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seymour

red army

by Sam Juliano

Spring arrived without much fanfare this past week but was suddenly dispatched on Friday when five inches of snow fell on the metropolitan area, again proving that one can’t be comfortable in this season from hell.  As we know from the past, even April is unpredictable.   Baseball season inches closer for those inclined, and for Lucille and I the Tribeca Film Festival is a little more than three weeks away.  No doubt that will be quite a torrid eleven day span!

The initial group e mail for the upcoming Best Childhood Film countdown has been sent out to the voters and writers, and a spirited discussion has commenced.  Ballots will be sent in starting on May 1st and ending on the 14th, with the results to be posted shortly thereafter by Voting Tabulator Extraordinaire Angelo A. D’Arminio Jr.  The actual countdown will begin near the end of May and will run Monday through Friday for ten weeks.  Any Wonders in the Dark readers wishing to participate, please reach me at TheFountain26@aol.com.   My latest capsule review for a Terrill Welch painting was sent on yesterday:

Terrill Welch’s arresting impressionistic oil painting “Trail Along the Bridge” showcases a domestic refuge, one that is ideal for meditation and creative inspiration.  There is a pneumatic quality to the seemingly clandestine vantage point overlooking mountains and a wooden valley that would surely give pause for sensory reflections.  The glorious blue sky, bright textures, summer shadows and joyful ambiance define the scene, yet there is a mystique in the central almost intimidating image of the Douglas Fir, which is rooted tenuously near the edge of the ridge, a sitting duck for a storm, yet evincing a look of having survived its share of atmospheric ravages.
 
Everyone can lay claim to a place and a setting they revered since childhood – and the experience is a kind of Stopping by Woods on a Lovely Day, when everything comes to a halt, and there is a fusion with nature.  Welch’s painting isn’t without a more somber context – the tree’s slant suggests that such days are in limited number, and are mainly available during late spring and summer, yet there is scenic bliss and inspiration, not only attested by the creator, but to be seen by generous brush strokes of color and a wonderfully serene landscape.  It would be hard to fathom that a hike up this trail wouldn’t stoke the happiest of memories and expectations.  This is Ms. Welch in radiant mode, and it would bring any room to life, transporting its onlookers to an idyllic hamlet in this island paradise.

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by Sam Juliano

It does appear conclusively that the icy grip of one of the worst winter seasons has been disconnected and signs of spring have begun to surface.  Sadly for those who have allergies this is a time when discomfort reigns supreme, but this matter is still a few weeks away for most.

As previously announced, preparations for the ‘Best Childhood Films’ countdown will proceed very soon.  As with our prior countdowns, the new one will be negotiated by gathering together the votes of approximately thirty film floggers who have been part of a cinema e mail network dating back to the musical countdown.

Lucille, the boys and I traveled down to the quaint village of Mount Holly, New Jersey on Saturday morning to attend the photography exhibit that largely included the superlative work of our good friend Jeff Stroud.  The entire venture translated to a great time, and Jeff’s framed captures deserve wide exposure.

Most of my movie watching this past week was at home on our new 50 inch 4X screen.  Classic television and blu-rays were watched with abandon, and I’m figuring there will much more to come in the months ahead.  We did get to see two films in theaters though:

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by Sam Juliano

Things at Wonders in the Dark have been looking up, what with Allan Fish’s long-awaited return to the ranks, the continued high-quality work of Jim Clark on every other Wednesday, and the imminent staging of the Top 50 Greatest Childhood Films polling and countdown planned for late May.  This week the first e mail will be sent out to the e mail network.

There does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel as far as the unrelenting frigid weather and snow we been regaled with over months, sustaining for one the worst February any of us can remember.  On another note I want to thank our very dear friend Dee Dee for her lovely greetings for Allan’s return posted on the sidebar, and as always for her always cherished concern for the site and those who post here.  Great too, that Tony d’Ambra is back in print as per his blu ray review of Ride the Pink Horse at Films Noir.et this past week.  The Tribeca Film Festival inches closer, and is roughly one month away.  To say we will be busy for those 11 days would be a classic understatement, as we manged 51 feature length films during last year’s event.

Lucille and I were very busy this past week with home repairs, assisting the man who administered them, and as a result I was on-line far less than I have been in a very long time.  We did get to see two films in theaters: (more…)

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Brilliant and electrifying British film, 71, set in Belfast during IRA-British army violence

 

by Sam Juliano

Still no reprieve from snow, ice and the coldest winter in many a year, though as I’ve noted before we on the East coast have nothing on the much maligned Bostonians and mid-westerners, who have been chosen as the prime targets in this ultimate demonstration of arctic rage.  Some in the know are predicting a very cold March as well.

