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Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Leap!” (2017)  (U.S.)  /  “Ballerina” (2016) (France)
Today’s movie review is for an animated, “rise-to-fame” / dance, kids movie which was originally released in France / Europe in 2016 and then released in English / America in 2017.  The story is of two orphans who escape an orphanage to seek their fame in Paris.  The young girl wants to be a Ballerina and the young lad wants to be an engineer / inventor.  By hook and by crook, they both get their wish.  And the boy gets the girl’s heart along with it…
As most anyone who follows this blog for any length of time will realize, I am all about this sentimental, rags-to-riches, ugly duckling to swan story / genre.  As a former computer programmer I am also predisposed to “liking” an animated film or one with technical special effects.
So, does this movie work as a kids film?  How is the animation?  How is it as an adult film (will the average adult enjoy it)?  Good.  So-so.  And, probably.  Will kids like this film.  Yes, up to about the age of 6 to 8, I think they will, particularly if their parents have filled them with dreams that anything is possible.  But the animation is only “good”?  Yes.  Basically, that’s about it.  Most of everything possible has been done and probably done better in other films.  Shading, shadows, color, textures, skin tones, hair, facial expressions.  All of it has been done, and, if I’m honest, better in other movies.  That doesn’t mean it’s bad.  It’s not.  It’s just not done at “super” hi-def levels.  Also, and this really isn’t a criticism either, the movie lacks the required one or two “fabulous” take-away songs which would make it (the movie) a HIT movie.   And, maybe, it doesn’t need to be for this kind of “kids” movie to be “okay”.  Is it an adult movie?  Not really.  It’s a bit too simplistic for an adult or a “date” movie.  It is an excellent auntie / uncle or grand-parents take the niece / nephew or grand-kids to the afternoon matinée movie.  And, sometimes that’s really all a movie has to be.
It is rated PG for some “suggestive” scenes / themes and it has the requisite good and evil adults and a notable bullying child.  Like most movies for this target age group, the movie resolves hopefully for the children and leaves the adult issues mostly unaddressed / unresolved.  Again, it’s a kid’s movie, so children can “win” without “justice” for adults.
Final recommendation: moderate to strong.  For what it is, it is a “good” movie.  It doesn’t really try to be a great deal more than entertaining – in a kid-sie / hopeful way.  I enjoyed it, and it was a pleasant enough way to spend 90 or so minutes.
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On This Day In:
2018 As I Recall
2017 Truly Generous
2016 Choose Your Destiny
2015 Fast And Firm
2014 Neither Head Nor Heart
2013 Lonely, Foolish, Love Songs
Batting 1.000
Coward, n.
2012 At Least A Little More Difficult
2011 Speaking Of Fear
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The Sun Also Rises  —  book review
Today’s review is for the quasi-autobiographical novel: “The Sun Also Rises” (1926© / 1954©), written by Ernest Hemingway.  The book has three main topics: expatriate life in Paris / Europe; fishing in Spain; and, bullfights in Spain.  The book follows Jake Barnes, an American newswriter living in Paris as he, in turn, parties, goes fishing, and then goes to see the running of the bulls in Pamplona and the subsequent bull-fights.  The story revolves around Jake, his love interest (Lady Brett Ashley), and a handful of other suitors as they go through the several weeks covered by the book.  I’m told (by Wikipedia) the book is based on a handful of trips Hemingway actually took with some of his “Lost Generation” friends in the early 1920’s.
My reason for reading “this” book was (again) my fear of dying illiterate, that is, without having read (and shared in) some of the great works (thoughts) of humanity.  (Yes, I know everything I read is in English, so I can’t possibly make the claim of sharing “thoughts”, but reading English translations is the closest I will ever come on that front.)  Back to my fear…  I avoided most of “great” literature when back in grammar and high school because I found what little exposure I did get to be incredibly boring.  I have come to feel that without a smattering of life experience, one (or at least I) could not appreciate the range of emotions and experiences the authors were trying to convey.  They simply were too far outside of my realm of experience and so meant nothing to me.  I interpreted this as “boring” and so I’ve avoided “great” literature as much as possible ever since.
Back in February, I quoted the poet Ezra Pound, who once said, “Men do not understand books until they have a certain amount of life, or at any rate no man understands a deep book, until he has seen and lived at least part of its contents.
And I think I mostly believed this.  Now, however, I’m sixty-one years old and it’s harder to use the same excuse.  And, yet, I’m finding it’s still true.
This IS another book which I’ve found boring and I think it’s simply because I can’t relate to it.  I’ve spent a few days visiting Paris.  I’ve done numerous dangerous (stupid) things in my life (not unlike bull-running).  I’ve been fishing.  And, in my early teens, I spent the better part of a whole summer watching bull-fighting on TV (both English and Spanish speaking channels).  Without actually having read the book, one would think I’d had enough common experience to be able to relate to the book.  But, in truth, I did not relate.  Or, at least, I didn’t feel like I did, which is probably the same thing.
So, all in all, I’ve now read a Hemingway, a Fitzgerald and a Steinbeck and found two of three uninteresting and a struggle to get through.  I guess it is possible I just don’t have the “socially literate” gene in me.  In any case, I will keep trying as occasionally I do enjoy one or another “classic”.
Final recommendation: tepid.  Who cares if a book is a “classic” if it’s such a struggle to get through.  My apologies to anyone who loves this book or who’s life was changed by reading it, but I’m just not feelin’ it.  If you’re one of these folks, drop me a comment, ’cause I’m not feelin’ it with you.
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On This Day In:
2015 About Character
2014 Your Gain
2013 Look Up
2012 Count Me In
2011 Pirates Four, Three Songs
Sir Charles
Look First, Not Last
2010 Par-a-diddle

