I’m told there’s a football game on today so this seems like an appropriate choice for these week’s Watercooler Musical Interlude. It is of course from John Williams’ score to John Frankenheimer’s 1977 Superbowl terrorist flick Black Sunday. The Goodyear blimp flew over my house low one night when I was a little kid with all the patterned lights on the side flashing like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (except before Close Encounters came out) so of course I had a longstanding childhood fascination with the blimp and the commercial for Black Sunday was like catnip.

Well, the Oscars are pretty much over with a wet fizzle even before they’ve started and it’s still pretty much Movie Winter unless you were at Sundance. Did anyone get out there and do anything worth talking about anyway? You know the drill. Lay it on me.

4 Responses to “Black Sunday Watercooler”

  1. I was waiting for Bane to show up when the outage thing happened at the stadium.

    Film-wise, I finally saw Take Shelter on Monday. Very good film. And due to work, I travelled to Sao Paulo (Brazil) for less than 48 hours for an Investigator’s Meeting. On the flight to SP, I saw Lawless, which I thought was a lite version of Boardwalk Empire. At the hotel, I didn’t saw anything on tv, but I noticed Amour premiered at the cinemas in Brazil. Missed the chance to see it on a big screen in its original language with portuguese subtitles because I was tired as hell after the welcome + dinner reception.

    On my way back to Peru, I saw Smashed and Seven Psychopaths. Smashed was fantastic to watch and I wished the Oscars didn’t snub Mary Elizabeth Winstead (I’d replace Q. Wallis in favor of Winstead), but I guess they filled their “drunk characters” spots with Joaquin and Denzel. Also, Sam Rockwell should have made it to the Supporting Actor category for his acting in Psychopaths, but this year’s Supporting Actor field is tough as hell to get in.

    Last night I saw Fast Five, which was better than expected. This morning, The Master. I enjoyed There Will Be Blood a lot more, but Master was still great to watch, especially when then main characters clash against each other. PSH and JP should win at the Oscars, but they won’t sadly.

    Currently watching The Help at the moment. I don’t hate it, but don’t love it either.

  2. BLACK SUNDAY is a great choice indeed. Well, I know the 49ers fans will be angrily reflecting on that non-call in the waning moments of their team’s narrow defeat at the hands of Baltimore, but it was quite an entertaining game throughout. The power outage was most bizarre I must say.

    Lucille and I (and the kids for some) saw the following this past week:

    Koch **** (Friday night) Angelika Film Center

    The Pirogue *** 1/2 (Wednesday night) Film Forum

    Warm Bodies * 1/2 (Saturday night) Secaucus mutiplex

    I Was Born But (1932) ***** (Sunday afternoon) Film Forum

    The new documentary KOCH examined the colorful New York Mayor’s early rise to political prominence, but mainly his 12 years in Gracie Mansion, a time he ran the Big Apple like a deli counterman. The AIDS crisis, the broken hospital system, racial tensions, the drug epidemic and the rise of homelessness all marked Koch’s long tenure, and as seen addressing crowds and the media the pugnacious orator was never one to mince words, a fact that even his political adversary Al Sharpton admitted when addressing the former mayor’s passing: “I disagreed with him on many issues, but he was never a phony or a hypocrite. He said what he meant and he meant what he said.” A highlight of director Barclay’s film comes on the 2010 election night when Andrew Cuomo won the New York gubernatorial race. Koch is seen surrounded by adoring well-wishers, but at evening’s end goes home alone. Koch was a passionate movie lover, but Barclay says little on this aspect of the figure’s post-mayor life and vocational, only interviewing Koch on his political positions. The larger-than-life, egocentric but lovable Koch was as pleased as pink when the Queensboro Bridge was named after him, and was in good humor when he toured the cemetery where his tombstone awaited him. Typically, he spoke as if he would be enjoying the Manhattan location during the afterlife. KOCH is an engaging, affectionate look at an irrepressible figure who was a quintessential New Yorker to the last bone.

    WARM BODIES is a largely insipid and tedious modern horror tale that incorporates “Zombieland” and “28 Days After”, and despite an impressive turn from Nicholas Hoult the film is multiplex fodder at it’s most forgettable. I’m still trying to figure out how I wound up in the theater to see this. Yet I see the reviews are solid. Go figure. THE PIROGUE is for the most part a gripping drama of a seven day voyage from Senegal to Spain that involves a band of Africans willing to risk everything to reach Europe. A spirited Sengalese score further enlivens the proceedings and helps to mitigate the unavoidable claustrophobia. Ozu’s 1932 I WAS BORN BUT was offered up as part of the Sunday morning “Film Forum Jr.” series. At its heart this great work of the silent cinema is an elegy to the lost innocence of youth, that informs a clash between idealism and the more sobering realities of the adult world. This is a them that Ozu examined throughout his career, but the stylistic template was set in this early film, with its eschewing of fade outs and fade ins, and a general simplification of the film grammar. His trademark low angle shots capturing the private scenes of domestic life, and the employment of the internal dynamics of the family unit to draw out broad generalizations about society as a whole are again brought to the table, and there’s a universality underpinning to the seeming innocuous youthful behavior on display here that in effect is a playing out of the life cycle. If it qualifies as soap opera, then it’s soap opera of an exceedingly profound level, that unearths a number of truths. This is one of the greatest films of the silent cinema, and the first truly great films by one of the greatest directors (and its foremost adherent of humanism) of all-time.

    The Little Rascals’ episode “Mail and Female” was a nice addition to the program.

    I have now seen 11 of the 15 episodes on the stupendous THE STORY OF FILM by Mark Cousins. I have four more to go now.

  3. Watched lots of TCM. They’re doing their 31 days of Oscar series now, so lots of great movies. And of course since yesterday was February 2 I had to watch Groundhog Day once.

  4. Sorry I haven’t been around commenting much, but I haven’t been up to a lot lately. Whatever I’m watching on DVD is turning up in Movie Quote of the Day.

    Rodrigo, it’s sad that Smashed didn’t get more attention all around. Winstead was great and it treated such serious subject matter with just the right amount of irreverence. It wasn’t afraid to show how being drunk is fun as well as potentially very damaging. If you’re interested, I interviewed the director/co-writer here: http://livingincinema.com/2012/10/12/director-james-ponsoldt-on-his-new-film-smashed/

    Sam, I heard good things about Koch, but not being from NY I’m having a hard time mustering up the interest.

    I haven’t seen I Was Born But… for many many years and at the time it was a mediocre print on a worn out VHS tape.

    I still need to check out Story of Film. Streaming on Netflix for those of you who haven’t heard of it and are interested in a supposedly excellent series on film.

    Alison, the movie Groundhog Day is the only good thing to come out of the annual tradition of harassing a giant rodent.

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