Posts Tagged ‘film’

StrayDog2There is never a shortage of amazing things one can find on the web, and the site I recently came across is no exception.

As both an animal and movie lover, I am particularly sensitive to animal suffering and death on film. I have a very hard time watching cruel or violent  treatment of any animal even if I know it’s an animatronic sit-in for the real animal. It’s still inordinately painful. I also much prefer to know that the animal lives happily in the end, but I know, realistically, that may not be the case. I also know, despite the oversight by a humane organization, that unacceptable behavior towards animals in film has been known to occur.

So if I’ll be upset by animal suffering, what about children? How much and at what age can they accept and understand animal suffering or the dog/cat/horse/whatever dying at the end, even though it may be a logical plot ending?

Well, here’s the site that will guide you to whatever you or your kids can tolerate – Does the Dog Die?  Does the Dog Die has currently reviewed 680 films and indicates by a happy, neutral or crying dog icon if animals live, recover or die in the end. Click on any of the film names and you’ll get details about how every animal in that film is treated and what happens to it.

There’s an awful lot of violence and death in films (and TV) today, both human and animal. Sometimes we just don’t need to watch it. So check out Does the Dog Die? and decide for yourself how much you want to take in.


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I-Am-Movie2What would you want to say to the world if it became possible that you might soon die? That’s what movie director Tom Shadyac asked himself after he suffered a severe concussion in a bicycling accident. He was told the horrible after-effects could last for 2 years or for life. Or he could die. So he asked himself what he wanted to say in the event that should happen.

I’d never heard of Tom Shadyac, but recognized his movies when he discussed them in the beginning of this beautiful documentary. He directed Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Bruce Almighty, The Nutty Professor and several other similar minded films. He realized that where he’d been with humor and outrageous silliness was not where he wanted to go. He had two questions and wanted to make a documentary … What’s wrong with our world? and What can we do about it?

This short, (1 hour 17 min.), documentary moved me to tears at times, as Shadyac explored these questions through interviews with some of the greatest minds of our times – authors, scientists, religious leaders, poets, and others. He interviews or shows clips of Howard Zinn, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama and other notables, including his own father who founded St. Jude’s Research Hospital for Children with Danny Thomas. The thread of the documentary follows how mankind has lost its way in our quest for winning and competition, but shows how we are literally wired in our DNA for cooperation and compassion. He shares how intuitively the animal world works together – birds flock, fish shoal (see photo) – for the greater good, and how less technologically developed societies work cooperatively with one another. FishShoal2In American Indian tribes where sharing was the norm, hoarding was seen as a sickness, and the members of the tribe set out to heal this person.

Shadyac has gathered so many amazing clips of everything you can imagine to bring us along on his journey of inquiry – history, science, spiritual thought, the natural world. Especially moving was one short clip of something I’d never before seen except in a still … a world famous black and white photo of a slender Chinese man blocking the way of army tanks in the 1989 student protest in Tiananmen Square. In this clip, you watch him move repeatedly to block the tank each time it maneuvers. Mankind has reached out endlessly to stand up for or help others in need, in tragedies such as 9/11, Katrina, Haiti, or events such as civil rights marches and so many other instances. As he explored these issues, Shadyac came to conclusions about his own life of celebrity excess and changed that, too.

He came to realize that `What is wrong with this world?’ has an answer … I Am.  But maybe I’m asking the wrong question, he thought. Perhaps I should also ask, `What is right with this world?’  Yup …. I Am.

Unless you are one of those people who believes whoever dies with the most toys wins – and I’m sure you would never have read this far if that were true – then I feel pretty confident that you will be inspired and moved by this film.

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There’s something exciting about reading a terrific book and then going to the movies to watch the film created from it.  However, I, and most folks I know, are of the opinion that the book generally outshines the movie, if for no other reason that so much of a book’s depth and detail cannot possibly be portrayed in the short time allowed for a film. This is not always the case, but I get ahead of myself.

Having recently read The Bridges of Madison County, I rented the movie. I must say I was really disappointed. First, the book is a very short novel; the movie ran 2-1/4 hours long. As mentioned in an earlier post where I wrote about the book, I had my doubts about Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood cast as the main characters — both outstanding actors, but I didn’t imagine them in these roles. Again, my personal opinion. I would have much preferred Sam Elliot, or even Kevin Costner, (as he is now), as Robert Kincaid; maybe I’ve just seen Clint Eastwood in too many hard and/or violent roles. Meryl Streep, so brilliant, just couldn’t cut it for me as an Italian woman, now Iowa farm wife. It really took away from the story, and that seemed so drawn out over the course of the 2+ hour movie. I’d stick with the book.

So I’m wondering … did you read the book and/or see the movie? Who might you picture in the roles of Francesca and Robert? Or did Eastwood and Streep fill the bill for you?

p.s. This is just Part 1. Down the road, we’re going to have some fun with Part 2 and onward … it’s all about reading and imagination and what we see.

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