IT HAS BEEN YEARS SINCE I thought about a game we had to play in PE class. My adult self cannot believe we had to play what now looks like a brutal, archaic competition. The class would be split in half by whoever the gym teacher chose to be team captains for that week. There was a green line that was painted down the center of the gymnasium which neither team could pass. With 3 balls placed equal distance apart on the line the gym teacher would blow a whistle to start the game. The fastest running students from each side would sprint to the center to retrieve one of the balls. From there utter chaos would take place. You see the point of the game was to hit a student from the opposing side with the ball, to kick him out of the game. No matter where the ball touched the student, they would be eliminated and have to go sit in the bleachers until the game was over. The aggressive students or to be more accurate, the mean students would purposely try to hit the students in the head with the ball; this was usually followed with a cheer or laughter. As I am writing this I still have no idea how this game was promoting good health. THE GYM TEACHER CALLED THIS game “Bombardment.” I do not know if that is the real name or if in fact he just made this game up for his own enjoyment. It floors me that an activity like that was even approved by the principal, school district or whatever agency oversees school curriculum. You should have seen how hard the ball was thrown at the heads of kids by the “rougher” students; you could actually see their heads snap back by the force of the ball. The more timid students would stay all the way in the back, right up against the wall to avoid getting hit. However the downside of doing this was opening up the possibility they would be one of the last standing, giving the opposing team the opportunity to grab all the balls and pummel the poor student at the same time. I thought the whole thing was barbaric then as I do now. There was no purpose as far as I could tell in participating in such a violent game. In today’s world I am sure this game would have been banned from all schools. It needs to stay in the past, just like this sequel should have done. UNDER A GOVERNMENT PROPOSAL A small Canadian town would become part of the United States. This meant the Canadian Mounties were being replaced by the Super Troopers. Not everyone was on board with this transition to the point they wanted to sabotage the plan. This comedy starred Steve Lemme (The Origins of Wit and Humor, The Slammin’ Salmon) as Mac, Eric Stolhanske (Club Dread, Beerfest) as Rabbit, Brian Cox (Troy, Adaptation) as Captain O’Hagan, Jay Chandrasekhar (Beerfest, Speechless-TV) as Thorny and Kevin Heffernan (The Dukes of Hazzard, Club Dread) as Farva. After 17 years this group returns in a story that was weak right from the start. I do not remember the first film so maybe diehard fans will appreciate this movie. I found it painful; the so called humor was dated, cheap and offensive. I felt like I was surrounded by those students I described above; that is how infantile some of the characters were in their scenes. Honestly I could not wait for this film to be over since I felt like I was being beaten by the barrage of dated material. If this is the best the writers could come up with after 17 years then I vote for Canada to annex this franchise and put a stop to it.
1 ¼ stars
We were never properly informed so we did not know any better at the time. There was a little girl in our class that we had to be careful around whenever we were near her. The teacher only told us she could become seriously ill if she fell or cut herself. Of course this made all of us more curious about her. It was on the playground where we found out she was a hemophiliac; she was the one who told and explained it to us. Until she did however, there were kids who would not go near her. I now know with the HIPPA act and privacy concerns there may be an issue with talking about someone’s medical condition; but until it was explained to us, there were a few classmates who behind her back would say she had cooties. As I grew up I began to notice how people with a certain genetic disposition were being stigmatized. I did not understand why anyone would be uncomfortable with someone who had diabetes or deafness. In this film festival winning drama I was totally taken by the story and performances. Alan Rickman (Nobel Son, Harry Potter franchise) played Alex, who was on a road trip to Winnipeg, Canada. After being involved in an automobile accident; Alex went to pay his respects to the grieving mother Linda, played by Sigourney Weaver (Avatar, Alien franchise). He discovered she was a high functioning autistic woman who seemed more concerned about the garbage being taken out on time instead of her deceased daughter. Sigourney was outstanding in this role; in fact, while I watched this film I was surprised I had no recollection of it ever being advertised or at the movie theaters. Alan’s acting was fine but I felt the script may have been biased towards his previous works; it took a while before he overcame it and grew into this character. Even with some predictability in the script I enjoyed the small town feel along with the characters Vivienne and Maggie, played by Emily Hampshire (Cosmopolis, It’s a Boy Thing) and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix franchise, Disturbia). Though the subject of autism was not the only story line, I thought it was handled brilliantly. Of course I have to reiterate Sigourney had a lot to do with it. This was a surprise find for me on DVD, where I not only felt invested in the story but enjoyed sitting and watching it.
3 stars — DVD
Perched at the edge of the railing all we could see was the ocean’s slow rolling exhale along its surface. Walls of cold white ice surrounded us as they tried catching our eyes with a spark of reflective bright sunshine. In the still quiet I heard the sound of something cracking. It grew louder into an echoing rumble. Before me I saw a huge slab of white wall snap apart and slide into the ocean below, leaving a trail of icy crumbs. This was the experience I had in Glacier Bay, Alaska; witnessing the calving of a glacier. The idea that I may never see this part of nature again saddens me. Watching this documentary was breathtaking. I am a product of the creative left side of my brain working in tandem with the scientific right side; as I result, I had a deeper appreciation for the way this film handled the subject matter. National Geographic photographer James Balog founded the Extreme Ice Survey in 2007. Its mission has been to record the shrinkage of glaciers. There are 34 cameras stationed at 16 glaciers, taking photographs every hour year round. In this movie there was amazing, exquisite footage of James’ hiking along several glaciers, looking for the perfect setting for a photo shoot. As a visual experience I was enthralled seeing places I would never have the opportunity to visit on my own. Helping James in his endeavors were Svavar Jonatansson and Adan LeWinter. Director Jeff Orlowski did an admirable job just based on the working conditions alone. Once the photographs were compiled into a time-lapsed video it was startling to see the change in the glaciers’ sizes. There was no political agenda being fostered on the viewer; in fact, James used to be a skeptic of global warming. This film festival winner left me and the other viewers in the theater stunned. Something so simple as taking a picture made a profound impact on all of us.
3 1/2 stars