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Jul 28th
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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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Three major celestial events occur this week. Wednesday, the Sun enters Leo, highlighting the heart center of everyone. Leo is a sign of deep sensitivity (along with Cancer). Wednesday is also the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Saturday, July 25, Venus turns stationary retrograde at 0 Virgo (progressed Regulus, the Law, Hall of Records). Venus retrogrades for 44 days and nights, forming one petal of a five-pointed rosy star (pentagram) in the sky (five retrogrades over eight years = star). Venus retrograde turns values upside down. Our usual sense of beauty, values, the real price of things, relationships—all turn into a bundle of confusion. We don’t seem to know anything. Luxury goods are mispriced, values are jumbled, we wonder who that person is we’re in relationship with. We don’t know where our money is or where it’s gone. Venus, in daily life, represents values (resources, money, possessions and quality of relationships). Venus retrograde asks, “What do I value?” Venus retrograde puts us in touch with what has changed and what is truly of value in our lives. Venus retrogrades from 0 Virgo to 14 degrees Leo (July 25-Sept. 6). Leo is about the self and our creativity, which is how we come to know and value ourselves. We “know ourselves through what we create.” In Venus (values) retrograde (inner focus) we will ask, “What are values (not just money and finances)? What are my values? What do I create? How do I value my creations? Do I value myself?” Sunday, Uranus—planet of all things new, revelatory and revolutionary—also retrogrades (from 20 to 16 degrees Aries) until the full moon of Christmas Day. Five months of Uranus retrograde. In July and continuing on through the following months we have many planets retrograding. Things therefore slow down. Everyone’s focus becomes subjective, hidden by veils and curtains. A time when inner reserves of strength are available. A time of protection.

 

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Film, Times & Events: Week of July 24

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