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Looking for Eric

film_LookingforEricRemember Play It Again, Sam, when the spirit of Bogie coaches Woody Allen to be tough and cool in the face of life's challenges? It's a similar deal in Ken Loach's sly urban comedy Looking For Eric, where Loach's sad-sack, midlife protagonist turns for inspiration to legendary soccer great Eric Cantona. Loach, the prolific British director best known for gritty, slice-of-life realism dramas (Ladybird, Ladybird; My Name Is Joe; The Wind That Shakes The Barley) lightens up here with unexpected elements of comedy, fantasy, and romance. There's a dark side to the story, of course, and plenty of raucous profanity, but mostly, this is a funny, upbeat film about conquering one's inner loser and going for the goal. Steve Evets is solid and crackling with nervy energy as Eric Bishop, a postal worker in industrial Manchester at the end of his short fuse. His life is going nowhere, his adopted teenage sons don't respect him, and babysitting his new grandchild will soon put him back in contact with first wife, Lily (Stephanie Bishop), whom he still loves, but abandoned 25 years earlier when he couldn't face the responsibilities of parenthood. What's constant in his life is his crew of supportive mates (they have names like "Meatballs" and "Spleen"), and their devotion to the mighty Manchester United soccer team. film_looking_for_ericNicking dope from his son's stash one night, Eric turns for guidance to his hero, French-born Manchester United star Eric Cantona, "the greatest Center Forward the world has ever seen"— and Cantona materializes in his room (and at other key moments as the story progresses) to offer his trademark poetic, if obscure, bon mots of advice. Cantona (he retired from football in 1998) plays himself in the film; famed for his aphoristic philosophizing off the field, he's terrific fun here as a droll life coach. At his urging, Eric dares to kick all the brain-sapping TVs out of his house, untangle his son from a local gangster, and pursue the woman he loves. This is probably as close to a feel-good movie as Loach will ever get, but come prepared to listen up: the North Country accents are porridge-thick, Cantona's French accent all but impenetrable, and a climactic scene where everyone talks through masks is like watching a foreign film without subtitles. (Not rated) 116 minutes. (★★★) Watch film trailer >>>

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

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