by Sam Juliano
The warmest December on record in the metropolitan area has resulted in a 70 degree Christmas and short sleeves for most, though the coming weeks are predicted to bring a semblance of what we’d normally expect. We are just a few days away from 2016, and some of us have been spending some of our time this past week playing catch up with the bevy of current releases in the movie theaters. Plenty of NFL action, but depressing if you are a Giants fan, though hopeful is a Jets supporter. Classical music and opera are being offered up in some fabulous interpretations in the coming months, and this writer will be in attendance for many. HD Opera broadcasts are aplenty in theaters beginning in mid-January.
The Caldecdott Medal Contender series continues in force, until around January 10th, the day before the awards are announced by the American Library Association. Twenty-four reviews have posted thus far with a projected ten more to go. I want to thank all the site regulars for attending these posts with vigor, and hereby acknowledge the incredible site statistics that have greeted each and every one. Facebook sharing has further increased the interest and response to the series, which is now in its third year at the site.
Lucille, the kids and I attended a quartet of movies in theaters this past week, with at least that many planned for the present seven-day period.
Son of Saul **** 1/2 (Wednesday night) Film Forum
Joy *** (Friday night) Edgewater multiplex
The Hateful Eight **** 1/2 (Saturday night) Paramus multiplex
Youth **** 1/2 (Sunday night) Montclair Bow-Tie Cinemas
SON OF SAUL is an intense and visceral Hungarian Holocaust film that is simultaneously terrifying, relentless, grim and urgent. An electrifying debut for its first time director JOY is mediocre, but there are flashes of brilliance from Jennifer Lawrence, and a fair enough story of betrayal of injustice. Not much of a Craig O. Russell fan though. THE HATEFUL EIGHT was watched in Panavision 70 (first time that process was employed since 1965) in a roadshow version that included entrance music by Ennio Morricone and an intermission. Again, Quentin Tarantino’s dark humor abounded in a film that was as intimate as expansive and dominated by the Wyoming winter storm setting and a bizarre group of characters played by many in the director’s stock company. The various plot twists are largely effective. Paulo Sorrentino’s YOUTH is an elegiac, melancholic parade of indelible images and music, and it showcases amazing chemistry between Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel. There is some cynicism underlying it all, but again Sorrentino’s pays homage to his idol Fellini with a stirring, life-affirming experience.
Links will be updated for the next MMD. There is a holiday break this week:
At Noirish, the renowned writer John Grant has penned an excellent review on the 1942 “Swamp Angel”: https://noirencyclopedia.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/swamp-woman-1941/
At FilmsNoir.net Tony d’Ambra has added an electrifying capsule framing of Manhattan in his latest post on “Manhattan Transfer”: http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/the-noir-city-manhattan-transfer-1925.html/
At Patricia’s Wisdom our tenaciously talented proprietor Pat Hamilton has written another superb book review, this time on the murder mystery “Fixed in Fear”: http://patriciaswisdom.com/2015/12/fixed-in-fear-a-justice-novel-5-t-e-woods/
Stephen Mullen has penned a terrific pre-Christmas Top 10 musical round-up at The Listening Ear: http://listeningear.blogspot.com/2015/12/friday-2015-random-ten.html
Debbie Reese has posted a brilliant, albeit ‘not recommend’ appraisal of Danielle Daniel’s “Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox” at American Indians in Children’s Literature: https://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2015/12/sometimes-i-feel-like-fox-by-danielle.html
At De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books For Children Beverly Slapin has published a fascinating analysis of the book “That’s Not Fair! Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle For Justice”: http://decoloresreviews.blogspot.com/2015/11/thats-not-fair-emma-tenayucas-struggle.html
At Ferdy-on-Films Roderick Heath has penned an impassioned takedown of the new “Star Wars” movie: http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/2015/star-wars-episode-vii-the-force-awakens-2015/26723/
Joel Bocko has published a superlative dual review Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” and Rivette’s “Celine and Julie Go Boating” at I Lost It At the Movies: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2015/12/mulholland-drive-celine-and-julie-go.html
Jamie Uhler offers up a marvelous scholarly piece in his “Songs I Love” series at Attractive Variance with a dissection of the novelty song “War Canoe”: https://attractivevariance.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/songs-i-love-war-canoe/
At Mondo 70 Samuel Wilson has written an excellent review on the documentary “The Best of Enemies”: http://mondo70.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-best-of-enemies-2015.html
At It Rains…….You Get Wet Robert Tower offers up a fabulous “Books to Movies” poll, this is essential for film lovers: http://le0pard13.com/2015/12/02/on-the-lookout-for-books-and-movies-poll-2016/
At Filmacability Dean Treadway has offered up a brilliantly authoritative examination of the year 1966 in the cinema: http://filmicability.blogspot.com/2015/11/1966-year-in-review.html
At Tuesdays with Laurie our great friend Laurie Buchanan has offered up another soulful query in her fabulous post “Into the Deep”: http://tuesdayswithlaurie.com/2015/12/15/into-the-deep/
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/
At Movie Classics, Judy Geater has penned a definitive treatment of a relatively obscure 1951 Frank Sinatra starrer, 1951’s “Meet Danny Wilson.”: https://movieclassics.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/meet-danny-wilson-joseph-pevney-1951/
David Schleicher is none-too-impressed with the new Star Wars re-boot, and he says as much superbly at The Scheicher Spin: http://theschleicherspin.com/2015/12/19/the-force-awakens-but-i-think-ill-go-back-to-sleep
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
J. D. Lafrance has penned a marvelous review on the 1933 classic “King Kong” at Radiator Heaven: http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2015/12/king-kong.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 “Mystery of the Ordinary in the Japanese Garden on Mayne Island”:http://creativepotager.com/2015/11/26/mystery-of-the-ordinary-in-the-japanese-garden-on-mayne-island/
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