Beating the Gloom of Winter and a thing called Recession

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I am very much into preventative measures: exercise before you start gaining weight, take vitamins before you have a week of bad eating (namely, while on a trip), take vitamin C and echinacea as soon as you get tired rather than when you are starting to feel under the weather – that kind of thing.

And I am of the opinion that when things are not going too well around you, the best thing you can do is to limit your exposure to negative things.

I’m not saying don’t read the news and ignore the problems; quite the contrary, I’d say now is the time, more than ever, to thoroughly invest yourselves in your communities. Hurrah for grassroot mouvements!

However, reading the news might be a better option than watching TV (images are a lot more powerful); inviting friends over, even if it is so that each can read their own book, is better than staying alone; eating something tasty will boost moral, and watching happy movies will definitely make a difference.

Here are a couple of movies that have just been released or that will be release soon that might make for some good preventive medicine:

Four Christmases: Comedy starring Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon & Robert Duvall: Synopsis: No one enjoys the holidays more than Brad and Kate. Every December 25th, this happily unmarried, upscale San Francisco couple embark on a holiday tradition they have shared every year since they met – ditching their crazy families for a relaxing, fun-filled vacation in some sunny exotic locale. There, sipping margaritas by the pool, they toast the season, knowing they have once again avoided the chaos and emotional fallout of their four respective households (…). But not this year. Shorts and sunglasses packed, Brad and Kate are trapped at the San Francisco airport by a fogbank that cancels every outbound flight. Worse yet, they are caught on camera by a local news crew, revealing their whereabouts to the whole city… and to their families. With no escape and no excuses, they are now expected home by Brad’s father. And Kate’s mother. And Brad’s mother. And Kate’s father. Four Christmases in one day. As they brace themselves for a marathon of homecomings, Brad and Kate expect the worst—and that’s exactly what they get. But as Brad counts down the minutes to their freedom, Kate surprisingly finds herself tuned to the ticking of a different clock.

Dostana: Indian Comedy starring Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra & John Abraham: Synopsis: In typical Bollywood fashion, Dostana is the story of two friends caught in a love triangle that will make you laugh, cry, cringe and clap. Promised!

Santa vs. the Snowman: Animation with the voices of Jonathan Winters, Ben Stein & Victoria Jackson: Synopsis: It’s a new holiday classic: a lonely snowman comes across Santa Claus’ bustling village one Christmas Eve. Jealous of Santa’s good fortune, he makes a desperate attempt to capture the spirit of Christmas and win the children’s affection for himself. A heartwarming story for all ages.

Rachel getting married: Romantic Drama starring Anne Hathaway & Debra Winger: I hesitate to put this movie here, as I have yet to see it, but I’ve been told that although it tackles dark subjects, the movie will leave you feeling light-hearted. Then again, this is based on a single assessment, so if you have seen it, to let me know if it’s true… Synopsis : When Kym (Anne Hathaway) returns to the Buchman family home for the wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie Dewitt), she brings a long history of personal crisis and family conflict along with her. The wedding party’s abundant cast of friends and relations have gathered for an idyllic weekend of feasting, music and love, but Kym with her black-comic one-liners and knack for bombshell drama is a catalyst for long-simmering tensions in the family dynamic. Filled with the rich and eclectic characters that have always been a hallmark of Jonathan Demmes films, Rachel getting married paints a strikingly perceptive and sometimes hilarious family portrait. Director Demme, first-time writer Jenny Lumet, and the stellar acting ensemble leaven the drama of these difficult but compelling people with wry affection and generosity of spirit.

Wall-E: Animation with the voices of Ben Burtt, Jeff Garlin & Kim Kopf: This one has been out for awhile, but it’s apparently still playing on some big screens. Definitely heart warming, totally adorable and ill put a smile on just about anyone’s face! Synopsis: The Earth is now an uninhabitable trash heap and humans have hired an inept company to clean it up. The only problem is, of the hundreds of thousands of robots, called WALL-E’s, sent to pick up the trash, only one remains operational. That is until another robot mysteriously arrives and changes everything.

Slumdog Millionaire: Indian Dramedy starring Mia Drake, Imran Hasnee & Anil Kapoor: Synopsis: Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. Intrigued by Jamal’s story, the jaded Police Inspector begins to wonder what a young man with no apparent desire for riches is really doing on this game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out…

Madagascar 2: Animation with the voices of Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock & Jada Pinkett Smith. Synopsis: In the highly-anticipated sequel to “Madagascar,” Alex, Marty, Melman, Gloria, King Julien, Maurice and the penguins and the chimps find themselves marooned on the distant shores of Madagascar. In the face of this obstacle, the New Yorkers have hatched a plan so crazy it just might work. With military precision, the penguins have repaired an old crashed plane — sort of. Once aloft, this unlikely crew stays airborne just long enough to make it to the wildest place of all — the vast plains of Africa, where the members of our zoo-raised crew encounter species of their own kind for the very first time. Africa seems like a great place…but is it better than their Central Park home?

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