Archive for January 9th, 2022


by Sam Juliano

The Far East film polling will be launched on Tuesday, January 18th at noon, and will run through Friday, February 3d at 5:00 P.M.  I will be sure to post the voting thread here at Wonders in the Dark on that Tuesday at around the same time it posts on Facebook.  The poll will encompass mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.  Each voter will be allowed twenty choices, to be presented either in numerical order, alphabetically, chronologically or in now specific fashion.  The poll that will follow that one will be Scandinavia and Iceland, and that too will allow for twenty (20) choices.

Our family continues to come along, though typically for some of us, nasal congestion and a loss of taste  is still an issue, much as it is hen a few of us contract a cold or the flu.  But Lucille and I did attend a movie at a theater Saturday night, wearing our masks.  Many thanks to those who were concerned, and for the exceedingly kind words.  Hoping our friends are avoiding the virus.  I have returned to school and have resumed writing Irish Jesus in Fairview.

Three superlative films were navigated this past week, two streaming and one in the Ridgefield Park multiplex. LICORICE PIZZA by Paul Thomas Anderson is a strong contender for film of the year and was seen in the aforementioned theater last night. Alana Haim and young Cooper Hoffman are irresistible in the 1973-set film that my friend Todd Sherman rightly compares in ways to American Graffiti. A coming-of-age drama about a waterbed business, the legalization of pinball, the gas crisis and a naturalist romance, the film is brilliantly scored by Johnny Greenwood and features what may be the greatest scene in any film this year when a truck is driven backward. 5.0/5.0 CODA, an emotionally thrilled drama about a deaf family, aside from the one who can hear, who achieves musical stardom in Boston at a choir recital was strongly recommended by Bruce Kimmel. Directed by Sian Heder, the film features Emilia Jones in one of the most unforgettable performances of 2021 and in a splendid piece of casting, Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, a deaf performer, appears. I thought its depiction of disabled people was noble, despite some expected challenges. 4.5/5.0 An emotionally resonant performance by Joaquin Phoenix, who takes his young nephew (Woody Norman) under his wing in a revelatory road movie is movingly played out in monochrome by Robbie Ryan’s incandescent lensing. Seemingly small and sweet moments add up to a fully embodied whole. 4.5/50. Without a doubt these were three of the very best films of 2021. (more…)

Read Full Post »