Going Back – Supplemental

For a deeper look, here are interviews and discussions for most of the films covered in the previous post. Running times for videos are indicated.

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The Courier

Benedict Cumberbatch and director Dominic Cooke interview (8:18)

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Gunda

Interview with director Viktor Kosakovsky at the New York Film Festival (27:02)

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The Human Voice

Interview with Pedro Almodóvar and Tilda Swinton at the New York Film Festival (1:04:19)

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In the Earth

Interview with director Ben Wheatley and actors (7:39)

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La Strada

Martin Scorsese on La Strada (13:14)

La Strada wins 1957 Academy Award (1:45)

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Nobody

Interview with cast and filmmaker (26:15)

Bus fight — scene breakdown (10:25)

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Rear Window

Martin Scorsese on Rear Window (1:00)

How Hitchcock controls the audience (8:43)

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Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

Interview with director Marilyn Agrelo & producers at the Sundance Film Festival (13:26)

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The Truffle Hunters

Directors Q&A at Toronto International Film Festival (16:04)

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That’s it for this segment. See you next time, and as always, be safe. — Ted Hicks

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Posted in Documentaries, Feature films, Film, Film posters, Home Video, Non-Fiction, Streaming, TV & Cable | 1 Comment

Going Back: Movie Theaters 2.0

I’m seeing movies in theaters again! On March 22, I saw Tenet in IMAX at the AMC Lincoln Square theater at 68th and Broadway here in New York City. This was my first time back in a theater in over a year, since March 14 of last year, when I saw Hitchcock’s Stage Fright at Film Forum. I’ve had both of my COVID-19 vaccination shots, so I felt reasonably safe. The experience of being back in a theater was oddly underwhelming, though. It was like I’d always been there, that I’d never left. I think this was largely because this particular theater doesn’t have the same meaning for me — as a theater — that venues like Film Forum or Walter Reade do. It also felt weird being one of only 25 or 30 people in an auditorium that holds around 600. There wasn’t that communal feeling of seeing a movie with an audience, because there basically wasn’t one.

I’d thought that my return to movie theaters would take place at Film Forum, which wasn’t slated to reopen until April 2. But when I learned that Tenet was showing on the IMAX screen at Lincoln Square, I knew I couldn’t wait. I didn’t know how long it would be there, and didn’t want to chance missing it. Christopher Nolan had shot most of Tenet in IMAX, and that’s how I wanted to see it. But last year, as movie theaters in New York City remained closed, and it seemed unlikely I’d be able to do so, I purchased a digital copy of Tenet to see on our flat-screen, rather than not see it at all.

As I’d expected, Tenet was visually spectacular on that IMAX screen, which is reportedly the largest in the country (80 feet high, 100 feet wide). Its narrative remains extremely complex (okay, confusing), which isn’t helped by a sound mix that renders much of the dialogue incomprehensible. When I’d watched it at home, I’d used closed captions, but that was not an option at Lincoln Square. I’ve always liked time-travel stories, and that aspect of Tenet, to the extent I understood it, is pretty cool. John David Washington is a charismatic presence, and Robert Pattinson is excellent.

Here is a brief clip from Tenet that shows how well Nolan can shoot and edit a sequence. There’s a feeling of physical weight to what’s on the screen in his films. Imagine seeing this on a screen six stories high.

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Seeing Tenet got my feet back in the water. Eight days later, on May 30, I returned to Lincoln Square to see Nobody in their Dolby theater (better picture, earthquake-level sound, more expensive ticket). By this time, I’d re-activated my Stubs A-List membership, which means that for $19.95 a month I can see up to three movies a week at AMC theaters, IMAX and Dolby included. All I have to do is see one or two films and the month is paid for.

My attraction to Nobody was that it starred Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) as the unlikely protagonist in an action movie, and was written by Derek Kolstad. Kolstad wrote the John Wick films, which I like, especially the first one. Nobody is pretty good, in a no-redeeming-social-value kind of way. Here’s the trailer.

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Film Forum reopened on April 2 and I was there to see La Strada (1954), directed and co-written by Federico Fellini. I’d seen the film many years ago and had forgotten most of it. I wasn’t as knocked out by it as I expected I would be, but I can see why it made such an impact. La Strada received many international awards, included Best Foreign Language Film at the 1957 Academy Awards. Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina, is other-worldly and heartbreaking as Gelsomina, playing opposite the brutish Anthony Quinn. The film looks great in a 4K restoration.

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It was great being back at Film Forum. Of course, things don’t feel the same, not with only a few people at each screening. Theaters are allowed to have concessions, but Film Forum has elected to play it very safe and doesn’t, for the time being. Tragically, this means NO POPCORN. Their popcorn is the greatest in the world, certainly the best popcorn I’ve ever had in a movie theater. I just have to be patient.

Film Forum concession stand

NO POPCORN!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And then, for my sins (no doubt), three days later I went back to Lincoln Square to see Godzilla vs. Kong in IMAX. Based on what I’d seen and heard, I didn’t expect much. It was even worse than I feared, terrible, incoherent. So why did I go? Probably just to see it in IMAX. And with my A-List membership, it didn’t cost me anything, other than two hours out of my life that I’ll never get back. Maybe I should be more careful in my choices. My biggest objection, other than the fact that the narrative makes no sense, is that the battles taking place in urban environments would result in huge numbers of civilian casualties, a horrendous death toll. But because of the PG-13 rating, none of that can be shown or even acknowledged. No blood, no bodies. That said, I’ve got to admit, the image below is pretty cool.

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Back to Film Forum on April 9 to see Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954). This is a great film, one of his best. I am always struck by how supernaturally beautiful Grace Kelly is in every scene. James Stewart is wonderful, as is Thelma Ritter. Not to mention Raymond Burr as the suspicious guy across the courtyard. It’s an intensely pleasurable film. I remember seeing it at the New York Film Festival in 1983. Rear Window, along with Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Trouble with Harry, and Rope had been held out of circulation by Hitchcock for a number of years. After his death, they were going to be shown again. Rear Window was the first to be re-released. Stewart was at the Saturday afternoon screening I attended at Alice Tully Hall. I was seated a few rows from the front and to the side. Stewart was there to introduce the film, and from where I sat, I could see him standing just off stage, waiting to be called out. It was exciting to see him standing there in the backstage shadows before anything happened. As I recall, it had been raining heavily that day. When he came out he said, “My gosh, you people will go out in anything.” Or words to that effect. He then went on to say that he had just seen Rear Window for the first time in many years, and that he thought it “held up pretty well.” He was right about that.

