Happily back from hiatus
Hello, readers. After an extended break, Sofa Cinema happily returns to the Sequim Gazette (rumor has it by popular demand). The format will change a bit. Two movies instead of three will be featured per column and columns will run twice a month rather than every week.
However, the approach to the reviews will not change. No stars, thumbs up or down, or smiley faces ratings will be apparent. Sofa Cinema will focus primarily on quality film recommendations with the occasional warning to "save your money" in spite of socko box office numbers. The overall goal of Sofa Cinema remains the same: to inform, enlighten, and by all means, assist you in enjoying the movies!
HBO - unrated
There are so many things wrong with cable television it's hard to know where to begin. A gazillion channel choices and absolutely nothing of quality to watch is a good place to start. Thankfully, HBO is the exception to the rule. If HBO isn't included in your cable package, you might want to keep an eye on its DVD releases made available after its shows air.
"Temple Grandin," starring Claire Danes, is an exceptional bio-pic that shouldn't be missed. Born in the 1940s long before autism was accurately diagnosed, much less understood, Grandin had difficulty functioning in life.
Her mother (Julia Ormond) was determined to educate her daughter and integrate her into society. In spite of medical and educational roadblocks along the way, Grandin had no choice but to be true to herself. Finally she found acceptance in high school from a teacher (David Strathairn), who recognized that the young woman was brilliant, and an aunt (Catherine O'Hara), who invited her niece for a summer vacation before entering college.
Growing up, Grandin met every challenge head-on because she knew no other way, succeeding in earning post-graduate degrees and publishing in her field of animal husbandry. Far more significant is the work she has done over the years (and continues to do) in demystifying autism, defining the level of differences and offering hope and understanding to all affected.
Although factual, this film is not a documentary. It is an extraordinary transformation by Danes (who first made her mark years ago on TV in "My So-Called Life"). An excellent choice for family viewing, "Temple Grandin" offers the perfect opportunity to discuss that differences are not bad, knowledge aids understanding and quality television has the potential to raise awareness and entertain.
(Rated: PG-13) subtitled
Don't let the Japanese subtitles or the subject matter of preparing bodies for cremation deter you from renting "Departures." If I haven't lost you already, this Academy Award-winning picture will certainly surprise you.
Newlywed Daigo plays cello in an orchestra that folds because of lack of funding and interest. He has spent his entire young life devoted to his instrument and has no marketable skills to fall back on. (Note to all young aspiring arts majors: a minor in teaching or business is not a bad idea.)
Returning to his hometown with his adoring, but feisty young bride, the young man peruses the want ads for any work so he can support his family. When he is handed a handsome sum of cash at an interview, he didn't care that the job description was so vague he didn't have a clue as to what he would be doing.
What unfolds is an intriguing and entertaining look at the custom of traditional burial preparation in Japan. (You're going to have to trust me on this one.)
"Departures" is a wonderful study in human nature with all its fears and family dynamics, humor and hysteria.
Rebecca Redshaw is an author and playwright who worked for 25 years in the film industry in Los Angeles. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grading this week’s DVDs: the ABC’s
Mon, Mar 19, 2012
Politics, political figures and spies
Tue, Mar 6, 2012
Tue, Feb 14, 2012
And now, reality
Mon, Jan 30, 2012
Looking back on the year that was (Part 1 of 2)
Wed, Dec 7, 2011
Film buffs should revisit ‘Northwest’
Wed, Nov 2, 2011
Conspiracy theories played out on film
Tue, Oct 18, 2011
Mix-ups, marriage and horse management
Mon, Oct 3, 2011
Going ‘Grease,’ locally and on DVD
Tue, Sep 13, 2011
It’s All About the Music
Fri, Sep 9, 2011