by Sam Juliano
After Halloween was taken from us by a wrathful Mother Nature and the northeast has come back from a month of grief and deprivation, those of us in the blighted areas will still join the rest of America in celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday. Turkey Day, which normally gets relatives together for that all-too-rare annual occasion, always signals the beginning of the holiday season, and the buying of gifts and home decorating. Here at Wonders in the Dark, the staff wishes all those celebrating the holiday stateside and overseas to have a peaceful and enjoyable day. Moderation is always the best policy of course, and a brisk walk could do wonders between watching the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys strut their gridiron prowess.
Late November also means the best part of the movie season is upon us. Still to come in addition to the films seen during the week covered by this MMD, are Amour, Rust and Bone, Les Miserables, The Hobbit, Hyde Park on the Hudson, The Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Hitchcock and The Promised Land. Those attempting to compile the foundation of a year-end Ten Best List will find the exercise most frustrating until the table is run with the imminent openings. It does seem at this point though that films like The Turin Hose, Holy Motors, War Witch, Oslo August 17th, Monsieur Lazhar, The Kid with a Bike, The Deep Blue Sea and Lincoln will be hard to keep off the final shortlist. But that’s eight, so there would be only two more openings, so a revamp seems inevitable.
Hope some of you had had a chance to check out Jaimie Grijalba’s new site “Overlook’s Corridor” whose title homages Stanley Kubrick’s celebrated 80’s horror film (http://overlookhotelfilm.wordpress.com/) . Jaimie takes a look at the 1990’s in an irresistible post that lobbies for individual lists. Joel Bocko has officially launched his new site “I lost It At the Movies” which is a kind of extension of “The Dancing Image.” It’s a place any serious moviegoer won’t want to be without! best Wishes to our good friend and colleague!Dee Dee, Lori Moore and Barbara La Motta continue to promote the “John Garfield petition’ on a page easily accessible under the actor’s photo on the sidebar. The long-running ‘Comedy Countdown’ enters the final stretch, with the top finishers and what are surely to be the greatest reviews of all just around the corner. The venture has been an astounding success, what with page views and reader comments being added at a spirited pace day in and day out.
Over the past week Lucille and I (and the boys for a few; Broadway Bob for the Friday and Saturday features) saw:
A Late Quartet **** (Tuesday night) Montclair Claridge Cinemas
Silver Linings Playbook *** (Friday night) Angelika Film Center
Anna Karenina ** 1/2 (Saturday night) Lincoln Plaza Cinemas
The Mark of Zorro **** (Monday night) Fairbanks at Film Forum
Although lacking the handsome production values of the later versions of the timeless story, the 1920 Douglas Fairbanks Sr. version, THE MARK OF ZORRO brings together imaginative duels and chases and features the rousing swashbuckler at the peak of his physical powers and charismatic flamboyance. There’s a marvelous strain of humor, and Steve Sterner’s spirited piano accompaniment made for a terrific opening night of the Film Forum’s Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Festival. There are some great individual moments David O. Russell’s highly-regarded SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and Jennifer Lawrence in magnificent in her quirky role that is destined to awards, but the film is sometimes over-the-top and strained, and there’s far less magic in Bradley Cooper’s performance. Robert DeNiro as a Philadelphia cheese steak and Eagles fan is as always earthy and appealing, but the film is oddly uneven and bereft of a deeper context. But Lawrence alone if the reason it must be seen. Joe Wright’s ANNA KARENINA is narratively inert, and unable to make some of teh arresting visuals and Dario Marianelli score amount to much more than ultimately irrelevent components. The acting by Keira Knighley and others is impressive enough, but this one never establishes any kind of dramatic urgency. A LATE QUARTET features Christopher Walken, Phillip Seymour Hoffmann and Catherine Keener in superlative performances as members of a string quartet bonded despite some serious domestic issues that threaten to permanently dispand the group. The film weaves a resonating emotional spell.
I also got to see LINCOLN and SKYFALL for a second time with hot to trot friends. LINCOLN actually got even better, and Day-Lewis once again offered up a master class of acting. Spielberg avoided sentiment to offer a realistic look at one of history’s most beloved figures. Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones are unforgettable as well.
