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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Maybe less Christmas Ale next time I go to the movies

I'm still behind during this, the busiest time of the year for one such as myself who keeps up with well-received films, those that may be in line for an Oscar nomination or seven.

I can't say that the movie I saw Friday night -- date night with the girlfriend -- will be scoring any Oscar nods, but I did enjoy "The Tourist," which we saw at the Atlas theater adjacent to Great Lakes Mall. Starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, "The Tourist" is a fun, twisty thriller involving a woman who may be up to no good and a man who meets her, seemingly by chance, on a train in Europe.

While I did enjoy "The Tourist," I must cop to the fact that we saw it after a filling dinner at Smokey Bones in Mentor, at which I had a tall and a short Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Why is that important? Because as I age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep my eyes open after, say, 9 p.m. for two hours in a darkened room while staring at a lit screen. So there was a nod-off here, a brief drifting away there, but I think I got the gist of it. That said, when my better half told me what she truly happened in "The Tourist," I was clearly a step or two behind her. But I think she's right.

I would like to see the movie again sometime. I'm sure it will be clearer, but I also wonder if it will seem as smart when I'm wide-awake.

I was wide-awake for a movie the following afternoon, "Black Swan" at Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights. There should be no snoozing during Darren Aronofsky's psychological near-masterpiece set in the world of professional ballet.

As Thomas, the ballet's artistic director, Vincent Cassel puts constant pressure on Natalie Portman's Nina -- and he may or may not be trying to seduce her.

Natalie Portman loses herself in the role of a star ballerina who gets the part she's been waiting for -- the Swan Queen in "Swan Lake" -- but the pressure begins to tear her apart. As the story unfolds and the pressure mounts, Portman's Nina hallucinates at an increasing rate, and the audience is left to wonder what's real and what isn't.

Although I grew a little tired of the hallucinations, the movie was an experience -- and it's hard to give a greater compliment when you see a lot of films. I definitely need to see it again, preferably after educating myself a bit on "Swan Lake." Look for Oscar nods galore for "Black Swan."

Anyway, if you see a guy catching a light nap and smelling a wee bit of Christmas ale in a theater near you anytime soon, give me a light tap to wake me up, won't you?

-- Mark Meszoros


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