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  2. Marjorie Prime

    One of my faves of the year so far. Maybe my top.
  3. Movie Calendar

    Chappaquiddick - July 18, 1969. Title card at the beginning. about 0:45 Teddy reads aloud his statement that includes the date. Toward the end Teddy's TV announcement that includes the date. There are various newspapers with events of the Apollo mission that is taking place and TV coverage, but the dates are pretty hard to see
  4. Today
  5. The Lost City of Z (2016)

    Now streaming on Amazon Prime. Fascinating film. That final act, with father and son as co-explorers, is just a powerful piece of filmmaking. Peter mentions the color grading--it is a consistent washed out sepia tone through the entire film. Its effect is not unlike an instagram filter to create an "aged photo" feel. At times, it is distracting, particularly on the river sequences. It does communicate "heat" rather effectively, and perhaps tonally that one's perspectives always color the information one takes in. I found myself wishing for a bit more building of relationships between characters, but that final act, once son has grown up to idealize and inspire his father, hits me in the gut.
  6. Marjorie Prime

    It is relevant to your interests, for sure! The sci-fi elements are fairly muted, but imagine a Resnais chamber drama with a light touch of Philip K. Dick and a few crisp visual interludes.
  7. Star Wars: Han Solo origin story spin-off

    I don't know. I figure it's exactly the kind of thing Lord/Miller would have thought was clever, funny, etc. (While I like the Jump Street films and The Lego Movie just fine, I think they're kind of overrated). I actually don't mind it. And all the behind the scenes stuff that Howard has been showing on Instagram through the Star Wars Official account looks like it feels right to me. Count me as still curious.
  8. Marjorie Prime

    I really dug his last film, Experimenter, about Stanley Milgrim. The only other one I've seen is his 2000 adaptation of Hamlet with Ethan Hawke. I'll be sure to check this out, as it sounds right up my alley.
  9. Marjorie Prime

    This latest from Almereyda is now on a few streaming services for your viewing pleasure. And it is a pleasure. I think I am the resident Almereyda fan at A&F, but Marjorie Prime is well worth a visit for those interested in cinema about marriage, memory, and a little sci-fi. I have really been enjoying Almereyda's recent evolution, as his films are a bit of a grab bag of the habits of some of my favorite directors. There is a lot of Resnais and Godard in this one. There are some beautiful avant garde shots scattered in between the obvious scene breaks imposed on the film by its script (it began as a play). The performances here are really captivating, especially Geena Davis - who apparently is a wonderful dramatic actor. Almereyda is definitely onto something in his recent cinema.
  10. Blade Runner 2

    Also: 1. The original is still superior on a visual level. 2. Anyone comparing this to Stalker is really, really reaching.
  11. Blade Runner 2

    Yeah, I didn't like it. I mean, I wanted to like it, and it was really very impressive in many ways, and there were 2-3 really excellent scenes, and a lot of potentially interesting ideas, but ultimately it just doesn't add up to anything particularly coherent or meaningful. And it takes forever to get there. The original is a slow movie, but that works to its benefit because the mood is so impeccable you can just slip right into it and float. The neon blinking and Vangelis's all-time great score carry you along. This one just dragged every scene out with the assumption that they would be better if they had more room to breathe or something, but without adding atmosphere or advancing the plot or ideas. There's a dozen different things I could complain about here (from the murkiness of the dramatic throughline to the incoherence of the nature of replicants to the massive potholes to the set design mostly borrowed from a dozen other movies and video games), but I'll just mention two: Everything about Jared Leto's character is awful, from the writing to the design to the acting, and the scene where he murders the naked woman is sickening to no apparent purpose. He is a cartoonish exaggeration of Tyrell from the first film, transformed from an old-school industrialist into a tech billionaire who (of course) takes sadistic pleasure in torturing with his own hands. Outside of maybe Bond Villains, this trope needs to die. Second, I found the sex scene disquieting. While it is visually one of the most striking scenes in the movie (primarily from a SFX standpoint rather than old fashioned cinematography), it is also clearly a rip-off of a similar scene in Her. But where that scene turns into a disaster of awkwardness that emphasizes how wrong this whole concept of surrogate sexual partner is, this scene seems to want us to find it beautiful and erotic and even romantic. Considering this is about a man (sort of) having sex with a prostitute while imagining she is his computer hologram girlfriend who probably doesn't qualify as an actual person anyway, I find that hard to do. It seems to reject the whole concept of body & soul humans uniting in a procreative act of carnal love that is so central to a proper understanding of sex. But anyway. I guess what I'm most disappointed in is the lack of that old Blade Runner poetry. Everything here was so literal--or else clumsily unexplained. The constant pull toward abstraction of the original is abandoned--as is the genuinely strange and primal behavior of Roy Batty and his pals. Nothing here takes tonal risks like that, and nothing here moves me the way that film does.
  12. Star Wars: Han Solo origin story spin-off

    My first thought was this is an absolute, perfectly bland title for a Ron Howard film. Then I got to wondering if Lord/Miller had a different title in mind.
  13. Yesterday
  14. Star Wars: Han Solo origin story spin-off

    I'm going to guess they held that title back not because they thought it was worth waiting for, but out of shame that they couldn't think of anything better.
  15. The Star (was: The Lamb)

    There are videos! The teaser trailer, the official trailer and A Great Big World's 'Life Is Good', and Fifth Harmony's 'Can You See'.
  16. Star Wars: Han Solo origin story spin-off

    The official title, per Ron Howard's tweet: "Solo: A Star Wars Story"
  17. 2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury

    I'm interested, but this has been a very "off" year for me (we have a whole other thread about that somewhere), and I haven't seen anywhere close to the number of films that I normally see in a year. Heck, I think I saw only five films at VIFF this year (distracted as I was by family stuff, medical appointments and whatnot). So I'm not sure to what degree I'd "qualify".
  18. Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

    Let's go with High and Low. I was able to watch the first 30 minutes last week, enough to see that it's a great film for discussion. Also, enough to be able to say, "Kurosawa made a film like this?" The man had range. I'll try to start a thread soon.
  19. Game of Thrones

    Roy Dotrice (Hallyne the Pyromancer) has died. He also narrated the ASoIaF audiobooks. Really, given his career on stage (emphasized in the linked obituary), screen, and TV, I could have posted this anywhere. The role I first remember him in, though, is not mentioned here: "Father" in George R.R.Martin's 1980s fantasy series Beauty and the Beast. The series had a significant fandom (Henry Jenkins used it for a case study in his study of fan culture, Textual Poachers), and now seems quite weird, but it was a hit at the time. Here's a clip:
  20. 2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury

    Sorry if my earlier post gave the impression I might not participate. I plan to be part of the jury again, but at the rather minimal level of commitment (compared with other jury members who write summaries, etc.) I've taken on the past couple of years. I was just suggesting that my failure to do more than watch films and vote might be frowned upon, and if so, it would probably be best to know that now so as to not disappoint the other jury members when it comes time to write up the results.
  21. 2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury

    Christian, I hope you will participate, though I understand burn out on multiple levels. I am biased in that I know I created this jury initially to replace the Critics Choice poll at CT. I'm fine with it becoming an A&F thing, but that does tend to flirt with groupthink. I think to be truly "ecumenical" in spirit and practice, means balancing voices. I'll also cop to caring (though not overly so) about the professional/amateur distinction, and I think it would certainly look odd if one of the professional critics who has been affiliated with A&F (in varying degrees) did not participate. Joel, I'd be happy to hand over the reins if you feel comfortable taking them on...since I'm still around, I'll be available for questions or help if you need it. Regarding the jury membership, I'm pretty sure Noel would do it again, and I suspect Gareth would too, though I'm less certain. Jeffrey, Steven, and Peter can all speak for themselves. Jessica was added last year in part to address Image's concern of an all-male jury. That might make it worthwhile to reach out to Alissa again, though I'd be surprised if she said yes. Maybe Laura Kenna? Colin Stacy did it two years ago and then dropped out last year (I think he had a kid?) Not sure if he would be interested or is still writing, but he did a lot of work in tracking down screeners and approaching publicists. There's probably no logistical reason to cap the jury, though I confess my personal preference is smaller rather than larger because my experience with Critics Associations is that as they get bigger they tend to get reduced to common denominators and all look alike. The two real selling points for me of this jury is the faith component and the fact that its at least possible to try to discuss/persuade/discover rather than just adjudicating between the same five movies everyone else is voting on.
  22. Yikes. Sorry to hear that. I hope not! I still would really like to see the results, and see this list published like previous A&F Top 25s. We heard that things were busy at IMAGE, but it's been 4 months since voting initially ended, and the initial estimate for turnaround was that it would take less than a week. (I do remember it was reopened so a few more people could vote.) Who could be contacted? Does anyone know who has the actual voting results? Paul??? Could someone volunteer to get a hold of the voting data and the formula used to calculate the results and just do it that way?
  23. 2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury

    I want to recognize that Ken has been in this role for the past few years and it's gone smoothly (even with Silence dates), so thanks to Ken for keeping this thing going. I would gladly take up the baton if Ken would want/need a break--in writing up the introductory piece and collecting people's Honorable Mentions and blurbs, I found myself in a bit more of an administrative role last year corresponding with Greg Wolfe, and I enjoyed it enough. But I will also defer if someone else is more keen or available to do this. And I think it'd be beneficial to have another voice write the opening paragraph. Here's the list of the jury members from last year, as well as the website/handle for each person (I've put in bold those who have responded here in the forum for this next year): Anders Bergstrom (3 Brothers Film) Peter T. Chattaway (FilmChat) Evan Cogswell (Catholic Cinephile) Jessica Gibson (Freelance/Christ & Pop Culture) Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films) Christian Hamaker (Crosswalk) Josh Hamm (Cut Print Film) Gareth Higgins (The Porch Magazine/Movies and Meaning) M. Leary (Filmwell) Noel T. Manning II (Cinemascene) Joel Mayward (Cinemayward) Kenneth R. Morefield (1More Film Blog) Jeffrey Overstreet (Christianity Today) Is there anyone else we could imagine inviting, or has participated in previous iterations of the jury? I think of Alissa Wilkinson, Wade Bearden, and Elijah Davidson. I'm not sure about a "cap" but an ideal number seems to be 12-15, as it allows for a wide diversity of nominated and viewed films and fosters discussion without turning it into something unmanageable.
  24. Last week
  25. 2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury

    I am not an active poster here any longer and haven't been for some time, but I still read new posts every day and would count myself a "participant" in that sense. I haven't written anything for the jury since the first year I participated, which may have been the jury's inaugural year (I can't remember). I don't know if that's made me more of a burden than an asset to the jury, but skills aside (others are better writers than I am, and I figure we want the best public presentation of our list that we can get), I always agree to participate in a moment of pre-screener-season enthusiasm, only to find myself tapped out by the time we get to our vote. By then, as a voting member of a regional critics group, I've watched as many award-season releases as I can, either at the theater or on DVD/stream, and have read more year-end Best Films lists than I can count (and contributed my own, usually). The A&F jury comes at the tail end of that process, by which time I'm pretty weary of the awards conversation - but also eager to take part in highlighting certain films here that for certain reasons don't always apply to other lists. I do like that our list lands after all the other lists have landed. I just don't have much to give beyond seeing as many movies from the year that I can and being as informed a voter as I can be.
  26. 2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury

    I've exchanged messages with Greg and he says he is open to sponsoring jury again provided it doesn't create too much work for staff which has turned over a bit at IMAGE. I don't see why it should. He also expressed a request that whatever our voting dates this be ready to be printed at web site Since that is March 4, 2018, we are talking about early February. So as long as we finish voting by the first week in January or so, we could have a week or two to write blurbs. In order of importance, I'd see the next steps as: 1) Deciding on a jury foreman/point-person. 2) Finalizing the jury. (Do we automatically renew same jury from year before? Invite new people? If new, do we simply expand or do we cap number of participants? Are we okay with jury members who aren't active members of A&F or is this/should this be more limited since it is now officially and A&F labeled project? 3) Finalizing dates to close nominations and to close voting? 4) Creating a nominations and/or discussion page. Of the seven of us who have so far responded -- does anyone actively want to be foreperson? I've done it before, but I'm certainly open to giving someone else an opportunity. Also, last year Joel did the introductory write-up, so that's not a given that the foreperson has to do that. But there should be one person that is a correspondence person and who creates and tabulates the ballots, etc. and who has decision making power if some unforeseen circumstance (like with Silence) arises. On a side note, I wonder if anyone is interested in writing a one-paragraph description of the jury and/or its function? Last few years we've had a broad mission statement -- to expand or challenge what it means to recommend a film specifically to/for Christians. But perhaps it might be better (going into year four) to have something a "bit* more descriptive about who we are and what we are doing? Or maybe not...?
  27. Having broken my arm badly and been unable to type for three months I've been absent from this forum, so actually expected the Top 25 to have been signed, sealed and delivered. Have we given up on this?
  28. Movie Calendar

    Inferno (1980) April 30th - Date on a letter from Rose to her brother Mark. This date becomes something of an unintentional joke (I think). The letter is shown being written and dated late at night on April 30th in New York. The recipient receives the letter in Rome. The postmark on the envelope is April 30th. Events take place later that night in Rome, and then switch to events taking place that same night in New York. We are told this via a title card that says "LATER THAT SAME APRIL NIGHT, IN NEW YORK". Either April has been given a few extra days in this film (I would think by this time it must be April 35th) or the director just didn't care.
  29. Maurice Pialat retrospective

    MUBI UK is doing a Maurice Pialat retrospective, and as he's one of the filmmakers featured on this list of the Dardennes recommended films to watch, I watched Under the Sun of Satan. It's a hard film for me to judge, but the Bernanos sensibilities come through, and it's certainly a film worth viewing and contemplating. Did I enjoy it? Not really. But I'm still thinking about it. I'm going to watch Police next.
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