Archive for March, 2021

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By J.D. Lafrance

By the time he made The Getaway (1972), Steven McQueen was in desperate need of a commercially successful film. His last three were box office flops, especially his last one, Junior Bonner (1972). Incidentally, Sam Peckinpah, who directed both films, was also in a need of a hit and saw this project as a way to show Hollywood that he could make a box-office hit. In doing so, the director once again was forced to compromise his vision for someone else’s – in this case, McQueen who did everything in his power to make The Getaway his ticket back into the elite, A-list club of major Hollywood players.


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by Sam Juliano

It’s official.  Spring 2021 has arrived and with it a real sense of hope and better days ahead.  There remains of course people out there who would rather defy sensible regulations and play politics, but with vaccination numbers rising and in some areas cases falling there is no reason for most of us to live in consternation.  I suspect the coming summer will be far, far different than the horror show we experienced in the corresponding months of 2020, and am hoping the vast majority of our friends who are able to get the vaccination are doing so.  I’ve been told by our dear Canadian friends that it isn’t as readily available up there, but I am hoping that situation will improve greatly in the coming weeks.  This hopeful expectation is also aimed at our friends in Europe, South America and Asia.

On Wednesday our resident film essay master Jim Clark, published the latest in his extraordinary Ingmar Bergman series, the 1964 comedy (in color), All These Women. 

Lucille and I watched plenty of classic movies and television episodes over the past week but we did manage to take in two of the recent award-nominated films via streaming.  (We almost attended a showing at a local theater, but we are delaying it until tomorrow (Tuesday).  I’d like to add some commentary but for now I offer up the 1 to 5 star ratings: (more…)

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© 2021 by James Clark

The endeavors of the films of Ingmar Bergman involve a remarkably wide range. Being a magician of dramatic forces, he puts into our hands myriad dilemmas, seldom, or never before, seen. Where the norms of drama set about, you can be sure that he’s not looking. For him, the norm of reflection has already done its damage, a damage which cannot be significantly altered.

Of course these actions take place on the basis of long-standing matrices. But the casts of his showdowns never fail to be nightmarish and crushing. Our film today, All These Women (1964), constitutes one of the more unusual directions, almost like one in a blue moon. But a blue moon deriving its power from its positivity, its twin. There is, in the world of Bergman, a pairing with this very bizarre entry, namely,  The Devil’s Eye (1960), where a couple, in an apparently happy marriage, find themselves millions of light-years apart. Their quiet, nightmarish efforts to reach cogent affection elicit the creative element of pathos, where all around there is crude bathos, quick and careless amity, in fact hell. Moreover, her once-in-a-lifetime unfaithfulness also attains to pathos, where the suitor/lover—even so briefly, even so finite—comes and then goes in a day. With all the elements having touched in that way, they form a singularity, being not only reaching an apex, but at the portal of becoming an associate in nature itself. Real magic! Real feeling!

Thereby, in the second form of this filmic couplet (being our film today), the gentle, small and amazing gifts pretty much quit the stage in favor of pedantry and advantage. What’s up? In fact plenty; but it will take  a while to clear it up. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The typical March weather is now regaling us with mercurial tenacity as temperatures rise and fall at a time of year when strong winds and clothing uncertainty are most prevalent.  Of course our friends sound of the equator are inching closer to their own fall season so the numbers there are surely in the heat range.  Meanwhile the world at large continues to make progress on the pandemic front and stateside eateries, stores and of course schools are opening with some initial restrictions.  Some of the most optimistic among us are predicting that by summer we will practically have the virus under full control after what would have surely been the most terrifying fourteen or so months in our lives.

At our own school, students are back but marginally until the end of the month when another parental survey will surely increase the number by quite a distance.  Movie theaters in Manhattan are opening as well though again with attendance restrictions.  Here in New Jersey most theaters are fully operational though will a few less screens in the multiplexes.  Like most Lucille and I continue to watch new releases at home through the various streaming services.  This year will sadly mark the very first time since way back in 1978 that our annual Oscar party will have to be cancelled.  The normal place we stage the event is understandably unavailable this year as we still have a few more months before we could even consider such a “crowded” event.  Frankly, I would not myself be comfortable hosting it and feel it is best for all concerned we dispense with it for this year.

Lucille and I watched many old films and television shows at home, but we did manage two new releases: (more…)

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