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Oct 09th
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film_diamondThe hothouse dramas of Tennessee Williams were considered pretty scandlous back in the '50s because, hello! it was the '50s. These days, warmed-over Williams just doesn’t have the same impact, even if provided by Williams himself, via a long-unproduced screenplay. Rookie director Jodie Markell's handsome production of The Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond conjures up the usual intemperate Williams brew: unspoken homosexual longing sublimated into the tale of a fragile, yet willful Southern belle  too arty and sophisticated for her stifling social milieu, teetering on the brink of madness. Pale, porcelain Bryce Dallas Howard goes brunette to play Fisher Willow, a Memphis debutante ca. 1923 who's spent some time abroad, bobs her hair, and has a yen for jazz. She's also smitten with dirt-poor Jimmy Dobyne (Chris Evans)—his father's an affable drunk and his mama is locked up in a madhouse—who runs the commissary on her rich Daddy's plantation. (Somehow, he's also the grandson of the ex-governor of the state, which no one ever bothers to explain.) Of course, Fisher just can't tell Jimmy how she feels, or there'd be no story; instead, she hires him to escort her to debutante balls, at one of which percolating issues of class,  character, and reckless, forbidden desires bubble to the surface when Fisher loses her auntie's pricey diamond earring. Provincial young gossips, drugs, and insanity lurk like dust bunnies in the shadowy corners of the plot, which features not one, but two ferocious Williams dragon ladies (Ann Margret, stuck in a prim, empty part, and Ellen Burstyn, cheerfully chomping the scenery as  stroke victim delivering an ode to "the Poppy.") film_loss_of_a_teardrop_diamondIt ought to be more fun than it is, in a kind of zany Almodóvar way, but the dialogue is so trite, the tone so mannered, and pages of exposition so obvious, all potential vitality drains away. Markell's helming is excruciatingly stage-like; she actually puts a spotlight on two characters in the middle of a scene to emphasize a soliloquy. Howard's dreamy sensuality doesn't do quite enough to blunt Fisher's obnoxious edges. Evans works manfully to imbue some feeling and credibility into his role as the vital, red-blooded male who has all the girls in fits. But none of them can turn this silly, Southern-fried Gothic into a movie that matters. (★1/2) (PG-13) 102 minutes.

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Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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