An interesting thing about the following trailer is that near the end, Stewart turns to the camera and speaks directly to us about the film. You don’t see this very often.

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On April 16, I was back at Film Forum to see two films by Pedro Almodóvar: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) and a new 30-minute short, The Human Voice (2020). I’d seen Women when it was released here in ’88, but had forgotten most of it. It was probably the first Almodóvar film I’d seen at that point. I didn’t like it much this time around, but The Human Voice was great. It stars Tilda Swinton in her best David Bowie look, and she is magnificent.

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The next day, April 17, my wife Nancy and I went to the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, which is part of Film at Lincoln Center. We were there to see French Exit, a new film with Michele Pfeiffer. We didn’t like it much, though Pfeiffer has gotten rave reviews for her performance. The most significant thing about this was that it was Nancy’s first time in movie theater in over a year. She’d gotten her second vaccination shot three weeks prior, and was ready to join me.

I know the trailer makes French Exit looks promising (that’s what trailers do), but the film just didn’t work for us. Sometimes you get on the ride, and sometimes you don’t.

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Two days later I was at Lincoln Square to see Ben Wheatley’s environmentalist horror film, In the Earth. This is very strange going, with more than a few WTF moments. For the most part, I was into it, though I haven’t thought about it much since.

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Film Forum again, April 22, to see The Truffle Hunters (2020), a terrific documentary set in a region of Northern Italy where old men and their dogs hunt for the white Alba truffle in the forests, often at night. It’s always a pleasure to be shown something you hadn’t seen before and knew nothing about, especially when it’s done as well as this. The relationships of the men and their dogs is quite moving. A review by David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter can be read here. It reflects the extremely positive response the film has received.

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Two days later, back at Film Forum to see Gunda, a film I’d been wanting to see since I first learned of it last year. Directed by Viktor Kosakovsky, Gunda is a documentary about pigs, chickens, and cattle, but not like anything you’ve seen before. It has a very different way of looking at things. No music, no narration, no humans on screen at all. For the entire movie we’re just seeing animals be, watching them in long takes at close range. Gunda centers mainly on a mother sow and her litter of piglets. It makes a nice companion piece to The Truffle Hunters, in a way. They’re both dealing with things in a very elemental way. A review by Manohla Dargis in the New York Times, which can be read here, gives a good sense of the film, as does the trailer below.

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April 28, at AMC Lincoln Square to see The Courier (2020), a spy drama with Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s not great, but it’s not bad, either, and has a nice John Le Carré vibe. Cumberbatch plays Greville Wynne, a British business man recruited by MI6 and the CIA to get intel on nuclear arms from a Russian mole. Based on a true story, The Courier is set in the early 1960s, with the Cuban Missile Crisis waiting in the wings. Benedict Cumberbatch is very good here. An actor I was not familiar with, Merab Ninidze, is excellent as Oleg Penkovsky, the high-level Russian official who passes information to Wynne, at great risk to them both (naturally, as it’s a spy movie).

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And to bring this up to date, last Saturday we went to the Quad Cinema to see Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (2021). It was our first time to the Quad since they’d reopened. They have a great facility and it was nice to be back, though not exactly overflowing with people, as you can see from the shots below. Then again, it was a Saturday afternoon with beautiful weather, so maybe for some there were better things to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Street Gang is WONDERFUL!!! Sesame Street is an institution, and an important one. From an educational, cultural, and entertainment point of view, it’s close to unique. Directed by Marilyn Agrelo, Street Gang skillfully weaves together archival  footage from the program and behind the scenes with interviews to tell the extraordinary story of the beginnings and development of the show. Agrela had made an earlier documentary, Mad Hot Ballroom, about students from several New York City elementary schools who learn ballroom dancing in order to compete in a city-wide dance contest. It was inspiring and entertaining in its message, as is Street Gang.

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Okay, I’m seeing movies in theaters on big screens again, but I’ll continue to stream films at home. I got used to that out of necessity during the last year. Viewing habits continue to evolve. Meanwhile, as part of my arbitrary repertory program, I’m about to watch Appaloosa (2008), a Western with Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. Until next time, be safe. — Ted Hicks

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Posted in Feature films, Film, Film posters, Home Video, Streaming, TV & Cable | 2 Comments

Best TV, Cable & Streaming 2020/2021 – Supplemental

For those who would like to go a little deeper, here is a selection of interviews, discussions, and featurettes for some of the titles covered in parts 1 and 2. Running times for videos are indicated. Pick and choose, as per your interest. No pressure, there won’t be a quiz.

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The Crown

The cast on making season 4. (12:34)

Emma Corin on playing Princess Diana. (3:58)

Gillian Anderson on playing Margaret Thatcher. (4:06)

Josh O’Connor & Emma Corin on playing Charles & Diana. (10:01)

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The Good Fight

Times Talks: Women of The Good Fight. (1:18:26)

Christine Baranski & Justin Bartha interview. (29:03)

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Jack Irish

About the series. (9:55)

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Line of Duty

Five seasons recapped in six minutes. (6:03)

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Lovecraft Country

Cast interview. (45:01)

Historical references in Lovecraft Country. (6:51)

How the monsters were created. (11:14)

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Miss Scarlet and the Duke

Stuart Martin interview. (15:52)

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The Morning Show

Main Title sequence. (1:50)

Cast panel discussions. (59:17)

Billy Crudup interview. (40:36)

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Mrs. America

Cast interview. (47:07)

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Mystery Road

Behind the Scenes of season one. (3:26)

Director Iven Sen interview. (2:09)

Aaron Pederson interview. (8:42)

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Ozark

Cast interview. (30:29)

Julia Garner interview. (24:01)

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Perry Mason

Perry Mason in books, films, and TV shows. (11:15)

The classic Perry Mason theme rearranged by guitarist Mark Doyle. This isn’t in the HBO show, but if you like the theme, this is very cool. (4:20)

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Pretend It’s a City

1978 interview with Fran Liebowitz. This isn’t in the Netflix series, but I think it shows that she’s basically the same person now that she was then.

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Queen’s Gambit

Behind the Scenes. (14:09)

Cast & creator discussion at the 92nd Street Y, moderated by Jodie Foster . (1:16:30)

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Rake

Richard Roxburgh interview. (7:11)

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Silent Witness

Clip montage of 25 years of Silent Witness. (2:36)

Interview with David Cave and Liz Carr. (5:16)

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The Spy

Main Title sequence. (1:17)

Interview with Sacha Baron Cohen. (4:08)

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What We Do in the Shadows

Season One featurette. (4:20)

Season Two featurette. (3:02)

Cast panel at 2020 Comic Con. (32:54)

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That’s probably more than enough for now. Until next time, stay tuned and stay safe. — Ted Hicks

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Posted in Art, Books, History, Home Video, Music, Streaming, TV & Cable | 1 Comment

Best TV, Cable & Streaming – 2020 & 2021 (so far) – Part 2

Here are twelve more titles to wrap up this survey of what I’ve liked on the small screen in 2020 and so far this year.

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Miss Scarlet and the Duke (PBS Masterpiece)  Set in Victorian London of 1882, this series concerns Eliza Scarlet (played by Kate Phillips), an aspiring sleuth who takes over her recently deceased father’s detective agency. Of course, no one at that time can even comprehend the idea of a female detective. This is a constant challenge for her. She seeks support for her ambitions from a friend of her father’s, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector William “The Duke” Wellington. For the Duke, Eliza is a constant irritant who wants to help with cases that often befuddle the professional police. She’s a disconcerting presence for those around her, a smart-ass with Sherlockian powers of observation. Her relationship with the Duke has the familiar dynamic of male/female protagonists who constantly rebuff the other, and who you know should really be together. There’s a modern sensibility to their relationship and Eliza’s personality that might not be credible given the period, but overall Miss Scarlet and the Duke is very entertaining in ways I associate with Gentleman Jack (HBO) and the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock series (PBS). The final two episodes of the six-episode season also raise the stakes in darker ways that I hope continue in the next season.

Also, the production design and costumes are outstanding. Eliza’s outfits always pop against darker backgrounds.

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The Morning Show (Apple TV)  Mitch Lester (played by Steve Carell) and Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) were beloved co-hosts of “The Morning Show.” As this terrific series begins, Lester is out of a job after revelations of sexual-harassment charges against him. The show and its network go into damage control overdrive as they attempt to deal with the fallout and survive the scandal. Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), an outspoken field reporter with a regional news show in the south, joins “The Morning Show” as Alex Levy’s new co-host. Very timely in the MeToo reality, the show is fast, funny, and dramatic. The excellent cast also includes Mark Duplass as the harried producer of the show, and Billy Crudup as a non-traditional network executive whose agenda I was never quite sure of, though he’s one of the most interesting characters to me. Will be interesting to see if the next season can maintain the energy.

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Mrs. America (FX on Hulu)  Really great mini-series about the polarizing efforts in the 1970s to prevent the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) from being ratified, led by conservative activist Phyliss Schlafly (played by Cate Blanchett). There are excellent performances from all,  including Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinhem, Uzu Aduba (Crazy Eyes on Orange Is the New Black) as Shirley Chisholm, and Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug. Martindale is a favorite of ours. She was amazing on Justified and The Americans.  Here she lets it rip as Abzug. I was pleased to see that four of the nine episodes were directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Together they have written and directed some terrific feature films, including Half Nelson (2006) with Ryan Gosling, Mississippi Grind (2015), and a Marvel superhero film, the excellent Captain Marvel (2019). Mrs. America is very engaging and very well made. A footnote is that the ERA has yet to be fully ratified.

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Mystery Road (Amazon Prime/Acorn)  Another great Australian series. Similar to Jack Irish, the series was preceded by feature films. In this case there were two: Mystery Road (2013) and Goldstone (2018).  There have been two seasons of the series, the first in 2018 and the second in 2020. All feature Aaron Pederson as indigenous police detective Jay Swan. To describe his character as tight-lipped and taciturn is an understatement. His cowboy hat, boots, and holstered weapon give him a Gary Cooper vibe. The features and the series are set in northern Western Australia, a vast, open landscape evocative of the American West. These are modern day westerns with strong neo-noir vibes. I recommend seeing the feature films first, which lead into the series. The first season of the series gets an added boost by having the great Judy Davis as a local police sergeant working with Jay Swan. In each storyline he gets sent to different communities to solve crimes. Tragic stuff happens.

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Ozark (Netflix)  Here’s the setup, per Wikipedia: “After a money laundering scheme for a Mexican drug cartel goes wrong, financial advisor Martin “Marty” Byrde proposes to make amends by offering to set up a bigger laundering operation in the Lake of the Ozarks region of central Missouri. Marty suddenly relocates his family from Chicago to the remote summer resort community of Osage Beach, Missouri. When the Byrdes arrive in Missouri, they become entangled with local criminals and later the Kansas City mafia.”

A terrific series with good people going bad, a la Breaking Bad (including that level of violence and duplicity). Jason Bateman and Laura Linney star as Marty and Wendy Byrde, with Sofia Hublitz and Skylar Gaertner as their children, Charlotte and Jonah. Julia Garner is especially great. She has received two consecutive supporting actress Emmy awards for her portrayal of Ruth Langmore, member of a local family of criminals. We first saw her on The Americans, and more recently in The Assistant, a feature film. Janet McTeer is also excellent, and very scary, as Helen Pierce, a lawyer for the drug cartel. We see the Byrdes continually getting backed into corners and somehow bluffing their way out, which frequently ends up with bodies on the ground. There have been three seasons so far, and a fourth is in the works. Below are trailers for season one and two.

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Perry Mason (HBO Max)  I was intrigued when I first heard HBO was doing a Perry Mason series. Matthew Rhys was terrific on The Americans, so I thought he would be interesting as Mason at a point early in his career. But it took me a couple of episodes to get into it, mainly because this was not the Perry Mason I’d grown up watching in the ’50s. Like Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, Raymond Burr was firmly imprinted in my mind as Perry Mason. What I let go of that, it was no problem.  This is just another Perry Mason, a somewhat tattered, sometimes boozing private eye in early 1930s Los Angeles.

The production is, as you’d expect, impeccable. It’s interesting and satisfying seeing how other characters we know from the TV show have been reimagined. Besides Matthew Rhys as Mason, there’s Juliet Rylance as Della Street, Chris Chalk as a Black LAPD cop named Paul Drake, and the surprise appearance later in the series of Justin Kirk as Mason’s future courtroom nemesis, Hamilton Burger. These characters are being introduced on the ground floor, so to speak, as they begin to evolve into regular fixtures in the Perry Mason universe. The always authentic Shea Whigham plays Mason’s sometimes assistant, Pete Strickland. As usual, he puts an interesting spin on his scenes. John Lithgow is excellent as E.B. Jonathan, a lawyer who uses Mason as an investigator on cases, and acts as a mentor of sorts. Tatiana Maslany plays Sister Alice McKeegan, an evangelist with a prototypical mega-church following, seemingly inspired by the real-life Aimee Semple McPherson. Andrew Howard is Detective Ennis, a very bad cop. In the eight-part series, Mason is drawn into the case of a kidnapped baby who is murdered. He works to find the truth, despite many setbacks and the occasional beating. And before it’s over, we finally see him in court, defending the accused and finding his way to becoming Perry Mason.

One of the things I liked the most about the original TV series was the iconic theme music that played at the beginning of each episode. It’s quite obviously stripper music, and unforgettable. Yesterday I imagined Raymond Burr in flamboyant drag coming into the courtroom doing a striptease with the theme blasting away. Would like to have seen that. Terence Blanchard did the score for the new show, as well as scoring many Spike Lee films. I was thrilled that at the end of the final episode, a jazzy version of the original plays under the closing credits. Here it is:

The new Perry Mason is very different from the old, but I’d like to think they’d get along.

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Pretend It’s a City (Netflix)  This is really great, a seven-part documentary directed by Martin Scorsese about Fran Liebowitz and how she sees the world. For Liebowitz, the world is New York City. The DNA of the city is in everything she says. It’s impossible to imagine her anywhere else, though it’s fun to picture her on the Iowa farm where I grew up. Those who don’t appreciate Fran’s grouchy views on everything in sight should probably avoid this series, but we loved it. It’s especially great that Scorsese gets such kick out of her; he can be heard laughing constantly either on or off camera at something she’s said. Scorsese made a previous film about her in 2010, Public Speaking. That film had a screening at Film Forum in 2019 with Liebowitz there for a Q&A after. She’s a trip. She’s a writer who has famously had a decades-long writer’s block. Metropolitan Life and Social Studies were published in 1978 and 1981, respectively. Both are collections of essays. I was surprised to learn that she also wrote a children’s book published in 1994, Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas, about giant pandas living in New York City who want to move to Paris. She’s known now as a wit and raconteur whose bark is worse than her bite. The New York Times has called her a modern-day Dorothy Parker. For those of us who appreciate her style and sense of humor, Pretend It’s a City is a gift.

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The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)  This series about a chess prodigy is amazing. I knew basically nothing about how chess is played before watching The Queen’s Gambit, and didn’t know much more after. But I found it riveting, and that’s mainly due to Anya Taylor-Joy in the lead role of Beth Harmon. Her other-worldly presence (those eyes!) has got my attention in everything I’ve seen her in, which includes The Witch (2015), Morgan (2016), Thoroughbreds (2017), The Miniaturist (2017 mini-series), and Emma (2020). She’s slated to take the Charlize Theron part in Furiosa, a prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, scheduled for release in 2023. That should be interesting.

The Queen’s Gambit, based on the novel by Walter Tevis (author of The Hustler and The Man Who Fell to Earth), became one of the most popular scripted series that Netflix has done. All seven episodes were written and directed by Scott Frank, which helps ensure a consistent quality throughout. Frank is an Oscar-winning screenwriter, whose work includes Get Shorty (1995), Out of Sight (1998), and Logan (2017). The Queen’s Gambit production and acting are topnotch. I especially liked Bill Camp as Mr. Shaibel, the building custodian at the orphanage where Beth is sent after the death of her mother. She begins to take refuge in the basement where Mr. Shaibel, in his grouchy fashion, teaches her to play chess. As Beth grows older and gains prominence for her increasingly brilliant chess playing, she also struggles with drugs and alcohol, a result of being fed tranquilizers at the orphanage. One of the neatest things about the series is that each of Beth’s matches is presented differently, so they never get stale or predictable. Despite my knowing little about chess, each match builds in tension. The series is a thriller. It’s not about chess, it’s about Beth.

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Rake (Netflix)  And yet another great series from Australia. Richard Roxburgh shines as Cleaver Greene, a criminal defense barrister in Sydney. He’s a lovable rascal, a familiar type in film and literature. Some of the terms that aptly describe him are unreliable, outrageous, alcoholic, incorrigible, and self-destructive. One could go on. His life is a trainwreck, but he somehow manages to squeak by. If you knew someone like this in real life, he or she probably wouldn’t seem quite so charming. But there’s something quite appealing about Roxburgh, similar to Guy Pearce in Jack Irish, that makes him fun to be with. But even with his manifold faults, Cleaver does have a sense of justice, despite his claims to the contrary. Defending the little guy is important to him.

I wasn’t quite as happy with the fifth season, in which Cleaver has somehow gotten elected as a senator in Federal Parliament. I preferred him in the courtroom setting of the first four seasons. Regardless, it’s still a great series and he’s a great character.

These trailers for seasons one and four will give you a more vivid sense of what I’ve described.

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Silent Witness (Amazon Prime) This British series that follows a team of forensic pathologists has been on the air since 1996, twenty-three seasons so far. It’s fascinating, and quite addictive. We only started watching recently. We finished season 19 last night. Only four to go. At the beginning, Sam Ryan (played by Amanda Burton) is a pathologist living and working in Cambridge. At the end of season three, she takes a job as a university professor and moves to London. She leaves the series at the start of season eight. Her place as the only female member of the team is eventually assumed by Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox). There have been several cast changes since the series began, though not as many or as frequent as those on the original Law & Order in this country, which is similar to Silent Witness in terms of longevity. There’s also been a shift in emphasis. When the series began, it seemed more about the work of performing postmortems on crime victims. As it has progressed, mainly since the move to London, the team has become more involved with field work, as investigators alongside the police. The autopsies depicted are quite graphic, but not lingered on or in your face for shock value. The quality of the episodes has not fallen off  over time, which can happen, particularly with long-running shows. I’m glad to say that, so far, no sharks have been jumped. Though with four seasons left, I suppose there’s always time.

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The Spy (Netflix)  Anyone who thinks of Sacha Baron Cohen as only Borat should see him in this series and as Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7.  He’s an extraordinary actor. In this six-part series taking place during the years leading to the Six-Day War in 1967, he plays Eli Cohen, an Egyptian Jew living in Israel who becomes a top Mossad spy, eventually infiltrating the Syrian Ministry of Defense. It’s very tense as he repeatedly evades detection, until he doesn’t, and as his assumed identity becomes more and more real to him, at the expense of his wife and children. In order to succeed in his undercover life, he risks failure in his real life.

A bonus is that Noah Emmerich plays Dan Peleg, one of Eli’s Israeli handlers. We got to know him well as FBI agent Stan Beeman in The Americans.

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What We Do in the Shadows (FX on Hulu)  As I wrote last year, I love this show. A small group of vampires share a house on Staten Island, where they’ve lived (so to speak) for over 100 years. They have the usual mundane domestic problems, like whose turn is it to clean the bathroom or sweep up. As with The Office, an unseen film crew is ostensibly shooting a documentary, which allows for direct-to-camera commentary by the characters. Very black, deadpan comedy. The second season was even better than the first. I love them all, but one of my favorite characters is Colin Robinson (played by Mark Proksch). Colin, a nerdish little man, is an energy vampire. He doesn’t suck blood; he drains energy and life force by boring people into a stupor. Here’s a clip collection of Colin in action.

Guest stars on the show have included Tilda Swinton, Wesley Snipes, Mark Hamill, Danny Trejo, Evan Rachel Wood, Haley Joel Osment, and Dave Bautista.

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That’s it for this wrap up. There may be a supplemental materials post, but I haven’t decided yet. Stay tuned and be safe. — Ted Hicks

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Best TV, Cable & Streaming – 2020 & 2021 (so far) – Part 1

As with last year’s recap, I’m covering the best of what I saw in 2020, as well as shows from 2021 that I’ve liked so far. None of my picks are network programs. The best work being done these days is seen on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and cable sources such as HBO, Showtime, and FX. I’m sure many of you are familiar with most of the shows on my list, but there may be some that you either weren’t aware of or haven’t caught up with yet. There’s way too much stuff to watch, even if one wanted to, and the proliferation of streaming outlets has only increased the problem. But better too much than not enough.

The following titles are in alphabetical order and not separated by year. This will be in two parts.

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The Boys (Amazon Prime)  I came to this a year after the first season, but burned through that and the second in short order. I love it. The show posits a world where superheroes are sponsored, managed and marketed by a huge corporation. Almost all of them have been totally corrupted by their unlimited power. Opposing them are the “boys,” led by Karl Urban, a very tough character. Traditional superhero definitions are turned inside out. These are not the good guys. If you haven’t seen it, be advised that it’s extremely violent, often in ways you probably haven’t seen before.

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Bridgerton (Netflix)  Shonda Rimes’ previous hit shows include Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. Her latest, based on a series of novels by Julia Quinn, is a period drama set in England in 1813. What gives it a terrific spin is that it takes place in an alternate reality in a racially integrated society where people of color have rank and privilege. It’s well written and well acted; the production design is incredible.

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Call My Agent  (Netflix)  Friends had been recommending this series for years. It began showing in the U.S. in 2016,  but we only started watching after the fourth season had been released earlier this year. Call My Agent follows four agents in a fictional French talent agency as they compete for business, deal with temperamental clients, juggle personal problems, and try to keep the agency afloat. It adds a meta-level by having real actors and directors play versions of themselves, which recalls Garry Shandling’s excellent HBO series, The Larry Sanders Show. We basically loved Call My Agent, though I became very irritated with some of the characters during the second season. I thought I was done with it, but kept watching and loved the rest of it. This was supposedly the end of the series, but it was announced earlier this month that there will be a fifth season.

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Criminal: UK (Netflix)  Previously this series consisted of four separate “seasons,” all taking place almost entirely inside a police interrogation room in the respective countries, the UK, France, Germany, and Spain, with four episodes per each. The format remains, but we have only the UK for this second season. It’s concentrated, claustrophobic, and compelling as the episodes play out. The characters of the interrogators are fascinating.

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The Crown (Netflix)  Created by Peter Morgan, this terrific series dramatizes the life and reign of Elizabeth II, Queen of England. Claire Foy played her in the first two seasons, with Olivia Colman taking the role in the next two seasons, of which this is the fourth. Colman is excellent, as she is in seemingly everything she does. Tobias Menzies (Rome, Game of Thrones, The Night Manager) is also excellent as Prince Philip.  Josh O’Connor (The Durrells in Corfu – see below) is petulant and nasty as Prince Charles, while Emma Corrin is quite heartbreaking as Princess Diana. Gillian Anderson is great as Margaret Thatcher, and very frightening, like some sort of crocodile. There will be another cast change for the final two seasons.

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The Durrells in Corfu (Amazon Prime)  This is a simply wonderful series. If it had continued past four seasons (26 episodes), we’d still be watching. And it’s all true, sort of. In 1935, with little money and no prospects, single-mother Louisa Durrell (Keeley Hawes) moves from England to the Greek island of Corfu with her four children, Larry (Josh O’Connor), Gerry (Milo Parker), Margo (Daisy Waterhouse), and Leslie (Colem Woodhouse). On Corfu they encounter hardship, friendship, adventures, and romance. Budding novelist Larry would grow up to become famous as Lawrence Durrell. Gerry, whose three memoirs of their lives on Corfu would become the basis for this series, became well-known as an author and naturalist. Something that’s really a kick is watching his collection of animal life expand over the course of the series. Parrots, pigs, pelicans, various lizards and the occasional goat wander through the rooms of their house. With war imminent, the family is forced to move back to England in 1939, but it’s been an extraordinary adventure

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The Good Fight (Paramount+)  Another series we came to several seasons in. This is a spin-off of The Good Wife, which we really liked. Christine Baranski carries over from that series as Diane Lockhart, along with the wonderfully named Cush Jumbo as Lucca Quinn and Sarah Steele as Eli Gold’s daughter Marissa. Strong additions to the cast are Delroy Lindo, Rose Leslie, and Audra McDonald. Legal struggles and court cases abound. An interesting real-world connection was having the Trump presidency as part of the storyline. I had no trouble with the anti-Trump position taken by the show, but I felt it was limiting and got in the way at times. Still, this is an excellent series, well written and well acted. We had to subscribe to yet another streaming platform in order to watch it, CBS All-Access, which is now known as Paramount +. There have been four seasons so far.

