Monday, February 27, 2012

Broken Hearts Bleed Black

Theatre for a New Audience’s scintillating production of John Ford’s 1620-something tragedy, The Broken Heart, is at the Duke on 42nd Street through March 4th.  It was my first encounter with the Duke Theatre and I was impressed.  It’s a black box, configured as a thrust with many opportunities for entrances and exits to and within the space, and affording a controlled lighting scheme.  Seating wraps around three sides with comfy chairs at center.  The Broken Heart is a three-hour play but I barely noticed — those are good chairs, not to mention a riveting production. 

Shakespeare wrote bawdily in Elizabethan England.  John Ford followed a decade or so later in the 1620s, writing in the Caroline era (that is, during the reign of Charles I).  Shakespeare’s bawdy being frowned upon, Mr. Ford wrote abstemiously of the same lusts, lies, and naughtiness, but not as well. Not many plays by John Ford are extant and The Broken Heart is considered one of his best.  And it is a good tale, with love and chastity, lust, ravishment, and revenge.  People in John Ford plays were upright, uptight, and sure of their moral strength, even though The Broken Heart takes place in ancient Sparta.  They do not lack the stuff of bawdy.  They’re passionate, they just are extraordinarily repressed, so when their passions explode, they implode at the same time, and there’s bound to be blood.

The actors at Theatre for a New Audience have the chops to rise above a less than lyrical script and make it sing in some places, stumble a bit in others. What stands out is the fine, fine acting.  This cast is highly skilled and handles choreography, song, and some difficult language with aplomb.

As the first Broken Heart, Annika Boras does an astounding job as Penthea, betrothed to Orgilus but married off to a wealthy older man by her twin brother, Ithocles.  Ms. Boras has a stillness in her well-bred misery for the first half of the play; then, as Penthea starves herself, she gets almost giddy. Finally she runs mad in a scene that is truly powerful with an artist of Ms. Boras’ magnitude.  She is compelling every moment she’s onstage.

As the second Broken Heart, Jacob Fishel pulls us along in his love, hate, and vengeance as Orgilus.  His betrothed is married to a suspicious and cruel man, Bassanes.  Orgilus intends to leave Sparta to protect Penthea and himself from Bassanes’ irrational jealousy.  Alas, he does not truly do this, but rather disguises himself in plain sight.  (I didn’t say all the plot points worked; it’s an absurd convention used in drama as well as comedy, that the closest people in a person’s life don’t recognize him when he dresses differently and tosses on an Irish lilt in ancient Sparta).  Mr. Fishel, however, is engaging, witty, passionate, and articulate in this role.  Orgilus is the deviously driving force in the play, and he’s driven by anger.  He finally has the power to heal or kill, and chooses the easier way.

The third Broken Heart is the nasty Ithocles himself, when he discovers love unrequited, and suddenly pities his tormented sister.  Very nice work by Saxon Palmer in this role, allowing us to hate him, then pity him, to the point of forgetting that this is a drama, not a romance (that is, all will not be well).

The prize for most surprising Broken Heart goes to the Princess of Sparta, Calantha, played by Bianca Amato.  I warmed to Ms. Amato as the play progressed – a chilly and correct princess in black, she developed surprising passions, all the way to her final whirling in white in a truly creepy scene.  Hers is the Broken Heart of the title, since hers is the death directly caused by her broken heart.  Ms. Amato has a powerful voice, noble bearing, then a smile that makes her character come alive. 

John Keating did fine work as Armostes, counselor of the court; then he headed off to a different place somewhere between Marty Feldman and Harpo Marx to become comic relief as the wild-haired Phulas, servant to mean Bassanes.  Amyclas, King of Sparta was well played by Philip Goodwin, to the point that we worry for Sparta when he dies.  Truly, the whole company was first rate.

The setting of the play by Antje Ellermann is singular in a series of whites and grays.  Its two levels, steps, ladders, hidden rooms and alcoves are all a delight to play on.  The lonely banquet scenes start with color then the fruit grows moldy.  Without being intrusive, the settings were clever and effective as was the lighting design by Marcus Doshi.  There will be blood in a play of this type – a revenger’s play.  But even in this, director Selina Cartmell had to surprise us.  This was a black-and-white production and remained so.  Red appears black in black-and-white photography, and so the flowing blood was black in Sparta.  This production is Ms. Cartmell’s American debut, and she is most welcome.

