But that’s okay.
I made a special trip to London last week through Sunday to be in the city for Lady Kay’s 99th – yes 99th – birthday! Lady Kay aka Nanny is my grandmother and was born in Birmingham, England waaaay back in October 1911. Imagine that…. 1911. World War I had not even started. That year, King George V was crowned after the death of King Edward VII. Procter & Gamble unveiled “Crisco’. Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Sun Yat-sen became the first President of the Republic of China. The groundbreaking started in Boston for what would become Fenway Park and the Titanic was launched.
Ahead of her lay two World Wars, the Great Depression, the invention of television and the internet and man’s first steps on the moon. Perspective, they say, is everything and Nanny has perspective in spades.
My folks and sister and niece were all on hand to celebrate with Nanny. She remains as healthy as all of us put together and still – after nearly a century gracing this mortal coil – carries a regal air. I am both blessed and honoured to have her as my grandmother and I know we’ll be there with her in October 2011 as she crosses into a century of life and wisdom surrounded by her family and honoured by Queen Elizabeth II.
Way to go Nanny! I know you do see this blog now and again and wish you all best!
Upon returning from London, I was immediately off to Detroit for a couple days of meetings. Detroit, despite the ‘recession’, isn’t as bad as one would think quite honestly.
And thence to some movies:
Millennium Mambo is used by uber-brilliant director Hsiao-hsien Hou as a vehicle to showcase the considerable sultry talents of Qi Shu who play Vicky, a young woman living in Taipei at the turn of the new century. Vicky has endured a raucous relationship with Hao-Hao (Chun-hao Tuan) a lad lost to drugs, petty thievery and his obsessive compulsive tendencies for Vicky and her neckline. She takes solace with trips to Japan with Jun (Jun Takeuchi), a younger, kinder version of Hao-Hao and shelter in the home of a benefactor, Jack (Jack Kao). Originally conceived as a 6-hour film – something unfathomable – it is classic Hsiao-hsien Hou with long lingering shots and shots filmed askew as if a camera was set secretly into the lives of these characters. While nowhere as good as Hou`s other efforts, it does reaffirm a worldwide poll done in 1988 that he is one of the three most crucial directors to the future of film. My rating 8 out of 10.
Alpha and Omega in 3D
Sadly Alpha and Omega is little more than a rushed effort to cash in on 3D mania that is now consuming the world of animation. Directed by Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck, it concerns the love story of two wolves from opposite sides of the pack – Alpha Kate (voice of Hayden Pannettiere) and Omega Humphrey (voice of Justin Long). When the two are whisked away to Idaho from the Rockies outside of Jasper, they unite forces – with two golf-fanatic geese – to find their way home and solve the crisis of the western and eastern wolf packs at odds over elk herds. The problem with this film is an utter sense of deja-vu: we feel we`ve seen this all before. It is not helped by average (at best) animation and so-so 3D effects (the title blocks aside). In a hyphenated word, Alpha and Omega seems an after-thought and like most after-thoughts is not worth the effort. My rating 4 out of 10.
This 1950 film, directed by the great Akira Kurorsawa, is the quintessential crime drama that perfects displays the art of narrating a story from many different perspectives. In medieval Japan, a woman is raped and a man murdered and the conflicting stories of the witnesses to this crime – including the victim`s via a medium – make the story. In the end, we are left to judge ourselves – as in life – and are perhaps left saying (as noted in the film`s first line) `I do not understand”. But that is the film`s purpose and point. Rashmonon Introduced Japanese film to Western audiences (it won both the Golden Lion and Academy Award) and remains even today hugely influential. It is a mesmerizing masterpiece. Filmed by cinematographer Kazuo Migagawa, it starred the great Tshiro Mifune as the thief Tajomuru, Masayuki Mori as the soon-murdered samurai Kanazawa, the beautiful Machiko Kyo as his wife, Masako, Takashi Shimura as the woodcutter who happens upon the scene, and Minoru Chiaki as the priest. Worth viewing many times over, Rashmonon gets my rating of 9 out of 10.