by Sam Juliano
With everyone getting their fill of turkey, trimmings and pumpkin pie the focus has now shifted to home decorations and shopping malls for the frantic three period leading up to the annual ritual of gift-giving. While the Farmer’s Almanac can’t even tell us what to expect weather-wise, we can at least hope for the appearance of what Bing Crosby longed for decades ago in his seasonal favorite. The site would once again like to thank our very dear friend Dee Dee for keeping the holiday torched lit on the sidebar for Thanksgiving, and for her continued daily reference to the Western Countdown. Speaking of that two-month venture we have reached the final five, with the post for the #1 film set to publish on Friday. Though the comment totals can never approach the comedy and especially the musical countdowns, the page views have been consistently impressive, and the writing has held its own from day one. (For the record, the musical countdown of 2011 was the absolute high point of WitD when one takes in the staggering number of comments, the quality of those comments, thousands of page views and essays that set the bar, a bar that may not have been equaled. Still, a number of writers on this western countdown are more than entitled to take a bow!)
There has been talk (nothing definite, no commitments, nothing concrete or even preliminary to this point) but there has been some informal talk about the possibility of a ‘Best American Television Series/Show’ polling in 2014. intended to follow-up on Allan’s Best British Television Series (which he did himself) the current idea would be to include all voters to write the essays just as was done here for the western, musical and comedy countdown. Whether there will be energy, time and desire to move forward with such a project will depend on a number of factors, but the possibility has been broached. In any case, if it were to happen it wouldn’t be for a number of months.
Lucille and I saw two movies over the weekend. The first was on Saturday, my dear wife’s 50th birthday.
Frozen **** (Secaucus multiplex) Sunday morning
Don Jon *** (Quad Cinemas) Saturday night
Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directorial debut, DON JON is certainly passable and often funny, yet it is the kid of movie you forget about the day after you see it. Levitt, Scarlet Johansson and Julianne Moore star in the story about a young man addicted to internet porn and the ramifications it has on his romances. The Italian-American domestic scenes are amusing, if cliched, and Levitt exhibits some directorial flourishes. The performances are spirited.
Disney’s new animated film FROZEN showcases some rich and vivid animation, fine voice work and an irresistible story that in the end soars to emotional heights. There one good song number (the main one) but otherwise there is an undistinguished ho-hum score. All in all a delightful work that stands out in a weak year for the genre.
Last week’s links are copied over: (note however that the great writer Jason Bellamy is back at The Cooler after a seven-month absence!) As to the first position on the scroll I give you Jon Warner’s superlative review of “12 Years A Slave” at Films Worth Watching: http://filmsworthwatching.blogspot.com/2013/11/12-years-slave-2013-directed-by-steve.html
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
Jason Bellamy is back at The Cooler with a terrific essay titled “Reaching the Tress: The Great Escape on a Great Expanse”: http://coolercinema.blogspot.com/2013/12/reaching-trees-great-escape-on-great.html
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