The Wife

August 17, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Björn Runge) (2018) The Nobel Committee stuffs-up again? That’s no surprise – ask Rosalind Franklin!  But we doubt the entire world of readers, writers, publishers and critics could be so dumb as to believe Joan Castleman (Glenn Close), married to faux Jewish intellectual Joe (played by Jonathan Pryce as a cross between John Cheever and Howard Jacobson), had nothing to do with his sensitive, deliberately-paced, richly-textured, (almost feminine!) body of work, for which he gets to go to Stockholm and get a medallion handed him by a team of flaxen-haired cheerleaders. This #me-too melodrama is based on the…

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“The Party of the First Part” – Jean Hagen

August 3, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM |

Jean Hagen (born 3 August 1923) gave the performance of a lifetime as Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Lina might look dumb but she’s formidable, in fact, and a scrapper!  Witness her resistance to replacement by actresses without her fog-horn / breaking-glass voice, when she reminds the studio head of Monumental Pictures about relevant clauses in her contract: x https://youtu.be/BsbTWsyzRBo

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Auto-Focus: Our Runners-Up

July 14, 2018 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | FILM |

"What? No Shawshank Redemption? You idiots!"

Settle down folks. Our Top 20 list was drawn with blood, sweat and tears. We are not going to ‘out’ ourselves, except to say that we regard ourselves as disinterested, more qualified than the Archibald Trustees, and more cohesive than the Nobel Committee. We can’t hope to please everyone by our list (by definition, exclusionary). Our runners-up list was a lot longer, and friendlier (almost unanimous, with some spectacular exceptions, viz., Lawrence of Arabia): Ace in the Hole (Directed by Billy Wilder) (1951) All About Eve (Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz) (1950) All the President’s Men (Directed by Alan J. Pakula) (1976)…

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Our 20 Finest Films

July 13, 2018 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Classic Film, FILM |

The Varnished Culture has not been hibernating these few weeks in late June and early July. We have convened, and over many screeching, shrill, shrieking debates, several pots of coffee and several bottles of fine Jeanneret riesling from the Clare Valley, we have, with some dissents, compiled our list of the Greatest. We hope for, but do not expect, tolerance from film buffs out there. But if you can bottle the acid and lower the static, please let us have your thoughts (but be prepared to defend them!) There’s no mileage in exhaustively setting-out our Committee’s criteria, or allowing too…

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Hereditary

June 15, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Toni Overdoes It.

(dir. Ari Aster) (2018) Aster’s first feature performs well on The Babadook Horror Movie Scale.  There’s a large, unnaturally dark house, the topography of which is unclear, with curtains, a basement and lamp-lit corners; an insect invasion or two; a cute shaggy pet dog (not long for this world), and a creepy kid. Hereditary reminds us though, to add to the list – a medium, a séance, lights which might be ectoplasm, reflections of faces, a room which must not be entered until The Big Reveal, books which no-one opens until The Big Reveal, and old photographs which are just lying about, un-examined, until The…

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