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Apr 20th
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THE GOOD HEART

film_THEGOODHEARTIt's hard to imagine what the good intentions were behind The Good Heart. There must have been some. This hybrid little oddity plays out as a stylized parable from an intensely personal viewpoint, that of Paris-born, Denmark-educated Icelandic filmmaker Dagur Kari. Shot in (American) English with an international cast, the film is set in an unidentified modern city and populated by characters who are metaphorical archetypes rather than recognizable humans. They have no past or future; they exist in the moment in a simplistic story that's more fable than drama. At its center is Jacques (Brian Cox), the crotchety, foul-mouthed owner of a seedy neighborhood bar. Unburdened by spouse, children, or friends, he's devoted to his few eccentric patrons, in his way, yet hasn't a good word to say to anybody on any occasion. At the local hospital, where he periodically turns up because of his bum ticker, even the nurses wish he would drop dead. During one of his hospital stays, he meets Lucas (Paul Dano), a young homeless man who lives in a cardboard box down by the docks. Jacques takes in sweet-tempered Lucas and teaches him to run the bar, so the regulars he refers to as "morons" will continue to have a refuge after Jacques himself is gone. From here, the story might have gone in several interesting directions. Instead, Kari introduces a female with a French accent (Isild Le Besco), literally, out of the blue. As cardboard as Lucas' box, her sole film_good_heart_ver2purpose is to disrupt Jacques' relationship with Lucas and the all-male sanctity of the bar. For something this determinedly artificial to qualify as parable, it would have to come to a larger point, but nothing that happens in Kari's controlled little Petri-dish of a story has any resonance or application in the larger world. The hardworking Cox's misanthropic irascibility is funny for awhile, then tiresome, and Dano can't do much with his passive, one-note character. Kari's attempt at an ironic plot twist is telegraphed halfway through the movie, if not sooner. And a brief image of animal cruelty with no bearing on the plot and dubious metaphorical intent leaves a sour taste the rest of the movie never redeems. (R) 95 minutes. (★)—L J Watch film trailer >>>
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Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
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