Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Buddy's Health care report

Buddy says "I know where I am and I want out"
He has been here too many times recently.

SO he has an EKG and a Blood Pressure check
a complete physical exam and a Rabies shot.

He continues to lose weight. I should be so lucky.
He started at 39#'s and the vet wanted him to lose a couple of pounds before his knee surgery.

BUT he has continued to lose weight and has lost a # in the last month. Now he weighs
32#s, losing almost 1/5 of his body weight since June.

But he is frisky and apparently well so we will see. For now we are discontinuing his Valley Fever medicine thinking that may be interfering with his appetite.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dolphin Tale - Movie Review

The Dolphin Tale, in contrast to many of Az Buddy's reviews, is a sweet, lovely family movie.
Based on a true story, Winter was found by a lonely young boy, Sawyer, washed up on shore after being caught in a crab pot. He follows her to the marine rescue hospital in Clear Water, Florida.

Assigned to summer school because of bad grades, he skips school to be at Winter's side.
Dolphin and boy bond and throughout the movie help each other heal.

Seasoned actors Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Kris Kristofferson join musician and more recent actor Harry Connick Jr.. The freckled
kids played by Nathan Gamble (Sawyer)
and Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Hazel) steal the show.

Of course the main star is Winter who plays
herself whose life is saved by a prosthetic
tail made by an engineer that designs prosthetics for
soldiers having lost limbs in war. No special effects
are used.

Check out
Definitely a "go too" movie

Monday, September 26, 2011

In a Better World - Movie review

In a Better World is a Danish film that received the Academy Award in 2011 for "Best Foreign Language Film". This is the story of two families undergoing challenges that are brought together by their two 10 year old sons. The young boys meet at school when Christian comes to the defense of Elias who is being bullied by classmates. Together they counteract the bullying not by brute strength but by brutal use of Christian's guile. Both have a missing parent. Elias' father, Anton spends much of this time as a surgeon in a refugee camp in an African Country I interpret to be Somalia or Sudan. He does come home when the boys engage in dangerous revenge. Christian's mother has died of cancer leaving him feeling abandoned at not in touch with his father who is present.

This movie begs to be discussed, beginning with the title. There are two worlds in the film.
The boys' world in Denmark and the cruel world in the refugee camp with the presence of fierce guerillas. I don't completely understand the use of the title unless it is to make us think about which is the better world.

In Danish, Swedish, Arab and English. Subtitled. Available on netfix.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Drive - The Movie

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Suspense and action. The uneven pacing from very still and quiet to frenzied action was unique. To support the changes of mood was a great selection of music. Some soundtracks distract. This one remarkably enhanced mood. Drive is about a young man, Ryan Gosling, who drives as a stuntman in the day and getaway cars at night. He meets and falls in love with Irene, Carey Mulligan. He loves but never beds her. Yet he is willing to do anything for her. Complications begin when her husband returns home from prison. The driver never has a name but is referred to as the "kid". Not a technique new to screen writers. The car he drives is a Chevy Impala. Having cars as signature props is also not new to films. Danish Director Nicolas Winding Refn makes his American debut by filming in Los Angeles. He couldn't have chosen a better setting. The night scenes, many from above are awesome.
Acting by both Gosling and Mulligan is understated and excellent.

4**** Excellent. Not for everyone. Very Violent. Although fast cars, handsome young actors and blatant violence are not new to movies, IMO this movie does it well. Adapted from a novel.

Look for Russ Tamblyn - A Jett from Westside Story. Didn't know he was still acting. Would make a good trivia question.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Undocumented immigrants

Living on the border, we tend to focus on the undocumented immigrants from Mexico and
South America. Undocumented immigration is a problem throughout the world.

People of all ethnic groups living without jobs and in poverty are migrating to American and European countries as well as to the Middle East wealthy countries that need workers.

