by Sam Juliano
Mid 70’s degree weather and one sound drenching have ushered in May with at least a parting salute to April in the long-anticipated weather transition in the northeast and midwest. Speaking of transitions, the WitD hierarchy would like to extend our very best wishes to Laurie and Len Buchanan, who have recently relocated from Crystal Lake, Illinois (outside of Chicago) to their new beautiful home in Boise, Idaho. After twenty years paying their dues in one of the toughest winter zones in the US, I’d say it’s high time our good friends have moved on to more hospitable environs, at least in terms of more benign atmospherics. May is normally a fabulous month for those who love gardening and the outdoors, and the preparations are on for proms, graduations, and closing exams in college classes. In the Juliano household, it has always been amusing to note that four of our five kids have May birthdays (Sammy on the 15th, Danny on the 17th, Jeremy on the 27th and Melanie on the 30th). Always tough when you want to stage parties, and yes I have played those numbers repeatedly with little success. Only our dear Jillian who turns 14 in December is the odd one in this scenario. I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my very best wishes to my friend Craig Kennedy of Living in Cinema who will be attending the Cannes Film Festival for the second year in a row. I hope he has a great time, sees some extraordinary films, and enjoys the acclaimed food and weather in the beautiful French resort.
Our very dear friend Pat Perry is heading over to Germany this week, while other dear friends, the artist Terrill Welch and her husband David are touring Europe in the vacation of a lifetime. The very best to them all. I am greatly looking ahead to pictures.
This coming week will have me once again chaperoning for the school’s annual trip to Washington D.C. – with a brief stop en route to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia – from early Wednesday morning (May 7) to late Friday night (May 9). Unlike last year when my son Danny attended at an eighth grader, I won’t have any of my own kids on the trip (Jillian attends next year and Jeremy the year after that) but I’ll be having some fun touring the sites and walking up a storm with my lifelong friend Steve Russo, who has chaperoned for well over a decade. Hence, next year’s MMD will largely feature the activities and photos connected with this wonderful trip. Word has it that the final day of the trip will have temperatures breaking 80.
The Romantic Film Countdown will be launching on Monday, May 19th, with the appearance of the film that placed in the Number 101 position and will continue five days a week well into September. The Fish Obscuro series will move to Saturday of every week, with some even on Sunday on weeks where picture book reviews are not posted. Any opera, music or theater reviews that are written will be posted on the weekends accordingly. Jim Clark’s magnificent film scholarship will continue to post on every other Wednesday. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to Tony d’Ambra for his sidebar navigation of the past weeks. The beautiful countdown banner and the poster on the Take 2 publishing venture on Steven Spielberg are up and look great!
Lucille and I (and two of the kids-Jeremy and Danny) attended the latest concert edition of the Rutgers Symphony Band on Thursday night at the Nicholas Hall of the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Lucille’s sister Elaine’s son Eric -the youngest of her three sons -is the ‘principal’ saxophonist, and was part of a terrific performances that took in some rather eclectic, if works by noted if obscure composers.
The 3rd annual Montclair Film Festival was held this past week to excellent attendance and acclaim in various locations in the culturally-attuned town Lucille and I visit quite often. This is the town where we met out very good friend, the author John Grant (Paul Barnett) and where we attend art house features at the Bow-Tie Cinemas on Bloomfield Avenue. The festival was held at the Bow-Tie, Wellmont, Bellevue and Kimberly Academy, and the town was hopping with trolleys, a talk lounge on the site of the old Screening Room a few blocks from the Bow-Tie, lines of people and banners and balloons lining the various locations. This festival is for real, and as New Jersey residents who live nearby we are proud they are moving forward with more films, events and talks with acclaimed artists. We do not at this time have passes of any kind for this festival, and what with the jet lag from Tribeca, we only caught two films, both were ones we missed at Tribeca. One, the sports comedy INTRAMURAL, was one of the silliest and juvenile films I’ve ever seen (it amazes me that people actually pay to see such sub-mental drivel, but heck we both forked over $14 each, so we can’t talk) but this is one the level of the worst of the stoner comedies.
However, the other film, the documentary THE OVERNIGHTERS was absolutely masterful, and I discuss it at length in the 4,200 word post that will be appearing over this MMD very shortly.
A mistake on the Film Forum website led us to believe that the spectacularly reviewed IDA was sold out on Saturday night. As a result we came up empty, but plan to see this over the upcoming week.
The Overnights **** 1/2 (Friday night) Montclair Film Festival
Intramural * (Sunday afternoon) Montclair Film Festival