Parenting Tip Gold

I can’t believe I never heard of Jeanne Robertson, a super perceptive comedienne whom I just discovered on YouTube. Her humor centers on her home life and old and young can watch, even in the same room.

This story of how she and her husband handled an errant son is priceless.

Do You See Me?

The Italian comedy Do You See Me? looks at the difficulties a talented female architect faces when after succeeding around the world, she decides to return to Italy where she’s lucky to get a low paying waitress job. While Serena Bruno has graduated from top schools and won awards for her work, back in Italy the economy’s tight and jobs, particularly for women, are scarce.

Serena Bruno first is attracted to and then when she learns he’s gay, she befriends the owner of the restaurant where she works. He sees her talent and intelligence when no one else does. He encourages her to enter an architecture contest to redesign a public housing space. Though her idea, which was inspired by input from the residents, is fantastic she fears she’ll be passed over for a man so when the committee mistakes her for a secretary to Bruno Serena she plays along. She convinces her former boss, now friend and roommate to pretend to be Bruno Serena. Comedy ensues and while the situation is ridiculous, it’s a thoughtful, fun film that doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence.

It’s an enjoyable film that depicts the difficulties woman still face.

Trés drôle

To keep diners entertained while waiting for their food, a French restaurant made this video which is projected on to the table. Very clever, non?

Inside Out

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If I hadn’t flown United, I wouldn’t have sought out Inside Outside a cute animated film about Riley, a happy middle school student, whose emotions go into a tailspin when she moves to San Francisco thus losing her friends, her big backyard and her upbeat attitude. What sets this film apart is that most of the action takes place inside Riley’s head, in an emotional control center. Amy Poehler is the emotion Joy and she’s the captain of this ship and feels compelled to only send happy thoughts to long term memory. Lewis Black plays a red hot Anger and other “shipmates” represent Disgust and Sadness. Joy doesn’t understand the value of sadness and is always trying to distract Sadness, who does have some wisdom to offer.

Joy and the other emotions fall out of their command center and must journey through Riley’s imagination, subconscious, etc. They go to a land of abstraction and become Picasso-ized. It’s all quite clever, but probably over the heads of most kids. Perhaps they’d go along for the ride anyway.

I was surprised that the film had Riley run away from home. She walks through the shady part of town where their new home is to the bus station. She gets a ticket and boards a bus. That was a bold move for a modern film to make.

Inside Out

inside_out_trailer.png.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

If I hadn’t flown United, I wouldn’t have sought out Inside Outside a cute animated film about Riley, a happy middle school student, whose emotions go into a tailspin when she moves to San Francisco thus losing her friends, her big backyard and her upbeat attitude. What sets this film apart is that most of the action takes place inside Riley’s head, in an emotional control center. Amy Poehler is the emotion Joy and she’s the captain of this ship and feels compelled to only send happy thoughts to long term memory. Lewis Black plays a red hot Anger and other “shipmates” represent Disgust and Sadness. Joy doesn’t understand the value of sadness and is always trying to distract Sadness, who does have some wisdom to offer.

Joy and the other emotions fall out of their command center and must journey through Riley’s imagination, subconscious, etc. They go to a land of abstraction and become Picasso-ized. It’s all quite clever, but probably over the heads of most kids. Perhaps they’d go along for the ride anyway.

I was surprised that the film had Riley run away from home. She walks through the shady part of town where their new home is to the bus station. She gets a ticket and boards a bus. That was a bold move for a modern film to make.

The Rev

On hulu.com, I found an exclusive British series called The Rev. Starring Tom Hollander as a vicar newly transferred from the countryside to a struggling parish in East London, The Rev’s got a lot going for it. It’s smart and charming with a cast of beautiful losers like the stick in the mud associate, Nigel, the smart, loyal wife, Alex, the prim headmistress and the quirky down and out Collin. The Rev offers a humorous, real depiction of faith and hits the nail on the head with it’s jibes at the young, cool Christians who sip smoothies in church as their pastor extolls God’s awesomeness or the annoyance of a know-it-all, critical archdeacon.

While I don’t laugh out loud, the way I do when watching Outnumbered, I do like these characters and this church with its broken window, faded paint and small, odd-ball congregation. The cast reminds me a bit of The Bob Newhart Show.

The Artist

I was curious how a silent feature would do in 2012. It’s extraordinary that one even got the green light. The Artist is innovative in a very retro way. Ironique, n’est pas? The performers manage this jaunty style that does harken back to the days of silent film and the black and white film is soothing. It’s a fun story about a silent film star whose marriage and career hit the skids as times change, but he doesn’t. Along comes a rescue boat in the form of a talented dancer in the guise of a girl next door.

Throughout the film, I noted how clever it all was. Yet I confess there were times I nearly dozed off. I miss dialog, good old fashioned dialog. Also, by the end of the film, disappointment hit me. The protagonist was sort of a jerk from start to finish. The cute, upbeat starlet would be better off with a better man. Just like in earlier silent films, the characters were absolutely flat, jaunty, but flat.

So I can see the Academy awarding this film with some awards for its chutzpah, I’m surprised it got so many Oscars. I didn’t see that many films in 2011 that were excellent and can’t say any particular film was robbed, but I wouldn’t have voted for The Artist. I’d have thought of voting for it, but wouldn’t have done so for that many categories.