Trembling Before the Five-Headed Hydra

Posted in Ruminations and Dedications, Timothy Parfitt, TV (Daytime) with tags on July 19, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

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Now entering the coliseum, undefeated after twenty summers and twenty winters, Judge Judy, empress of hours after noon, conqueror of dreams, arbitrator of fiery, spread-winged justice. Let us now praise her.

She conjures herself onto flat screen, through retina, and settles upon our innards. To the untrained eye, she is but one woman who presides over a cardboard courtroom, scolds an endless parade of court jesters, then disappears off stage right. She is not one woman, though, but thousands. After years of observation, of chart making and forward and backward frame-by-frame dissection, of sleepless nights, spells, counter spells, of alternating period of ravenous consumption and sudden deficit of appetite, I have arrived at certain discoveries which I humbly present to you dear reader. Consider these five shifting faces of Judith. Continue reading

Dough Unfortunately Undercooked

Posted in Review with tags , , on April 28, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

Dough, a new British comedy set in present day London, strives to mix the feel good with the timely.  The film stars Jonathan Pryce (Brazil, “Game of Thrones”) as Nat, an aging Orthodox Jewish baker who’s struggling to keep his bakery afloat. Into the picture wanders Ayyash (Jerome Holder), a Muslim teenager struggling to find his place in the world. When Ayyash’s sensemilla falls into the challah dough one afternoon, the bakery unexpectedly becomes the culinary hit of the neighborhood, with lines snaking around the corner.

If that sounds like a goofy plot development, well, Dough is pretty goofy. Tonally it commits to keeping things light. Religious differences are (spoiler alert) overcome Continue reading

In the Eye of the Beholder

Posted in Review with tags , , on March 28, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

 

Set in 1920 Paris, Marguerite tells the story of Baroness Marguerite Dumont (Catherine Frot), an eccentric woman of considerable means with a passion for music. She’s amassed thousands of scores, sings for hours each day, reenacts famous operas complete with elaborate costumes and performs in front of large crowds at charity fundraisers.  Only no one, not her husband, not her butler nor the rest of the staff will tell her sings horribly. Her voice is not mediocre, but astoundingly, shockingly bad.

This simple premise, based on a true story, blooms into a surprisingly complex meditation on love, beauty, ugliness and truth. Continue reading

Death in Venice

Posted in Review, TV (Prime-time) with tags , , on March 26, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

Flaked, the new Netflix series starring and created by Will Arnett, is a show about identity issues with a host of its own issues. It tells the story of Chip (Arnett) a recovery alcoholic who cruises around Venice, California on a bike because he lost his license after he killed someone drunk driving. Chip presents himself as ten years sober, but seems to use AA mostly as a way to find and hit on young women and sneaks sips of wine out of a Nalgene labeled “Kombucha” at any chance. Continue reading

Uneasy is the Ear that Hears the Sound

Posted in Review with tags , on March 21, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

Cinema occurs when sight and sound collide, and Orson Welles’ Chimes at Midnight is bisected by that crossroad. The visuals, shot in black and white by cinematographer Edmund Richard, are overwhelmingly gorgeous. The score, written by Angelo Francisco Lavagnino, is memorable and evocative. The dialogue, adapted by Welles’ from Shakespeare’s Henry IV and V, is unfortunately nearly impossible to understand, ruining what could be a singular piece of filmmaking.

Continue reading

Feed the Beast

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

A period piece that feels timeless, Embrace of the Serpent is a journey to the heart of the Amazon. Two trips, separated by decades but both in the first half of the twentieth century, take two different white men upriver in search of the same elusive plant. Karamakate, a shaman who lives in self-exile, takes a sick German explorer in search of a sacred plant that may him. Then, forty years later, an elderly, amnesiac Karamakate agrees to take an American scientist, who has “devoted his life to plants,” on a search for the same plant. “That’s the most sensible thing I’ve ever heard from a white man,” Karamakate deadpans. Continue reading

Between a Rock and a Pin Prick

Posted in List-omania, Review with tags , , , on June 14, 2015 by Timothy Parfitt

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In Needle, a short film by Iranian filmmaker Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, sixth-grader Lily (Florence Winners) stands on the threshold between child and adulthood. Adults, including her bickering parents, talk over and down to her, and pump her for information on the other figures in her life. Ghazvinizadeh’s sharply observed film builds of Lily’s emotional landscape by filming her reactions to the turmoil around her. By making her the focus of the camera, but not the conversation, Lilly is portrayed as simultaneously a part of, but outside of, the adult world. Continue reading

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