by Sam Juliano
The Golden Globes, the American Library Association and the National Football League were heard from in a very big way over the past week, and some of the results were most unexpected. Sure, the Globes handed out their top awards to The Social Network, David Fincher, Natalie Portman and Colin Firth, but with only the Oscars left to report in, every group in America has been pushing the same buttons. On the other fronts, some surprises materialized. For one, the New York Jets eliminated the high-flying New England Patriots from the playoffs up in Foxboro, leaving the heart-stopping Gang Green a victory from the Super Bowl. At least one WitD alumni has good reason to be disappointed with this 28-21 result, which catapults the Jets into the AFC title game with the Pittsburgh Steelers next week.
The Caldecott and Newbery Medals were announced last Monday morning by the American Library Association at their mid-Winter meeting in San Diego, and at least three illustrators on the Caldecott front must surely be seeing red. David Weisner’s Art & Max, Sarah Birdsong and Matt Phaeger’s Flora’s Windy Day and Bill Thomson’s Chalk were snobbed, though Phillip and Erin Stead’s A Sick Day For Amos McGee was a rightly popular choice for the Caldecott Gold. The “honor” books were limited to two: David Ezra Stein’s Interrupting Chicken and Bryan Collier’s Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, while the Newbery Gold went to Claire Vanderpool’s Moon Over Manifest. Four honor books were named as well. I plan to cover the awards soon in a future post, as this has been much of a lifetime obsession in acquiring all the winners for use in my classes, as well as to collect the great art and stories.
If I Want to Whistle **** (Friday night) Film Forum
Battleship Potemkin ***** (Sunday afternoon) Film Forum
Lucille and I saw a solid off-Broadway production of Ibsen’s The Master Builder at the Wings Theatre on Christopher Street on Saturday night, with an impassioned cast, and some simple but effective staging that allows the fine work to speak for itself. I hope to have a full review of this performance in the near future.
I managed only two films in theatres. One, a fairly compelling Romanian prison drama, If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle by Florin Serban, which is real,a cutely observed and Bressonian in its austerity. This is much in keeping with the tenets of the Romanian New Wave.
Seeing a restored and remastered print of Eisenstein’s masterpiece Battleship Potemkin on Sunday morning with Sammy, Danny and Andrei Scala was a real treat. The Odessa Steps sequence as always disturbs and haunts like the cinema’s greatest scenes always do, and the piece remains largely electrifying.
I finally watched at Allan’s insistance (at home on my Region 2 DVD set) the Japanese film Love Exposure, which placed #1 on his 2000′s decade countdown. It was perverse, subversive, irreverent, sexually provocative, and psychologically penetrating, and it was four hours long. It was also an indisputable masterpiece.
Here are our great internet pals in action:
We will backtrack this week at FilmsNoir.net, to consider Tony d’Ambra’s January 2 essay, “Still Cause for Alarm” which remains one of his finest essays ever, but the comment section must be seen to be believed. There’s some right wing/left wing discussion that will do much more than raise eyebrows: http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/still-cause-for-alarm.html
John Greco has penned a magnificent review on the 1933 pre-coder Blondie Johnson at Twenty Four-Frames: http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/blondie-johnson-1933-ray-enright/
Jon Lanthier has a hoot of an excerpt from a longer review he penned for Slant on I’m Dangerous With Love at Aspiring Sellout: http://aspiringsellout.com/2011/01/im-dangerous-with-love-2009/
At Speaking From the Heart, Laurie Buchanan has launched another fascinating project, one that involves birth dates and behavioral traits. The first post is “Life Path 1″: http://holessence.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/life-path-1/
Judy Geater at Movie Classics has again brought a vintage pre-coder into close scutiny with an utterly-exceptional review of the little-seen 1932 drama State’s Attorney with John Barrymore and Helen Twelvetrees: http://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/states-attorney-1932/
Just Another Film Buff has again proven why he sits on an imaginary throne in a land of fervant cineastes, providing them with the bets of all worlds with his incomparably erudite and ebullient appraisals. That “land” is known as The Seventh Art: http://theseventhart.info/2011/01/15/home-movies/
Jason Marshall has commenced with his ‘Best of’ 1938, and his Number 8 cloice, the popular Angels With Dirty Faces is leading up at Movies Over Matter with a terrific review in support: http://moviesovermatter.com/2011/01/16/angels-with-dirty-faces-best-pictures-of-1938-8/
Marilyn Ferdinand’s weekend evening in Indianapolis yielded a screening of the noir classic Criss Cross, and the honor of being a guest of celebrated noir celebrity Eddie Muller. Ms. Ferdinand speak’s of Muller’s talk, and then continues on with a masterful review of this seminal work at Ferdy-on-Films: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/?p=7961
Terrill Welch, artist extraordinaire is currently leading with “Hot Coals” at the Creativepotager blog, a rather stunning ‘Oil painting in Progress’ presentation: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/hot-coals/
Filmmaker and movie maven Jeffrey Goodman offers up a most interesting link at The Last Lullaby on the upcoming Sundance Festival, launching on Thursday, January 20: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/2011/01/sundance-2011-7-days-away.html
Our excellent friend and WitD staff writer Jaime Grijalba is leading up at Exodus: 8:2 with an eye-opening piece on the sexually-controversial Japanese film, Ecstasy of the Angels: http://exodus8-2.blogspot.com/2011/01/tenshi-no-kokotsu-1972.html
Anu, at The Confidential Report has posted a spectacular Top 10 list that again shows why and how he’s an ultimate cineaste: http://theconfidentialreport.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/top-ten-of-2010/
