Ten Best of Promised Miserables Unchained (Weekly Links)

Waltz and Foxx, unchained

Waltz and Foxx: They’ve got spurs that djingle djangle djingle

Links to reviews I wrote this week for the Herald, and much etc.

Django Unchained. “One walks away reeling from the audacity of it all.”

Les Misérables. “An emotional breakdown in almost every song.”

Parental Guidance. “Cranky.”

Promised Land. “The script isn’t able to disguise how thin its actual story is.”

And a Ten Best of 2012, which will also get its own post, to line up with all the other Best of Year lists on this site. Apologies that this one from the Herald eventually arranges itself in a click-click-click slideshow.

Speaking of, the Seattle Channel has posted the 2012 Critics Wrap from earlier this month; it’s about 90 minutes of movie-year conversation between Jim Emerson, Kathleen Murphy, and myself. The program will also be broadcast in the Seattle area (usually channel 21) a number of times over the next week.

The Broadcast Film Critics Association has announced it list of nominees, which you can read here; the winners have yet to be voted on by those of us in the group, but the 18th annual Critics Choice nods will be awarded at the ceremony on January 10th on the CW Network at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

And on KUOW’s “Weekday” this week, I talked with Steve Scher about – whaddya know? – the best movies of 2012. The session is archived here.

And at long last, Seattle’s history museum, the Museum of History and Industry, is re-opening in its new location at South Lake Union. MOHAI’s first Special Exhibit is “Celluloid Seattle: A City at the Movies,” for which I served as curator. The exhibit looks at Seattle as a place imagined by movies, and also the ways Seattle has gone to the movies over the years. The museum opens Saturday December 29. Read more about the exhibit here. I will give a curator’s talk on January 10, more info here. The show plays through September 8, so please join us sometime in the next eight months.



Movie Diary 12/26/2012

Baby Face Nelson (Don Siegel, 1957). Not sure why a movie comes up during the holidays; really this one was just sitting there waiting to be watched. A good, tough film, with Mickey Rooney his usual all-in self (there’s a peculiar aside with Rooney splashing around in a bathtub that takes the actor right back to Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen, 1989). This one holds up awfully well. Martin Landau is better than I remembered, and everybody else is as good as remembered. For my 1989 review, see here.

Today I talked best movies of 2012 on KUOW’s “Weekday” with Steve Scher. That talk is archived here, and my list for the Herald goes up on Friday. But here are some of the key titles I mentioned today: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Margaret, The Turin Horse, Silver Linings Playbook, Lincoln, This Is Not a Film, and…got to hold some surprises back for Friday.

Speaking of Top Tens, the annual Critics Wrap held at the Frye Art Museum will be broadcast locally on the Seattle Channel, and surely available via their website, too. Frequently it’s channel 21 around here, but check your listings. The debut is Thursday the 27 at 8:30 p.m.; more slots listed here.

This is Jack, Barbara (Weekly Links)

Cruise and Duvall: not such a reach

Cruise and Duvall: not such a reach

Links to reviews I wrote this week for the Herald, and etc.

Jack Reacher. “The movie knows what it’s doing.”

This is 40. “Mostly flounders around in the tension between keeping it real and keeping it funny.”

Barbara. “The frigid atmosphere of East Germany wafts through every scene.”

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away. “A greatest-hits cycle.”

On KUOW’s “Weekday,” it’s our annual discussion of holiday-themed movies and why Holiday Inn describes such a curious business model; plus, some snow movies. It’s archived here.

The opening of the new Museum of History and Industry happens on Dec. 29. I appeared this week on KING-TV’s “New Day NW” to describe the special exhibition, “Celluloid Seattle: A City at the Movies,” for which I act as curator. The segment is here, and will take only six minutes of your day.

I will give a “Curator’s Talk” on January 10 for the MOHAI exhibit. Register for free tickets here.

The week in 1980s movies wraps up with a review of Richard Pryor’s autobiographical disaster, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling.

Movie Diary 12/20/2012

No (Pablo Larraín, 2012). The impressive focus this filmmaker displayed in Tony Manero and Post Mortem is confirmed in this story of advertising man Gael Garcia Bernal and his effect on Chile’s crucial 1988 referendum on Pinochet. It’s more accessible than those previous movies, but Larraín has lost none of his formal control. (full review 2/?)

Parental Guidance (Andy Fickman, 2012). Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, grandkids, babysitting. You have it. (full review 12/25)

At What a Feeling!, despite the mystical guidance of the Mayan calendar, the decade just goes on. Visit a vintage review of Jeff Kanew’s Tough Guys before the end of this era.

Movie Diary 12/19/2012

Jack Reacher (Christopher McQuarrie, 2012). Perhaps the night after seeing Les Miserables one might be in the mood for a palate-cleanser, as it were – you know, something that doesn’t really need to be a great movie, could simply be a very good, clean, well-executed genre picture, immensely satisfying on its own terms, that kind of thing? One might enjoy this one. (full review 12/21)

Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012). East Germany, 1980, with Nina Hoss as a doctor who has something going on – but the movie will be as discreet as one would have to be in East Germany, 1980. Hoss’s and Petzold’s subdued style pays off as the story reaches its quiet end. (full review 12/21)

At What a Feeling!, continue the Eighties groove with a vintage review of Jeremy Kagan’s The Journey of Natty Gann.

Movie Diary 12/18/2012

Les Miserables (Tom Hooper, 2012). This Victor Hugo fellow knew a good yarn when he got hold of one. And then they put music to it, and they let the Oscar-winning director of The King’s Speech direct it amidst all the splendor of what appears to be a green screen, and then…well, it goes on. (full review 12/25)

I managed to get myself on TV today, at KING-TV’s “New Day NW,” with Margaret Larson. I talk about the “Celluloid Seattle” exhibit for Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, and show a few artifacts, here.

At What a Feeling!, more Eighties movies. This time catch up with Philip Saville’s Those Glory, Glory Days (this was an installment in David Puttnam’s “First Love” series), and Lisa Gottlieb’s Just One of the Guys.

Hobbit on Hudson (Weekly Links)

McKellen, totally wizard in the Shire: The Hobbit

McKellen, totally wizard in the Shire: The Hobbit

Links to reviews I wrote this week for the Herald, and etc.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. “Scenes tend to indulgently dawdle.”

Hyde Park on Hudson. “A weird undercurrent.”

Deadfall. “Eventually declines into the same old-same old.”

Any Day Now. (Not yet posted.)

On KUOW’s “Weekday,” I talk with Marcie Sillman about the first installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit franchise. Find the session archived here.

Today at 5 p.m., join the Framing Pictures panel for a conversation about what we’re grateful for in Movie Year 2012. The event is free, and we’d like your company. More information here; see the Framing Pictures Facebook page here.

The Museum of History and Industry, Seattle’s city history museum, re-opens at its new location at South Lake Union on December 29. The first special exhibit is “Celluloid Seattle: A City at the Movies,” which I had the honor of curating. There’s more about the exhibit here, and you can reserve tickets for my curator’s talk at MOHAI on January 10 here.

Tuesday Dec. 18 I’ll appear on KING-TV’s “New Day Northwest” to talk about the “Celluloid Seattle” exhibit and discuss a few artifacts. That airs at 11 a.m. on channel 5 in Seattle; the show’s website is here.

At What a Feeling!, we cast back for more 1980s reviews; newly posted are vintage takes on the compilation film That’s Dancing! and Lawrence of Arabia cinematographer Freddie Young’s “First Love” episode, Arthur’s Hallowed Ground (an unknown but very nice movie).