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Archive for June, 2015

em 3

by Allan Fish

(UK 2015 108m) DVD1/2

Mary in a black and white world

p  Andrew MacDonald, Allon Reich  d/w  Alex Garland  ph  Rob Hardy  ed  Mark Day  m  Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury  art  Mark Digby, Katrina Mackay

Domhnall Gleeson (Caleb), Oscar Isaac (Nathan), Alicia Vikander (Ava), Sonoyo Mizuno (Kyoko),

Early in Alex Garland’s directorial debut a reference is made to Lewis Carroll which, at the time, seems an apt one.  Yet in hindsight it seems a deliberately misleading one, like a trail of crumbs to lead one not out of the maze but into its heart.  It’s a film that jumps straight into its plot without any real set up, a sci-fi film which treats its protagonist – hero would be slightly misleading – like Charlie Bucket.  He’s found the golden ticket, won a competition.  He’s going to Willy Wonka’s factory, or in this case, to the remote mountain estate of a billionaire genius scientist who made his fortune from creating the world’s premier search engine.  So Caleb arrives to be met by the reclusive Nathan who wastes little time in informing him that he’s completed his search into creating an A.I. prototype, which he calls Ava.  Caleb is here to act as examiner of said prototype, to ask the necessary questions to see whether she is genuine artificial intelligence or merely simulating her emotions.  (more…)

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by Duane Porter

There’s been a lot of discussion over the past few months concerning the state of cinema in 2014. Many seem to feel that it was a decidedly mediocre year for movies. I can agree, there have been years when it seemed that something wonderful opened every week during October, November, and especially, December. This was not one of those years. But, when all is said and done, 2014 has been a truly fabulous year. Living far from New York, L.A., and any of the major film festivals, It has taken a lot longer this year for me to have an opportunity to see the ten films that comprise this list, but, they were there all along.

1. Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson01_Inherent Vice, 2014, WitD

“She came along the alley and up the back steps the way she always used to. Doc hadn’t seen her for over a year. Nobody had. Back then it was always sandals, bottom half of a flower-print bikini, faded Country Joe & the Fish T-shirt. Tonight she was all in flatland gear, hair a lot shorter than he remembered, looking just like she swore she’d never look.”

“That you, Shasta?”

“Need your help, Doc.”

Disguised as a detective story, riffing on The Big Sleep or The Long Goodbye, it’s really a picaresque whimsy on which to hang a poem about the passage of time and the sense of loss. What’s it all about? It doesn’t matter any more than it did in The Big Sleep. Often obliquely funny but drenched in a soul-numbing sadness, Inherent Vice is a metaphor for the built-in unavoidable fleeting nature of all things human.

All things human and and all the things humans strive for, just when we think we’ve caught sight of nirvana it always seems to slip away as if there is some dark force holding us back. “Was it possible, that at every gathering — concert, peace rally, love-in, be-in, and freak-in, here, up north, back East, wherever — those dark crews had been busy all along, reclaiming the music, the resistance to power, the sexual desire from epic to everyday, all they could sweep up, for the ancient forces of greed and fear?”

As Doc and Shasta drive into the fog, the glow of headlights passing over their faces, Shasta says, “Being with you is like being under the sea, where the whole world ceases to matter.” Doc says, “But it doesn’t mean we’re back together.” She replies, “Of course not.” (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The Childhood Films countdown has reached the end of first phase, after the deadline for Top 60 submissions ended on Sunday night at 11:00 P.M. EST.  The grand total of 35 ballots is a record for the site’s genre polls, and spells a Herculean task for Voting Tabulator Extraordinaire Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr. who will be sorting out the votes over the coming days.  After the results are sent out to an e mail chain affiliated with the process, writing assignments will be settled upon with about fifteen writers sharing the work load.  Mid-June is the target days for launching.

The last of our brood of five, 13 year-old Jeremy received his confirmation on Sunday afternoon at Fairview’s Our Lady of Grace Church.  His “sponsor” was his older brother Sammy, and his confirmation name was John.  We enjoyed a terrific meal afterwards at a favored eatery in Monclair.

On Saturday night, Lucille, Sammy and Jeremy and I met up with a few friends to hear the rock group Nemyses at the Oak Dale House in Maywood.

I watched some DVD/blu rays (the Italian film, 1860 and the British The Lost Prince.  In theaters, Lucille and I had a very light week, seeing only:

The Farewell Party               ****    (Friday night)   Angelica Film Center

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