Monday, September 8, 2014

June 6 - September 5: What The Pig Said



So. Fall has fell, and work is upon me, and I need to put the dates back on the shelf for a while. I'm writing a play, and I'd hoped to finish a solid first draft by summer's end. It's not quite there, so I'll see if I can make the switch to using my puttering time for writing. Which means...

Friday, September 5, 2014

September 5: Laurens Man Bound For Zion



Dave goes Disney. Who'd a thunk it? A beautiful, beautiful film.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September 3: Man Walks Out Of Movie



You were going to get that great opening sequence from Amelie: fly, address book, conception, birth.

Until I happened to pass by the (closed) Hollywood Theatre this evening, here in Vancouver, and realized that I have to show you this one. The scene is filmed inside the venerable cinema, at a screening of a 1951 film that may well have been shown in The Hollywood sixty-three years ago.

So Amelie will just have to wait. But that's okay - she's got another scene that's even better.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 2: Bad Night at Coen Bros Cabin



The first time I saw this movie was one Hallowe'en night, with my daughter Katie. I remember it well, because it was snowing....

Happy birthday, Katie!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 31: Philips Building Falls



You guessed it, Norwegian director Joachim Trier (b. Denmark, 1974) is related to that other great Scandinavian film-maker. Jacob Trier, who was the sound technician of Norway's most popular film ever "Pinchcliffe Grand Prix," as well as "Virgins of Riga" (among others).

Oh, not who you were thinking of? Wow, you know your Norsky cinema! Joachim is also the grandson of the important Norwegian film maker Erik Løchen, director of Motforestilling (1972) and The Chasers (1959).

Still not the right Trier? Assuming you're not thinking of Joachim's mother (Mrs. Trier), I guess you might be thinking of Lars von Trier, to whom he is also distantly related. Lars added "von" just because he thought it sounded more film-maker-ish. Which I suppose it does. It's certainly better rhythmically; "Lars Trier" is just too abrupt, peremptory almost. Two stressed syllables, back to back like that, it just doesn't work. What was his mother thinking? No wonder he's such an unpleasant man. You get that unstressed syllable in the middle there, it's at least more euphonious. And takes up a bit more space, if you know what I mean. Which must be somewhat reassuring to poor Lars. And to his distant cousin, Joachim, not to mention Jacob and Erik and Erik's wife.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30: Photo Op For Paris Paparazzi



The same event launches both this film and Amelie. But Amelie has a better September third...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 28: Canada Scorns Yankee Colour Barrier



“When I hear of bad things that are happening in other places – where people are fighting or being violent and are trying to exclude African-Americans – I think back to the days in Montreal,” Rachel Robinson said. “It was almost blissful.”

The couple arrived in the city after Mr. Robinson had been signed to the Montreal Royals, a Brooklyn Dodgers’ farm team; he’d been picked by Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey to integrate baseball, a white man’s game. Touring with the Royals in the U.S., Mr. Robinson suffered threats during training camp in Florida, racial taunts and blatant discrimination.

“We were bruised when we arrived in Montreal,” Mrs. Robinson remembers. “We had been mistreated and subjected to everything that racism can do to a couple.”

Hence the newlywed’s trepidation as she approached the door on de Gaspé to rent an apartment. She warily walked up the five steps edged by the same wrought-iron bannister that exists today. “One of the most difficult things in the forties for black people was to rent anything, anywhere,” Mrs. Robinson recalled. A French-speaking woman opened the door. Then she offered her the apartment and invited her in for tea. “Instead of slamming the door in my face she said ‘Welcome,’ in English. I was totally shocked.”

So began the Robinsons’ introduction to Canada. Neighbours in the Villeray district shared postwar rationing points and sewed maternity clothes for the pregnant Mrs. Robinson. Children rushed to carry her groceries. … “Up in the stands, no one dared insult Jackie. He was black, but in their eyes and hearts the fans didn’t see that,” recalls former pitcher Jean-Pierre Roy, who played with Mr. Robinson.

“I heard obscenities thrown at him in the U.S. In Montreal, he was always respected as a baseball player,” Mr. Roy, 92, said from his home in Florida.

Mr. Robinson’s triumph culminated in the final game of Little World Series. With chants of “We want Robinson” raining down from the stands, he scored the final run and led the Royals to the championship. Delirious fans hoisted Mr. Robinson on their shoulders and mobbed him when he emerged after the game. The ensuing chase led sports reporter Sam Maltin to famously observe, “It was probably the only day in history that a black man ran from a white mob with love instead of lynching on its mind.”

Ingrid Peritz, The Globe and Mail
Complete article

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27: Weather Change Predicted



One of my all time favourite plays. Don't watch the movie, though: Kath and Burt are all wrong, and the style stagey. Look instead for the realism and truthfulness of the stage - IF you're lucky enough to have a good production at a theatre near you...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 26: Good Bye Sigmund!



Odd. Seeing this film in the theatre, back in its day, I thought of it as a comedy - and, to be honest, a comedy that kind of missed. It just wasn't that funny.

Viewing even this segment now, it strikes me - not fundamentally a comedy. Maybe I was a victim of misdirected expectations. Might be worth a rewatch.

