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  1. Today
  2. Here is the 2019 jury so far, listed in alphabetical order by first name: Anders Bergstrom (3 Brothers Film) Brett McCracken (The Gospel Coalition) Evan Cogswell (Catholic Cinephile) Gareth Higgins (The Porch) Joel Mayward (Cinemayward / Think Christian) Josh Larsen (Filmspotting / Think Christian) Ken Morefield (1More Film Blog) Kevin Sampson (Picture Lock) Melissa Tamminga (Seattle Screen Scene) Noel T. Manning (Cinemascene) Peter Chattaway (FilmChat) Sarah Welch-Larson (Think Christian / BW/DR / Freelance) Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films / National Catholic Register) I'm still awaiting responses from a few people, so this isn't finalized until next week when we start officially nominating films. If there are any other Christian film critics you think would be interested in participating, please email or DM me their name and contact info. And please let me know if your "handle" or website I've listed above is accurate. Looking forward to the end-of-year film conversation with this group of critics!
  3. Thats awesome! Thanks to those who contributed.
  4. Yesterday
  5. Andrew

    Parasite (2019)

    No, I haven't. After hating Snowpiercer and The Host, I wrongly wrote the director off. I'll definitely check this earlier work out.
  6. Just by way of transparency, I'd like to report that I received $180 in donations during last month's window when the donation sidebar was open. Thank you to those who contributed.
  7. Anders

    Parasite (2019)

    I thought Okja was a failure and Snowpiercer was a step down from The Host, but Memories of Murder is a masterpiece and among the best films of the new millennium. Have you seen it? Parasite is Bong back at his best. Like Joel and Andrew, I even though of Jordan Peele (Get Out in particular) in my initial reactions, but Bong ultimately doesn't capitulate to genre convention (not a knock on Peele, just an observation). Parasite is shocking, funny, and convicting. Unlike a lot of "class war" films though, I think Parasite has sympathy even for the tech bro's family. Among the best 2-3 films I've seen all year. Maybe my number 1 right now.
  8. Hello! Glad I found this site! Whether or not it was the witch that saved the world (or if the world was even saved) I'm not sure. All I know is that it's pretty clear to me that Alexander either woke from a bad dream that drove him to make the right choice or he woke after sleeping with the witch, repented and made the Sacrifice he promised to God. Part of me thinks it's a little of both.
  9. Last week
  10. Noel, we'll wait until November 25 to officially begin the nominating process, so keep these in mind for your "official" nominations.
  11. Thanks to everyone who has replied so far! I'm still waiting on a few key people to respond.
  12. Absolutely. In my review, I described Parasite as "the premise and empathy of Hirokazu Koreeda’s Shoplifters, but with the genre-defying tone and brash ambition of Jordan Peele’s Us." And the more I've thought about it, the more Parasite parallels the latter rather than the former. I've been put off a bit by Bong Joon-Ho's previous films due to their heavy-handed allegorical approaches, but something about Parasite really worked for me, which was exciting—even as I was watching it, I recognized that this sort of filmmaking was different and fresh, but not inaccessible.
  13. Andrew

    Parasite (2019)

