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Jul 31st
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CRAZY HEART

film_CrazyheartIn a  just universe, Jeff Bridges would have a roomful of Oscars by now. He's been so great in so many roles for so long, it's almost ironic he's getting some of his best notices ever for the broken-down country singer he plays in Crazy Heart. Not that Bridges isn't spectacular in the part—is he ever. But Bridges is an actor of such wry, thoughtful subtlety who makes it look so effortless that some viewers may miss the exquisite craftsmanship of his performance, or, worse, assume he's just playing himself. Bridges invests 57-year-old "Bad" Blake with all the cantankerous brio and innate, slightly shopworn charm accrued from a hard life lived on the road. After four marriages, fleeting fame, and a lifetime of bad decisions, he travels the byways of the desert Southwest in his Chevy Silverado, playing with pick-up bands in bowling alleys and honky-tonks, fueled by cigarettes, whiskey, and the occasional groupie of a certain age.

He can still be great onstage, singing the "old songs" (lifelong musician Bridges sings with ragged authority), but nowadays, he'd rather get drunk than face the introspection it would take to write 'em like that any more. Plot-wise, it's a road we've all been down before, but director Scott Cooper (adapting the Thomas Cobb novel) provides a few happy surprises. Maggie Gyllenhaal's marvelous self-possession and grown-up sensuality is so  perfectly pitched to the renegade yearning of Bridges' Bad, their May-December relationship feels entirely credible. Colin Farrell delivers a fine cameo as Tommy Sweet, the protégé whose glitzy career has eclipsed Bad's, but who shares a vast arena stage with Bad for one night only. Farrell, too, does his own singing, and their duet together is terrific. All the music is beautifully crafted; more than one showy tune, repeated over and over, songwriters film_crazy_heartStephen Bruton and T Bone Burnett contribute an entire repertoire that Bad  and company sing differently from night to night, depending on the circumstances. The rueful ballad "The Weary Kind" (written by Ryan Bingham, who has a small part in the film) is getting all the attention, but the entire song cycle is essential to the storytelling, furthering plot and enhancing character. And it's the subdued power of Bridges' performance that gives this movie its crazy heart; he's literally Bad to the bone. (★★★1/2) (PG-13) 111 minutes | LJ Watch movie 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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