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Cincy Chic: How did you get interested in photography?
Jolene Kroeger:
I took a photography class in high school and loved it! That planted the first seed. After having my first child, I became obsessed with scrapbooking and needed more and more photos to help with my habit. The more photos I took the more I wanted to learn about photography. I purchased a very expensive 35mm SLR camera and began learning about all the camera features. The more I practiced, the more obsessed with photography I became. Then came digital! I was terrified to give up my 35mm and go to digital. I decided to try a simple point and shoot digital to get used to digital and how it worked…well that was a HUGE mistake. The point and shoot was NOTHING like my film SLR camera. After eight months, I bit the bullet and purchased a very high-end DSLR camera. I found my camera! I carried it with me everywhere. Going from film to digital is very challenging! Once I got the hang of it, my photography improved tremendously. A friend of mine started her own business and needed someone to design a professional AD type postcard to announce the opening of the store. She contacted me to do it! I was so excited! I loved doing it so much that my husband convinced me to start my own business. That was 2 1/2 years ago.

Cincy Chic: You do a lot of child photography. Is that challenging… do you have any special tricks?
Kroeger:
Child photography is very challenging and rewarding! You definitely have to have a lot of patience, flexibility, and the ability to get children to feel comfortable around you. I have five children ranging from 19 to 3! They each have their own individual personalities and have taught me so much! It's funny how becoming a mother changes you completely, at least for me it did. I always thought that when you became a mother you were the one to teach and guide your children, which in one sense you are, but in the other sense they are teaching and guiding you as well! I have learned how to be more patient, flexible, pick my battles, let go of the little things, love each one of them for who they are, find that special gift that they each have and encourage them everyday, what teamwork is really all about, a large family requires a lot of teamwork, love, and strength. I owe my patience and ability to work other children to my own children. Children want to be loved for who they are, they want to be encouraged, they need to be encouraged. We as parents have to discipline and be on top of our children all the time, so when someone else can come in and spend some time with that child and get them to shine and feel good about themselves it really makes a HUGE difference. That's what I do! Parents want and expect their children to behave, don't we all! What I do is get the parents to relax and let them know that it's ok for the child to act silly, climb the stairs, do flips, roll on the floor, even go outside when it's freezing. Yep, did that once because the two-year-old was just not happy being inside having his pictures taken. Took him outside when it was only 45 degrees out, put him on the swing with his older brother and captured the most adorable picture of him and his brother swinging together. The mother and father both cried when they saw it! I have actually found that the parents are more challenging than the children. I have to teach the parents that making me lie on the floor, climb the stairs, run across the room or even go outside in 45 degree weather is fine! You have to be flexible with children. You never know what expression or look you are going to get. I never go into a photo session with a set of poses/ideas I am going to do for that session…I let the child guide me. Sometimes kids will come up with a fantastic idea to show me and it will be the best pose and expression I have ever captured.

Cincy Chic: I understand you're a bit of a philanthropist as well. Tell us about that.
Kroeger:
My mother and father have always taught me to give and you shall receive. God has blessed me in so many ways! I have my health, a loving husband, five healthy and beautiful children, a wonderful home, food and clothing for us all, as well as very supportive and encouraging family and friends. God also blessed me with a talent to photograph others. It is my pleasure and honor to share this talent and give back to others. I am honored to be a part of two non-profit organizations, NILMDTS & Celebrating Adoption. I have participated in the past with Kindervelt, EHMOTC and NKYMOTC. I will be participating this year in the Stepping Stones Center and the Arthritis Foundation Bone Bash.

Cincy Chic: Do you have a favorite photographer?
Kroeger:
Well, if I had to pick one right now, it would be Lori Nordstrom. She has made a name for herself as an award-winning maternity and newborn photographer. That is my goal! I want to be an award-winning maternity and newborn photographer in Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic: Have a favorite photograph?
Kroeger:
I don't really have just one. If you come to my home you will see a lot of favorite photographs of my children all throughout!

Cincy Chic: Where's your favorite place to photograph in Greater Cincy?
Kroeger:
I don't really have one favorite place to photograph in Cincinnati. I will tell you that I don't like to go to the parks that a lot of the other photographers go to. The places I photograph are not where any other photographers go. I want my photos to be completely unique. I love trying new locations, especially when they are clients' homes. The best locations as usually in my clients back yard!

