Our Year in Movies

•January 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Rick and I have a tradition of saving the tickets from any ticketed event we attend during the year, and then looking at them on New Year’s to remind ourselves of all the fun stuff we’ve done. We went to a lot of movies this year.

In the fall of 2014, our beloved video store closed, and we haven’t found any source for video that comes close to replacing it. But one positive  result is that we now go to the cinema a lot. In 2015, we went to the movies twenty-two times, which has to be some kind of record for us.

Here are some of of the best films we saw.

The Wolfpack. A documentary about a large family of kids kept isolated in their apartment by their father, and about their obsession with movies. The trailer makes it look much scarier, and actually much less interesting, than it is. The father of the family is not villainized, and the movie is a testament to creativity and resilience.

Gett: The Trial of Viviame Amsalem. A riveting psychological drama about a woman absolutely determined to get a divorce through the Israeli religious courts, and a husband who thwarts her at every turn.

Shaun the Sheep. From Aardman Studios. Need I say more? It’s so funny!

We went to a wonderful program of short animations at the Seattle Children’s Film Festival, including the marvelous Estonian stop-motion Lemonade Tale, about a little boy who goes swimming in a fizzy lifting drink.

lemonade tale

The Apu Trilogy. This was our big film experience of the year. We went to see all three of Satyajit Ray‘s newly restored classic films about the birth and early life of Apu, one after another, three nights in a row. I knew these were considered among the great films of all time, and I went to the theater expecting to widen my horizons and learn something about India and cinema history – and I did. But these movies also made me cry. Beautiful, real stories, beautifully filmed.

We saw three other classic films that we’ve watched many times on video, but had never seen in the theater:

Rear Window. My favorite Hitchcock film. If you ever get a chance to see it in a theater, do. There’s a lot of detailed stuff going on and candy-colored cinematography that is much better appreciated in the cinema.

 

The Old Dark House. This 1932 film by James Whale, director of the classic Frankenstein with Boris Karloff, combines funny and scary better than any movie I can think of, and has Karloff, debonair Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton in his first Hollywood role, and wonderful performances by an extended, eccentric cast, including the delightful Ernest Thesiger. Have a potato!

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, In Smell-o-vision!

Did you see any good movies this year?

B.B. King: Night Life

•December 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Tomorrow night is the big night, fellow northern people. All the nights are going to get shorter from here on out.

Searching for the best version of this song, I find that the one I like best is from right about the  time that I saw the great B.B. King in concert. Just lucky, I guess.

Chandler O’Leary’s Travel Sketches

•December 18, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Artist Chandler O’Leary from Tacoma keeps an amazing sketchbook when she travels, and posts her watercolor sketches on her blog Drawn the Road Again.

Here are her sketches of Mt. Saint Helens.

chandler_oleary_mt_sthelens_evening

chandler_oleary_mt_sthelens_crater

and local Scandinavian town Poulsbo.

chandler_oleary_poulsbo_sluysbakery_exterior

chandler_oleary_poulsbo_sluysbakery_interior

Tons more cool pictures (and I mean tons) on her blog.

Sorry, Wrong Number chosen for National Recording Registry

•December 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The 1945 radio play Sorry, Wrong Number, written by Lucille Fletcher and starring Agnes Moorehead, has been chosen for inclusion in the National Registry of recordings at the Library of Congress.

This classic radio play was later adapted for the classic film of the same name, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster. But if you’ve never heard the radio play, you really should. It’s gripping.

I learned about the inclusion in the National Registry on Studio 360, which has a terrific series focusing on recordings added to the registry each year. Their discussion of the play is well worth hearing.

George Jones: The Window Up Above

•December 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Another heart-breaking song from the unequaled George Jones.

More George Jones elsewhere on this blog, because his voice simply sends me.

The Preacher and the Slave (Pie in the Sky), by Joe Hill

•November 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Today is Joe Hill‘s 100th birthday. The Preacher and the Slave is my favorite of his songs.

Here’s a version by Utah Phillips, a hometown hero of us Spokanites, who taught me the Spokane origins of the song.

The song is based on In the Sweet By and By, a song I grew up singing. There’s an interesting documentary clip about the history of the song in an earlier post.

La Marseilles

•November 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Waterballet: The Castle Forests

•November 9, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Kamiel Rongen uses water and household substances and objects to create fantastical, psychedelic film worlds. Here’s one.

More of his videos are on Vimeo.

Found on Nag on the Lake. (Thanks, Nag!)

 
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