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Archive for December 9th, 2013

Screen cap from Paulo Sorrentino’s masterful Italian film “La Grande Bellazza” (The Great Beauty)

by Sam Juliano

The western countdown has concluded after a ten-week roll out here at Wonders in the Dark.  Interestingly enough it began during the oppressive temperatures of Indian Summer and has ended as snow falls on the east coast and in the mid-west.  While the countdown did not match the kind of wide enthusiasm, comments and page views of the musical and comedy countdowns of previous years, it did attract some extraordinary prose by a host of contributors and some diligent attendance by a small group of troupers.  Among those were the brilliant Jon Warner who missed not a single post, and whose mission over the past months has been quite the inspiration for movie lovers, the ever ebullient Sachin Gandhi, who kept the flame burning, and whom I am grateful to for so much support on a personal level, and to Samuel Wilson, Frank Gallo, Mike Norton, Steve Mullen, Pierre de Plume, Tony d’Ambra, Duane Porter,  Jim Clark, Dean Treadway,  Movie Fan, Dennis Polifroni, Tim McCoy and Peter M., all of whom contributed many authoritative and insightful comments over the course of the project.  Mr. Wilson’s work in particular showed again  his impressive knowledge of the genre.  And then there is Dee Dee, whose daily updates on the sidebar and link ups to her ning account have given the countdown added perspective and reference points.  Again she has shown why she has been the heart and soul of this site since it first appeared back in 2009.

Some may ask now “what’s next?”  After moving from one possibility to another, there seems to be some support for a “Greatest War Film and Program” polling sometime in 2014.  Such a venture would include television programs like Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” (God I can only dream of Stephen Mullen doing that!), The Great World War and the World War II series narrated by Laurence Olivier.  But I am getting too far ahead of myself.  After a break we can resume “negotiations.”  The Greatest American television shows and The Greatest Romantic Films are also strong possibilities.

Critics Groups have been voicing their opinions over the past week with four of the majors picking the following for Best Picture:

New York Film Critics Circle: American Hustle

National Board of Review:  Her

Boston Film Critics Circle:  12 Years A Slave

Los Angeles Film Critics Association: (TIE) Gravity and Her

Methinks Boston called it exactly right, though to be fair I still have to see five or six films that will open over the coming two weeks, two of which are ‘Her’ and ‘American Hustle.’

I have recently reviewed one of our great friend and Canadian/Mayne Island artist Terrill Welch’s oil painting “August Still-Life with Cezanne and Matisse”: (more…)

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