The Heart is a lonely Hunter

(Carson McCullers) Not as completely ghastly as a Flannery O’Connor but up there in the southern Gothic oh-my-gawd stakes.  The ultimately empty, Christ-like Singer and the yearning tomboy Mick are stock characters perhaps but they live and breathe in this story of poverty, hopelessness and waste.  Ian Hunter’s “Cambreau” from Strange Cargo and Conrad Veidt’s “Stranger” from The Passing of the Third Floor Back meet Scout Finch in a boarding house, a café and a ditch.

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Birdman

(Dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu) (2014) This is an interesting and well-made film that suffers from an empty space about its heart.  The 1990s star of “Birdman 1, 2 and 3”, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton – get it?) spurned Birdman # 4 when at the top of the Hollywood pile, and is now a penniless has-been with substance abuse issues and an uncertain relationship with reality, as evidenced by his schizoid exchanges with the alter-ego Birdman character, who comes and goes, alternately revving and razzing Thomson in a voice reminiscent of Frank in Donnie Darko.  His comeback (or if you hate…

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Shadowlands

 (dir. Richard Attenborough) (1993) “We read to know we are not alone”…so we appreciate the intellectual tug of love between lonely but accomplished Clive Staples (Jack) Lewis of Magdalen College, Oxford and lonely precocious poet Joy Gresham (“the Jewish Christian Communist American”) in this simple, sad and beautiful film, easily Attenborough’s best (and a lot shorter than his Oscar acceptance speech for Gandhi, or so it seems). William Nicholson adapted his earlier TV and film scripts with additions based in part on the lovely book by Joy’s son, Douglas (“Lenten Lands”) and the script is wondrous – tasteful, literate and…

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Piercing the Arras of Canonical Poetry

November 26, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | METAPHYSICS, Poetry, Ulalume, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Poetry is the line of guys doing a Mexican wave in school; the lady laughing in church; the breeze in the trees and your hair on a still day.  First lines in poems are for indices only: here, TVC gives you some random, stellar lines from virtuoso poems. And down by the brimming river I heard a lover sing under the arch of a railway: ‘love has no ending’ (W. H. Auden, As I walked Out One Evening) I do not stir. The frost makes a flower, the dew makes a star, the dead bell, the dead bell. (Sylvia Plath…

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Donnie Darko

November 25, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, METAPHYSICS, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. Richard Kelly) (2001) A lush, Gothic, teen exploitation film of superior calibre. Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a typical, upper middle class, cringing dork with anger issues and a friend called Frank, who appears to be a cross between a pooka and Satan Bunny.  Frank informs Donnie that the world only has till the eve of Halloween to live. Jam-packed with ideas, some of which should lie on the cutting floor: we have surreal visual homages to the paintings of William Blake and John Martin, a soundtrack oddly reminiscent of Badlands, a rock video sequence with (of all things) Tears…

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