Costume design by Susan Hilferty is marvelous, simple, practical, and sometimes quite beautiful.  Choreography by Annie-B Parson is probably not Spartan, but she creates smooth and graceful ritual, beautifully executed by all.  It is part of the drama of the final scenes, allowing for momentary freezes in a well-staged build.  Composer David Van Tieghem provided lovely melodies for the sweet voice of Margaret Loesser Robinson, who played two very different characters.  Another musician opened the evening on an instrument that made magical sounds when induced by Molly Yeh, who wanders like a melodic line through the action of the play.

John Ford could not have escaped seeing Shakespeare’s plays.  Some of his own plays were performed by The King’s Men. Unfortunately, well-structured as the play is (Ford did study law, after all), what Ford did not learn from the Bard was how to use verse.  Shakespeare’s verse instructs his actors how to play the scenes and the characters.  The verse shapes the performances and the play, an aid to the actors.  John Ford is a dramatist, but no poet.  His speeches do not build, but harangue. They are obstacles the actors must overcome.  There are too many one-note characters in this play who were enhanced by the actors performing them, digging deep for more notes to make a progression, perhaps even a harmony.  Mr. Ford could have used some drawing lessons to learn a thing or two about shading. 

Luckily, good actors can make a lesser play soar.  This was a fine production, imaginatively and strongly guided by Selina Cartmell, and acted almost to perfection by the company. Whatever the flaws of this 17th century play, I highly recommend you get to the Duke on 42nd Street to see it before March 4th.

~ Molly Matera, signing off to read some early 17th century verse, but not Mr. Ford’s.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Multilayered Artist

The Artist” is a romance.  And a comedy, and a drama.  Oh, and it’s a black & white silent film.  You will barely notice the lack of color since director Michel Hazanavicius and cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman somehow entreat your mind’s eye to “see” colors, just as good black & white photographers do.  It’s crisp, clear, and gorgeous, so relax and enjoy it.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how this movie made me feel, what it made me believe.  It seemed to me that we have a fascination with early Hollywood — so early the sign on the hill still says “Hollywoodland.”  A time when the Hollywood dynasties were only just beginning, and Douglas Fairbanks Sr. had yet to pass the mantel to his pretty son.  The magical apparatus was sometimes still apparent in those days, and everything was fresh and new.
Then suddenly, just when our nation was falling apart economically, sound seized the movies, and silent film stars went from the pinnacles of success and fame (not necessarily joy) to pits of depression and unemployment.  Rather like the nation.  In the early 1930s, things went from bad to worse; silent films disappeared altogether, while dust storms were building in the country’s breadbasket.  Meanwhile, however, the movie musical was born.  Now here we are in a new century, with new technologies in the movies, and a recession/depression/whatever you want to call it.  And we are drawn to that little industry that could, that skyrocketed along with post World War I America and somehow stayed afloat when the rest of the world sank.  Hollywood survived it all to grow to its present enormous power.  Face it, there was a greater furor in 2011 over Netflix messing with our movie supply (streaming! DVD!) than there was in 2000 over the hanging chads of the Florida election scandal.  See, you’ve already forgotten that, but you’re still mad at Netflix.  That’s power.

Anyway, that’s a lot of overthinking and probably a lot of bunk.  Mostly what Michel Hazanavicius did was write a scenario he believed would make a good movie, talk other people into producing it (thank you, producer Thomas Langmann), cast it brilliantly, all to give us this little gem called The ArtistWho cares about the rest? 
Penelope Ann Miller wondering who Peppy is.

The film opens at a film opening in 1927, with silent film star George Valentin (deliciously played by Jean Dujardin) at the height of his powers and fame.  George is rather a Douglas Fairbanks Sr. sort of silent film actor, an acrobat with a big grin and a little moustache.  He leaps and fences and romances and has a fine old time.  George Valentin is a Star.  He is charming and vain and doubtless neglectful of his chilly wife, played to perfection by Penelope Ann Miller.  He has a loyal chauffeur played with quiet strength by James Cromwell, and a disloyal cigar-chomping producer played by John Goodman.  At the beginning of the film, George meets and becomes enamored of Peppy Miller, a shining starlet played glowingly by Bérénice Bejo.
John Goodman as the Producer

Mademoiselle Bejo is gorgeous in an unintimidating, gangly girl-next-door kind of way, with a huge smile and long limbs.  Her lean lines allow her to do a hilarious turn in George’s dressing room.  The innocent yet intimate moments between Peppy and George are sweet yet not saccharine.

