Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April 9th, 2012

Robert Duvall and Michael O'Keefe deliver Oscar-nominated performances in Lewis John Carlino's moving drama from Pat Conroy's novel.

by Sam Juliano

This is a continuation of a long dormant  series that will examine films from the 1970′s and 1980’s that were either forgotten, undervalued or misunderstood at the time of their release, but now seen in a far better light by critics and/or audiences.

Originally shown on HBO under the title The Ace in early 1979, what was originally seen as a conventional television drama, eventually morphed into a big-screen release re-titled to conform with the novel that spawned it.  Indeed, Pat Conroy’s autobiographical The Great Santini was an acclaimed work that expanded on an eulogy given for his own father, one that bluntly asserted that “the children of fighter pilots tell different stories than other kids do.”  But unexpectedly, and with little initial fanfare, it gave celebrated actor Robert Duvall one of the best roles of his career, one that brought him an Academy Award nomination in the year that Robert DeNiro prevailed for Raging Bull.  Duvall’s electrifying macho turn as “Bull Meechum”, a  marine-training pilot, who works out of Beauford, South Carolina in 1962 is a wholly charismatic portrayal that play’s to the actor’s strengths.  Meechum’s war-time sensibility is hardly attuned to peace time domesticity, and with a ferocious rage he treats the members of his family as if they were recruits for an exacting even oppressive commando training.  Yet, he’s an inveterate drinker and practical joker, one who’s as adverse to protocol as he is for strict enforcement of rules in the dictatorial management of his household.  But Bull Meachum is no kin to  the inhuman characters portrayed by Lee Emery in Full Metal Jacket nor Mark Metcalf as cadet commander Doug Niedermeyer in Animal House.    He’s painted by Conroy and director Lewis John Carlino as a larger-than-life mountain of hubris and twisted priority, a flawed character whose inner sensitivity is hidden behind a facade of misguided self-assurance and inflated bravado, one who calls everyone “sports fan,” issues “direct orders” and fully expects to be addressed as “Sir” at all times.  He’s a slightly altered variation of Duvall’s own Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore from Apocalypse Now. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Screen capture from Terrence Davies' 1992 masterpiece 'The Long Day Closes' which played for one week at Film Forum

by Sam Juliano

The Easter bunny has come and gone, but chocolate goodies and the appearance of some requested gifts offer proof for his annual spring visit.  Those who are lucky will enjoy a one-week respite, while others will at least take full advantage of some splendid weather and the opportnity to wear short sleeves and light clothing.  In New York City the Tribeca Festival draws nearer and nationwide the quality of film releases seems to be on a marginal upswing.  Baseball season has started, while playoff action for basketball and ice hockey is right around the corner.   Yankee fans are not happy campers after the Bombers opened the season with three consecutive losses to Tampa.

The action at Wonders in the Dark remains consistent, with the incomparable Fish Obscuro, weekly voting of the best of every year,  Bob Clark’s terrific weekly essay on Saturday, Peter Lehihan’s exceptional series on John Ford, Jaime Grijalba’s coverage of Asian cinema, and Jamie Uhler’s remarkable ‘Getting Over the Beatles’ series reaching it’s 63rd installment.

Lucille and I had yet another busy week taking in movies on the outside and in attending a world premiere of Tennessee Williams’s final play In Masks Outrageous and Austere at the Culture Project on Bleecker Street on Saturday night.  I intend to have a full review up by next week, but at this point I am still sorting this bizarre work of theatre out.  It’s surreal and erotic, and it explores a mysterious world defined by paranoia and disorientation, where people are held captive by omnipotent corporate forces.  Threatening characters enter the world of a very rich woman, her gay husband and his young lover, and bizarre characters enter to erode the trust built between the three.  The whole enterprise is staged as if it were in another dimension. (more…)

Read Full Post »