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  1. Yesterday
  2. Most of you know Corby Pons at WITPRO. He is helping Netflix with Sandra Bullock's Bird Box. If this is something you want to screen for jury, let him know (if you have his address) or PM me for his contact info if you don't. (He said it was okay to post offer here).
  3. I saw Lean on Pete and wrote a review. It's good-to-great.
  4. My wife and I saw it at TIFF last year and loved it, but FWIW, I don't recall any overt faith element to it.
  5. Hey has anyone seen Lean on Pete? The publicist was pushing this when I went to SXSW as something that might be of particular resonance with CT audience, but I didn't get to see it...and I just realized it didn't really show up on any screener lists...just sorta disappeared.
  6. Boy Erased and Love, Simon come to mind, though those are movies overtly about homosexuality. Your post does remind me that one of the things I liked about Love, Simon was that it parlayed that acceptance of homosexuality into a marginal ability to be critical of the homosexual character rather than simply excusing anything he does wrong as stemming from fear. I am more specifically interested in characters who are comfortable around alternate sexuality that I wouldn't normally expect to be. I heard two colleagues argue this point about Green Book. That film does at least have Mortenson's character float the explanation that he worked at the Copa and if you are in the business you are around and get comfortable with, gay people. That explanation could extend to A Star is Born and suggest that part of the appeal of these movies is that they reflect back on the industry in a self-affirming way.
  7. Andrew

    Destroyer (2018)

    With the nods to faith that you mention, Christian, I think there's a case to be made that the writers/director were pointing to missed opportunities for reformation/rebirth. The film is fresher in my mind, having seen it last night, so the Bible study invite was made by a former supervisor that Kidman's character never saw again; and the pastor wasn't compromised, he was actually sheltering a guy who was attempting to make amends for his past misdeeds.
  8. kenmorefield

    Destroyer (2018)

    Funny, that's the exact question I asked Kusama at a Q&A (at Filmfest 919). Her response was understandably broad and non-committal, it's Manfredi's script. Of the ideas that were floated or alluded to, I guess I am most sympathetic to "time" being the answer to "who or what is the title referencing?" I've been in enough academic classrooms that I would be lying if I didn't admit that more than a small part of me thinks the title was chosen for it's aural similarities to "Destroy her" but that never came up and I'm not inclined to ask questions in that leading a form. I spent the back half of the film really wondering if Kidman's character was a male whether the film would be at all interesting and whether or not the answer to that question really mattered. (It reminded me in some ways of Bosch, though that's probably a very superficial connection.) This is essentially Oscar-bait for Kidman, and I'm okay with that. I think she's terrific in general and okay in this movie. Though her body type (slender) made it hard for me to see her as the detective, the scene where she gets beat up and then goes back after Bradley Whitford convinced me...and perhaps made the movie into a broader metaphor of women living in a man's world.
  9. Christian

    Destroyer (2018)

    I wasn't much of a fan - didn't hate it, didn't love it - but I did wonder what was going on with a co-worker inviting the lead character to a Bible study (did anything come of that? I thought it was dropped), a character who's a pastor (though compromised, as is everyone else, it seemed), a visit to his church, and, ummm, what's up with the title of this movie? I'd by lying if I didn't say that John 10:10 popped to mind while considering, but that's, uh, probably a reach, right? And the film comes out on ... Christmas Day. It's almost like the entire movie is one giant troll. But again, I'm not sure there's anything intentional behind those disparate story and release-date elements. Neither of the screenwriters nor the director have faith-informed backgrounds, as far as I know.
  10. Andrew

    Destroyer (2018)

    Has anyone else seen this? I could see it being of interest to those on the Ecumenical Jury, as it's the most Dostevskian film I've seen in a while, embodying the famous Karamazov line about "if no God, then everything is permitted." A couple of times during the film, the main criminal is heard to say "nobody is watching" (or something like that) as everything goes to shit around Nicole Kidman's undercover FBI agent. Besides that, it's probably the best suspense film I've seen this film, a genre that generally bores me. Kidman's performance is splendid, and she's almost unrecognizable in her 'present day' makeup - she looks convincingly wrecked, like many a late-stage alcoholic I've treated. And Bradley Whitford is fun as usual - how his typecasting has changed from his days playing idealistic Josh on The West Wing, now playing characters for whom the word smarmy seems to have been invented.
  11. I nominate Shoplifters, a film consistent with Koreeda's affecting recent works exploring familial bonds, including a third act reveal which adds to the ethical complexity (and the weeping).
  12. Evan C

    Oscars 2019: Best Picture

    I've said it at least three times, but I'll say it again: A Star is Born is winning best picture, and this list of nominees seems to confirm that. I suppose there's the possibility of a BlacKkKlansman upset, especially if the Academy wants to make a political statement and rectify Spike Lee never winning an Oscar. Otherwise, if a new Oscar front-runner emerges, I think it will be something other than one of these five, because I can't see any of the other three films here winning best picture.
  13. Last week
  14. Andrew

    Consolidating Film Forums

    Since they come up in a search regardless, I'm for a laissez faire approach.
  15. Jason Panella

    What board games have you been playing lately?

    Keep in mind that this is a Living Card Game, with (as of now) over 50 expansions. They want you to buy more stuff, including more Core Sets. And, as someone who owns most of those expansions, it's very much a deckbuilder. Certain "types" of decks have different strategies, but that's stuff that's not really evident in the core set or its encounters. The rules in the core set are trash (FFG recently released a completely new version that has much, much better rules, from what I've seen), and the game is more of lifestyle choice than one-and-done deckbuilder. If you just want a single game box to play on occasion, Legendary is probably the better choice. But--looking at the whole expanse of what's been released for both games--the amount of diversity in quests, cards, and options in the whole of LotR blows Legendary out of the water. Oh, and I should add—I think Legendary is a really good game (especially the Encounters version of the system), but the nuance of LotR, which really starts becoming clear with the third big-box expansion and its connected quests--is right up my gaming alley. EDITED: Also, the game does have a tableau-building aspect—you're playing cards that (hopefully) stay on the table for a bit—but deckbuilding is a huge focus. If you're just playing with the Core Set, you're probably not seeing this; there are barely enough cards in the Core Set to make a "real" deck (at 50 player cards), let alone a good one. Once you begin adding more cards to the card pool, card draw and deck fishing become more and more important.
  16. Peter T Chattaway

    Black Panther

    Joel Mayward wrote: : In fact--and I need to revisit Black Panther before saying this is a fact--but I believe the film doesn't use the language of "black" or "white" in the way I used it above. Again, I'll need to rewatch it, but I don't think the Wakandans call themselves "black," but I do think Erik Killmonger might, which again raises the African/American dynamic mentioned above in the thread. That's a detail I'll definitely be looking for next time I see the film, too. I *think* I can remember Killmonger talking to T'Challa about "your people" or maybe even "people who look like you", but I can't remember if he explicitly uses the word "black" (except, of course, in reference to the title character). : Peter, this is tangential to the film, but I'm curious: when you bring up that you are "Mennonite" in the discussion of race, what do you mean by this? Is "Mennonite" considered a race? An ethnicity? A culture? A society? A denomination? A theological strand? Yes, to all of the above (except maybe "race"). It's kind of like being "Jewish". Are we talking about genetic ancestry (my Oma had our family tree memorized back to the 18th century, and my mother has entire books that have been written about the families of the Ukrainian and Paraguayan villages that her family came from -- noting, among other things, that my grandparents were third-cousins to each other, and one of my uncles is third-cousins with his wife, etc. -- as the saying goes, when you meet a fellow Mennonite, the question is not *whether* you are related to each other but *how* you are related)? Are we talking about cultural traits, such as food (farmer sausage!) and clothing and specific linguistic dialects (Yiddish for Jews, Plautdietsch for Mennonites)? Are we talking about distinctive theological beliefs? It all depends on the context. : As an American and as a non-Mennonite by name/birth/culture, but (mostly) Anabaptist in my theology, I was still made to feel like I was inherently an outsider due to my last name and my American origins. Fascinating. I've always felt like a borderline insider/outsider, because my British father was an only child, so all of the family gatherings I've gone to throughout my life have been with the Mennonite side of the family -- but my branch of the family was the only one in which no one spoke German (except for my mother), so I often felt left out of the conversations. : So, I'm curious if a parallel is being made here between Mennonites and, say, Jews and Judaism in blurring the lines between religion and ethnicity.  Fascinating. I swear, I wrote my comments above before I had even read this sentence! It's an analogy people do make from time to time. (Back in the '90s, I was talking to a Jewish publicist about a movie that depicted shtetl life, and I mentioned that I had always wanted to be Jewish when I was a kid (partly because I was a big Fiddler on the Roof fan), and when I mentioned that my mother was Mennonite -- and had been born in eastern Europe, no less -- the publicist said, "That's close enough.")
  17. Peter T Chattaway

    Oscars 2019: Best Picture

    kenmorefield wrote: : I guess three of the films are about race . . . Four, arguably, if you take into account Freddie Mercury's Farsi background (and the fact that the actor who plays him is of Egyptian descent, which gives Bohemian Rhapsody diversity points of its own).
  18. kenmorefield wrote: : As an aside, this is the second film this year (after A Star is Born) where being comfortable visiting a drag bar is a badge of moral tolerance. I've been toying with starting a thread on the way films increasingly use characters' attitudes towards sexuality to signify who the Good Guys and Bad Guys are (or at least to indicate which way our sympathies should be skewed). Come Sunday was billed as a film about a preacher who ceases to believe in Hell... but in many ways it's really a film about a preacher who comes to accept homosexuality. Green Book is a film about racism... but the Viggo Mortensen isn't *really* all that racist, and anyway, he's totally okay with homosexuality. And Vice... well, that one's still under embargo, so I won't say exactly what the film *does* do (and *doesn't* do) with the relationship between Dick Cheney and his gay daughter, but it's a thematically significant element. Anyway, your "badge" terminology seems to dovetail with my own thoughts about this.
  19. Peter T Chattaway


    From today's press release: - - - CHRIS PRATT, TOM HOLLAND, JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS AND OCTAVIA SPENCER JOIN VOICE CAST FOR PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS’ UPCOMING ORIGINAL FEATURE FILM “ONWARD” BURBANK, Calif. (Dec. 12, 2018) – Pixar Animation Studios revealed today four members of its voice cast for its original new feature film “Onward,” including Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), Tom Holland (“Spiderman: Homecoming”), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) and Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”). Directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, the team behind 2013’s “Monsters University,” “Onward” is slated for theatres on March 6, 2020. Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney•Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. “At Pixar we try to create stories that come from some kind of personal truth,” said Scanlon. “This film was inspired by my own relationship with my brother.” According to the filmmakers, they’ve assembled a dream voice cast to help to bring key characters to life. · “Chris brings equal parts huge heart and fantastic humour to his character,” said Rae. · “Tom has an infectious charm and sincerity that makes you root for him in every character he plays,” said Scanlon. · “There is no one funnier than Julia,” said Scanlon, “but she also brings a warmth and loving side to her character.” · “Octavia can do it all,” said Rae. “We’re especially excited about the depth as well as humour that she brings to her character.”
  20. I've been thinking about Dumplin', a winsome Netflix film about a "plus-size" teenager who bonds with her skinnier friend over the music of Dolly Parton. They both join a beauty pageant to sabotage it, but in doing so they inspire another plus-size teen to follow her dream of participating. During the talent show, the other plus-size teen sings the hymn "High and Mighty." The cynic in me almost immediately responded with, "Yay Texas, where the only thing they love more than hating people not like them is Jesus." That's not really fair to the film, though, and I kinda, sorta, think a film with positive representations of red-state religion is significant even if it is somewhat aspirational. As an aside, this is the second film this year (after A Star is Born) where being comfortable visiting a drag bar is a badge of moral tolerance. Here there is perhaps slightly more overt implications that both groups (drag queens, plus-size) are rejected by the status-quo and are consequently more tolerant of others outside the mainstream even if those others are outside in different ways. I suppose the film is open to the critique made above toward The Hate U Give that characters outside the principals exist to mouth hanging curveballs for the main characters to knock out of the park, but unlike that film, I never get the sense that the main character is all good or that those who surround her are all bad. There is a certain amount of introspection, and rather than presenting Dumplin' as perfectly okay with herself and those who surround her as hopelessly obtuse, the film does show her dealing with self-loathing rather than just other-loathing and it does others trying to actually incarnate the values they say they hold even when dealing with the fringe's hatred or rejection of them and those values. So, anyway, I nominate Dumplin'. It's not the typical kind of film that we've historically had on this list, but I wonder if there might be room for it somewhere.
  21. kenmorefield

    Consolidating Film Forums

    My personal preference is Film Title (year) with tags being optional. This appears to me to be the group consensus, though nobody really seemed to push back if someone didn't comply. So here's my follow up question -- should moderator or admin change (usually older) thread titles to conform to this format, request that the initial poster (often not here) do it, or leave it alone?
  22. kenmorefield

    Oscars 2019: Best Picture

    That is...a depressingly mediocre list of movies. I've been feeling for a while now that I don't see an early frontrunner, but rather than this making groups more adventuresome in their picks this just feels....random. I guess three of the films are about race, and two are about performers. And I realize this is SAG and not Academy, so a lot of actor vehicles.
  23. Peter T Chattaway

    Oscars 2019: Best Picture

    The Screen Actors Guild nominees for best ensemble, which is sort of the SAG version of Best Picture: “A Star Is Born” “Black Panther” “BlacKkKlansman” “Bohemian Rhapsody” “Crazy Rich Asians” I believe it has only happened twice that the Oscar for Best Picture went to a film that wasn't at least nominated for this award -- once in 1995 (the first year that this award existed), and once last year (when the award went to Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri and Oscar front-runner The Shape of Water wasn't even nominated for this award). The winner will be announced January 27.
  24. Peter T Chattaway

    Oscars 2019: Best Supporting Actress

    The Screen Actors Guild nominees: Amy Adams, “Vice” Emily Blunt, “A Quiet Place” Margot Robbie, “Mary Queen of Scots” Emma Stone, “The Favourite” Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite” The winner will be announced January 27.
  25. Peter T Chattaway

    Oscars 2019: Best Supporting Actor

    The Screen Actors Guild nominees: Mahershala Ali, “Green Book” Timothee Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy” Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman” Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born” Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” The winner will be announced January 27.
  26. Peter T Chattaway

    Oscars 2019: Best Actress

    The Screen Actors Guild nominees: Emily Blunt, “Mary Poppins Returns” Glenn Close, “The Wife” Olivia Colman, “The Favourite” Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born” Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” The winner will be announced January 27.
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