- Aaron Johnson as John Lennon in “Nowhere Boy”
by Sam Juliano
Invigorating fall weather has settled on the leaf-changing and colorful Northeast, while Halloween shoppers have depleted candy and decoration supplies in department and specialty stores. National Football League fans are firmly in the thick of their favorite team’s schedule, while baseball fans are feeling World Series fever. After their three-game sweep of the Mineesota Twins the Yankees are poised to defend their championship, but have quite a challenge from either the Tampa Bay Rays or the Texas Rangers. Meanwhile in the City of Brotherly Love, the hometwon NL Champs the Phillies have been the darling of bookmakers, who are envisioning another series ring.
At Wonders in the Dark the wildly-successful horror countdown continues to receive a first-class presentation from Jamie Uhler, Troy and Kevin Olson and Robert Taylor, who has exceeded modest expectations with astounding scholarship and exquisite taste. At the Chicago International Film Festival “johnny-on-the-spot” Marilyn Ferdinand has staged an extraordinary performance of her own with a slew of brilliant reviews on her prolific coverage of an amazing line-up in the Windy City, that includes the latest films by some of our finest contemporary directors. Joel Bocko has announced an exciting new series here at Wonders called “The Sunday Matinee” which promises some priceless trips down Memory Lane for movie lovers.
On the movie front Lucille and I saw only one new release this week, though I did manage four other festival offerings at the Film Forum and IFC Film Center for the on-going “Heist” and Ozu festivals. Sammy and Danny tagged along for the Friday night screening of the John Lennon early-age biopic, Nowhere Boy. In any case, here is what I saw this week in theatres:
Nowhere Boy **** (Friday night) Film Forum
The Asphalt Jungle **** (Saturday night) Heist Festival at Film Forum
The Killing **** 1/2 (Saturday night) Heist Festival at Film Forum
Le Cercle Rouge ***** (Sunday afternoon) Heist Festival at Film Forum
Floating Weeds *** 1/2 (Sunday morning) Ozu Festival at IFC
The John Lennon formative years bio-pic, NOWHERE BOY is narratively schematic, but it’s a sweet piece of nostalgia with an acute sense of time and place, all navigated magnificently by Aaron Johnson, who makes you believe you know Lennon better than you ever did, even while growing up with the greatest lyricist of the rock era, (bar none) and the eventual anchor of the best band of all-time. It’s conventional, but it impressively documents the always-fascinating relationship of Lennon and his aunt. The music does rock too!
Seeing three of noir’s most celebrated works, Jean-Pierre Melville’s LE CERCLE ROUGE, John Huston’s THE ASPHALT JUNGLE and Stanley Kubrick’s THE KILLING on the big screen was quite a treat, and the lovely color by ace cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa in the 1958 FLOATING WEEDS (Ozu) is always a treat, even if the film is not nearly as good as one it is based on – THE STORY OF THE FLOATING WEEDS (also by Ozu).
So how was YOUR weekend and holiday weekend? Movies? Plays” DVDs? CDs? Sporting events? Restaurants? Politics? Traveling?
A number of new and exciting features and reviews have appeared this past week at some of our favorite pit stops:
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