Most of the links are new:
Samuel Wilson at Mondo 70 has authored an epic treatment of Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” one in which he heaps considerable praise on: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2012/11/on-big-screen-lincoln-2012.html
At The Cooler Jason Bellamy has also written a masterful essay on “Lincoln”, one in which he presents a highly critical view: http://coolercinema.blogspot.com/2012/11/a-film-divided-lincoln.html
At Twenty Four Frames John Greco has posted a fantastic review with author David Koenig: http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/interview-with-author-david-koenig-2/
Judy Geater’s superlative esssay on the little-seen “Angel” by Ernst Lubitsch at Movie Classics is a must-read for cineastes: http://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/angel-ernst-lubitsch-1937/
At Ferdy on Films Marilyn Ferdinand has penned an extraordinary review of Hitchcock’s 1924 silent “The White Shadow” that’s a must of film fans and preservationists: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/2012/the-white-shadow-1924/16572/
Laurie Buchanan’s latest post is a glorious report on her Mexican trip, where she epoke at the First Annual Wellness and Spirituality Expo in San Miguel de Allende.
Tony d’Ambra leads the way at Films Noir.net for a terrific piece on the little-exposed Italian noir ‘La Bionda’.
Jaimie Grijalba has officially launched his fantastic new site “Overlook’s Corner” with a buffo piece on Chilean cinema: http://overlookhotelfilm.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/chilean-cinema-2012-12-miguel-san-miguel/
At Cinemascope Shubhajit Laheri has authored a fabulous, thought-provoking capsule review on Leon carax’s masterful “Holy Motors”: http://cliched-monologues.blogspot.com/2012/11/holy-motors-2012.html
Murderous Ink at Vermillion and One Nights has written a wholly fascinating essay on anew volume about Japanese acting icon Setsuko Hara, who is still living at age 92 in relative seclusion: http://vermillionandonenights.blogspot.com/2012/11/all-about-setsuko-hara.html
Dean Treadway’s new post “Cinema Gallery: 30 Scenes of Loneliness” is essential for all passionate film lovers. It’s over at Filmicability: http://filmicability.blogspot.com/2012/11/blog-post_6.html
At the magical Creativepotager’s blog Terrill Welch has a showcase of visual treasures up in her ravishing new post “New Homes for art and other studio musings”: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/new-homes-for-art-and-other-studio-musings/
Jon Warner leads the way at “Films Worth Watching” with his terrific WitD comedy countdown review of Lubitsch’s “To Be or Not to Be”: http://filmsworthwatching.blogspot.com/2012/11/to-be-or-not-to-be-1942-directed-by.html
Pat Perry has penned eight splendid capsules of a wide array of films she’s seen recently at Doodad Kind of Town: http://doodadkindoftown.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-catch-up-post-little-bit-about-lot.html
History teacher Hokahey has written a marvelous, thought-provoking review essay on “Lincoln” at Little Worlds: http://hokahey-littleworlds.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-morning-of-vote-spielbergs-history.html
Joel Bocko offers up a fascinating conversation with Bob Clark on “Neon Genesis Evangelion, Episode 3” at his wonderful new site Lost it at the Movies: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2012/11/neon-genesis-evangelion-episode-3.html
Ed Howard has penned a master-class essay of the sublime Powell & Pressburger opera film “The Tales of Hoffmann” at Only the Cinema: http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-tales-of-hoffmann.html
Sachin Gandhi offers up a fabulous report on the Calgary Latin Wave Festival at Scribbles and Ramblings: http://likhna.blogspot.com/2012/11/calgary-latin-wave-festival.html
David Schleicher has authored a magnificent essay on the new James Bond movie “Skyfall” at The Schleicher Spin: http://theschleicherspin.com/2012/11/15/i-fall-you-fall-we-all-fall-for-skyfall/
Weeping Sam offers up a quietly powerful Ezra Pound poem for Armistice Day at The Listening Ear: http://listeningear.blogspot.com/2012/11/armistice-day-poem.html
A treasure trove of priceless reviews and listings can be accessed on the pages of The Last Lullaby, director Jeffrey Goodman’s indispensible site: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/
Dee Dee offers up petition co-founder Lori Moore’s own take on a John Garfield classic over at Darkness Into Light: http://noirishcity.blogspot.com/2012/09/john-garfield-in-nobody-lives-forever.html
