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Flash Movie Review: Mary Poppins

ONE CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY PARENTS in life, for each one brings a different version of love. There are some people who have an abundance of love that they share with children, besides their own. They may not be there when you fall and scrape your knee or when you ride your bicycle for the first time without training wheels; but, they leave their handprints on your heart. I feel fortunate that I grew up with a few extra mothers in my life. You may have had one or two yourself or just as easily an extra dad since either gender provides equal amounts of love. One of my extra mothers was a neighbor who lived in our building. She lived a couple of floors below us which resulted in me learning how to get down flights of stairs earlier than other kids. Before I could walk I would crawl to the edge of the staircase, turn myself around on the edge and begin crawling down backwards. After navigating the two flights of stairs I would crawl to the door of her apartment and pat my palm on it. I never knew how she always heard me when I thought about this years later, but she would open the door every time with a big smile on her face. She always had time to play with me and for those times she didn’t, she would sing to me.      THERE WAS ANOTHER WOMAN WHO WAS like an extra mother to me. She was a friend of the family who had grown up with one of my parents. She was quick to give me a deep hug that made me feel protected and safe. Though she did not know how to bowl, she loved coming to the bowling alley, taking pleasure in simply watching us try to get a strike. Her house always had the exact types of food you craved on any particular day; for example, if you wanted something sweet she had cookies or if you wanted something salty she would have pretzels. When I was little she would always write an amusing poem inside my birthday cards. Despite decades having past I still have vivid, fond memories of these women who were prominent in my life. They each had their own families; yet, I was treated as part of the family because that was the type of love they each had inside. And to a child, having that type of extra love is like a fresh coat of paint on the walls of their heart.      WITH THE DEATH OF HIS WIFE and jobs scarce during the depression Michael Banks, played by Ben Whishaw (I’m Not Here, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer), had little time to watch over his children. Though things looked bleak, there was an opportunity for someone special to step in and help; that someone was Mary Poppins, played by Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place, Into the Woods). This comedic family fantasy also starred Lin-Manuel Miranda (The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Looking for Maria Sanchez) as Jack, Emily Mortimer (The Bookshop, Harry Brown) as Jane Banks and Julie Waters (Billy Elliot, Harry Potter franchise) as Ellen. Taking the original movie and moving the characters thirty years forward allowed for a whole new generation of characters to populate this theatrical musical film. I thought the acting was excellent, though Emily’s version of Mary Poppins seemed to have more of an edge to her. This picture was fun to watch but I feel those not into theater may think it is over the top. For me this updated story did not have the magic of the first movie; but part of my warm feelings came from the nostalgic aspect I have towards the original film. Besides, having another encounter with Mary Poppins is always a welcome visit.

 

3 stars      

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Flash Movie Review: Gaslight

Back in college, one of my sociology professors had a variety of colorful terms in describing people’s marriages. One of his favorite terms was “holy deadlock,” which described a married couple who should not be married to each other; but stay together for reasons that have nothing to do with love. This teacher was an expert in the field, at least that is what he would tell us. I wonder what he would have to say about the couple in this movie. Ten years after her aunt’s murder; newlywed Paula Alquist, played by Ingrid Bergman (Anastasia, Notorious), returned to her aunt’s house with her new husband Gregory Anton, played by Charles Boyer (Barefoot in the Park, Tales of Manhattan). Returning to the house where her aunt’s body was found, Paula soon started to experience strange oddities; each one driving a wedge between the couple. Ingrid won her 1st Oscar with the wonderful performance she did in this psychological thriller. Charles brought a sophisticated darkness to the role that was creepy to me. The supporting cast filled out the spaces around the leads, giving each scene an added rich texturing to the story. It was something to see the film debut of a young Angela Lansbury (Bedknobs and Broomsticks; Murder, She Wrote-TV) as Nancy, earning her an Oscar nomination for her incredible acting. The Oscar winning art direction made this beautiful black and white movie a visual treasure. This was a breathtaking masterpiece on all levels, proving that some movies are simply ageless.

 

4 stars — DVD

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