It’s almost summer, but today is Igor Stravinsky’s 230th birthday and I can’t think of a stronger movie-Stravinsky connection than The Rite of Spring in Walt Disney’s Fantasia so this is your Watercooler Musical Interlude for the week.

I’m busy with the fourth day of the Los Angeles Film Festival and trying to keep up with writing so this is all I’ve got time for to kick off the Watercooler this week. Now it’s your turn. Has anyone been up to anything interesting movie-wise since last time?


3 Responses to “The Rite of Watercooler Spring – Igor Stravinsky’s 230th Birthday”

  1. Stravinsky and RITE OF SPRING. Pure bliss. Happy birthday Igor! And I trust the LA Festival is giving you quite a few thrills!

    My own week on the cultural front has been almost exclusively spent in the Film Forum, taking in what has surprisingly turned into quite a marvelous festival. The survey of the most celebrated spaghetti westerns ha showcased some of the most impressive works in the genre, and with directors like Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Sollima being featured, it’s been quite the entertaining and artful treat for film fans. I only wish my friend Samuel Wilson could be here with us, as he’s the definitive spaghetti western fan of the group!

    With young Sammy in tow for most and Lucille for a few, I saw:

    Salo **** (Monday night) IFC Film Center

    China 9 Liberty 37 **** (Tuesday night) Spaghettis at Film Forum

    The Big Countdown **** 1/2 (Wed. night) Spaghettis at Film Forum

    Duck, You Sucka **** (Wed. night) Spaghettis at Film Forum

    Sabata *** (Wed. night) Spaghettis at Film Forum

    Yankee *** 1/2 (Thursday) Spaghettis at Film Forum

    A Bullet For the General **** (Friday) Spaghettis at Film Forum

    Companeros **** (Saturday) Spaghettis at Film Forum

    Tepepa *** (Saturday) Spaghettis at Film Forum

    Once Upon A Time in the West ***** (Sunday) Spaghettis at Film Forum

    The Ruthless Hour ** 1/2 (Sunday) Spaghettis at Film Forum

    Seeing Pasolini’s SALO at the IFC on Monday night was a painful reminder of how difficult it is to sit through this infamous film, while still acknowledging that the nihilist film is a scathing political indictment, that is often so sickening that you must turn from the screen. Even all of us Criterion DVD owners can’t see the film in the same way that it was viewed at the IFC as part of a sold-out Monday night crowd. I really didn’t feel like eating until half-way through the next day. I attended the film with Broadway Bob ONLY.

    I hope to have some kind of a round-up after the spaghetti westerns festival is over, but for now, suffice to say it has been an utter delight, and nothing I could have expected. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is of course a supreme masterpiece, with unforgettable set pieces, performances, and Ennio Morricone’s spectacular score, one of film music’s greatest glories. THE BIG COUNTDOWN, beautifully shot in widescreen must surely be considered one of the best films of the genre, and three others were total bliss: CHINA 9 LIBERTY 37, COMPANEROS and A BULLET FOR THE GENERAl. A few others were decent enough as well. My son Sammy has seen only one less film that I have, and we have six more planned until the festival ends on Thursday.

    Check out what Screen Slate has written about the festival:

  2. Over the weekend I saw The Intouchables, France’s version of a feel-good movie. My expectations from the trailer had been yin-yang, leaving me not knowing how I’d react to the full-length product. Likewise, the opening sequence left me wondering what I was in for — was this movie too cute for its own good? Ultimately, I trusted what seemed to be an intelligent force behind the thing — technical precision evidenced by a fluid editing style, good performances and an unpredictability in narrative. End result: I liked it, especially the performance of co-star Francois Cluzet, who handled his role of a tetraplegic with dignity and humor. An enjoyable ride.

  3. Saw Monsieur Lazhar over the weekend, Canada’s BFF nominee. I had seen the trailer numerous times but was unaware of the primary plot device because the trailer never touches on it. I think that clever choice actually made the film more enjoyable for me, because I went in expecting a twist on Mr Holland’s Opus and got something else. Well-acted, with exceptional performances from the child actors, and (thankfully) the script never panders to the audience the way it easily could have.

    I also revisited Lawrence of Arabia, primarily because of Prometheus. I’ve seen it many times, but I never get over how exceptional a film Lawrence of Arabia is. It is also crying out for a Blu-ray upgrade, which I believe is scheduled for later this year. Looking forward to that.

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