 

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Watch for the reports at 5:15 p.m. on Channel 5, or come here to read the reports!

 

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Look here for past Five Things stories involving money and personal finance. More

 

 

 

 

Look here for past Five Things stories involving relationships, ranging from friendships to marriage.More

 

 

 

 

 

Look here for past Five Things stories involving family and children.More

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women's health

Look here for past Five Things stories involving women's health and fitness.More

 

 

 

 

 

Look here for past Five Things stories involving your home and its upkeep.More

 

 

 

 

 

Look here for past Five Things stories involving beauty and hygene. More

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Once
Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova, directed by John Carney

Have you ever thought about going to see a foreign film and resisted; thinking it would be too difficult to understand the language and cultural innuendos of people other than Americans?

Resist no longer and treat yourself just this once. "Once" is a little bijou not to be missed! Currently playing at our very own Esquire Theatre, "Once" is a film that is both charming and filled with the tug of melodious heartstrings. The lead character, Glen Hansard, (and coincidentally the lead singer of the Frames) plays a hard working street performer aspiring to someday record his music and leave his ties to Dublin, his widowed father and his responsibility to the meager family business.

Someday comes in the form of Marketa Inglova and her character as a proud, young woman stretching her own resources to exist. Marketa is a kindred spirit to Hansard. It is evening and she hears Hansard singing his own written, as if emptying his soul into the night without notice of anyone else. She places a dime in his guitar case and wants to know why he doesn’t sing these songs during the day, and more importantly, has he recorded any. Teasing her, he says something akin to “I won’t get very far on a dime.”

Her persistence and his resistance to letting anyone into his life and letting go of a broken heart is the basis of this story. But what makes this film so poignant and magnetic is the way director John Carney lets this unsuspecting romance unravel framed in beautiful melodies and lyrics.

Just as in a good thriller where a captivated audience is so riveted that collectively all can hear a pin drop; this movie held the audience in the same enduring thrall. As the leads create their music, all attention and pleasure was given way to the affecting eloquence of their pure, refined talent. 

Scenes creating the passion and ardor expressed through music in this film are conveyed richly by the look on Hansard’s face as he listens to Inglora singing a song of her own; as if words could never  express  the heartache of the soul.

All too often we have been subjected to Hollywood  “Happily ever after” movies. Here is a gem that is at "Once" enduring and genuine in telling a story of two people coming together through their mutual love of music and their search for meaning in their lives.

"Once" is a winner. May I suggest afterwards enjoying a nightcap at Biagios Bistro which is just a few stores down from the theatre? Try Biagios handmade chocolate covered cream puffs and I guarantee you will go back more than once.

Rating: Five Chic Stars

Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.
 

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Question: I'm 36 and I'm afraid I'll never get married. With all of the guys I've ever been with in the past, we all have broken up for different reasons, but they've all cited one reason in particular across the board… they all say that I'm "too needy". I don't even know what that means. And is it such a bad thing to need someone? I think generations before us needed each other – Where would our grandparents be if they didn't lean on each other during the depression? Are we in a society that just fends for themselves and disregards the beauty of a relationship and the concept of a "life partner?" Or is being "needy" guy-code for something – if so, please decode.
– Lauren Dittmer, Cincinnati

Answer: Ooh… "cracking the code". Looks like all of that time I spend deciphering the weekly crypto-quip word puzzles in the newspaper is finally going to pay off!

First of all, if all of these guys are giving you the same lame excuse for breaking up, maybe the real problem isn't you, but your choice of men. Maybe they all say the same thing because they're all the same type of guy? (A guy who, aside from sounding awfully immature, has an obvious innate fear of commitment.) What are their similarities? How did you meet these guys? Are they related? (To each other, of course – not to you.)

Try switching things up a bit. Pick up a new hobby. Join a club. Visit new and exciting places, like the art museum, a new restaurant, or if you're into the nightclub scene, try someplace other than your usual hangout. (As a wise man once said, you can only fish the same pond so much, before you run out of fish. Or something like that. And hopefully, he won't want royalties for using his timely and pertinent expression.)

