As the Lava Flows

By Diane C.
Image of an Icelandic eruption and the northern lightsVolcanoes are spectacularly in the news now.  We’ve recently learned of a dramatic, unexpected eruption in Japan, and of ongoing lava flows in Peru, Iceland, and East Java Indonesia.  The one that most concerns me is the creeping leg of an offshoot originating from Kilauea Crater on the Big Island of Hawaii, where I grew up.  The slow movement of Pahoehoe (smooth) lava towards the small town of Pahoa evoked memories of the eruption that destroyed the town of Kapoho in 1960.  I was there then to see the fiery fountain and feel the intense 1000 degree heat. I had the most powerful front seat view of our dynamic earth.  The lava moving towards Pahoa is cutting through a wide swath of uninhabited forest lands at present.  Overland flights have captured the blackened forest trail through which the lava has meandered like some giant road project.  In the distance in some of the shots, the town of Pahoa seems to be right in its sights as it makes its way down to the ocean.  My friend, Wayne, said to me recently, “With the Hurricane, it was over in a day and we could start cleaning up.  With the volcano, we wait and wait and wait some more.”  There are no prognosticators in this process as the lava will move with the terrain and disappear into underground tubes, only to re-emerge in another breakout, sometimes fast and sometimes extremely slowly.  The progress is agony to thousands of residents.

Most volcanoes don’t offer the kind of viewing platforms that Hawaii’s volcanoes do.  Most films like Dante’s Peak or Volcano have its characters scrambling from utter destruction and mayhem.  Even most books for children like Eruption by Roland Smith or Jules Verne’s classic, Journey to the Center of the Earth, are essentially heart pounding adventure Continue reading “As the Lava Flows”

Movie Mondays: Free Screenings of Award-nominated Films

Now that the 2013/2014 award season has wrapped up, it’s time to catch up on all of the winning and nominated films! To alleviate the long hold lists for several of these titles, the Northgate Branch is showing some of this year’s notable and popular films on Sundays through May. Each free film screening starts at 1:30 in the Northgate Branch meeting room. I suggest you arrive early in order to get a seat, as well as a free bag of popcorn! Continue reading “Movie Mondays: Free Screenings of Award-nominated Films”

Movie Mondays: One for the Guys, One for the Gals

There are precious few movies about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people in which a character doesn’t die, kill somebody, commit a crime or remain closeted and self-loathing. Why is it so difficult for Hollywood to make a grand gay romance—or even a simple one? Be that as it may, in recent years the number and quality of LGBT films have increased, to the point where our lives are now a little more fully represented on screen. Along with this, an interesting phenomenon has emerged: pairs of movies with the same (or similar) story and setting, with one about lesbians and the other about gay men. Some of these films still involve people dying, committing crimes, etc., and very few reflect the daily lives and loves of ordinary gay people. But at least they have primary LGBT characters who often defy stereotypes, and the stories aren’t told through the eyes of straight people. In honor of LGBT Pride this month, here’s a sampling of such movie pairs: Continue reading “Movie Mondays: One for the Guys, One for the Gals”

Movie Mondays: Where are the women directors?

The film at SIFF’s closing night gala this year is The Bling Ring, directed by Sofia Coppola. I’ve known that women have been underrepresented as filmmakers, but when I stumbled upon this infographic recently, it was eye-opening: women directors have been nominated for an Oscar only 4 times in 85 years (Lina Wertmuller’s Seven Beauties, Jane Campion’s The Piano, Coppola’s Lost in Translation and Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker). Here are some other notable women directors whose films have earned praise.

See The Kids are All Right in the SPL catalogLisa Cholodenko earned Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for the screenplay to The Kids are All Right (2010). Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are a lesbian couple raising two kids when Paul (Mark Ruffalo), their biological father who anonymously donated his sperm, enters into their lives. The film excels when the controlling Nic, the flailing Jules and the wayward Paul engage in some of the funniest and sharpest dialogue (especially their arguments) to reveal three well-drawn characters. Continue reading “Movie Mondays: Where are the women directors?”