Archive for May, 2011

by Allan Fish

(France/Italy/UK 1962 118m) DVD1 (DVD2 only 103m version)

Aka. Eve

Hear me willow and weep

p  Robert Hakim, Raymond Hakim  d  Joseph Losey  w  Hugo Butler, Evan Jones  novel  James Hadley Chase  ph  Gianni di Venanzo, Henri Decaë  ed  Reginald Beck, Franco Silvi  m  Michel Legrand  art  Richard MacDonald, Luigi Scaccianace

Jeanne Moreau (Eve Olivier), Stanley Baker (Tyvian Jones), Virna Lisi (Francesca), Giorgio Albertazzi (Sergio Branco Mallone), James Villiers (Alan McCormick),

It was in 1958 I believe when Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time stopped off in Venice during the film festival and there was a revealing scene under the ceiling of the Bragadin Palace.  Powell’s work had featured a Medusa of the highest order, Pamela Flitton, who sent various men to their death, both actually and by proxy.  Eva finds us inVenice around the same time, and it’s a very different Venice to that then seen in the movies.  True, Nic Roeg hadn’t been yet, or Visconti, or Tinto Brass (for those with the inclination to see Frank Finlay in suspenders and stockings), but here we have Venice as leash, with a character trying to escape but finally accepting his own deserved perdition.  (more…)

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"Speaking From The Heart's" effervescent Laurie Buchanan

by Sam Juliano

As humans, we’re multi-dimensional in nature. We operate from physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual dimensions simultaneously. For true health to occur, we must learn how all these dimensions interact and affect our overall health.

-Laurie Buchanan

Note:  This is the ninth in a series on bloggers who have made a vast difference on the on-line landscape.

Optimum health is  achieved by a perfect orchestration of the mental and the physical sides of our being, and one without the other can be likened to a fish out of water.  Crystal Lake, Illinois holistic health practitioner Laurie Buchanan has set the groundwork for her loyal readership to experience the kind of well-being that has been the defining coda of her blogsite, Speaking From The Heart since it’s inception in February of 2010.  Buchanan, who hold a PhD in energy medicine, has painstakingly examined the four aspects of a person’s essence that need to work in unison to maintain and eqilibrium of wellness – that of physical, emotional, mental and spiritial.  By exploring the basic tenets of philosophical thought, astrology and practical reality, the tireless proponent of a stress-free life admits that decision making and personal application are vital in the realization of these goals. (more…)

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Werner Herzog's 3D documentary adventure "The Cave of Forgotten Dreams"

by Sam Juliano

I trust everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day, and I especially salute the incomparable moms in our midst!  Certainly I can say the loveliest moment over the weekend occured early Sunday when a knock on the front door finalized the delivery of beautiful flowers for Lucille, sent on by that most beautiful of beautiful human beings, our own beloved Dee Dee.  When I think of all her kindnesses, I start to get teary-eyed.  Whenever anyone ponders how miserable things may get from time to time, think of this very special woman.  The thoughts of what she has done will restore your faith in the human race.  She has consistently injected the blogging experience with passionate regard for her colleagues and a sense of humanity that this largely didactic endeavor has sorely needed.  Lucille and my two daughters especially, were deeply moved my dear friend by this incredible gesture.  I know this public acknowledgement isn’t your kind of thing, but I simply can’t remain silent.  The beautiful ‘Mother’s Day’ banner on the sidebar is also courtesy of Dee Dee, who regularly manages and upgrades the content of the top and sidebars.

Speaking of Mothers, Allan Fish has now officially launched the ‘Mother’ of all film lists, a project that is as remarkable in its audacity as it is in sheer comprehensiveness.  Allan is arguably the most authoritative film connosseur online (or anywhere for that matter) and this list is far more than a labor of love, but written proof that this eccentric, outspoken and utterly brilliant Brit has travelled further than his peers in terms of scope and discernment.  The project is merely a prelude for the intended publication of his long-awaited film book, and encompasses the posting of the 3,000 greatest films ever made, with 600 a day through Thursday of this week.  The endeavor was urged upon Allan from early last year, and he has complied with approximation, even while admitting the arbitrary nature of such a listing was stifling.  Still as a resource, there isn’t a better and more valuable film list available anywhere.  And that revelation is perhaps Allan’s most untouchable claim to prominence in the film world.  Bravo, Allan!  The site stats for a Sunday (the slowest day of the week in this regard) have been staggering both in page views and comments.  I’m hardly surprised.  I think Joel Bocko (a.k.a. Movie Man) has put on a comment show that desrves mentioning in the Guiness World Book of Records. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

Here we go, next 600….


