Always a great visit, the North Carolina Museaum of Art has become even better. If you haven't visited it in a while, its well worth a look especially on Friday evenings where good live music and drinks are served. .
A nice surprise is the temporary addition of some marque pieces on loan from Detroit's Chrysler Collection. August Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt and others are on display like it's a high school art fair! Amazing.
The exhibit includes a premier example of Mary Cassatt's work.
I'm kind of a Lord of the Rings geek and I'm glad to say that I've recently discovered an underrated film that gives me quite a satisfactory LOTR fix. It is Snow White and the Huntsman released last summer.
The budget wasn't nearly as big (I don't think) as The Lord of the Rings and it isn't based on a masterpiece but, having said that, I think that it strikes many of the same chords. In fact, the film liberally borrows from LOTR's most effective scenes but it seems to do so out of deep respect for Peter Jackson's vision, not out of laziness or unimagination.
I think that one area that Snow White may actually exceed LOTR is in the depths of the villain's character and contrasts between the heroine and the villain. While no dramatic interplay can exist between Gandolf and Sauron for instance, Queen Ravenna (the excellent Charlize Theron) and Snow White (Kristin Stewart) can build as characters before facing off at the end. There is terrifying depth to the Queen's character. Shakespearean insanity may be a better description.
Beauty is a tool. Young women can utterly transfix with it. Build kingdoms with it. Destroy with it. The Queen knows this and wields this power supremely. But she does so solely for herself. In contrast, for Snow White, it all comes down to love. Not Amour primarily. Agape love is more important to Snow White. She IS a Christian, afterall (gasp!) and sees beauty and worth where others don't, even in short funny looking dwarves. Most of the seven dwarves utterly submit eventually. Even a stupid, monstrous troll is rendered harmless by her caring gaze.
But the soft side is tempered by a steel-hard resolve covered in velvet. Press too hard and you will feel the edge. In the end, though, the love she feels for others wins out. As the wicked witch Ravenna lies dying after causing so much misery, Snow White weeps for her. -That is brilliant because, like Frodo and Gollum in LOTR, Snow White and the queen were bound by a common pain but tragically separated by different paths taken.