WELLES AWARDS 2016 1st Quarter UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Waaaaaaayyyyyyyy back in 2008, when most of you were thinner and better looking (I’M JOKING!!!!!!!) I gave out the first annual WELLES AWARDS, named after the great Orson Welles, who was a seminal figure in the world of entertainment, being a renaissance man who didn’t just dabble, but fundamentally changed every medium he lent his hand to.

First reshaping Broadway with his Mercury Theater (the 20 year old wunderkind in 1935 spearheading an entirely Black Cast in a ground breaking production of Macbeth) , to reshaping Radio with game changing works such as WAR OF THE WORLDS, and his own inimitable voice (defining not just the character of THE SHADOW but with men such as Norman Corwin defining the outer edges of the still nascent medium of radio) to finally exploding like revalation across the landscape of cinema, Orson Welles has been synonymous with Art.

So naming an award after him was an easy choice.

Keeping up with it annually has been harder. Outside of that first award where I sent podcast winners a CD containing selected segments from each of the winners, the Award is more defined by its absence than its presence.

Time to change that. And like paying business taxes, the solution for me was this…. Going Quarterly!

Without further ado here are the 2016 1st AND 2ND quarter WELLES AWARD WINNERS!

Favorite DRAMATIC TV show (I only watch streaming, so what is new to me, may be old for you):

  • WAYWARD PINES – The show started off as THE PRISONER meets TWIN PEAKS And then got even stranger. Great show and has along with THE VISIT has revitalized M. Knight Shyamalan’s flagging career.
  • ROSEWOOD – Charming, fun, and great chemistry between the leads, makes this a decidely refreshing addition to the often dour Police Procedural monotony.
  • GRIMM – Along with THE GOOD WIFE and RIPPER STREET is consistently the best show on TV. Those 3 are in a 3 way tie for # 1.
  • Honorable mentions are DAREDEVIL SEASON 2, WALLANDER, PERSON OF INTEREST, THE PLAYER, LONGMEYER, MR. SELFRIDGE, SPARTACUS, THE MESSENGERS SEASON 1.

FAVORITE THEATRICALLY SEEN FILM 1st/2nd Qrt :
CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR

 

FAVORITE MAGAZINE:
FAST COMPANY is in a tie with BACK ISSUE MAGAZINE

 

FAVORITE BAND:
THE HEAVY – discovered them listening to the TV show STRIKE BACK, and have bought all their CDs, continue to listen to them constantly in the car
SONS OF SERENDIP

 

FAVORITE LIVE CONCERT:
GREGORY PORTER brought the house down at Town Hall in New York this past Valentines Day! Great venue, sublime concert.

 

FAVORITE BOOK:
Very hard as I’ m going back and forth between dozens of books. But some of the ones in rotation are:

MARVEL COMICS THE UNTOLD STORY
SPIES, VIXENS, AND MASTERS OF KUNG FU: THE ART OF PAUL GULACY
GUXTAVE DORE 1832-1883 : MASTER OF IMAGINATION
DIGGING : THE AFRO-AMERICAN SOUL OF AMERICAN CLASSICAL MUSIC

I could go on endlessly, so let’s cut it there for now.

 

This entry is under construction I have more to add to it such as favorite LP, favorite podcasts, favorite place, etc.

So come back in 24 hours and I should have it done.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Currently Watching : MONK and LA MANTE RELIGIEUSE

Two very different, yet thematically similar films are France’s THE MONK and LA MANTE RELIGIEUSE.

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Natalie Saracco’s 2014 film LA MANTE RELIGIEUSE (known by the trivial and clumsy English title of MANEATER) is a modern drama of a woman who burns with an inconsolable flame, and a man of faith, that challenges her toward more. A wonderful film, twisty and enthralling and sensual. Grade: B+.

monk_ver3_xlg

Director Dominik Moll’s 2007 film THE MONK, starring one of France’s most compelling actors, Vincent Cassell is about a man of faith, into whose life comes a woman who burns with an inconsolable flame. It’s a beautiful gothic, baroque painting distilled to film; a gorgeous, horrific, and surreal parable played out in the colors of flesh and blood, and to the moaning of the pleasured and the damned. Grade: B+.

There is a Flatiron Film Company DVD from 2013 that runs a 100 minutes and has no special features to speak of (at a minimum a DVD or Bluray should at least sport a director’s or cast commentary) so until there is a better DVD release, you can view this movie for free (as of this writing) on the Roku channel THRILLER THEATRE.

Roku Streaming TV VOD Channel Spotlight : THRILLER THEATRE

THRILLER THEATRE is a great free channel available on your Roku or other streaming device, that keeps the content evolving, and commercials to a minimum.

http://www.rokuguide.com/channels/thriller-theatre-free-movies

This weekend you can alternate grilling up that great meal, with checking out some of this channel’s offerings. The below list will help you avoid the dreck, which unfortunately you’ll find most channels hampered with, and get to movies that are worth your time.