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Jack Irish (Amazon Prime/Acorn)  An0ther engaging Australian series. Guy Pearce stars as a formerly successful lawyer in a Melbourne law firm until his wife’s murder causes him to skid into an alcoholic depression. He’s now a somewhat tattered part-time investigator taking on dirty dealings in high places, aided and distracted by a colorful crew of friends. Based on a series of detective novels by Paul Temple, Jack Irish began as three feature-length movies (Bad Debts, Black Tide, and Dead Point)  before becoming a series for two seasons. The movies and series are available via Amazon Prime & Acorn. All are excellent, Guy Pearce especially.

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Line of Duty (Amazon Prime/Acorn) This is a critically-acclaimed series in the UK. As happened with several other series on this list, we came to this one late, after five seasons had been released. No matter, we proceeded to burn through those in short order. Line of Duty follows DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston), his partner DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure), and their boss, Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) as they work to uncover corruption and corrupt police officers in the fictional Central Police Force. Each season of six episodes follows one storyline. We see a lot of British cop shows. This is one of the best. A sixth season has been produced, which will likely be available here later this year.

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Lovecraft Country (HBO Max)  Based on a novel by Matt Ruff, this series deals with issues of race and Black experience through the filter of a horror story. Jordon Peele did this with his feature films Get Out (2017) and Us (2019). The Amazon Prime series Them is doing it now. All are using the conventions and expectations of the horror genre to get at something very real. Set in 1950s America, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus “Tic” Freeman, a Korean War veteran and fan of science fiction and horror, as he goes in search of his father Montrose (Michael K. Williams). An incredibly complex and often outlandish narrative unfolds. It gets very violent. There are some horrific images and actions I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

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Lupin (Netflix)  An immensely entertaining French series. Here’s a synopsis per Wikipedia: “The story follows professional thief Assane Diop, the only son of an immigrant from Senegal who had come to France to seek a better life for his child. Assane’s father is framed for the theft of an expensive diamond necklace by his employer, the wealthy and powerful Hubert Pellegrini, and hangs himself in his prison cell out of shame, leaving the teenage Assane an orphan. Twenty-five years later, inspired by a book about a gentleman thief Arsène Lupin his father had given him on his birthday, Assane sets out to get revenge on the Pellegrini family, using his charisma and mastery of thievery, subterfuge, and disguise to expose Hubert’s crimes.”

As Assane, Omar Sy is stylish, clever, smooth, and always several steps ahead of everyone. He made me smile. The show is altogether very satisfying. Master thief Arsène Lupin was a character created by Maurice Leblanc in the early 1900s. His novels and short stories became extremely popular. Ending after only five episodes, Lupin felt rather abrupt and incomplete. I’ve since learned that the first season was originally to be ten episodes. I suspect the pandemic interrupted the production, though I don’t know the details. In any event, the next five episodes  have been completed and are planned to be released this summer.

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That’s all for now. Part 2 will follow shortly. Stay safe. — Ted Hicks

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More Roundtables – Directors and Producers

As I mentioned in my previous post, the annual roundtable discussions curated by The Hollywood Reporter are conducted in this pandemic year via Zoom, rather than the participants being seated at an actual table.  In this post, we have directors and producers in discussion. In addition to The Hollywood Reporter, a second directors roundtable organized by The Los Angeles Times is also included. I watched these yesterday and earlier today, and found them engaging and informing. The first directors roundtable begins below.

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Directors Roundtable #1 (Running time: 55:44)

The seven directors taking part are listed below, along with titles and streaming availability of their films under discussion.

Regina King – One Night in Miami (Amazon Prime)

Spike Lee – Da Five Bloods (Netflix)

Chloé Zhao  – Nomadland (Hulu)

George C. Wolfe – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

Paul Greengrass – News of the World (Amazon Prime)

Lee Isaac Chung – Minari (Film Forum & A25 sites through February 25; streaming services TBA thereafter)

George Clooney – The Midnight Sky (Netflix)

This discussion is moderated by Rebecca Keegan of The Hollywood Reporter.

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Directors Roundtable #2 (Running time: 48:12)

Aaron Sorkin

David Fincher

Regina King, Chloé Zhao, Spike Lee, and Paul Greengrass carry over from the previous directors roundtable, but what they discuss is basically new, covering  different aspects of the filmmaking process. They are joined by the following directors:

Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

David Fincher – Mank (Netflix)

This discussion is moderated by Mark Olson of The Los Angeles Times.

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Producers Roundtable (Running time: 41:51)

The six producers taking part are listed below, along with titles and streaming availability of their films under discussion.

Andy Samberg – Palm Springs (Hulu)

Ashley Levinson – Pieces of a Woman and Malcolm & Marie (both on Netflix)

Charles D. King – Judas and the Black Messiah (HBO Max)

Dede Gardner – Minari  (Film Forum & A25 sites through February 25; streaming services TBA thereafter)

Marc Platt – The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

Eric Roth – Mank (Netflix)

The presence of Marc Platt and Eric Roth adds some interesting perspective from an older generation of filmmakers. Marc Platt, age 63, has a long list of producing credits going back to 1987, with films projected into 2023. Eric Roth, age 76, is probably better known as a screenwriter. His films include Forrest Gump, The Insider, Munich, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and many more. Despite all their experience in the business, they both sound like they’re still excited and engaged by making films.

This roundtable is moderated by Tatiana Siegel of The Hollywood Reporter.

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That’s all for now. See you next time. — Ted Hicks

NEWS FLASH! I just read that movie theaters will be reopening in early March in New York City, subject to limited capacity and other restrictions. This is good news. We’ll see how it works out.

