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Archive for February 7th, 2011

(Colin Firth, left, and Geoffrey Rush in

by Sam Juliano

Once again Samuel Wilson proves why his writing and his creativity are among the best in the blogosphere.  Tackling The King’s Speech he joins a fraternity of WitD scribes in considering the film that most have now conceeded will be taking top honors later this month from the motion picture academy.  Wilson starts off his extraordinary review by offering up a you tube recording of the real George speaking to Britons, and of asking the listener to negotiate the stutter.  He then makes comparison to Emperor Hirohito and of that monarch’s own surrender over the airwaves, a speech that was also rife with rhetorical irregularities

In typical fashion, Wilson examines the artistic worth of the film, while still expressing a nagging reservation that all is not quite perfect, and an Oscar win still may not sit well with him.  The essay deserves to sit alongside the best that have yet been written on this audience and critical favorite,  a film that seems to reward repeated discussion.  One of my favorite passages is this one:  “The thing I’ll remember most about this film is its wallpaper — and I don’t mean that as an insult. Production designer Eve Stewart did an extraordinary job recreating period interiors, particularly the vividly bleak wallpaper in Lionel Logue’s office.”  Wilson’s writing pulls you in from the start, when he uses the recorded voice (which has an amazing resemblence to Firth’s own voice in the film) and brings you into the world of this inspiring time in history, in an examination that weds art and history in a compelling way.  Bravo, Samuel Wilson!

Here’s the full review at Mondo 70:

http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2011/02/on-big-screen-kings-speech-2010.html

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Theater Review: Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones Drive an Angrier Miss Daisy
Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones and Daisy and Hoke in Alfred Uhry play, revived at the Golden Theatre

by Sam Juliano

     What evolved from an innocuous enough beginning on an off-Broadway stage, has now achieved the ultimate validation in a production at the Golden Theatre that has attracted two of the last remaining acting icons in a production that has pleased both the audiences and the critics.  To assert that Driving Miss Daisy, written by southern playright Alfred Uhry, is anything more than what it is -a slight chamber drama with some some surprising character chemistry forged by a funny and often affecting clash of wills, would not only serve to overstate the work’s intent, but also to strip bare the fascinating underpinnings that make the metamorphosis of an unlikely relationship so believable and so stirring. (more…)

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Screen cap from Frantisek Vlacil's masterful "The Devil's Trap" shown over the weekend at Walter Reade Theatre

by Sam Juliano

While the deep freeze has lifted in the Northeast, allowing for temperatures to rise into the 40’s, reports of heavy snow have come in from our friends in the Windy City area, who endured a 21 inch blizzard over the past week.  The Super Bowl will give the Pittsburgh Steelers a chance to defend their title, while the surging Green Bay Packers have won the hearts of many football fans.

The past week at Wonders in the Dark has produced two excellent assessments of The King’s Speech by Allan Fish and Jim Clark, a terrific essay on Groundhog Day by Bob Clark, Jamie Uhler’s latest installent in his “Getting Over the Beatles” series, and a few more entries in the Fish Obscuro lineup.  In addition, site regular Pierre de Plume has penned a brilliant analysis of the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ race, that posted on Sunday morning. As Dee Dee has referenced, the Film Preservation Fundraiser at Ferdy-on-Films is now officially underway, and Marilyn Ferdinand is no doubt plotting out upcoming posts as applicable to this noble venture.

To say that this past week is the most ‘blistering’ I’ve ever experienced (with outside venues) would be an understatement, but the late realization of the Frantisek Vlacil Film Festival necessitated some late planning, and -typically- some gracious allowances by my incomparable wife Lucille.  Two marathon days spent at the Walter Reade Theatre on Saturday and Sunday -where I saw nine films- followed on a regular work week that was busy well beyond the norm.  Hence the past seven days produced the following 19 films/plays/operas, mostly films of course: (more…)

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