Month: September 2012

“Arbitrage” —Power is the Best Alibi

  The early scenes of Arbitrage have some of the same high-finance vertigo of Margin Call or Bonfire of the Vanities.  But here we have an overlay of another crime superimposed on financial fraud and wonder what, if any, consequences will follow. In this implosive thriller Richard Gere plays investment mogul Robert Miller, the suave, arrogant superego, a “master of the universe” in the Gilded Age of arbitrage and hedge funds. He is the icon of the one-percent, a silver fox who charms, cheats, and gloats in his malfeasance. Until he can’t. Wealth creates the rules and...

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Rarely Seen Contemporary Works on Paper–Art Institute of Chicago Saturday, July 28, 2012–Sunday, January 13, 2013

DevilRecently I had the extraordinary opportunity to enjoy the visual imagery of the special exhibit, “Rarely Seen Contemporary Works on Paper” at the Art Institute of Chicago. What a visceral thrill!  The Art Institute of Chicago is a temple of art. "Untitled (Months)" Works on paper are extremely light sensitive, so this exhibit, which filled four rooms of predominantly 20th century and 21st century art, is housed in dark, temperature-controlled vaults.  Some of these works are being offered for the first time. While I was there, professors were leading their classes...

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“Hope Springs”…Eternal: Senior Sex Anyone?

Don’t be fooled by the trailers that depict this as a rom-com.  A  poignant portrayal of two  seniors who have drifted apart, not only as empty nesters, “Hope Springs” reveals  a hollowed-out existence between an aging husband and wife. In the opening scenes, we see Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) getting ready to go to bed…in separate rooms.  Their sex life has virtually ended.  Rapidly growing moribund, their thirty-one year-old marriage needs professional help. Arnold, the clueless accountant who has rigid habits his wife abhors, thinks there isn’t...

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“Beasts of the Southern Wild”–“Everyone loses the thing that made them.”

This indie film is a critics-darling (both 2012 Sundance and Cannes awards).  “Beasts of the Southern Wild” has a unique perspective on the “other” America, the forgotten down-and-out who lives outside the American Dream, whose survival is so precarious that there is only magic, no dream. This is an America that few viewers know about, and a type of poverty within our borders that has seldom been depicted in cinema. The sobering combination of magic and poverty in “Beast of the Southern Wild” suggests “The Fall”(see August 16, 2011 review)  meets “A...

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“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”: A Day of Carnage

Nominated for a Best Documentary Academy Award this year “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” is also a powerful narrative as vibrant as any dramatic cinema, an extraordinary, mesmerizing tribute to the resilience of human nature.  More than an epitaph of mourning and loss, this film interviews ordinary residents whose philosophical attitudes toward the day of carnage are not easily dismissed.  Their amazing faces humanize this catastrophe of nature. The ten-minutes of home-video taken from a hill overlooking the explosive black waves surging towards the coastline of Sendai will...

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