ONE’S former days of glory either chain the individual to the past or can springboard them forward through the future. I have experienced this with a particular style of aerobics I used to teach in my classes. Years after I was no longer doing the class, members would still come up to me to talk about the class, wishing it would come back on the schedule. This particular class took a lot of preparation to teach and provided a lot of fun for me and the members. I possibly could have gone a few more years teaching this particular class; however, I knew with the advancement I was achieving at my day job I would not be able to devote the proper amount of time to keep that class going at the level it needed. Now I have seen at some clubs where instructors find a niche and excel in it, but after a couple of years they devote less time to keep it fresh and fun. It is as if they use their success to coast through their other classes. THIS is not unique to the fitness world; wasn’t it just recently I heard about a well known singer, who was successful early in her career, having a poor performance involving lip synching her own song? It is similar to some of those old musical acts that used to perform in huge stadiums during their heyday but presently perform at a small hotel nightclub or local festival. Now I am not saying they should not make a living; but if they are using nostalgia to draw a crowd because they cannot perform as well as before, I have a hard time justifying spending money to see them. Why would I want to hear a singer who can no longer carry the tune to their own song? Maybe it is just me but sitting and dwelling on one’s past successes in my opinion doesn’t allow the person to live in the present; I saw it taking place in this powerful drama. TROY Maxson, played by Denzel Washington (Safe House, Man on Fire), knew he would have been a great baseball player if he had been given the chance. His frustrations not only had an effect on him but the people around him. Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play written by August Wilson (The Piano Lesson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone), this film festival winner was directed by Denzel and filmed in a way to match the stage version which Denzel and Viola Davis (Suicide Squad, Doubt) as Rose Maxson performed on Broadway. With Jovan Adepo (The Leftovers-TV) as Cory Maxson and Stephen Henderson (Manchester by the Sea, Tower Heist) as Jim Bono; the acting was outstanding overall; but for me, Viola was beyond amazing. She will be nominated for an Oscar and could easily get it for this performance. The story set in Pittsburgh during the 1950s did a beautiful job of depicting the attitudes of the times and set the viewer up for a couple of surprises. Even at times where I thought the pacing of the story slowed, the acting was so intense that I barely acknowledged this minor negative for me. This is a film to see especially if you enjoy catching the movies that will be nominated this awards season.
3 ½ stars
How does one handle tragic loss? For me, it can manifest into a physical pain that feels as if it is consuming my body. When a family member or friend experiences a heartbreaking loss, I never know what to say or do, always feeling I’m not doing enough for them. It is an uncomfortable feeling and it was this same type of feeling that welled up in me as I watched this powerful drama. Becca and Howie, played by Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, The Hours) and Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight, Thank You for Smoking), were a married couple dealing with the heartbreaking loss of their son. Each of them had their own way in dealing with the loss. Unfortunately, this caused the bond between them to crack, bringing forth deeply embedded emotions. Even though I felt uncomfortable, I am grateful to have seen this raw yet beautiful movie. Nicole was wonderful in this role, easily conveying her feelings without uttering a single word. And I have to give her credit for hand picking Aaron to play her husband, for his performace blew me away. The depth and range of his emotions on display were a complete surprise. The play this movie was based on won the Pulitzer prize for best drama and was nominated for a Tony award. Even though the movie drew a feeling of discomfort out of me, it did not compare to what I witnessed in this intense actor driven film.
3 1/3 stars — DVD