June 14, 2021

Casablanca: In all my years of movie watching, I have never sat down and watched the 1942 Best Picture and Director film of Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. I remember that in When Harry Met Sally that they would watch this movie (separate places and TVs) when it was on, and they had a debate about whether Ilsa should be with Rick or Victor. This is a classic black and white film. A timeless love story about star crossed lovers in a time of war (WWII) where there relationship starts in Paris and then they meet back up in Morrocco. She is married. She had thought that her husband was dead from his activism when she had met Rick (the bar owner) in Paris. The rest unfolds with intrigue as the husband is a wanted man, and wants passage out of Casablanca. Rick happens to be holding two permits of passage. Will he or won’t he help out. I note in some research that Ingrid Bergman died at age 67, from cancer. She was 5’10” which was tall for that time. Alfred Hitchcock was in love with her. She married and divorced three separate times. Humphrey Bogart’s wife thought that she was a threat to her marriage. Even in this day and age, the movie holds up. I was most impressed by the Chief of Police locally played by Claude Rains. He is just the right combination of smarmy, practical, funny and serious. He was nominated for his role. So like Harry and Sally, it is worthwhile to see and spend some time with actors who have long since passed. Stories remain the same and are an unbroken legacy.

The Woman in the Window: This is a recent release on Netflix. It has a good cast, including Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Tracy Letts and others. Seems Letts thinks he has some talent as a script writer since it is his in the credits. As a card-carrying member of the (generally) I Don’t Like Amy Adams Club, I was hesitant to watch this. Arrival is my exception for Miss Adams. Maybe The Fighter. Her Lois Lane is really unforgivable. Anyway, if you think you kind of know where this tale goes, you are right since Alfred Hitchcock, noted above, did it better many years ago with Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window. A housebound person looking onto the windows of neighbours is a witness to a nefarious act. Stewart was in a wheel chair from an accident and broken leg and cast. Adams is housebound with agoraphobia, the fear of leaving the house. Everyone these days has some kind of anxiety, this is no different. Adams looks like a mess, to be blunt, and she lives in a palatial place in Manhattan. How the heck she managed to afford it, and keep it is never explained. Selling it would make her independently wealthy for generations to come. But I digress. She has neighbours across the way, and meets some of them, one at a time initially, and mostly from this one family who was newly moved in. Things happen. She witnesses something. Police are called. Adams is heavily drugged for most of this film, and seems to always have a bottle of red wine going. Tracy Letts plays her psychiatrist (guess why write a story without a part in it for yourself?). This was silly. In so many facets, up to and including the conclusion. I cannot recommend it and I would go further as to discourage watching it. It is a shame when talent gets wasted, notably for me Gary Oldman. A shame really.

Seaspiracy: This 2021 Netflix documentary was also recently released. It is a eco-documentary which speaks to a number of issues that deal with the challenges in the oceans. It touches upon global warming, plastics, the Cove dolphin slaughter, garbage in the oceans, the protection of whales, dolphins and sharks, shark fins and trolling and long line fishing. It is a massive scope. Each of these in many ways are movies unto themsleves. Movies like The Cove, Blackfish, Finding Coral, Shark Water etc. Those more settled and detailed films identify the problems, which for the most part haven’t been addressed, but it raises a new issue which is one of who (corporately) are involved in labels like Dolphin Safe or others that promote the concept of “sustainability”. The thesis is that sustainable fishing is non-sensical. What they don’t explore is ceasing to eat fish altogether. It doesn’t talk about eliminating or regulating the fishing ships about lines, trolling etc and finding areas of protective oceans. Nowhere is there a promotion of these crucial pieces. Rather they are focused on plastic straws!! 40% plus of the garbage found in the stomachs of whales and in the garbage fields in the ocean are all from commercial fishing. Halting or reducing fishing is NOT discussed or promoted. But surprise, surprise, the fishing owners own those labels and make money from them. There is no policing on the seas. Orders are not enforced. You cannot stop what happens on the oceans it seems. It all is very frustrating and when countries like Japan declare that they will not honour whale protection regulations and they will resume whaling. It is remarkable. The scene at the end with whaling of pilot whales outside Iceland was just sickening. I cannot agree with the ultimate resolution for the director. But this is eye opening. We as humans do need to remember that dead oceans means the end of the human species on earth. Here is yet another global political outcry for action in a time when so many other cries for immediate help are made.