On the other hand, it might also be true that these guys have a point. I mean, after all – you started your e-mail by declaring your fear of being single (contrary to popular belief, most "biological clocks" do not have some sort of bomb attached to them that goes off by age 36. At least I sure hope not.) Why are you so consumed with marriage? Is it because so many of your friends/relatives/co-workers have tied the knot? Are you feeling left out? Like the last kid picked for dodgeball on recess? Another wise man once told me two letters that sum everything up: HK. Who Cares. (or rather, "Hoo Kares.") Brilliant, huh? (With all of these "wise men" I've apparently met over my lifetime, you think I'd be a little smarter by now, wouldn't you?)

Don't weigh yourself down with all of that excess wedding baggage. If you're preoccupied with marriage going into a relationship, it's going to show. And there's a good chance you'll start holding on too tightly, before the other person is ready for it. One of the hardest things for some people to accept is the fact that, hey, you might get married, you might not. But either way, you're going to be just fine. Trust me on this.

A couple of years ago, I was in a similar situation. After yet another failed relationship, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get married. But then I asked myself, why was it so important for me to get married, anyway? Was it for me? For my family? For the tax benefits? The more I thought about it, the more I realized I could be truly happy on my own. My happiness wasn't dependent upon someone else. I can't tell you what a liberating feeling that was. I was happy with who I was, and where I was in my life. And I think you should be, too.

Shortly after my enlightening experience, I met a great girl who, coincidentally, was on a date with another guy at the time. But apparently, there was something about a poor, touring musician with a knack for doing spot-on Homer Simpson impressions that she just couldn't resist. Long story short, we're getting married next year. The point is, it wasn't until I was ready to give up on the idea of being married and just be happy by myself that I was truly ready to find the right person to spend the rest of my life with.

Wow. That all sounded kind of profound. At this rate, I could end up being one of those "wise guys" myself. Who'd of thunk it?

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There are plenty of captivating, non-embarrassing activity choices in the Cincinnati area for people who happen to be flying solo. Busy friends or loved ones don’t necessarily mean you have to cancel your evening out. Here are a few solo-friendly activities in the area that make up for your otherwise engaged friends.

Cultivate Your Inner Museum Lover

Museums of any sort may be the only place where the phrase “three’s a crowd” reaches its full potential. In fact, depending on your compatriot, two could be a crowd. When you visit a museum by yourself, first of all, your solo status isn’t as apparent, because people split up in museums all the time, and secondly (and most importantly), when you are alone, you can actually visit the exhibits or galleries you want to see. And take as much time as you want reading the fine print on those little white placards. Gasp! Why has no one thought of this before? We’ll never know.

Cincinnati is host to many museums, including the well-known Cincinnati Art Museum (with works spanning 6000 years), the Taft Museum (housing classics such as Rembrandt) and the Contemporary Art Center (dedicated to showing “the art of the last five minutes”). There are also not-so-well-known museums, such as the Cincinnati Fire Museum, located in a former fire house and the Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, which features more than 500 dummies from the collection of the late William Shakespeare Berger, a local businessman and ventriloquist.

Work on Your Pilates

Incorporating Pilates into your life is another good opportunity for solo time. Some may think of Pilates, a series of non-impact exercises that develop strength, flexibility, balance and inner awareness, and think of a large group of people exercising on mats. However, its inventor, Joseph Pilates, designed Pilates to be done with one-on-one instruction, and as such, never taught his techniques to a group himself. For this reason, attendees of a group session may not reap as many benefits from Pilates as those who pay extra cash for a personal lesson, says Julie Teron, owner of Body Mind Balance Pilates in Cincinnati.

These solo lessons ensure the type of Pilates a person is doing is tailored to that person’s specific needs, strength or past injuries, something a group lesson couldn’t provide. It also allows the instructor to teach someone how to do things correctly on the equipment used in Pilates, something Toren says is crucial to getting what you need out of the session. The personal attention you get out of a solo session enhances the already helpful experience, she says.

Scent, Please?

If you’re a person who has always had trouble finding a scent that fits you (mainly because these scents were made for other people, such as Jennifer Lopez), one way to make your solo time truly special is by creating a scent that makes you memorable, rather than make a random celebrity richer. Also, picking out your scent solo will keep you free from distractions and force you to focus on finding a scent that exemplifies you.

One place to do this locally is Les Studio des Parfums on Madison Road. According to its Web site, customers can make an appointment to create a French perfume under the personal tutelage of a staff member who will evaluate a person’s olfactory sensitivities, explain the fourteen families of scents and their components and describe the basic principles of making a pleasant-smelling perfume. There are three notes to choose: the Top Note (peak note), the Middle Note (heart note) and the Base Note (fond note). The store then registers the scent and stores the recipe for your future need.

