Category "Life"

Category "Movies"

December 22, 2005

March of the Penguins

Rented "March of the Penguins" on DVD last night. The movie is amazing on so many levels. The stars of the show, of course, are the Emperor Penguins of Antarctica. In fact, they are the whole show (along with Morgan Freeman's perfect narrating voice and a "busy" but supportive soundtrack.) But oh, those penguins. I won't go into detail here - I'm sure there are many thorough reviews online - but if you haven't seen it, I urge you to do so. It is an awesome tribute to life, a wonderful statement about the non-incidental role that fathers play in families, and a vivid lesson in Darwinian evolution. We were spellbound; no one moved until the end of the movie. On the DVD, there's also a special feature narrated by the French guys who made the film, showing how they did it and what their lives were like for the year during which they were filming. I'm sure we'll be viewing it again during the holidays.

Posted by hgroteva at 9:09 AM | Life | Movies

Category "Movies"

Category "Music - of all kinds"

June 5, 2007



It's funny how even the best movie reviews often trivialize their subjects. I've read several reviews of "Once," (all positive), but wasn't fully prepared for the deeply satisfying film I saw last night. Of course, it'a about musicians, so what's not to like? But the characters are just "real" people. They don't even have names in the film, and I didn't notice until the closing credits. I was just drawn into their lives immediately. After the final scene, no one budged until the closing credits had all run. Now that's a very good sign, indeed. And did I mention how great the music was? I'm going to get my copy today. I won't add to the drivel or even try to summarize or "review" the film, but hey - go see it. Feel free to comment once you have.

Posted by hgroteva at 8:54 AM | Movies | Music - of all kinds

Category "Movies"

Category "Music - of all kinds"

June 13, 2007

Once Twice


I saw "Once" for the second time tonight. What a gem of a movie. Why am I so drawn to this film? Well, it's about music and musicians. And about spontaneity. And about joy in living. And joy in making music. And about simplicity.

Once - band practice.jpg

And it's about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. And it's about people being decent to each other and doing great things together.

Marketa + Glen.jpg

And it's about passion - doing something you really care about with other people you care about. And being surprised and in a state of wonder and not jaded.

Here's a link about the movie, including the soundtrack that will play for you. I've got the CD and highly recommend it.

Posted by hgroteva at 11:29 PM | Movies | Music - of all kinds

Category "Movies"

Category "Music - of all kinds"

October 5, 2007

Blast from the Past

"Across the Universe" was quite a trip, on a number of levels. Of course, the Beatles songs were excellent and brought back so many memories. The scenes of the 60s demonstrations and riots catapulted me back to all the unrest about the (other) war. "When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"

With characters named Jude, Lucy, and Max, there are bound to be schlocky moments. But on the whole, it was a great nostalgia interlude in a serious week. Some of the psychedelic camera work was excellent. And I could feel the pain and exhilaration and ambivalence in all the leads. Go with an open mind, and let it take you where it will.

Posted by hgroteva at 9:03 PM | Movies | Music - of all kinds

Category "Movies"

Category "Technology"

November 24, 2007



I'm not quite sure how I missed Beowulf in high school -- but it would probably have been lost on a bunch of 15 year olds. However, it certainly wasn't lost on me at this ripe age. Universal themes of heroism and vulnerability, Faustian bargains, temptation, power, greed, fame --- kind of sounds like U.S. politics, doesn't it??

Mark and I saw the film on the IMAX screen at the Minnesota Zoo (largest screen in Minnesota: 90 ft wide x 60 feet tall), in 3-D. I mainly wanted to see it for the technology. I heard it reviewed on MPR this morning by the "movie maven," who declared it to be the worst movie of the year. Well - to each his/her own. She complained about not being able to identify with the characters. Well, give me a break. This is an epic poem from sometime between the 8th - 11th centuries.

The technology was quite amazing, IMO. The 3D effects really grabbed my attention. It felt like blood was coming right out of Grendel into the audience. And when Beowulf was flying along on the dragon's back, it felt like I was there too. I was afraid that with my various eye conditions, the 3D glasses wouldn't work, but the effect worked well.

On the blog, "Underexposed," Greg Foster, Imax's chairman was quoted as saying, "When you experience 3D with us, you experience the 3D at the bridge of your nose. It is an immersive, full-contact experience." No kidding.

beowulf ms image.jpg

Maybe the film will rocket the epic poem back into consciousness so that people can consider what was known centuries ago. Who was it that said that those who don't understand their history are doomed to repeat it?

I'll be taking a look. In the meantime, go see the movie, just to marvel at the technology. Put yourself in the place of one of the geeks dealing with the animation, and say "thank you."

Posted by hgroteva at 12:08 AM | Movies | Technology

Category "Movies"

Category "Technology"

July 28, 2008

Batman - 6 stories high

Batman wings.jpg

Last night we went to see "The Dark Knight" at the IMAX theatre - what an experience. The IMAX at the Minnesota Zoo is the largest screen in Minnesota - 6 stories high. Although the story was OK, I was most taken in by the effects. At the beginning of the movie, the audience is gliding through the sky toward a huge downtown skyscraper - and almost collides with it. I truly felt like I was there and flying. There were a number of similarly compelling scenes throughout.

Demented Joker.jpg

Heath Ledger played the demented Joker. What a talented actor, taken from us in his prime - or maybe even before his time. Although I know that movie stars' personal and professional lives are totally separate (right?), I can't help but think that playing such a role wouldn't rub off a bit. In any case, his death was tragic, and we have been robbed of seeing his rich career flourish.

Tomorrow, Mark and I set out for Amherst with the Tribe. It's about 1400 miles, and we will do it in 3 days. I've been getting all kinds of advice about kitty tranquilizers, how best to transport them, etc. If I do go with tranquilizers, they may have to share them with me! Seriously - it should all be fine. When I visited them on Saturday, Pookie kept licking my nose as if to say: "I remember you!"

Posted by hgroteva at 10:49 AM | Movies | Technology

Category "Life"

Category "Movies"

June 22, 2009

Every Little Step

I saw a great movie yesterday, "Every Little Step." It's a documentary based on the selection of the cast for the Broadway revival of "A Chorus Line." Great stories, great music, great dancing, and lots of energy. But what got me the most? It was about excellence -- giving it your all, taking risks, pulling out all the stops -- and all the joy and elation that comes with it.

Go to this link for a trailer.


Posted by hgroteva at 8:55 AM | Life | Movies