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by Allan Fish

The first thing that needs to be said with regards to this venture is that I need my head examined. That can, of course, be taken as a given, but it seems a good way to finalise all my countdowns on the site, 10 months after the end of the decade countdowns.

As I stressed when I made the announcement, those countdowns will have no bearing on this countdown. That was then, this is now, and I have sen a lot of films since then. However, there are some that don’t get here in time. My first disclaimer is for the following list that didn’t make the list because I have been unable to see them, or else only seen in a non-subbed print with no subs or notes. My apologies to the following…

The Miracle of the Wolves (France 1924…Raymond Bernard)
The Slums of Berlin (Germany 1925…Gerhard Lamprecht)
Laila (Norway 1929…George Schnéevoigt)
Maria do Mar (Portugal 1930…José Leitáo de Barros)
Raise the Roof (UK 1930…Walter Summers)
Love and Duty (China 1931…Bu Wancang)
Seven Seas: Parts I & II (Japan 1931…Hiroshi Shimizu)
Stolen Death (Finland 1938…Nyrki Tapiovaara)
Vénus Aveugle (France 1941…Abel Gance)
Caprices (France 1942…Leo Joannon)
Caccia Tragica (Italy 1947…Giuseppe de Santis)
Les Dernières Vacances (France 1947…Roger Leenhardt)
Der Apfel ist Ab (West Germany 1948…Helmut Kautner)
L’Ingenue Libertine (France 1950…Jacqueline Audry)
The Crimson Curtain (France 1952…Alexandre Astruc)
Four Chimneys (Japan 1953…Heinosuke Gosho)
La Rage au Corps (France 1954…Ralph Habib)
Punishment Room (Japan 1956…Kon Ichikawa)
Susuki Paradise Red Light District (Japan 1956…Yuzo Kawashima)
Not Long After Leaving Shinagawa (Japan 1957…Yuzo Kawashima)
The Sun Legend of the End of the Tokugawa Era (Japan 1957…Yuzo Kawashima)
Times of Joy and Sorrow (Japan 1957…Keisuke Kinoshita)
Araya (Venezuala 1958…Margot Benacerraf)
Goodbye Hello (Japan 1959…Kon Ichikawa)
Viva l’Italia (Italy 1960…Roberto Rossellini)
Immortal Love (Japan 1961…Keisuke Kinoshita)
A Wife Confesses (Japan 1961…Yasuzo Masumura)
The Graceful Brute (Japan 1962…Yuzo Kawashima)
Twin Sisters of Kyoto (Japan 1963…Noboru Nakamura)
Once There Was a War (Denmark 1966…Palle Kjaerulff-Schmidt)
Paris in the Month of August (France 1966…Pierre Granier-Deferre)
The Wife of Seishu Hanaokai (Japan 1967…Yasuzo Masumura)
The Sex Check (Japan 1968…Yasuzo Masumura)
Fuck (US 1969…Andy Warhol)
Failed Youth (Japan 1974…Tatsumi Kumashiro)
Days of Hope (UK-TV 1975…Ken Loach)
Kaseki (Japan-TV 1975…Masaki Kobayashi)
Amor de Perdicao (Portugal 1978…Manoel de Oliveira)

All the above would have been pushing for places, and one mourns especially that no Yuzo Kawashimas are in the list when there are four titles above that would probably make it if there were English friendly additions.  Also, there are seven titles above I hope to have within the next few months, but not quickly enough for this.  (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

Time travel movies. What’s with them? Some people love them, some people don’t care for them, while other (who I recently discovered, aren’t really people! Amazing discoveries of science today) simply hate them; but those who love them, or like them for any matter, will watch simply anything that follows a certain patter of rules on how time travel works, paraphrasing what Prof. Monnitoff in the movie ‘Donnie Darko’ (2001), you have your vessel and you have your wormhole and you can travel in time and space. What we need is an specific set of rules (a vessel, a vehicle) and a place to go, a purpose in the life of the one who’s travelling (a wormhole). The great time travel films, acoording to me at least, follow these two rules, and not many movies do: the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy follow them and many consider them to be the epitome of these kind of movies, the whole trilogy presents us the vessel to defeat them all, the DeLorean, but the wormhole in the two sequels aren’t as clear, as the initial conflicts are initiated due to the need to fix the life of someone, while the first one just had the urge of going back to the future; ‘Donnie Darko’ (2001) has a complex set of rules, but they are there and they are not made explicit (not even in the superior director’s cut), and the purpose is also there, but it’s also a secret to us, making it interesting in its mystery, which comes alive at the end… if you’ve been paying attention; does anyone remember the rules or the travel method of ‘Deja Vu’ (2006)? I can remember the wormhole, I mean, the reason and the time to travel, but the science is confusing, even if it’s present the whole time right before our own eyes, but at the moment of revelation it’s quick and makes no sense.


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by Allan Fish

(UK 1960 97m) DVD1/2 (Netherlands/France only)

Aka. The Concrete Jungle

Nick Nack Paddy Whack

p  Jack Greenwood  d  Joseph Losey  w  Alun Owen, Jimmy Sangster  ph  Robert Krasker  ed  Reginald Mills  m  John Dankworth  art  Richard MacDonald

Stanley Baker (Johnny Bannion), Gregoire Aslan (Frank Saffron), Sam Wanamaker (Mike Carter), Patrick Magee (Barrows), Margit Saad (Suzanne), Noel Willman (Governor), Jill Bennett (Maggie), Nigel Green (Ted), Patrick Wymark (Sol), Laurence Naismith (Mr Town), Rupert Davies (Edwards), Tom Bell (Flynn), Murray Melvin (Antlers),

To say that British crime films needed a shot of adrenaline in 1960 is understating the point quite alarmingly.  The genre literally needed the sort of shot through to the heart given to Uma Thurman by John Travolta in a nineties film I needn’t name.  Compare it, for example, to the same year’s The League of Gentlemen, a rarefied, comic, light-hearted romp which, though well made, made one realise just how jocular the approach to crime in British film had become.  There had been attempts to bring it out of the dark ages and into the 20th century, but with the significant exception of the Boultings’ Brighton Rock, such efforts were only undertaken by émigré foreigners decamped to Blighty, such as Brazilian Cavalcanti’s They Made Me a Fugitive and Jules Dassin’s Night and the City.  Both those films are unjustly overlooked today, and the same is also true of this superior Joseph Losey thriller, which most British critics see merely as a vehicle for Stanley Baker.  Sometimes the myopia of professional reviewers does indeed beggar belief. (more…)

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Copyright © 2011 by James Clark

      With its verdant, bucolic hinterland and pedestrian-friendly, clean and cozy little city (not to mention its sixty-six year-old protagonist, living on a meagre pension), you would not be drawn right away to realize the close kinship that Lee Chang-dong’s Poetry (2010) bears toward Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert (1964). Both films, however, in essence, track the prospects for masterful lyrism of sensibility in a tone-deaf, blighted world history. Antonioni’s way was ruthless espionage informed and covered by ironic and elusive gusto. Lee Chang-dong’s way would seem to be a self-sacrificial shot in the dark, its protagonist’s killing herself (an option once salient for Red Desert’s Giuliana) hardly the stuff where traction lies. But Poetry, like the métier of poetry, is hard to pin down. In view of the murkiness of its energies—and their consequentiality—it might be useful to refer to a distinguished instance from long ago, wherein domestic probity unequivocally wins out, and craved-for adventure subsides to a furtive and futile nostalgic flutter. In view of that offshoot of an era when bittersweet whimsy was quite enough, we might discover that the entry from 2010 is “poetic” in the sense of having so much stuff on the ball as to take us back to the phantom pitching of Antonioni’s golden moment. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(UK 1947 101m)DVD2

Aka. I Became a Criminal

Appointment at the Valhalla

p  Nat Bronsten, James Carter  d  Alberto Cavalcanti  w  Noel Langley  novel  “A Convict Has Escaped” by Jackson Budd  ph  Otto Heller  ed  Marjorie Saunders  m  Marius-François Gaillard  art  Andrew Mazzei

Trevor Howard (Clem Morgan), Sally Gray (Sally Connor),GriffithJones (Narcie), Mary Merrall (Aggie), Vida Hope (Mrs Fenshaw), Ballard Berkeley (Inspector Rockcliffe), René Ray (Cora), Peter Bull (Fidgety Phil), Maurice Denham (Mr Fenshaw), Charles Farrell (Curley), Eve Ashley (Ellen), Jack McNaughton (Soapy), Michael Brennan (Jim),

It was the most creative and productive period in British cinema history, the era when Powell & Pressburger, Lean, Reed, Jennings, Launder & Gilliat and the Boultings were all doing their best work, when Ealing studios, though not entering their classic comedy phase, were coming to the fore.  At that self-same studio Cavalcanti had made Nicholas Nickleby in response to the success of Rank’s David Lean classic Great Expectations.  A few performances aside (Alfie Drayton’s Whackford Squeers and Cedric Hardwicke’s villainous Uncle Ralph especially), it wasn’t a success, and followed in the tradition of English nostalgia Cavalcanti had mined previously.  They Made Me a Fugitive, released the same year as Nickleby, could not have been a bigger departure.  It was that rarest of beasts, a truly British, ultra-pessimistic thriller that gets better and better with age. (more…)

