Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2016 Top 10 and Silence

                                                Shout-Outs and Silences
 I’ll begin this posting—before moving on to my singular review this timewith my choices for the Top 10 releases of 2016, which not only comes out considerably later than most other lists of such nature (because, most often, I have access to viewing films only when something’s opened in my local theaters so I had to wait a bit to see most of what I thought might matter for last year) but also there may be some notable gaps because if I were able to see all that the salaried-critical-folks do through their press screenings and DVD screeners or had more of my own unscheduled time, ease of logistics, or just a better sense of how to judge something I wasn’t too interested in upon 1st release but now is showing up on lots of other Top 10 lists I would have watched such fare as Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade), The Handmaiden (Chan-wook Park), Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight) or I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck)—the latter branching out to more of my San Francisco area this coming weekend—but I’ve put this off long enough so, based on the 87 features I did see (very few animateds or documentaries, though), here’s my tally of what impressed me the most:

1. Fences (Denzel Washington, review in our January 4 and January 12, 2017 postings)
2. Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford, review in our December 8, 2016 posting)
3. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, review in our August 26, 2016 posting)
4. La La Land (Damien Chazelle,* review in our December 21, 2016 posting)
5. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, review in our November 10, 2016 posting)
6. Jackie (Pablo Larraín, review in our January 4, 2017 posting)
7. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, review in our December 8, 2016 posting)
8. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthismos, review in our June 9, 2016 posting)
9. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, review in our March 24, 2016 posting)
10. The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi, review to come in our February 16, 2017 posting)

*Recent winner of the Directors Guild of America award for feature films.  You can look here to see other winners from this group, particularly in their much-more-extensive television categories.
                                                   Review by Ken Burke

Take care, curious readers, for plot spoilers gallop rampantly throughout the Two Guys’ insightful reviews.  Therefore, be warned, beware, and read on when you’re ready to be transported to … wherever we end up.  Please protect your eyes from the dazzling brilliance.
                                            Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016)
In 17th century Japan there’s a government-decreed purge of Christian clerics and worshippers, with news back to a Jesuit center in China that a well-respected priest has renounced the faith so 2 of his young trainees sneak into the country in hopes of finding him only to find themselves surrounded by atrocious acts intended to force this western religion out of Japan.
What Happens: From the opening shot in a smoky/misty field where Japanese soldiers stand by a wooded railing topped by 2 severed heads we know we’re in for a grim story in Silence.  From that stark beginning we quickly get the context of Jesuit priest Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) giving us voiceover info via a letter he’s writing in 1633 to his superiors back at St. Paul’s College, Macau (a peninsula/islands complex in China but run by Portugal, just across a large bay from Hong Kong) that priests and their local laity in Japan are being tortured and killed in a governmental effort to eradicate this intrusive-European-religion of Christianity from the islands-nation, with thousands already dead or denouncing their converted-faith.  Then in 1640 we’re in Macao where Father Alessandro Valignano (Ciarán Hinds) receives the troubling news that Father Ferreira has publically denounced their faith, a sorrow for him but a virtual-blasphemy to 2 young priests whom Ferreira mentored, Frs. Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), so much so they insist on going into Japan themselves to find Ferreira and prove him innocent of this scandal.  To get there, they have to avail themselves of the services of a drunken fisherman, Kichijiro (Yōsuke Kubozuka), who longs to return to his homeland.  As they slip ashore he hides them in a cave near the village of Tomogi, where they find a clandestine Catholic colony (some of whom know enough Portuguese so they can communicate with the padres) to whom they must administer the sacraments at night (as if they’re in the ancient Roman catacombs, preventing detection by the regional authorities; during the day the priests hide in an abandoned hillside cabin).

 One stir-crazy-day they venture outside, only to be seen by a couple of travelers who are also quiet-Catholics in need of priestly-guidance so Fr. Rodrigues goes off to minister to their nearby-community on Gotō Island (where he again encounters Kichijiro, whom some claim to be Christian but he denies it vehemently); then, when Rodrigues returns to Tomogi he finds that the local “deacon,” Ichizo (Yoshi Oida), has been revealed by an unknown spy, so as a result the harsh inquisitor demands that other Christians be identified or he’ll take 4 hostages.  The “deacon” goes willingly along with 2 other volunteers (1 whom we’ve seen a good bit of, Mokichi [Shinya Tskuamoto]) to be joined by Kichijiro, through community pressure, who later saves himself by denying his faith, a procedure where he must step on a Christian icon (we find out he did this in the past also but no one else in his family would so he was forced to watch them all be burned alive leading first to his escape to China, later to a series of desperate beggings for absolution from Fr. Rodrigues, partly because he had to spit on a crucifix to escape his current fate).  The other 3 are tied to crosses at the ocean’s edge where the rising tides eventually drown them, after which bodies are burned, bones scattered to prevent Catholic burials, all the while the horrified priests are watching from a hidden location.

 Tension grows between the 2 young padres as Rodrigues continues to demand adherence to the absolute letter of church law regarding defense of the faith while Garupe questions whether they’re accomplishing anything by being there except getting their followers killed in these various grotesque manners.  They decide to split up, making it harder to be found, with Rodrigues going back to Gotō, only to find it destroyed and abandoned.  As he makes his way toward Nagasaki (where he hopes to find Fr. Ferreira) he again encounters Kichijiro who begins by asking forgiveness for his previous apostasy, then turns his supposed-colleague over to the inquisitors, even getting a small bag of silver in payment.  (The allusion to Judas couldn’t be more obvious, matching the parallels drawn between Rodrigues and Jesus in such scenes [shown in the photo just below] as the padre seeing his reflection in a stream [just before his capture] interchanging with the face of Christ wearing his crown of thorns [with Rodrigues sporting long hair and a beard, not easily mistaken in its allusion to centuries of European “portraits” of Jesus], then being brought into Nagasaki riding on a donkey watched by a large crowd [although, unlike Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Rodrigues is already a captive headed for the local prison] even as this allegorical reference grows a bit thick.)  

 Governor Inoue Masashige (Issey Ogata) tries to convince Rodrigues that Christianity will never take root in “the swamp” of Japan, but the steadfast priest refuses to deny his calling, even after he’s taken to a secluded spot on the beach to witness 4 locals thrown off a boat to be drowned leading now-captured-Garupe (who also wouldn’t budge, even to save these victims) to frantically swim out to try to help them only to be pushed under the deep water himself.  Back at the prison, things only get worse for Rodrigues when Kichijiro shows up again, once more begging forgiveness (which the priest hesitantly grants) only to free himself once by another act of holy-icon-stepping.

 Rodrigues’ initial quest then comes to an end when he’s brought to a Buddhist temple to meet with Ferreira, who tells his former acolyte how he cracked when put into the brutal punishment of being hung upside down with just a small slit in his neck so blood would slowly drip out into a pit, prolonging his inevitable death.  Since his public rejection of Catholicism, though, Ferreira’s come to understand that the converted Japanese never really understood what Christianity’s all about, that they see the “Son of God” as simply being the sun in the sky, so that the mission of conversion was a farce; further, he’s also come to understand the concepts of God and human advancement as being within the realm of nature itself so he has little investment in either Christianity or Buddhism, now content to live in this country under another name, with a widow and her child bequeathed to him upon the death of the husband. This all comes to a climax for Rodrigues when he learns 5 Japanese Catholics are being tortured in the upside-down-death-process, all of whom had already renounced their religion but are being killed in an attempt to break the padre’s will.  What happens next is open for discussion, but seemingly Rodrigues hears the voice of Christ telling him to take the action because it’s simply a formal exercise not a true denial of the faith (a rationale also frequently offered by the Japanese Interpreter [Tadanobu Asano]), yet the voiceover sounds to me more like Ferreira (so maybe this is all rationalization in Rodrigues’ mind, a mix of encouragements to simply sacrifice himself [or at least his rigid understanding of his religion] for the benefit of others and not—as Ferreira admonishes him—to piously-but-pompously-equate his suffering with those of Christ).  Ultimately, a broken man, he finally steps on the icon.