And most importantly, George has the smartest and most loyal dog in the world, a Jack Russell called only “The Dog” in the credits, and brilliantly portrayed by Uggie. 

The Artist is a reversal of the standard movie romance, as well as the beloved film Singin' in the Rain.  In Singin' in the Rain, the not at all classy Lina Lamont was discovered to have a dreadful speaking voice.  In The Artist, the Lina Lamont character is Constance, hilariously played by Missy Pyle, and she is more likely to survive than George.
Valentin and his co-star Constance, played by Missy Pyle

The Artist is a film of faces, young and old.  Fine faces filled with character, wisdom, joy and pain, including Peppy’s maid played by Beth Grant, her butler played by Ed Lauter, and the sweet-natured nurse at Peppy’s house, as played by Lily Knight

Particularly delightful touches:
-       Before Peppy makes it big, we see her name climb up the credit list as years go by, with her name occasionally spelled in different ways ….
-        The marvelous scene on the staircase in which Peppy, running up the stairs, turns from above to talk with George, on his way down.  This requires no dialogue.  Whatever she says, with enthusiasm and joi de vivre, he receives with melancholy pleasure.  The scene is visually clever, while at its heart it’s all about the barely hidden feelings each has for the other.
-         The sudden advent of sound in George’s life is the stuff of his nightmare, literally.
-       Joyous use of black-and-white filming that makes painterly scenes of George’s life darkening as his career diminishes.

Jean Dujardin as George Valentin
But wait, didn’t I say this is a romance?  It is, but just as The Artist does a gender reversal of Singin' in the Rain, so is it a reversal of your standard romance.  Peppy needs no man to rescue her, but George needs someone.  And his Knight is a Lady.

The Artist is referential and reverent of the movies.  Not at all like Scorsese’s Hugo, in which his filmmaker character believes — incorrectly — that the movies create dreams.  It’s the dreams, and dreamers, who create movies.  The Artist contains a sequence of Citizen Kane breakfast shots that made me laugh out loud despite the sadness conveyed in them.  One long climactic interval is surprisingly yet appropriately accompanied by Bernard Hermann’s “Love Scene” from Vertigo.  It is a remarkable piece of music: Different as the scenes it accompanies are, it still weaves itself into the emotions of the characters. 
Berenice Bejo as Peppy Miller

The Artist is a fine piece of work, and movies aren’t made by a few people, but many.  I cannot close without mentioning the excellent original music by Ludovic Bource, the aforementioned glorious cinematography by Guillaume Schiffman, perfect film editing by Anne-Sophie Bion and Monsieur Hazanavicius, gorgeous production design and art direction by Laurence Bennett and Gregory S. Hooper respectively, along with set decoration by Austin Buchinsky and Robert Gould that brought us back in time, and, finally, costume design by Mark Bridges that doubtless made the actors believe it was 1930 and far, far away from the present.
George and Peppy a la Fred and Ginger

The Artist is utterly delightful.  I laughed, I cried, I held my breath, and was thoroughly warmed in its embrace.  It is absolutely my favorite movie of the year (yes, I went to see Hugo), and my pick for best picture, best director, and best screenplay.  Any other awards you want to give it are fine by me.

~ Molly Matera, signing off, contemplating going back to the theatre to see The Artist again.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Too Little Time, Too Little Money, too much of a good thing....

In years past, I have sometimes managed to see all five films nominated for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences before the Oscar telecast. Sometimes fewer. This year I’ve seen five pictures the Academy nominated as “best,” but there are ten nominations.  Really?  Ten?  The Academy actually thinks ten films are that good?  I’ve got my skeptical face on. 

While not impossible, it’s unlikely I’ll see five more movies by February 26th. I’m certain to see at least one more, however. I’m going to see Hugo next and capture all six films in the best direction category.
It’s hardly appropriate or possible for me to pick the Academy’s “best picture” out of their lengthy list.  Of course, I’m not a member of said Academy, so I’ll say what I please, and I just can’t hold it all in any longer. In consideration of the 2011 nominated films, I’ve seen
~         Moneyball
~         The Descendants
~         Midnight in Paris
~         The Tree of Life
~         The Artist

I enjoyed all of these movies to varying extents.  The only ones I’d consider for such a subjective title as “best picture of the year” are Midnight in Paris and The Artist. 

