by Sam Juliano
The defining event at Wonders in the Dark was initiated this past week when Jamie Uhler offered up graphic models for Allan Fish’s film book. Further additions and enhancements will follow, and a publication date is tentatively planned for some time in 2012. Kudos to Mr. Uhler for his ardent and impassioned work, and for his sustained belief in the exceeding worthiness of the project.
Apart from this proud undertaking, the site has understandably been slow as of late, aside from the Monday Morning Diary, which saw a barrage of activity this past week, mainly as a result of the controversy surrounding A Serbian Film. With the musical poll tentatively scheduled for a late summer launching (WitD’s good friend Pat Perry will formidably involved in the project) the present time is a kind of “between polling” period, and as such the site will be showcasing a diet of Fish Obscuro entries, science-fiction and anime pieces from Bob Clark, Jamie Uhler’s continuation of his landmark ‘Getting Over the Beatles’ series, and an anticipated resumption of Jim Clark’s stellar bi-monthly contributions. In addition “Yours Truly” is planning the next installment in the blogger appreciation series, and some film and theatre reviews on recent releases.
Dee Dee is again negotiating a prize contest on her interview thread that will include questions to be posted there on June 2. Authors Kohl and Beetner have been periodically visiting the thread with comments expressing their appreciation for the interview and the glowing acknowledgement of their new book expressed by several commentators. Again, the intricate and impassioned sidebar work has been Dee Dee’s domain for quite some time now. Many thanks our very dear friend!
For the most part the past week has been a kind of ‘recharge the batteries’ period, a time when one drifts away from the blogosphere to attend to other matters in their lives. Just about all bloggers go through this period of malaise, and it’s often a time of reflection and a re-estimation of priorities. Hence, I’ve been less active at others blogsites as of late, but fully expect to return to the swing of things very soon, especially at the blogsites of those WitD loyalists who spend part of their precious time commenting under our posts. To those stalwarts I thank you a hundred times over.
As expected the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or prize was won by Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life.
This week represents one of those rare instances where I didn’t manage any new releases in the theatres, (I was especially disappointed to miss the new Woody Allen film, but this coming week I will rectify this) though my wife and kids saw the latest installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Lucille and I saw a local professional company’s staging of Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore on Sunday afternoon by the Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan company. This world-known opera company, based locally, has been staging operettas from the beloved duo since 1937, and their PINAFORE is pure musical bliss. Not even a Broadway production can eclipse the work they do, with first-rate singing, staging and costuming. Just to hear and watch the famed number “I Am An Englishman” is enough to give you goose bumps, but I really need to do a full review on this. This was one of the most delightful Sunday afternoons Lucille and I enjoyed in a very long time. I also made three screenings of classic films at the Film Forum and the Jersey City Loews:
The Makioka Sisters **** 1/2 (Monday night) Film Forum
Barry Lyndon ***** (Friday night) Jersey City Loews Landmark
Sunrise ***** (Saturday night) Jersey City Loews Landmark
Kon Ichikawa’s exquisitely beautiful THE MAKIOKA SISTERS represented for the veteran director a triumphant late-career return to the cinema with a film of emotional depth and sensual beauty. The pink cherry blossom montage at the start and glorious use of Handel’s “Ombra Mai Fu” from Xerxes set a mesmerizing and seductive tone for the remainder of this near-masterpiece, a film that will soon be released on a Criterion blu-ray.
After Friday night’s screening of BARRY LYNDON on the gigantic Lowes Jersey City Landmark’s screen, I am now of the opinion that this ravishing opus is Stanley Kubrick’s greatest film. It’s a close call with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE for me, but this visually intoxicating masterpiece is one of the cinema’s most impressively filmed period pieces. John Alcott’s cinematography is a model of its kind. But heck, who do I really have to convince at this site or anywhere else that BARRY LYNDON is a staggering masterpiece? Ha! But I’ll not soon or ever forget Friday night, and (impatiently) await the delivery of my Kubrick blu-ray set that includes the film.