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25: A Dog's Day



This movie's always been in my mind as one to see, as has Dog Day Afternoon. But I knew very little about DDPM, and nothing about this one.

Watched them both. Both worthy of the acclaim.

This film would make a terrific triple bill with Le Samourai (at least equally acclaimed) and The American (under-rated).

a fine watch | the days and hours of the jackal



A Date Movies experiment.

Featured at filmwell - "interested in cinema or TV off the beaten track, criticism at the margins of the great conversation, and how art points the way to (as Henry Miller says) 'life more abundant.'"

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24: A Dog's Life



A fresh, fascinating, and very French film.

My most post-modern movie experience: I've watched the whole thing, some scenes multiple times, but not in order. I was tipped off that the film contained a date; in searching for it, I found more, and ended up scouring the entire film looking for date references. And immensely enjoying this multiple-viewpoint, stylish, brashly funny and surprisingly affecting story - enough that I bought myself a copy. And lost it. And bought another.

And still haven't watched it front to back.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August 23: Saddam Welcomes Foreign Types



You'd think it would be a better movie, with Bonham Carter (who's always good) and Michael Keaton (what ever happened to him? I like him) and Lili Taylor (after I Shot Andy Warhol and The Addiction I would have thought she'd play the punked-out Bonham-Carter character) - but it's not bad. Probably just the "made for TV' vibe - back when TV wasn't better than the movies yet (or so I'm told). Enough with the (parenthetical) remarks (and run-on sentences) - just watch the clip, and have a wander down memory lane.

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22: A Dog's Afternoon



We'll be back to canines and times of day on the 25th...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21: Dads' Day In Court



An astonishing film. Greatness in every aspect. I'll say no more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 20: Pitch-Impaired Singer To Lead Revival



Here's an obscure item. I'd heard of it back in the day - put it on my Must See In Order To Be Cool list - but lost the list somewhere.

Sixties / early Seventies "Youth pictures" had a lot more edge in Britain than over here, didn't they? I'm thinking Lindsay Anderson - If... and O Lucky Man - for example. The Magic Christian.

Maybe American hippy flicks were angry - Vietnam and all that - but it seemed like they thought change was in the air, and they could win whatever they were fighting for.

Across the pond? Not so much.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19: Queen Struggles To Control Horse



Some sources say this happened August 18. Some say the 19th. But I wanted Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the 18th, and I didn't have anything else good for the 19th that I didn't need to use for a different date, so.... The 19th it is.

Speech to the Troops at Tilbury in preparation for repelling the Spanish Invasion, 1588. Shakespeare was about to begin writing his first play. Good thing her speech worked.

I like her hair.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18: Muerto County Excavation Work Begins



Do not adjust your sets. Darkness originates with the movie.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17: Local Hero Returns



I thought critics were too hard on this film. To me, top notch. And hey: Pacino and Penn?

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 15: Teen Music Concert Gets Out Of Hand



This pic didn't generate tons of excitement, but I dug it. 80% nostalgia, I suppose (for an experience I never had). But hey, it's Ang Lee, so there's some real movie-making there. Favourite element for me: the inclusion of so many images from the iconic Michael Wadleigh documentary, often approached subtly. The nun moment reminds me of the photographer in our July 6 clip. Far out, man.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 14: Tide Of War Finishes Turning



Perhaps the last in our "Tide Of War" series. Though one never knows.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 12: Harry James Weaves Illicit Spell



Though Harry was born a muggle – his father a bandleader in the Haag Traveling Circus, his mother an acrobat and horseback rider – the young man's almost magical tone on the trumpet led him to take up the conductor's wand by the age of 23. He was in several feature films, including Private Buckaroo & The Philospher's Stone and Springtime In Hogwarts. He played trumpet in the 1950 film Young Man With A Lightning Bolt On His Forehead.

His was the first name band to employ Frank Sinatra. He wanted to change Sinatra's name to "Frankie Satan," but Sinatra refused.

(information taken from from article "Harry James - Wiccapedia, the free encyclopedia")

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 10: Luscious Laundress Launches Lefebvre



The copyright cops got us again.

We were all cued up in advance, I had a wonderful change of pace after all the tragedy and death of the past four days – the delightfully cheesy opening of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which nobody's ever seen. And because it starts with music, and perhaps because it's Beatles music (well, sort of), it got flagged and gagged.

Now, I had plenty of alternates. But I'd promised something cheerful, and... dying kid, fictional serial killer who murders every Aug 10, the second slaying by the Charles Manson cult, the arrest of Son of Sam (red letter day for serial killers!), clip from Basic Instinct, clip from Redacted (now there's downer of a movie), a stoner talking about August 10 as somebody's impending day of death, arrest of a real bad guy in Alpha Dog, more District 9 nastiness, something from an ultra-violent Japanese / Hong Kong gangster flick (is there any other kind of Japanese / Hong Kong gangster flick?), a medicine label for a burn victim, a massacre in Last Of The Mohicans and a western where a guy gets arrested for murdering a woman on August 10 (yeesh – what is it about August 10?), and two movies counting down to the destruction of the world.

And... This one. The only cheerful one of the lot. And probably the most obscure movie in the whole date movie project – a light-hearted look at the French Revolution. (!) (?) You know, that one about the woman who marries Francois-Joseph Lefebvre? Who becomes one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire? Oh, THAT Francois-Joseph Lefebvre...