Of the remaining films the Academy nominated, perhaps there should be an award for Worst Advertising.  The only one I may see in the theatre instead of waiting for cable/DVD is The Help, and that only because Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer make it sound interesting when they speak about the film.  The trailers do not.  

Of the movies I’ve seen that the Academy chose to nominate:


Moneyball is a solid story well told, riveting to those of us who enjoy the leisurely sport played by the boys of summer.  The film is initially paced rather like the game of baseball, however.  While this worked for me (it seemed apt), I believe it would be too slow for most moviegoers to call it “best picture.”

The Descendants is lacking in obstacles the protagonist can overcome.  He cannot overcome death.  In this sweet family film, existing relationships are strengthened and one’s lost due to an accident, but a movie without surprises is a movie without drama.    

Midnight in Paris is a delightful, imaginative, witty and swell film.  The characters in all time zones are full of life and zest and literary jokes, the performances are marvelous, and Woody Allen is back on track.  Nevertheless, it won’t win because it’s too clever, and too literary.

The Tree of Life is fascinating and magnificent, but it goes into lala-metaphysical-land too many times.  As a woman said exiting the theatre when I saw it, “that was gorgeous, but what the f--- was it?”  I liked it better than she did, and as I look back on it I can certainly comprehend this nomination.  The Tree of Life was a very powerful film.  However, it is a rather exclusive one, so it’s only “best” for a few.

The Artist is imaginative even when it’s referential, nostalgic and clever and sweet and dramatic and funny.  Maybe all screenwriters should first write a scenario without dialogue so they can learn plotting and pacing and character development; all without words, without voices.  Plus, there’s the dog. 

Unless my viewing of Hugo this week throws all my figuring awry, I’m going with The Artist for best EVERYTHING because it made me so very happy.  (Full review to come.)

~ Molly Matera, signing off, grateful to have a job, but wishing for more awake-time to see everything out there.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ghosts and Ghouls in the Cold, Dark North

Ghost stories, on the printed page, on the silver screen, on the tube, I’ve always been drawn to them.  I developed a taste early for black-and-white horror films, from The Haunting to The House on Haunted Hill (the original, not the remake, in both cases). You may recall that I have issues with allegedly scary movies that aren’t. (A blog about less than scary stuff I've seen.) I tried again this weekend, viewing a period piece with cinematography that sometimes appeared almost black and white, but wasn’t — cinematographer Tim Maurice-Jones’ rich tones made the blacks blacker and the grays deeper, with some luscious browns in addition.  Visually, this ghost story was exactly as advertised.
Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps at the gates of the haunted house.

I’ve enjoyed the build-up and trailers to The Woman In Black.  And I’m rather surprised but happy to report I enjoyed the film as well.  This is an unambiguous ghost story, sure of itself. Its color scheme lends to a time when Nature ruled us and we had no inkling yet that we might try to rule Her.  Candles light houses, headlights are weak, and the amazing combustion engine is something that no one has had before to potentially uncover truths ― and skeletons ― in this mad haunting. 

Some thoughts:

First, adults are stupid.  That’s not about the movie, but I ask you, if you saw the advertisements for this film, where there’s a scary lady and a number of dead children, would you bring children?  A five year old?  The woman behind me brought a gaggle between five (at most) and nine.  These children may not have gotten this film while they watched it, snuffling and slurping and crunching and whispering that they had to pee.  But tonight, or tomorrow night, or the night after?  I predict there will be nightmares and the stupid adults won’t understand why. 

Second, this film is visually awesome, from the close-ups to the long shots, the darkness that is barely touched with light.  Shadows frighten even as they woo us toward their peculiarly warm depths.  Director James Watkins and cinematographer Maurice-Jones seduce us with a watercolor palette in a brightly lit opening scene of innocents at play.  Then the tones turn to moody oil paints. Kudos to set decoration by Niamh Coulter — the child’s nursery is the creepiest room I’ve ever seen.  All those Victorian wind-up toys and gewgaws may seem like mere clutter, but those bulging eyes engender dread and terror.  The Woman in Black has fabulous production design (Kave Quinn) and art direction (Paul Ghirardani), as well as brisk film editing (Jon Harris). 

