Friday, December 31, 2010

Local Elves Make Annual Donation Trip

“Elves” from Wells and Ogunquit recently made their annual trip to the Waban Child Development Center in Sanford. Armed with plush toys and the man in the red suit, the group visited with the classes where the children had an opportunity to chat with Santa and relay their wishes.
This annual tradition started in 1991. Participants have included members of the Wells and Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce staff and Board of Directors, Rotarians from the Wells and Ogunquit clubs and residents who wish to get involved.
The group travels to Waban in a trolley from the York County Community Action, donated by the Board of Directors of the Wells Chamber of Commerce. The toys are provided by Animal Instinct in Ogunquit with the help of the Ogunquit Rotary Club and Santa.
Photo caption: Elves from Wells and Ogunquit recently made their annual trip to the Waban Child Development Center in Sanford. (Courtesy photo)

Opening Scenes

By Chip Schrader
Movie Review Editor
The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, opens with surveillance equipment set within a van that oversees a Paris estate. Elise Ward, played by Jolie, struts through the gate of the estate, and the van slowly follows her seductive stride to a cafe in a populated square where she awaits breakfast and a note. Upon reading the note, she burns it, causing the agents to scramble after it.
From scene one, Jolie’s character is identical to numerous other roles she has played in the past. She mostly goes through the motions of the stock role of femme fatale in this updated noir. The character is somewhat convincing, but very Hollywood at the same time. Jolie’s makeup does a majority of the acting for her as she keeps the run of the mill stone faced performance. While Jolie fans will get what they expect, she does not contribute anything new to the screen.
Depp’s role, on the other hand, has some nuance. “Frank” is quite the gentleman, who hands people luggage off of a train for them, smokes electronic cigarettes, and teaches math for a small college in the Midwest. Depp plays a very serious role in this film, but in line with his signature style, he adds some fanciful humor to his body language and persona in suspenseful scenes.
One example comes during a chase where Frank is pursued among the terracotta roofs of Venice. Depp daintily flails his arms out like a juvenile ballerina wearing striped pajamas as he leaps and bounds across the Italian rooftops. His character also tries to speak Spanish with Italian officials after getting nabbed for dumping an officer in the canal. Long time Johnny Depp fans get another treat to his self-mocking style in this film.
The cinematography is exquisite, traversing from one European city street to another. The action takes place on foot, by car, plane, and by boat in the canals of Venice and are shot masterfully with the evening lights reflecting off of the water, and in the midday amongst the many exotic street sides and bridges. The gadgets and technology are a fun piece of the film, and the supporting cast does a crack job holding down a great deal of screen time playing as government agents and organized crime members.
Fans of classic Hitchcock’s mistaken man and espionage thrillers will enjoy this cliffhanger. The suspense is drawn out in believable ways that don’t appear as obvious devices to delay the story. Another notable element is the quotable dialog that establishes a playful chemistry between Depp and Jolie as they challenge each other’s intelligence. Some films also make the mistake of using dialog to make obvious cues as to what is happening, and what the conflict is. The Tourist is clearly written while viewers don’t depend on obnoxious story points made in the dialog.
The scenes are long, giving the film a deep attention span affording the audience to get acquainted with the intrigue that keeps them guessing until the last scene. Duplicity, twists, and action without gore make The Tourist a tasteful international thriller that is reminiscent of a weekend getaway in an Italian villa. There is a good reason this film brings Oscar buzz in Depp’s direction despite Jolie’s standard performance. 4 out of 5.
Photo caption: (Courtesy movie poster image for “The Tourist”)

Severe Winter Storm Impacts Blood Collections

The severe winter storm causing hazardous snow conditions in the Northeast is impacting American Red Cross blood collection efforts across New England. Approximately 780 units of blood are likely to be uncollected due to blood drive closures and low turnout at drives that were able to run. The current weather and cancellations comes at a challenging time to collect blood, as donations typically decline during the winter holiday season.
All blood types are needed. Type O-negative blood donors are especially needed as the inventory has dropped to critical levels. O-Negative blood is the universal blood type. It can be transfused to anyone and is often used in emergency situations when there is no time to obtain the patient’s blood type. Since Type O-negative blood can be used for all patients in need, it is critical that there is a sufficient supply.
The American Red Cross needs the help of all who are eligible to donate blood to please make an appointment to donate now to help ensure blood is available for patients. Also, the Red Cross urges all those who were unable to keep their appointments due to weather conditions to please reschedule. The only source of blood is a generous, volunteer blood donor.
In the U.S., someone needs blood every two seconds. Every day, the Northeast Division must collect approximately 3,000 units of blood just to meet the basic needs of patients.
Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.
All presenting donors in Maine will receive a buy one get one ski pass to either Shawnee Peak or Mt. Abram. Prizes are non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. To schedule an appointment or to sponsor a blood drive, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit today.