See a Movie/Concert

OK, OK, no one really wants to go to a movie or concert alone, but don’t worry; you won’t be as conspicuous as you think. All those moviegoers and groupies won’t notice one person attending alone. Second of all, think about it: it’s hard to spend quality time with anyone attending a movie or concert, i.e., you can’t talk during a movie and can’t hear during the show, so if the gang’s busy, why not go by yourself? When you go alone, you can miss the latest Hollywood comic book-turned-movie your boyfriend would drag you to and see whatever film you want. (The newest Hugh Grant feature, perhaps?)

One solo trip destination standout is the Springdale Cinema in Springdale, which may have the largest amount of films available to watch at one location, namely because it shows some of the not-so-popular films longer than the competition. Another is the Esquire in Clifton, which runs independent movies you won’t see appearing at cinemas on the beaten path.

Somewhere Only You Know

This last solo stop depends on you. What place invokes special feelings in you? It could be a certain store, like Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” who went to the auspicious jewelry store to chase away the “mean reds,” or it could be something as simple as a park bench or a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Because this place is probably only significant to you alone (others might not get its charm), feel free to squander your “me” time at this mystery place. Bring a book, a picnic basket or simply sit and people watch. (You can jot down hilarious details to share with your friends later.)

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Watch for the reports at 5:15 p.m. on Channel 5, or come here to read the reports!

 

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Five Things July 2: Fitness Mistakes

 

 

Look here for past Five Things stories involving money and personal finance. More

 

 

 

 

Look here for past Five Things stories involving relationships, ranging from friendships to marriage.More

 

 

 

 

 

Look here for past Five Things stories involving family and children.More

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women's health

Look here for past Five Things stories involving women's health and fitness.More

 

 

 

 

 

Look here for past Five Things stories involving your home and its upkeep.More

 

 

 

 

 

Look here for past Five Things stories involving beauty and hygene. More

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Brooks
Kevin Costner, William Hurt, Marg Helgenberger, Demi Moore, Dane Cook

A thriller with appeal! "Mr. Brooks" is Kevin Costner’s foray into playing a dark leading character in film. Our hero is a murderer! We meet Mr. Brooks as he is accepting an honor for his accomplishments from fellow prominent businessmen. By all appearances Brooks has achieved the good life through hard work and climbing that ladder of success with each rung representing a gorgeous wife, a beautiful daughter, living in a mansion, philanthropy and owning a private studio which houses a pastime for creating pottery.

Looks can be deceiving and that is what makes this film so very tantalizing. Costner in his coiffed, GQ wardrobe whether at the office, home or the scene of a serial murder, looks so cool and self preserved. His alter ego, played by the superbly adroit William Hurt, serves to accessorize an impeccable man challenged by his own tormented conscience.

William Hurt, as Marshall, is the voice inside Costner’s head, the person in Brook’s backseat and the presence in Mr. Brook’s study who duplicitously has become Brook’s own devil advocate in encouraging Brooks to murder for the thrill of it reasoning, “You‘ve done it before, you’ll do it again. Why fight it?”

The conflicted Mr. Brooks is charmingly confident, but works hard to fight his demons. He goes to AA meetings in hopes of curbing his desire to give in to his addiction. Success eludes him as a loose gun, played by an impressive Dane Cook, witnesses the murders and wants to be a part of the thrill.

Marg Helgenberger delivers a steady presence as Mr. Brook’s adoring wife. Demi Moore as the hard nosed detective is less convincing. Never could I believe that someone who has been thrown from a moving van, into the air, onto the windshield of a nearby car could look as faultlessly manicured as she did while a doctor stitched up her scalp. But that is Hollywood, and the smallest of complaints for this film.

If thrillers are your interest; you will enjoy this film. It's slick, has intelligent dialogue and a smart cast of characters to perform it. If suspense films are not your favorite, don’t bother going to this movie. There are a few graphic scenes that should be viewed only by the diehards of this genre.

Rumor has it that "Mr. Brooks" is the first in a trilogy. Looking forward to the next appearance of Mr. Brooks!

Rating: Four Chic Stars

 

Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.