Again, Stephen Russell-Gebbett, has put together a creative post, this time on John Carpenter at Checking on my Sausages: http://checkingonmysausages.blogspot.com/2011/01/john-carpenter-gallery-under-siege.html
Samuel Wilson continue to stock Mondo 70 will top-rank essays and an eclectic blen of subjects. His latest is an impressive assessment of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Dark Age thriller Valhalla Rising: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2011/01/in-brief-valhalla-rising-2009.html
Ed Howard has posted an amazing year-end recap of the most memorable music in 2010 as the second part of the year-in-culture he began earlier last week in film. The gorgeous presentation leads the way at Only the Cinema: http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-2010-in-culture-part-ii-music.html
Shubhajit has authored an excellent capsule of Olivier Assayas’ Carlos at Cinemascope that sizes up this epic masterpiece perfectly: http://cliched-monologues.blogspot.com/2011/01/carlos-2009.html
Dave Van Poppel has written a superlative review of Derek Cianfrance’s extraordinary Blue Valentine at his place that’s essential reading: http://visionsofnonfiction.blogspot.com/2011/01/realist-cinema-blue-valentine.html
Roderick Heath is heading up at This Island Rod with a masterful (tell me something new) review on a little-seen Australian film from 2009 titled Lake Mungo: http://thisislandrod.blogspot.com/2011/01/lake-mungo-2008.html
Drew McIntosh has a wonderful presentation up at The Blue Vial on Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales, that literally is eye-opening: http://thebluevial.blogspot.com/2011/01/five-from-favorite-southland-tales.html
Our beloved Dee Dee is back at Darkness Into Light with a post promoting and celebrating the Film Preservation Fundraiser being coordinated by Marilyn Ferdinand, Greg Ferrara and The Self-Styled Siren. It’s thrilling to have Dee Dee posting there again!: http://noirishcity.blogspot.com/2010/11/for-love-of-film-noir-for-love-of-films.html
David Schleicher, in an engaging pre-poll movie list, has posed some most interesting titles for the year’s film fare, as he ushers in 2011 at the always-creative The Schleicher Spin: http://theschleicherspin.com/2011/01/01/and-now-for-2011/
Over at Vermillion and One Nights, our friend in Tokyo, “Murderous Ink” continues his incomparable analytical dissection of one of the greatest of all films: Ozu’s There Was A Father. There really has never been anything like this anywhere, not even from the published film scholars!: http://vermillionandonenights.blogspot.com/2011/01/analysis-of-there-was-father-003000.html
Kevin Olson at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies has penned a superlative review in his “Catching Up” series on Polanski’s Ghost Writer: http://kolson-kevinsblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/catching-up-with-2010-capsule-review_05.html
Troy Olson, on the other hand is still heading up at Elusive as Robert Denby with his own thoughtful essay on Black Swan, a film he likes, but doesn’t love: http://troyolson.blogspot.com/2010/12/black-swan.html
Michael Harford, the esteemed ‘Coffee Messiah’ has posted ‘the last of four collaborations’ at his gloriously-mystifying blogsite, which is poised for another year of riches for all those who traverse it’s halls: http://coffeemessiah.blogspot.com/2011/01/last-of-4-collaborations.html
Craig Kennedy announces that the Broadcast Film Critics have joined with everyone else in honoring The Social Network: http://livingincinema.com/2011/01/15/bfca-critics-choose-social-network/
Our very good friend Pat has a brand new piece up at Doodad Kind of Town, a loving tribute to fallen director Blake Edwards: http://doodadkindoftown.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/farewell-blake-edwards/
The Film Doctor takes aim at The Green Hornet, and there aren’t any prisoners: http://filmdr.blogspot.com/2011/01/enter-void-8-notes-on-green-hornet.html
Jake Cole has authored a top-flight essay on Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book at Not Just Movies: http://armchairc.blogspot.com/2011/01/black-book.html
At Icebox Movies Adam Zanzie has penned an excellent review of an off-the-radar film, Zero Hour (1957) that is seen as an inspiration for Airplane: http://iceboxmovies.blogspot.com/2011/01/zero-hour-1957.html
J.D. has give a delicious “kitchen sink” treatment to The Rocketeer at Radiator Heaven: http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2011/01/rocketeer.html
Dan Getahun of Getafilm, statesman and critic extraordinaire has posted a fecund round-up of films he’s seen recently, including Black Swan, Enter Through the Gift Shop and Marwencol: http://getafilm.blogspot.com/2010/12/getafilm-gallimaufry-marwencol-black.html
Jason Bellamy at The Cooler has authored an ever-thoughtful essay on The Fighter, which he has expressed some refreshing “issues” with http://coolercinema.blogspot.com/2011/01/neutral-corner-fighter.html
As always Kaleem Hasan’s Satyamshot covers the Indian cultural and political scene with authority and prolific fervor: http://satyamshot.wordpress.com/
“The Streets of New Haven” is a wonderful remembrance by Ryan Kelly of his days at Yale and Steven Spielber. It’s over at Medfly Quarantine: http://medflyquarantine.blogspot.com/2010/12/streets-of-new-haven.html
At Cinema Styles Greg Ferrara has offered up a magnificent review of a seminal Duke Ellington album, which also features some great responses in the comment section by Ed Howard and others: http://cinemastyles.blogspot.com/2011/01/duke-ellington-afro-eurasian-eclipse.html
Welcome to “Sachin,” a Canadien blogger, and a new visitor to WitD, and quite a film lover and scholar. He’s seen about 400 films over the past year, and hi s’Best Films of the Year’ post over at ‘Scribbles and Ramblings’ (now on our side bar) should tell you something about his exquisite taste: http://likhna.blogspot.com/2010/12/best-of-2010-film-list.html
Jeopardy Girl talks about post-Christmas matters including some new Hitchcock DVDs under the tree: http://jeopardygirl.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/quick-gift-update/