Then again at the Jersey City Loews on Saturday night, a true wonderment was offered up: F.W. Murnau’s 1927 SUNRISE, one of the greatest films in the history of the cinema, and for me one of the two supreme silent works (the other is Dreyer’s THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC) and a film of defining emotional resonance. Seeing it with spectacular organ accompaniment that was greeted with frenzied applause at the conclusion, one can only question whether they have truly seen this film as it was meant to be seen. I hope to get to a full report of this unforgettable weekend at the movie palace.
Here are the 37 links I have for this week:
At the blogosphere’s pre-code altar, Movie Classics, Judy Geater has penned a terrific review of William Wellman’s 1937 Nothing Sacred: http://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/nothing-sacred-william-a-wellman-1937/
It’s celebration time at Checking On My Sausages where the ever-resilient Stephen Russell-Gebbett has reached the milestone of 100 posts. He offers up a stellar archive: http://checkingonmysausages.blogspot.com/2011/05/100-posts-full-archive.html
David Schleicher has penned a terrific review of Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams at The Schleicher Spin: http://theschleicherspin.com/2011/05/19/cave-of-forgotten-dreams/
Former Vietnam veteran John Greco has penned a fantastically insightful piece on Robert Altman’s M.A.S.H. at Twenty-Four Frames: http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/mash-1970-robert-altman/
As part of a 1939 blogothon the resilient R.D. Finch has penned a stupendous essay on the western masterpiece Stagecoach by John Ford at The Movie Projector: http://themovieprojector.blogspot.com/2011/05/cmba-classic-movies-of-1939-blogathon.html
At Speaking From The Heart Laurie Buchanan has a marvelous ‘bucket list’ post leading the way: http://holessence.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/dont-kick-the-bucket-before-you/
Srikanth Scrivason again writes with enormous insight at The Seventh Art with the final part of his essay on Buffalo Bill and the Indians: http://theseventhart.info/2011/05/16/buffalo-bill-and-the-indians-an-analysis-part-55/
Film Doctor has written up a glorious dismissal of the newest Pirates of the Caribbean installment at his place: http://filmdr.blogspot.com/2011/05/once-again-to-brig-pirates-of-caribbean.html
And then Jake Cole, writer extraordinaire, takes on the film at his film altar, Not Just Movies: http://armchairc.blogspot.com/2011/05/pirates-of-caribbean-on-stranger–tides.html
At the magical Creativepotager’s blogsite, artist Terrill Welch has another magnificent oil painting for your perusal: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/keeping-watch-original-oil-painting-by-terrill-welch/
Wonders in the Dark readers by now have surely seen and accessed Tony d’Ambra’s collection of poems and prose, Cinematic Poetica, a new volume available at areasonable price, featured on the sidebar. For those who have been ravished by the works as they appeared over the past two years, here’s the chance to own the entire sensory collection in a beautifully ornate booklet: https://www.lulu.com/commerce/index.php?fBuyContent=10534204
At Vermilion and One Nights our Japanese friend Murderous Ink continues his post-war Kurosawa series with a riveting piece on The Quiet Duel: http://vermillionandonenights.blogspot.com/2011/05/postwar-kurosawa-quiet-duel.html
Jaime Grijalba has posted a most intriguing feature at Exodus 8:2 titled “Superb Internet: the Original Trilogy Boxxy”: http://exodus8-2.blogspot.com/2011/05/magnifico-internet-la-trilogia-original.html
Samuel Wilson has authored a superlative review of Jean Luc Godard’s La Chinoise at Mondo 70: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2011/05/la-chinoise-1967.html
At Cinemascope Shubhajit has penned another wonderful capsule, this time on the Woodman’s Purple Rose of Cairo: http://cliched-monologues.blogspot.com/2011/05/purple-rose-of-cairo-1985.html
At Ferdy-on-Films Roderick Heath has penned a superlative review of Krull: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/?p=9929
Meanwhile at his solo site, Heath imparts his magical prose to a sprawling essay on Otto Preminger’s final film, The Human Factor (1979): http://thisislandrod.blogspot.com/2011/05/human-factor-1979.html
Filmmaker Jeffrey Goodman mentions “Moon in the Gutter” and “Wonders in the Dark” is his roundup of those promoting The Last Lullaby: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/2011/05/great-moon-in-gutter-comes-out-in.html
One of the internet’s best-kept secrets (but hopefully not for too long) is the brilliant “Jean” of Velvety Blackness, who urges readers to offer up some ‘suggestions’ at her lead post: http://velvetyblackness.blogspot.com/2011/05/suggest-and-comment.html
Slant writer extraordinaire John Lanthier likens A Serbian Film to a “transgressive” experience, awarding it 3 out of 4 stars at Aspiring Sellout: http://livingincinema.com/2011/05/14/review-a-serbian-film-2011/
Craig Kennedy conducts a terrific roundtable interview with actress Rachel McAdams at Living in Cinema: http://livingincinema.com/2011/05/20/lic-roundtable-interview-rachel-mcadams-on–midnight-in-paris/
At Scribbles and Ramblings Sachin has written a definitive appraisal of Canadian filmmaker Alan King: http://likhna.blogspot.com/2011/05/actuality-dramas-of-allan-king.html
Jason Marshall’s #5 film of 1940 is the famed classic Austen adaptation Pride and Prejudice: http://moviesovermatter.com/2011/05/20/pride-and-prejudice-best-pictures-of-1940-5/
Pat Perry at Doodad Kind of Town hasn’t updated for a while, but the Chicago native and very good friend, will be playing a vital role in the musical countdown that is tentatively scheduled to commence sometime in mid to late summer if everything falls into place. Here’s Pat’s long-running blogsite: http://doodadkindoftown.blogspot.com/
Drew McIntosh offers up a friendly dare to moviegoers with his lot of challenging screen caps in a plainly titled post “5/11/11” at The Blue Vial: http://thebluevial.blogspot.com/2011/05/images-51711.html
At Patricia’s Wisdom, readers this week are being treated with an aptly titled post, “Gifts”: http://patriciaswisdom.com/2011/05/gifts/
At Only The Cinema Ed Howard launches his “The Record Club” project: http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.com/2011/05/record-club-monday-may-23.html
Kevin Olson at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies offers up a towering essay on Fellini’s masterpiece, 8 1/2: http://kolson-kevinsblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/8-12.html
Adam Zanzie has posted what appears to be a tremendous review of 1985’s Agnes of God at Icebox Movies: http://iceboxmovies.blogspot.com/2011/05/agnes-of-god-1985.html
Hokahey takes on the new Pirates of the Caribbean sequel at Little Worlds: http://hokahey-littleworlds.blogspot.com/2011/05/pirates-of-caribbean-on-stranger-tides.html
Dave Van Poppel has some great documentary capsules from the Toronto Film Festivals posting at his place: http://visionsofnonfiction.blogspot.com/2011/05/hot-docs-2011-we-were-here.html
Jeopardy Girl asks her readers “What’s Good?” at her place this week in an ever-thoughtful post: http://jeopardygirl.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/whats-good/
Peter Lenihan has some striking screen caps up on “the films of Clair Denis” at The Long Voyage Home: http://thelongvoyagehome.blogspot.com/2011/05/your-worst-enemies-are-hiding-inside.html
Longman Oz is on a brief break at his place, but his very fine piece on Route Irish is still leading the way: http://smiledyawnednodded.com/2011/03/28/routeirish/
Troy Olson has an assortment of posts leading up at his place on live basketball blogging, a new record club and the most recent Bresson reviews: http://troyolson.blogspot.com/
J.D. has quite an exhaustive essay up at Radiator Heaven on Tony Scott’s Domino that is a must-read: http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2011/05/domino.html