Archive for July 6th, 2009



by Sam Juliano

     Our second week of the Monday morning recap is again clouded by the grief many of us feel for the untimely passing of Michael Jackson, but it is expected that time will heal the wounds, if not the memories. 

     At WitD, we enjoyed one of our greatest threads ever under Allan’s superlative review of Manhattan, with a whopping 77 comments that included stellar contributions from Jon Lanthier, Movie Man, Ed Howard, Jamie, David Schleicher, Film Dr., Leclisse, Dennis Polifroni, John Greco, Peter and our own Tony d’Ambra.  It was as definitive a consideration of the film and its context within the Woodman’s prolific pantheon as one could possibly hope for, and a number of the contributors provided their own Top 10 lists of the director’s works.

     I had a sizzling week myself, beginning with an engaging if uneven stage version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on Christopher Street, which I attended with Lucille, Broadway Bob and my two daughters. (the boys stayed home).  I hope to get a review out within a few days.

    I saw four films in movie theatres:

    Public Enemies  ***   (Friday night; Edgewater multiplex)

    Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs  **  (Friday night; Edgewater multiplex)

    Lion’s Den  ****  (Saturday night; IFC Film Center-Manhattan)

    Dead Snow  **   (Sunday night;  Cinema Village-Manhattan)

         I was disappointed by the Johnny Depp/Christian Bale starrer, PUBLIC ENEMIES, as it was mostly style over substance, a recent trademark of Michael Mann, who did manage to provide stellar period detail for the Depression-era saga about gangster John Dillinger.  I did not appreciate the digital video filmmaking method, but again a review may be forthcoming.

        The newest Ice Age sequel was a listless affair with inane humor, unappealing characters and pedestrian animation.  On the other hand, the best film I saw this week was the Argentinian woman’s prison drama LION’S DEN, which was raw and compelling with some acute psychological insights and a buffo lead performance.  The final film, DEAD SNOW, which I recently returned from, was reportedly a hit at Sundance, but it was an over-the-top zombie gorefest from Norway with redundant humor and endless decapitations, chainsaw mutilations and skull smashing.  It did admittedly have  a few funny lines though.  I will link Jon Lanthier’s unappreciative review, which was most perceptively written in the comment section later.

       I saw three items from Allan’s backlog, including the six-hour Funland, which was most imaginative in the perversion-under-the-surface genre mastered by David Lynch.

       Anyway ladies and gentlemen, what did you see on DVD or in the theatres?  What did you hear or attend?  Film Noir anyone?

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apoc now 1

by Allan Fish

(USA 1979/2001 202m) DVD1/2

Smells like victory!

p/d  Francis Ford Coppola  w  John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola  novel  “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad  ph  Vittorio Storaro  ed  Richard Marks, Walter Murch   m  Carmine Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola  art  Dean Tavoularis  sound  Walter Murch, Mark Berger, Richard Beggs, Nat Boxer

Martin Sheen (Capt.Willard), Robert Duvall (Lt.Col.Kilgore), Frederic Forrest (Jay ‘Chef’ Hicks), Marlon Brando (Col.Walter E.Kurtz), Albert Hall (Chief), Sam Bottoms (Lance B.Johnson), Dennis Hopper (Photo journalist), Larry Fishburne (Mr Clean), Harrison Ford (Colonel), Scott Glenn (Capt.Richard Colby), G.D Spradlin (Gen.R.Corman), Tom Mason (supply sergeant), Colleen Camp (Terri Turee), Cynthia Wood (Carrie Foster), Aurore Clement (Roxanne Sarrault), Christian Marquand (Hubert de Marais),

When the footage of Coppola’s Vietnam take on Conrad was assembled it ran to over five hours and had taken years (during which time Harvey Keitel had been replaced, Martin Sheen had a near fatal heart attack and the film took so long to make it was disparagingly dubbed “Apocalypse Later” by critics eager to maul Coppola after the success of the Godfather films).  Reduced to just over 2½ hours for its original release in 1979, though fascinating it was too fractured and, though Coppola had always intended to release a definitive longer version of the film, he never got round to it until he released the Redux version in 2001.  Here, finally, a flawed masterpiece was replaced with a masterpiece.  Period.  Sure, it still had its faults, but they were faults unavoidable via this approach to the subject.  David Thomson called it “a masterpiece that left the contemporary landscape of films in 2001 looking even more threadbare.”  One found it hard to disagree. 

            The plot is somewhat irrelevant, as a hardcore captain is sent on a special ops mission to infiltrate the organisation of the rebel leader and former US Marine Colonel Kurtz (“I wanted a mission and for my sins they gave me one…”) hiding in Cambodia.  What’s important is how the plot unfolds.  This is a war of the mind, and its hallucinogenic quality perfectly suits both the war in question, Vietnam, and the mindset of many of the principal characters, all of whom seem to suffer from at least one form of mania.  (more…)

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