 A year passes, we find Rodrigues also with a new name along with a bequeathed wife and child, he and Ferreira serving as arbiters of objects gathered from local citizens as to whether any of it is contraband Christian, observed by a Dutch trader who carries his descriptions of these fallen priests back to Europe (more years pass; eventually Ferreira dies). At this point, Kichijiro is Rodrigues’ servant, still asking for absolution through the sacrament of confession but refused as Rodrigues now no longer considers himself to be a priest; eventually Kichijiro receives penance of quite another kind because the apostates must periodically renew their Christian rejection with repeated steppings on those icons, which both Rodrigues and Kichijiro do in 1667, but the servant is suddenly questioned about an amulet around his neck which, when opened, contains a little icon of its own; Kichijiro claims he won the object gambling, never opened it before, but he’s led away to a fate we can easily imagine.  When Rodrigues finally dies of old age, his body’s taken in a large basket for a proper Buddhist cremation in recognition of his adherence to his adopted culture; however, in the film’s final shot we look into the basket to see in his hand a tiny, crude crucifix he was given when he first got to Japan, so we know that he never truly turned away from Christianity except in his avowed public persona.*

*Through some internet surfing, I find Rodrigues based in the novel from which this film’s adapted on the actual Italian Jesuit, Giuseppe Chiara (if you’re willing to read a lengthy, well-researched academic article about this book’s author and themes, that’s what you’ll find at the link), who was a missionary to Japan during the time this story’s set.  For that matter, Ferreira as presented here is even more of an historical entity (as is the vicious persecution of Christians in Japan during this era) who also was an apostate but possibly recanted (a link with another well-documented academic article for your possible interest), maybe dying as a martyr.  I’ll also note it took Internet info for me to learn the early scene of the young priests is in Macao rather than Portugal, leading me to think (mistakenly) our protagonists had to travel halfway around the world to reach Japan rather than the relatively shorter distance from southern China (although still a long journey in a small sailboat); maybe that was obvious in the film but it wasn't to me so if you choose to see it don’t be confused.

So What? Shūsaku Endō wrote his novel Chimmoku (Silence)—the source of this film—in 1966, Scorsese came upon the book a couple of decades later, then spent over a couple of decades more to get this personal passion onto the big screen, seemingly in respect for many deep issues of the Catholic faith that still motivate him (see the 3rd entry in the Related Links entry farther below) along with his remembrance of the Catholic clergy and their faithful followers who were cruelly-killed by the multitude during this poorly-remembered-but-ghastly-purge back in 17-century-Japan.  Scorsese's message has obviously resonated with many reviewers, finding itself on the Top 10 lists of several prestigious critics.  (But, as you know from above, not me—oh, wait, I said prestigious critics, did I?  Never mind [more on that below].)  However, while I respect the sincerity in the production of this mini-epic (at almost 2 ½ hours what else could you call it?) and can find some validity in the theological questions it raises, overall my response is one of cold distance, which surely has a possibly-intrusive-challenge-to-the-whole-validity-of-the-review-subjective-connection to my having been raised Catholic, then moving away from adherence to that confusing-cluster of theology (Don’t like my term?  OK, which can you explain more coherently: Transubstantiation [the bread and wine used in the sacrament of the mass literally-but-miraculously turning into the body and blood of Christ] or Einstein’s theory of General Relativity?  That would be an interesting challenge over the course of a keg or 2 of beer some night.) during the fascinating challenges and insights that I came upon during my increasingly-secular-years in graduate school.

