Archive for August 10th, 2009

  That’s Kevin Olson there with his fiance.  They are tying the knot and all of us here at Wonders in the Dark wish him the weekend of his life and a glorious marriage.  As everyone knows, Kevin is a man of eternal effervescence, a guy with a dynamic personality and a passion for everything he encounters.  Encountering Kevin has been one of the great joys of the blogging experience.  Check out his last post before his sabbatical at Hugo Siglitz:


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by Sam Juliano

As the dog days of August wear on, the action at WitD remains hot and heavy.  Last week’s Monday Morning Diary attracted over 80 comments, the ‘Best Opera Films’ gained over 40, and Tony d’Ambra’s exquisite Noir City Blues nailed almost 30.  Meanwhile Joel Bocko’s Boston Examiner link-overs continued with his stellar treatment of Lawrence of Arabia.   

The biggest news of all, of course, was the unveiling of the the Godfather films – “as predictable as the sun rising” as Allan said – as the top films of the 1970s after our 2 month long poll.  The 1980s poll has already begun and ballots are already starting to trickle through on the new thread in the usual place over the site header. 

I saw three contemporary films in theatres, and two British films as part of the BritNoir series at the FilmForum

Bliss (Turkish)                      **     Friday Night (Cinema village)

Beeswax                                  **½ (Saturday Night; Film Forum)

Julie and Julia                       ***½ (Saturday afternoon: Edgewater Multiplex)


The Third Man                        ***** (Sunday Night; FilmForum)

Seven Days to Noon              ***½ (Sunday Night; Film Forum)


Bliss was a disjointed, convoluted morality tale that has traditional and contemporary mores clash in Turkey.  Jon Lanthier called it “a train wreck of a movie“.  I couldn’t agree more. 

Beeswax is one of the movies where idle banter is supposed to forge some kind of profound world view, but it’s grating, empty and too self-assured.  The director was there to field questions at the Forum, and the discussion was better than the film, though I didn’t stay to the end.

Julie and Julia boasted another impressive turn from Meryl Streep as the iconic culinary figure, and Amy Adams and Stanley Tucci were fine, too.  Lightweight, but engaging and entertaining.

The Third Man, which opened the BritNoir Festival and was a sell-out, again was a stunning example of how the greatest films never lose their sheen.  Put simply, it’s my favourite British film of all-time. 

Seven Days to Noon was fun, but nowhere near the level of the Boultings’ Brighton Rock, which will appear later in the Festival.  I plan on going in the coming week to see the rare 1938 noir, They Drive by Night by the ill-fated Arthur Woods, at Allan’s urging, while he’s also urging me to see the most pivotal British noir NOT screened at the festival, Alberto Cavalcanti’s They Made Me a Fugitive, at home.

Anyway, let’s hear about everyone else’s forays into movie-watching, theatre-going, music-listening and book-reading. 


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The main countdown begins tomorrow with no 50…here’s the near misses in what, it must be said, is the weakest decade by far. 

51 The Ice Palace (Norway 1987…Per Blom)
52 Fitzcarraldo (West Germany 1982…Werner Herzog)
53 Jean de Florette (France 1986…Claude Berri)
54 Brazil (UK 1985…Terry Gilliam)
55 Aliens: the Special Edition (US 1986/1987…James Cameron)
56 Atlantic City (US/Canada 1980…Louis Malle)
57 The Jewel in the Crown (UK 1984…Jim O’Brien, Christopher Morahan) TV
58 Wings of Desire (West Germany 1987…Wim Wenders)
59 The Vanishing (Netherlands/France 1988…George Sluizer)
60 Do the Right Thing (US 1989…Spike Lee)
61 E.T: the extra terrestrial (US 1982…Steven Spielberg)
62 Pixote (Brazil 1981…Hector Babenco)
63 Made in Britain (UK 1982…Alan Clarke) TV
64 Yol (Turkey/Switzerland 1982…Serif Gören, Yilmaz Guney)
65 La Traviata (Italy 1982…Franco Zeffirelli)
66 The Empire Strikes Back: the Special Edition (US 1980/1997…Irwin Kershner)
67 Little Dorrit: Parts I & II (UK 1987…Christine Edzard)
68 Mephisto (Hungary 1981…Istvan Szabo)
69 Manon des Sources (France 1986…Claude Berri)
70 The Terminator (US 1984…James Cameron)
71 Pelle the Conqueror (Denmark 1987…Bille August)
72 Urotsukidoji Part I: The Legend of the Overfiend (Extended Version) (Japan 1987…Hideki Tarayama)
73 The Rainbow (UK 1988…Stuart Burge) TV
74 Parsifal (West Germany 1982…Hans-Jürgen Syberberg)
75 Distant Voices, Still Lives (UK 1988…Terence Davies)
76 The Makioka Sisters (Japan 1983…Kon Ichikawa)
77 Camp de Thiaroye (Senega 1987…Ousmane Sembene)
78 Sans Soleil (France 1983…Chris Marker)
79 Paris, Texas (West Germany/US 1984…Wim Wenders)
80 Alpine Fire (Switzerland 1985…Fredi R.Murer)
81 Why Has Bodhi Dharma Left for the East? (South Korea 1988…Bae Yong-kyun)
82 Man of Iron (Poland 1981…Andrzej Wajda)
83 Full Metal Jacket (US 1987…Stanley Kubrick)
84 Red Sorghum (China 1987…Zhang Yimou)
85 The Untouchables (US 1987…Brian de Palma)
86 The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (UK 1989…Peter Greenaway)
87 Vagabonde (France 1985…Agnès Varda)
88 Southern Comfort (US 1981…Walter Hill)
89 Jesus of Montreal (Canada 1989…Denys Arcand)
90 Betty Blue: Version Integrale (France 1986/1991…Jean-Jacques Beineix)
91 The Long Good Friday (UK 1980…John McKenzie)
92 The Killer (Hong Kong 1989…John Woo)
93 The Killing Fields (UK 1984…Roland Joffé)
94 The Unbearable Lightness of Being (US 1987…Philip Kaufman)
95 Henry V (UK 1989…Kenneth Branagh)
96 A Sunday in the Country (France 1984…Bertrand Tavernier)
97 My Neighbour Totoro (Japan 1988…Hayao Miyazaki)
98 Last Exit to Brooklyn (West Germany/US 1989…Uli Edel)
99 Body Heat (US 1981…Lawrence Kasdan)
100 The Executioner’s Song (European theatrical version) (US 1982…Lawrence Schiller) TV

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