Ollli's fall film festival focuses on eight feature films that tell the story of these immigrants.
They are:
Frozen River
Maria Full of Grace
Dirty Pretty Things
In America
The Visitor
Crossing Over

All these films are available
for rent and I recommend them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"The Guard" - movie review

Every once in a while I see a movie that I just love but can't recommend to everyone. OK probably more often than that. I have a friend that will always go with me to these little indie treasures. "The Guard" is a confrontational Irish film staring Irish actor Brendan Gleeson and American Don Cheadel. Gleeson stars as a Sargent in the "Guard" or the local police in a small town in Northern Ireland. Cheadel is an uptight FBI man sent to help solve a major drug smuggling gang coming in by sea. It is billed as a comedy but has a lot of drama as these two very different law men work together. Is Gleeson really racist or just naive in his first encounter with a black man? There are no less that 4 subplots, all fully developed. Gleeson is great and Cheadel does an excellent job as his straight man.

Why is this film hard to recommend to everyone, which is my 5*****. If the f--- word freaks you out as does violence, this movie is not for you. However if you love the Irish personality and humor you will love this movie.
Another point is that if one is hearing impaired it is best to wait for the video and watch it with subtitles. One can miss some of the rich Irish accent.

Olli Fall Film Festival

Osher Life Long Learning Institute - chapter in Green Valley.
Being in southern Arizona we tend to think that most undocumented immigrants come from Mexico or South America.
Our fall film festival will offer "Feature films about undocumented immigrants that are not from Mexico".
The following 8 films will be shown on a weekly basis. Some of these movies are better than others but they all portray the plight of immigrants desperately wanting to leave the poverty in their own countries. Therefore I recommend all of them. Available from Netflix.
Frozen River
Maria Full
of Grace
Dirty Pretty Things
In America
The Visitor
Crossing Over

Am I worried about what Netflix might do about the availability of films for our festivals?
You bettcha.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

California dogs

Californians love their dogs. They take them everywhere. The pier, the beach, the outside cafes. Interesting that when I have traveled with my dogs, California is the hardest place to find accommodations that take pets. And people love when you ask if you can take a photo of their pooch.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Debt - Movie review

This was a very strange movie experience. While watching it, I liked it. I was so engrossed with the action that I liked it. However when the movie was over and I discussed it with friends and read other comments on the web, the problems became glaring. The story is told in 1966 with a trio of actors all very good. And then again in 1997 when the protagonists are 30 years older with another trio of actors. Here the acting looses. This is the first problem -the casting. The young shy man who is shorter becomes a tall man and poorly acted. The tall, the command man, becomes handicapped in a wheel chair looking nothing like the younger actor. The second problem is that the Moussad, the elite of the Israeli commandos really screws up. The "hunted" becomes the "hostage". The ending is really a mess. The title is never really explained. The father of the child is not agreed upon. Helen Mirren of course is good as is Tom Wilkinson.
Problems: casting, plot and particularly the ending.

What started out as a 4**** end up a 2**.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Road Back Home

Driving home from Monterey takes one through central California. Far from the big cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Central California
is a vast area fields. Our first stop is Paso Robles, the center of flowers and vineyards.

We always breakfast at Margie's Diner before we head east through Bakersfield. In between are field's of vegetables and citrus. And the miles of miles of oil wells makes one wonder about the cost of gasoline along the way.

We were glad to get home to two inches of rain in the rain gauge and more in the days following.
Water was running north in the Santa Cruz river.

And I was ready to throw Mr. Garmin GPS in

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf's, whether in San Francisco or Monterey are places to people watch, eat, drink and look for souvenir junk.

It is also a place to admire their boats and look at what may be our boats.

Sunday was more interesting in that
there was an Italian Fisherman Festival.
There was a band, a parade with
Mama and Papa and scowling princesses.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Monterey Aquarium

My best of the aquarium.

Strange garden fish whose tails are in the sand
and heads up.

Jelly fish are always intriguing to watch.

Want to "cuddle" the cuddle fish?

The eels eye each other with suspicion.

The seahorses are fascinating. But none more
that the Leafy Dragon Seahorse.

The sea turtle is constantly swimming.

This female sea otter is not raising her own
young but frequently raises an orphan
sea otter found in the kelp nearby.