by Sam Juliano
Sweltering heat. Stern weather advisories. And a time to add a new culinary trick to those tiring of using the backyard grill: frying eggs on the sidewalk. Those residing in the NYC metropolitan area have seen temperatures soar over 90 in the A.M. hours and remain in the high 80′s at night. It’s time to take refuge indoors and to stay there, unless one has an unusually high tolerance for outdoor steam baths. It’s a good time to head out to the multiplexes if you’re lucky enough not to burn yourself when you enter your car. Luckily, the majority of our readers are not from the area -some indeed live in the southern hemisphere, where they are in the throws of winter – and may be getting this potentially dangerous situation in lesser degrees. At any rate it appears we are in for an uncompromising summer. Those in my own household will get a two week European reprieve, and hopefully others have vacations on their schedules.
Once again we would like to thank Dee Dee for her remarkable work on the sidebar and the exciting new updates on the recent activities of the Film Noir Foundation and fantastic new restorations in the work. The specific report on Woman on the Run signifies celebration time for noir fans.
The western polling continues towards the conclusion of it’s first stage: the submission of ballots. The ninth submission was made by Dennis Polifroni, who opted to extend the boundaries with his own Top 60 choices, some of which included some most interesting hybrids. The balloting will continue until 11:00 P.M. EST on Thursday, August 1st. Note: I stand corrected. There have been 13 ballots this far submitted.
With the heat and the general malaise on the theatrical movie front, Lucille and I only ventured out to see three films, two with some of the kids. We saw:
I’m So Excited ** 1/2 (Saturday night) Chelsea Cinemas
Despicable Me 2 *** 1/2 (Saturday morning) Secaucus
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) ***** (Thursday night) Film Forum
The rare Pedro Almodovar misfire? Well, maybe I’M SO EXCITED isn’t as dire as some critics have asserted in a divided consensus, but it’s one of his weaker and more disjointed films, that spends most of it’s time buffooning gay stereotypes, with a kinky undercurrent. Like all Almodovar movies there are some inspired gags, but all in all too few and far in-between. The most exciting aspect of Saturday night’s trip to the change-of-owners Chelsea multiplex (now Bow Tie Cinemas) wasn’t the movie nor the hum-drum meal at the slowly-declining “Dish” we have long frequented mainly because of the people who work there, but the two trailers of upcoming films by Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen.
DESPICABLE ME was in large measure a charming and imaginative animated feature and the sequel, DESPICABLE ME 2 retains much of that -especially a terrific use of popular songs- and the minions are as adorable as ever – but it lacks the emotional resonance and novelty of the first film. Still, with the state of movies as stagnant at this time as any other time of the year this is a worthy choice for those dashing off to take in multiplex air conditioning.
The Film Forum print of ROSEMARY’S BABY was a stunner, and I will soon be reviewing the film as part of a contribution to a blogothon William Castle run by Jo at THE LAST DRIVE-IN that is scheduled for July 29th to August 2nd.
Most of the links have been updated:
Samuel Wilson has authored an excellent piece on a raity–the 1916 silent western “Hell’s Hinges” at Mondo 70: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2013/07/hells-hinges-1916.html
Tony d’Ambra has penned a stupendous review on the 1944 Finnish noir “The Way You Wanted Me” at FilmsNoir.net: http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/the-way-you-wanted-me-finland-1944-pretty-little-angel-eyes.html
Judy Geater has written a superlative review for the ‘Margaret Rutherford blogothon’ at Movie Classics on David Lean’s “Blithe Spirit”: http://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/margaret-rutherford-in-blithe-spirit-david-lean-1945/
Sachin Gandhi is leading at Scribbles and Ramblings with a fantastic discussion of the WitD western countdown, one that includes a brief talk about spaghetti westerns and his exceptional Top 60 ballot: http://likhna.blogspot.com/2013/06/essential-western-films.html
Jon Warner has penned yet another extraordinary reviews at Films Worth Watching on Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight”: http://filmsworthwatching.blogspot.com/2013/07/before-midnight-2013-directed-by.html
Laurie Buchanan’s leading post at Speaking From The Heart is the thought-provoking “A Spiritual Practice at Play”: http://tuesdayswithlaurie.com/2013/07/02/the-spiritual-practice-of-play/
Weeping Sam at written two brilliant posts on the Battle of Gettysburg at The Listening Ear that every history buff owes to themselves to check out. Here is the latest one: http://listeningear.blogspot.com/2013/07/gettysburg-continued.html
Joel Bocko offers up a link to his already-published, sensational essay on Twin Peaks Lonely Souls at The Dancing Image: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2008/11/twin-peaks-lonely-souls.html
John Greco has written a fabulous bool review on “The Best Film You’ve Never Seen” at Twenty Four Frames: http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/book-review-the-best-film-youve-never-seen/
Shubhajit Lahiri has written an extraordinary capsule review of the 1955 Spanish gem “Death of a Cyclist” at Cinemascope: http://cliched-monologues.blogspot.com/2013/07/death-of-cyclist-1955.html
Roderick Heath has authored an extraordinary homage to special effects wizard extraordinaire Ray Harryhausen at Ferdy-on-Films: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/2013/the-7th-voyage-of-sinbad-1958-the-golden-voyage-of-sinbad-1973/18929/
Dee Dee’s ‘Ning’ is currently featuring a lead post on the 1947 noir classic “Nightmare Alley”: http://filmnoire.ning.com/video/nightmare-alley-1947-parte-1
Murderous Ink at Vermillion and One Nights leads up with a fabulous new post on “Conversion to Talkies: Case for Foreign Films”: http://vermillionandonenights.blogspot.com/2013/07/conversion-to-talkies-case-for-foreign.html
David Schleicher has penned a classic take down of “World War Z” at The Schleicher Spin: http://theschleicherspin.com/2013/06/25/im-sick-of-these-zombies-in-world-war-z/
Jaimie Grijalba has written three excellent capsules on new releases at Overlook’s Corridor: http://overlookhotelfilm.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/three-films-of-2013-expected-edition/
At the ever-ravishing Creativepotager’s blog Terrill Welch manages to capture the “emotion of the Canadian landscape”: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/capturing-the-emotion-of-the-canadian-landscape-is-no-easy-task/
Jeffrey Goodman celebrates the Talking Heads’ “Remain in Light” is a terrific musical post at The Last Lullaby: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/2013/06/remain-in-light-talking-heads-1980.html
David Schleicher has penned an excellent essay on the new Superman movie at The Schleicher Spin: http://theschleicherspin.com/2013/06/15/tea-party-wish-fulfillment-messianic-fetishism-and-the-american-way-in-man-of-steel/
The best in Indian film, politics and culture is on display at Kaleem Hasan’s incomparable Satyamshot: http://satyamshot.wordpress.com/
Patricia Hamilton’s latest post at Patricia’s Wisdom is a fabulous review of the novel “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green: http://patriciaswisdom.com/2013/07/the-fault-in-our-stars-a-novel-john-green/
Drew McIntosh presents a fascinating point of contact between two films at The Blue Vial: http://thebluevial.blogspot.com/2013/06/points-of-contact-61313_13.html
Felix Gonzalez Jr. has written a terrific capsule assessment of the underrated “Return to Oz” at Film Fantomes: http://filmfantomes.wordpress.com/
Dean Treadway has a fantastic display of 70 double-feature movie posters up at Filmicability: http://filmicability.blogspot.com/2013/05/i-love-double-feature-movie-posters.html
Michael Harford’s latest post at the revived Coffee Messiah blogsite is another poetic collaboration with Paul Hawkins: http://coffeemessiah.blogspot.com/2013/06/week-6-38.html
J.D. LaFrance at Radiator Heaven has penned a typically great and comprehensive review on Josh Wheadon’s “Serenity” at Radiator Heaven: http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2013/06/serenity.html
Hokahey has written a wonderful piece on the “The Lone Ranger” at Little Worlds: http://hokahey-littleworlds.blogspot.com/2013/07/wild-west-lone-ranger.html
Craig Kennedy has posted a terrific (and favorable) review of Berberian Sound Studio at Living in Cinema: http://livingincinema.com/2013/06/14/berberian-sound-studio-2013/
The exceptional writer Andrew Katsis has a terrific essay on “Casablanca””’ up at Dee Dee’s place Darkness Into Light: http://noirishcity.blogspot.com/2013/04/heres-looking-at-you-kidas-my-writer.html
One of the best writers out there, the incomparable Ed Howard is still working at an impressive pace at Only The Cinema, with his latest post on the silent classic “Golem”: http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-golem-1920.html
Monster Girl has posted a terrific piece combining minor horror classics “The Man They Could Not Hang” and “Before I Hang” at The Last Drive In: http://thelastdrivein.com/2013/06/23/monstergirls-150-days-of-classic-horror-9-before-i-hang-1940-the-man-they-could-not-hang-1939/
Jason Bellamy tackles Malick’s To the Wonder in typically spectacular form at The Cooler: http://coolercinema.blogspot.com/2013/04/penrose-stairs-to-wonder.html
Paddy Mullholland has penned an outstanding capsule review takedown of “A Field in England” at Screen on Screen: http://screenonscreen.blogspot.com/2013/07/review-field-in-england.html