Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Nightcap 2/19/12- Happy Anniversary, Ellery Queen and a few links

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of Unseen Films.

Its been a long crazy trip that I never expected to take me or my friends where it has.

While it has devoured a huge chunk of my free time (I'm now pretty much married to it), it has also allowed me to do a good many things I never would have otherwise, and most importantly I’ve made a good number of friends as a result.

First and foremost I have connected on some small way with all of you readers. I can honestly say that I now know people all over the world, some artists, some filmmakers, some readers, some festival programmers, all film lovers. Thanks for reading and suggesting stuff. I love you all.

One of the cool things about the blog is how it has brought me in contact with people who I now consider good friends.

In the case of Robert, aka Frank Grimes, who I’ve known for years casually, it gave us the excuse to hang out, stay connected and talk about mutal interests. It also allowed me to meet his lady the lovely Artemis.

The blog has allowed me to make many connections. I had known Mondocurry on line for a year or so before we met at the NYAFF which I was covering for the blog in it's first summer. After that it’s been all down hill (just kidding). Through him I met the wonderful Shigeko, and after that He introduced me to Mr C, who is now a good friend and frequent contributor. Through Mr C has come Chocko, who looks to be coming on board Unseen as a special correspondent.

This isn’t to short change Reg, John, Bully, Randi, Eden or Ken who are long time friends, only to point out that the blog has been a source of new friendships.

As we look toward another year of films, I’m not going to guess what the next year will bring. I’ve had so many ideas, format changes, a music series and assorted other things that have gone belly up, so I’m not going to promise anything other than a movie a day for the next year. As it stands now I have notes that will take us to September, and lists of films that will keep us going for months beyond that. There are lots of holes, but I have some ideas. The best thing I can say is expect a lot of films you probably never heard of and reporting from a good number of film festivals and film series.

The inevitable question arises: Will we go beyond another year? I don’t know. As much fun as this blog is, it is an incredible amount of work (As I've joked, I am after all, married to it). You crank out roughly 1400 movie reviews in two years and try not to have it take a toll. (Consider how many films we’d have to have seen that we didn’t review). I won’t promise anything because who knows whats going to happen.

After two years all I can say is thanks for coming along.

I do want to say that you will be flooded with reports from Tribeca come April, I was informed this week that they are letting me come back as a member of the press. I can't begin to thank the Tribeca people enough. I had a blast last year and I hope its as much fun this time out of the box.

Moving onward and upward

Next Weekend the Broklyn Academy of Music is hosting The 10th Annual Korean Film Festival. There are some great films here including Moss. It looks like Mr C is going to be attending some of the screenings. If I can arrange trains home I'll be hitting a few as well. Details can be found here.

Moving downward slightly...

I’ve given up on the Columbia Ellery Queen filmss. Made in the late 1930’s and 40’s the series mostly had Ralph Bellamy in the lead role, though a couple of other people such as William Garagin took a stab at the role.

The Bellamy ones, all of which I believe I’ve now, having subjected myself to cinematic torture to go through the remaining ones on Valentines Day, suffer from a comedic tone that obliterates any suspense, and from Bellamy’s performance which is so dull as to make you wonder if he was awake when the films were made and if his Ellery could ever get a door knob to work.

The other films in the series just suffer from being poor B programmers with a tone that doesn’t fit the Ellery Queen, or any mystery character. At times they seem more like bad versions of the later Boston Blackies or some of Columbia’s weakest serials.

Of all the various film series from the 30’s and 40’s that I’ve seen this is the one that has always amazed me that it got past two or three pictures (many series had several films shot in rapid succession before they were ever released). That it ran to nine films boggles my mind. Why did this series go on and on when something like the Nero Wolfe one died?

Normally I’ll hold on to any movie I get on DVD figuring at some point I’ll want to revisit them, but I figure I’ll be watching them enough in hell so there is no reason to waste my life on them.

For my money I’ll stick with Jim Hutton in the 1975 TV series.


Titles in search of a movie.

Drew McWeeney writes an open letter to the human being ever to sit in a theater.

Finally two complete films:

Part One of To The Stars the Hard Way a Russian Science fiction film of odd quality. Part two is linked to.

The complete film Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistence.

(This week the paranormal)

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