Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson are 'In Good Company'
A movie about finding yourself and dealing with relationships
Gabrielle Wiegand - Feature Writer
"In Good Company" is a wonderful film that was both funny and poignant, about our relationships and the lives we make for ourselves.
Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is a 51-year-old ad salesman who is living the American Dream until a multinational conglomerate buys the magazine he works for. Dan is demoted and then replaced by a workaholic 26-year-old whiz kid with no experience in ad sales, Carter Duryea (Topher Grace). This comes on the heels of his wife becoming unexpectedly pregnant and his eldest daughter, Alex (Scarlett Johansson), being accepted into the very pricey NYU.
Dan really does not like the idea of Carter being his boss, in particular because Carter's style of business is much more bottom line and much less human focused. However, with all his new financial concerns, Dan cannot afford to lose his job, and he and Carter establish a tenuous relationship out of mutual necessity.
Carter is on top of the world professionally until his seven month marriage crumbles and he is left without a life, without a family. He is so lonely he calls a Sunday ad meeting and invites himself over to Dan's for dinner so he does not have to be alone.
There the sparks fly between Carter and Dan's daughter Alex. From the first time you see Carter and Alex onscreen you can feel the connection, the electric zing. In Alex, Carter finds someone he does not need to sell anything to. He can just be himself. Weeks later, a chance meeting on the streets of Manhattan brings Carter and Alex together and they begin to have an affair, which they hide from Dan.
Overall, this movie is more about the relationship between Carter and Dan. It is about a young man looking for a father figure in his life. Carter sees in Dan a man he respects, a man he admires and a man he would like to become.
The movie is believable because the actors make the characters come to life. The whole story hinges on the believability of their relationships.
Topher Grace makes his character loveable and funny. Carter is human, but at the same time he is driven and single-minded man whose only friend is a goldfish that doesn't respond when he calls, "here boy!" I was impressed with Grace's performance and by the end of the film had developed a lil' bit of a crush.
Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson both gave excellent performances. Quaid actually seemed like a nice dad. I found myself starting to plan what to get him for Father's Day.
"In Good Company" was co-directed/written/produced by Academy Award-nominated Paul and Chris Weitz ("About a Boy") a brother team.
This film is 110 minutes and rated PG-13 for some sexual content and drug references.
A family act: nine siblings in one band
Award winning group Leahy to performat Sangamon Auditorium
Gabrielle Wiegand - Feature Writer
Leahy, a Celtic-pop group from Lakefield , Ontario , is made up of nine siblings from the Leahy family. They will be performing at Sangamon Auditorium Jan. 29. Leahy combines a Celtic tradition with Canadian Folk and French-Canadian step dancing.
According to Erin, one of the siblings, on their website they have a fiddle-playing father and champion step dancing mother who "encouraged us to listen to and play a wide variety of styles. I see that coming across in our writing today."
Leahy has released three albums on the Virgin/EMI Records label: "Leahy," "Lakefield," and "In All Things." They are preparing for their first DVD release sometime early this year.
"Leahy" was their first record, released in 1997. It went double platinum in Canada and reached number four on the Billboard world music chart. That same year, Leahy received Juno Awards for Best Instrumental Group and Best New Group. In 1998 Leahy won the Best Country Group or Duo award.
Leahy has had success opening for various groups, including Shania Twain. In November 2004 Leahy performed for President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Paul Martin at the U.S./Canada State Dinner at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull .
Leahy will be at Sangamon Auditorium Saturday, Jan. 29 at 8p.m. Tickets range from $27 to $37. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Sangamon Auditorium Box Office at 217.206.6160 or www.sangamonauditorium.org .
Iron Curtain Call
'Good Bye Lenin!' bids auf Wiedersehen to the Berlin Wall
Brian Mackey - Feature Writer
In October 1989, East Germany was a socialist police state. One year later, it joined with its western, democratic counterpart to become the reunified Federal Republic Germany.
|"Goodbye Lenin!" will be shown this Friday in Brookens Auditorium. The screening is sponsored by the division of Studend Affairs through the Independent and Foreign Film Series; admission is free. Runnning time: 121 Minutes. The film is rated R for brief language and sensuality. In German with English subtitles.
For those who lived through it, it was an almost unimaginable transformation that produced one of the twentieth century's most indelible images: the tear-down of the Berlin Wall.
But before that happens, twenty-something Alex (Daniel Brühl) takes parts in a protest against the old-line communist regime. When his mother (Kathrin Sass), whom Alex describes as "married to the socialist fatherland," sees him being arrested, she immediately suffers a heart attack. Eight months later, the Wall is down, and she recovers from a coma. Her doctors tell Alex he must keep her from any surprises; the shock, of course, might kill her.
The youth of the GDR - the German Democratic Republic, as communist countries are often ironically named - acclimated quickly to the ways of the west. Drab clothes and bread lines were quickly replaced by blue jeans and Burger King. People everywhere rushed to refurbish their apartments with Ikea's latest haute décor. The society's oldest members, their pensions and way of life now at risk, were far less sanguine about the march of freedom.
The triumph of capitalism over socialism would be something of a surprise for mom, so Alex and his sister set out to trick her into thinking nothing has changed. Enlisting the help of neighbors and co-workers, Alex re-redecorates their flat, restoring its pre-capitalist appearance and creating a one-room socialist utopia for his mother.
Mom wants to watch TV? Alex digs up old news broadcasts and plays them from a hidden VCR on a precise schedule.
She craves her favorite brand - one presumes, in the GDR, the only brand - of pickles? Alex pours imported pickles - the only kind now available - into old jars he fished from the trash.
The fall of the Berlin Wall has become a metaphor for the failure of Soviet communism. Like much of recent history, it is among the seminal events and times that are now referenced in shorthand: Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, the Sixties, September 11. Merely one or two words phrases, but packed with meaning, history and countless lives lived and lost.
"Good Bye Lenin!" provides a glimpse into what must have been among the most exciting, hopeful and terrifying events of the twentieth century.
Director Wolfgang Becker deftly marks the passage of time with a flood of recurring motifs. Toward the beginning of the film, buildings are festooned with banners proclaiming the glory of the fatherland. Later, the same buildings sport advertisements for Coca-Cola. Early on, Alex sweats as he stops to present his ID at police checkpoints. Later, he maneuvers his scooter past abandoned gates.
Like Alex's mother, the people of East Berlin have awoken from a deep sleep. It is a city awash in possibility. The newly unified German soccer team keeps advancing in the World Cup while young people create a nightlife from whole cloth, dancing like it used to be illegal.
Alex's sister gets a job at Burger King and seems to go through an entire decade's worth of fashion and hairstyles in a few months.
Watching Alex and his girlfriend Lara (Chulpan Khamatova) make their way through a brave new world provides some of the most touching moments in "Good Bye Lenin!" Their relationship, like most of the others in the film, scores the line between the transience of freedom and state and the constancy of love and family. Cinéma du PrairieThe Independent & Foreign Film Series Strikes Back