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Archive for March, 2009

199450690703_0_alb

by Sam Juliano

When the curtain rises on August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Seth is complaining to his wife Bertha about Bynum, a tenant in their Pittsburgh boardinghouse who kills pigeons for his African rituals.  Seth and Bertha also commiserate about Seth’s night position at the steel mill, and his third job as a tinsmith, fabricating items sold to him by the white peddler, Rutherford Selig.  Seth would actually go into the tinsmithing business himself, but cannot get approved for a loan unless he forfeits the boardinghouse, which he refuses to do.  Selig stops by for his weekly Saturday business visit, buys some pots from Seth and puts in an order for some dustpans.  Bynum asks Selig about the shiny man that he paid Selig–a people finder–to find for him.    

Thus begins the third of Wilson’s “Century Cycle” set in 1911, of ten plays, which comprises his complete artistic output, and which chronicles ten decades of life in Pittsburgh’s “Hill District” among African-Americans that is mythic in its compelling transcription of the black experience.  The title of the play basically symbolizes the American socialized system of oppression, whereby “Joe Turner” is “incarceration”, (Turner is actually a notorious Tennessee plantation owner who illegally enslaved African-Americans to work for him.) and Herald Loomis at the outset is simultaneously searching for his wife and daughter and his inner-self.      (more…)

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 state-of-play

by Allan Fish

(UK 2003 350m) DVD2 

A missing silver briefcase

p  Hilary Bevan Jones  d  David Yates  w  Paul Abbott  ph  Chris Seager  ed  Mark Day  m  Nicholas Hooper  art  Donal Woods

David Morrissey (Stephen Collins), John Simm (Cal McCaffrey), Kelly MacDonald (Della Smith), Bill Nighy (Cameron Foster), Polly Walker (Anne Collins), Amelia Bullmore (Helen Preger), James McAvoy (Dan Foster), Philip Glenister (DCI William Bell), Marc Warren (Dominic Foy), Michael Feast (Andrew Wilson), Benedict Wong (Pete Cheng), Geraldine James (Yvonne Shaps), Sean Gilder (Sgt. “Chewy” Cheweski), Tom Burke (Syd), Shauna McDonald (Sonia Baker), David Ryall,

Just watching State of Play again reminds one of just how incestuous British television drama is.  Never mind the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, they should rename that game the Two Degrees of John Simm.  Just one look through the cast – Simm, Morrissey, Nighy, McDonald, Glenister, Warren, it’s like a who’s who of contemporary drama.  Only Jodhi May, David Tennant, Sarah Parish and David Bradley are missing, but all of the above are very much part of the merry-go-round.  Take Morrissey, who following this had arguably his best role as Ripley Holden in Blackpool, opposite David Tennant, whose adversary as Doctor Who, The Master, was reincarnated as John Simm, who appeared with David Morrissey…  Arthur Schnitzler would give off a wry smile.

            State of Play follows the ramification of the seemingly unconnected deaths of a 15 year old black youth and a twenty-something parliamentary research assistant on the same London morning.  It transpires that up and coming cabinet tipped MP Stephen Collins was having an affair with the deceased woman, and at this time he renews acquaintance with Cal McCaffrey, an old friend and campaign manager now working as a journalist for famous editor Cameron Foster.  The problem is that a phone call took place twixt the two seemingly unconnected victims on the fateful morning in question, and it becomes a race to see whether the police or Fleet Street get to the truth first. (more…)

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Film Noir fans at Wonders in the Dark are urged to check out R. D. Finch’s round-up of four noir or neo-noir films at his Movie Projector site.  Mr. Finch has again done a fantastic job in taking an in-depth look at the components of these seminal, and he makes a strong case for them falling within the “noir” parameters.  Here’s the link:

http://movieprojector.blogspot.com/2009/03/brief-reviews-film-noir-americain-et.html

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 red-riding_625x352

by Allan Fish

(UK 2009 306m) DVD2

Aka. 1974, 1980 & 1983

Twinkle, twinkle, little star…

p  Wendy Brazington, Anita Overland  d  Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker  w  Tony Grisoni  novels  David Peace  ph  Rob Hardy  m  Adrian Johnston, Barrington Pheloung  art  Christina Casali

Andrew Garfield (Eddie Dunford), Warren Clarke (Bill Molloy), David Morrissey (Maurice Jobson), Sean Bean (John Dawson), Paddy Considine (Peter Hunter), Eddie Marsan (Jack Whitehead), Rebecca Hall (Paula Garland), Maxine Peake (Helen Marshall), Sean Harris (Bob Craven), Mark Addy (John Piggott), Peter Mullan (Martin Laws), Jim Carter (Harold Angus), Robert Sheehan (BJ), Anthony Flanagan (Barry Gannon), Kelly Freemantle (Clare Strachan), Shaun Dooley (Dick Alderman), Gerald Kearns (Leonard Cole), Saskia Reeves (Mandy Wymer), Lesley Sharp (Joan Hunter), Cathryn Bradshaw (Marjorie Dawson), Daniel Mays (Michael Myshkin), Joseph Mawle (Peter Sutcliffe),

Settling down on the 5th March 2009 to watch the first instalment on Channel 4 one was immediately struck by the look of Red Riding.  It’s bathed in a distinct golden veneer.  No nostalgic glow this, more like yesterday’s stale beer, or dried up piss.  Appropriate really, for this is a horrible place, West Yorkshire (Riding as it was back in the days) in the seventies and eighties, a county terrorised by two evils, a child kidnapper and killer with a passion for turning the children into posthumous angels by attaching swan’s wings to their backs and, infamously, the Yorkshire Ripper.  (more…)

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hara

by Tony d’Ambra

A loving daughter’s gaze

Another day lost in time
forever gone and ever-present
The departing train leaves a dissolving black cloud

Both gone
The mother and the sister she never had

On forged rails of steel that offer no return
the other daughter gifted by fate
holds the mother’s watch
In anguished reminiscence the time-piece ticks away in eternity
as she smiles the smile of loss and regret

Why did she leave us?

Three women in boundless love blossomed
in cruel obscurity and exquisite meaninglessness
The mother is gone forever
and the daughters lost to each other in Time’s imperative

The towers of industry billow their smoke
to the boundless indifferent sky
while the agony and the ecstasyof aloneness and sweet regret
fade into the abyss of the past

The ships ply the harbour their engines rhythmically echoing
the aching heartbeat of a lonely old man

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Jon takes up the baton with this one, answers on a comment as usual…

jonsscreenshot

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 funland

by Allan Fish

(UK 2005 358m) DVD1/2

Looking for Ambrose Chapel

p  Sanne Wohlenberg  d  Dearbhla Walsh, Susan Tully, Brian Kirk  w  Simon Ashdown, Jeremy Dyson  ph  Lukas Strebel  ed  Emer Reynolds, Tony Cranstoun

Kris Marshall (Dudley Sutton), Ian Puleston Davies (Shirley Woolf), Daniel Mays (Carter Krantz), Roy Barraclough (Onan Van Kneck), Judy Parfitt (Mercy Woolf), Frances Barber (Connie), Sarah Smart (Lola Sutton), Emily Aston (Ruby Woolf), Philip Jackson (Leo Finch), Beth Cordingly (Vienna), Mark Gatiss (Ambrose Chapfel), Ron Cook,

It all begins with a man in a gorilla suit climbing up Blackpool Tower.  We see him fall.  We don’t see why or who he is.  Could be a she for all we know.  We are then told it’s several days earlier.  Each episode will begin the same way with the same gorilla-suited man plummeting to the pavement on the Golden Mile, and each time the clock ticks down.  This in essence is Funland‘s Laura Palmer.  I evoke the comparison with David Lynch’s ubercult quite deliberately, for there’s more than a touch of Lynch about this sleeper hit for the then fledgling BBC3. (more…)

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