Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson in the harrowing Canadian-Irish production “Room.”
Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne in surprisingly effective “The Danish Girl”
by Sam Juliano
The American turkey population gets a break for several more weeks after this past Thursday’s mass purging of the ranks. This reminds me of a funny joke I saw on Facebook the day before the holiday that showed the majestic bird on the chopping block telling his friend: “I knew something was up after the farmer unfriended me yesterday.” As always the end of the big gorging is followed by Christmas preparations in short order, and we will soon be regaled by everything yuletide. Still, there’s plenty of fun to be had, and arts lovers will continue to have prime pickings.
At Wonders in the Dark the Caldecott Medal Contender series continues, with ten reviews posted to date, and at least that many more being planned in the coming weeks. Jim Clark’s masterful review on The Assassin posted this past Wednesday and a musical concert review of the latest performance of the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra also appeared this past Tuesday. Many thanks to the loyal readers who once again over the past week have registered fabulous numbers by way of page views and comments. It seems the holiday season always ignites added interest in the arts.
Today (November 30th) is my dear wife Lucille’s 52nd birthday.
This past week produced a flurry of activity with three new film releases in the theaters, a soft rock venue at Joey’s in Hewitt, New Jersey with the ever masterful Gene Focarelli, the Rutgers-Maryland football game in Piscataway, New Jersey and some at-home viewing, and opera listening. The Rutgers game was a disappointment, as the Scarlet Knights blew a 17-0 first quarter lead, falling to the Terapins 46-41 in drizzly Highpoint Solutions Stadium. Soloist-guitarist Focarelli performed a bevy of 50’s, 60’s and 70’s standards with the help of some fabulous guests, including a young woman who this coming month has landed a prestigious gig at Manhattan’s The Deep End. Continue Reading »
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by Sam Juliano
Turkey Day is upon us, and we at Wonders in the Dark would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone stateside a wonderful Thursday with family and friends and safe traveling for all those visiting. For the 21st year consecutively our entire family of seven will be spending the day in a mansion-sized home in scenic Butler, New Jersey with Lucille’s sister’s family and about 45 or so others in the big Lampmann family that includes children and grandchildren. Quite a day as it is I’m sure for many of our dear friends here. Anyone placing comments are encouraged to share their own plans for that day. Even our friends outside our borders are welcome to talk about their expectations for Thursday, even if it is work as usual.
A big congratulations are in order for Aaron West and two other bloggers, who pulled off one of the most glorious blogging ventures ever over the past week with a wildly popular Criterion Collection blogathon that wound up involving nearly the entire film community. Wonders in the Dark was honored to participate. The amount of work Aaron and his colleagues put into this is simply mind-boggling. Kudos to all. Speaking of Criterion, I was ecstatic beyond words this past week after the company announced upcoming February blu-rays of the 1970’s Swedish films The Emigrants and The New Land. No films have had me praying for release more than these, and I must say I was bursting with excitement when I read of the upcoming releases. These two masterpieces never even received legitimate DVD releases, much less blu rays. I have been holding on to my laser disc copies for years. February overall is an amazing month for the folks at Criterion with both Mike Nichols’ The Graduate and Nagisa Oshima’s Japanese masterpiece Death by Hanging. The latter release was also cause for celebration among cinephiles.
The site has enjoyed an unusually phenomenal week as far as page views are concerned. This past Thursday nearly 2,400 hits were registered, with the book review of Mummy Cat largely responsible. This is the highest total for a single day in over seven months.
As we approach the time of the year when ‘Best of” movie lists are imminent, there is a frenzy to see some of the prestige pictures that are opening. Though my plans in the upcoming days include seeing Room, Love and James White, this past week had me busy on the domestic front. Lucille and I did see a masterpiece in Todd Haynes’ Carol at the Angelika Film Center, but otherwise the only other event was attending a classical concert at the exquisite West Side Presbyterian Church on South Monroe Street in Ridgewood , N.J. I will be penning a full review of this concert this week, but suffice to say it included beloved compositions by Bach, Sibelius, Smetana and Saint-Saens, all of which are personal favorites. Continue Reading »
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