Archive for July 27th, 2009


by Sam Juliano

     As the summer races by, with the dog days of August nearly upon us, the movie theatres are undergoing their typical meltdown until September rolls around.  Here at Wonders in the Dark the comments keep coming, as Allan’s fantastic countdown moved toward its Thursday conclusion.  This past week, the “hottest” discussion took place under Allan’s Godfather II review, where a whopping 61 comments were posted.  Several other threads did extremely well.  Joel Bocko’s film review series for the Boston Examiner continued with Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch.

    Here’s what I managed to see in the movie theatres this week:

    Humpday  *½ (Wednesday night; Angelika Film Center)

    Orphans     *½  (Saturday afternoon; Edgewater multiplex)

    In the Loop   ****½   (Saturday night; IFC Film Center)

    Loren Cass  ****  (Sunday night; Cinema Village)

    HUMPDAY, which was a big hit at Sundance is much to do about nothing.  It’s a geek movie about guys talking nonsense, and it’s premise is a tedious conceit.  Torture.

    ORPHANS   Another in the Omen line, it’s a formulaic and nasty story which is as sickening as it is predictable.  I will never be able to live down taking the kids to this.

    IN THE LOOP  One of the great satires of recent years, this BBC production pokes fun at political leaders during the Iraq crisis, that utilizes brilliant one-liners, and a number of superb actors including James Gandolfini.  I haven’t laughed this hard in a movie theatre in a very long time.

    LOREN CASS  A stylish inde about three teenagers trying to sort out the real-life, brutal slaying of Tyrone Lewis, a black motorist gunned down by a white policeman.  Not all the filmmaking decisions work, but all in all a striking and riveting debut from Chris Fuller.  Wholly original.


    So what did YOU see?  Hear?  Read?  Eat?

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barry 1

by Allan Fish

(UK 1975 187m) DVD1/2

Saraband for Embalmed Lovers

p  Stanley Kubrick, Bernard Williams  d/w  Stanley Kubrick  novel  “The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon” by William M.Thackeray  ph  John Alcott  ed  Tony Lawson  md  Leonard Rosenman  m  Franz Schubert, W.A.Mozart, George F.Handel, J.S.Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Giovanni Paisiello, Frederick the Great, Irish folk music  art  Ken Adam, Roy Walker, Vernon Dixon  cos  Milena Canonero, Ulla-Britt Soderlund

Ryan O’Neal (Redmond Barry/Barry Lyndon), Marisa Berenson (Lady Lyndon), Patrick Magee (The Chevalier de Baribari), Hardy Kruger (Captain Potzdorf), Leon Vitali (Lord Bullingdon), Gay Hamilton (Nora Brady), Leonard Rossiter (Captain John Quin), Murray Melvin (Rev.Samuel Runt), Godfrey Quigley (Captain Grogan), Arthur O’Sullivan (Highwayman), Diana Koerner (German girl), Marie Kean (Barry’s mother), Frank Middlemass (Sir Charles Lyndon), André Morell (Lord Wendover), Philip Stone (Graham), Steven Berkoff (Lord Ludd), Pat Roach (Cpl.Tool), Ferdy Mayne, Bernard Hepton, Anthony Sharp, Michael Hordern (Narrator),

As the Radio Times put it, a.k.a “1789: A Georgian Odyssey”.  How can I put into words my feelings for this incredibly savage film?  Taken on face value, it is probably the most pictorially beautiful film ever made; a series of breathtaking painterly images put together with the barest threads of plot, with several exquisite uses of candlelight and sunlight that remain unsurpassed for their beauty, shot by Orange lenser Alcott with equally spectacular clarity and through natural light (and with the help of the groundbreaking lenses of Carl Zeiss).  Some have said that as a narrative it’s too drawn out and far too slow.  On that score alone they are absolutely right.  However, though neither was quite as long, the same could also be said of Kubrick’s two previous visions of the future, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange.  He was forgiven there because they were prophecies of the future that must, by their very definitions, be symbolic to a point.  Those who praise A Clockwork Orange praise it not for its plot but for its savage (in more ways than one) damnation of society.  That is where people have made an understandable but fatal mistake with regards to this Thackeray adaptation.  (more…)

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