Roderick Heath offers an excellent review of Oliver Stone’s latest film “Savages” at Ferdy on Films: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/2012/savages-2012/16614/
R.D. Finch has written a splendid essay on 1965’s “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” at The Movie Projector: http://themovieprojector.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-spy-who-came-in-from-cold-1965.html h
Kaleem Hasan offers an engaging post at Satyamshot titled “Shahrukh in Conversation with Yash Chopra”: http://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/shahrukh-in-conversation-with-yash-chopra/
One of the net’s finest writers, the exceedingly talented Jason Bellamy has written a fantastic essay on Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” at The Cooler: http://coolercinema.blogspot.com/2012/09/touching-void-master.html
At Patricia’s Wisdom our friendly host has penned a terrific book review of “Televenge”: http://patriciaswisdom.com/2012/11/televenge-pamela-king-cable/
The comment section under Kevin Olson’s superlative essay on “The Master” at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies makes this presentation a must read for film fans: http://kolson-kevinsblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-master.html
At the Coffee Messiah’s blog the indominable Michael Harford features a collage on cultivation: http://coffeemessiah.blogspot.com/2012/09/cultivate.html
Craig Kennedy has penned at terrific review on “Frankenweenie” at Living in Cinema: http://livingincinema.com/2012/10/05/frankenweenie-2012/
Stephen Russell-Gebbett has posted another thought-provoking piece, this time on 2010’s “Burning Bright” at Checking on my Sausages: http://checkingonmysausages.blogspot.com/2012/09/burning-bright-2010.html
David Lawrence, thjat erudite and personable educator from the U.K. features a poster of a Hammer classic at his new site Musings and Meanderings: http://1mouth2ears.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/movie-posters-1-dracula-has-risen-from-the-grave-1968/
Brandie Ashe happily announces a “Singin in the Rain” giveaway at True Classics: http://trueclassics.net/2012/08/10/singin-again-plus-a-giveaway/
Roderick Heath has posted a terrific new review of the reteaming of John Hillcoat and Nick Cave for this year’s “Lawless” at This Island Rod: thisislandrod.blogspot.com/2012/10/lawless-2012.html
J. D. LaFrance has penned a terrific piece on Tony Scott’s “The Last Boy Scout” at Radiator Heaven: http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-last-boy-scout.html
The esteemed Film Doctor, a professor on Film Studies at a southern university, has written a fascinating piece on P.J. Anderson’s “The Master” at The Film Doctor: http://filmdr.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-master-s-whip-lash-8-notes.html
Adam Zanzie has posted a terrific “alternative Sight and Sound list at Icebox Movies: http://www.iceboxmovies.blogspot.com/2012/08/my-alternative-sight-sound-list.html
Jason Marshall has continued his superb coverage of 1942 at Movies Over Matter with a wonderful post on his Best Actor choice for that year: Chishu Ryu: http://moviesovermatter.com/2012/08/09/chishu-ryu-in-there-was-a-father-best-actor-of-1942/
Peter Lenihan has written a superlative essay talking about two films: “Dredd” and “Savages” at The Long Voyage Home: http://thelongvoyagehome.blogspot.com/2012/09/double-feature-dredd-savages.html
At The Blue Vial Drew offers up “w/o” and some intriguing Fordian parallels: http://thebluevial.blogspot.com/2012/10/wo_5.html
At The Last Lullaby, the ever delightful filmmaker Jeffrey Goodman takes a look at part sixteen of his long running quartet series: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/2012/04/favorite-four-part-sixteen.html
Stephen Russell-Gebbett at Checking on my Sausages again offers up a brillinatly-creative feature on ‘Sport as the Perfect Fiction”: http://checkingonmysausages.blogspot.com/2012/08/sport-is-perfect-fiction.html
Tony Dayoub takes a look at the summer’s Barnes and Noble 50% off sale for Criterion collectots at Cinema Viewfinder: http://www.cinemaviewfinder.com/2012/07/criterion-summer.html
Greg Ferrara at Cinema Styles talks about the Colorado shootings in a moving feature: http://cinemastyles.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-dark-knight-shooting-in-colorado.html
Jeopardy Girl talks about her “least favorite film” at her wonderful new series at “The Continuing Saga of Jeopardy Girl”: http://jeopardygirl.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/2-my-least-favourite-film/
Dave Van Poppel has a tremendous batch of short reviews up at Visions of Non Fiction on the Toronto Film Festival: