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  1. Yesterday
  2. Oh boy. The pressure! As with most of my posts on A&F, I ... I ... don't have much to say? Sarah and I finished Season 4 last night, and although we both cried through much of the final episode, my wife claimed that the show grew "more boring" during its final season. I, on the other hand, thought Season 4 coasted for a few episodes before getting more interesting. I've tried across all four seasons to track with the show on its own premises (with which I largely disagree, but I knew I would going in). The characters' outcomes, and how the show accomplished them, was read by my wife as a metaphor for a certain controversial social issue, and that soured her on the show (which had, as mentioned earlier, already been "boring" her during Season 4). I, on the other hand, respected that Schur tried to create an endgame for the characters. But enough about what I and/or Sarah didn't care for, or were, at best, ambivalent about. How 'bout that D'Arcy Carden, huh?? She was great in Season 4. I noticed recently that most of the cast has been Emmy-nominated this year. (Poor Kristen Bell was overlooked, and while she's probably my least favorite character, she gets a lot more interesting in the final couple of episodes, or so I thought. And as I've argued elsewhere during earlier seasons, Danson is the MVP of the show overall.) I hope they, and the show, and Schur, all win in their respective categories. This isn't quite on the level of the landmark comedies I most admire, but it's so much better than other TV shows - network or cable (admittedly, I don't see nearly as many shows as most folks do) - that I don't feel like knocking it for the few things I didn't care for or that underwhelmed me.
  3. I'll be watching an Image Journal-sponsored screening of Boys State tonight (along with a discussion with the directors). I also have, umm, Hustlers on DVD. It's due back to the library tomorrow. I was going to watch it tonight before the Boys State screening opportunity presented itself. Probably just as well.
  4. I look forward to Christian's commentary on The Good Place, which ended (intentionally) this past Spring after four seasons.
  5. Last week
  6. I've said it before, but I think - I think - that Three Colors trilogy is the crown jewel of my DVD/Blu-ray collection, although I wonder how much of that ranking is just my subjective response to the films themselves (and not so much the Criterion presentation, which is, to my eyes, exceptional - although again, that reaction may be colored by my deep love of Blue and Red). I'll be curious to hear if you have a similar reaction. In the Criterion trilogy department, I'll add that I used the final Saturday of the sale to buy the Antonioni "alienation" trilogy that so affected me when I watched the standard-def Criterion DVDs in the run-up to the 2020 A&F Top 100 vote. I've yet to watch the Blus, but am looking forward to doing so soon.
  7. Thanks, Beth! Sarah and I are wrapping up the final season of The Good Place (on DVD) tonight, so we'll be ready for another show. I'll sound her out about watching Rectify.
  8. Rectify is on Netflix. They offer a free 30-day trial, so if you can watch 4 seasons of Rectify in that time, you can cancel before the trial is up, if you find that acceptable? The seasons are 6/10/6/8 episodes.
  9. Andrew

    Embrace of the Serpent

    Well, this was upsetting to come across: https://www.indiewire.com/2020/06/ciro-guerra-denies-sexual-harassment-abuse-1234569554/ I suspect Guerra is on his way to cancel country, with what looks to be good reason. His Birds of Passage (2018) is almost as excellent as this film, and he's got another film dropping on streaming platforms tomorrow (Waiting for the Barbarians), which was at 50% on RT last I checked.
  10. I've gotten hugely into Strat-o-Matic, which is basically D&D for baseball nerds.
  11. My understanding from publisher is that the project is still a go, but things have slowed considerably due to COVID-19. They did recently sent me a form for people considering submitting a chapter. I've attached it here. Ken Spiritually Significant - Essays on the Arts & Faith Top 100 Films.docx
  12. It would really be interesting to see if a Girls State were as strongly pro-life, pro- gun as this group. Maybe in Texas, but in other places? I wander if the American Legion does anything to collate what happens every year. It would also be interesting to have a more than 2 party system. May 3 teams of 40, 35, and 25%.
  13. Up to ep. 4. I categorize as A Man With No Name in the SW universe. Even pretty much sounds like a young Eastwood.
  14. Earlier
  15. My sense of the Venice, TIFF, NYFF partnership is that they're essentially agreeing to drop (temporarily) their battles over premiere status. Not that it really matters this year. Everyone is just trying to keep people employed and their bills paid in hopes of returning to some new sense of normal in 2022. I suspect the fall festivals will function primarily this year as launch platforms for VOD releases. The festivals will take a small cut of that revenue, but whatever streaming they do will have to be locked down tight. I wonder if the virtual screenings will be like press screeners, with the user's name watermarked on the image? As an aside, I remember attending a public screening of Jia Zhangke's 24 City at TIFF a decade ago. It was in a small room and every seat was sold. I asked a friend, who was formerly a TIFF programmer, why they would put a Jia film on such a small screen. Her answer had never occurred to me before: "This film already has Canadian distribution, and Toronto is Canada's biggest market. Every ticket TIFF sells is one less future ticket sale for Films We Like." Now imagine how a virtual premiere will undercut the market value of a film! I have to imagine that the people behind the fall premieres are essentially writing off US box office -- as we're seeing with the shifting release strategy of films like Tenet. Their best hope is to get the films onto European and Asian screens for two or three weeks and then rent/sell the films online to as many people as possible. Actually, I guess their best hope is a deal with Netflix or Amazon. I have a lot of dear friends who earn their meager livings as filmmakers, publicists, programmers, critics, etc. I don't know how most of them are going to make rent for the next two years. EDIT: After looking at TIFF's lineup, I'm not sure how many of these have VOD launch potential? There are a lot of films by major directors ready for release, not to mention the acclaimed films that premiered at Sundance and Berlin. None of them are playing at TIFF. Looks like we won't be seeing any of them for quite a while. EDIT 2: Variety just published an interesting conversation with Oren Moverman.
