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  1. Yesterday
  2. SPOILERS S2 is also very good. I like Daniel's wife and the way she handles the potential Johnnie - Daniel showdown. I like how Miguel shows up with the Medal of Honor and the other kid doesn't slam the door in his face. It doesn't solve everything, but the show avoids the standard TV shortcuts of *always* having someone make the wrong decision or assume the wrong thing or get stopped by circumstance. I really liked, for instance, how the other Cobra Kai's from Johnnie's day tell him not to give Kreese a second chance. Even with Johnnie's redemption arc they present drama through trying to muddle through conflicting intentions rather than always and only being a choice between black and white. I've said elsewhere that I thought Zabka's look when Kreese says "sweep the leg" in Karate Kid is one of the greatest reaction shots of my movie-viewing life. He has another one here when Daniel announces that someone stole Miyagi's Medal of Honor. But mostly I dig how rather than just make this an inversion (ala Maleficient or Wicked) they make it about shades of grey. Johnnie's not *better* than Daniel, but he has the harder path. I'm reminded of Malcolm Gladwell's chapters about disadvantages in DAVID AND GOLIATH and how they sometimes become the very things that lead to our greatest strengths. I hope that is what happens here.
  3. Brian, I sent e-mail (and then redacted your e-mail address from message above.) Russ, you are welcome to send via A&F Messenger or e-mail. I can do either. P.S. I'm back from Ireland everyone.
  4. Russ