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Cinematographers Roundtable + Quentin Tarantino & Roger Deakins and Christopher Nolan & Hoyte van Hoytema

The annual roundtable discussions curated by The Hollywood Reporter are conducted in this pandemic year via Zoom, rather than the participants being seated at an actual table. There’s an intimacy that’s lost by this physical separation. It’s a different vibe, but I think it still works. The first of these that I’m posting is a cinematographers roundtable, which I think is fascinating and informative. This will be followed by a video of Quentin Tarantino and cinematographer Roger Deakins debating shooting on film vs. digital. And finally, a video of Christopher Nolan and his cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema speaking on, among other things, how they strive to shoot as much in-camera as possible, with a minimal use of CGI effects.

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Cinematographer Roundtable (Running time: 47:31)

The six cinematographers taking part are listed below, along with titles and streaming availability of their most recent films.

Dariusz Wolski  – News of the World (Amazon Prime)

Erik Messerschmidt – Mank (Netflix)

Mandy Walker – Mulan (Amazon Prime)

Tami Reiker – One Night in Miami (Amazon Prime) & The Old Guard (Netflix)

Joshua James Richards – Nomadland (Hulu)

Damián García – I’m No Longer Here (Netflix)

The discussion is moderated by Carolyn Giardino of The Hollywood Reporter.

These are very sharp people who know what they’re doing, and this comes across. Something that Erik Messerschmidt says particularly got my attention: “I think cinematographers are over-credited for how movies look and under-credited for how the stories are told…Cinematographers end up taking a lot of credit for things that belong to the production designer or the costume designer.”

And now the full discussion.

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Quentin Tarantino & Roger Deakins on Digital vs. Film (10:04)

Tarantino sounds a little crazy in his delivery, like Daffy Duck blowing a fuse in a Warner Bros. cartoon. But he always seems excitable and very enthusiastic. That’s who he is. Roger Deakins is definitely the calmer of the two, and also more realistic on the issue.

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Christopher Nolan & Hoyte van Hoytema on shooting in-camera (10:15)

Hoyte van Hoytema & Christopher Nolan by IMAX camera.

It’s interesting that in this video Christopher Nolan holds a view similar to Tarantino’s regarding the value of film over digital, but he explains his views rationally and technically. He’s much less emotional than Tarantino.

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Roundtables on directors, producers, writers, documentary film, and more will follow shortly. Meanwhile, stay safe. — Ted Hicks

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Best Documentaries 2020 – Supplemental

For those who would like to go a little deeper, here is a selection of interviews, discussions, reviews, and performance clips for the documentaries in the previous post. Running times for videos are indicated.

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The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (Frank Marshall, director)

Frank Marshall interview (9:14)

Director & Producer Q&A (24:45)

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City Hall (Frederick Wiseman, director)

Wiseman interview at the New York Film Festival (27:12)

Wiseman interview at Film Forum (56:51)

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 David Byrne’s American Utopia (Spike Lee, director)

David Byrne talks with Spike Lee #1 (4:16)

David Byrne talks with Spike Lee #2 (4:50)

Byrne & Lee interview at Toronto International Film Festival (20:41)

Indie Wire review by David Ehrlich

Hollywood Reporter review by David Rooney

Variety review by Owen Gleiberman

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 Dick Johnson Is Dead (Kirsten Johnson, director & co-writer)

Kirsten Johnson on making the film (3:43)

Kirsten Johnson Q&A (47:23)

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Gunda (Viktor Kosakovskiy, director & co-writer)

 Viktor Kosakovskiy interview at the New York Film Festival (27:02)

New York Times review by Manohla Dargis

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Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful (Gero von Boehm, director & writer)

Gero von Boehm & Isabella Rossellini interview at Film Forum (58:06)

Newton’s dream of photographing a chicken wearing high heels. Yes, the result is rather disturbing.

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Jazz on a Summer’s Day (Bert Stern, director, 1959)

Chuck Berry — “Sweet Little Sixteen” (4:04)

Anita O’Day — “Sweet Georgia Brown” & “Tea for Two” (8:18)

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 John Lewis: Good Trouble  (Dawn Porter, director)

Dawn Porter Q&A (31:50)

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 My Octopus Teacher (Pippa Eherlich & James Reed, directors & writers)

Pippa Eherlich interview (12:24)

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The Way I See It (Dawn Porter, director)

Dawn Porter & Pete Souza Q&A (52:54)

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Zappa (Alex Winter, director)

Alex Winter interview (10:45)

Alex Winter & editor Mike Nichols interview (23:55)

Ruth Underwood & Joe Travers perform Zappa’s composition, “The Black Page” (1:35)

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Ending this with a sign-off from Porky Pig. Until next time, be safe. — Ted Hicks

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Posted in Art, Books, Documentaries, Film, Film posters, History, Home Video, Music, Non-Fiction, photography, Streaming, TV & Cable | 1 Comment

What I Saw Last Year – Best Documentaries 2020

I didn’t see nearly as many documentaries in 2020 as I have in previous years. When Film Forum and the IFC Center closed down last March (along with all other movie theaters in New York City), the venues where I’d normally see new documentaries were no longer available. Theaters are still closed here, and much as I hate to say it, I don’t expect them to reopen any time soon.

So I began doing what I’m still doing, which is streaming films online. I didn’t realize until near the end of the year that I’d been concentrating mainly on theatrical features, old and new. The title of this post — “What I Saw Last Year” — is a bit of a misnomer. In an effort to catch up on some of the ones I’d missed, I saw seven of last year’s documentaries in January, and five of those made the cut. I still haven’t seen two of the eleven titles on the list, but I’ll explain why I’m including them.

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The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (Frank Marshall, director)  This was a huge revelation for me. I never had any of their albums, and before seeing this, whenever I thought of the Bee Gees, which wasn’t that often, the only thing that came to mind was Saturday Night Fever (1977) and the song “Stayin’ Alive” playing under the opening credits. I knew little of their career as it evolved over the years and their impact on pop music. Disco is just one facet of their music. This is an excellent film, and quite moving at times. Available on HBO Max.

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City Hall (Frederick Wiseman, director)  Frederick Wiseman is one of the greatest living documentary filmmakers. His contribution has been immense. Wiseman’s films are important and even essential. They show us how our society operates in Wiseman’s granular studies of institutions and communities. I love his films, but still haven’t managed to see his latest, though I’ve had numerous opportunities since last fall. His films tend to run long, and City Hall is no exception. The film’s four and a half-hour running time is daunting, to be sure, but I know it will be worth it. I’ll see it eventually, even if it’s on my computer or our flat-screen. In the meantime, because I’ve never seen a Fred Wiseman film that wouldn’t be on one of my Best Documentaries lists, I’m including City Hall here. I don’t think I’m taking a chance at all.  Available on PBS – THIRTEEN Passport.

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David Byrne’s American Utopia (Spike Lee, director)  This is great. American Utopia is a theatrical experience that transcends the notion of “concert film.” David Byrne is unique, a singular presence. The music, a mix of Talking Heads and newer songs, is  glorious. The presentation is mesmerizing and the effect is emotional and very human. Spike Lee might seem like an odd choice to direct this, but he does a great job of showcasing the material. Available on HBO Max.

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Dick Johnson Is Dead (Kirsten Johnson, director & co-writer)  I was really struck by Kirsten Johnson’s earlier film, Cameraperson (2016), which was comprised of documentary footage she’d shot over several decades. Her new film is something else again. It’s about her father and their relationship. He’s begun to show signs of dementia, and Kirsten wants to film him and be with him while he’s still lucid and alive. As a rather bizarre way to come to terms with his inevitable death, she stages scenes — with his enthusiastic cooperation — of his demise in a variety of scenarios, such as getting flattened by a falling air conditioner as he walks along a city sidewalk. This is then deconstructed as we see how she shot it. These weave in and out of the film. This might sound morbid, but it comes off as anything but. Dick Johnson Is Dead, narrated by the director, has more than a few surprises along the way. It’s funny and quite touching, with a serious subtext. And no actual fathers were harmed in the making of this movie. Available on Netflix.

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Gunda (Viktor Kosakovskiy, director & co-writer)  This is the second film on this list that I have not seen yet. It was available for streaming for a short period last fall, but I wasn’t paying attention, and it was gone before I knew it. I’m including it here because I love pigs, and also because Gunda has received virtually unanimous praise. I grew up on an Iowa farm where we raised beef cattle and pigs (but thankfully not chickens). Pigs are great, and I never tired of being amused by them, even as we trucked them off to the slaughterhouse. I regret not seeing it when I had the chance, but I imagine it will become available sometime this year, and I’ll definitely see it then.

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Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful (Gero von Boehm, director & writer)  This is a fascinating study of the edgy, provocative fashion photographer, Helmut Newton. Isabella Rossellini is a standout among those interviewed on camera, who include Charlotte Rampling, Sigourney Weaver, Grace Jones, and Catherine Deneuve, and others. Available on Amazon Prime.

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Jazz on a Summer’s Day (Bert Stern, director)  Originally released in 1959, this is hardly a new film. I was blown away when I saw it for the first time last August. Since Jazz on a Summer’s Day was re-released in a beautiful 4K restoration in 2020, and because it’s so great, I’ve rationalized including it here. The film is filled with outstanding performances by Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Gerry Mulligan, Thelonious Monk, and many others. I was particularly taken with Anita O’Day’s set (and her incredible hat), along with Chuck Berry’s smooth performance of “Sweet Little Sixteen.” It might seem odd at first to find Berry  playing at a jazz festival in 1959, but music categories are more fluid than that. Available on Amazon Prime.

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John Lewis: Good Trouble  (Dawn Porter, director)  I had been wanting to see this film since it was released last July, but didn’t get around to it until last month. John Lewis was a genuine American hero and a Civil Rights icon. This excellent documentary more than does him justice. Seen in the context of the recent White House administration, John Lewis’ life and character are a powerful example of how things can be. As he says in the film, “Speak up, speak out, and get in what I call good trouble. Necessary trouble, what is right.” He was arrested 40 times in the 1960s, and another five times while in Congress. He also says, “You only pass this way once and you have to give it all you have.” And this: “You get knocked down, you get back up, you keep going.” In 2o18 he said, “As long as I have breath in my body, I will do what I can.” Finally, during the end credits I was suddenly practically in tears, overwhelmed by the weight of what I’d seen. This film really gets your attention. Available on Amazon Prime.

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My Octopus Teacher (Pippa Eherlich & James Reed, directors & writers)  After seeing this excellent film, I realized I’d known basically nothing about octopuses. It turns out they are amazing creatures, aware and intelligent. My Octopus Teacher is one surprise after another, and quite moving in the bargain. Available on Netflix.

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The Way I See It (Dawn Porter, director)  The one-two punch of seeing this the day after I saw the John Lewis film was almost two much. I hadn’t heard of Peter Souza, the Chief Official White House Photographer during the Reagan and Obama administrations. What we see of his work in this documentary is amazing. At one point he says, “My goal was to create the best photographic archive of a president that had ever been done. Lasting images for history.” The contrasts we see between the recent administration and those of Reagan, LBJ, and especially Obama are heartbreaking (and infuriating). I was riding waves of emotion throughout this film. Note that the director, Dawn Porter, was also the director of John Lewis: Good Trouble. Both films seem essential to me. Available on Amazon Prime.

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Zappa (Alex Winter, director)  An excellent, seemingly comprehensive study of the life and work of Frank Zappa, an artist whose music transcends categories. His contributions can’t be over-estimated. This film is superior to anything else I’ve seen on him. Alex Winter had an unprecedented access to Zappa’s archives, material that largely hasn’t been seen or heard before.

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That wraps up this installment. Supplemental materials for these films will follow in a day or so. As always, stay safe. — Ted Hicks

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Feature Films 2020: Best of the Rest – Supplemental

Here is a variety of supplemental materials for several of the titles in my previous post.

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Charlie Kaufman, director & writer)

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (George C. Wolfe, director)

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Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello, director & co-writer)

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On the Rocks (Sofia Coppola, director & writer)

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Tenet (Christopher Nolan, director & writer)

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Trial of the Chicago 7 (Aaron Sorkin, director & writer)

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This wraps up my posts on the Best Feature Films of 2020. Next up will be documentaries, followed by television. See you then. — Ted Hicks

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Posted in Feature films, Film posters, History, Home Video, Streaming, TV & Cable | 1 Comment