by Sam Juliano
Turkey Day is upon us, and we at Wonders in the Dark would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone stateside a wonderful Thursday with family and friends and safe traveling for all those visiting. For the 21st year consecutively our entire family of seven will be spending the day in a mansion-sized home in scenic Butler, New Jersey with Lucille’s sister’s family and about 45 or so others in the big Lampmann family that includes children and grandchildren. Quite a day as it is I’m sure for many of our dear friends here. Anyone placing comments are encouraged to share their own plans for that day. Even our friends outside our borders are welcome to talk about their expectations for Thursday, even if it is work as usual.
A big congratulations are in order for Aaron West and two other bloggers, who pulled off one of the most glorious blogging ventures ever over the past week with a wildly popular Criterion Collection blogathon that wound up involving nearly the entire film community. Wonders in the Dark was honored to participate. The amount of work Aaron and his colleagues put into this is simply mind-boggling. Kudos to all. Speaking of Criterion, I was ecstatic beyond words this past week after the company announced upcoming February blu-rays of the 1970’s Swedish films The Emigrants and The New Land. No films have had me praying for release more than these, and I must say I was bursting with excitement when I read of the upcoming releases. These two masterpieces never even received legitimate DVD releases, much less blu rays. I have been holding on to my laser disc copies for years. February overall is an amazing month for the folks at Criterion with both Mike Nichols’ The Graduate and Nagisa Oshima’s Japanese masterpiece Death by Hanging. The latter release was also cause for celebration among cinephiles.
The site has enjoyed an unusually phenomenal week as far as page views are concerned. This past Thursday nearly 2,400 hits were registered, with the book review of Mummy Cat largely responsible. This is the highest total for a single day in over seven months.
As we approach the time of the year when ‘Best of” movie lists are imminent, there is a frenzy to see some of the prestige pictures that are opening. Though my plans in the upcoming days include seeing Room, Love and James White, this past week had me busy on the domestic front. Lucille and I did see a masterpiece in Todd Haynes’ Carol at the Angelika Film Center, but otherwise the only other event was attending a classical concert at the exquisite West Side Presbyterian Church on South Monroe Street in Ridgewood , N.J. I will be penning a full review of this concert this week, but suffice to say it included beloved compositions by Bach, Sibelius, Smetana and Saint-Saens, all of which are personal favorites.
Carol ***** (Saturday night) Angelika Film Center
Todd Haynes’ CAROL is a masterpiece. It chronicles a love affair between two woman, one an older married society woman extraordinarily played by Cate Blanchett, and another, played by Rooney Mara, a younger department store employee and aspiring photographer who returns a lost glove, an act that begins a forbidden relationship in the bigoted 1950’s. Much like Haynes’ magisterial Far From Heaven, Haynes offers up astonishing period detail-the clothes, the cars, the decor, the incessant cigarette smoking is dead on, and Blanchett and Mara are astonishing. The women steer clear of melodrama to register honest and probing feelings for each other in a film of amazing depth, which was based on the novel “The Price of Salt” by the renowned Patricia Highsmith. The creamy cinematography by Edward Lachman and score/soundtrack by Carter Burwell are exemplary. Without any doubt this is one of the two or three best films of the year.
Nearly all links have been updated:
At Noirish, the renowned writer John Grant has penned an excellent review on a mediocre 30’s film “Curtain at Eight”: https://noirencyclopedia.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/curtain-at-eight-1933/
At FilmsNoir.net Tony d’Ambra has posted a full list of films noir in US Library of Congress National Film Registry: http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/list-of-films-noir-in-us-library-of-congress-national-film-registry.html/
Stephen Mullen has penned a powerful condemnation on the anti-Syrian refugee talk at his site The Listening Ear which is simply essential reading: http://listeningear.blogspot.com/2015/11/friday-calls-for-music.html
Marilyn Ferdinand has offered up a loving and beautifully written essay on Jacques Tati’s “Jour de Fete” for the Criterion blogathon at Ferdy-on-Films: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/2015/jour-de-fete-1949/26487/
Joel Bocko has published a superlative review on the immortal film classic “The Adventures of Robin Hood” at I Lost It at the Movies: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-favorites-adventures-of-robin-hood.html
At Mondo 70 Samuel Wilson has written a delightful essay on Wheeler and Woolsey’s 1931 “Cracked Nuts”: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2015/11/pre-code-parade-cracked-nuts-1931.html
At It Rains…….You Get Wet Robert Tower offers up a fantastic “Top 13 Forgotten Crime Gems”: http://le0pard13.com/2015/11/20/my-top-13-forgotten-crime-gems/
At Filmacability Dean Treadway has offered up a brilliantly authoritative examination of the year 1964 in the cinema: http://filmicability.blogspot.com/2015/11/1964-year-in-review.html
At Tuesdays with Laurie our great friend Laurie Buchanan has offered up one of her most deeply moving posts ever with “The Gift of Tonglen”: http://tuesdayswithlaurie.com/2015/11/17/the-gift-of-tonglen/
At Overlook’s Corridor Jaimie Grijalba has concluded another magnificent Horror Madness countdown, concluding in grand fashion with the 1952 Finnish film “Valkoinen Peura”: https://overlookhotelfilm.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/october-overlook-madness-31-valkoinen-peura-1952/
Over at Attractive Variance Jamie Uhler’s monumental post on horror films watched during October leads the way: https://attractivevariance.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/october-2015–horror-wrap-up/
At Movie Classics, Judy Geater is leading up with a terrifically comprehensive review of Mark Robson’s 1954 “The Bridges of Toko-Ri”: https://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/the-bridges-at-toko-ri-mark-robson-1954/
David Schleicher has penned an excellent review on “Spotlight” at The Schleicher Spin: http://theschleicherspin.com/2015/11/22/it-takes-a-village-in-spotlight/
Our longtime friend the film maker and movie lover extraordinaire Jeffrey Goodman has posted the thirty-first four film roundup at The Last Lullaby, one that includes a Maurice Pialat film: http://cahierspositif.blogspot.com/2015/11/favorite-four-part-thirty-one.html
Over at Patricia’s Wisdom, the terrific book reviewer and friend Patricia Hamilton has penned a terrific piece on the first part of a trilogy, “The Raven Room”: http://patriciaswisdom.com/2015/11/the-raven-room-a-trilogy-mystery-book-1-ana-medeiros/
J. D. Lafrance has penned an outstanding essay on “Tomorrowland” at Radiator Heaven: http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2015/11/tomorrowland.html
Shubhajit Lahiri has penned an excellent review of Wim Wenders’ 1975 “Wrong Move” at Cinemascope: http://cliched-monologues.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-wrong-move-1975.htm
Terrill Welch’s incomparably beautiful Creative Potager blogsite leads up with “Paiting and then selling paintings are done on a different breath: http://creativepotager.com/2015/10/06/painting-and-then-selling-paintings-are-done-on-a-different-breath/
Sachin Gandhi has penned a terrific review on the Brazilian “She Comes Back on Thursday” at Scribbles and Ramblings: http://likhna.blogspot.com/2015/10/she-comes-back-on-thursday.html
At Enic-Cine, our good friend Murderous Ink in Tokyo has written yet another fabulous piece of scholarship – the third part of “Ozu, Pickles and Rice Bran”: http://www.enic-cine.net/ozu-pickles-and-rice-bran-part-3/
At The Seventh Art the exceedingly gifted writer Srikanth offers up reviews on two Hindi films under the banner grouping titled “Love in the Time of Gonorrhea”: http://theseventhart.info/2015/08/02/love-in-the-time-of-gonorrhea/