Wild (2014) Jean-Marc Valée
Rated R (sexual content, nudity, drug use, language)
The Charles Theater, Baltimore, MD
From the opening scenes of Wild, you might think you’re going to get one of those “fish-out-of-water” movies where someone decides to do something bold/daring/foolish in order to find themselves. After all, the first scene shows a woman hiking, having a very bad day, which quickly becomes worse, yet still conveys an element of humor. Another early scene leads us to believe this might be a light, fun trip, which may include a bit of danger, lots of adventure, and plenty of laughs.
Thankfully, such is not the case.
The Imitation Game (2014) Morten Tyldum
Bow Tie Cinemas Harbour 9, Annapolis, MD
I went to see The Imitation Game with friends of mine whom I’ll call Fred and Ginger. After viewing the film, Fred, Ginger and I had a discussion over dinner. Before sharing our opinions of the film, we all agreed that biopics are almost always problematic. The danger can occur in several ways:
The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo the Truth (2014) Mike Cosper
Trade paperback, 236 pages
Bibliography, notes, general index, scripture index
Storytelling is part of our being, part of who we are not just as a culture, but as human beings. Of course film and television are just two aspects of a larger universe of storytelling, but they are two enormous aspects, venues that we continue to explore when seeking entertainment.
Ida (2014) Pawel Pawlikowski
In the early 1960s, a young nun named Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is about to take her sacred vows in a Polish convent. Before she can do that, Anna is informed that she must first visit her family, which consists of only one aunt, a hard-drinking loose woman named Wanda (Agata Kulesza). Wanda’s not exactly excited to see her niece arrive, and within moments bluntly informs Anna that her real name is Ida, that she’s Jewish, and that her parents were murdered during World War II.
Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Volume I (1966-67/2014) Jiro Kuwata
Trade paperback, 352 pages
Kuwata’s version of Batman for Japanese manga audiences appeared at roughly the same time as the Batman television show in America and Japan (1966-67). Hints of the campy style of the TV show carry over into Kuwata’s work, but you won’t see any of Batman’s regular lineup of supervillains. Instead, Kuwata gives us Lord Death Man, Doctor Faceless, the Human Ball, Professor Gorilla, Go-Go the Magician, and “The Man Who Quit Being Human,” the story of a mutant.
Dune (1984) David Lynch
The David Lynch Project Part III
Let’s just get this out of the way right now: David Lynch’s Dune is a mess. It contains some enormous talent, spectacular isolated scenes, exquisite sets and design work, and some incredible action sequences, but it’s still a mess. Yet it is a mess I enjoy watching.
Scalped, Volume 1: Indian Country (2007) Jason Aaron, R.M. Guéra
Trade paperback, 126 pages
A couple of years ago I walked into my local comic shop and asked the owner for a gift idea for a friend. “Her favorite TV shows are Sons of Anarchy and Mad Men,” I told him. He handed me the first volume of Scalped and said, “I think she’ll like this. It’s got the disenfranchisement of an American subculture like Sons of Anarchy combined with the deception and deceit of Mad Men.”
He was absolutely right. And my friend loved it.
Lynch on Lynch (2005 revised edition) Chris Rodley, editor
Faber and Faber
Trade paperback, 322 pages
Includes filmography, television credits and art exhibitions, bibliography, index
This revised 2005 edition covers discussions of all of David Lynch’s feature films (as well as the TV show Twin Peaks) except Inland Empire (2006). These interviews conducted by Chris Rodley shed much light on Lynch and his concepts of filmmaking, but don’t expect the director to tell you what any of his work actually means. If you understand and appreciate that going in – and if you enjoy Lynch’s work – you’re going to get a lot out of this book.
Be sure to join Derek Royal and me this week at The Comics Alternative Podcast as we discuss three webcomics: Evan Dahm’s Vattu, Minna Sundberg’s Stand Still, Stay Silent, and Scott McCloud’s The Right Number. The show is scheduled to go up on Friday, January 9, 2015. Hope you’ll give us a listen! Update – The podcast is up and you can find it here.
I ended December 2014 with 12 films: four re-watches and eight new-to-me films, including one theatrical release: