18 films is a fairly low turnout for an entire month, but I did complete an entire season of The Twilight Zone and started several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation in August. We’ve got a long Labor Day weekend coming up, so I’m sure I’ll stock up on at least a few movies. The first half of August you can find here.
On to the second half…
Recently my friend Orangerful and I decided to separately watch and blog about Star Trek: The Next Generation (hereafter referred to as TNG). The show was a big part of her childhood, but since I’m a few years older, I had grown up with the original series (TOS), longing for its return. That happened in 1987 with the announcement of TNG.
(Originally posted November 24, 2009)
“Life in a Glasshouse” by Radiohead (2001)
Written by Radiohead
“Life in a Glasshouse” opens with strange, atmospheric shimmering sounds that could be interpreted as church bells tolling. I offer up that interpretation only because what follows is a slow dirge in A minor featuring trumpet, trombone and clarinet, instruments often found in New Orleans-style jazz from a bygone era, but in this case they carry a funereal flavor. Then follow the lyrics:
Written, directed, and produced by Ingmar Bergman
Cinematography by Sven Nykvist
Edited by Ulla Ryghe
Music by Lars Johan Werle
AB Svensk Filmindustri
Hulu streaming (1:24)
The basic story in Persona is fairly simple: a famous actress Elizabet (Liv Ullmann, below right) has suddenly and for no apparent reason stopped speaking. A young nurse named Alma (Bibi Andersson, below left) is charged with caring for Elizabet. That’s the simple version.
With one film to go, Beckie and I are almost finished with The Beckie Project, so it’s time for another project, this time with my co-worker Orangerful Sam: The Star Trek: The Next Generation Project.
Through the years we’ve read and heard of some awful, tragic events that happened because someone was inspired to do something they saw in a movie. We’re all mimics at heart in one way or another, and although we see behaviors from movies imitated mostly by kids, none of us are immune. (We might not do it, but who hasn’t thought about yelling “You can’t handle the truth!” or another famous movie line at someone?) The instances from my own experience have thankfully not been tragic, but were at times just plain dumb. In some cases, I was able to observe these lapses in common sense from a somewhat safe distance.
Case in point: my friend Ben. Ben and I were beyond kids at the time, band directors (yes, young men in their 20s put in charge of a room – or a football field – full of young people with instruments in their hands) onboard a plane about to take off for a band convention in Chicago. It was Ben’s very first flight and he was excited. He was also a fan of the move Airplane! (1980)…
As always, Gwen and I had a great time yesterday talking about two fantastic new comics for young readers, Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke (First Second) and Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (GRAPHIX/Scholastic). You can listen to that discussion here. Enjoy!
The Twilight Zone: Season Two (1960-1961)
Image Blu-ray, (4 discs; 12 hours, 5 min.)
I could spend hours, days talking about The Twilight Zone, why I love it, why it has continued to be popular, and on and on. I’ve seen every episode at least once, many of them at least a dozen times, yet they still continue to amaze me. Countless numbers of people watch the episodes on TV marathons each year, but a few years ago, I saved up for the Blu-rays, which I have been dipping into here and there. I watched Season One a couple of years ago and just finished Season Two. I won’t go into details here; you’re either on board with TZ or you’re not. You either understand and accept the limitations of the special effects of the time or you don’t. Even more so, you either appreciate (mostly) well-written episodes or you’d rather watch something else. I’m only listing my favorites (which may not necessarily be the best episodes) from Season Two.
The Damned Don’t Cry (1950)
Directed by Vincent Sherman
Produced by Jerry Wald
Written by Harold Medford and Jerome Weidman, based on a story by Gertrude Walker
Cinematography by Ted McCord
Edited by Rudi Fehr
Costumes/Wardrobe by Sheila O’Brien (Joan Crawford, uncredited consultant)
Warner DVD (1:43)
I don’t think most people really understand what an absolute force Joan Crawford was. Watch just about any of her films (especially from the 1940s and early 50s) and you’ll see what I mean. No matter who’s directing the picture, Joan is in charge. She commands the screen and defies you to look away. You don’t even want to look away, even when some of her movies aren’t that good. But this one is.
I see a lot of #7favfilms on Twitter and other places and I very much enjoy reading those posts, but how in the world can you narrow all this down to seven? I would need to break mine up into categories, such as 7: