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This week's movie, CD, and book reviews:


Glengarry, Glenn Ross


Warning: Movie is Restricted for Language

Every actor is a scene-stealer in this slick show of sales bravado, exploring with a fine lens the shattered worlds that lie beneath the seamy underside of the high pressure real estate game.  Screenwriter David Mamet's characterization is clever, caustic, ascerbic and intense as a hawk in full dive.  Down, but not beaten, Jack Lemmon's Shelley "The Machine" Levine pulls out all the stops in a relentless quest for the ever-elusive close.  Meanwhile, Al Pacino plays off Jonathan Pryce, using scatology and sex as springboards for philosophical musings on the essence of real satisfaction in life as he teases his way towards the topic of the sale of prime Glengarry property.  Admirable for their passionate rebuke of despair, and driven to contemplate a decision to offset what appears to be a destiny of diminishing returns, Alan Arkin and Ed Harris peel the bitter fruit so often harvested by desperate men lost in a limbo of uncertainty.  As events unfold, tension increases; Lemmon and Pacino work to deceive and manipulate Pryce who plays a splendid "mark"; and Kevin Spacey distinguishes himself in his role as the office manager whose apparent ineptitude almost supercedes his alertness.  A suprise ending, laced with a brokenness that is as loud as it is unspoken punctuates this exclamation point of a movie with an ironic question: Who is ultimately responsible for the failed heroes in life? 


Always at the back of this movie there is the notion that real estate men would be better off striking out on their own rather than playing the odds of a meager percentage of company profits.  But in the cut-throat world presented here, such an option seems not only unwarranted, but also ill-advised.  Particularly if it means stealing a stack of real estate leads, an act that only mortgages one's future in the debtor's prison of life.


Enjoy the movie; feel the thrills that arise from watching six superb acting performances; and contemplate the cut-throat choices, quick-witted nuances, and world-weary ways found in what is so evidently a game for gamblers and those gifted with gab in a godless world. 






The Hero's Walk

by Anita Rau Badami

This poignant saga of strained familial relationships explores the clash of South Asian and North American cultures as seen through the eyes of an aging man who is put in the awkward position of having to care for his grand-daughter who has been tragically orphaned and must move from B.C. to India.  The imagery and symbolism is rich and evocative.  Badami is able to move with from the passion and stubborn pride of her elderly characters to the confused innocence borne out through the child's perspective with relative ease.  I recommend this book to anyone who cherishes cultural difference and values human integrity above traditional pressure to conform to archaic ideals.


PeachTree Road
Elton John

EJ and Taupin are at it again.  Blending lyrics and musical scores together for several soulful ballads, their style resonates with a southern charm that in some places takes the listener back to the good old days of "Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player."  If you a fan of his music, you are sure to relish this album.  There is nostalgia; there is remarkable irony; there is honky tonk; there is a soothing, sullen, calm in the face of stormy weather that is comforting, quaint, and whimsically cosmopolitan. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whomever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)