    Huh, I found it quite interesting and effective. My only ding against it (a big one) was in the acting department, where things felt stilted and artificial, especially in the first 30 min or so. But stylistically, I thought the transition from giddy scam thriller to dark horror thriller worked very well, with the music's transition from airy Classical to emotive, tragic Romantic mirroring this nicely. And I thought the final 45 min were essential in hammering home the point of the super-rich's indifference to the plight of the poor, and the way in which the poor channel their class resentment into intramural fighting. Still haven't had a chance to see Jojo Rabbit, alas, but this film made me think of Jordan Peele's last two films as a strong point of comparison. My full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/11/parasite-social-commentary-that-bites-in-a-brilliant-genre-mashup/
  14. This is really quite comprehensive and helpful, Peter. Akin to a biblical commentary, but for a Bible film.
  15. FWIW, my scene-by-scene guide to the film (with clips and scriptural references): https://www.patheos.com/blogs/filmchat/2019/05/mary-magdalene-a-scene-guide-with-clips-and-scriptural-references.html
  16. Wasn't a fan of this. I am sympathetic to vjmorton's dismissal of the film for failing to pick a lane and stay in it. I made a point of watching all of Waititi's previous films before seeing this -- the only one I had already seen was Thor: Ragnarok (aka "Lego Thor"), which I really didn't like either of the times that I saw it -- and I was particularly charmed by Eagle vs Shark and amused by What We Do in the Shadows, while appreciating the boy-needs-a-father(-figure) storylines of Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Jojo Rabbit obviously has some of that absentee-dad stuff going on, but, ugh, it's way over on the Thor: Ragnarok end of the spectrum -- which is not a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. Edited to add: In the controversy over Martin Scorsese's recent comments about Marvel movies and how they lack "genuine emotional danger", someone on Twitter seriously replied that Scorsese should see Thor: Ragnarok -- a film that goes further than just about any other Marvel movie in undercutting the seriousness of every scene with tone-shifting "humour". Jojo Rabbit has that same glib aesthetic (as I said on Twitter, if you liked Thor: Ragnarok's glib approach to the apocalypse, you'll *love* Jojo Rabbit's glib approach to the Holocaust). This is a movie for the sort of people who think shouting "Fuck you, Hitler!" is deep or something. And yes, I know there's no point in complaining about the lack of "accuracy" in a movie like this, but the real Hitler was an anti-smoking vegetarian, and I have a hard time believing that any child raised in Hitler's Germany would imagine him chowing down on a unicorn or constantly offering a kid cigarettes. (Hitler had racist reasons for hating smoking -- something to do with his attitude towards Native Americans -- but reportedly his vegetarianism was motivated by his distaste for cruelty towards animals, which is of course weird in light of his cruelty towards humans, but those are the sorts of paradoxes that make us what we are.)
  17. Don't we see a poster for Spotlight on the wall in one scene? Or am I thinking of another film I saw recently? I hate to say that this was one of those films that began to burn me out on the festival-going experience this year. It's *very* talky, which means my eyes were constantly bouncing around the bottom of the screen, reading the subtitles, instead of taking in the visuals. And the film is not only long-ish (about 2.5 hours, right?), but it's structurally challenging too, inasmuch as there's one main character for the first hour or so and then suddenly the movie revolves around a completely different character and then another character. (I found myself thinking about some of the Frederick Forsyth novels I used to read as a kid, of all things.) Anyway, yes, I do agree that the film is thoughtful and that it goes out of its way to include the perspectives of those who remain *within* the Catholic church even as they criticize its handling of this issue. And maybe it would play for me better outside of a festival binge-watch.
  18. Hello. Welcome to Arts & Faith. Glad you added your comments. It's been a few years since I've watched the film, but I remember thinking more-or-less as you outline it above. That the visit to the witch was an act of despair that ironically "saves" the world while losing himself. But, as I say, I've not seen the film in a while.
  19. I just watched The Sacrifice for the first time last night. Being a Christian who is losing all of my old favorite things left and right, discovering Tarkovsky was truly a God send. Art house cinema has always been my favorite, but rarely something that aligns with my faith and love of Jesus Christ. I see a lot of confusion about the scene in which Alexander goes to sleep with the witch. It seemed pretty clear to me by the dialogue about his mother's garden and sister's hair, what is happening in the scene and that it's not portrayed as a good thing. It's him choosing to take matters into his own hands, chosing to save his life while keeping the world vs God saving his life by giving up the world. It's not being shown as a positive alternative in any way. Because he took matters into his own hands, his mother's garden's beauty was ruined. Because his sister went the route of the world, she ruined her gorgeous natural hair. And by choosing to go to a witch for help instead of following through on his good faith, he is choosing an unnatural, ugly way out of fear. Then he seems to wake up from it as if it were a dream. He then repeats the same day, now he is awake and he chooses the way of faith instead of fear. Choosing to give up the world for his salvation. Choosing to give up comfort for faith.
