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Feb 14th
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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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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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