by Sam Juliano
With spring weather upon us in full flower, outdoor activity has allowed many to do things that have long been sitting on the back burner. Hope all those Moms out there had the best Mother’s Day ever on Sunday! Thanks again to Dee Dee for her heart-felt attention to the special day on the sidebar and in the forwarding of cards by e mail. Meanwhile, concrete steps have now been taken to launch the upcoming Comedy Countdown at Wonders in the Dark when a group e mail was sent this past week to all prospective participants, who have been urged to hand in a ballot with pointed specifications by July 1st. It is currently planned and anticipated that the countdown will begin in late July and will feature a Top 60, to be posted Monday through Fridays. Obviously if these plans come to pass as expected, the countdown will run until late October.
The For the Love of Film blogothon is officially underway at Ferdy on Films and at the sites of Roderick Heath and The Self-Styled Siren and will run through this coming Friday, May 18. Allan Fish’s stupendous post on lost films captures the spirit of this venture in every sense imaginable, and is presently sitting above the MMD today. My own contribution will be posted this coming Thursday, in a switch with Allan’s post, which was supposed to go up that day, but which has been moved ahead. It should be quite a week for Marilyn and all the others here in their glorious annual venture.
Elsewhere, R.D. Finch’s William Wyler blogothon at The Movie Projector has drawn a week closer. I will be contributing an essay on Ben-Hur, but over at The Dancing Image our dear friend Joel Bocko has written his own piece on the film:
A final decision has been reached with the Monday Morning Diary links. After weighing suggestions and advice from our friends, it has been determined that ten (10) links will be posted every week. Obviously, this will still leave a number of sites out of the equation for any given week, but as the intent is to alternate most of the links, all affiliate sites will appear one week or another. Taking the great advice of my dear friend and site colleague Dee Dee, I am urging all bloggers who post a comment on the MMD to include a link to their own site, if they did not appear in the ten links I posted myself.
Lucille and I had the tamest week in a very long time on the outdoor movie front for matters not directly pertaining to movie going and the cultural scene. But frankly I found this to be a big relief, as moderation needs to be practiced for the future. Ha! We only saw:
Dark Shadows * 1/2 (Friday night) Secaucus multiplex
I Wish *** (Saturday night) Angelika Film Center
Bernie **** (Sunday afternoon) Montclair Claridge
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s latest collaboration is a send-up of the venerated 60′s and early 70′s soap opera DARK SHADOWS. As I was once a fanatical follower of this show for several years in my early school days, I was aghast at this colossal embarrassment of a film, one with juvenile humor, complete lack of character development and as inept a narrative as one could imagine from Burton. Dan Curtis has been violated, and it’s shameful. I WISH is the latest from gifted Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, an artist with a particular gift for children. His latest film brings this focus and some relevant themes, but the results are mixed. Some moments are priceless for sure, but the film is overlong and loaded with short scenes that often have no connection to anything but their own intermittent charm. The frustration is that a tighter reigns on the narrative could well have resulted in a great film, one on the level of NOBODY KNOWS. It’s definitely worth a look still.
The film that I was certain would be the weekend’s worst (I have never been after all much of a fan of either Jack Black, nor director Richard Linklater, but the former, perfectly cast turns in the best performance of his career, and the latter directs what could be his very best film. This clever dark comedy is certainly his most entertaining, and the documentary “point of view” style fits it perfectly. If someone would have told me in advance that this would be my favorite film of the week I would have look at them cross-eyed, but there you have it.
Here are the week’s ten links:
Sachin Gandhi at Scribbles and Ramblings gives marvelous treatment to two recent Polish films that have received deserved good notices: http://likhna.blogspot.com/2012/05/polish-films.html
R.D. Finch has authored a terrific essay on John Ford’s The Prisoner of Shark Island at The Movie Projector: http://themovieprojector.blogspot.com/2012/05/prisoner-of-shark-island-1936.html
John Greco has a wonderful new review up at Twenty Four Frames on Woody Allen’s “Broadway Danny Rose”: http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/broadway-danny-rose-1984-woody-allen/
David Schleicher has penned a superlative essay and disclaimers on “The Avengers” at The Schleicher Spin: http://theschleicherspin.com/2012/05/08/the-avengers-or-in-the-name-of-phil/
Samuel Wilson has penned a superlative essay on Mikhail Kalatozov’s “Letter Never Sent” at Mondo 70: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2012/05/letter-never-sent-neotpravlennoye-pismo.html
At The Last Lullaby, the ever delightful filmmaker Jeffrey Goodman takes a look at part sixteen of his long running quartet series: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/2012/04/favorite-four-part-sixteen.html
Judy Geater at Movie Classics again writes with engaging scholarship and enthusiasm in her fascinating review of the 30′s Hollywood film based on Charles Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood: http://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/mystery-of-edwin-drood-stuart-walker-1935/
In Joseph H. Lewis’ So Dark the Night noir specialist Tony d’Ambra talks about the ‘split personality’ that’s part of the equation in a brilliant short essay at FilmsNoir.net: http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/so-dark-the-night-1946-the-split-personality.html
“From Moonlight to Nomads Essentials” glowingly leads up at the always-sublime Creativepotager’s blog: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/from-moonlight-to-nomads-essentials/
Laurie Buchanan features the “EFT’s of Healing” at her always soulful place Speaking From The Heart: http://holessence.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/the-abcs-or-rather-efts-of-healing/
Jon Warner has penned a terrific review on John Cassevetes’ “Faces” at Films Worth Watching: http://filmsworthwatching.blogspot.com/2012/05/faces-1968-directed-by-john-cassavetes.html
Dave Van Poppel has a tremendous batch of short reviews up at Visions of Non Fiction on the Toronto Film Festival: http://visionsofnonfiction.blogspot.com/
And of course, the glorious film preservation blogothon has launched at Ferdy on Films: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/?p=14255
It must be mentioned that over at Only the Cinema an enthusiastic Ed Howard has already penned three reviews for the blogothon, the latest on Hitchcock’s fourth film, the silent “Downhill”: http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.com/2012/05/downhill.html