Posted in Uncategorized on December 26, 2011|
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Steven Spielberg's deeply emotional 'War Horse' based on novel and Broadway play is one of the best films of 2011.
by Sam Juliano
I was awakened at around 2:30 P.M. on Sunday morning by a loud crashing sound on the roof of my home. I immediately realized that our expected visitors had arrived with several sacks of gifts and goodies for the sleeping children. I opened the front door and offered the bearded fellow with the red and white suit some steaming hot cocoa and freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. The spritely fellow was the coolest St. Nick I’ve ever met, as he offered up a new blu-ray of Bad Santa and The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t. Still he admitted he was a lifelong fan of all the holiday staples, including Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life and the 1951 A Christmas Carol, and had tens of thousands of copies to deliver before daybreak. So after a few words he was off again, leaving me to the horizontal position until the noise of opening gifts awakened me again after 9:00 A.M.
As Wonders in the Dark moves toward 2012, the present down period will almost definitely be replaced soon enough by upcoming John Ford and Stanley Kubrick retrospectives from The Long Voyage Home’s Peter Lenihan and WitD’s Dennis Polifroni, respectively. I am planning to post my Best Films of 2011 list a week from today, and am still undecided if I will be going with ten or twenty.
The week prior to Christmas typically included a slew of movie theatre visits and a DVD at home viewing of an essential film that will be opening in theatres on December 30. It also included a charity concert of Christmas songs from some distinguished Broadway alumni at the Symphony Space on Broadway and 91st Street. (more…)
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Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2011|
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Copyright © 2011 by James Clark
Henri-Georges Clouzot as a Christmas fabulist? Well, his Quai des Orfèvres (1947) does race over a Christmas time-frame. But where is the “peace on earth, goodwill toward men”? At the end, the principals do stagger up to their living-room Christmas tree and a day of celebration. But, despite fulsome protestations of their love for each other, one of them is just a few hours past attempting suicide and the other has frequently and convincingly given her partner (her “flame”) to understand that she hates him. Surely that punishing scenario, as guided by a notoriously hard-boiled auteur, could never yield a cogent dispensation of love, to make the season bright?
If we reflect a bit more, however, and take a close look at this very hard to define vehicle—action thriller? murder-mystery comedy? historical slice ofFranceadrift after the War? sentimental suspense? assault upon the French film and music industries? or ridicule of the quality of policing inParisat that time? (A police inspector is taken to task: “You don’t look like a policeman to me. You don’t even have a raincoat…”/ “It was stolen…”)—we might not only discover a fresh holiday treat, but a more comprehensive way of appreciating Clouzot’s quite bewildering (though directly impressive) art. (more…)
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