Third, the premise works pretty well — most haunted house stories start off at a disadvantage with a ridiculous reason given for staying in the psychologically and physically threatening place. Here the protagonist actually has good cause to determinedly push on to this unpleasant wreck of a house to find all the papers hidden there — and they are indeed hidden without rhyme or reason throughout the house. The death of the last inhabitant was allegedly recent, but the estate has been falling into ruin for a good many years.  The rather desperate plight of the protagonist, Arthur Kipps, attorney, is set up well, and, rather like the decrepit house, Kipps has been grieving for his dead wife for four years and probably wouldn’t care at all about his debt and looming job loss but for his four-year-old son.  He must do this unpleasant task or face whatever English debtors face in the time between the Boer War and the first world war. 
Ciaran Hinds as Mr. Daily
How do we know when this takes place if we’re not experts about the single automobile seen?  As Kipps reads The Evening News on the train north (Daniel Radcliffe may never escape long train rides north), we see an ad about spiritualism and a medium endorsed by Arthur Conan Doyle.  That would place the story after the Boer War.  Everything else (clothing, candles instead of electricity or even gas lights, horse-drawn vehicles) definitively places the story earlier than World War I. 

Fourth, the performances in this film across the board are first rate.  Really.

  • Daniel Radcliffe’s first foray into a feature film as an adult tells us that the boy’s still got it.  As young attorney and widower Arthur Kipps, his big blue eyes are woeful, his face lights up with amazed joy then crumples in bewildered despair.  Arthur is running on fumes, but Radcliffe is not.  He took the chance of doing a ghost story and carries it well.  He’s not yet a powerful player in the adult arena, but he’ll get there.
  • The last few times I’ve seen Ciaran Hinds, I considered him miscast.  At last, in this film, it’s a fine fit as wealthy landowner Mr. Daily, the only man in the village with an automobile.  He is a sturdy, certain, god-fearing and loving man, who has suffered loss but still reaches out to help a stranger. 
  •  The great Janet McTeer plays his wife.  She’s a little bit off, perhaps way off, but anyone who stays in this god-forsaken village is likely to be.  McTeer is delightful and fearless, her Mrs. Daily as loving to her “twins” as she would wish to be to her dead son.
Daniel Radcliffe and Janet McTeer

The people in this town are unpleasant. They lie, they stare, they close doors on poor Arthur, they’re downright mean.  Then we remember the opening scene of the film — one of very few in bright daylight, in which three pretty little girls interrupt their tea party.  They look in unison toward something we cannot see, then turn to look at the windows.  They go to the child-size windows, and….I don’t need to see the result, it’s searingly bright and horrific.   It’s an affecting and shocking scene in which there is no blood or gore.  Blood and gore aren’t scary, they’re just gross.  Director Watkins and screenwriter Jane Goldman (based on Susan Hill’s novel of the same title) get the horror genre better than many.  Together they create simple, sharp scenes with multiple characters; then long silent scenes with Arthur alone.  Or is he?

The villagers are not caricatures, even though we can think of them as the Innkeeper, the Innkeeper’s wife, the Lawyer, the Lawyer’s wife, the Cart Driver, the Landowner.  These may sound like stock characters, but the acting makes these people individuals instead.  This is a village of the damned.  All the people of the village are extremely well played, from Tim McMullan as the local lawyer Jerome and his wife Cathy Sara, to David Burke as the Constable.  Daniel Cerqueira as Keckwick the cart driver is surly and closed off.  But he has a name.  Later Arthur will call his name in the mist, in the dark. Keckwick is an echo of the whole village.  Liz White as Jennet, the Woman in Black, is haunting and haunted as she wreaks havoc and revenge against anyone and everyone.  The unfriendly Innkeeper and his wife, the Fishers, are well played by Shaun Dooley and Mary Stockley, each dealing with their losses differently.  Not to mention the exceedingly creepy children, particularly Aoife Doherty as Lucy Jerome and the children we meet first, the Fisher girls, Emma Shorey and Molly Harmon. The acting in this film is terrific and that makes it a lot of fun.