Oh well. It's got Sophia Loren in it.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August 9: Wikus Van De Merwe's Very Bad Day



Sheesh. Four very bad days in a row. August 6, 1945. August 7, 1915. August 8, 1969. And now August 9, 2010. Except that one didn't really happen.

At least, not as far as I know.

A landmark film in its genre, I would say. The verite style uses lots of surveillance cameras, TV feeds, and time-coded documentary footage. Which means lots of dates onscreen. I edited together all the time-coded footage (and one clip that's not) into this rather disorienting montage.

We'll get happy tomorrow, I promise you.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 7: ANZAC Takes Run At Nek



Apologies. It's a sad few days at the movies...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 6: U.S. Turns Tide Of War



For real this time.

Thanks to Michael Leary for the recommendation, way back in 2004.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

August 3: Holden Caulfield Lookalike Plots Shore Leave Binge



"You look like a guy in the movies. You know, Whosis. you know who I mean. What the heck's his name?"

"I don't know," I said. She wouldn't get off my lap.

"Sure you know. He was in that pitcher with Mel-vine Douglas? The one that was Mel-vine Douglas's kid brother? That falls off this boat? You know who I mean."

"No, I don't. I go to the movies as seldom as I can."

 Catcher In The Rye, Chapter 13

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August 2: Western Lawman Invents 'Dead Man's Hand'



This milestone in the history of poker is also portrayed in Little Big Man, The Raiders, I Killed Wild Bill Hickok, and The Plainsman (both 1936 and 1966 versions).

Suggestion: if you're dealt a pair of aces and an eight... Fold.

Suggestion: if you're dealt a pair of aces and a pair of eights... Draw.

Friday, August 1, 2014

August 1: Neo-Nazi Parole Deadline Set



One of my favourite films. The humour couldn't be more dry. Or more black. (Well,I can imagine it being more black, but not much.)

To enjoy this movie, it may be necessary to be Scandinavian.

I also wrote about it on Soul Food Movies. Here's a link.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 31: Birthday Surprise



The dying seconds of Birthday Eve, then the Big Day.

The date's not given onscreen, but the film is based on an obscure novel for young adults, published sometime last century. I managed to track down copy and figure out the date. Sleuth that I am.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30: Down Memory Lane With Sam Quint



In fact, not June 29.

One week later, they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29: Orange Peel Fatal For Kindly Grandfather



So the oranges finally got him. Near miss outside that produce store, back in late '45 / early '46, with the poster for the January 11 Madison Square Gardens fight between Jake LaMotta and Tommy Bell looking on. But nine years later, those homicidal fruits were still waiting for him. (Or was it the pesticide? Was the grandkid in on the hit?)

The bigger question: when was the old guy born? The tombstone says April 29, so that's got to count for something. But back in 1941, according to The Grandfather Part II, his sons were celebrating his birthday on December 7. "What do ya think of the nerve of them Japs? Them slanty-eyed bastards, huh? Droppin' bombs on our own backyard on Pop's birthday here?"

I don't think Francis Ford Coppola was the kind of director to get too bogged down with dates. If you track these things, it seems that Sonny's toll-booth incident should be happening in 1948, maybe 1949. But he's listening to a ballgame on the radio: Bobby Thomson's Shot Heard Round The World, which occurred October 3, 1951. I figure they wanted a ballgame to play, that particular bit of audio was readily available (the radio call was released as a record, and sold a huge number of copies), so they used it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28: Hangman Still Breathing



I think the Ten Commandments / Planet Of The Apes guy had a couple motives for his version of the original, which he filmed 22 years later. To get a crack at the irresistible lead role, and to restore the Common Man to the proceedings.

I can understand the temptation of the first, having succumbed myself. Still, his predecessor was better.

The second is worthy, and I'm glad he did it. Partly because we get to see Roy Kinnear's lovely performance in a delicious role. And more importantly, because it restores all those delicious dates. Such as, say, July 28th....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27: Departure Date Set


Though a friend said I'd like it, the general reaction to this film ranged from tepid to critical, so I avoided it. Gave off the feel of being kind of dumb-sentimental, like the films at the lower end of the Robin Williams' spectrum.

I should listen to my friends. Watched this only because of the dates, and found myself quite drawn in. I recognize the qualities that put people off - including Spacey himself, whose performances are very love-hate - but for some peculiar reason Spacey's character here absolutely fascinates me. There's something in that detached-yet-engaged quality which may be mental illness, but may be the sort of non-attachment that is, well, spiritual. I'm very wary of movie messiahs: there was a time when people were playing Spot The Christ Figure with every work of fiction that came along. But sometimes they work for me, and it will take a good deal more reflection on my part to figure out why this one does.

Or maybe not exactly a Christ figure. Just someone who's found a stance toward things that intrigues me. Benign fascination, not caught up in it all, compassionate, intelligent. Fine line between that and condescension - which is definite Spacey territory. But it keeps me interested. Fascinated.

Your mileage may vary. Judging by popular response, it almost certainly will. But I must admit, this one got me.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

July 26: Movimiento 26 de Julio! Viva Cuba libre!



A montage of all the armband and banner scenes from this most cinematic of biopics. Not many movies where you can actually make an armband-banner montage.

A curious film. Some respond that it somehow take two of history's most charismatic, controversial and enigmatic characters engaged in an against-all-odds revolution and somehow make it boring. And they have a point: it's surprising how unexciting the whole thing is. And it's not like this director can't do exciting.

Others consider it brilliant, exhilarating - mostly from a purely cinematic/aesthetic perspective. First viewing, I was mostly in the first camp, while admiring it as art. But spending hours digging into the film for dates, looking closely, editing, viewing the film from that non-linear, peculiarly Date Movie perspective, it became a favourite. As did a number of other films that didn't entirely work for me when I first viewed them, the way I would normally view a film - for story and overall experience, as well as for artistry. Nixon and Zodiac both come to mind.

Friday, July 25, 2014

July 25: Dylan Plays Newport!



What a scene. What a film. What a film maker. What a subject.

It ain't history. It's art. Art about history.

In Date Movie terms, there's nothing better.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 24: Fifties Flick Lends Title To SciFi Inflected Daniel Amos Tune, Album


I didn't know if I should use this movie for July 24. The stuff that happens on August 12 is really swell too! There's a neat rocket ship that takes off just like Fireball XL5! Zowie! But hey, kids - you'll just have to watch the movie yourselves for all those thrills and chills.

This movie is delicious, and the delight in discovering movies like it is a large part of the my enjoyment in doing the Date Movie project. Before this, I knew the film mostly as the title (and probably inspiration) for a favourite Daniel Amos song on their sci-fi flavoured Vox Humana album, but had never sought out the (presumably) kitschy fifties flick. But once I found out it had DATES in it!...

The past year and a half, of actively tracking down such movies and finding their date references, has exposed me to so many films I simply would never have gotten around to seeing, and has brought a whole new way of enjoying film. Some I watch beginning to end, just as I would previously have done with any movie I chose to see. But plenty of others I sample, looking for dates - and get a more abstracted sense of a film. Story and character arc are secondary: what I see - and what is amplified when I then edit the clips - is predominantly visual and aural. Shot composition, camera movement, the way sound is used, the look and feel of movies as varied as... Well, you're seeing the range. Acting is still foregrounded, but in moments, gestures, presence, style more than in the journey of a character. Movie AS movie, perhaps.

In any case, this film was a wonderful surprise. All the nostalgic look and feel of the world as it was - or was imagined - a few years before I was born. But for all its primitive qualities, compared to later sf and special effects movies, there's something there.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23: London Calling



Movies don't get any better than this. I was going to save it until August 7, which is one of the great set pieces in all of film, for me. And it's actually a birthday party, and I do love to send these clips to people as birthday presents, so that would have been a lot more suited than this rather sniffly scene. But the greatest greatness of this movie is the acting, so heck, let's watch the July 23 part. And marvel. And then go back and watch the whole movie again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

july 11-22 | catching up

Oops! I've been posting daily to Vimeo, Facebook and Twitter, but kinda forgot to put the new videos up here as well.  For now, a quick catch up, with proper daily posts to follow in due time…

July 11: Fun With Hydrangeas

July 12: Marching Bands Boost Tourism

July 13: Italian Perspective On Climate Change

July 14: Bad Music, Dancing Mar French National Fest

July 15: Couple Celebrates St. Swithin's Day

July 16: Weird Mouth Trick May Turn Tide Of War

July 17: Recovered Document Sparks Provenance Controversy

July 18: Charleston Harbor Outing No Day At The Beach

July 19: Send In The Clones

July 20: Climb Every Mountain

July 21: Evil Dead Cabin Destroyed

July 22: Twilight Prequel Unearthed


Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 10: Bus Survivors' Telephone Romance Thwarted



Many of these are up here because they're great movies, or at least great movie moments. Others less so.

This one's here because it was a great movie experience. A great Date Movie experience, in fact.

On July 9, 2006 I went to see this Sandra Bullock - Keanu Reeves vehicle. (The same could be better said about their previous film together). With my wife - a true movie date.

It's all about star-crossed lovers who live two years apart, but send each other letters through a mailbox on the property that they both owned at different times… Hard to explain. Frankly, hard to follow. Nevertheless, a film with a central preoccupation with time, and dates.

And there I am on the evening of July 9, 2006, and this scene comes along. "Call me on July 10, 2006 at 9:05 PM." And I'm going, "Hey, that's tomorrow night!" Yup, me and Sandra Bullock (not to mention Carole and Keanu), separated in time by one day.

I figured I should go back again the next night. I never made it. And now it's too late.

Closely follows a Japanese movie called Il Mare, equally preoccupied with dates. I'll show you a bit of that January 7 or 9 or 10, or February or March 11, or March 25, May 20, or December 22 or 28 or 29, or maybe event New Year's Eve, when the two films overlap! Time will tell.

Adaptation by David Auburn, who wrote the stage play Proof - also brainy, with a thing about fathers who die, and their kids - a pair of sisters in the play, two brothers in this film. Both stories set in Chicago if I'm not mistaken.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 9: "Dear Diary..."



In fact, the Frank family went into hiding July 6, 1942. Why the film says July 9, I have no idea.

