The Lost Weekend

February 21, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Billy Wilder) (1945) An early Wilder classic; one of the first great Drunk Films, and one that has hardly dated in its universal relevance. A middle-aged drunk can recover an awful lot of esteem by calling himself “a writer” (as this reviewer knows). In The Lost Weekend, Don Birman (Ray Milland) is a ‘drunk-called-writer’, who gives his brother Wick (Philip Terry) and his girlfriend Helen (Jane Wyman) the slip, so he can carve-out a few days to write that novel about his battle with the bottle.  But since Don always struggles with paperwork, he decides to just hit…

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Salvador Dali – In Search of Immortality

February 18, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Documentary, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by David Pujol) (2018) Mercury Cinema, Adelaide, 17 February 2020 As Dalí maintained, he was surrealism.  It was probably his only constant in life.  He was born 11 May 1904 in the Catalonian town of Figueres, named (‘reincarnated’) after a brother who had died a year before, aged two, doted on by his mother (who died when he was 16: “the greatest blow I had experienced in my life. I worshipped her… I could not resign myself to the loss of a being on whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my soul.”)  His father was…

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The Lighthouse (dir. Robert Eggers)

February 10, 2020 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(2019: Australian Release February 2020) If, like us at The Varnished Culture, you’ve pictured yourself tending a lighthouse on a breezy, picturesque island away from the rat race; climbing the steps with a dainty lantern; reading by the fire at night while the rain tinkles against the windows, this film will give you something to think about. [And finishing that novel, as in Poe’s unfinished lighthouse story, or else something like an action / adventure / comedy, perhaps called “The Big Heist” – Ed.] We saw The Lighthouse with a theatre full of excited film students who tittered and crackled…

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Marriage Story (dir. Noah Baumbach)

February 10, 2020 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(2019) Baumbach’s second Academy-Award nominated feature begins with a to-camera monologue by Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and then the same from her husband Charlie (Adam Driver), each telling a mediator what they first liked about the other. The close-ups are inter-cut with scenes from the marriage, all undercut by sentimental music which rises to a cloying crescendo whenever we see the couple – either together, or independently- cosseting their over-indulged, bratty son Henry (who, at eight years of age is rewarded with a present each time he ‘poops’). The mediator to whom the couple are talking (Robert Smigel) is helping them…

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Kirk Douglas

February 6, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, Ulalume |

(1916 – 2020) Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, his new name suited him down to the ground: he was one of the post-war film types who looked like businessmen (like Burt Lancaster). He formed his own production company in the 1950s and was instrumental in bringing works and talents to the fore (he gambled in giving script work to blacklisted Dalton Trumbo; he saw the potential in Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and took it to Broadway in 1963). As an actor, he was a strong presence; at times, he was almost too intense.  That drive worked very well…

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