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Month: August 2013

What Maisie Knew

What Maisie Knew

Based on the Henry James novel (1897), “What Daisy Knew” is a remarkable film about parental dysfunction, relationships gone bad, and a precocious, wonderful child who sees through it all.

Trailer

The directors, Scot McGehee and David Siegel, update and alter the novel somewhat and set it in present day New York. They change the vocations of the parents, played by Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan, respectively, and compress the time frame for the story. But it works. Its tight construction and effortless flow make it work, subtly, without calling attention to itself.

Maisie, played by Onata Aprile, in a performance that is stunning for its naturalness and understated quality, must navigate through the labyrinth of divorce, betrayal and negligence, as she is shuffled off between parents and their new love interests. A child of six, she adapts, grows wiser, seemingly wiser than her parents or the two younger, far more responsible substitutes. Her mother, a rock star with an … Click to continue . . .

Foundations

Foundations

We have new poetry, fiction and a screenplay this month at Spinozablue. Donal Mahoney brings us the first two, while Charles Tarlton brings us the last.

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Speaking of film, Martin Scorcese pens a wonderful essay in the latest New York Review of Books, entitled The Persisting Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema.”

A short excerpt:

“Or consider the famous Stargate sequence from Stanley Kubrick’s monumental 2001: A Space Odyssey. Narrative, abstraction, speed, movement, stillness, life, death—they’re all up there. Again we find ourselves back at that mystical urge—to explore, to create movement, to go faster and faster, and maybe find some kind of peace at the heart of it, a state of pure being.

But the cinema we’re talking about here—Edison, the Lumière brothers, Méliès, Porter, all the way through Griffith and on to Kubrick—that’s really almost gone. It’s been overwhelmed by moving images coming at us all the time and absolutely everywhere, even faster than

Click to continue . . .
Charles Tarlton: The Cowboy and the Gambler

Charles Tarlton: The Cowboy and the Gambler

“THE COWBOY AND THE GAMBLER”
 

Getting Under the Skin of the Western Movie

 

The Western Movie per se arises from a matrix of malevolency as the villain’s actions reveal a bleak world beyond society’s normal structure of law and moral order.

The villain’s actions are usually expressions of the sins of violence, betrayal, indifference, and greed that then throw everyone and everything into an anarchy unconstrained by guilt.

The Western Movie story comes into focus amidst these conditions of lawlessness, then, a state of nature where situations are all starkly drawn, and questions of the value of life and death, of honesty, of love, and of courage are suddenly all that matters.

Everyone is compelled to act against this raw background, testing their moral fiber, their judgment, their character, and their skill. The cowboy hero’s ethic requires him to look at both sides of any situation despite the danger. Partly rooted in the anarchism of the frontier, he is … Click to continue . . .

Donal Mahoney: The Deli on Granville

Donal Mahoney: The Deli on Granville

Patsy Foley Was Roly-Poly in 1947

 

It may have been the devil himself who prompted the kids in my schoolyard back in 1947 to chant “Patsy Foley’s roly-poly from eating too much ravioli.”

At first, no one could remember who started the chant. Patsy, a sweet and ample child, was in the third grade. As happenstance would have it, I was in that same third grade, infamous already as the only boy wearing spectacles in our class. After I got the glasses, I had three schoolyard fights in three days to prove to Larry Moore, Billy Gallagher and Fred Ham that I hadn’t changed a bit. You would think I would have forgotten their names by now. Not a chance. I didn’t like being messed with in third grade.

Since the chant would often begin and gather volume during recess, the nuns who ran the school eventually heard it and did their best to put a stop to it. … Click to continue . . .