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Archive for March, 2019

Posting this for absolute verification!!  I am co-founder and editor of the site.

 

-Sam

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by J.D. Lafrance

“The most valuable commodity I know is information.” – Gordon Gekko

These words, said in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street (1987), are more relevant now than they were back then, especially in this increasingly digital age where information is power. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg or Julian Assange or Edward Snowden. Back when Wall Street came out it was about stock trading and getting inside information that could potentially make one a lot of money. Stone’s film examines the nature of acquiring sensitive information and then how it is used albeit filtered through a coming-of-age story.

When he made Wall Street, the filmmaker was riding high from the commercial and critical success of Platoon (1986). His father, Lou Stone, had been a stockbroker on Wall Street in New York City and this film was a son’s way of paying tribute to his father. More than thirty years later, it is one of the quintessential snapshots of the financial scene in the United States, epitomizing the essence of capitalism, greed, and materialism that was so prevalent in the 1980s and is prevalent again.

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by Sam Juliano

Lucille is home after her same-day spinal disc surgery and all is well even with some pain to negotiate through medication.  Many thanks to all who sent on their well wishes at the site and on social media.  The current plans are for her to remain home for about two weeks before returning to her Principal’s position.  This past week has been hectic in preparation and then at hospital.  This was the second time this school calendar year Lucille had surgery.  The first was a partial knee replacement, which like this week’s procedure was necessitated by arthritis.  Thanks again to all!

This past week James Clark published a stupendous essay in his ongoing Ingmar Bergman series on The Magician.  J.D. Lafrance contributed a splendid piece on Stephen Soderburgh’s Out of Sight.  

We did see two current films this past week, one in theaters and the other on netflix where it debuted.  I have the ratings, but will have more to say on both soon.  Us is a stylistically superior horror film by Justin Peale, and Girl is a Belgian film about a transgender girl who seeks SRS surgery and success as a ballerina.  (more…)

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 © 2019 by James Clark

      This is a film so dependent upon its sense for Bergman’s previous output, and even for Bergman’s subsequent work, that it sustains the adage, “Go full out, or forget about it entirely.” But adages can be wrong; and here we welcome one and all to a breathtaking tone poem, which we hope can benefit from a few suggestions.

On the face of it, The Magician (1958), features an intense protagonist, leading a crew so heterogeneous as to wonder how their objectives can succeed. They first come to us in the countryside, at a pause in their horse-driven coach. The vehicle is affixed with the sign, “Vogler’s Magic Health Theatre.” The black and white optics induce silhouette along a ridge, the virtual trademark of the film, The Seventh Seal (1957), where a couple, Jof and Marie ply the far-flung roads in a caravan advertising their circus musicale.Those two carniesmanage to transcend the deadliness of the ridge (the seduction of death and its happy ending), by virtue of Jof’s blessing of his baby boy, to be a great acrobat and a juggler capable ofan impossible trick.Although Jof and Marie made their breakaway in the 12th century, those traces of magic lean heavily upon Vogler, in Sweden, in the 19th century.Therefore, while far from playful banter disturbs the “Health Theatre,” the opportunity to see deeply into the nature of conflictnever flags. (more…)

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By J.D. Lafrance

“It’s like seeing someone for the first time. You can be passing on the street and you look at each other and for a few seconds there’s this kind of recognition. Like you both know something, and the next moment the person’s gone. And it’s too late to do anything about it. And you always remember it because it was there and you let it go. And you think to yourself, what if I stopped? What if I said something? What if?” – Jack Foley

This bit of dialogue from Out of Sight (1998) perfectly captures the essence of the relationships between the characters in this film. It is about the what ifs and the what could have beens. What the characters do and, more importantly, what they don’t do that directly determines their fate.

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by Sam Juliano

On Thursday, March 21st Lucille will be at Engelwood Hospital for a procedure to replace a disc above her spine that has deteriorated due to arthritis.  This is the second time this school year she will be under general anesthesia after the partial knee replacement completed back in September.  Though I am sure all will be well, I am still of course on edge like the rest of my family.  I anticipate speaking to some of my friends by e mail late on Thursday.  On a very sad note the dear mother of my lifelong friend Larry Weise, (Bernice) suddenly passed away on Sunday morning of kidney failure connected to severe diabetes.  Bernice was 81.

The 1978 winner of the Best Foreign Film Oscar and the National Society of Film Critics choice as Best Film, “Get Out Your Handkerchiefs” is running as the centerpiece of the Bertrand Blier Film Festival. Lucille and I attended Sunday morning’s 11:00 A.M. showing, which showcased a beautiful new print of the courageous film about a menage a trois formed to cure a woman who is the center of the man-woman-man trio of her continued depression. The woman, Solange is highly erotic and her alternating needs are addressed with uncompromising ardor by her husband (Gerard Depardieu) and the man her husband enlists to help her get pregnant. Her relationship with a 13 year-old boy elevates the film into narrative controversy, but this often hysterical farce is unlike any film before or since and its a gem and Blier’s masterpiece. (more…)

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High Fidelity

By J.D. Lafrance

Have you ever spent hours organizing your record collection in chronological order and by genre? Have you ever had heated debates with your friends about the merits of a band who lost one of its founding members? Or argued about your top five favorite B-sides? If so, chances are you will love High Fidelity (2000), a film for and about characters obsessed with their favorite bands and music. What Free Enterprise (1999) did for film geeks; High Fidelity does for music geeks. Based on the British novel of the same name by Nick Hornby, it is a film made by and for the kind of people who collect vintage vinyl and read musician and band biographies in their spare time yet is still accessible to people who like smart, witty romantic comedies.

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