It's the movies.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 8: Secret Weapon Turns Tide Of War



The only time I've literally fallen out of my seat laughing. I was sitting at the end of the row, so yes-- I was rolling in the aisles. Well, one of the aisles. And I didn't actually roll all that much.

At least I'm still alive.

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7: London Bus Delayed



Brits have long prided themselves on the smooth and timely running of their transport. So when a classic double-decker gets behind in its rounds... That's news!

My wife went to high school with the director of this one. I was surprised she didn't get mentioned in Kathy's Oscar speech.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 6: Quarrymen Play Church Fete



In the Beatles calendar, July 6 ranks right up there with August 8, The Feast Of The Holy Crossing. Today, The Feast Of St John And St Paul at St Peter's…

Isn't Maggie Mae a perfect choice? And did you notice the photographer. Such a smart, deft piece of film making.

Definitely my favourite Fab biopic - with Backbeat following close behind. Chronologically, as well. A great double feature.


By the way, there's a book I really like - predictably enough, given this project, and the Beatles fascination. The Day John Met Paul, by Jim O'Donnell. Not just what was going on with the Fabs that day, but plenty elsewhere as well.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 5: Project Flashlight Ends



Love those post-apocalypse flix. Though if I had to pick the downunder rep to send to the End Of The World Cup, Mad Max would definitely be my first and second choices. To make a proper choice, I'd also need to check out On The Beach. Hmm, that one could have a place in the Date Movie project: looks like the Grand Prix scene is set on August 6...

Wait a minute. August 6?

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4: A Day For Celebration



One of my three favourite films. But consider yourself warned: it's not all as sweet as this scene.

Happy birthday, south-of-the-border friends!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1: Adams Slams Fishing Rights



It breaks my heart to show Yankee history on Canada's birthday. But until someone makes The Great Canadian Film about the enactment of the British North America Act…

We're in a bit of a five-day run here, with Independence Days and U.S. history running like a red, white and blue thread through it all.

A most peculiar film. Not so far from my quip about the BNA Act. A musical, written for the stage, about the creation of the Declaration Of Independence. Not battles and intrigue, but negotiations, arguments and counter-arguments. Most of it takes place right there in that room. The guy who plays Ben Franklin is a dead ringer for Ed Wynn.



Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30: PM Offends King With Impromptu Speech



Before I watched this movie, all I knew about Patrice Lumumba was the lyric to a Neil Diamond song;
Ramar Krishna, Mama Whistler,
Patrice Lumumba and Russ Colombo,
Karl and Chico Marx,
Albert Camus.

Now I know more. Seems like this speech doomed him. Twelve weeks later he was deposed. December 14 he was arrested, January 17 he was killed.

It's not a great movie, but this is a good scene. And he was definitely a great man.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29: Shark Trauma Impairs Memory



One of the greatest movie dates of them all.

Partly because it's simply a great clip. Great performance. Great writing. Great scene. Great movie.

And partly because it's wrong.

The USS Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk on July 30, 1945. My guess? That the screenplay had it right, but Robert Shaw flubbed the line. You're the director, or the editor, you go, "Well, that's pretty much a perfect take. I doubt anybody's going to notice the date." Heh heh heh.

Hiroshima was bombed August 6, 1945.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28: Due Date Confirmed


What makes this film so troubling is the ordinariness of it all. Horror these days is all pumped up: you don't expect human beings living lives you recognize, you're paying your money for a house of horrors at a midway. Today's movie is drastically different. The horror lies in the woman's isolation, her husband's narcissism and falseness. This isn't fear by way of thrills, it's dread saturated with sadness. A tough watch, if you've got any empathy at all for the waif in the middle of it all.

Until the end. Why does it go so badly wrong in that final scene? I've not heard the same response from others, but I was thrown right out of it in the last minutes - suddenly the performances are as false and stagey and unconvincing as could be. Especially jarring after a story anchored in such day-to-dayness. All that understatement and veracity, then at exactly the wrong moment all the folks who didn't pass the audition at the local amateur drama group starts chewing scenery. (Still, I was kind of relieved: not sure I could have handled anything realer.)

I've mentioned Darrel and John, my partners the last ten years in tracking down movie dates. But we've been joined this past year or so by Evan Cogswell, who made this great June 28 find. (Crazy. You spend a YEAR on this craziness, and you're the newcomer. It's that kind of project.) Thanks, Evan!

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 27: Playwright Seeks Actress



What was that date again?

Oh my. What a discovery this one is. One word review? "Lugubrious." The 54 second scene you just watched, that goes on three times as long as it needs to? That's only half the scene. Half the mentions of June twenty-seventh, 1912. Which will be repeated nearly as many times when Superman wakes up and it's ACTUALLY June twenty-seventh, 1912. Overall, about thirty minutes of events, crammed into 103 action-packed minutes.

It's adorable.

Remarkable fact: source material by the same guy who launched all the zombie movies with his short story "I Am Legend." Remarkable fact: this peculiar kitsch-fest has spawned a cult, of sorts, that convenes every summer at the historic hotel where the film was shot (on June twenty-seventh, I would hope?). "We’ve published over 1,700 pages on this cinematic treasure since 1990, and hold annual SIT Weekends at Grand Hotel!" (website)  Remarkable cameo: a very young William H. Macy appears right off the top as a theatre critic assigned to a college production of Superman's play. (Okay, he's not Superman in this movie. But that's hard to get out of one's mind while watching...)

