Archive for June, 2014


by Lucille Juliano


Somewhere in Time     1h 48 min   Drama/Fantasy/Romance   Rated PG

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc

Screenplay by Richard Matheson

Based on the novel “Bid Time Return” by Richard Matheson

Music by John Barry

Produced by Ray Stark and Stephen Deutsch

Rastar Pictures


Released in the fall of 1980, Somewhere in Time takes Superman out of Metropolis, away from Lois Lane, and sends him “back in time” about five years before Marty McFly came on the scene.  Now, you must know that by saying Superman, I am actually referring to actor, Christopher Reeve.  Oh and by the way, in this movie, Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) is replaced by actress Jane Seymour and Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor) is replaced by Christopher Plummer.

      Somewhere in Time is the tale of a young playwright who gives up his life in the present to find what he hopes to be true love in the past.   Early in the movie, a young Richard Collier (Reeve) is approached by an elderly woman who hands him an antique gold pocket watch and pleads,  “Come back to me”.  Eight years later, a photograph of a young actress at the Grand Hotel intrigues Richard.  When he researches about her, he finds a picture of the young actress in her later years.  To his amazement, he realizes that the actress and the elderly woman that gave him the gold pocket watch years before are one in the same.  Collier then becomes obsessed with returning to 1912 and the beautiful young actress that is there waiting for him. (more…)


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by Sam Juliano

One down and four to go.  Our wonderful daughter Melanie -the oldest of our five children- graduated Cliffside Park High School this past week outdoors on a steamy hot and humid Wednesday evening at 6:00 P.M.  For us it is hard to believe that one of our kids has reached this point, though now it we pretty much be one after the other.  We certainly are very proud of our Melanie, who did finish in the top third of her graduating class, finishing with a fantastic senior year in academic achievement.

Best wishes for a soulful retirement to Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr. (our long time voting tabulator extraordinaire) who was the toast of a dinner on Wednesday night at Cafe Tivoli in Ridgefield.  D’Arminio and his wife Kathy plan to re-locate in South Carolina by the end of the summer.  He served as President of the Fairview Board of Education this past year after completing two separate stints on the nine-person panel.  We wish Angelo the very best in the coming years.

Despite a packed week with all kinds of events (Melanie’s graduation party was held on Sunday at the Tiger Hose Firehouse in Fairview) Lucille, Sammy, Jeremy and I managed to see three films in theaters this past weeek, though one of those was a twelve minute short shown at the BAM Film Festival that was directed by our good friend Jason Giampietro.  The two feature films we saw in theaters was another at the same BAM Festival, and the beloved STAR WARS at the Film Forum, shown as part of the Alec Guiness Film Festival.  At the STAR WARS screening on Sunday afternoon we met up with Bob Clark and had a very fine talk after the film in the lobby.  Whether one is a fervent fan of all the films or not, there is no denying this very first film made in the series as a landmark of the cinema for all sorts of reasons.  We all had quite a bit of fun I must say. (more…)

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By Pat Perry

The Way We Were is the story of a doomed romance between spectacularly mismatched lovers, set on wobbly political underpinnings.  With its intriguing but underdeveloped subplot about the Hollywood blacklist, it is – to borrow a phrase from Roger Ebert’s review – a film that seems to be about more than it actually is. But its enduring popularity and the status it has earned over the years as a romance classic can be at least partially explained by its trailer’s tagline:

Streisand and Redford together!

Star power covers a multitude of sins in Sydney Pollack’s romantic melodrama. Look too closely and you might be frustrated by the lovers’ willful obliviousness to their own incompatibility. You might be confused by the hasty, unexplained plot developments in the film’s third act.  You might be distracted by Barbra Streisand’s frequent slips from strident Brooklyn-esque speech into a carefully modulated and very grand mid-Atlantic accent. But you won’t be able to take your eyes off  her – or Redford. The two leads were both at the height of their box-office power when the film was released in 1973, and both their individual charisma and their chemistry with one another is palpable. Plus you get to hear Streisand sing the classic theme song not once, but twice – over both the opening and closing credits.


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By Marilyn Ferdinand

If I had to make a list of the most subversive love stories ever committed to film, The Bitter Tea of General Yen, would certainly be near the top. The interracial romance at the heart of the film was taboo in 1933, and remained so for many decades. But more subversive was the look at the love of money and destabilizing love of a Christian God missionaries spread throughout the world. This type of story is something of a surprise from Hollywood’s most successful idealizer of American values, Sicilian immigrant Frank Capra, and his female star, Barbara Stanwyck. Only two years earlier, the two had teamed to film The Miracle Woman, in which Stanwyck played a bitter and cynical evangelist whose faith in God is restored. In The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Capra and Stanwyck reversed this outcome, as a Chinese warlord “converts a missionary,” forcing her to see the charade of her blind loyalty to her missionary fiancé and her Christian mission, and acknowledge the attraction that has grown between them.

