Sunday, June 20, 2004

Mozart and Spielberg

My wife and I went to Marriage of Figaro at the Ravinia Festival yesterday. Ravinia is a summer concert series with a wide variety of music types (Friday night was Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds, Saturday Marriage of Figaro, on June 30 it's Lyle Lovett... so you get an interesting mix). You pay $10 and you bring some lawn chairs and sit out and listen to some great music... plus you can bring in your own food. Some people go all out. We saw people who brought in small tables with candles, wine, cheese, fried chicken, barbecue, you name it. It got a little cold toward the end (the temp dropped down to low 50's), and the Starbucks stand was swamped. I felt bad for the high school kids who were having to run around and make all these coffees when they normally probably don't have to do much (it's a summer festival, so they probably don't sell a lot of hot coffee).

After the concert we went and saw The Terminal, the new Steven Spielberg movie with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It's about a man name Viktor Navorski (Hanks) who is from the ficticious (at least I think so) country of Krakoshea (Crack-co-je-a) (I have no idea if the spelling is right). While Viktor was en route to New York, a military coup erupted in his Eastern European homeland, so his passport was no good, and he couldn't go back home until the war had settled down. He also couldn't enter the U.S., so he was forced to stay in the International terminal of the JFK airport. Once you get past the leap of faith it takes to accept this fact pattern, the movie is about Viktor's attempts to cope with his situation, the airport's immigration security chief (Stanley Tucci) attempts to "deal" with Viktor and Viktor's new friends (a baggage handler (Chi McBride, from TV's "Boston Public"), a airline food delivery guy (Diego Luna, Y Tu Mama Tambien), and a janitor (Kumar Pallana, very funny character)). Viktor endears himself to the the entire terminal staff (except for Tucci's character) because he is so friendly and helpful. Eventually, Viktor meets a flight attendant (Catherine Zeta-Jones) with problems of her own, and they become friends... and maybe more.

I thought this was a great movie. It's funny, Tom Hanks was great as a kind of straight man character who is very funny (a la Catch Me If You Can), and the supporting cast was very good. I especially like Kumar Pallana as the Indian janitor Gupta who likes to watch people who slip and fall on his recently mopped floor because they don't pay attention to the "Wet Floor" signs. The ending was a little bit of a let down that didn't completely conform with the rest of the movie, but otherwise I really liked it. At least 3 out of 4 stars, probably 3 1/2.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and Summer Solstice... YEAAAAAAAH SUMMER!


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