  16. I've never attended the festival as press, but I talked a couple of times in my early years of attending with festival director Jody Kielbasa, who seemed interested in my feedback on the festival. There's a bus that goes around the campus and can get you to each venue, but that takes a good amount of coordination and planning to ensure you arrive to your screenings in time. In the past, I've parked near the downtown mall and have left my car there all day to avoid in-and-out parking fees, but last year I drove to different venues and discovered the parking garages nearby are free on the weekends. As for the selection, the festival really stepped it up last year. I think it's competing with Middleburg (also in Virginia) and therefore ended up booking several of the same big titles that festival had landed. Someone told me that had been the case for a few years, but I hadn't noticed.
  17. That's a good reminder. VFF credentialed me several years in a row back when I was writing for CT. I found their line up less attractive (little bit more retrospective and regional stuff with only 1 or 2 headliners), but if they are digital I might definitely apply. (Even pre-this election cycle, Charlottesville was not my favorite place to attend. It's a college town in a more rural out-of-the-way area which means hotels are overpriced (and run down from football weekends) and if you are not a student or personnel it isn't conducive to getting from one end of campus to the other for the alternate venues. That said, the downtown area is great and the press liason (if it's the same guy) was very responsive.
  18. Oh, that's something I hadn't considered, so maybe it's a silver lining that they're shutting out non-Canadian viewers. That softens the blow of this morning's news somewhat. I read and re-read those press announcements, too, but they were long on feel-good sentiment and short on specifics. Especially with Telluride flat-out cancelling, it seems this was nothing more than kumbaya vacuity. That's a great idea; I'll PM you about the nuts and bolts of this. If this doesn't pan out, I'll look into the Virginia options that Christian mentioned.
  19. Of the two Virginia-based festivals I've attended, the Virginia Film Festival, October 21-25, has said it'll be virtual this year. The Middleburg Film Festival, October 15-18, hasn't yet announced a change, but I'll be surprised if the event doesn't go all-digital.
  20. I thought all the major festivals were combining this year...aren't they in coordination with Telluride and NYFF? Anyhow, Andrew, time permitting, you could reach out to the Filmfest 919 people, their selection has been great the last two years, and I would suspect they are going to go digital this year if they hold it at all.
  21. I'll probably take in a film or two if the in-person festival ends up happening, but it'll be absolutely bizarre, to say the least. I have no interest in the online stuff. TIFF's website infrastructure is so bad that I have no trust in them handling a streaming service. CBC Gem and Crave (two Canadian-only streaming services) are bad enough when it comes to quality and buffering. I don't trust a cash-strapped organization like TIFF actually handling the online portion.
  22. Well, shit...this is the email that I received from TIFF this morning: "We have noted in The Weekly what is available only in Canada, but there will continue to be opportunities and programming which is not geo-blocked included as well. To confirm for you, limitations to our digital systems do mean that New releases and collections are not available to rent outside of Canada. However, we are looking to have special talks and panel events as part of year-round and Festival programming added to the platform, which would be accessible to you. We are also committed to making content available on our social channels when we can, including our weekly Stay-at-Home Cinema Q&As with special guests. Of course, we understand that both travel restrictions and system limitations mean that our International friends cannot enjoy a full TIFF experience. As an important part of our community, I want to assure you that we will do all we can to make sure you can still participate as much as possible as we look forward to re-opening our doors to you. Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for TIFF - it goes a long way toward making us such a thriving member of the international film community." Any recommendations for domestic festivals that will be digital this year?
  23. Where/How can I watch Rectify? I did some digging and it seems Netflix has it (I'm not a subscriber). Prime has it, but for a fee. I'd consider blind-buying a Blu-ray, but it looks as though there are no Region 1 Blus, at least not for all seasons? I don't have access to Kanopy. If I'm missing other opportunities, let me know.
  24. Good choices. Among Stravinsky's ballets, I'm only familiar with The Rite of Spring and The Firebird (granted, those are his most popular ballets). I should do a Nielsen symphony cycle. I've only listened to his symphonies in a somewhat haphazard fashion, and not in chronological order. Plus, it's been quite some time since I've listened to any of them. Thanks for the reminder about that podcast. I've just downloaded it and will try to listen to it tonight or tomorrow.
  25. That's a concern of mine as well. Darren, do you know if participation will be possible for those living outside of Canada?
  26. Probably not. With the academic semester being condensed due to COVID, it is harder to schedule a block of time to "get away." I'll always value my years at TIFF, but the rise of Filmfest 919 locally has made it easier for me to catch many of the films I would go to Toronto for in years past. I expect I'll go back some day, maybe when I'm retired, but I've found that aging takes its toll as well...it's harder than it was 12 years ago for travel and sleep limitations to not set me back. These days, I get a much better response approaching studios directly (or publicists) that I ever did from TIFF's press accreditation.
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