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by Sam Juliano

This past Monday I failed to post the Monday Morning Diary, which is a great rarity. Various reasons connected with the Easter weekend and some pressing obligations persuaded me to hold off until today, though I will only mention here that the annual Tribeca Film Festival starts up tomorrow.  Lucille and I will be busy on that front until May 5th.  I will include the usual round-ups on the festival and other social and artistic matters as applicable on the upcoming Monday morning installments beginning on April 29th.  There will not be another MMD miss for anytime in the foreseeable future.  Thanks to all for your friendship.

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by Sam Juliano

With Palm Sunday nearly expired we move now forward to Good Friday, Easter Sunday and a welcome spring break for many.  Warm weather seems to have taken serious hold, while the customary rain during the calendar’s fourth month has also vied for meteorological honors.  At Wonders in the Dark, Jim Clark and J.D. Lafrance have posted some superlative essays in the previous weeks, and this routine will now continue for the remainder of 2019, only intruded by the Third Annual Allan Fish Online Film Festival slated for mid-May and planned to conclude on Allan’s birthday near the end of the month on the 28th.  Jamie Uhler will again be chairing this noble venture.  Yours Truly will do the Caldecott series again in September, and some other reviews in film, music, television and even pinball.  Jim Clark’s Ingmar Bergman series has been quite a success, though today the news broke that the great Swedish actress Bibi Andersson, who starred in many of the timeless Bergman films Jim reviewed has passed on at age 83.  R.I.P.

Continued best wishes to our treasured friend the author John Grant of Noirish who is coming along quite nicely after a brief health setback.  The staff would also like to wish Maurizio and his wife congratulations on the coming birth of their first child four months from now!

The Tribeca Film Festival is now only ten (10) days away and Lucille and I are again ready to attend with abandon.  Schedules are presently being pored over.

As longtime pinball fans we are quite excited about this past week’s expected announcement by Jersey Jack Pinball.  The new machine slated to ship to customers and on-location stations is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and my family will be getting the LE Edition.  It is a dream title like no other for reasons I have discussed at this site in prior film reviews and the art, call-outs, music and game play is top-drawer. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The warmer weather is becoming more regular in the transition month that is sure to expel the chill once and for all.  The fourth month of the year often is rain-soaked while the allergy season is initiated.  In just a bit over two weeks the Tribeca Film Festival will launch and Lucille and plan to attend many screenings.  The annual school Washington D.C. trip will be staged only few days after Tribeca ends and moi will again be serving as a chaperone for the seventh year consecutively.  Jim Clark’s latest in his ongoing Ingmar Bergman series will publish this week as will the most recent J.D. Lafrance film review.  The Third Annual Allan Fish Online Film Festival will be held the second week of May, and once again Jamie Uhler will serve as chairman.  We are taking a break this year from genre countdowns, so the AFOFF will be the only group project staged at the site.

We are wishing our dear friend John Grant a speedy recovery from a health issue that seems now to be mostly sorted out.

Two-time Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall and two of this past year’s Caldecott honorees, Oge Mora and Grace Lin appear at Brooklyn’s Word Bookstore for Sunday presentation!  Lucille, Jeremy and I have seen and met the great children’s literature author-artist Sophie Blackall (Hello Lighthouse) many times over the past years, but we were so honored to meet and chat with the young and fabulously talented Oge Mora and Grace Lin, who won Caldecott Honors this year for their sublime masterpieces, “Thank You Omu” and “A Big Mooncake For Little Star” at a noontime book presentation for kids and adults at the Word in Brooklyn as well. All three are not only stupendous talents, but they are humble, effervescent and lovely human beings! (All three winning books were reviewed in this past year’s Caldecott Medal Contender series at WONDERS IN THE DARK). (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The nine hour version of the 1924 masterpiece Greed by Erich Von Stroheim has been found in a Berlin warehouse!  The Holy Grail of Holy Grails has now, miraculously become a reality.  This is that “everything stops” moment we can always hope for but never attain………..anyway, April Fools!!!!

The fourth month has arrived and with it comes rain, the allergy season, warmer weather, and for Lucille and I the annual Tribeca Film Festival, which commences late in the month this year, overlapping into May.  I am starting now to get my notes and suggestions together to put together a crammed schedule.  Lucille, who is coming along beautifully will again be my prime mate for a slew of screenings.  More about Tribeca as we get closer to the date in a few weeks.  J.D. Lafrance’s latest (and marvelous) weekly film review published this past week considers Oliver Stone’s 1987 Wall Street.  The great Jim Clark will be posting again soon following up on his stellar essay of Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician.  This past week Lucille and I saw two movies in theaters:

Hotel Mumbai based on the unspeakable terrorist attacks in Bombay and specifically at the Taj Hotel, in a multi-day operation that claimed the lives of 174 in the city, where 300 or more were wounded is a difficult film for me to recommend, and as as a lifelong friend and former English teacher stated “it can never be watched more than once”, yet it is exceedingly well-made, riveting and superbly acted (by Dev Patel, Anupam Kher, Arnie Hammer, Nazarin Boniardi and others) that I must award it a 4 of 5 rating. There are times I thought of the action flick “Die Hard” but of course the near-sadistic atrocities in that fateful event (India’s 9-11 to be sure) are only too real. The heroism, the matter of a split second determining life or death and shockingly the non-existence of the Indian military and police is mind boggling during this monstrous siege. We took in the 10:00 P.M. screening last night at the Ridgefield Park Starplex. (more…)

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

 

-Sam

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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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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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