by Sam Juliano
Freezing temperatures have descended on the northeast, as families prepare for Turkey Day and and an extended late November weekend. This is as always the most fruitful part of the year from a cultural standpoint, and some are planning their entertainment itinerary for the coming weeks. The staff at Wonders in the Dark would like to take this opportunity to wish all our American friends and readers a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.
The western countdown has now wound down to the final placements, with Jim Clark’s superb review on McCabe and Mrs. Miller kicking off the Top 10. The latest site genre countdown has just two weeks to go, with the #1 essay set to post on Friday, December 6. As I mentioned under a post of one of this past week’s reviews, the comments have been significantly down in numbers from the prior musical and comedy countdowns, but page views remain impressive, and the quality of writing has equaled the level of any previous endeavor at the site.
Lucille and I caught two films this past week in theaters:
Philomena **** 1/2 (Saturday night) Landmark Cinemas
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ** (Friday) Ridgefield Starplex
The latest HUNGER GAMES incarnation has been wildly praised by critics, but I just can’t see the reason for all the enthusiasm. The film feels way too long and is a watered down continuation of the original, and though J Law is again up to the task, others seem there to pick up a whopping pay check for their efforts. Even the big climax set piece comes off as a big blur. I never was motivated to pick up any of the books, and did rather like the original film, but alas the novelty has worn off.
PHILOMENA, directed by the distinguished Stephen Frears features a bravura performance from Dame Judi Dench as a woman who seeks out her long lost son, who was taken from her by Catholic nuns in Ireland many years prior. The film is emotionally engaging, and chronicles Catholic hypocrisy and injustice, strongly recalling “The Magdalene Sisters.” Several interesting plot twists enhance a story with honesty earned tears.
Here are some great links:
John Greco has posted a terrific feature at Twenty Fours Frames on the ’10 Greatest Conspiracy Films’: http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/my-ten-favorite-conspiracy-films/
Filmmaker Jeffrey Goodman has another round of cinematic treasures under marvelous scrutiny at The Last Lullaby: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/2013/11/favorite-four-part-twenty-three.html
At Scribbles and Ramblings Sachin Gandhi leads the way with a fascinating installment of his “World Cup” series on the “2014 Movie World Cup”: http://likhna.blogspot.com/2013/11/2014-movie-world-cup.html
Dean Treadway offers up a fantastic post of his ’200 Favorite Movie Posters’ at Filmacability: http://filmicability.blogspot.com/2013/11/master-list-27-my-200-favorite-movie.html
At the always sensory Creativepotager’s blog the great artist Terrill Welch leads up with a post titled “Nuzzling into Seasonal Art Studio Quiet Time”: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/nuzzling-into-seasonal-art-studio-quiet-time
Tony d’Ambra has penned a terrific essay on 1951′s “The Raging Tide” at FilmsNoir.net: http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/the-raging-tide-1951-more-to-film-noir-than-shadows-wet-asphalt-and-dangerous-femmes.htm
Murderous Ink has posted a fascinating essay on the 1937 Japanese rarity “The Song of the Flower Basket” at Vermillion and One Nights: http://vermillionandonenights.blogspot.com/2013/11/song-of-flower-basket-1937.htm
Judy Geater superbly considers Charles Vidor’s rarely-seen 1957 “The Joker is Wild” at Movie Classics: http://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/the-joker-is-wild-charles-vidor-1957/
Patricia beautifully considers “The Most Important Day of Your Life – Are You Ready?” at Patricia’s Wisdom: http://patriciaswisdom.com/2013/11/the-most-important-day-of-your-life-are-you-ready-maria-dancing-heart-hoaglund/
Laurie Buchanan leads the way at Speaking From the Heart with a wonderful post titles “Stonehedge Mushrooms”: http://tuesdayswithlaurie.com/2013/11/19/stonehenge-mushrooms/
Jaimie Grijalba talks about the Valdivia Film Festival, some personal goals and the unique aspect of his eclectic coverage at Overlook’s Corridor: http://overlookhotelfilm.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/ficvaldivia-20/
Stephen Mullen (Weeping Sam) has posted a superlative piece on the Gettysburg Address at The Listening Ear: http://listeningear.blogspot.com/2013/11/gettysburg-address.html
Samuel Wilson has written a splendid mostly-favorable review on “Captain Phillips” at Mondo 70: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2013/11/on-big-screen-captain-phillips-2013.html
Brandie Ashe has a marvelous DVD review on the 1933 film “The Working Man” with George Arliss at True Classics: http://trueclassics.net/2013/11/24/dvd-review-the-working-man-1933/
Joel Bocko takes a fascinating look at some music videos at The Dancing Image: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2013/11/watchlistscreencaps-1111-1117-music.html
Michael Harford’s latest collaboration at the always-invigorating Coffee Messiah’s blog yields both a striking collage and a disturbing tid-bit: http://coffeemessiah.blogspot.com/2013/11/week-26-187-collaboration-wpaul-hawkins.html
David has penned a terrific review at The Schleicher Spin on “All is Lost”: http://theschleicherspin.com/2013/11/11/all-is-lost-but-what-does-it-mean
Roderick Heath has posted an epic piece on Ridley Scott’s “The Councelor” at Ferdy on Films: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/2013/the-counselor-2013/20397/
Drew McIntosh has a fascinating piece up on “Sinister” at The Blue Vial: http://thebluevial.blogspot.com/2013/10/sinister.html