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About kenmorefield

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  • Interests
    Disc Golf, Cards (especially Euchre), Literary Criticism,

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  • Occupation
    Associate Professor of English
  • About my avatar
    Faith and Spirituality in Masters of World Cinema Book Jacket
  • Favorite creative writing
    * George MacDonald * Lord of the Rings (but not the dreadful movies) * Riddley Walker * Wicked * Dune * Emma (anything Austen, really) * The Remains of the Day * Nero Wolfe * Billy Budd Tom Jones (but not the dreadful movie). D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • Favorite visual art
    http://cynthiamorefield.comArtemisia Gentileschi

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  1. I guested on the InSession podcast, where we discussed Alien: Covenant and (around the 85 minute mark) "movies as prayers" in response to an interview they did with Josh Larsen. Feel free to give a listen here:
  2. I have read the novel and have no idea if it might shed light on any of these questions.
  3. I realize this is set in the future and all, and there are concessions made to the whole notion that we've figured out space travel, but this bugged me (especially from the director of The Martian) just on the level of being profligate with water. Showers on space ships? Are they making water? Recylcing it? I realize this is the least of science concerns, maybe, but it grated. (Was it Bill McKibben or someone else who introduced the axiom that if our technology is sufficient to terraform some other planet, wouldn't it be sufficient to terraform, i.e. save, this one?) EDIT: P.S. -- it is indicative of the issues griped about above that when this shower scene happened (don't want to be too specific for possible spoilers), I had no clue who these two characters were, what their relationship was to each other or the main characters, or whether I was supposed to even know or not.
  4. Major Spoilers for various Alien films, including Covenant.
  5. Thank you for this, Peter. It pretty much articulates all I feel/felt but couldn't rouse myself to articulate beyond the "So, ugh." P.S. I disagree with Kermode in this: I think Scott an exceedingly poor world-builder. At least, if by world-builder we mean something in a mythopoeic sense. He has a great eye for art-design and visual details, which can pass for world building but isn't quite the same thing.
  6. I really disliked this. Well "dislike" is probably not the right word. It is a well executed version of what it is, but that "what it is" is something which I mind increasingly numbing rather than engaging. I suppose, in order, my complaints are: --nothing is ever really at stake, even though everything is always at stake. The escalation of consequences with the lack of any real consequences makes me hyper aware that MCU films are in a fictional universe and whatever damage is done or good things that happen is not happening to anyone or anything "real." Yeah, almost all fiction is imaginary, but much of it is posited in worlds/universe enough like my own that I can relate by analogy. This is just video game stuff. --Philosophically (religiously) this universe sure seems nihilistic to me. I suppose there is a bravura in the face of man's inconsequential meaninglessness, but one can get that in 10 minutes without the $20 price tag by reading Hemingway's "A Clean Well Lighted Place." --The mix of humor and attempts at grave, graver, gravest seriousness just grates on me after awhile. It's like the thing one can most aspire to being in the universe is an emotionally stunted juvenile adolescent. There's a relationship to humor here that goes all the way back to Ghostbusters for me -- when someone I knew said he "wished" something like what happened in the movie would happen in real life? Why? Because the essence of cool is the wisecrack and the end of the universe allows opportunities for great quips. -- The over-reliance on music. Don't get me wrong. I love the music. But isn't film supposed to be a visual medium at least in addition to a soundtrack delivery system? All the real emotion here comes from the music and at some point you realize you'd be better off dusting off that ELO or Cat Stevens album. I make no claims for this being bad. It will probably make a quintazillion gazillion dollars. And judging by Rotten Tomatoes, it's fans are being well serviced. But didn't Michael Todd once say of one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies that it hurt his soul? I get that. I walked out of the movie depressed, not by anything that happened in the movie but by the increasingly desperate feeling that I'm on an endless treadmill of 2 1/2 hour ads for more MCU movies, all bigger, none better, all the same. I have counted out my life in coffee spoons.
  7. The first season is fairly strong. Not as good as The Good Wife at its peak, but better than it was at the end. There's a pretty great illustration of the mechanisms of fake news, reminding us of what the show is good at -- illustrating complex modern ideas through narrative. Also, I'll cop to thinking Diane is a more interesting character than Alicia was. "Life has a way of reminding you who you are." Indeed. The best thing, though, is getting away from Lockhart-Gardner, where the in-house politics became a distracting self-parody. The new firm has some politicking, of course, but the racial wrinkle is interesting and it the office politics becomes more about self-definition than the Machiavellian maneuvers themselves. Rose Leslie's thread feels dull. Maybe that's because she's new and we know DIane, but she just feels like she's in a Damages retread. Her character's incidental lesbianism is perhaps relevant in a social/cultural context but doesn't really add much to the story. I'd be happy to stick with S2, but only to the extent they keep Christine Baranski around.
  8. There's nothing quite like revisiting a movie from your teen years and saying, "wow, how did I miss that?"
  9. I've done a 10 Years Later piece on No Country, which debuted (is that a word) at Cannes in 2007.
  10. I will be surprised if 1/2 the reviews of Song to Song don't have a "glass houses" reference and the other half don't include something about "beside still waters."
  11. This surprised in a couple ways. Under embargo for another day or two, and I want to pair it with another film at SXSW depicting atheism, so no time for a full review right now, but I will say it struck me as somewhat cynical about O'Hair and thus wasn't entirely the pro-atheism, anti-Christianity screed I expected. There are some stereotypes to be sure, but it isn't all one sided.
  12. Yeah, they actually told us he was going to be at that panel, but they scheduled it the same time as the American Gods premiere. Sigh. Such is life at a festival. I was talking to a friend yesterday and I said that Malick doesn't seem to me like he conceives of narratives in terms of scenes, so it's like we have the same vocabulary but a different grammar. For me, watching a Malick film is a bit like listening to someone used to speaking another language trying to explain his ideas in English. I can get the gist of it, but it's hard to stay engaged.
  13. So, yeah, that scene with Bilquis is definitely in the pilot. Is it just me or do HBO, Starz, and Cinemax have their own NC-17 style? There's a lot to like here. Gaiman gave a a video message to SXSW saying he loved the adaptation, and Fuller and Greene said they've messed with timeline a little and tried to bulk up female presences. Pablo Schrieber and Betty Gilpin kinda steal the pilot, and I'm wondering if Shadow is going to become overshadowed by the huge cast of more colorful supporting characters. Still thinking about: they moved the funeral home scene to a (I think Roman Catholic) Church. I suppose it is understandable for a TV audience to underline themes, but it seemed wrong for the characters and was the one place the first episode made me scratchy.
  14. Actually the clause as written says Paul Thomas Anderson, but it was amended a few years ago to make the punishment, while still on the books, slightly less severe.
  15. I have done my Christian cinephile duty. Not sure what all to tell you. I'm the least reliable judge of Malick I know. I felt like I at least understood what was going on, plot wise, and I've made some progress in articulating to myself why I'm so not on Team Terence. Fassbender said at intro that it was hard to learn his lines because Malick was constantly rewriting. That surprised me. (He said Malick let him "read" his lines, least that's what I thought he said.) I looked at my watch a dozen times, but I never felt the desperation for it to be over that I did in Tree of Life. I think any random 15 seconds in a TM film is most likely the most beautiful thing you ever saw....and any random 30 minutes feels 20 minutes too long. Still, I made a concentrated effort to not care about plot...or, rather about words...about dialogue as the primary means to advance the plot. It's gorgeous to look at and Portman and Gosling acquit themselves quite well. (I think Mara is great, but I was never convinced she was who the film says she was.) I think fans will probably love least I hope so for their sake.