The film opens with the Chinese populace in Shanghai running in chaos to signal the civil war embroiling the country. In a well-appointed home, Western missionaries and expatriates are preparing for the wedding of Dr. Bob Strike (Gavin Gordon) and Megan Davis (Stanwyck), the latter of whom is coming from her upper-crust New England home to work side by side with her soon-to-be husband as a missionary. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(USA 2006 96m) DVD1/2 A little natul tortuosa p  Arnon Milchan, Iain Smith  d/w  Darren Aronofsky  story  Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel  ph  Matthew Libatique  ed  Jay Rabinowitz  m  Clint Mansell  art  James Chinlund Hugh Jackman (Tomas, the Conquistador/Tommy/Dr Thomas Creo), Rachel Weisz (Queen Isabel/Izzy Creo), Ellen Burstyn (Dr Lillian Guzetti), Stephen McHattie (Grand Inquisitor Silecio), Mark Margolis (Father Avila), Fernando Hernandez (Lord of Xibalba), Cliff Curtis (Captain Ariel), Sean Patrick Thomas (Antonio), Donna Murphy (Betty), If ever a film divided audiences and critics, it’s this one; the sort of existential fantastic work that comes along once in a generation or even two.  No-one can say they know exactly what it’s about, just as with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey nearly forty years previously.  As with his enigmatic monolith, trying to find answers is not the point.  You get from The Fountain what you want to get, or more importantly what you want to believe.  It’s a leap of faith, or as the film itself might make you observe, the first step on the Road to Awe.  In an age where bookshelves are groaning under the weight of New Age books on ancient history and religions, we have a film that Maurice Cotterell and the rest of his ilk would love.  And for those who saw Aronosfky’s fledgling but brain-aching debut film, π, it was not in any way a surprise.  Welcome to the universe of New Age Cinema. Dr Thomas Creo is a scientist undergoing crucial experiments into the reduction of ageing and finding a cure for cancer, spurred on by the onset of the fatal disease in his beloved wife, writer Izzy.  Meanwhile, in the 16th century, as Spain comes under the dark shadow of the Inquisition, the Queen sends her best warrior, conquistador Tomas, to Central America to find the truth behind the legend of the Tree of Life.  Concurrently, a shaved headed transcendental figure sees images of both these disparate events in time as if they’re his own memories, while cocooned with a tree in a massive bubble in space.  (more…)

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© 2014 by James Clark

It could well be that one of the surest ways to identify a modern film’s holding a strong hand is its linkage to that metaphor of Beauty and Beast tracing back to the tiniest flames of revolt on a violently subdued planet. One filmmaker who seems to know where the loot is hidden is Jonathan Glazer, a rock video and TV commercial alumnus. Glazer, from what I’ve seen, is a past master of edifying desperation, acutely obsessed about our being implicated in a monstrous struggle for sensuous equilibrium, a struggle with the odds heavily stacked against making the merest go of the merest advances.
One way to approach his position amidst that protracted landslide is by noting that his debut feature, Sexy Beast (2000), shares a fascination with the pitch into uncontrollable hatred and violence elicited by the debut films of Nicolas Refn, namely Pusher (1996) and Bleeder (1999). Moreover, in Refn’s Drive (2011), a deft and serenely poised central figure dons a mask at the point where the impudence of a partner-in-crime occasions his losing his composure and butchering the irritant with a hammer. The mask which the presentable young protagonist has fixed upon disguises him as a bald, wiry, middle-aged, cold-eyed Everyman for a dead planet. And therewith it resembles one of the three protagonist-candidates for the title, Sexy Beast (in Glazer’s film), namely, Don Logan, a bald, wiry, middle-aged, cold-eyed ascetic, crazily intent on forcing a former-partner-in-crime to abandon retirement living on Spain’s Costa del Sol and taste again the gratifications of a heist, this one bursting upon safety deposit boxes back in home-town London, the contents of which comprising extraordinary wealth. (Also, that the young driver of Drive gets under the skin of Under the Skin’s enigmatic young woman driver [from 2013], for the sake of complementing her slippage by means of his attaining to high discipline, tolerance for isolation and capacity for sustained affection, somewhat completes our perusal of a delta of reciprocal homage between Glazer and Refn. We might also note the geographic and situational affinities between Under the Skin and Refn’s Valhalla Rising [2009]. These considerations of propelling back and forth matters of cinematic design are, I think, very necessary in the context of Sexy Beast’s seemingly being reducible to the roiling of strictly visceral dramatic action, and Under the Skin’s seemingly being a misty shroud of mood. Artists like Glazer and Refn, we have, I think, to appreciate, strike a balance between virtuoso cinematographic conjuring and reciprocal erudition about the historical architectonics informing kinetic crises.) (more…)

