Monday, April 30, 2012

JANE GOODALL: 'Chimpanzee Politics are Nicer than Ours'

Jane Goodall: 'Chimpanzee Politics Are Nicer than Ours'

Published: April 29, 2012 @ 3:10 pm
By Carole Mallory
Watching a giant chimpanzee named Freddie groom his tiny son, Oscar, is one of the highlights of the Disney nature film "Chimpanzee." By unfolding each section of hair, Freddie thoroughly looks for fleas and ticks on Oscar. Grooming holds this family of primates together.
"Chimpanzee politics are nicer than ours," primatologist Jane Goodall, 78, said to Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" after she forced Stewart to give her a formal chimpanzee greeting. He touched the top of his head as she made a certain movement. They exchanged squeaks, grunts, oooohs and ahhs and only then would Goodall sit for her interview.
"I was glad to see you remembered that greeting which I taught you the last time we met," she said with a twinkle in her beautiful frail blue eyes. Her white hair reminds viewers just how long she has loved, cared for and protected the chimpanzee. The species is down to 300,000 from 1 million.
At the age of 26, in 1960, Goodall went from England to Tanzania with only binoculars and a notebook to learn about and to protect the chimpanzee and their sometime strange but often familiar-seeming lives. With her unyielding patience and characteristic optimism she won the trust of these initially shy creatures. Goodall learned that chimpanzees hunt for bush pigs and rodents and refined the theory that chimps were primarily vegetarians and fruit eaters.
Upon hearing of her observations, her mentor Richard Leaky blurted out, "Now we must redefine tool, redefine man, or accept chimpanzees as human." Proceeds from the first week of "Chimpanzee" will go to the Jane Goodall Institute in Tanzania.
The movie was filmed in the lush vegetation of the Ivory Coast. Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, "Chimpanzee" is a splendid film largely due to its photography. The shots of these animals embracing each other, foraging for food, looking for shelter or climbing up trees to go to sleep is not only educational, it is charming.
Freddie is the leader and father of Oscar. His mother has been lost in the jungle in a skirmish with another team of competing chimps headed by a frightening leader named Scar. She could have been eaten by leopards, but this you do not see. Only thunderous clouds imply impending doom.
Now Freddie battles Scar in jungle warfare over the territory of the nut grove. Suddenly an orphan, Oscar begins following Freddie who has more important things to do than to feed and to care for his 3-year-old son and to assume the role of Oscar's mother.
Footage of her breast feeding a tiny Oscar is touching especially when you realize her breast will no longer be there for orphan Oscar who does not know how to feed himself. He will starve to death in the jungle unless Freddie adopts him, feeds him and teaches Oscar how to open nuts.
Oscar tries by slamming a log repeatedly on a nut, but then watches Freddie who uses a big rock. Tiny Oscar steals Freddie's rock and voila! -- the case is cracked.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Carole Mallory


Review: The Raven Has Creep Appeal

Posted: 04/26/2012 6:40 pm

John Cusack makes a great Edgar Allen Poe. From the beginning of this masterfully executed thriller directed by a deft James McTeigue, suspense grips you. The somber sets and lavish costumes add intrigue to this period piece set in 19th century Baltimore. A series of murders occur. Detective Fields, played with aplomb by Luke Evans, is assigned to find the victim's serial killer. Grisly it is at times.
The pit and the pendulum murder could give you the desire to walk out, but this macabre event was all part of Poe. I feel this violent and gory scene is justified to show what he created. His mind at work. This particular murder is of a critic who wrote a scathing review for the newspaper which published Poe's work. During the pendulum's descent as blood gushes, the victim cries out, "Why are you doing this. I'm only a critic."
After the first murder, Poe becomes a suspect because it is evident that the crimes are based on his writing. When Detective Fields confronts him, Poe replies, "Is imagination now a felony?" The wit in the writing by Ben Livingston and Hanna Shakespeare helps to balance the grisly moments in this film. Their writing has the spirit of Poe.
At the onset of the film Poe cavorts in a bar and it is apparent that he has a severe drinking problem, but he used alcohol to create.

Another problem is that he is in love with Brendan Gleeson's daughter played with the right amount of coyness by Alice Eve who is Emily Hamilton. Gleeson portrays Captain Hamilton who is the town's wealthiest. Gleeson struts and gloats in his role and is thoroughly a joy to watch as a blowhard. Captain Hamilton loathes Poe as he believes Poe is the murderer. Meanwhile Emily wants to marry Poe despite her father's objection.

Emily plans to tell her father at a masked ball he is throwing, but during this ball at which Poe is disguised as a guest, she is abducted. Poe becomes the suspect , but soon everyone works together to find the beauteous Emily. The costumes by a talented Carlo Poggiolo at this ball heighten the gotta-find -the-killer atmosphere. Cat and mouse is played throughout the film and it becomes fun to guess the who done it, to whom and why. The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Masque of theRed Death are referenced and add intrigue...
The Raven's poetic climax is satisfying and solves the riddle poignantly. The Victorian era shown in somber lighting amidst eerie sets by Kerrie Brown add to the suspense and the gratification of having viewed a true mystery with its riddles that at times rest in where else? -- a graveyard.
Catch this one along with a strong elbow to escort you through the terror. If a good creep out done with style is one of your guilty pleasures, see The Raven.