy business man wants the fine horse no matter what. So he works with the police to steal the horse from the boys. But not every thing goes according to the plan. The boys steal the horse and begin riding him into the West Country of Ireland. The cops are chasing the boys down but the boys are getting help along the way. Meanwhile, other Travellers, Irish gypsies, help Dad track his boys before something dire can happen.

Again, I am lost in the mix of magic and real life. I sympathize with the depressed father who has lost his wife and wakes up only when he realizes he could lose his boys as well. I find myself cheering on the boys every time the slip out of reach of the authorities. It is movies like this that make me appreciate how magic and real life can intermingle.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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