MST3K, where are you when we need you?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26: Johansson New Heavyweight Champ



Norway yesterday, Sweden today.

The foreign film that EVERYBODY saw in 1985, and everybody loved. Except me. In both cases.

I saw it a few years later, and remember not really liking it very much. Guess you had to see it in 1985.

But decades later I pillage the flick for clips, and think I might like it just fine now.

"Johansson enjoyed a successful career as a heavyweight. When he retired in 1963 he had a record of 26 wins, 17 by KO, and only 2 losses. He called his right fist "toonder and lightning" for its concussive power (it was also called "Ingo's Bingo" and the "Hammer of Thor"), and in 2003 he was ranked at #99 on The Ring's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time."


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25: Power Lines Needed



Fun premise, tedious pacing, deliciously droll punchline.

Takk skal du ha, Darrel.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24: Ticket To Ride



The director called it "docufiction" - and I can't decide if that's kind of the same or kind of opposite to yesterday's theatrical tall tale.

Something great about silent film is watching the art form get invented in front of your eyes. They made it up as they went along. This crossfade translation trick is pretty nifty, though as far as I know it never caught on. If I ever make a movie, I'll be sure to use it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23: Scot Invents Caber Toss



As far as historical accuracy, it's all pretty much bunkum and hokum. But as far as blood-boiling action, it's skookum.

It's not like helmer Mel didn't know that. He dubbed the film "historical fantasy," which pretty much says it. Lots of wrongs being perpetrated then righted, whole packs of underdogs biting back, and all to the tune of stirring bagpipes (and swirling strings and panpipes and all).

Let's have some haggis!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 22: Mates Undertake Epic Pub Crawl



I mentioned that this not-quite-magnificent obsession - the Date Movie project - began a decade ago. Well, a decade and sixteen days, at this point, to be precise.

What I haven't yet mentioned is that I've had two partners in crime for lo these many years. John Drew and Darrel Manson see a lot of movies, and between the two of them have spotted a plenitude of dates - many of which will show up in this project. Today's flick happens to be one they both posted about, last August. A fitting tribute, I think, to a band of mates set out on a not-entirely-heroic - but nonetheless epic - quest.

Cheers!

June 21: Civil Rights Workers Slain


Not exactly good cop / bad cop. What, exactly? City cop / country cop? Liberal cop / get-the-job-done cop? Hackman and Dafoe are reminiscent of Steiger and Poitier in the pretty-much-perfect IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT. Come to think of it, not a bad double feature with today's movie.

Directed by Alan Parker. I used to watch for his movies: movies with gusto, on the edge of melodrama. Whatever happened to him? Midnight Express, Fame, Birdy (!), Angel Heart, The Commitments, Evita... Maybe Evita did him in.

With a little baseball in the background there, to link with yesterday's flick.


Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20: DiMaggio Tops Hitler


Maybe the best big screen Chandler, but hard as hell to get hold of. Particularly great is the look of the thing, very much like cover illustrations for hardboiled pulp magazines of the day. I think Mitchum makes a not-bad Marlowe (great voice, at least), and Charlotte Rampling is an inspired choice for la femme fatale. But Robert's hardboiledness only goes so far: that's some pretty pathetic rough-housing, one has to admit.

Still don't know what I think about mixing in the hardball with the hardboiled. Both are enthusiasms of mine, so I kind of dig it. The novel was published the year before DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak, so it's not too much of a stretch to meld the two. But sometimes it does feel like it's trying too hard.

Actually, there's something screwy with these dates. Clearly the screenwriter was paying close attention to the details of Joe DiMaggio's 1941 hitting streak. The scene refers to June 20, 1941, the day DiMaggio hit in his 33rd straight game - against Detroit, with Bobo Newsom & Archie McKain pitching. So why reference Germany's invasion of Russia, which did not begin until June 22, 1941? If it was important to the screenwriter to reference the invasion, why not place the scene on the 22nd or 23rd, and reference the 34th or 35th game in DiMaggio's hitting streak?

Question: why pay that kind of attention to dates, and then make it so they don't add up?
Answer: it's the movies.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19: United Northfield Memo Incriminates



Big Tobacco: The Insider.
Big Pharma: The Constant Gardener.
Big Agri: ...

George Clooney, right on the money, as always. Tilda Swinton tightly wound and spinning a bit out of kilter. Smart, literate screenplay. But Tom Wilkinson? One of his lifetime best. "I am Shiva, the God of Death." That's writing. That's acting.

And how about that deer in the forest? Right around the same time, I saw THE QUEEN. Also smart, gorgeously acted. Also had a strange deer in the forest.

on vimeo

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18: Kefauver Obscenity Hearings Conclude


Intriguing film, too little known. Crisp look, exquisite jazz score, superb central performance, baffling psychology, great bangs.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17: Hotel Upgrade For U.S. Pingpongers



An all time favourite of mine - to the horror of my cinephile pals. They see sentiment, I catch an ironic undercurrent - which I hear is all the more pronounced in the novel. They cry "Baby Boomer Nostalgia," and I say... Okay, yeah, Baby Boomer Nostalgia.