As mentioned on last week’s Monday Morning Diary, Allan Fish has returned after a lengthy health related absence, but he’s as good as new, and his latest writings have confirmed he has lost even a tenth of a stride.

For the very first time I am announcing the earliest stages of the ‘Best Films About Childhood’ project that we are projecting will commence sometime in May.  Specific rules and propositions will be send out to the film blogger e mail network in the coming weeks, and each participant will be asked to choose their own Top 50 in numerical order.  As was the case with all our previous countdowns, tabulation will be followed by review assignments.  We are presently thinking that the countdown will be a 50 film affair, running ten weeks.  But no firm decisions have yet been made. (more…)

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john grant

With our terrific friend, the talented author John Grant (Paul Barnett) and his wife Pam at Joey’s in Hewitt

 

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HOPE AND GLORY director John Boorman at Film Forum on Wednesday night for a Q & A of his fabulous new film QUUEN AND COUNTRY

 

by Sam Juliano

Allan Fish is back, and this is cause for celebration for all of us here at Wonders in The Dark!  Physically he is rebounding wonderfully, and he is back on the movie trail.  The very best news in a very long time, and a time to give thanks!!

The Oscar show was a mixed bag.  Birdman is a very good film for sure, but definitely not more deserving than Boyhood nor Selma, and the results of the entire marathon presentation were so predictable.  I managed to win my own Oscar pool at our annual party attended by over 30, with 21 of 24 correct predictions, but the year wasn’t very challenging.  The best aspects of the show were the speeches by Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore and the screenwriter of The Imitation Game, and Lady Gaga’s buffo rendition of the songs from The Sound of Music.

It was great to connect with my great friend, site regular and author John Grant (Paul Barnett) and his lovely wife Pam at Joey’s in Hewitt, New Jersey on Friday night for a chat at the musical show performed by singer and guitarist Gene Focarelli.  Just a wonderful time with dear friends, with all but Melanie in attendance.  the food was fine, and the music -song standards from the 60’s and 70’s- excellent.

We all got to see renowned film director John Boorman at the screening of his new film Queen and Country on Wednesday night.  The 82 year-old director, offered up some fabulous deadpan humor during his introduction and Q & A after the showing.  We had seen his masterpiece Hope and Glory two nights earlier on Monday.  On Saturday night we saw a double feature in the Charles Laughton Film Festival, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables:   (more…)

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john boorman

 

by Sam Juliano

Frigid temperatures that have dropped to below zero with the wind chill factored in have given those of us in the northern New Jersey/metropolitan area the coldest numbers in over two decades.  Snow mounds still on the ground since the past snowfalls seemed destined to hang around for quite a bit more the way things stand.  Of course, our issues are relatively minor when you compare then to what our good friends in the midwest have had to endure over the last three months.

I have been spending some time watching episodes of old classic television series as a result of some pollings we’ve conducted on Facebook over the last months.  I’ve watched some shows from The Time Tunnel, Hogan’s Heroes, F Troop, Family Affair, Leave it to Beaver and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.  They have brought back so many precious memories.  I plan next to watch some Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, while continuing with the aforementioned shows.

We’ve attended the John Boorman Festival at the Film Forum this week, taking in four films (with two more planned fro the coming week) over three days.  Boorman will be making a personal appearance on Wednesday before his new film QUEEN AND COUNTRY screens.  We have already bought our tickets.  We also watched the new release of THE KINGSMAN, though the showing is late Sunday night, and I will have to come back to this thread in the morning to revise with a rating: (more…)

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hard to be a god

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by Sam Juliano

The Caldecott Medal and Honor books were announced on Monday morning, February 2nd.   Dan Santat’s The Adventures of Beekle took the gold, while a record-breaking six (6) honor books were named:  Lauren Castillo’s Nana in the City, Jennifer Bryant and Melissa Sweet’s The Right Word, Barb Rosenstock and Mary Grandpre’s The Noisy Paint Box, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s Sam and Dave Dig A Hole, Yuyi Morales’ Viva Frida and Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer.  The seemingly heavily-favored The Farmer and the Clown wound up will no acknowledgement.  I was very pleased with the results, even if like everyone else some personal favorites didn’t make it.

Lucille and entire brood accompanied me to Manhattan’s Books of Wonder on Sunday afternoon for a panel discussion involving four author/illustrators.  Elizabeth Rose Stanton, the author and illustrator of Henny, Toni Yuly (Night Owl), Matt De La Pena (Last Stop on  Market Street) and Migy (And Away We Go).

We saw two films in theaters, one an Academy Award nominated feature-length documentary, and the other a nearly three hour black and white Russian film.  We saw: (more…)

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