Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: Finlandia

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is Jean Sibelius’ “Finlandia”:

Need I say more.

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Uncle Bardie’s Movie Spotlight: A Murder Needs A-solvin’

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Movie is “Murder on the Orient Express” (2017): 

“A passenger has died,” the brilliant detective, Hercule Poirot announces to the other passengers on the Orient Express. “He was murdered…So let us catch a killer.” Indeed. What would a movie, or for that matter a novel, with the word “murder” in the title be if there wasn’t a murder?

We’ve seen this movie before. In 1974, to be exact. Albert Finney was Sidney Lumet’s Hercule. Lumet gave us an adequate “Murder”, but there wasn’t any thing inspiring about Albert Finney. Other than the scenery and the costumes and a few famous actors going over the top with their caricatures of a performance, there wasn’t much to entertain.

When I saw that Kenneth Branagh, yes that Branagh. You know the one. The guy who played Hamlet in what may very well be the longest version of “Hamlet” ever, and directed it besides. He made sure he got all the words in which made me one of the few folks who sat through the whole darn thing. Well, Branagh directs this remake as well. And he plays the famous detective too.

The previews gave me some nice cinematography but that didn’t seem to be enough to make me give up an hour and fifty-four minutes of my time. I knew it wasn’t bad but I was pretty darn sure it wasn’t good either.

Boy, was I wrong.

Upon a recommendation from a friend, I gave this one a try. Branagh gives us a true entertainment in the best tradition of the word. Yes, there is a murder in this one. And, yes, Poirot is not happy about having to solve it. But what can he do? He’s the only brilliant detective on the Orient Express.

Just in case you didn’t know. This takes place in the 1930s and the Orient Express goes from Paris to Istanbul. And it’s going at a leisurely pace. In other words, slowly.

Poirot has just finished solving a crime in Jerusalem. He’s tired and needs a little me time. Little does he know he’s not going to get it when he steps onto that train in Istanbul. During his sojourn, a rich American approaches him. That American is Johnny Depp, being his most Johnny-Depp-ing. He’s become very a-Depp at that in the last few years. I think his portrayals of Tonto and Jack Sparrow have gone to his head.

Johnny Depp’s Edward Ratchett offers to purchase Poirot’s services. He has been threatened and he needs protection. Unfortunately, Poirot only works for people after they have been murdered. There’s just no way he’s going to be caught dead, protecting someone from getting dead. Once Edward Ratchett is dead, it’s a completely different story.

The piece de resistance of Branagh’s film is the third act. Here we see the humanity in a Poirot that others have only shown as a calculator. Here we are shown the impact of murder on its victim. Not only is the murdered a victim. All who knew and loved the victim have become the killer’s victims. Branagh and his Poirot has managed to pull the true import out of what many would consider a cliche and turn this entertainment into something wonderful. I’m sure Agatha Christie would be pleased.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Skydog

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is the legendary guitarist Duane Allman:

Before Stevie Ray Vaughan, before Joe Bonamasa, before John Mayer, there was Duane Allman. In the late sixties, Skydog was one of the Allman Brothers with his brother Greg. He was also in demand studio guitarist. He played on Wilson Pickett’s “Hey Jude”, Aretha Franklin’s “The Weight” and Boz Skagg’s “Loan Me a Dime”. He is considered to be one of the all-time greatest guitarists by many critics who know their way around a guitar.

Eric Clapton heard him and invited him and his band to work on Derek and Dominoes sessions for Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

Instrumental in the founding of Southern rock, he was such a force that he has been an inspiration to many rock guitarists of his time and of many who have come since. Unfortunately we lost him too too early. He died from a motorcycle accident in 1971. He was 24 years old.

The Allman Brothers with Duane on “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”.

Boz Scaggs and Duane Allman on “Loan Me a Dime”.

 

 

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: Compromiso

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is Alicia Sevilla with her composition, “Compromiso” from her album, “Memories”:

I like to find new artists and fall in love with their music. I found Alicia Sevilla’s on Amazon Prime Music and immediately liked it a lot. There’s such a beauty and peacefulness to it. I immediately wanted to share it with my followers. I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I do.

If you would like to know more about Alicia, here’s a link to her website.

 

Uncle Bardie’s Movie Spotlight: Fatherhood

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. To celebrate Father’s Day, this week’s Spotlight Movie is “My Father’s Glory“:

Okay, you watched “My Mother’s Castle” for Mother’s Day like I suggested. Why not try “My Father’s Glory”. “My Mother’s Castle” was a loving tribute to Marcel Pagnol’s mother. It was the second film of two films directed by Yves Robert. The two films are based on the two novels by Marcel Pagnol as a homage to Pagnol’s parents.

“My Father’s Glory” focuses on his father in the years before World War I. His father, Joseph, was a school teacher. Joseph joins his brother, Jules, in the Provence countryside. The two have religious differences but this doesn’t prevent them from going hunting. Marcel becomes friends with a boy, Lili, who lives with his family.

It is an idyllic childhood, these visits to the country for Marcel and his family. These two French films can bring back memories of our own childhood and the love our parents poured into our family.