Currently Watching : Richard Linklater’s BEFORE SUNRISE

‘The Answer must be in the attempt.’

I had no desire to see this film, but finally watched, it is quite a lovely film. Covering one day, one chance encounter between two people. There is something very relateable and universal about meeting someone in passing, and bridging that gap between is there or isn’t there something there.

It’s a wonderful film about those fleeting glances we have all had, followed and acted upon, and leading to something by chance begun. Here that unlikely and awkward and magical and inept circumstance of burgeoning love is told against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful of cities, Vienna, immortalized by Carol Reed’s and Orson Welles’ THIRD MAN.

It’s a wonderful way to pass an hour and a half. Watching a film about the moments that live… because of the attempt.

 

“I believe if there’s any kind of God it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.” — Celine in BEFORE SUNRISE

 

Advertisements

Netflix Movie of the Day: BEYOND THE LIGHTS

beyondthelightslge

What we watch in cinema, if you ask a thousand people, you may get a thousand answers. But what we want from cinema? I think that answer is simpler.

We want cinema even at its most fantastic to tell us something true. To tell us something about ourself, and how we can aspire to be better than ourself. And that is what the best cinema does, for the fleeting time we share our attention with it, whether in a darkened theater or a light lit living room, we want to aspire to more than we are, to be better than we are.

Whether inspired to, if only in our dreams, be nicer, or more caring, or more concerned, or more heroic, or more… humane. That’s a rare gift, in a dire age, for cinema for a fleeting moment to have us believe in being better.

That is what BEYOND THE LIGHTS does. With a stellar cast of new faces and seasoned pros, Gina Prince-Bythewood of LOVE AND BASKETBALL and THE SECRET LIVES OF BEES here with her third feature film, creates inarguably her best film, and one that will become a perennial classic in households everywhere. But particularly households of color, in an America that increasingly is more ethnically diverse, our cinema and media is, doggedly and obstinately it would seem, ever more dismissive and marginalizing and denigrating, to characters of color or stories of color, that do not fit into narrow, nonthreatening, and tired stereotypes.

beyond_the_lights

That’s why Gina Prince-Bythewood as writer and director is so important, and BEYOND THE LIGHTS should be so heralded. In an America where Urban Love is often defined for young people in terms of players and hos, or in terms of its absence, it is so rewarding and refreshing to see a movie with intelligent Black Characters (ie more than one or two token characters) and healthy Black relationships, between Black Men and Black women, that does not fall into tired rhetoric, or bashing, or talk show idiocy.

 

Korean media and cinema is filled with such loving positive interplay, as is Japanese, or Thai, or Russian, or Dutch, or Indian, or Spanish. But somehow when it comes to the broad and diverse ethnic group called Black (African-American being a marginalizing appellation, misapplied and removed from the inclusive, unifying bridge it was meant, but failed to be. Defining an ethnic group, using a nationalistic descriptor being the height of stupidity), positive loving images are in drastic shortage.

As Black Men are increasingly invisible or the sexless , funny sidekick or cross dressing Enuchs in mass media, and Black women increasingly the hor, or the pining 2nd choice for the White Knight of American mass media. Or they are self-hating thugs, raised and bedded on ignorance.

With such a table, and such rotten food to feed young and old alike on, when someone brings to the table a fine steak or beautiful trout, you realize just how empty you had been, and for how long.

BEYOND THE LIGHTS is a great film, that makes you feel better for having seen it. Makes you feel better. What a concept.

Hopefully we can look forward to more such filmmakers and more such films. Highly Recommended!

Try it for free on Netflix, but only long enough to realize you really want to own this film in Blu-Ray. Get your copy here:

beyondthelights

Beyond the Lights [Blu-ray]

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

OKay, I don’t know what is going on with this segment of WEDNESDAYS WORDS, but in my defense all I can say is interesting titles, regardless of genre, if they catch my eye, can end up featured here.

So this ‘testosterone lacking’ episode of WEDNESDAYS WORDS (with the exception of the Tim Vigil art book and Blacksad Graphic Novel) is for all my female readers and uhh husbands and boyfriends of females. 🙂 Wow that’s a nicely put together sentence… NOT.

