by Sam Juliano
January 2013 has offered up some surprisingly mild weather to this point, though this revelation could well jinx the spirit of friendship now shared with Mother Nature. I speak of course of the northeast only, and know well the mid-west has received more than their share of the white stuff and chilling temperatures. Today is Martin Luther King Day, and some schools and banks are closed down stateside. There are tentative plans to move forward this coming week with the Oscar discussion video with Dennis at a local restaurant, with Jason Giampietro as always behind the camera. The gathering will be downloaded and then posted at the site something in the very near future on a date to firmed up.
Joel Bocko’s fabulous new film short , Class of 2002, is complete and is presently posted at I Lost It at the Movies. This often arresting photo memoir boasts some brilliant editing and an alluring narrative voice. WitD wishes Joel great success with his new work, and encourages all site readers to access it on the very first link under the MMD proper. Joel states in his lead in: “Class of 2002 is subtitled “a photo-memoir” because it takes the form of a documentary fusing snapshots, home movies, found footage and voiceover to recall the tragic lives of five young people the narrator knew in high school. This is, of course, a work of fiction and through its anecdotes, illustrations, and asides I hope to tell an overarching story. The narrator focuses on his five classmates, whom we discover through his descriptions and recollections, but eventually we learn more about his own life, and how it connects to the people and places we’ve encountered.”
A candle remains lit for Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, the new school in Monroe, and for the valiant principal Dawn Hochsprung, her courageous staff colleagues and the 20 angels who left us on that fateful Friday in mid-December. Selfless first grade schoolteacher Victoria Leigh Soto has now had a new building named after her in her home town of Stamford. A beautiful gesture by local officials, and an insurance policy on the continued memory of this great, beloved young woman.
Two head coach ‘brothers’ will match up in the Super Bowl in two weeks as the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers after their victories over the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, respectively on Sunday.
Standing by my recent promise of movie going moderation, Lucille and I saw just two new movie releases over the past week, though as I sheepishly admitted in a previous post I also took in my fifth viewing of Les Miserables with my son Danny and friend Dennis, who has not seen the film previously. I also continued with Mark Cousins’ utterly magnificent The Story of Film: An Odyssey, and have now completed the first five installments. There is nothing quite like it, and I’m happy I finally heeded the advice of friends and colleagues.
Hors Satan *** 1/2 (Friday night) Anthology Film Archives
Mama ** (Saturday night) Union Square Cinemas
Minimalist and Bresson advocate Bruno Dumont (Humanite) has again crafted a metaphysical work, HORS SATAN, with little dialogue and some chilling, mystical undercurrents, all negotiated with non-professional actors and the use of natural sounds in place of music. Yves Cape’s saturated landscape compositions are oddly alluring, if physically drab, and the detached story that combines realism and avante garde slowly builds in pictorial intensity, though the spiritual denouement in unconvincing. Lucille, Sammy and I watched the film on the Anthology’s big-screen with friend Jason Giampietro.
Jessica Chastain is fine in the new horror flick MAMA (a few are saying she is better in the film than she is in Zero Dark Thirty and The Tree of Life, but let’s not even go there) but other than a visually arresting mystical child-mother sequence near that is strangely beautiful the film is mainly a standard shocker that is largely silly and incoherent, and dependent on genre cliches. I did like Fernando Velasquez’s lush and atmospheric score. Velasquez is doing some great work as of late, most notably the mournful music he wrote for The Impossible.
