Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel -- give it a bag of stars

It was one of those nights -- other things to do -- but I had a pass to see a screening of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (also known as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful). It is is a 2012 British comedy-drama directed by John Madden and written by Ol Parker. Based on the 2004 novel, These Foolish Things, by Deborah Moggach, the film stars an ensemble cast, consisting of Judi DenchCelia ImrieBill NighyRonald PickupMaggie SmithTom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton, as a group of British retirees staying in an elderly retirement hotel in India.

What a sweet movie it is. Pardon the syrup, but it was the answer to a day that had its rough edges. I am the biggest fan of Maggie Smith and she didn't disappoint. Neither did Judi Dench. They are the royalty of English actresses and they brought their usual punch and style to the roles they played. 

The plot has -- with no apologies -- multiple deus ex machinas, the convenient rescues in the nick of time -- but it all works and is a total delight. In fact, I want to see the movie again -- perhaps on a DVD -- so I can slow down the dialogue and catch every nuance. 

There is also a great impression of the color and zest for life in India. The ability to survive comes through and inspired. This is definitely a feel-good movie and I highly recommend it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Is elegance enough?

Yesterday our WCAGA book club looked at Ann Truitt's work. So minimal. She said in her writing that she was expressing her emotions. Whew! That had to be her version of what it was like to be emotional. Elegant?
Yes. Definitely elegant in the simplicity of her lines, the avoidance of a curve or a random spot. But emotional? That emotion could be strength, but a canvas with only off-white paint on it, what is that saying? There was a time decades ago when that was original. It makes me wonder whether original is enough. And, yet, I was not in the majority at this gathering. Most of my friends seemed to think that Truitt's work was powerful and did something for them.

Along these lines -- today is supposedly Shakespeare's birthday. It was a shock to hear that major literary figures like Tolstoy had no respect at all for the bard's work. It's hard to imagine anyone dismissing the author who wrote "to be or not to be..." and making small of him. As an English major, I think I need to cover my ears.

As the collectors of "Points of Light" mourn the passing of their famous and extremely wealthy creator, it does give one pause. Does history really sort it out? Maybe, we all agree the ancient cave drawings were brilliant.

The painting below -- an unfinished escape from the tedium of doing what I was supposed to do today. If it says anything, I'm not sure what it is. All I know is that there is joy in the process and it is my ultimate escape. I don't smoke, drink or do drugs...probably need an addiction of this sort.