 

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Cincy Chic: How did you get into makeup?
Yolanda Webb:
I'm a native of Detroit. I left home after high school and attended Tennessee State University. After graduation, I married and moved abroad. I lived and traveled across continents with my husband and children. While working abroad, I discovered that makeup and skincare products were not designed for my Ebony-hued African-American complexion. So, I learned to mix and match colors in leading cosmetic brands to find the perfect match for my skin color.
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Then, I begin to do makeup for my model friends, girlfriends in my neighborhood and anyone else who would let me "practice" my color matching techniques on them.

Coming back to the United States when both of my children were young, I wanted to continue modeling and began to work with John Casablanca’s in San Antonio, Texas. I went on to model for several big companies, including a film and tobacco company modeling products for print ads in magazines.

But I always held on to my dream of one day owning my own cosmetics company, and in November of 2003, E’LON Cosmetics became a reality. Click here to check out pictures from the Tri County Mall store's launch.

 

And E’LON Cosmetics is more than just about makeup. My mission is to help women see the beauty they possess within.

Cincy Chic: How do you help women see that inner beauty?
Webb:
Aside from the makeup, I'm also an active supporter of the Women Helping Women organization (now known as the Rape Crisis and Abuse Center of Hamilton County), I participate in the Urban League’s YouthWorks Program as a trainer and I'm an active member and supporter of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority among many other community involvement activities.

Cincy Chic: What's E'LON stand for?
Webb:
E’LON is my daughter Sascha’s middle name. It means "flower" in Hebrew. Sascha was born prematurely while we were in Misawa, Japan and "Mama San," as Yolanda affectionately called our housekeeper, kept saying she had "Élan," the word for a vigorous spirit, and a will to live. So, the little flower begin to blossom and grow and survived.

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Next time you cancel a girls' night out because of a crammed schedule, reconsider. Your physical and mental health could suffer for it.

A 2000 UCLA study found spending time with your ladies releases the hormone oxytocin, which relieves stress, and found that animals with a high content of the hormone tended to be calmer and more relaxed than those without it.

Apply the findings of this study to your life by not feeling so guilty about taking the occasional "ladies' night out" (Like Cincy Chic's upcoming ladies night July 12, 6-9pm, at the Wine Cellar in Hyde Park). Instead of coming home after work for a solo bowl of ice cream and an episode of "Desperate Housewives," make a night of it with a special friend or two.

Feel Like Dancin'?

A great way to spend time with your girlfriends is taking a dance class. CocoCabbana Dance Studios in Cincinnati Mills offers ballroom, line and salsa dancing, to name a few. Owner Rhea says not to worry about coming sans partner if ballroom dancing is your thing. Partners switch every so often to cultivate camaraderie among dancers, so you and your friends will have no trouble finding a hip-swinging Romeo.

But if dancing with strangers doesn't appeal, Rhea says it's no problem to set up a special hour lesson just with you and your friends, and your dance instructor of choice.     

Whatever your dance preference, the activity is a good one: you relieve stress by hanging with your friends, and, as Rhea points out, "Dancing is great exercise because it releases endorphins, which gets you up and gets you moving," she says. "Anytime you move to the music, you have a good time."

For the babe on a budget, get the same effect by renting a copy of "Flashdance" or "Footloose" and mixing up a jug of margaritas. (Warning: hilarious photos ensuing from said suggestion may end up on the Internet.)

Spend Time with Your First Love

Who is this fabled love? It's a thing, for starters. Chocolate, of course! Cultivate your first love for chocolate and you and your friends' affection for one another by participating in a tasting. Haute Chocolate of Montgomery Road can arrange a tasting event for ladies' night out.

"It's a great way to spend a hot summer night here in Cincinnati," says Lisa Cooper Holmes, owner of Haute.

Haute's evening of chocolate would begin with an introduction to chocolate, as well as a sampling of the three most common varieties: milk, white and dark. You can also watch employees make chocolate in the kitchen, and help out in the process yourself.

Cooper Holmes says what happens at the event is up to you. Haute offers a full menu and confections for dessert. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and lasts until 9 p.m., and costs $49.95 per person.

Looking to cut costs but not your chocolate intake? You and your gal pals can try your hands at chocolate at home pretty simply: buy some strawberries, a couple of different types of chocolate and drizzle your hearts out. Champagne optional, of course. Meier's Winery in Silverton offers great champagne at a great price, and you can taste before you buy unlike the grocery store brands.