    Make Way for Tomorrow

    It's positively counter-cultural to contemporary Americans because Bark and Lucy put their own love story ahead of everything else. Or, rather, what comes natural to them is taking pleasure primarily in life out of their love for one another, with everything falling into subordinate place after their own love. That doesn't mean they neglected their kids or wouldn't have given their life for their kids, but means that the value they place on their own marriage is what contextualizes everything else. It's what allows them to let their shitty kids off the hook when they act in accordance with their myopia. Their love is so unadorned but genuine that is has a transformative effect on every stranger who comes into direct contact with it. Only their own kids are by and large immune to its power.
  5. Yeah, should the blurbs be sent to you by message, Ken, or to an email address?
  6. My laptop seems to struggle with being able to access the Arts and Faith messenger. I've managed to send messages intermittently, but not today. Ken, would you mind sharing your email address with me either here or by sending it to me at [...] I wanted to send you another message or two in relation to my blurbs. Thank you!
  7. Ranked #5 on the Growing Older list, it's about time Col. Blimp gets its own thread. As he promoted the film's inclusion on our list, Brian D. brought up two quotes that get to the heart of the movie and its power. I think they're a great way to start this thread, so I'll add them here. This glorious film is about the greatest mystery of all: how old people were once young, and how young people are in the process of becoming old. – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian Made in 1942 at the height of the Nazi threat to Great Britain, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's work is an uncommonly civilized film about war and soldiers--and rarer still, a film that defends the old against the young. – Roger Ebert
  8. BTW, since the OP for this topic has been deleted (I think it was an Alan Thomas thread), here’s a link to the press release from the Harvard School of Public Health, which contains a link to the Ratings Creep study. https://archive.sph.harvard.edu/press-releases/archives/2004-releases/press07132004.html
  9. Digging up an old thread. I’m not sure if SDG’s questions pertain to PG films released prior to the PG13 inclusion into the ratings system, but here’s a PG rated film that has not been rerated since it’s release, which may fit the bill. Last night I caught up with Warren Beatty’s 1981 film REDS for the first time since 1982. I really didn’t remember a lot about the film, so it was like seeing it for the first time. It’s a good film, with some great moments. I was very impressed with the lineup of “Witness” testimonials used throughout the film - actual interviews made by Beatty of people who knew both John Reed and Louise Bryant, which Beatty began filming as early as 1971. It was around the 20 minute mark, during one of these testimonials (I’m pretty sure it was novelist Henry Miller), that the first F-bomb gets released. Reed has impulsively asked Bryant to come away with him to New York, where she’s introduced to the artists/activists/radicals populating Greenwich Village, all of whom seem to be living a fairly bohemian lifestyle. It’s here that the Beatty cuts to Miller’s testimonial where Miller rather bluntly states, “There was a lot of f***ing going on, back then.” It kind of caught me off guard, because this was PG rated, and nowadays using that word in its actual context gets the film an automatic R rating. I figured maybe Beatty got away with it because he was using what could be described as documentary footage of a renowned author. But within 45 minutes Reed and Bryant have a heated argument where the f-word is used 3 or 4 more times, as a descriptor of the act, not used as a curse. Example - John Reed: Louise, I love you. Louise Bryant: No, you love yourself! Me, you F***! The argument goes on from there. The film contains nudity (a scene on the beach with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton), as well as a sex scene which was at least on par with a similar scene in the R rated THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR. CONDOR was a more violent film, however it feels less “adult”, for lack of a better term. If released today, CONDOR might get downgraded to a PG13. Perhaps Beatty’s clout at the time did factor into the ratings decision. Following his success with HEAVEN CAN WAIT, where Beatty became only the second person (Orson Welles being the first) to have been nominated for four Academy Awards (producer, director, screenwriter, actor), he may have received some leeway. Also, REDS was an expensive production ($35 million), and Hollywood was still rebounding from the colossal failure of 1980’s $40 million flop HEAVEN’S GATE. Perhaps an underlying reason for some ratings leniency was to see positive box office return. REDS did go on to make $40 million, not a great return, but far exceeding HEAVEN’S GATE, and not too shabby for a 3hr 15min film that favors the expression of controversial ideas, and is short on action. Beatty would also repeat the astounding feat of being nominated in the same four categories for REDS, as he was for his previous film. For this film he won Best Director.
  10. Last week
  11. #4 on Arts and Faith "Growing Older" list. As much as I normally prefer Ozu to almost any other director for films of everyday family realities, I am very happy that McCarrey's film ranked significantly higher than Tokyo Story, the Ozu movie it inspired. I don't say this because Make Way for Tomorrow is the "original." Matters of relationships and redefining parent-child relationships with age don't have any film or literary origins; stories this honest and simple have their origins in real life. Rather, I'm pleased about MWFT because of the emphasis on the marriage. When MWFT does emphasize the children, it's always on the adult decision, it's always on decisions related to the parents' care as they age. Tokyo Story is primarily about the adult children choosing their careers and their own families over spending time with their parents even though they know it's probably their last trip to Tokyo. While MWWFT's children are no nobler, it develops the ways the parents deal with the traumas of changing parent/child relationships as a couple. It's about how they try to age gracefully and grow older and wiser together even if they perceive their children as getting in the way of that.
  12. I have a hard time with Bergman too for the same reason. It's easy for me to recognize his masterful use of the film medium but extremely difficult to emotionally recover after watching such hopeless views of humanity. I only watched Wild Strawberries for the sake of this list and experienced nothing close to my usual Bergman-induced depression. Much like the professor in Madadaayo, Dr. Borg recognizes that with age comes the decision to either let himself fade away or to allow his professorial relationships to change in ways that continue to bring transformation. The aging process for him becomes a type of spiritual awakening where he recognizes the limitations of human knowledge and wants to encourage the younger people around him to seek wisdom more lasting in addition to the human knowledge that he continues to value. Even though the people who became surrogates for students in the story (his daughter-in-law and those they traveled with) didn't receive his attempts to impart wisdom very well, Dr. Borg's willingness to embody both an intellectual and spiritual knowledge keeps the movie centered in the possibility for better lives than these characters were currently experiencing. To call it optimistic would be wrong, but Wild Strawberries possesses enough hope to steer clear of the relentless pessimism we've grown accustomed to seeing from Bergman. It left me with the sense that Bergman must have believed people are capable of changing for the better and of encouraging the same transformation in others, but that he was merely reluctant to expect it as normative.
  13. Excellent review of the finale from Myles McNutt at the AVClub. Spoilers, obviously, but I think this quote is safe:
  14. Once you have (mysteriously, somehow) seen the finale, you may find that Cathleen Falsani and Fr. James Martin generally agree with you, based on their Twitter posts. Are there plotholes? Yes. Was I happy overall? Yes.
  15. Andrew

    A Quiet Passion

    I suspect the latest Emily Dickinson biopic will engender a similar love/hate response: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/05/wild-nights-with-emily-dickinson-comedy-with-earnest-intent/
  16. Popping by A&F to say that I'm publishing reviews from Cannes at both Fuller Studio and Cinemayward for those who are interested. Here's my review. It was striking, both visually and thematically. The word "haunting" gets used a lot in film criticism, but it feels so appropriate for this film.
  17. kenmorefield

    Gertrud (1964)