But hey - there are at least 31 different dates in this Zeligesque picaresque with a good heart. That's enough for me to love it.

(Come on. You don't catch the sentiment squelch in "So I went. Again. And I met the President of the United States. Again."? There's something here about noses being thumbed at the mighty and the fool being exalted - but even that is done with a giddy, delicious flaunting of likelihood or even good sense. If there's a genre of "Holy Fool" pictures, this one belongs high on the list.)

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16: Bone Bandits Burgle Boston Bank


They're even scarier when they're nuns.

Such a good genre pic - marred only by over the top action climax. Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner, even Pete Postlethwaite - who would be great even if he couldn't act a lick, just because of that name.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15: Solo In Paris


Ah, the laissez-fairness of the gendarmerie! Ameriques: les Francais ne likez vouz pas.

Un flic that holds up surprisingly well. Forgot Polanski directed. Echoes of Hitchcock.  


Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14: Leprosy Volunteer Celebrates 24th Birthday


Every time I watch this movie - or at least, the parts with dates - which is pretty much all of the movie, come to think of it - I love it more. Sure, the two stars are immensely appealing. But the people they meet along the way, so obviously just plain people in the places they travel - Argentina, Chile, Peru. The fish market in Temuco, the couple who share their mate in the mountains of Peru, or this marvellous sequence of real people dancing.

That's a montage I want to make: Just Plain People Dancing. The end of Hitch. Bastille Day in Claire's Knee. Margot's Wedding dance, the Prime Minister getting jiggy with the Pointer Sisters, or especially Napoleon bustin' the moves to Jamiroquai. But nothing better than the nuns and their friends celebrating Ernesto's cumpleanos!

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13: Out-Of-Towner Seeks Directions


Kind of nice that the thirteenth falls on a Friday this June. Just like back in 1980…

Anybody heading for summer camp this weekend?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 12: Bray Accepts Blofeld Commission


Ah, the MI5. Always at the cutting edge of technology.

007 - license to photocopy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June 11: Klawitzky Children Missing


Now THAT's cinema.

Kind of an eerie follow-up to June 10, wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10: Area Man Orders "Mothering Mag"


I have a screenwriter pal who objects to this film, not so much because of the pedophilia, but - far more offensive - because of the voiceover.

McKee dogma be damned, that's what I say. What would Adaptation be without Charlie's chatter? Days Of Heaven be without Linda Manz? Moonrise Kingdom without Scout Master Ward and his journal entries? The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford with even less talk? I mean, what screenwriting did Bob ever do? A TV movie called "Abraham"? Well, I think it's safe to say, it probably wasn't marred by heavy-handed narration...

Today's film also has a great August 16. But we need to save that day for some good old rock and roll. Or a blimp crash. Or maybe Chinese Valentine's Day...

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9: Watch Declared Missing


One of the great delights of this project is turning up films I'd never see for any other reason - simply because they happen to mention, oh, say, June 9th for example. If the films of the past few days haven't been all that tough to identify, I bet it takes some serious sleuthing to turn up the title of this bilingual beauty. Bloody brilliant!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8: Robert Ford Slain


One of the best movies of the past decade. Like Terrence Malick, but with PLOT!

Fall 2007 was big for the young Affleck boy, this one back to back with Gone Baby Gone. Kid can act.

There are lots of other clips with that great voice-over (Hugh Ross: who knew?) intoning specific dates, often with gorgeous photography: "He had seen another summer under in Kansas City, Missouri, and on September fifth in the year 1881 he was thirty-four years old" is a personal favourite. But I figured we'd go with this one for now. One good assassination deserves another.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 7: Sabres Win Stanley Cup

So you didn't know Buffalo won the Cup in 2002? Apparently it required a little quasi-divine tinkering,  in the eleven days following the 156th anniversary of the launch of the Maid Of The Mist on May 27. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

June 6: Allies Invade Normandy


Seventy years ago today, the Allied forces landed at the beaches of Normandy.

Ten years ago today, I started keeping track of dates that show up in movies.

On June 6, 2004, I heard a piece on CBC radio. Three film critics were talking about war films in general, and D-Day films in particular. Which gave me the idea of watching one that evening.

The film was good - I'd never seen it before - and so was the experience of seeing that day's calendar date echoed in the events onscreen.

Which got me thinking. It would be interesting to try and come up with a calendar of films containing events on specific dates. Not just historical films, but also - even especially - fiction.

In those days I was an active member of an online movie conversation board called Arts & Faith, so I started a thread asking people to add a post whenever they saw a specific date in a film. The date might be spoken, or shown onscreen. Or no explicit date is given in the film, but events can be dated by reference to historical events, or in relation to other known dates in the film.

Four years later (July 15, 2008) we had a film title for every date of the year - even February 29 and February 30! The list continued to be refined, with fiction films (or fictionalized treatments of historical events) replacing documentaries. In November 2009, John Drew set himself the task of creating a calendar where each date was represented by a different film.

I knew I wanted to do something with all those dates - maybe use screen captures to create a coffee table book, a day-timer, a blog, a wall calendar. But it wasn't until late in 2012 that the obvious idea occurred to me - why not capture the clips themselves and do something with them?