Beads, Please

Another way to make your social life memorable is to commemorate one another's friendship by making each other jewelry. Crafty vixens can visit a bead store and take classes in making all kinds of jewelry, or just use a store's space, like many do at Beads N Things, a shop on Eastgate Boulevard in Cincinnati.

"Groups can come in and do beading if they want to have a ladies' night out," says Carol Lanter, owner of Beads N Things. "They can bring their beads, or buy them, and we'll help if they get stumped."

The store is spacious, and has tables set aside for those just wanting to bead in peace, Lanter says. Doing so usually results in relaxation, Lanter adds, especially when a group of friends is involved.

"The girls get together and they just love it," Lanter says. "It is so relaxing because your mind is totally free of everything else."

Classes last two hours, and cost $25-$35 depending on the jewelry kit you choose to make. The store offers semiprecious stones as well as high quality beads.

If you're not in need of professional beading help, visit your local department or craft store for do-it-yourself kits, and throw a summer BeadBQ. ArtBeads.com has an excellent selection of charms and Swarovski Crystal Beads. And, we hate to admit it, but Wal-Mart has a great bead selection, too.

Wine and Dine

Just like wine, friends get better with age. And why not have both?  A wine tasting is another option for your girlfriend time.

Henke's Winery on Harrison Ave. offers tastings of seven wines such as locally grown Vin de Rouge and Vidal Blanc at $5 per person. Additional tastings are only $1 per wine.

Visitors can also tour the cellars (reservations should be made a few days before), listen to live bands Friday and Saturday nights and enjoy appetizers or dinner with the winery's usual offerings. Joe Henke, owner and winemaker, says his winery is perfect for group outings. "One of the compliments of groups is they feel like it's a Mom and Pop's type place, with a Cheers-like atmosphere," he says. "Gather together, share a bottle of wine."

If you're a wine devotee but prefer the comfort of your own home, invite a select group of your wine sophisticate friends over for some of your personal wine and cheese selections.

 

 

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The Last Kiss
Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Casey Affleck, Rachel Bilson

What was the significance of the title of the movie, The Last Kiss? The Kiss of Death? The Last Kiss of Freedom? People making commitments and then “Kissing their lives away” because entering into the institution of marriage is a sentence of downhill drudgery? Think again. In fact, rent this movie to see for yourself if it presented a biased view of the downfall of rendering one’s life freely to another.

The Last Kiss is a film where the lead character and girlfriend have been together for three years. Life and love is good. Circumstances force them to consider the next step of their relationship. Then a showcase of clichéd stereotypical couples fills the interim of this movie.

"The Last Kiss" is another benchmark in Zach Braff’s film career. It also was Rachel Bilson’s film debut. There are no problems with the charming Zach Braff playing the cad protagonist. He does his job very well. And Rachel Bilson as the younger temptress is believable. Jacinda Barrett as the spurned lover is painfully convincing. Women would most certainly empathize with her character.

Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson are the seasoned actors who represent the “standard, boring, sexless” characterization of a dead marriage. How unfortunate in this movie that for all its effort in telling a story about choices and commitments, it failed to balance or even validate that there do, in fact, exist some real life “standard, still-copulating-and-enjoying-it, monogamous” vibrant marriages.

Rachel Bilson’s character points out that “Marriage as an institution was formed when the expected life span for an adult was thirty years.” Okay, its common knowledge that marriages often outlive the zest, the desire, the commitment it takes to keep it fresh and engaging. We get that marriage is supposed to be forever and forever can be a looooooong time if spent with someone who has given up on the other person or perhaps even themselves.

Yet, if a movie is going to invite us to think about those human fears and dilemmas that force us to be frail, to be vulnerable; shouldn’t it at the very least offer one example of a successful union?

Let’s not confuse the issue here. Or make this a commentary on the pros and cons of marriage. Marriage and commitment are hard. People make choices every day as to whether they will recommit anew or settle for complacency or chuck it all together.

The title "The Last Kiss" in this movie refers to Braff’s one last chance at spontaneity and excitement before he makes a lifelong commitment. Why can’t there still be spontaneity and excitement in a long term relationship? How sad for Braff’s character to think that there is only one last kiss left and the rest of life is so predictable.

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