‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ shown at Jersey City Loews on Saturday
by Sam Juliano
Dave Hicks’s marathon film noir countdown is over, and the young man deserves all the credit and veneration that’s due to him for the tireless research, re-viewings and painstaking attention he focused on this noble enterprise for the better part of four months. Coming on the heels of his previous project, the annual countdown that launched with 1930, Dave has demonstrated an incredible resilience and committment, that has resulted in lists that many will now use themselves as reference tools. After admitting the overwhelming difficulty in choosing a Number 1 film between his two final choices, Dave went with Alexander Mackendrick’s Sweet Smell of Success (1958) as his top film, with Jacques Tourneur’s seminal noir Out of the Past (1947) as the first runner-up. Rounding out the top ten are: Kiss Me Deadly, Criss Cross, The Killers, In A Lonely Place, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Rififi and The Asphalt Jungle. Dave is planning a final post, where he will discuss his agnonizing numerical placement, and the final decisions to disqualify some borderline noirs in his qualification process. Again, this was a monumental undertaking, and kudos to you Dave!
Down in the Bayou, filmmaker Jeffrey Goodman is also nearing the end of his own long-running series, choosing a best film of ever year in cinema all the way up to 2009, and Goodman’s bold and audacious choices have led to some terrific discussions in the comment sections, not to mention some fabulous personal; anecdotes of discovery and first-time viewings. It’s bound to be a spectacular finish at The Last Lullaby, as Goodman moves further on preparations for his new film Peril.
At Wonders in the Dark, Allan’s new millenium Top 100 countdown is already attracting loads of comments, though it’s just barely moved into the 80′s, with nearly three months more capsule essays ahead, as the polling winds all the way down to Number 1. Voters are urged to enter their own Top 25 at the corresponding tab over the site header.
Finally, last but by no means least, Dee Dee will be interviewing Film Noir specialist Tony d’Ambra on some of the greatest noirs in a post that will appear at Darkness Into Light (Noirish City) and WitD over the upcoming days. The chemistry between these two will no doubt result in a priceless converstion, and I simply can’t wait!
With a wedding occupying my attention on the prime viewing night, Saturday, I worked out a viewing schedule that included the afternoon of that same day, as well as an appearance at the Jersey City Loews Landmark movie palace on Friday for a screening of Robert Mulligan’s classic To Kill A Mockingbird with the kids, that proved to be a most memorable evening. At midnight I raced over to Manhattan to catch an exhilarating Asian feature The Good, the Bad and Weird, which appeared on the countdown last week, as per Allan’s great regard for it. I was disappointed with the latest James Ivory-Ruth Prawer Jabvala collaboration, The City of the Final Destination, though as always it’s lushly filmed and very well acted, (especially by Laura Linney) But it’s dramatic underpinnings are listless, with events failing to connect, and nothing ever reaching a boil. Having seen what we got with The Remains of the Day, Howards End, Maurice, A Room with a View and Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, lets just say that this is less than a minor footnote.
A superb Phillipine film, Lola launched the Tribeca Film festival on Thursday, and although I was rather disappointed not to win approval for a press pass, and was not thrilled with paying $19 a ticket, but still bit the bullet and attended the first of what will be four appearances at the festival this week with Lucille and Broadway Bob, including the highly-controversial Ticked Off Trannies With Knives, which may be picketed by members of the angry gay and lesbian community, who feel the film offers some slanderous stereotypes. I hope to have a review of Lola topping the diary here.
Lola **** (Thursday night; Tribeca Film Festival; Village East Cinemas)
The City of the Final Destination ** 1/2 (Sat. afternoon; Montclair)
The Good, the Bad and Weird **** (Friday at midnight; IFC Film Center)
To Kill A Mockingbird 1962 (Jersey City Loews; Friday night)
As usual, the blogosphere offers some great stuff:
Dave’s final post in the countdown, of course, is his stellar review of Sweet Smell of Success at “Good Fellas”: http://goodfellamovies.blogspot.com/2010/04/1-sweet-smell-of-success-alexander.html
Attention All Film Noir lovers!!!! Tony d’Ambra has a post at “FilmsNoir.Net’ that is essential. Recently, Tony was sent on a promotional copy from a DVD company, and Tony has given the set as comprehensive and honest a review you could hope to find anywhere. He does make claim though that 5 of the 7 classics here are better than the downloads. Check it out!: http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/new-dvd-set-film-noir-collectors-edition.html
John Greco again has hit pay dirt with a superlative review of Nicholas Ray’s They Live by Night at “Twenty Four Frames.”: http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/they-live-by-night-1948-nicholas-ray/
The worldly Coffee Messiah, Michael Hareford, has one of his greatest posts up, titled “Perplexed” where he displays a backdrop of ‘Ellis Island’ and a nifty blues piece on the soundtrack: http://coffeemessiah.blogspot.com/2010/04/perplexing.html
Dee Dee has several welcome announcements for the upcoming month at Noirish City (Darkness Into Light) but perhaps none as priceless as a rare interview appearance of Tony d’Ambra, who will be discussing the greatest noirs. It’s quite a planned, “can’t miss” forum!: http://noirishcity.blogspot.com/2010/04/coming-in-month-of-may.html
Troy Olson’s big trip is just about two or three weeks away, so he’s winding up some of his activities, though he’ll back in full gear when he returns I’m sure. He last ‘review’ post was quite an excellent one, and he examines Greene’s Undertow, Heneke’s The Piano Teacher, and the Romanian classic 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days. It’s great stuff. http://troyolson.blogspot.com/2010/04/best-of-2000-undertow-piano-teacher-4.html