    #13 on A&F Top 25 List of Spiritually Significant Films about Growing Old(er) Well, we see how long this resolution lasts, but I was hoping to write about some of the Top 25 over at 1More Film Blog. Here are my thoughts on Gertrud, which I was reminded did not have a dedicated A&F thread yet.
  18. Ironically, I was discussing World Cinema with a guy at conference this weekend, and this pervasive pessimism was my central knock on why I've always had a hard time warming up to Bergman. Maybe it's time for me to revisit WS. Also, I think it is interesting how many professors were on our Growing Older nominations. (Although we didn't nominate Stalker, my conversant reminded me that one of the characters in Stalker was "The Professor." This profession is an easy symbolic shorthand for intellectual knowledge, so it probably shouldn't be surprising that our Growing Older list looks at the limits of human knowledge and its contrast with some sort of experiential or spiritual insight through the use of characters who embody one or the other.
  19. The most striking thing for me about Wild Strawberries is that hope that MattPage mentioned in his review that doesn't exist in most of Bergman's work. The aging process for the professor provides a means for him to come to terms with past failures, rectify past wrongs where possible and share his wisdom with those around him through hope. All the characters seem to exist on autopilot like the professor did most of his life, but as he learns to live, he gives an opportunity for those around him—especially the younger people around him—to do the same. His presence in their lives challenges them to embrace hope and to not wait until they're old to truly live.
  20. So I finally saw "The Bells" (can't say how). I understand why those who were disappointed were, but it seemed the logical (if rushed) end of many of the character arcs. I get that we all love and want a good redemption story and are, hence, saddened by Jaime or Dany, but Arya's turn away from vengeance to survival (juxtaposed against another little girl in King's Landing who is having an Arya moment) kinda got swept under the rug in chatter, no? (Or is it just that I'm limited in the chatter I hear?) Also, I don't think enough/much at all has been made of Melesandre's comment in S8 that the Lord of Light follower kept getting resurrected because he had not yet fulfilled his purpose (to save Arya so that she could kill the Night King). I know some people may howl when I say this, but that's a very Gandalf thing to say, and it broadens the questions of religion/cosmology within the series overall as well as forcing us (or me) anyway to re-examine Melesandraes character in light of Jon Snow's (and the series') "this is the only war that matters" mantra. I will be immensely surprised (but also immensely pleased) if the series returns to this claim in the finale in reference to Jon Snow's resurrection. The series has been indifferent on this point, maybe, but "The Bells"certainly seems to be breaking in the direction of a central division between those who fight for self or self or personal reasons (Circe, Jaime, Sandor, Tywin, Joffrey, CatelynLittlefinger, Bron, Renly, Stannis, Euron, hell, even Drago) and those who fight for some sort of perception of the broader good (Jon, Varys--lately, though not completely, I think, Tyrion, lately, Hodor, Jorah--eventually, Brienne, Eddard). This doesn't bode well for Sansa or Dany in the finale, but I'm dubious that the series would conclude in or with some sort of implied moral framework that implies that, you know, the arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. It's been a little too inconsistent in that regard. I could, perhaps, even be argued that I'm projecting my own value system onto the character's actions rather than reading the show's presentation of them in it.)
  21. It's been more or less a thing from the beginning according to a recent essay on problems with GoT's representation of race and medieval history/culture from The Public Medievalist. The author has written a book on the series and is a fan, yet argues that it is Good point.
  22. Earlier
  23. Ed Bertram