 I finally came to distance myself entirely from the fundamental tenets of Christianity entirely while finding equal reason to resist an investment in the anthropomorphized, mythologized aspects of other major religions of the world as well (I’m not completely atheist yet, though, still respecting whatever I can find of the ethical, humane aspects in any of these systems of thought, which might be considered as a nod to spirituality by some, although agnostic is likely how I’d be defined).  For me, Scorsese's somber exploration of Silence (like what's to be found in Bergman’s similar films; see the next section of this review below) dwells on a lot of sad, gruesome aspects of human history, best eradicated from our collective motivations rather than maintained as we insist on doing in the increasingly-destructive-global-confrontations between extremist-proponents of almost all of those traditional belief systems (Muslims in various wars with Christians, Jews, or Hindus; Buddhists vs. Muslims; fundamentalist Christians vs. humanists).  I would hope that Scorsese’s trying to show the complexity of both sides in the struggle he presents, not just highlighting a notorious persecution of one sect by another (of which there have been countless examples over the ages, usually with the “rationale” of “God commands me” or “they started it”), possibly rekindling combative-animosities about events long ago, even when attempted to be put to rest as best as possible (most especially in cultures still on edge over the mutual atrocities of WW II), just as the grotesque images (Biblically-based, but without all the graphic description in words that was shown in bloody-intensity on the screen) of The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson, 2004) reverberated magnificently with so many Christian audiences but for others have stirred up constantly-simmering anti-Semitic attitudes.

 Certainly, the cruelties forced upon the innocent Japanese Catholics of long ago (more recently also, as indicated by Catholic author Endō about the impetus for the content of his book) by their inquisition forces were horridly-brutal, yet as explained by Governor Masashige to incredulous Padre Rodrigues this is a necessary action taken to eradicate a foreign way of thought from a sovereign country that had no use for it.  (Surely any overlap between that position and the current Trump administration’s attempt to block immigration from [only certain] Muslim-dominant-countries [with no business connections to President Trump] must be considered as mere coincidence.)  Christianity itself, while not violent in this film, is responsible for its own purges, enforced conversions, and the audacity (shared by other religious systems such as Islam) to see the world as properly living under only one universal “truth” (quoting Rodrigues),
therefore requiring all of God’s human creations to accept just this specific explanation of reality.*

*If I haven’t been offensive enough to some of you by now—with no overt attempt to do that, I'm merely trying to state my case as I see it—I'll seal the deal by saying that after extensive study of all major world religions (and attempts to practice what seemed viable to me) I still cannot understand the situation of an almighty Creator divulging the path to paradise to only one small Middle-Eastern-desert-tribe (and their feuding descendants), yet allowing millions of others worldwide to also exist, needing desperately to stumble onto conversion to this “true faith.”  To me, that’s not as atrocious as the violence committed in the various names of an Almighty, but it’s still very damn arrogant.  (OK, which way to the firing range?  Can I wait until later to put on the blindfold so I don’t stumble and dislocate my shoulder again like I did a few years ago while gawking at some architecture?)

Bottom Line 
Final Comments: To merge a couple of clichés, Silence, for many viewers (including me), requires a “leap of faith” to appreciate Scorsese’s “labor of love” in making this film (something he’s been mulling over since he read Endō‘s novel in 1989) given its focus on Rodrigues' conviction that the noble Christ-like-suffering of both the priests and the Japanese Catholics in this story carries the unerring-implication that willing acceptance of such unearned, imposed misery is necessary for the sincere embrace of the religion, that allowing such physical torture is the only valid choice when the devotion to their faith is challenged—even though, of course, there’s the counter-exploration in the film’s later scenes where there’s a good bit of ambiguity as to whether Fathers Ferreira and Rodrigues have truly abandoned the gospels they came to Japan to preach or are they simply going through the motions of denial in order to prolong their lives into old age (with this 2nd choice an incontestable assumption regarding the latter in the final shots as his body’s being cremated, the camera revealing in closeup his hand clutching that crudely-carved-crucifix, a tangible reminder of his faith still with him after decades of first arriving in Japan).  This confirmation of adherence to Catholicism—in Rodrigues at least—comes despite the struggle throughout this film with the silence of God toward the inner torment that he feels over whether his insistence on remaining true to his vows (and the personal acceptance of the theology they’re based on) is really the proper expression of divine expectation given the suffering and death he causes by refusing to take a quick step onto a piece of baked clay with a Christian image in it (even though it can be seen as only a meaningless symbolic action—yet required for the securing of a Christian’s life—Rodrigues [and Ferreira] must wrestle internally as to whether such an action is merely a means to protect others or is it an ultimate denial of all that’s previously been held sacred).