Craig Kennedy has a most fascinating post up at Living in Cinema on the re-restoration of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, which is also being discussed this month at Darkness Into Light. Great stuff here: http://livingincinema.com/2010/04/24/trailer-fritz-langs-metropolis-restored-again/
Jon Lanthier continues his pace-setting work (he makes a strong case for being the net’s best writer) at “Aspiring Sellout” with what appears to be a brilliant review of a documentary on burleque that I need to see, even with Jon’s half-hearted approval rating: http://aspiringsellout.com/
Judy at “Movie Classics” continues her banner work on the pre-code cinema of William Wellman. Here’s her newest essay on a film she considers on balance as one of the weaker ones in the lot: http://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/the-hatchet-man-1932/
‘Just Another Film Buff’ has another one of those exceedingly brilliant, scholarly posts up on ‘The Films of Sharunas Bartas,’ a Lithuanian filmmaker. It’s a must for serious film lovers: http://theseventhart.info/2010/04/24/the-films-of-sharunas-bartas/
Jeffrey Goodman’s monumental ‘annual countdown” is winding down with his latest post on 2004′s Million Dollar Baby at his place: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/2010/04/2004-million-dollar-baby-clint-eastwood.html
With spring and summer coming fast on lovely Maine Island, that talented artist and nature lover Terrill Welch has a new plan from May till September, where she plans to post at her Creativepotager blog on Tuesdays and Thursday. When one considers teh beautiful weather ahead, it sound like a sensible idea, and the flowers here are really feasts for the eyes: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/summer-is-coming/
Dan Getahun managed to see three films at the Mineapolis-St. Paul Film Festival amidst all kinds of bsy activity and major plans, and all things told, that quite an accomplishment. His excellent responses are here: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/summer-is-coming/
Donophon has embarked on an auspicious examination of the cinema of Jean-Pierre Melville, which was launched a few days ago with a superlative look at La Silence de la mer, which is really a must-read: http://thelongvoyagehome.blogspot.com/2010/04/jean-pierre-melville-le-silence-de-la.html
David Schleicher has a very unique post up at The Schleicher Spin on the most memorable “Feel Good” films. I found making my own list a fun challenge. Get over there!: http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/ten-feel-good-films/
Kevin J. Olson has a terrific review that I’ve read on John Hillcoat’s The Proposition over at his place: http://kolson-kevinsblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/quick-thoughts-on-john-hillcoats.html
Andrew Wyatt has penned yet another top-rank, marvelous review, and this time his focus is on the wondrous How to Train Your Dragon. I just read it myself, and was dazzled: http://gatewaycinephiles.com/2010/04/20/the-wyrm-and-his-boy/
Longman Oz, prolific as can be, has a head post up on the upcoming Dublin dance festival: http://noordinaryfool.com/2010/04/25/dublindancefestival2010/
Ed Howard examines Robert Altman’s dance-themed film The Company in yet another brilliant essay at “Only the Cinema.”: http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.com/2010/04/company.html
Marilyn Ferdinand’s latest superb essay on Michael Tolkien’s The New Age, includes a Q & A with the director. Great stuff here!http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/?p=4236
Shubhajit has another excellent capsule on on Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset at “Cinemascope”: http://cliched-monologues.blogspot.com/2010/04/before-sunset-2004.html
Samuel Wilson has what appears to be another must-read essay up for the “Bad Girls of Film Noir” set, entitled Women’s Prison at “Mondo 70.”: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2010/04/womens-prison-1955.html
Adam Zanzie is back reviewing movies and he has posted this week what appears to be a definitive essay on The Adventures of Milo and Otis at his place that I need to read as soon as possible: http://iceboxmovies.blogspot.com/2010/04/adventures-of-milo-and-otis-1989.html
R.D. Finch at “The Movie Projector” has penned an excellent review of No Regrets For Our Youth, a 1946 Akira Kurosawa film: http://movieprojector.blogspot.com/2010/04/no-regrets-for-our-youth-1946.html
Matthew Lucas’s latest post up is a fun one on the “Best Worst Movie” at “From the Front Row”: http://fromthefrontrow.blogspot.com/2010/04/review-best-worst-movie.html
J.D. at Radiator Heaven praises the screenplay in The Missing Person DVD: http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2010/04/dvd-of-week-missing-person.html
Tony Dayoub pens a brilliant post on the value of the recent Criterion DVD releases of a Godard and Asayas film at “Cinematic Viewfinder”: http://www.cinemaviewfinder.com/2010/04/blu-ray-review-criterions-vivre-sa-vie.html
Stephen’s latest is a thought-provoking look at Robert Bresson’s Le Proces de Jeanne d’Arc at “Checking the Sausages.” http://checkingonmysausages.blogspot.com/2010/04/le-proces-de-jeanne-darc_7776.html
Indian culture always gets the most impassioned attention by Kaleem Hasan at his glorious Satyamshot blogsite: http://satyamshot.wordpress.com/
Jake Cole continues to write…and write…and write. But it’s all great stuff, and his latest is on The Loser: http://armchairc.blogspot.com/2010/04/losers.html
Our friend Anu makes a superlative case for Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha as the great director’s most underrated piece. http://theconfidentialreport.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/kagemusha/
The esteemed Film Doctor’s “Links” still heads up at his place: http://filmdr.blogspot.com/2010/04/links_20.html
Ans then there is silent and animation writer extraordinaire, T.S. of “Screen Savour” whose latest Buster Keaton review on Steamboat Bill Jr., is a “must read” with a capital M: http://www.screensavour.net/2010/04/steamboat-bill-jr-1928.html