Anyone with an even superficial knowledge of history knows that the First Man on the Moon was Neil Armstrong. For those who know no more than his name, this 60-minute documentary from the PBS show Nova will certainly give you some insights into the background of the man. However, those familiar with the space race and the flight of Apollo 11, hoping for further revelations, will be sorely disappointed. The summary on the cover of the DVD describes it as “groundbreaking” and “an intimate portrait”. Unfortunately it is hardly that. They do interview Armstrong’s family, friends, and crew mates, but what those people have to say amounts to little more than a few charming anecdotes.
The ultimate irony of this documentary is the picture they have chosen for the cover of the DVD. Again those who know the story of Apollo 11 will realize that the astronaut saluting the American flag in this picture is not of the first man on the moon, but the second, Buzz Aldrin. In fact, the most iconic picture from that moonwalk is not of Armstrong, but of Aldrin. Armstrong appears as only a tiny, distorted reflection in the gold face plate of Aldrin’s helmet.
Guy meets Girl.
It’s a story we’ve heard a thousand times—and yet it never seems to get old, does it? Once is the story of a down-on-his-luck Irish busker known to the audience only as Guy, and an exuberant young Czech musician known as Girl. They meet one day in a Dublin bar, where Guy tries to sing away his recent heartbreak. Girl is drawn to his music, and together they hatch a plan to win back the woman Guy loves.
Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, Once is a Broadway smash hit now in a limited run in Toronto. It won eight Tony Awards in 2012 including Best Musical and Best Actor. Touted as “a new musical”, it really is a musical for modern music fans. Full of folksy numbers—both Irish and Czech—the music of Once is vibrant and heartfelt, and just a little bit twee. The musical numbers, the characters and the colours of the show have all been amplified from their original forms. Where the movie (an indie project with a modest budget) stays quiet and contemplative, the stage show explores its themes of artistry and unrequited love with humour and flair.
If you haven’t gotten a chance to see the play, we can offer you the next best thing: the soundtrack! Check it out at your local Vaughan Public Library. If you’re a fan of Mumford and Sons, Of Monsters and Men, Ben Howard and the like, I recommend this soundtrack. VPL also carries copies of the original movie, as well as music by The Swell Season, the musical group formed by the movie’s original actors.
LISTEN: “Falling Slowly” by Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti
With this new Avengers movie (you might have heard of it), there has been some chatter about the “Marvel Universe“. Rather than each movie – your Iron Man or your Captain America or your what-not – standing alone and existing within its own story/timeline – every film will fit together to form an interlocking, universal narrative.
While embracing this universe might seem like a lot of work or nonsense for your average blockbuster movie fan, it’s common practice in the comic book world. Check out the DC Comic Crisis on Infinite Earths to see how they sought to unify all their different storylines into a coherent whole. It happens in television too: Avengers director Joss Whedon loves world building. You could get lost for months within the two television series and comic book series that comprise the Buffy-verse.