 Scorsese’s film is overtly about religion and the conflict not only of the different belief systems within a non-Western-culture but also of the dedicated adherents to a specific concept of faith struggling constantly within themselves for a better understanding of apostasy vs. pragmatism in the conduct of their personal decisions when there seems to be a resounding silence of direction from the faithful man’s deity.  You can also find this theme explored—to me in an even more chilling, masterful way (but some might say it's shown as too humanistic rather than doctrinairily-religious as done by Endō and Scorsese)—in Ingmar Bergman’s “trilogy” (who previously used this term to link these 3 films; later he denied they were so connected*) of Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Winter Light (1963), and The Silence (1963) which deal collectively with the question of the unknown existence of God, the need to deny or embrace God whether existing or not, and the awful silence both of God to humans and our stunted-communication with each other.  What Scorsese gives us that Bergman doesn’t is stunning widescreen color cinematography (Bergman’s use of black & white images in a more-traditional-screen-format reflects the intense sense of confinement in his films) by Rodrigo Prieto, Oscar-nominated for his work here; these haunting images, often in the monochromatic grey of smoke and mist, offer the only sense of the divine of this film, with the rest so focused on human cruelty, self-preservation, and agonizing doubt (much of the latter delivered in voiceover by Rodrigues, the main character, so don’t go expecting to see much Driver or Neeson, whose scenes are mostly confined respectively to the opening and closing ½ hours of this story**).

*Unfortunately, all I can give you for substantiation of this is a reference that I can’t verify directly, but the next time you’re close to a major university library you might be able to look it up if you like: Birgitta Steene, Ingmar Bergman: A Reference Guide, Amsterdam University Press, 2005, p. 39.

**Garfield’s impactful in his majority screen time, though; if Oscar voters were supposed to factor in all major roles for an actor in a given year his nomination for Hacksaw Ridge (Gibson) might stand more of a chance of winning, but despite substantial work in both of his films I think Best Actor will be a close race between Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) and Denzel Washington (Fences).

 It may be just as well that we don’t see more of Fr. Garupe because his wavering devotion to both the quest for Padre Ferreira and the ongoing-questionabe-sanity of trying to stabilize this tormented-Catholicism in the midst of a  fiercely-hostile-environment would detract from the self-imposed-struggles of Fr. Rodrigues to justify his unwavering-devotion to his church even in the face of the atrocities it brings upon his Japanese “parishioners,” the harsh rebuke he receives from his reformed, previously-prized-mentor (whom he calls “a disgrace” upon their initial encounter), and the crucial sense of silence from his ultimate spirit guide as to what value—if any—he’s bringing to the distressed Catholics of Japan.  With all of this never-ending-revisitation to the sorrows of a semblance to Christ's brutal Stations of the Cross (an encounter embraced better by critics [Rotten Tomatoes, 83% positive reviews; Metacritic, 79% average score; more details in the Related Links below] than audiences [just $6.8 million in grosses domestically {U.S.-Canada} even after 7 weeks in release]) you might think I’d want to wrap up this review using my standard tactic of another medium's perspective on the reviewed filma Musical Metaphorwith something obvious like Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” (the original acoustic version on their 1964 Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. album; rock instrumentation added on the 1966 Sounds of Silence album) given its similar repressive content, including the reference to how “the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made” (and you cam listen to this poetic duo here with their live performance in late October 2009 at NYC’s Madison Square Garden for the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if you like [they were inducted early, in 1990]).

