The Best of Both Worlds – Ballet and Black History Month

Today, Achariya and I are going to see Romeo and Juliet performed by the Orlando Ballet. We interviewed Artistic Director Robert Hill and principle dancer Chiaki Yasukawa a few weeks ago and you can read the whole interview here. 

It goes without saying we are BEYOND excited!

To honor both the ballet and Black History month, please check out this trailer for Misty Copeland’s documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale, available on Netflix.

And if you’re already familiar with Misty, here is a video showcasing some more up and coming ballerinas of color.

The Witch – Short Review and Comparison

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the movie. I just thought it was interesting how two completely different people can create such similar content, without ever meeting.

The Witch is definitely everything I expected, from all the reviews and thinkpieces I’ve read of it, with a few surprises.

Although it’s a horror film, it’s more concerned with building atmosphere and character than throwing out cheap scares. The imagery puts me in mind of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s nature pieces, like The Bear. The soundtrack is beautiful and at times incredibly offputting, as an atonal women’s chorus swells, or strange instruments pluck and rattle, setting your nerves on edge.

The period setting has been exhaustively researched, and director/writer Robert Eggers has perfectly recreated a setting that lends itself to horror particularly well.

It’s not a horror movie for everyone, and I wonder if it will catch fire the way that a lot of people seem to think it will – I can’t see a group of people renting it on Redbox and pounding beers while watching it, but I never would have imagined Downton Abbey would blow up the way it did, either. I have LOADS of praise for it, but I won’t say too much just now. But the last ten minutes – SO awesome.

Anyway, I did notice a lot of parallels with my own work. I’ll put them behind a cut to spare people spoilers from the movie, but if you’re not intending on seeing the movie anyway then you might enjoy knowing where there’s overlap – and where there isn’t.

Continue reading “The Witch – Short Review and Comparison”

I’m Back, Y’all!

I totally teared up during this trailer. Between the music, the voicework, and that little boy’s spunky spirit, I am all over this. I am READY.

Got my internet situation handled, and I’ll have some entries up later this week – one for one of Gary Oldman’s greatest roles, that of Ludwig Van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved. HOW HAS HE NOT WON AN OSCAR BY NOW?

But today – oh, today!- here is another trailer for Disney’s new The Jungle Book. 

I get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but as a weird little only child who grew up climbing trees alone in a big backyard, and preferred the company of animals to people…

…this has me. 

I totally teared up during this trailer. Between the music, the voicework, and that little boy’s spunky spirit, I am all over this. I am READY.

I LOVE the casting – I am hearing a lot of snark about Scarlett Johansen as Kaa, specifically her voicework, but I think it’s perfect. People are complaining that the line-reading sounds flat, but I disagree. After all, Kaa is supposed to be disarming, supposed to sound as if eating you is the farthest thing from her mind. She’s a 50-foot python and running prey down isn’t an option – large reptiles are ambush predators, meaning they wait hidden for you to let your guard down, before they strike. In the cartoon Kaa used hypnosis on his prey, but I like the reinterpretation. They’re playing with the  ‘Eve and the Snake’ mythology of Western culture a bit too, with woman as ‘seductress,’ but I kind of dig it. Mowgli’s wolf mother is played by Lupita N’yongo, which is nice, but seriously can we get her in a big blockbuster role where we see her face?.

And Idris Elba as Shere Khan?

Get that casting director a bucket of awards and a dumptruck of money because that is PERFECT. 

A Night at the Thee-Ah-Tah – Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior At the Enzian

In Which The Author Leaves The House in the Company of Friends, Good Food, and Post-Apocalyptic Cannibal Cults.

[The Enzian did not pay me to write this entry, I just love going there and have for years, and wanted to spread the word!]

Last night I scurried forth from my bolthole for a special occasion: Orlando’s own local independent theater The Enzian was showing Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Rejoice!

Exterior 5

The Enzian’s been around since 1985. I saw my first film there in 1997, Ma Vie En Rose, so right away you can see it has quite a variety. It’s the kind of place for people who just flat out love movies and good stories, like the Alamo Drafthouse. During the Florida FiIm Festival (yes, Florida has a film festival and it’s not just police dash cam vids of drunk people falling down or setting things on fire) the Enzian becomes a nerve center of activities: they show a lot of films there, and they have discussions with filmmakers and actors. Gabriel Byrne and Helen Mirren have attended, and I believe my former Creative Writing teacher Pat Rushin did an appearance as well.

Eden bar

The Enzian has a sweet bar outside with all kinds of drinks from domestic beers to cocktails containing absinthe, flavored whiskey, and moonshine. Inside, they offer a full menu of oodles of goodies, like sandwiches, tomato cream soup, and/or truffle parmesan fries. They also do free movies on the lawn sometimes, or other film events around town. The bar/patio is shaded by gigantic live oaks and has a fountain, so it’s a nice place to unwind.

Films I’ve seen at the Enzian:

  • Ma Vie En Rose
  • The Dinner Game (French)
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • What We Do In The Shadows
  • So I Married an Axe Murderer
  • Aliens (on birthday last year- they do horror movies in October!)
  • Pumpkinhead
  • The Host (Korean horror/sci-fi, not the Twilight thing)
  • A Very Long Engagement
  • Let the Right One In (Swedish)
  • Micmacs
  • Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • Babe: Pig in the City (I have no shame about crying in front of people during this movie)
  • Mirrormask
  • Gone With the Wind
  • Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
  • Oldboy (original)
  • Big Trouble in Little China
  • Primer (the science fiction one)
  • Film festival shorts
  • The Troll Hunter

And so many more! I can’t list them all!

As mentioned above, the Enzian does horror movies during the month of October – I’m already planning to see Shaun of the Dead and probably Beetlejuice, too.

I met up with a bunch of friends who are movie nerds like myself and we had a damn good time. I thought I saw Road Warrior like 20 years ago but apparently I was thinking of the first Mad Max, when he’s a cop. Ah well!

In lieu of a real review, here are my thoughts:

  • More in line with Fury Road than Thunderdome, although I still love all three
  • More feminist than I would have guessed (the female warrior was badass; there was also a chick who had the option to escape and did the honorable thing by staying with her people; women sat on the council and took up arms)
  • The Feral Kid was the best
  • Lord Humungus’s thighs needed their own credit. That dude was walking beef.
  • One complaint – I couldn’t get over the assless chaps the raiders wore. Hell, just wearing shorts in Central Florida summer can get you burned on a cloth carseat, so Australian post-apocalyptic desert-wear should offer more protection from leather motorcycle saddles baked by the sun. Just a thought. Also I imagined the actor playing Wez was having fun as he flashed his cheeks at the camera with joyful abandon. It was a full moon at noon over the Aussie desert, y’all
  • Jedidiah The Gyro Copter Pilot was also the best

SO! If you find yourself in Orlando, consider taking a day off from a theme park and hitting the Enzian for some REAL Central Florida flavor. I like roller coasters as much as the next person, but sometimes need a break from the sweaty throngs.

[EDIT: It only hit me this morning, the delicious irony of going to a high art movie theater to watch nitro-cannibals ride around on flaming motorcycles in assless chaps. But whatev-  they wouldn’t show it if they didn’t love movies!]