  20. Here are a few suggestions for 2019 to get the thread going: Ad Astra Blinded by the Light How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Parasite The Peanut Butter Falcon Toy Story 4 Yesterday
  21. I look forward to participating and thumb wrestling Evan over the relative merits of Parasite and Jojo Rabbit.
  22. Okay, I've sent out an email to those who participated last year, and created a nominations thread. Nominations will officially begin November 25. This allows for some time for the jury to be finalized. If you are an A&F member and a film critic and would like to participate in this ecumenical jury, please indicate this in the forum thread, or email/message me directly.
  23. Welcome to the 2019 Arts and Faith Ecumenical Jury thread! Here's the vision for our jury and the films we nominate each year, written by Ken Morefield a few years ago: Here’s our timeline for this process: Nominations open on Monday, November 25. To nominate a film, simply post the film title in the nomination forum thread or email it directly to me (jmayward@gmail.com). All nominated films must receive a "second" vote from another jury member in order to appear on the voting ballot, which can happen either by posting “seconded” in the forum or via email, or a jury member nominating the same film. Non-jurors can also recommend films for nomination in this thread, but they must be seconded by two jury members. I will keep a tally of all the nominated and seconded films within this thread, updating it regularly as we go. You can use this same thread to discuss, advocate, question, process, or to direct folks to links to other threads or conversations about the nominated films. I'd encourage you to give your reasons behind nominating or seconding a film, especially during this nomination process—encourage us to check out great films we may not have seen yet! Qualifying films: a North American first-time theatrical, DVD/Blu-ray, streaming, or festival release in the 2019 calendar year. Regarding questions of release dates (e.g. Young Ahmed premiered in 2019 in festivals like VIFF and NYFF, but will get a wider release in the US in 2020) and what constitutes a “film” (e.g. limited series like Unbelievable on Netflix), I put full trust in the jury’s viewing and voting practices, and in the conversation we will have within the forum. If you think a film is a 2019 film and worth our consideration, make your case in the forum thread! Nominations will close at 11:59pm (PST) on Tuesday, December 31. This is fairly late in the year for end-of-year film lists, but it follows our pattern from previous years. On January 1, I'll email jury members a link for a survey with all the nominated films that they can rank 1-5 (strongly disagree-strongly agree that the film should be on our jury's top 10 list). You are to vote only for films you have seen--if you haven't seen a film, simply leave that ballot blank or unranked. Again, how you rank/rate a film is entirely up to your discretion and judgment; I trust in the process. Per our practice in previous years, a film is eligible if it's been viewed by at least 50% of the jury. This is so a film with high scores seen by a minority of jurors doesn't have an undue advantage (i.e. a film with only three “5” votes in total would have a higher average score than a film with ten “5” votes and one “4” vote, but the latter film would be a better reflection of the jury's collective opinion and film-viewing experience). If there are not ten eligible films that score “4” or higher on average, the foreperson (that's me!) reserves the right to look at film(s) that averaged over 4 but had less eligible voters. Voting closes at 11:59pm (PST) Wednesday, January 8. This gives a week for jury members to vote on the nominated films. After the totals have been added up using some math wizardry, I'll send out an email with the results. Then I’ll send you an optional second ballot with the ten finalists asking folks to rank them. This had a big impact on where certain films ranked in the final top 10 last year, so indicate on your first ballot if you'd like to receive this optional second ballot. If you choose not to ask for the second ballot, I'll base your rankings on your scores for this first ballot, giving equal weight to all films receiving the same designation/score. Finally, I'll solicit "blurbs" for the final list, as well as your Honorable Mention, a film which did not end up on the top 10 list, but you would like to see recognized. I appreciate the various Honorable Mentions, as it’s always very diverse and interesting.
  24. Brian D

    HIgh Life (2018)

    I just watched this for the first time. Don't know what to say yet, especially given the complexity of the interlocking pieces of that puzzle. But this much I can say: For most of the run time, I was gritting my teeth and preparing to cover my eyes from pure fear of the despair and horror that was surely to come...and fear of that ominous score on this ominous ship. And yes, there were times that I almost crawled into a shell because of the brutality and cruelty in the film (I think I did crawl into that shell during the scene with Binoche in the box, but for different reasons...I just can't justify that particular level of provocation in this film.) Then came the final act, after which my attention was so captured that my eyes watched every mysterious star-gleam of the final credits. Then came the next day, when this film exerted such a magnetism on my mind that I ran to Darren's article (great work, Darren) above and to Josh Larsen's review...and the magnetic pull just got stronger. I think there is something here...
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