Sils Maria




When you wake-up to news that The Greatest of All Time has passed away, you pretty much want to go back to bed.

It’s strange – since the calendar turned I have used this space to remember heroes of mine like David Bowie and Prince, and yet when presented with the passing of The Greatest of All Time…I find myself short on words.

Perhaps it’s because his words were so powerful. Perhaps it’s because I never wanted this day to come, and yet had resigned myself to it years ago.

Or  perhaps it’s just because Ali was one of a kind and nothing I can say can underline that more than saying “He was one of a kind”. He has been gone for mere hours and already we can see how much of a champion we have lost.

A black, Muslim man from the American South? Lord, will we ever have a true champion like that again?

Simply put, he was The Greatest.
#52FilmsByWomen continued this week with OSCAR AND LUCINDA directed by Gillian Armstrong.


It’s funny, when I approached this whole project, I had meant to watch LITTLE WOMEN for Armstrong’s entry…in large part due to conversations with Marya Gates and Sam McCosh. But when faced with OSCAR AND LUCINDA on Netflix, I just blanked out. That’s okay though…gives me a second Armstrong audience to look forward to.

Armstrong’s career is dotted with a lot of films I’ve been meaning to see. Handsome films like CHARLOTTE GRAY and the aforementioned LITTLE WOMEN. Documentaries like THE WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED. However, like many of the other women I’ve mentioned in this series, I never got around to it.

I think there’s a lesson to be learned there.


OSCAR AND LUCINDA arrived around the time I became a bigger film nerd, so it’s a title that’s always sorta lingered in the background for me…and honestly, one I had a completely different preconception of. Somehow, I thought it would have more in common with a film like BRIGHT STAR or ORLANDO than it actually did. That’s to say that I didn’t count on it being as big and airy as it turned out to be.

Anderson’s scope in this film is so grand. Whether it’s the nave of a cathedral or the rolling hills that backdrop a town, Anderson’s camera has ways of taking a step back and establishing the relationship between the characters and their surroundings. So often we feel like we are larger than life in the stories we inhabit, and yet to see Lucinda walk through her glass factory, or to see Oscar wind up that river, we realize that we are in fact very small compared to the large stage our stories are set on.

To that end, it’s an appropriate angle to approach a story where the lead characters so deeply enjoy playing games of chance. Anderson knows that the rush these two characters enjoy from gambling is tethered to the great unknown and the high of defeating odds. What better way to illustrate that than by sending a slender, meek introvert out into a very dangerous world. If we, the viewer, are placing bets on his survival – and likewise, their love’s survival – we have to see the extremely long odds.

Suffice it to say, I need to get more Gillian Armstrong into my life. Thanks to a screening of DEATH DEFYING ACTS at TIFF a few years back, I mercifully have a bit to tide me over…but I’d place 3-1 odds that I finally catch up with LITTLE WOMEN in very short order.


Here’s the week at hand…


X-MEN: APOCALYPSE – The more I think back on it, the angrier I get.
HIGH RISE – I’m hoping to write about this tomorrow, but it’s gonna be a long day of thinking before I can!


Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP – I really must watch more Powell and Pressburger before too long.
OSCAR AND LUCINDA – It’s a little trippy to watch both Fiennes and Blanchett in the mid 90’s. Both of them seem so damned young.
HOLIDAY – Few things in life bring me more joy than watching Cary Grant do somersaults.


Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
SOME LIKE IT HOT – Since Marilyn and I share a birthday, it was really the most appropriate way to celebrate.
THE TRIP TO ITALY – I suddenly feel the urge to watch a lot of Michael Caine.
SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS – I really want to adopt Woody’s dog.


Boxscore for The Year
98 First-Timers, 66 Re-Watched
33 Screenings
164 Movies in Total

How’s about you – seen anything good?