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by Jon Warner

Although most of Frank Borzage’s best films finally saw release with the 2008 box set, Man’s Castle somehow didn’t make the cut. It’s a shame, as it’s his best film outside of his multiple silent masterpieces made with Janet Gaynor and Charles Ferrell. Man’s Castle again rekindles a kind of street-wise and jaded yet sentimental quality to the love stories he pioneered in the 1920’s, like 7th Heaven, Street Angel and Lucky Star, and then continued into the 1930’s with his near masterpiece talkie, Liliom. Borzage is rarely written about these days, and if he is, it’s amongst the blogosphere almost exclusively, and even in that realm it’s hard to come by. Borzage, above any other director who’s ever lived, seemed to elevate romance into the spiritual realm, almost turning the transformative power of love into a religion, believing that if one is honest enough, kind enough, and loving enough, one can overcome just about any odds. No other director has ever conveyed with such unflinching, sincere regard, the belief that love can conquer all and inspire lovers to go beyond what they thought was imaginable.


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by Jaime Grijalba.

The first minutes of this German film directed by R.W. Fassbinder are among the most perfect representations of instant attraction that have ever made their way into a film, just by a simple succession of elements that on top of each other mean something deep and really important towards the multi-cultural and heavily sentimental aspects that the rest of the film will then explore. Just as the title announces, it is a movie about fear, about what people might say about you, and the fear of what you think about yourself, the fear of how much of that will actually destroy you, the fear of how much it would affect you, how much damage will that make to your personal life in the end, no matter how much you don’t actually care about what people are saying about you, it’s a movie that is bleak in the way that portrays the reprobation of the majority towards a subject, it’s a mean movie towards its protagonists, as it doesn’t leave them an easy way out, as it presents by itself when the fear has already run through the bodies of those who understand and lived it. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

One of the funniest stories from my childhood, one that has been often told to me to inspire riotous laughter among friends, has a direct tie-in this past week’s release of Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys, based on the smash Broadway musical.  It goes something like this:  When I was eight years old, the Four Season’s released the single “Sherry.”  As a 45 buyer all the way back to that year, the song was one of my earliest infatuations.  I was so smitten with it -and in typical Juliano obsessive fashion I played it at least 20 times a day or so – that I was heard by neighbors sitting on my backyard fence singing  Sherry.  Sherry baby…Sherry.  Sherry baby.  She- er-er-er-ery baby!  Sherry baby!  Of course I was mortified at the prospects of there being an audience back then, though I never had a problem singing in my own bedroom.  The memories came flooding back to me again over the weekend while Lucille and I heard the song several times during the two hours plus running time of the film.  In fact “Sherry” was done more times than any other Four Seasons song in the film, though such standards like “Rag Doll,” “Let’s Hang On,” “Oh What A Night,” “My Eyes Adore You,” and the celebrated Frankie Valli solo “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and others kept you humming a long.  As expected three days later those songs are still in my head.  And well they should be.  The Four Seasons were one of America’s premier groups and their Cinderella story -OK it is an edgy one too- is given entertaining treatment in the film version that appears to have split the critics down the middle.  It is far from perfect, but Jersey Boys on film alternately explores the fame and despair in the lives of the group members, including Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio  Sit back, relax and enjoys these great songs again.  A few too many people were looking to pick a fight with Eastwood, methinks.  Sure it longish, but so what.  The end credits for me were not long enough.  Christopher Walker was great too as a benevolent Mafioso. (more…)

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By Jon Warner

Greta Garbo is one of my favorite film figures and one of my very favorite actresses. I once had this desire that if I could sit down to a meal with anyone living or dead, I thought I wanted to dine with Garbo. I think I actually still do. I imagine that our conversation would probably strain a bit between us, as I don’t tend to be the most talkative person, and we would probably have more than a few awkward pauses. But I would still give anything to be able to see her and talk to her in person. Garbo became one of the greatest screen actresses and one of the essential romantic leading ladies of all time. It’s not hard to believe, considering she built her career upon films with such romantic sounding names like: The Temptress, Flesh and the Devil, Love, The Kiss, Romance. It’s almost comical how often she was the leading romantic lady. A few of her greatest works, like Flesh and the Devil, paired her with John Gilbert, someone whom she had great chemistry with. However, Camille is a film that is not only better, but contains a surprising amount of electric chemistry between a slightly older Garbo and a younger Robert Taylor. Camille also contains what is probably Garbo’s greatest acting.


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