 But given how sincerely-subtly-deep Scorsese’s trying to reach with this film (even though it might push me away in trying to fully appreciate the true intended piety in it) I've gallantly tried to reach further myself by using John Cage’s 4’33”—often (incorrectly) referred to as the “silence” piece—at /watch?v=JTEFKFiXSx4 
where pianist William Marx “performs” a piece in 3 movements which consist of the musician opening and closing his keyboard cover, often holding his right arm up seemingly about to do something but never touching the keys (the original performance [by David Tudor, August 29, 1952, in Woodstock, NY reflects the title with its duration of 4 minutes, 33 seconds but Marx’s version runs about 6:00 so I guess he improvised a little).  The sound—“music,” if you will—here is the ambient noise from the audience in their bodily movements, coughing, or any other aural emissions they might make during the "playing" (although in this video they’re either generally very quiet or the house microphones weren’t picking up their “instrumentation” very well) forcing a reinvestigation of the whole concept of music when presented with silence from the supposed source of the event, just as Rodrigues (and Ferreira, for all we can glean from his short, cryptic statements) must now learn to somehow interpret the seemingly lack of direction from his ultimate source, trying to understand how the conflicting values of fidelity to his theology vs. the violent-dissonance generated by his apostasy-refusals should be “played” out in the context of such an unpredictable venue.  Scorsese (or you) may not think I’m being serious enough with the sublime intentions of his film in joining it to 4’33”, but I see the association here as resonant in its own way with the weighty question of the “silence” of God (as long as you can accept the idea of the best aspects of art and religion coming from the same mysterious source, a concept I settled upon back in grad school to help replace the “solidity” of the theologies that increasingly became unhelpful for the kind of inner peace I was/am seeking).

 In closing, I’ll note 2 more things to call to your attention: The 1st being that when I randomly checked my Google statistics today (as shown above at 1pm PST, 2/8/2017) I found in the most recent tally of unique pageviews (February 1-8, 2017) I’d scored a rare connection to 5 of the 6 continents I’d ever hope to reach (not counting Antarctica), with only Africa missing (which is almost always the case, although I did get a few looks from Egypt a couple of times), with the U.S. (most notable at 2,302 pageviews) and Canada from North America; Brazil from South America; France, the U.K., Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands from Europe; India from Asia; and Australia. 

 You can also see in these charts that most of pageviews (60%) are done on Firefox browser, with a mere 5% of them on Safari, even though that’s what I meticulously compose on in that I’m posting with a Mac, attempting to get the best synchronicity between machine, browser, and operating system, yet I find my laborious attempts to make a decent layout in Safari don’t always hold up when viewed on Firefox (although they do on Chrome, where 26% of my viewing originates) but they may not when seen on Windows (I have no idea as I don’t use that OS), so if you read Two Guys reviews on Firefox (or through Windows) and they look a bit scattered on the page, please try one of these other 2 browsers (and the Mac OS) if you can, just to see what was intended after my late-night-struggles attempting to corral the ever-elusive-Google Blogspot into my page layouts.

