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Archive for December 8th, 2014

sequoia 3

by Sam Juliano

If we are to consider what author Tony Johnston asserts in an afterward to her new picture book Sequoia, the towering giants nearing the end of their existence today were rooted in the earth’s soil at a time that pre-dates ancient Rome by several hundred years, ran concurrent with Saul’s rule over the Hebrew tribes and the time when the Celtic migrations were launching.  In North America, Indians were setting up camp, diverging into their own cultures.  This incredible species would have seen one hundred generations come and go, and would have survived damaging storms, fires, earthquakes and climate changes.  Their bark is known to be as much as three feet in thickness, the base at its widest twenty-seven feet and some other startling figures directly from Johnston: “With a distance around the base of 102.6 feet and a volume of 52, 500 cubic feet, the grand old man, General Sherman sequoia, is one of the largest living things on earth”, and without question the one with the longest longevity. (more…)

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turner

Julianne-Moore-in-Still-Alice

by Sam Juliano

Boyhood was awarded Best Picture and Best Director from coast-to-coast critical fraternities in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and New York Online this past week.  Richard Linklater’s remarkably successful experiment of filming over a period of years as the characters age was initially recipient to the most spectacular set of reviews of the year, but the biggest plaudits lie ahead.  It is expected to win a bevy of critics’ awards still upcoming and will cap it all off with Golden Globe and Oscar wins in the Best Picture categories.  As the film is one of my own favorite two films of the year, I applaud the groups for their excellent taste.  I am looking forward to the inevitable re-release so I can see this on the big screen again.  I will be casting my own vote in the coming weeks for the annual Muriels, and Linklater’s masterpiece will figure prominently on my ballot.  The numbers the film earned at Meta Critic are the highest in the history of the site.  Using the favorable, mixed and negative categorization, the numbers are at 49-0-0, with an absolutely unbelievable 40 of those 49 assigning it a grade of ‘100.’

Ironically, the two films that I did manage to see this past week were done by way of some unexpected “screeners” I came into through the help of a friend.  Both featured critics’ award winning performances.  Timothy Spall won Best Actor from the New York Film Critics Circle for his superlative turn in Mr. Turner, while Julianne Moore was named Best Actress from the National Board of Review for her moving performance in Still Alice.   (more…)

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