In and Of Itself: I have to give credit where credit is due; Alison had brought this to my attention. It is a film of a play that had 554 performances in NYC. Frank Oz directs. Stephen Colbert and his wife are Executive Producers. It is a one man show starring Derek DelGaudio who is a very unassuming guy. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it has stuck with me for days afterwards. For those Canadians of my generation, you likely will remember The Amazing Kreskin on CityTv during the early 70s. Kreskin was a self-labelled mentalist, who was also a magician. DelGaudio is a storyteller, who while imparting stories of his life, his also introduces a little bit of magic on his own. The film is structured in six rough sections. In each he matter-of-factly describes the story. Each story gets a little more and more fantastic, so stay with it if the first story makes you pause a little. You will be rewarded. By the end, without giving too much away, I was quite simply amazed at what I was watching. The section involving letters and the section regarding the labelling cards were jaw dropping for me. There are some life lessons, and one that sticks out to me is that you never can really tell just by looking at someone the depth of their experiences and character. From the perspective from someone who can enjoy playing cards from time to time, I think I have plenty to learn (or at the very least reason to be cautious!!) I rented from http://www.cineplex.com, but it is also available on Rogers On Demand and Hulu in the US. Definitely worth your time. I have recommended to those around me and the office.
Pieces of a Woman: Vanessa Kirby is getting plenty of work these days. From her introduction a couple years back in her role as the young Princess Margaret in The Crown, Seasons 1 and 2, she has been in Mission Impossible as well as two more MI movies in the next while. In this drama she plays a young woman who is very pregnant. Her partner, unmarried is the blue collar Shia LaBeouf, and Mom (poorly cast in my opinion) as 88 yo Ellen Burstyn. Kirby is 32yo, and Burstyn looks every year of her 88 years (hell she was a Mom in The Exorcist back in the early 1970s). Kirby and LaBeouf are anxious about being parents and have chosen to have a home birth, with the assistance of midwife. The trailer shows Kirby in a court room setting, so on some level you know that this will go wrong somewhere along the way. It does. It reminds me more of a film like Revolutionary Road, where you see the poor choices, lack of communication, and escalating tension between a couple. Burstyn as the Mom interferes more than she comfortably should. There are some cringe-worthy exchanges between the primary actors. In the end, it was not very satisfying. It was too long. In some ways, choices made were surprising and others were outright unreal. Perhaps they were possible but not for me. Not worthy of your time. As an aside, there was a very uncomfortable encounter between the couple, which I later found out LaBeouf was accused by an ex-GF of mental and physical abuse. It put this in a different light.
Tony Parker: The Final Shot: I have to admit that not being a huge basketball fan and I haven’t paid much attention to NBA champions that didn’t have the name LeBron James associated with them (not because I am a fan, far from it) but just that he gets so much attention. So when I saw that there was a documentary on Tony Parker, a guy who I only knew as the former spouse of Eva Longoria, all of the background and his story was new to me. This young man who was born in Belgium, and grew up in Normandy France area. He was a highly skilled but undersized point guy (6’2″). This documentary was French and thus has subtitles. I had no idea that Parker was a major part in 4 NBA Championships with San Antonio as well as being Playoff MVP one year. Tim Duncan and David Robinson were also part of these teams. He had a remarkable career and seemed to be one the first European players brought over to play in the NBA. San Antonio seemed to be a team that was able to identify and recruit young talent in Europe. Others soon followed after their success. All I came away from after the show was a sense of arrogance about the man, maybe it is just the French accent. But in the way that Tiger Woods in his documentary tried to downplay his talent, fame and money and all that came with it, Tony Parker has no issue with having the theme park like waterslide in his Texas residence. Maybe this is just in how it is shown (heaven knows Tiger Woods has the yachts, houses and private jets too). But in my mind, Tiger Woods is on a different level, and earnings on a different scale. So I would say that for the avid basketball fan, this would be worthwhile. For the more casual view, like me, I didn’t take as much away from it.