Missing Peter Falk

I knew that Peter Falk was an actor who often improvised, as his often powerful work with John Cassavetes attests, but I was still surprised to learn, first, that Falk was in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire and second, that Falk largely improvised his role.Joseph Susanka discusses it all, hereFor me, however, the single most thought-provoking performance of his long and highlight-laden career will always be "Der Filmstar," from Wim Wenders' ethereal meditation, Wings of Desire (Der Himmel … [Read more...]

Art, Propaganda and Evil's Easy Way – UPDATE

At 50th Annual Academy Awards bash of 1977, Vanessa Redgrave thanked the Academy for giving her an Oscar (for "Julia") despite "the threats of of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums."The respected screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky wasted no time in responding to Redgrave's provocation: "I am sick and tired of people exploiting the Academy Awards for the propagation of their own personal propaganda," he said, memorably.Chayefsky was speaking to the wind. Why wouldn't the people who lived and worked … [Read more...]

Are you Happy?

When my Elder son was very small, and was trying to figure out facial expressions, he would ask me, or my husband, or the lady at the grocery store, "Are you 'appy?"He was missing his h's for a little while.Sometimes my husband and I will still tease each other with that. He'll see me looking pensive and ask "are you 'appy?"It's a sweet question, and it always makes me smile, for the warm memories of my son at such a young age. But sometimes I wonder if, rather than asking people if … [Read more...]

M-O-O-N spells Movie I Wanna See

I am not a fan of the "hard sci-fi" film genre. I can take science fiction when it is about as weighty as Firefly or Cowboy Bebop, which is to say, not very. I maintain that Star Trek: The Next Generation is the only Trek worth watching.So, you see, I have issues with sci-fi. It all tends to put me to sleep. I have never made it through 2001; A Space Odyssey (that's the one with the monolith, and the really, really long shot of the monolith, that goes on, and on . . . and on, right? Yeah, … [Read more...]

"The Rite" Roundup – UPDATED

It's not on my "must see" list, but then again, I am a crank who doesn't like going to the movies, anyway (although True Grit did lure me), but The Rite opens today and it seems many people are aching to explore a theme of exorcism, so here is a round-up of sorts:Start with the book by Matt Baglio which uber-reader Julie Davis says "gets it right":Undoubtedly, when the film is released, it will be sensational, but reading The Rite may deliver more authentic chills; without the CGI there is … [Read more...]

A Delightful Morning Read!

I'm going to be throwing heavier, less-delightful stuff your way later today, but this delicious essay from Joseph Susanka is so delightful I must let you begin your morning with it!. Even the title makes me happy: To be Pickering in a Henry Higgins World!When George Bernard Shaw first learned of the creative licenses taken in an effort to make the ending of his play Pygmalion more marketable, he was outraged. Confronted by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree's claim that "My ending makes money, you … [Read more...]

Bearing Knowledge Not Meant for You

Over at Crisis Magazine, Joseph Susanka has a strong, insightful piece featured looking at Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others and Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation, two films wherein he finds a common, ponderous theme about discovery and the weight of carrying knowledge not meant for you.:The similarities between the two films are striking. Coppola and von Donnersmarck employ many of the same methods (both visual and auditory) in their efforts to create tension … [Read more...]

Cuba, Bush and “The Lives of Others”

Jay Nordlinger's column is one of the few places I've seen extensive coverage of President Bush's little-mentioned, must read speech in which he dares to talk plainly about the much distorted realities of Cuba and communism.Says Bush:Cuba's rulers promised individual liberty. Instead they denied their citizens basic rights that the free world takes for granted. In Cuba it is illegal to change jobs, to change houses, to travel abroad, and to read books or magazines without the express … [Read more...]