Anyhow, yeah, wacky books for the woman in your life… enjoy. 🙂

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

Blacksad: A Silent Hell [Hardcover]
Juan Diaz Canales (Author), Juanjo Guarnido (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: July 24, 2012 | Series: Blacksad
Detective John Blacksad returns, with a new case that takes him to a 1950s New Orleans filled with hot jazz and cold-blooded murder! Hired to discover the fate of a celebrated pianist, Blacksad finds his most dangerous mystery yet in the midst of drugs, voodoo, the rollicking atmosphere of Mardi Gras, and the dark underbelly that it hides!

Product Details

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse (July 24, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595829318
ISBN-13: 978-1595829313
Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

“The strip puts forth a dark dirty-realist style. The artwork uses clean, realistic lines. Very detailed watercolor drawings, including real-life places and cities, contribute to the realism and arresting (no pun intended) nature of the series… The knowledge of US culture and New York design is stunning. Neither creator is old enough to remember it. They are nothing short of brilliant. And subtle. I love this series.”– Noel Hynd

Blacksad: A Silent Hell


Tim Vigil Artworks 1976-1990 [Paperback] [Paperback]
Tim Vigil (Author)
Book Description
Publication Date: 1991
The best unseen works from early in his career
Tim Vigil Artworks 1976-1990 [Paperback]


Keeping Score [Paperback]
Regina Hart (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
To be a pro b-ball champion takes endless drive and passion. But being a winner on the court can often mean losing off the court. . .

He’s an NBA legend, considered the best of the best. Now veteran player Warrick Evans is determined to lead his team all the way to the championship. It’s his last shot before he retires, but the media can’t get enough of his story–and all the attention is turning his teammates against him, not to mention his wife. . .

Dr. Marilyn Devry-Evans has always stood by her man, even when it meant standing in his shadow. Now she wants to focus on her own career, and on scoring her own dream job. But with the spotlight bearing down on them, Marilyn is reaching her breaking point. Especially when a secret comes to light–one that could destroy not only her career, but her marriage.
Keeping Score


Skinny Bitching: A thirty-something woman mouths off about age angst, pregnancy pressure, and the dieting battles you’ll never win [Paperback]
Jenny Lee (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: October 25, 2005
In her acclaimed books I Do. I Did. Now What?! and What Wendell Wants, Jenny Lee hilariously chronicled the milestones of getting married and getting a dog. Now she takes on the most terrifying milestone of all: getting older.

Tackling everything from the peer pressure to have children to resisting the siren call of suburbia, Skinny Bitching delivers unsparingly witty commentary on:

• What to do when you actually start breaking out again like you did in junior high school (how is that even possible?)

• Saying good-bye to going to bars, seeing bands, and generally being cool

• Finally facing the fact that those extra ten pounds are never coming off

• Dealing with the fact that just when you finally know what you want out of a husband, it’s too late to exchange him

In a hilarious and poignant homage to thirty-something women everywhere, Jenny Lee lets us in on her most intimate secrets as she transforms her modern-day angst into something timeless, moving, and unfailingly funny.

Skinny Bitching: A thirty-something woman mouths off about age angst, pregnancy pressure, and the dieting battles you’ll never win


The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color [Paperback]
Iman (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: September 5, 2006
The first beauty and make-up book to address skin tones from across the spectrum-including Latina, black, Asian, Indian, Native American, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern, as well as multiple ethnicities – The Beauty of Color features:

Skin care basics with specialized beauty regimens for skin of color
Makeup 101 – what you really need for every skin tone
How to create ten amazing make-up looks with easy step-by-step instructions and photos
Famous beauties, including Salma Hayek, Tyra Banks, Eva Mendes, Venus and Serena Williams, Eve, Rosario Dawson, Padma Lakshmi, Jade Jagger, Alicia Keys, and Kimora Lee Simmons

The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color

Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics! [Paperback]
Grant Geissman (Author)
Book Description
Publication Date: April 5, 2005
Legendary publisher Bill Gaines is perhaps best remembered as the founder of MAD Magazine, but in the opinion of many dedicated comic book fans, his greatest achievement was E.C. Comics, a line of adventure, horror, and science-fiction comics whose influence on American graphic novels is undeniable, even today. Foul Play! is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understand the special place E.C. holds in the comic fan’s heart — or who just wants to read some real good comics!

