Undefeated is a solid piece of filmmaking that is also too little
too late. The Oscar-winning documentary by Daniel Lindsay and T. J.
Martin concerns the travails of a high school football team in a poor
black neighborhood of North Memphis that overcomes years of futility
thanks in large part to a white volunteer coach who inspires them to
believe in themselves both on and off the field.
Albert Nobbs's journey from page to stage to screen has been long
and bumpy. Simone Benmussa adapted a short story by Irish writer George
Moore into the play The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs; this was
then nearly made into a film by the celebrated Hungarian director Istvan
Szabo. The fact that the project was still alive and kicking in 2011 is
due, in large part, to the determination of Glenn Close.
Man on a Ledge is a nifty little entertainment about an ex-cop
(Sam Worthington) framed for stealing a diamond owned by a ruthless
magnate (Ed Harris). He escapes from custody and stages a suicide
threat on the window ledge of Harris's hotel as a diversion while his
allies break into his accuser's vault to prove the theft was a hoax.
David Fincher's film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo should please fans of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. Fincher and his screenwriter, Steven Zaillian, remain faithful to the complicated plot of the trilogy's first book, and they reproduce most of its many characters. In truth they improve vastly on their source material.
Carnage plays out entirely in a New York City apartment, where
two couples are trying to deal with a playground incident involving
their 11-year-old sons, one of whom struck the other in the mouth with a
stick. In the process, the film—directed and coscripted by Roman
Polanski, based on Yasmina Reza's play God of Carnage—peels back the skin of each supposedly caring parent, revealing the person beneath the civilized facade.
Sitting in a chapel high in the golden sculpted hills of California A few minutes before Mass I reach down to a small wooden box By my chair, where missals and songbooks are stored, and I find A set of ancient eyeglasses folded into an old cloth case, so worn That it feels like a pelt, and I realize that my chair must belong to A certain sister here at the old mission. Maybe she’s here at Mass, Trying not to be peeved that I snagged her seat. After Mass I ask Around and a sweet nun with a cane says oh no, dear, that’s Sister Maureen Mary’s seat. She passed over two years ago. She was tall And hilarious and subject to fits of darkness. She’d been a student Of engineering, a really brilliant girl, when she decided to join our Community. Her parents were appalled, or as Sister Maureen likes To say, aghast. She became a wonderful teacher with us. When she Died we got hundreds of notes from her former students. Teachers Have to cultivate the long view, as Sister said herself. You haven’t Much immediate evidence of your labors. But you get flashes, here And there, and hugs at the end of the year, she would say. She was Still an engineer, she said—still actually working in fluid mechanics. Her mom and dad began to visit once a year and then once a month. Her sister never visited even once although she sent money. Sister’s Parents died and willed us the truck in which they came to visit their Daughter. We use it all over the place. You’ll see it go by today, for Certain. When Sister died we left her glasses there just for moments Like this, when someone discovers her. Often it is us, of course, and We laugh, but then you spend the rest of the day remembering Sister Maureen Mary, who is a most remarkable soul, whom I miss terribly.