by Sam Juliano
The Oscars aired on Sunday night, and Lucille and I hosted our annual awards party at a local firehouse that brought together many friends who are seen too few times these days. As I am preparing this MMD well in advance of the show, I will expect the specifics to be discussed in some measure in the comment section of this post. The Oscars are a contentious concern at this site, with some professing annual fun watching the oft-embarrassing show biz parade, while others are advocating capital punishment for anyone who tunes in. At the end of the day, after we’ve broken bread and played catch up with all the events in our lives and tallied up the poll sheets, it’s goodbye until next year with at least some of the guests. But weeks from now the actual results are really an afterthought and only convenient for statistical queries. But this is part of the culture, and at least the Oscars don’t try to hide that they are a travesty. As expected Argo took the top prize, though Ang Lee’s win as Best Director was not quite expected by some. I am a huge fan of that film. Once again Christophe Waltz wins a Best Supporting Actor prize, again for Quentin Tarantino. Day-Lewis, Lawrence and Hathaway was all figured to win, and all came away with Oscars. The night’s biggest winner in total number of awards was The Life of Pi with 4. Both Les Miserables and Argo ended up with three, while Django Unchained, Lincoln and Skyfall nabbed two each. Tarantino’s two though were majors, for Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor.
Steve Carlson and Paul Clarke again did a fabulous job running the Muriel Awards, and the impressive results show again they have a bright and tasteful clientele. The tabulation appears in the post below.
Theological historians are gearing up for the week-end media rush after the former Joseph Ratzinger of Benedict XIV fame leaves the papacy on Thursday, and the political jockeying begins in advance of the coming papal conclave to choose his replacement. I say this knowing full well how many devout Catholics visit WitD. Ha!
Lucille and I only went out twice this week, to see:
Like Someone in Love **** (Friday night) Montclair Claridge
The Circus ***** (Sunday morning) Film Forum
Charles Chaplin’s THE CIRCUS was screened at the Film Forum on Sunday morning as part of their Film Forum Jr. series, and the sold-out throng that included many youngsters got to enjoy members from the ‘Clown Warehouse’ perform a deft juggling act ahead of the Silly Symphonies short “The Three Little Pigs” that preceded Chaplin’s 1928 masterpiece. Program Director Bruce Goldstein told the crowd that Chaplin’s film won a special Oscar for artistic achievement, a fact all ardent Academy Awards followers have long known! Ha! When the immortality of Charles Chaplin is broached, one will readily identify the uproarious ingenuity of the conveyor belt and winding gear sequences in Modern Times, the eating of the shoe and the dinner roll dance in The Gold Rush, or the continuing drunk vs. sober saga of the millionaire played by Harry Myers in City Lights. Likewise, cineastes will no doubt recollect Monsieur Verdoux’s continued failed attempts at murdering Arabella, the hysterical vocals inflections in The Great Dictator or the spirited slapstick in Shoulder Arms when the dough boy goes undercover dressed as a tree. All of these films have multiple moments of comic inspiration, and still others like One A.M., A Dog’s Life and The Kid would serve as springboard for further discussion. Since it first appeared in 1928 The Circus has steadfastly held down the dubious position as Chaplin’s most underrated film, and the one that has received short shrift in both summary assessment and in the unavoidable rankings of the master’s canon. Yet The Circus has been favorably re-evaluated in recent years, and is now being seen by many as one of the silent clown’s supreme masterpieces, a film that boasts the strongest first reel of any of his films, and one that includes some of the best set pieces.
World class Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami’s newest film LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE is likened as a thematic continuation of CERTIFIED COPY, but it’s different in many aspects, when you can actually feel TASTE OF CHERRY in some of it’s universal concerns. Kiarostami brings together two strangers for a few hours during which they re-imagine themselves, perhaps revealing their true natures, perhaps creating alternate personas. The director filmed his new film in Japan and in Japanese and he again examined disorientation and alienation, setting aside language and culture, and using the story within a story device. glass and mirrors are used effectively and the film seems to gain momentum after a sluggish start. I suspect this film will work better on repeat viewings.
Staying home allowed me to watch all but the final part of the stupendous Shakespearean collection THE HOLLOW CROWN, of which I took in Richard II, and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. I also watch Pedro Costa’s O Sangue (Blood) a Samuel Beckett-Bela Tarr hybrid that immediately takes it’s place among the best films of 1989. I hope to have more to say about these works on the thread.