Just for the record, the martini in the
foreground belonged to my wife
took the photo)
; I'm not really that much
of a 2-fisted-drinker
 My 2nd announcement is that after applying for 5 straight years to my local San Francisco Film Critics Circle for membership I’ve once again been turned down (with no clarity as to whether it was a close vote or if they’ve never seriously considered my alternative approach to film analysis, as I’ve gotten nothing but the same form letter each time—literally the same as last year because the person sending it didn’t notice that the cited date of the membership-voting-meeting was held on Saturday, Feb. 13 [which it was in 2016, not this year]), so maybe with an impossible 2017 date that obviously hasn’t happened yet—and never will—I could claim that they haven’t actually had a 2017 membership vote so therefore I’m still in the running (I’ll see if I can get Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer  to confirm that logic), especially because I know at least a million illegal-voters cast ballots (a good trick of logistics given that the SFFCC meeting room holds about 100 at best, or maybe they met at the U.S. Capitol Mall back on January 20th; there was lots of empty space there that day).  Anyway, I’ve chosen to not give any further credence to the idea that I’m Don Quixote tilting at SF critics' windmills and won’t be bothering them with any further applications.  Where this matters to the world at large is one of their membership requirements for bloggers is at least 50 postings per year, a level I’ve previously strived to maintain to meet their standards; now that such a concern no longer matters, I may from time to time skip a week here or there as other logistics in my life conflict with this labor of love of mine (not as well-known as Scorsese’s Silence, but ultimately more important to me) rather than hustling to make up for postings during times I was traveling, etc.  So, if you’re among the 23,000-33,000 worldwide readers (depending on how Google measures “last month”) of Two Guys in the Dark (Pat Craig's still feverishly-working on his inaugural review [or so he tells me]) don’t despair if an early Thursday morning comes around with no new Ken Burke diatribe because I’ll return soon, I promise you.
Related Links Which You Might Find Interesting:
We encourage you to visit the summary of Two Guys reviews for our past posts.*  Overall notations for this blog—including Internet formatting craziness beyond our control—may be found at our Two Guys in the Dark homepage If you’d like to Like us on Facebook please visit our Facebook page. We appreciate your support whenever and however you can offer it!

*We’re sorry to say that a Google software glitch causes every Two Guys in the Dark posting prior to August 26, 2016 to have an inaccurate (dead) link to the Summary page, but there are too many of them to go back and fix them all.  From 8/26/16 on this link is accurate, with hopefully not too much confusion caused by this latest stupid snafu from the Alphabet overlords’ programming problems.

AND … at least until the Oscars for 2016’s releases have been awarded on Sunday, February 26, 2017 we’re also going to include reminders in each posting of very informative links where you can get updated tallies of which 2016 films have been nominated for and/or received various awards 
and which ones made various individual critic’s Top 10 lists.  You may find the diversity among the various awards competitions and the various critics hard to reconcile at times—not to mention the often-significant-gap between critics’ choices and competitive-award-winners (which pales when compared to the even-more-noticeable-gap between specific award winners and big box-office-grosses you might want to monitor here)—but as that less-than-enthusiastic-patron-of-the-arts, Plato, noted in The Symposium (385-380 BC)—roughly translated, depending on how accurate you wish the actual quote to be—“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,” so your choices for success are as valid as any of these others, especially if you offer some rationale for your decisions (unlike many of the awards voters who simply fill out ballots, sometimes for films they’ve never seen).

To save you a little time scrolling through the “various awards” list above, here are the Golden Globe nominees and winners for films and TV from 2016 along with the Oscar nominees for 2016 films.

Here’s more information about Silence: (23:30 interview with director Martin Scorsese about his religious upbringing, his Catholic faith, and his long desire to make this film such)

Please note that to Post a Comment below about our reviews you need to have either a Google account (which you can easily get at if you need to sign up) or other sign-in identification from the pull-down menu below before you preview or post.

If you’d rather contact Ken directly rather than leaving a comment here please use my new email at  Thanks.

By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile. Ken*

*Please note that YouTube keeps taking down various versions of this majestic Eagles performance at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame so I have to keep putting in newer links (of the same damn material) to retrieve it; this “Hotel California” link was active when I did this posting but the song won’t be available in all of our previous ones done before 1/25/2017.  Sorry, but there are too many postings to go back and re-link every one.  The corporate overlords triumph again.

P.S.  Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.


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