Foul Play! celebrates the fan-favorite creators of E.C. Comics, profiling their artists — a veritable who’s who of mid-20th century popular illustration — and describing how they came to work with Bill Gaines and how their careers evolved after E.C.. Among the comics art legends profiled are Al Feldstein; Harvey Kurtzman; Johnny Craig; Jack Davis; Graham Ingels; Jack Kamen; Wallace Wood; Joe Orlando; Will Elder; John Severin; George Evans; Al Williamson; Reed Crandall; Bernie Krigstein; and more! Plus, the book includes a special bonus: a lost E.C. Comics story “Wanted for Murder!” originally intended to be published in 1956 but forgotten and unseen until now

Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

Movie Showdown: THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS vs GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Movie Showdown: THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS vs GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Rather than the differences of these two films what strikes me is the similarities. Both are 1946 films. Both big budget A pictures for the time, with high profile directors (Lewis Milestone while a forgotten director today, for his time helmed many a top-tier film). Both successes, the films share that theme of young people and the great expectations the adults in their lives have for them, and what becomes of these children because of those… great expectations.

In David Lean’s seminal GREAT EXPECTATIONS the story is told from the boy’s perspective, (Pip played by Anthony Wager and John Mills) who meets a girl (Estella played by Jean Simmons and Valerie Hobson)who is also subject to…great expectations. Greater expectations even than his.

[A nice aside about the two young actors who played Pip and Estrella comes from Sean Axmaker of TCM. He writes:

‘The most visually evocative scenes in the film, however, take place in Miss Havisham’s shadowy mansion. [Pip] Summoned by the mysterious matron to her shuttered manor, he enters a Gothic haunted house that time forgot and finds an eccentric, possibly mad dowager in a rotting wedding dress, holding court in a musty throne room dominated by a decomposing wedding cake, a reminder of the day she was jilted at the altar. Havisham has sent for Pip to become a playmate for her ward Estella (Jean Simmons), an impertinent young beauty with whom Pip immediately falls in love. Apparently, young Anthony Wager [the Actor] also fell in love with [17 year old] Simmons (how could a thirteen-year-old boy with stars in his eyes not?) and even played the hero in real life. According to Simmons, her dress caught on fire from a candle she was carrying through a scene up a flight of dark stairs. “Everybody stood aghast, but Anthony came and tore it off me and put it out. This boy was the one who saved me.”]

In Lewis Milestone’s STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS the story is told from the girl’s perspective, who (as in EXPECTATIONS) is molded by the expectations of a domineering matriarch who shapes her to marry for power and money.



“He wanted to make something of his son, and I was tied to them both from that time on… [He used my guilt to make me marry his son]. Sam you’re not going to go away again! I want you here, Sam! I’ve lived so much inside myself. So choked with wanting something else that lives and breathes, so desperate for air and room to breathe it in! Oh, please, oh please… stay here.”
—Barbara Stanwyck as Martha in THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS

And in both films the course of those lives are neither easy nor straight, but undulating tales of loves deferred, and tragedies… born.

And both films were the first appearance of two future stars. GREAT EXPECTATIONS being the first film appearance of Alec Guinness, and STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS being the first film appearance of Kirk Douglas.

[Guinness’ performance is little more than a bit part, but Kirk Douglas is revelatory in his first screen role. Imbuing a difficult role, with a suffering that makes him neither hero nor villain… but something more sad, and memorable than both. But everyone gives strong performances in STRANGE LOVE, Heflin an oft dismissed leading man gives, perhaps his best performance here. Barbara Stanwyck adds some rare vulnerability to her tough as nails persona. However, arguably it’s Lizabeth Scott’s performance as Antonia Marachek, the one caught in the crossfire, that lets everything work in this film. That and the script of Robert Rossen (of ROARING TWENTIES and HUSTLER fame) that has to rank as one of his best.]

And finally the ultimate comparison, both films… come highly recommended. 🙂 .

You can view THE STRANGE LOVES OF MARTHA IVERS online here.

And when ready to purchase there is a great Criterion DVD for David Lean’s film, loaded with special features. However, the various DVD versions of STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS are, on the whole, bare-bones affairs, sporting no special features. Check the links below.

Great Expectations (The Criterion Collection)

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Strange Love of Martha Ivers [Blu-ray]

Hope you enjoyed today’s selections, and come back tomorrow for the much awaited next installment of… WEDNESDAY’S WORDS! Till then… be good. 🙂