Archive for June 25th, 2009


Michael Jackson was one of music’s most successful and influential artists. The singer, who CNN reports died earlier today in Los Angeles at the age of 50 (reps did not immediately comment), recorded a series of pop classics as part of the Jackson 5 and then became a massive solo star. His 1982 album Thriller has been certified platinum 28 times in the U.S. and is the best-selling original collection ever released.

Jackson was born in Gary, Ind., on Aug. 29, 1958, and by the age of 6 the prodigiously talented singer and dancer was performing alongside his brothers. The Jackson 5 signed to Motown in 1968 and released a string of huge hits including “ABC” and “I Want You Back.” Jackson entered the charts as a solo artist in 1972 with the song “Ben,” and in 1978 he appeared in the big screen musical The Wiz alongside Diana Ross. The following year, his album Off The Wall established Jackson as a solo superstar. Yet, even the success of that release would be dwarfed by Thriller, which included a raft of global smashes, including “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

Jackson followed up Thriller with 1987’s Bad, which itself eventually sold in the region of 30 million copies worldwide. But the star’s public profile was badly damaged in the ’90s when he was accused of child sex abuse, and in recent years he had become an extremely reclusive figure. Despite his reputation as one of pop’s greatest dancers and all-round in-concert showman, he also effectively abandoned touring. However, Jackson had planned to play a series of dates in London, starting next month.

While his personal life often attracted criticism and controversy, the oft-dubbed King of Pop’s influence on the musical realm is unarguable. That influence was demonstrated in 2008 when Kanye West, will.i.am, Fergie, and Akon all contributed to the remixes that featured on the 25th anniversary release of Thriller. In his long career Jackson also worked with some of pop’s most talented artists, including both Paul McCartney and Thriller producer Quincy Jones.

Read Full Post »

A Separate Peace Poster

by Sam Juliano

Today’s review of  “A Separate Peace”, based on the novel by John Knowles is the second in a planned series that will examine films from the 1970’s that were either forgotten, undervalued or misunderstood at the time of their release.

     From the late 60’s to the late 90’s three novels dominated the literature component of high school English curriculums, and each of the three were written and published around the same time.  Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird has probably maintained the most venerated position of the three, and captured the Pultizer Prize, but both William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and John Knowles’s A Separate Peace have held the literary stage both for their writing excellence and the intricate expression of their universal themes.  It was inevitable that all three would be made into films, but  A Separate Peace took the longest to materialize, finally appearing as a film in 1972.  The Paramount release, with Larry Peerce serving as director and unknown actors in the leads, received divided notices, and has since been displaced as the film of choice on this novel by a 2003 television version directed by Peter Yates. (more…)

Read Full Post »


by Allan Fish

(France 1977 107m) not on DVD

Aka. The Lacemaker

In casino fortuna 

p  Yves Gasser  d  Claude Goretta  w  Pascal Lainé, Claude Goretta  novel  Pascal Lainé  ph  Jean Boffety  ed  Joelle Van Henterre, Nelly Meunier, Martine Charasson  m  Pierre Jansen  art  Serge Etter, Claude Chevant 

Isabelle Huppert (Béatrice), Yves Beneyton (François), Florence Giorgetti (Marylène), Anne-Marie Düringer (Béatrice’s mother), Sabine Azéma (Corinne), Christian Baltauss (Gérard), Jean Obé (François’ father), Monique Chaumette (François’ mother),

Though listed as Béatrice, Isabelle Huppert’s central protagonist is nicknamed Pomme.  It’s not an inappropriate name, for she is fond of said fruit, and is regularly seen biting into one through the course of the film.  With her trademark flame-red hair and freckles, Huppert couldn’t look less like an apple, but it’s one of the great performances, to these eyes just about the greatest she ever gave; no mean boast.

            Pomme/Béatrice works as an assistant at a local beauty-hair salon, while living at home with her mother.  To coincide with her eighteenth birthday, a friend takes her away to the Normandy coast for a break.  In actual fact, the friend is more interested in getting away from her own relationship debris, and it becomes apparent that one of the main reasons she befriends Pomme is to have someone to talk at about her problems.  While on holiday, she finds another man and thinks nothing of leaving Pomme by herself in the resort.  Pomme spends her days alone but comes across a young arts student, François.  After a slow courtship they sleep together, but then their relationship starts to unravel when it becomes clear to François that she isn’t at his intellectual level.  (more…)

Read Full Post »