Light

 

The waves have been singing

Non-stop the whole night;

They keep me company at night

While I’m lingering and waiting.

I want to cross the sea

Closer to the light,

Hoping for some simple delight

In a place where love can be free.

Stars and moon we’re chasing

Make us so weary;

The angry sea will be crashing

And the light will become foggy.

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The Big Year

When I picked out this 2011 cemedy, I only expected to be entertained with lots of silly laughs (because that’s what I remember of the three lead actors). I got that and more.

The story is a simple one: Three amateur birdwatchers compete to become the ultimate “birder” by spotting the greatest number of species in a single calendar year.

Stu Preissler (Steve Martin), founder and CEO of a New York company, is facing a late-life crisis; Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson), a roofing contractor, is in the grip of a mid-life crisis; and Brad Harris (Jack Black), a computer programmer in Baltimore, is wallowing in a no-life crisis. They decide to enter a birdwatching contest, criss-crossing North America in a quest to spot more species of birds than anyone else.

The result is a series of incidents that take place when they compete with each other. At the end of the year, Stu and Brad are very close friends; with Stu happily retired and content with his grandson, and Brad married to his girlfriend who also has an interest in birding. Kenny’s third wife leaves him and he goes on another birding adventure in China.

Though I’m not a birdwatcher, I find the adventure fascinating. Kudos to the teams involved in capturing the bird footage, magazines and materials,  imagery and photography. The various units involved in the stunts, voices, art and graphics, visual effects, aerial and marine photography, sound effects and location have done a fantastic job! Also not a traveller, I would otherwise not have seen the beautiful sceneries of

  • Montclair, New Jersey
  • Vail, Colorado
  • Pantagonia Lake Salt Park, Arizona
  • Gibbons, British Columbia
  • Joshua Tree, California
  • Coos Bay, Oregon
  • Brownsville, Texas
  • Jackson House, Wyoming
  • Houston, Texas
  • Attu, Alaska
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Massacre Valley
  • Casco Cove
  • Murder Point
  • South Station, Boston
  • Des Moines
  • Yosemite
  • Galveston
  • Seattle, Washington, Orcas Island
  • Whitefish, Montana
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Lake Tahoe, Nevada
  • Ruby Mountains, Nevada
  • Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico
  • Rio Chama River, New Mexico
  • Monterey, California
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Hawaii
  • Little Rockies
  • Shannon Falls Park, British Columbia, Canada
  • Vaseux Lake Park, British Columbia, Canada
  • Seymour Park, British Columbia, Canada
  • City of Dawson
  • City of Vancouver
  • New York
  • Miami
  • Yukon

There are almost two dozen songs, with the Concerto in C Major by Antonio Vivaldi, Blackbird by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Silent Night by Bing Crosby, Adeste Fiddles and Auld Lang Syne among those I recognise. It is with a sense of surprise and awe to discover in the end credits that Steve Martin has written and performed one of the songs, Pitkin Country Turnaround.

 

Life On The Line

I was drawn to this 2016 movie mainly because it is based on actual events, and a little curious why a movie helmed by John Travolta was not shown in the cinemas here.

Beau Ginner (John Travolta) is an electric line worker. During a raging storm on 28 May 1999, Beau and his crew risk their lives to keep the electric grid running. They have to work at dangerously dizzing heights. All the action and thrills are well captured by the stunts, set decorators and designers, technicians, computer assistants and photography team for the special and visual effects.

This small town story also has drama, about family and comaraderie in the community. Beau is the adoptive parent of his niece Bailey (Kate Bosworth) after her parents die in separate accidents. Bailey is at the crossroads of her life and has to make many decisions.

The music in this movie is mostly in the genre of pop rock and new wave, but I also wonder why Glen Campbell’s Witchita Lineman not used at all.

Calvary

The title of this 2014 movie already told me what to expect, but I still wanted to watch how the story would play out as it is a dark comic tale of murder and morality.

Father James ( Brendon Gleeson) is a good priest who feels sinister forces closing in after being threatened by a mysterious parishioner. He has one week to settle his affairs. James also has a troubled and depressed daughter, Fiona (Kelly Reilly), from a previous marriage before he entered preisthood.

On the matter of faith, James believes in good values though he struggles sometimes too. He carries the burden of the community. In this character, we see the good side of humanity against the dark side. We are brought to a place where evil is very real.

The movie also explores the relationship between a father and daughter. Fiona feels abandoned because her mother passed away and her father became a priest. Still, she is the rock in James’ life. We see her vulnerability. He trusts her and loves her. They are two people who’ve been hurt.

The photography, especially of a small town and the countryside in Dublin, is awesome. The music is mostly pleasant and soothing.

Better Days Ahead

I think of you when night falls

And remember your heart has flown,

Then silently my tears will flow.

Like pigeons that flew up high

And disappeared from the blue sky,

My endless days seem to drift by.

The hurt in my heart is bad –

I’ve loved you and have no regrets:

Life is both beautiful and sad.

There’s a gentls breeze flowing,

Though our love is no more flowing,

I’m sure better days are looming.

Unfinished Business

This 2015 movie tells of how Daniel Trunkman (Vince Vaughn) walks out on his job to start his own business with Timothy McWinters (Tom Wilkinson) and Mike Pancake ( Dave Franco), and the series of obstacles that stand in their way and how they overcome them.

I didn’t like the kind of humour and hilarity in this comedy because I find many of the jokes and adventures too crass. However, having the various landmarks in St Louis, Portland and Berlin as backdrop makes it visually pleasing. And Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik makes it better. To me, the technical crew did a better job than the screenwriter.

Change

The smiles are the same,

The tears are the same,

The days are the same.

You and I are the same.

It’s the same moonlight

Shining on us both;

It’s the same cold wind

Blowing on you and me.

Childhood friends left me,

Strangers surround me;

We drifted apart –

I’m left weeping softly.

Who can let me know:

Did we change the world

Or did the world change

You, Me and everything?