by Sam Juliano
The latest discussions in regard to a possible new project for the late spring have revolved around the possibility of a “Greatest Television Shows of All-Time” countdown. We were thinking of Top 60. If the project happens it is posed to include all shows – including mini-series like The Civil War, I Claudius, The World at War and Pennies from Heaven among others. Obviously it would mix American, British and any other shows released around the world. This particular project has been discussed for years, and it seems 2017 may be the time to launch it. The poll on the greatest War Films is certainly still on the table, but perhaps for another year. The TV poll will strictly remain at 60, which is still a most formidable venture.
January weather in the Metropolitan area has been comparatively mild, though with February and March ahead it could change quick enough. The political climate though is pretty dreadful, but I’ll save further discussion for the comment section should anyone desire to broach it.
Lucille and I have been heading to the theaters frantically to see all the essential films remaining ahead of my own Top Ten Films of 2016 posting, set for Monday, February 6th. We saw a bunch for a second time as well, including Oscar nominated films like The Arrival, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, La La Land and Jackie. If I were to add those to the two first viewings in theaters my total this past week would be seven (7) films. And that doesn’t include several I watched on amazon prime and netflix streaming.
Neruda **** 1/2 (Saturday night) IFC Film Center
Paterson **** 1/2 (Wednesday night) Lincoln Plaza Cinemas
“Paterson” may well be Jim Jarmusch’s best film yet. Jeremy, Sammy and I attended a screening of the film on Wednesday at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas as I continue to play catch up on the year-end releases in advance of the Ten Best of 2016 posting sometime next week. That unflappable English bulldog and the poet-bus driver played by an especially introverted Adam Driver – one who reads Emily Dickinson- are the center of an enveloping, meditative drama that in some ways recalls “Night on Earth.” Of course the tour of that well-known city, about thirty minutes drive west of Fairview is worth a ticket alone.
Lucille, young Sammy and I attended a screening of Pablo Larrain’s “Neruda,” which is based on the life of the iconic Chilean poet Pablo Neruda from 1948 onward, at the IFC Film Center in Manhattan last night. This is the second great film in 2016 from Larrain (Jackie), who in my view is now the top artist of the year. Neruda is a Chilean communist, egomaniac, and womanizer who under any microscope envisions a fascinating persona, but his mostly made-up predator in a Hugo vein, Oscar Peluchonneau (the superb Gael Garcia Bernal) is the film’s most brilliant creation as a detective-novel obsessed stalker, who counts his pursuit of Neruda as his life’s purpose. The final segment set in the snow on a mountainous terrain is utterly brilliant. The film’s poetic elements, deftly woven into the narrative arc, help to bring the entire film to a remarkable literary appreciation.