For this week I offer up twenty-five (25) links. The vast majority have been updated, but not every one:
Our very good friend and ever-enthusiastic friend and colleague Joel Bocko (Movie Man) again shows his talent and versatility with superlative new short film Class of 2002, posting at his blogsite: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2013/01/i-made-movie.html
Samuel Wilson has penned a brilliant essay on Zero Dark Thirty at Mondo 70: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2013/01/on-big-screen-zero-dark-thirty-2012.html
Judy Geater has crafted a terrific essay on Clarence Brown’s little-seen 1933 “Night Flight” with John and Lionel Barrymore at Movie Classics: http://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/night-flight-clarence-brown-1933/
Tony d’Ambra has posted a terrific new feature at FilmsNoir.net on the 1934 Raymond Bernard version of “Les Miserables”: http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/jean-valjean-in-the-shadows.html
Jon Warner has penned an excellent piece on Julie Delpy’s “2 Days in New York” at Films Worth Watching”: http://filmsworthwatching.blogspot.com/2013/01/2-days-in-new-york-2012-directed-by.html
Laurie Buchanan talks about a very special trip she took with Rod Stewart at Speaking From The Heart: http://holessence.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/rod-stewart-and-deja-vu/
John Greco has penned a fabulous essay on “Sorry Wrong Number” at Twenty Four Frames: http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/sorry-wrong-number-1948-anatole-litvak/
Richard R.D. Finch astutely examines the 1966 Oscar picks at The Movie Projector as we move throught the height of this year’s awards’ season: http://themovieprojector.blogspot.com/2013/01/my-oscar-picks-1966.html
At Vermillion and One Nights Murderous Ink has posted a spectacular piece on “Evangelion After Fukushima” (Part 2): http://vermillionandonenights.blogspot.com/2012/12/evangelion-after-fukushima-part-2.html
Fimmaker Jeffrey Goodman has several updates at The Last Lullaby, including his latest a splendid quartet of capsules that includes “The Breaking Point,” “Senna” and “The Edge of the World”: http://cliched-monologues.blogspot.com/2012/12/beau-travail-1999.html
“Evening and the Arbutus Tree” is a magnificent new painting by Terrill Welch, and it’s incorporated in a fabulous new post at the Creativepotager’s blog: http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/unraveling-the-artistic-influences-and-intentions-behind-the-painting-evening-and-the-arbutus-tree/
Roderick Heath has written an enthralling essay on Walter Sallas’s “On the Road” at Ferdy-on-Films: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/2013/on-the-road-2012/17394/
Sachin Gandhi presents the Ten Best Canadian Films of 2012 in a terrific post at Scribbles and Ramblings: http://likhna.blogspot.com/2013/01/top-10-canadian-films-of-2012.html
Pat Perry is leading up with her “Final word on the best and worst of 2012” at Doodad Kind of Town: http://doodadkindoftown.blogspot.com/2013/01/my-last-word-on-2012-years-best-and.html
Capsule King Shubhajit Lahiri leads up with a superb piece on Kobayashi’s “Kwaidan” at Cinemascope: http://cliched-monologues.blogspot.com/2013/01/kwaidan-kaidan-1964.html
Ed Howard has penned a magnificent essay on “The Salvation Hunters” at Living in Cinema: http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-salvation-hunters.html
Dee Dee offers up a terrific Andrew Katsis essay on “It’s A Wonderful Life” connection the film with ‘noir’ at Darkness into Light: http://noirishcity.blogspot.com/2012/12/my-writer-andrew-katsistakes-look-at.html
David Schleicher offers up a superlative essay on the new horror film “Mama” with Jessica Chastain at The Schleicher Spin: http://theschleicherspin.com/2013/01/19/mama-say-mama-dont/
At Living in Cinema Craig Kennedy is leading up with a dialogue quick post on Robert Altman’s little-seen first film “The Delinquents”: http://livingincinema.com/2013/01/20/the-delinquents-1957/
At Overlook’s Corridor Jaimie Grijalba continues his intricate study of Chilean cinema: http://overlookhotelfilm.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/chilean-cinema-2012-16-stefan-vs-kramer-2012/
Weeping Sam’s latest post at The Listening Ear is a terrific combined piece comparing similar aspects in “Lincoln” and “Django Unchained”: http://listeningear.blogspot.com/2013/01/lincoln-django-unchained.html
At The Blue Vial Drew McIntosh is leading up with a superb screen cap presentation of Otto Preminger’s “Whirlpool”: http://thebluevial.blogspot.com/2012/12/whirlpool.html
At Patricia’s Wisdom the ever-spirited proprietor offers up “10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place-My Gift to You”: http://patriciaswisdom.com/2012/12/10-steps-to-finding-your-happy-place-my-gift-to-you/
At Radiator Heaven J.D. La France offers up a fantastic essay on “On the Road”: http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2013/01/on-road.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