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CarolChanningLargerThanLife 500x281 ‘Carol Channing: Larger Than Life’ (documentary)

Dori Berinstein's vivacious "Carol Channing: Larger Than Life" was Tribeca's best documentary feature

Michael Cuesta's perceptive and minimalist "Roadie" was Tribeca's finest narrative feature

by Sam Juliano

A hectic time-consuming week at the Tribeca Film Festival and a weekend stomach virus have consorted to prevent me from tackling the blogosphere links that display on this thread every week.  I simply didn’t have any time to do this, but fully expect to have the links back up next weekend.  My apologies to all. I still have managed a few that pertain to the body of this thread, including the feature link to The Dancing Image, a soon-to-be-abandoned site managed for several years by the incomparable Joel “Movie Man” Bocko, a cherished WitD affiliate, colleague and personal friend, who has publically announced he is ending his long-running blogging stint as of this week.  Career moves and a probable relocation to the west coast have convinced Bocko to presently suspend further postings at his site, though he is hopeful the treasure trove of movie-related features and reviews will serve as a continuing reference tool for the blogging community.  Bocko’s deparature leaves a void that is frankly impossible to fill, and one that will be acutely felt, especially by those who have been enriched by his exceptional writing and one-of-a-kind commentary.  WitD will always consider Joel as part of the family here, and his name will never be removed from the sidebar as long as this site continues to thrive.

Maurizio Roca’s ‘Film Noir Countdown’ has officially crossed the finish line, and the young Brooklynite deserves exceeding praise for his selections and excellent writing throughout the long-running project.  His choices will provide those embraking on a comprehensive study of the genre with a plthora of great essays and insilghts.  On another most worthy note, Tony d’Ambra’s sidebar poster continues to feature the recent publication of his extraordinary collection of film-inspired poetry titled “Cinematic Poetica.”  There is presently a terrific discount being offered for those who order through the site.

Otherwise, it’s been Tribeca, Tribeca and more Tribeca.  Through the generous efforts of one of the festival’s program directors, Mr. Pete Torres, (a friend and contact of Dennis Polifroni) WitD received 2 tickets for nine features.  I succeeded in attending all nine (most of the time with Lucille, but a few with Broadway Bob and Melanie) and to boot, waited on the Rush line on Sunday night to secure a ticket to the Carol Channing documentary that wasn’t requested on my original list to Torres.  The Tribeca Festival, conducted primarily in four locations around the city, was headquartered at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas on 23rd Street, where I saw 60% of the screenings I managed.  With well over 80 feature films on the schedule, even the most avid filmgoer wouldn’t be able to make more than a quarter of them, so to have successfully negotiated ten was a satisfying achievement, especially having watched the Heinecken First and Third Place Award winners, and several others that are sure to win theatrical openings in the near-future.  Staying on for a number of the Q & A sessions certainly added to this remarkable festival experience.  I have decided to integrate the Tribeca venture into this week’s diary thread, offering up star rating and capsule reviews.  I have furthermore opted to post the star ratings together, and then the brief commentaries on each film.  I have ordered then in the sequence I saw them with date included.  I did include the first two films on last week’s diary thraed as well, since they were seen before I prepared last week’s installment.  Keep in mind that my comments here are of course based on the ten films I saw.

Point Blank  *** 1/2   (France)     Saturday 4/23  – AMC Loews Village 7

The Last Round  **    (Chile)        Sunday 4/24  – Clearview Chelsea Cinemas

The Swell Season  ****   (USA)     Monday 4/25 – SVA Theatre

Gone     **      (USA)                         Tuesday 4/26 – Clearview Chelsea Cinemas

The Perfect Family  *** 1/2  (USA)  Wednesday 4/27 – AMC Loews Village 7

Roadie   **** 1/2   (USA)       Thursday 4/28 – Clearview Chelsea Cinemas

Detachment   ****   (USA)                Friday 4/29 – AMC Loews Village 7

Shakespeare High   ** 1/2  (USA)    Saturday 4/30 – Clearview Chelsea Cin.

Give Up Tomorrow  **** (UK, USA)  Sunday 5/1 – Clearview Chelsea Cinemas

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life **** 1/2  (USA) Sunday 5/1 – Chelsea Cin. (more…)

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