Archive for December 12th, 2011

Shubhajit Laheri, Cinemascope’s tireless film scholar

 by Sam Juliano

     Note:  This is the tenth feature in an ongoing series devoted to creative bloggers who have made their mark online.

The movie blogsite Cinemascope was launched on May of 2008 by an Indian university student named Shubhajit Lahiri.  The site’s prolific output is remarkably diverse, as Laheri’s knowledge and appreciation of world cinema is matched by his expertise in Bengali and Hindi cinema and a noted focus on the work of some of the form’s most renowned artists.  Laheri manages his home base with the agility of a veteran juggler, alternating genre and countries, while simultaneously negotiating a rich and demanding personal life that for the last year has had him living at school to complete a two-year graduate course in business management, one the tireless operator hopes to assist him in a career dedicated to professional service.  Lahiri is from a family that includes a bevy of post-graduates and holders of PhDs.

Laheri is a master of what is known in the trade as the ‘capsule’ review.  This exact science of feature writing features brief sketches of the film in question, a style that leaves not a single wasted word, and engages the reader with engaging prose and an uncommonly fine talent of pointing to the elements that both define the work and delineate it’s artistry.  A visit to Cinemascope invariably rewards the reader with a no-nonsence review, free of stifling ostentation and an acute focus on the varying historical, sociological, thematic and artistic components that are part of the cinematic landscape.  Lahiri’s prose is often poetic, and his attention to detail through striking descriptive makes his writing a joy for movie fans looking for something deeper than just a sketch summary.  Lahiri’s art is one of compression, and it’s an eternal challenge not to concede important insights because of a pre-determined length.  Modestly, Lahiri asserts that the initial intent for adopting this approach was a practical one, and one that was ultimately preferred over the alternative of penning longer critiques. Writing concise reviews has allowed Lahiri to compose a far greater number of reviews, and amazingly the Calcutta born and raised writer has penned a staggering 580 reviews, all of which are stored in the site’s vast archives. (more…)

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screen cap from film 'Coriolanus,' based on Shakespeare's play

by Sam Juliano

The countdown for Christmas Day 2011 is now nearing the single digits, and holiday shopping is at a peak at a time when the weather has at least been cooperative.  The action at Wonders in the Dark has abated considerably since the conclusion of the musical countdown, but this down period is being experienced all over the blogosphere, as readers are understandably pre-occupied with more pressing responsibilities at this time.  The site is in a kind of a holding pattern, with Ford and Kuibrick projects nearing and a massive spring ‘comedy countdown’ presently being discussed at the preliminary level.

The critics’ groups are naming their annual awards at a feverish pace, with Los Angeles, Boston, the New York Critics Online and Detroit all weighing in over the weekend.  The Artist continues to dominate, though LA rocked the boat by going with The Descendants and Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life.

     Late last night the San Francisco Film Critics Circle chimed in with the best results of all so far by going with The Tree of Life as Best Picture, Terrence Malick as Best Director and among other excellent choices, Vanessa Redgrave for Best Supporting Actress for Coriolanus. Way to go San Fran!

In any case it was business as usual at the site over the past week with Jim Clark chiming in with an ever-impressive essay on the Coens’ A Serious Man, Jamie Uhler’s “Getting Over the Beatles” series reaching an astounding 53rd installment, and both the Fish Obscuro and Bob Clark’s comic-to-screen series offering up memorable pieces. (more…)

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