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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Some Questions For '17 As '16 Starts To Fade, And: Merry Christmas, New Mexico! 

Santa and his reindeer are just about here and that's our cue to wrap up the eventful year of 2016.

While 2017 will not be a general election year, there will be plenty to ponder and to blog. For example, who will be elected mayor of ABQ? What will the final field of 2018 gubernatorial candidates look like? Will the '17 session of the Legislature finally provide lasting solutions to the state budget crisis? Will the economic stagnation be with us for yet another year? That same question applies to ABQ's crime epidemic. What inevitable political scandals will grab the headlines? And will there be any new faces arriving on the stage of La Politica that generate excitement?

All of it is plenty of grist for the political mill but for now it's time for us to join you in pausing to celebrate Christmas and New Year's and to reflect on our good fortune. As such, blogging will be light from now until the new year.

Thanks for your continued interest and support. Enjoy our annual Christmas card and some holiday cheer from Frank. Also, below are some film reviews from reader Eric Lucero for your holiday enjoyment.

Merry Christmas, New Mexico!

AT THE MOVIES

Fences (PG-13), Social Drama *****Stars out of 5 is based on the Pulitzer winning staged play of the same name. The screen version of Fences is a real labor of love, helmed by actor/director Denzel Washington and is populated with great individual performances, especially by actress Viola Davis. Based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning play by the late August Wilson, “Fences” is centered on African-American father, Troy Maxson an illiterate struggling garbage collector living with his family in 1950’s Pittsburgh who once was a Negro League baseball star. His world becomes disrupted when he purposely derails his son, Cory’s (Jovan Adepo) plans to play college football. Denzel’s emotive portrayal of the doomed, selfish father trying to come to terms with his life is first rate, as is that of his long suffering wife, Rose’s response. Both performances are Oscar worthy, as is the film. Yet, it is painful to watch this slice of life, filled with lost hope and broken dreams, play itself out on the screen.

 Manchester by the Sea (R), Social Drama *****Stars out of 5 This is an Oscar worthy film with a challenging story. Great acting by Casey Affleck (Lee) and Kyle Chandler (Joe) allow this vehicle to purr on all cylinders. And there is a breakout performance by actor Lucas Hedges (Patrick Chandler), who plays an emotive millennial whose life is disrupted by the sudden death of his father, Joe. Lee, a ner do well janitor from Quincy, Massachusetts, has been made Patrick’s legal guardian until his legal emancipation. Lee reluctantly accepts the responsibility of guardianship. Through well edited flash backs, the audience gradually learns that both Lee and Patrick have serious anger issues, but for different reasons. Needless to say, just about every member of the cast is seriously flawed. Life happens so all of us in some form or another have experienced many of the issues that confront the Chandlers and their social circle. Theirs is not a pretty picture, nor does their plight necessarily resonate during the cheery holiday season. Yet the well crafted story, authentic showcasing of locale and the excellent ensemble performances makes Manchester by the Sea a standout film and worthy of your time.

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