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For me, religion — no matter which one —  is ultimately about people wanting to live humble, moral lives that create a harmonious community and promote tolerance and friendship.  All religious rules should be in service of this goal.  The Islam I learned and practice does just that.
Violence committed in the name of religion is never about religion — it’s about money.
…It’s just business.
Nor should we blame U.S. foreign policy as the spark that lights the fuse.  Poverty, political oppression, system corruption, lack of education, lack of critical thinking and general hopelessness in these countries are the spark.  Yes, we’ve made mistakes that will be used to justify recruiting new drones.  But we shouldn’t kid ourselves that the recent report detailing our extensive and apparently ineffective use of torture led to mass terrorist volunteers.  The world knew we tortured.   The only thing the report revealed was how bad we were at it.  More important, if recruits were swayed by logical idealism, they would realize that the fact that we conducted, released and debated such a report is what makes the U.S. admirable.  We don’t always do the right thing, but we strive to.  We admit our faults and make adjustments.  It may be glacial, but it’s movement forward.
 …
Ironically, terrorism is an act against the very religion the perpetrators claim to believe in.  It’s an acknowledgment that the religion and its teachings aren’t enough to persuade people to follow it.  Any religion that requires coercion is not about community but leaders who want power.
We can’t end terrorism any more than we can end crime in general.  But I look forward to the day when an act of terrorism by self-proclaimed Muslims will be universally dismissed as nothing more than a criminal attack of a thuggish political organization wearing an ill-fitting Muslim mask. To get to that point, we will need to teach our communities what the real beliefs of Islam are.  In the meantime, keep my name on speed dial so we can get through this together.
    —  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
From his commentary / editorial: “Paris Was Not About Religion
In Time Magazine, January 26, 2015
[Time Magazine charges $.20 per issue to those paper subscribers who also want to view articles on-line.  I refuse to pay this.  Yes, I am a dinosaur who still receives the paper edition.  I have been a subscriber to Time for over 40 years (off and on (mostly on)).  It costs Time virtually nothing to allow paper subscribers to have on-line access, but this is the business model they choose.  The bottom line is that I am unable to provide you with a link to the actual full version.  My apologies…  Please visit your local library if you wish to see the entire column.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2015 How Long Is A Piece Of String?
2014 Heathen, n.
2013 Wisdom’s Folly
2012 When The Student Is Ready
Disconnected Leadership
2011 The Complex Richness Of Life

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Me Either

In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.
   —  Mark Twain
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On This Day In:
2014 Just Business
2013 Beautiful Adventure
2012 Precedence
2011 Ya Think?

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I know it is coming (death), and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. I am grateful for the gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.
 
   —  Roger Ebert
 
 [ I found this at: http://responsiveuniverse.wordpress.com 
 
The actual post was: http://responsiveuniverse.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/roger-ebert-i-do-not-fear-death/   —  KMAB]
  
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On This Day In:
2012 Until Found
2011 Reducing Goods To Data
  The Fog Of Civilization Building
   

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