Among the ones that caught my attention today are:

culdesacposter

The little seen film CUL-DE-SAC by directorial legend Roman Polanski.

HOLLOW POINT by director Sidney J. Furie and with an impressive cast. The quite entertaining 80s horror anthology DEADTIME STORIES, and THE CAT AND THE CANARY from 1978.

tunnelrats

TUNNEL RATS from 2008 which shows Uwe Boll can direct a good movie.

DAYLIGHT from 2013. the classic DEAD OF NIGHT from 1945 (a MUST SEE anthology film) , Scott Mansfield’s adaption of TELL TALE HEART, AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS with the great Peter Cushing. 

FERSEIN’S GATE, had no reviews anywhere, so I took a look, and the first few minutes made me intrigued. Worth a watch.  Also THE MONK, THE ASSAULT, DELIVER US FROM EVIL (2009 Danish), FISSURES (2007 French) , JUNCTION, ROULETTE (2012), DARK HOUSE 2012, THE LAST SHOWING(2014) starring Robert Englund, FODOR’S HAMLET (2007 – another film with no reviews on IMDB), OSSESSIONE (2007- also without IMDB reviews) , MUIRHOUSE (general opinion good build up, falls apart before the end) , 22 BULLETS are all worth a look.

So check the channel out today!

 

http://www.rokuguide.com/channels/thriller-theatre-free-movies

Today’s Great Sword Fight Film : THE PRINCESS BRIDE ?!?

My name is Inigo Montoya.

You killed my father.

Prepare to die.

… THE PRINCESS BRIDE

 

I had no interest in seeing a film named THE PRINCESS BRIDE, but some persistent arm twisting by a better half, had me try it. And to my surprise I really liked it. And that’s underselling it, it is a great movie by Director Rob Reiner and novelist/screenwriter William Goldman.

I tend to be a hard sell for syrupy kids movies, have been even as a kid.  I had a pretty wide anti-Disney streak in me (a much harder streak to indulge now that they have bought both Marvel Studios and  Lucas Films under their banner), that tended to roll over to any kids movie (whether by Disney  or not. This is not a Disney film.)

My bias was completely unwarranted, as this is as well written, fun, and mythic a film as you will see, while never losing its sense of charm and humor.

With one of the most eclectic casts, and a screen adaption of a beloved book, that ends up changing the ending (at the urging of Director Rob Reiner) it is a movie that shouldn’t work, but does spectacularly. Rob Reiner’s instincts being dead on. The great William Goldman adapts his book, being screenwriter on the movie, and by his own admission it is a great movie. And many consider it one of those rare films that improves on the source material (ex Michael Mann’s brilliant MANHUNTER) .

All the actors do a fantastic job, but it is the great Mandy Patinkin  as Inigo Montoya  and his two great sword fights and speeches, that make me love this film. It is a pair of fantastic sword fight scenes, that harken back to the best of cinema (ie Errol Flynn in ROBIN HOOD). And it is Rob Reiner’s ability to make action scenes, about so much more than the action, but about character and loss and courage, that make these scenes so iconic. That and the performance of Mandy Patinkin.

It is a film you can view courtesy of Netflix, and other VOD channels, but it is the type of movie you will want to own on Blu-ray. It has a commentzry by Rob Reiner and a commentsry by William Goldman, both commentaries are as enriching as the movie, and are must listens. Virtual clinics on cinema and movie-making and the love of the process.

 

GRADE: Buy it Now!

 

 

My name is Inigo Montoya.

You killed my father.

Prepare to die.

…THE PRINCESS BRIDE

BREAKING NEWS! On Baltimore, Judge Barry Williams, Freddie Gray, Mayor Rawlings-Blake

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/freddie-gray/bs-md-ci-nero-verdict-20160521-story.html?gshghsafg

The 2nd of six trials in the Freddie Gray case has ended, and this bench trial (no jury) ended in aquittal of Edward Nero on charges of 2nd degree assault and misconduct by Judge Barry Williams.

The first tial of William Porter ended in a hung jury.

And 4 trials remain.

The next trial in the case will be Officer Caesar Goodson Jr, followed by those of Lt. Brian Rice (July 5), Officer Garrett Miller (July 27), Officer William Porter (Sept. 6) and Sgt. Alicia White (Oct. 13).

Baltimore City has suffered an arguably deserved black eye with this case. But I think out of this tragedy, what you have is a lot of people working together to honestly and fairly seek the truth and accountability for that truth. I think Attorney General Mosby and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake deserve much credit for recognizing the need for such accountability, and enacting quickly the process of that accountability. I think everyone is trying to make out of this unrest, a better process, and a better, more accountable Baltimore and more accountable Baltimore Police Department.

That is the hope. And we must all struggle to make real that hope.