Archive for December 8th, 2019

by Sam Juliano

The cataract surgery on my right eye is set for this coming Friday (December 13) at a Fair Lawn, New Jersey eye center.  Aside from that frightening date I will be attending that appointment with confidence based on the routine nature of this procedure.  I’m 65 now and this the medium age when cataracts invade our vision.

J.D. Lafrance published a splendid review on the 1989 Canadian film Roadkill by Bruce McDonald this past Tuesday.  Jim Clark’s new essay will be posting soon.

Lucille, Sammy and Jeremy and I saw two films in theaters this past week:

Trey Edward Shults’ docudrama “Krishna” was a stunning achievement, but with “Waves” the young director has expanded his talents more dramatically. Armed with an electrifying performance by Kelvin Harrison Jr. and two other masterful turns by Taylor Russell and Sterling K. Brown, Shults is in full commend of an emotionally searing screenplay about unspeakable tragedy, familial disconnect and the intricacies of the healing process from within and with the support of those who work to break through a barrier of the deepest grief. The hybrid experimental, R & B score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is one of the most stunning and perfect attuned to the film’s mood and themes of any in years and the visceral presentation is sure to move even the hardest of hearts. The film’s structure is sometimes disorienting and it sometimes appears you are looking at connecting short films but in retrospect this brilliant devise connecting the dots in numerous ways is a directorial masterstroke. A 5/5 rating and without any doubt one of the 2 or 3 very best films of the year.

Seen at the Claridge in Montclair, “The Two Popes” directed by the gifted Brazilian Fernando Meirelles, features two extraordinary performances by Anthony Hopkins (as Pope Benedict) and Jonathan Pryce (as Pope Francis) in a drama that focuses on their friendship and meetings before the latter was chose as the new pontiff after the former resigned unexpectedly. Monochrome flashbacks of Jorge Bergolio (Francis’) turbulent years as an Argentinian cardinal amidst political unrest, kidnap and murder are effectively woven into the meeting segments and the philosophical differences between the German conservative and progressive South American make for engrossing conversations, and Meirelles makes excellent use of lush cinematography as well as news footage and re-enactments of the monumental elections and coronations of both men in front wall to wall people in Vatican City. The film captures pomp and circumstance, intimate reflection and historical events that shaped this most unlikely shift in church policies. It seems fitting that the film was directed by a devout Catholic. An easy 4.5 of 5.0 and a sure end-of-year “Best of” placement. (more…)

Read Full Post »