    Late Spring

    Having placed Late Spring on our Top 25 Films about Growing Older list, this quote from the original post on this thread ties in wonderfully to the film's high ranking. The father and daughter are both growing older and doing so together. Their relationship is one of the sweetest yet most honest I've ever seen in the movies. Despite their extreme closeness, each has a different vision for how he/she wants growing older to look like and how he/she wants the other to grow older. The father's is traditional, going to great lengths to ensure his daughter is married even though that will mean great sorrow to him. The daughter's is modern, not seeming to care about marriage but preferring to continue on the same path she and her father have always been on. When the traditional way wins out, it's neither a praise nor a condemnation for either the traditional or the modern. It's simply the way things work out and the means through which the two not only grow older but also wiser and more compassionate. Their ultimate decisions are not based on what's traditional or modern but on what they genuinely believe is best for the other.
  24. It was hard to watch, and painful as this character's descent has been, I found it psychologically convincing: bloodlust in response to the killing of your buddies is as timeless as the Iliad, on top of a genetic predisposition to madness, and a moral conviction that one cannot do wrong in grasping what is rightfully yours. Heartbreaking, but plausible.
  25. I just learned of the existence of a ten-episode podcast about Gore Vidal. The first episode, “Gore and the Gay Novel” is disappointingly shallow, but the episode on the Vidal-Buckley debates is a good supplement to the movie. The podcast is called Vidalotry. Here’s the first episode.
  26. The Gore Vidal podcast Vidalotry episode on these debates is quite good and provides some context the documentary leaves out, such as the fact that Buckley was apparently in quite a bit of physical pain during the Chicago debates—a fact that doesn’t excuse his outburst but does help to contextualize it.
  27. RED JOAN GENRE: Biopic/WWII spy drama Director: Trevor Nunn Starring: Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Treza Srbova, Ted Hughes, Stephen Campbell Moore Rating: Rated R for brief sexuality/nudity Women are the spies in Red Joan, an engrossing WWII British tale that proves a country’s worst deeds can be accomplished by its meekest members. Fictionalized (from a novel) and dramatized (by the filmmakers), it’s based on the true story of Melita Norwood (1912-2005), who Stalin considered his most important spy in Britain. Helmed by legendary Royal Shakespeare company stage director Trevor Nunn, telling details impel the story—mink coats, Spanish Civil War rallies, B&W newsreels, claustrophobic bunkers, blackboards covered with scientific equations that will change the world. Red Joan is not action-packed, but rich in compelling performances, fantastic vintage costumes and “dark fairytale” music that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Like a provocateur, the film also raises essential questions about the nature of heroism, but won't answer them. The film story: In 2000, one day after a knighted Foreign Office official dies and the press uncovers his tawdry secrets, MI-5 investigators arrest widow Joan Stanley (85-year old Judi Dench, glorious in her frumpy hair and deep wrinkles) for 27 breaches against the Official Secrets Act. Ridiculous, her outraged lawyer son protests. (Ah, yet another child who doesn’t really know his mother.) But soon the mind-boggling truth comes out. In flashbacks, the “Granny Spy” remembers… It’s 1938 in England, in the terrifying years of WWII and shifting international alignments. Great Britain, Canada, Russia and Germany are competing to develop the nuclear bomb, and to prevent the U.S. from claiming that dubious honor. Though Russia is now fighting Nazi Germany, the Brits refuse to share research with their new ally. Into this political chaos comes a brilliant, idealistic physics graduate student (played by the marvelous Sophie Cookson.) Joan becomes an assistant in the top secret Tube Alloy project, headed by patriotic genius Max Davis (Stephen Campbell Moore). In wonderfully historic and sometimes sexy scenes, Joan falls under the hypnotic glamour of Russian/German refugees Sonya (Treza Srbova) and her dashing cousin Leo (Ted Hughes), who makes Joan his “beloved comrade.” In the often hilarious sexist behavior of the times, no one pays Joan much attention—thus allowing her to act with impunity. Horrified that the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Japan – two times—without warning, Joan becomes convinced that the nuclear playing field should be leveled so that no one government will ever again have the sole power to kill so many people. For almost 35 years, the KGB knows her as "Agent Hola." Was she a high-minded ultra-civilized humanitarian, working to prevent another nightmare war--yet blind to the truth of Stalinism? Or a narrow-minded traitor? Or both? As a classic example of someone who thinks they are doing good, even if it’s criminal, Joan’s actions reverberate to today. Is she any different from conscientious objectors? Or an information dumper like Julian Assange? Or Trump administration leakers? Where is the line between good and evil in these world-wide and speed-of-light conundrums? Too bad Agent Hola and her successors never learned Dorothy Day's advice: "The greatest challenge of the day is: How to bring about a revolution of the heart,, a reovolution which has to start with each one of us? Marcianne Miller has reviewed films in Los Angeles and Asheville. She is a member of SEFCA and NCFCA.
  28. Episode 5 proved even more polarizing than episode 4. Speaking of controversial character treatment in G.R.R.M. series, back in the 80s, he killed off the female lead of Beauty and the Beast in s2, and fans were outraged. She was "replaced" in season three by an equally if not more interesting female character, but fans never accepted her. I knew nothing about this at the time, because I wasn't on the internet. Henry Jenkins writes about it in Textual Poachers. Also, this Twitter thread on writing the series is pretty good (no spoilers).
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