All in all, I enjoyed The Woman in Black:  It brings Hammer Films into the 21st Century with a hoot and a holler, and I had a few good frights.  I would have enjoyed it more had the children behind me been off watching “Hugo” where they belonged.  When The Woman in Black is on DVD and I can control the viewing space — that is, the only juveniles behind me will be cats — I think I’ll enjoy it more despite the smaller screen.  After all, my current television screen is much larger than the old TV screens on which I saw many a memorably frightening film.

~ Molly Matera, signing off, but keeping the lights on....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Interval, with cats, without snow

You know that my spoiled rotten cats are just swell.  However, there are times when I head home writing in my head, scribbling on disparate pieces of paper on the bus, knowing what I’ll key into the computer when I arrive at that blessed place, Home, and then I get home and discover the cats have knocked the window seat onto the food tray and scattered water and kibbles and bits and whatever all around the kitchen.  Suffice to say, new chores confront me on my return.  I suppose I should not feel the need to deal with such mundane matters, and just go write.  But no one else is going to deal with anything, so I am pressured into action. 

These are the times when I put the lines on the “good” and “naughty” sides of the board in my mind.  Left side — good cats.  Last night both Chick (a.k.a. Chickabetty) and Wilbur got good cat marks because they noticed me scream and run away (accompanied by Mama Millie, by the way) from the waterbug in the bathroom.  Next to the heating unit.  Which means it came up — or down — through said heating unit.  Great.  Subsequently Chick (my little huntress) and Wilbur killed the beast and left it in plain sight in the hallway where I could sweep it out the front door.  Good cats. No, I did not take pictures.

Then this morning, the three of them were hovering and sniffing around the floor of the bedroom.  I started to panic.  Then I saw what they were eating:  my lunch.  Anything in a plastic bag is fair game, I understand, but it was only there for ten minutes!  They couldn’t get into the soup containers, but my sandwich had become theirs.  Three marks (Chick, Wilbur, and Millie) in the naughty cat column.

I might not have been as annoyed had I not been awakened at 4:18 a.m.  I don’t have to get up at that hour, I just woke up.  The cats did not wake up. There were three cats leaning on one side or another of my legs, oblivious.  A blistering headache (yes, going to bed with wet hair does have ill effects, no matter what modern science says) and a song woke me.  Excedrin eventually knocked out the headache (I believe in NSAIDS no matter what my allergist says), but it took a while for me to hear the song clearly enough to identify it.  It was not from a car out on the street.  It was not coming from a neighbor upstairs or next door, or some maniac in the basement.  It was in my head.  I realized it was the Mamas and the Papas and eventually I recognized the song as ”I Call Your Name,” written by Lennon and McCartney.  Why was it in my head, and why did it coincide with a blistering headache to waken me?  I’ll probably never know.  Great song, though. I prefer it wake me around 7, not 4.

Tonight I intended to finish up my review of The Woman in Black (I’m up to version 5), and the kids managed to spill their water around the dinner tray and the kitchen floor.  Waterbug in the bathroom last night makes me very sure I don’t want them splashing water in my kitchen!  This leads to one more naughty cat mark. (If I don’t know whodunnit, I can hardly blame all three.  Which would probably be valid, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.)

On the bus stop tonight I heard a woman (young enough to call a girl, but I don’t want to sound old and crotchety) telling someone on her phone that it was snowing.  It was not snowing.  I got off a bus in Queens at 8 pm and it wasn’t snowing.  It was misting heavily and the air was cold enough for my breath to be frosty, but it wasn’t snowing.  It’s not snowing now.  And yet when I got off the bus, there seemed to be a soft coating of something whitish on some bushes.  Some windshields.  Presaging something downright wintery, without actually going there. 

I would have taken a photograph when I got home had there been the tiniest bit of frosting on my big blue spruce.  But, no.  Not a bit. Exhaust fumes from the highway have apparently melted away any hint of frosted windowpanes.  Oh well.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on that review.  Just thought the kids needed a little credit for killing the waterbug.  If not for munching on my lunch. 

~ Molly Matera, signing off.  I promise, I’ll finish my review of The Woman in Black and post it tomorrow night!  And I do not understand why Microsoft’s spellcheck does not comprehend the word “waterbug.”  It’s a waterbug.  It exists.  Believe me.  I don’t examine it minutely to be sure it’s not a cockroach. No, I do not want to know the difference.  Microsoft, catch up.