Archive for August 30th, 2010

                                            Director Jeff Lieberman

     Jamie Uhler’s superlative review of the cult horror classic Blue Sunshine has attracted a comment from the film’s director, Jeff Lieberman.  Wonders in the Dark is deeply honored to have Mr. Lieberman appear at the site and voice his own appreciation for the film’s longevity.  This is particularly a great honor for Mr. Uhler.

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Jeremy Juliano sits in 'Coward's Corner' seat in lobby at Manhattan's Film Forum at showing of William Castle's 'Homicidal'

by Sam Juliano

Labor Day barbeques, autumn leaves, NFL Football, the fall semester at college, a new school year and the opening of the symphony hall and opera seasons are within grasp, as yet another summer has expired in seeminly speeded-up fashion.  Those of us lucky enough to enjoy some time off from work can at least approach the new season with some renewed vigour.  Maybe?

For those keeping an eye on the various site postings, as always there’s some great stuff out there.  Marilyn Ferdinand’s terrific review on Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing (2006) at Ferdy-on-Films has attracted a comment from director Cecelia Peck (the daughter of Gregory Peck) in strong appreciation for Ms. Ferdinand; Jason Marshall continues his impressive countdown of the cinema, reaching 1934 as of this writing at Movies Over Matter; at The Last Lullaby, affable filmmaker Jeffrey Goodman has a very popular post up on “Film Books on My Desk” which will have many resuming their cinema studies in print.  Tireless John Greco has posted some more Anthony Manns (along with some other vintage early 60’s cinema) while at Movie Classics Judy Geater relentlessly pursues film icon William Wellman, while keeping the Bard in hand.

Jamie Uhrer has officially launched the horror poll at Wonders with a fantastic review of his own #50 runner-up, a late 70’s entry titled Blue Sunshine, which Allan continues with his inspiring coverage of classic Japanese cinema with some brilliant capsules.  Joel Bocko’s Godard feature, Stephen Russell-Gebbett’s moving tribute to fallen Japanese animation genius Satoshi Kon, Bob Clark’s review triptych including Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and a well-received tribute to artist Terrill Welch in the blogger series, all brightened up the pages at our home base.

A torrid weekend schedule at the theatres again occupied the lion’s share of waking time in these parts, but the new festival at the Film Forum, The Return of William Castle (which opened Friday night) is the culprit, as my family was taken along for a quartet of films of the 50’s horror gimmick master, including a fully-rigged theatre (which included a “Cowards Corner” chair in the lobby) and a personal appearance from the director’s daughter Terry, who flew in with her husband from San Francisco for the festivities and a red-carpet treatment from Film Forum head honcho, Program Director Bruce Goldstein.   Sunday’s showing of House on Haunted Hill included a moving skeleton gliding across the ceiling of the theatre at the film’s climax, in the same way it was done back in 1958.  For Mr. Sardonicus it was a “punishment poll” introduced before the end of the film by Castle himself, and the audience results on Sunday were overseen by Film Forum employees.  I will have a full mega-post on William Castle in two weeks at WitD, relating my experience with this festival.  Meanwhile, on Wednesday evening, on the next to last day of the 3D Festival, a sold-out crowd (many were turned away too) gave the theatre one of its biggest nights with Roy Ward Baker’s rarely-seen 3D vehicle (with Robert Ryan) of Inferno.  Lucille and I managed three recent films on top of the festival stuff (which included the latest weekend Ozu)

I also managed three recent films on top of the festival stuff (which included the latest weekend Ozu)  With school starting on Wednesday, there can be only one more week of this “drop-everything else” kind of insanity, but that will be enough to manage most of the Castle offerings, including the vital Castle noir, When Strangers Marry (1944).

We watched:

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World  **   (Tuesday night) Edgewater multiplex

The Milk of Sorrow ****                   (Saturday night)   Cinema Village

Animal Kingdom **** 1/2                      (Saturday night)    Landmark Cinemas

Inferno     ****                      (Wednesday night)  3D Fest at Film Forum

Homicidal   ***                    (Friday night)     William Castle Fest at Film Forum

Straight-Jacket  ***     (Friday night)    William Castle Fest at Film Forum

Mr. Sardonicus  ***            (Sunday afternoon)  William Castle Fest

House on Haunted Hill ****  (Sunday afternoon)  William Castle Fest

Early Summer *****              (Sunday morning)   Ozu Festival at IFC

Marilyn Ferdinand is surely on Cloud Nine this week, as she received a comment from director Cecelia Peck, (daughter of actor Gregory Peck) under her extraordinary review of Peck’s Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing.  It’s one of this famed Chicago blog’s proudest moments: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/?p=5922 (more…)

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