So I began the task of collating all the posts on the A&F "Movie Calendar" thread, adding other dates I had noted on random slips of paper, or found in books or articles. And searching the web for more. Then sourcing the videos. Then finding the specific clips that mention or show the date. Then ripping the clips. And now...

Ten years after the whole thing began, here we go! A clip a day, for the next year. Starting with something from the movie I watched a decade ago, on the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4: A Day For Celebration


Dogville (2003, Denmark, Lars Von Trier)


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 3: Sheen Fan Club Welcomes Film Star


Gettysburg (1993, USA, Ronald F. Maxwell)


That's General Robert E. Lee rallying the troops before Pickett's Charge. It took him a while, but there were 12,500 of them. It seems he had to greet them all individually before the fighting could begin.

These were the three best minutes of Bob's day. It got worse from here on in. They headed back to Virginia the next day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1: Adams Slams Fishing Rights


1776 (1972, USA, Peter H. Hunt)


Benjamin Franklin is played by Howard Da Silva, not Ed Wynn. Just to be clear. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30: PM Offends King With Impromptu Speech


Lumumba (2000, France/Belgium/Germany/Haiti, Raoul Peck)

"The true story of the rise to power and brutal assassination of the formerly vilified and later redeemed leader of the independent Congo, Patrice Lumumba. Using newly discovered historical evidence, Haitian-born and later Congo-raised writer and director Raoul Peck renders an emotional and tautly woven account of the mail clerk and beer salesman with a flair for oratory and an uncompromising belief in the capacity of his homeland to build a prosperous nation independent of its former Belgium overlords. Lumumba emerges here as the heroic sacrificial lamb dubiously portrayed by the international media and led to slaughter by commercial and political interests in Belgium, the United States, the international community, and Lumumba's own administration; a true story of political intrigue and murder where political entities, captains of commerce, and the military dovetail in their quest for economic and political hegemony." IMDb

Friday, June 28, 2013

June 29: Shark Trauma Impairs Memory


Jaws (Steven Spielberg, USA, 1975)

June 28: Due Date Confirmed


Rosemary's Baby (1968, USA, Roman Polanski)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27: Playwright Seeks Actress


Somewhere In Time (1980, USA, dir Jeannot Szwarc. Richard Matheson screenplay)


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26: Johansson New Heavyweight Champ


My Life As A Dog ("Mitt liv som hund" 1985, Sweden, dir. Lasse Hallström)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25: Power Lines Needed

Trollhunter (2010, Norway, André Øvredal)

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24: Ticket To Ride


Tabu (1931, USA, dir. F.W. Murnau)

Murnau's last film, filmed in Bora Bora with non-professional actors. He died March 11 1931, a week before the film's premiere. Academy Award: cinematography, Floyd Crosby. Added to Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1994.

Aged emissary Hitu announces that a maiden sacred to their gods has died, and Reri is named her replacement because of her royal blood and virtue. She is tabu: "man must not touch her or cast upon her the eye of desire" upon penalty of death. She escapes the island by outrigger canoe with her lover Matahi.

Eventually they reach a French colony, half dead. Matahi becomes a pearl diver. Unfamiliar with the concept of money, he does not understand the bills he signs for drinks for everyone during a celebration. Hitu arrives on the island and informs Reri that she has three days to give herself up or Matahi will be put to death. When Matahi goes to buy tickets on a schooner, the shopkeeper takes the money as partial payment of his debt.

That night, Hitu returns with a spear. While Matahi sleeps, Reri agrees to return to Bora Bora to save his life. When Matahi wakes, he decides to get money diving for a pearl from a tabu region of the lagoon, guarded by a shark. Discovering that Reri has gone with Hitu, Matahi swims after Hitu's boat.

Murnau's films include Nosferatu (1922), The Last Laugh (1924), Faust (1926), and Sunrise (1927).

Cribbed from wikipedia

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23: Scot Invents Caber Toss


Braveheart (1995, USA, Mel Gibson)

In the year of our Lord 1314, patriots of Scotland, starving and outnumbered, charged the fields of Bannockburn. They fought like warrior poets. They fought like Scotsmen. And won their freedom. 

A hugely popular film - IMDb #79, 5 Oscars including Best Picture and Director - that tells the story of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace but"hasn't hasn't an iota of fact in it." Ewan J. Innes, MA (Hons Scot. Hist.)

Well, there are at least a couple of iotas. For example, The Battle of Bannockburn actually occurred, unlike many of the events in the film. And it occurred in 1314, as the narrator informs us - though it probably didn't begin with the flinging of a sword. The two-day battle began on June 23, led by Robert The Bruce.

Such an interesting middle name, "The." I wonder if that's common in Scotland.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20: DiMaggio Tops Hitler

Farewell, My Lovely (1975, dir. Dick Richards)

June 11: Klawitzky Children Missing

M (dir. Fritz Lang)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18: Kefauver Obscenity Hearings Conclude

The Notorious Betty Page (2005, dir. Mary Herron)

Soul Food review

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 9: Watch Declared Missing

Fear (2007, India, dir. Vikram Bhatt)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8: Robert Ford Slain

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013