May still has a couple of days left, time enough for me to try to sneak in enough films for a Part IV to follow this installment. If you missed Parts I and II, feel free to check out the links. Again, short and sweet (or sour, as the case may be for some films):
Doctor Strange (2016)
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Produced by Kevin Feige
Written by Joh Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Based on the Doctor Strange comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Cinematography by Ben Divis
Music by Michael Giacchino
Disney DVD – library (1:55)
Yes, it’s another Marvel origin story, but this one’s a little different. First of all, unless you’ve read the Doctor Strange comics (created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko), you probably don’t know the beginnings of the Master of the Mystic Arts. I’ll give you the short version that doesn’t take half an hour: brilliant surgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is also an insufferable jerk who’s far more interested in himself than the people he’s sworn to help. After a horrible automobile accident, Strange’s hands are so damaged that he can no longer perform surgery. Seeking a cure, he finds himself in Kathmandu seeking the healing of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). There he finds… Well, you want to see the movie, don’t you?
(To see more on the Blind Spot series, please visit The Matinee.)
I recently came to the realization that movie blind spots never entirely go away. The more films you see, the more films you realize you haven’t seen, especially those lesser-known or harder-to-find films you hear about, films that you make it your life’s quest to track down and see. All it takes is to listen to a movie podcast or two, read a book or two, and the quest begins again. If you continue down this treacherous road (as I frequently do), you find a few (or a few hundred, as the case may be) titles that you hear referenced over and over, films you really must see. I recently saw three such films, two from my unfinished 2016 list and one from my 2017 (which is nearly completed).
Written and directed by John Sayles
Produced by Peggy Rajski, Maggie Renzi
Cinematography by Haskell Wexler
Music by Mason Daring
Edited by Sonya Polonsky
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center (2:12)
Seeing him in person, John Sayles strikes you as a no-nonsense type of guy, a tall, confident man carefully absorbing everything around him: the immediate environment, the people in it, and how those two things affect each other. Based on my limited experience of Sayles and his work, I’d say he carefully observes, then shows you what he sees. I was fortunate enough to hear about some of those observations Tuesday night at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The first time I saw Powers Boothe onscreen I didn’t even know I was watching him. His first screen credit was in The Goodbye Girl (1977) in a scene with Richard Dreyfuss rehearsing Shakespeare’s Richard III. That appearance may not have been so memorable, but the next time I saw him I simply could not look away.
One, Two, Three (1961)
Produced and directed by Billy Wilder
Screenplay by Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
Based on Egy, kettő, három by Ferenc Molnár
Cinematography by Daniel L. Fapp
MGM/UA DVD (1:44)
I’d like to start this review by thanking Kino Lorber for a Blu-ray release that hasn’t even happened yet and won’t be available for another two weeks (on May 30), Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three (1961) , which I plan to pick up ASAP. I saw the film recently on DVD and was amazed by it, that is, when I wasn’t laughing hysterically. I’m hoping this Blu-ray release will help dispel the erroneous belief that Wilder’s career went downhill fast after The Apartment (1960). It did not and One, Two, Three proves it.
May is moving quite a bit slower than usual, but I’ll eventually start lining up more viewing possibilities for you. In the meantime, here are a few films I saw early in the month. I hope you’ll find at least one or two to investigate (or avoid, as the case may be):
Thanks to a pile of library DVD holds all coming in at the same time and several unwise (says my wife) Blu-ray purchases, things are really piling up around here. I’ve got a review of a previously unseen Billy Wilder movie coming up plus a few other things, but for today I wanted to give you some quick odds and ends:
A couple of days ago I posted my Film Noir Releases in June 2017 article, which I hesitated in posting, since I always find out about new titles shortly after hitting the “Publish” button. Such is the noir world, right?
This morning I discovered a British boxing/noir film called Jawbone (2017) announced for a Blu-ray release on June 5 in the UK. Right now it’s a UK only release, but what’s interesting is the fact that the film will be released theatrically in the UK on May 12. A mere 24 days seems a lightning-fast turnaround from theater to disc… Maybe my friends in the UK can shed some light on that.