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Jul 31st
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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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It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

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