A Brief Note

Okay, I was swamped with paying work for a change. I will be doing a rather longer posting in the next day or two, but in the interest of housekeeping, I thought I'd quick hit with a few items of importance.

First of all, if you are in New York City, you absolutely MUST go to Film Forum and see the delightful program of Chris Marker films. The five shorts that make up the "Bestiary" are quite charming. I particularly like the first two, "Cat Listening to Music," starring Marker's own Guillaume-en-Egypte, who flicks his ears quick amusingly in time to the music at one point, and "An Owl Is An Owl Is An Owl," which displays an astonishing selection of Marker's other favorite animal. As for The Case of the Grinning Cat, it is prime Marker, astute, funny, bittersweet, a splendid hour-long epilogue to Cat Without a Grin, his mordant retrospective on the rise and fall of the European left in the '60s and '70s. It will be there through January 2, so hustle, dammit.

I also want to get in a quick plug for Flannel Pajamas, Jeff Lipsky's romantic comedy-drama. My review for Jewish Week can be found here. The film is apparently running out of box-office steam, so move your butt quickly and go see it. Not quite ten-best list quality but a lithe and intelligent work with some lovely acting and a terrific look. Kudos to DP Martina Radwan. And if you are as put off by Julianne Nicholson's work on Law and Order: Criminal Intent as I have been, you are in for a huge surprise; Lipsky elicits a sharply observed, highly nuanced performance from her and she is incredibly sexy as well.

Speaking of pleasant surprises that probably won't make my ten-best list but definitely are worth seeing, my lovely spouse and I watched the DVD of Spike Lee's Inside Man last night and it's quite amusing. Perhaps Lee needs to work with someone else's material on a regular basis to rein in his rather desultory narrative sense, but this is one of his sharpest films, fast and witty, pointed and effective. It seems to have been utterly forgotten in the end-of-year awards orgy, so you will probably have a hard time getting to see it on a big screen, but the disk is a competent transfer.

For those of you who observe it, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Three Kings Day, and may you have an easy Fast of Tevet. If that doesn't cover you in some way, I'd wish you a happy new year, but I expect to be posting here again before that happens.

Among the items lying on my desk -- not counting Sabrina, one of our cats (who recently decided to print an e-mail I was about to delete) -- are a trio of East German westerns, some key Eastern European cinema, a new Claude Chabrol that will open shortly after the New Year, the Quay Brothers and who-knows-what-else. And hey, it's over three weeks away, but I ought to do something interesting for the first anniversary of Cine-Journal. I'm open to suggestion, but keep them clean (or not too painful).

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