by Sam Juliano
The lovely spring weather that has graced the Metropolitan area for the last two weeks seems to have finally marked its turf, with winter vanquished after a long and arduous haul. On a personal note this couldn’t be more timely what with the three-day 8th Grade Washington D.C. slated for this coming Wednesday through Friday. I will once again be on that venture, as will me daughter Jillian, whose year this is. With the prohibitive walking involved, I have scheduled a cortisone shot for later today to enable me to proceed in view of my left knee torn miniscus. I will have arthroscopic surgery for that later this month. But I know the drill, as I had it done on the other knee nine years ago. The worst part is actually the one month (three days a week) one-hour therapy sessions.
As we inch closer to two major events here at Wonders in the Dark, I want to offer up reminders to all. The first -as advertised on the side-bar- in the Film Preservation Blogothon, being hosted by Marilyn Ferdinand and Roderick Heath at Ferdy on Films and This Island Rod respectively. For the first time ever, WitD will be joining in as an honored guest with one day serving as the home base, during this honored May 13 through 17 endeavor. All are urged to write a review on a science-fiction film and/or make a modest contribution to the cause. When the blogothon concludes we will then focus our passions on the Best Films About Childhood Countdown, which will commence with ballot submissions by all participants, starting at May 18th. The actual countdown (Top 60) will begin on June 1st, after the ballots are received and tabulated by Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr. during that two week window.
Lucille and I had a lively week for sure, taking in two marvelous musical venues on the college and high school level, and then following that up with a viewing of a new release and two unseen Tribeca films, which rolled over to the nearby up-and-coming Montclair Film Festival, where we will be tonight and tomorrow night as well. At Rutgers University in New Brunswick on Saturday night we listened to the gifted young Eric Lampmann (Lucille’s sister’s youngest son) dazzle his audience with a saxophone and viola (piano accompaniment) recital that covered some famed classical composers including Bach. This young man has quite a musical career ahead of him, this much is certain. Meanwhile, earlier in the week on Thursday we attended the Paramus High School ‘Spring Concert’ to witness another young man with talent–the son of Lucille’s graduate school buddy Frank LaRose (Joshua) exercise his vocal talent with a splendid rendition of “La Donna e Mobile” from Verdi’s Rigoletto. Some other high school seniors did a fine job, as did the jazz ensemble. To boot on Sunday afternoon we attended a rousing First Holy Communion gala for my brother’s daughter Gianna at the Fiesta Restaurant in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey.
We saw three films in theaters, two of those at the Montclair Film Festival:
From From the Madding Crowd **** (Friday night) Angelika Film Center
Slow West **** 1/2 (Sunday) Montclair Film Festival
Dream/Killer **** (Sunday) Montclair Film Festival
Thomas Vinterberg’s lush re-make of Thomas Hardy’s FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD features some splendid performances, cinematography and music (by Craig Armstrong) and all things considered it is a most worthy rendition. The revisionist western SLOW WEST (with Michael Fassbender) is a gun-toting, slow to explode Western drama, that is splendidly shot and performed. DREAM/KILLER is a solid and moving documentary about a monstrous judicial injustice that had a young man incarcerated for nearly a decade.