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Archive for June 28th, 2010

Guess the pic

Courtesy of Bob Clark

The winner can submit their screen-cap to movieman0283@gmail.com. Do not include film title in file name so I can participate as well! (Give a day or two for the new picture to go up)

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Martha Hunt, Claire Trevor and Dennis O’Keefe in “Raw Deal”

by Sam Juliano

Scorching heat has greeted the official opening of summer here in the Northeast, though I’m sure the opposite scenario is unfolding down in Sydney, where Tony d’Ambra and his family are facing the onset of winter.  On a personal note, I was thrilled (and teary-eyed) to watch my eldest daughter Melanie graduate from the eighth grade, while the strains of the school song “Oh Lincoln, Dear Lincoln” and Elgar’s traditional ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ were played by the school’s music teacher, Mr. Fred Fochesato.

Soccer fans are understandably down in the dumps after the USA elemination to Ghana, and similarly the loss by the defending champions Team Italy was an unexpected development.  As of this writing England is still in the hunt, with a game against Germany set for later today. (well, England is now officially gone after losing 4-1).

Here at Wonders in the Dark, we are winding down with Allan’s 2000’s countdown, with a scant three weeks to go.  Anyone still planning to cast a ballot should do so on the tab over the site header, though an extra week will be added after the #1 pick is revealed. (as per custom)

It’s been a very busy week on the cultural scene once again, with an off-Broadway show managed on Monday (Control) and four films in the Anthony Mann Festival at the Film Forum watched on Friday and Sunday (two double features).  In addition, a few other new theatrical releases were part of the mix.  Control was an unfocused mess of a theatrical staging which was basically reliant on profanity for shock effect as it featured some psychological role-playing.

Dogtooth    * 1/2   (Saturday night)   Cinema Village

The A Team   *     (Thursday night)   Edgewater Multiplex

The Naked Spur   (Anthony Mann Festival)   Friday *****

Winchester 73   (Anthony Mann Festival)   Friday *****

Raw Deal    (Anthony Mann Festival)  Sunday *****

T Men   (Anthony Mann Festival)  Sunday ****

The Greek DOGTOOTH is one of the more disturbing films of recent years, and it doesn’t have the exquisite artistry that Von Trier imparted to Antichrist. It’s a minimalist black comedy with irrational jolts and a disjointed narrative, and in the end it adds up to very little.  Some laughs, but far more tedium and stomach-churning violence.  Thanks, but no thanks.

THE A TEAM is a strong candidate for the year’s worst film.  No plot, no meaning, nothing but gun fire and noice, and pedestrian choreography.  As unoriginal as any multiplex film, and just about as brainless.

Then there’s the glorious Anthony Mann.  Two double features over the weekend yielded two of the best Mann/Stewart collaborations with THE NAKED SPUR and WINCHESTER 73, are prime examples of the ‘psychological western’ while Mann’s arguably best film noir entries, RAW DEAL and T MEN were paired in a program of haunting narrations, expressionistic camerwork by John Alton and superb performances by Dennis O’Keefe, Claire Trevor and Marsha Hunt, et al.  Three of the films are masterpieces, while the forth is solid.

The blogosphere boasts some pretty great stuff:

Ed Howard  at Only the Cinema has penned a tremendous review of the 1956 science-fiction classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and his comment section under the review is equally fantastic:                                                  http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.com/2010/06/invasion-of-body-snatchers.html

Australian Roderick Heath (what a great name to boot!) is one of the internet’s best writers, (no surprise, as he’s an author) whether he’s considering film or literature, and two of his most recent essays bear this out.  At his English literature blog, he is featuring an extraordinary piece on the Victorian era masterpiece, Middlemarch, by George Eliot: http://englishoneoworst.blogspot.com/2010/05/aspiration-and-actuality-george-eliots.html and  his latest in a long run of film review masterpieces considers the John Lennon “bio-pic”, Nowhere Boy: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/?p=5197

Dave Hicks’s ‘director’s series’ is one of the blogosphere’s biggest hits, and his latest impeccable post considers the man with the “touch” Ernst Lubitsch: http://goodfellamovies.blogspot.com/2010/06/18-brian-de-palma.html

(more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France 2005 115m) DVD1/2

Aka. Hidden

It is not your concern

p  Veit Heiduschka  d/w  Michael Haneke  ph  Christian Berger  ed  Michael Hudecek, Nadine Muse  m  Ralph Rieckermann  art  Emmanuel de Chauvigny, Christoph Kanter

Daniel Auteuil (Georges Laurent), Juliette Binoche (Anne Laurent), Maurice Benichou (Majid), Annie Girardot (Georges’ mother), Walid Afkir (Majid’s son), Bernard Le Coq (editor), Lester Makedonsky (Pierrot), Daniel Duval (Pierre), Natalie Richard (Mathilde),

There are few more cerebral directors in 21st century world cinema than Michael Haneke, and few more clinical directors in cinema history.  His is very much a cinema of unease, disquiet and disturbance, often punctuated by moments of extreme violence, be it physical or emotional, or, on occasion, both.  Prior to the release of his masterpiece in 2005, his films were a mixed bag, of which the horrendously cold Funny Games was probably the best of the bunch.  Caché was something else entirely, a film of more layers than one of Mrs Bridges’ wedding cakes, and enough discretely subtle nuances and barely noticeable details to satisfy the hardiest of cine-intellectuals.  It’s a film Antonioni might make were he working in the present day.

            Georges and Anne Laurent are a well-to-do upper middle-class couple living with their twelve year old son in a fashionable suburb of Paris.  He works as host on a sort of Gallic equivalent of BBC2’s Newsnight Review, while she works in a prestigious job for a famous publishing company.  One day, Anne tells Georges she was left a tape in a shopping bag, showing the outside of their house in the middle of the day and Georges’ leaving for work.  Further tapes appear, including one of the house in which Georges lived as a child, all wrapped in increasingly ghoulish childlike drawings of faces spluttering blood.  They try to get the police to help, but they see the packages as harmless.  It is then up to the couple themselves to get to the bottom of the trouble. (more…)

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