As I prepare to leave the house to head up for the party I again am forced to re-post last week’s links. I have slowly been getting around to the blogs though, after a brief hiatus:
John Greco offers up a superlative piece on Hitchcock’s ‘Sabotage’ at Twenty Four Frames: http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/
Sachin Gandhi has posted an incredible presentation at Scribbles and Ramblings that examines not only 2012 and 2013 so far, but the best films of every year over the past decade. It’s a fascinating post for cinephiles: http://likhna.blogspot.com/2013/02/best-films-of-last-decade.html
At Filmacability Dean Treadway is leading up with an enthralling Top 25 for 2012: http://filmicability.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-25-best-movies-of-2012.html
Samuel Wilson has penned a spectacular review of Michael Haneke’s “Amour” at Mondo 70: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2013/02/on-big-screen-amour-2012.html
In his newest post “Paper vs. Plastic” Joel Bocko presents a terrific photo essay and a link to insightful prose on David Fincher’s “The Social Network” at I Lost it at the Movies: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2013/02/paper-or-plastic.html
Jaimie Grijalba features Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” at Overlook’s Corridor in his best of the year list: http://overlookhotelfilm.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/no4-django-unchained-2012/
At Vermillion and One Nights the ever-talented Murderous Ink has posted the fifth and final installment of his monumental ‘Evangeline’ series: http://vermillionandonenights.blogspot.com/
Shubhajit Lahiri is leading up at Cinemascope with yet another superlative capsule, this time on Bunuel’s swan song “That Obscure Object of Desire”: http://cliched-monologues.blogspot.com/2013/02/that-obscure-object-of-desire-1977.html
Judy Geater is leading the way at Movie Classics with an enthralling post on the ‘My Favorite Film Actors of All-Time” that movie lovers simply must check out: http://movieclassics.wordpress.com
Jon Warner has written one of his great essays on David Lynch’s “Mullholland Drive” at Films Worth Watching: http://filmsworthwatching.blogspot.com/2013/02/mulholland-dr-2001-directed-by-david.html
At The Last Lullaby Jeffrey Goodman has posted a stupendous post on this ‘Best Films of 2012′ list: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/2013/01/my-top-10-or-so-films-for-2012.html
Laurie Buchanan offers up another wonderful post “Yoga Gone to the Dogs” at Speaking From The Heart and poses a pointed question: http://holessence.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/yoga-gone-to-the-dogs/
Tony d’Ambra is leading up at FilmsNoir.net with a fascinating post “Jean Valjean in the Shadows” that takes a look at the classic 1934 French film of Hugo’s novel: http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/jean-valjean-in-the-shadows.html
R.D. Finch comprehensively covers 1969 and 70 in his focused look on the Oscar nominees of each of the two years in the main categories: http://themovieprojector.blogspot.com/2013/01/my-oscar-picks-1969-70.html
Dee Dee at Darkness Into Light has posted a terrific capsule of “Gun Crazy” with links to Marilyn Ferdinand’s interview with Peggy Cummins included:Marilyn Ferdinand interview with actress Peggy Cummins…”
Weeping Sam at The Listening Ear offers up some atmospheric prose and scenic photos of the two foot blizzard that struck his New England hometown: http://listeningear.blogspot.com/2013/02/snowy-snow.html
“Art Studio in Real Time” leads up at the always-ravishing Creativepotager’s blog: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/artist-studio-in-real-time/
David Schleicher at The Schleicher Spin has posted a terrific piece of Soderbergh’s “Side Effects”: http://theschleicherspin.com/2013/02/08/side-effects-may-include-smirks-butts-on-the-edges-of-seats-and-oh-no-she-didnts/
Roderick Heath has penned a quintessential and enthralling essay of Spielberg’s “Lincoln” at Ferdy-on-Films: Spielberg’s “Lincoln”
Ed Howard has posted an extraordinary essay of Ouseme Sembene’s “Xala” at Only The Cinema: http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.com/2013/02/xala.html
Craig Kennedy’s newest installment of his beloved ‘Watercooler’ is leading the way at Living in Cinema: http://livingincinema.com/2013/02/10/31468/
At Patricia’s Wisdom, the wonderful proprietor offers up a tonic for negativity in the thousands: http://patriciaswisdom.com/2013/02/14000-things-to-be-happy-about-barbara-ann-kipfer/
At The Confidential Report Anubhavbist has posted a fantastic Top 10 of 2012 listing with superlative prose in defense: http://theconfidentialreport.wordpress.com/
Head over for a sip of ‘Twin Peaks Coffee’ at the incomparable Coffee Messiah’s blog: http://coffeemessiah.blogspot.com/2013/02/twin-peaks-coffee.html
J.D. LaFrance has posted a dazzling essay on “Hidalgo” at Radiator Heaven: http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2013/02/hidalgo.html
At Screen on Screen Paddy Mullholland has posted a terrific capsule review of “How to Survive a Plague”: http://screenonscreen.blogspot.com/2013/02/review-how-to-survive-plague.html
Just Another Film Buff has posted a terrific review of Mani Ratnam’s “Kadal” (The Sea) at The Seventh Art: http://theseventhart.info/2013/02/10/ellipsis-69/
Jason Bellamy has written a master class review of Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” at The Cooler: http://coolercinema.blogspot.com/2013/01/everybody-breaks-bro-zero-dark-thirty.html
Drew McIntosh has posted a wonderful presentation of Maxwell Anderson’s “The Eve of St. Mark’s” at The Blue Vial: http://thebluevial.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-eve-of-st-mark.html