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About kenmorefield

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

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  • Occupation
    Professor of English
  • About my avatar
    1More Film Blog
  • Favorite movies
    The Godfather, Persepolis, The Man Who Planted Trees, Emma, A Man Escaped
  • Favorite music
    I dunno. My Ipod did once randomize a Meatloaf song and an Amy Grant song back to back.
  • 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
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  1. I really wanted to write this up -- maybe I still will -- but grading intervened all this week. This is a wonderfully messy film, which I mean in the best possible way. I suspect that will lead to charges of being unfocused or not having a point-of-view, but it struck me as the better for that. My take on the film is simple: Fox News is to Donald Trump as Megyn Kelly is to Roger Ailes. Each recognizes the problems with the antagonist but thinks he/she/they can control the process. Maybe the film is supposed to say that the women make a revolution, but the postscript that Ailes got however much he did (multitudes higher than settlement) in exit money shows the process willing to absorb such hits without fundamentally changing. Fox comes across as akin to DuPont in Dark Waters...more than able to simply pay for the right to do wrong. Ailes seems to think he is above it all, so there is something delicious in the scene when he asks Murdoch for one last favor and Murdoch says "no," but whether that is a substantive change in how they do business doesn't seem likely. And Ailes (and others) seem convinced that they can turn on trump whenever, but much like Carlsen's scene where the callers go their own way, the film maybe suggests that at a certain point, the captive audience will reach critical mass and won't be controlled the way the controllers think. Anyway, I'm hardly sympathetic to the female protagonists, but I found the film an interesting examination of corporate culture and how much humans think they can be in it but not of it. I thought Margot Robbie was terrific by the way. Her character totally reminds me of some younger evangelical, conservative females I have met over the years.I don't know if it is personal mimicry or just imitation of a type, but boy she nails it.
  2. Hi. I moved this topic from Theater & Dance forum to Faith Matters. My own Christmas celebrations have been muted since it seems exams and graduations always seem to get in the way. I often go to the movies on Christmas day. Used to be a way to get to a relatively empty theater, now it seems more and more people do the same. Sometimes I travel. I would love to do a holiday cruise sometime.
  3. Link to our thread on The Good Wife. I hadn't seen this in two years, but I took advantage of a 1/2 price for 3 months deal for CBS all access and have been binge watching. Rewatched S1 and then watched S2 and am 1/2 way through S3. The most obvious comment is that in between S1 and S2 it moved away from the Ponzi scheme about Maya's father and became more about Diane, the racial politics of the firm and life in a post-Trump America. At first I thought that change would be for the worse, but there the arc of S3 seems to be about how things spiral out of control, how people at the firm justify decisions and actions as response to Trump (or other issues) and how easily those responses can become more/other than what they intended. For example, the firm learns about micro-targeting via Facebook and uses that to their advantage, but then the the fake-stories they make sometimes take on a life of their own. Lucca jokes that she stole a baby in response to a white woman's racism and the joke quickly escalates once the woman calls the policy. Racial tensions are exacerbated at the firm when there is a leak of salaries, and a (white) associate becomes a sacrificial lamb to outrage because that is easier than addressing the root causes. Marissa Gold (Eli's daughter) agrees to campaaign manage a conservative candidate for a federal judgeship and she and he are both punitively treated by their respective sides of the spectrum. In short, there is a lot of what was good in The Good Wife -- explanation of complex issues by integrating them into narratives...avoidance of too much self-righteousness by showing liberals doing many of the same things they complain about when conservatives do them. Baranski is terrific. If we're honest, much better than Marguiles ever was, though, to be fair, she has better writing and is given a range of ideas. It's a weird sort of inverse of television...the fact that she is older allows frees the character from having to be always and only about hooking up, though her personal life is intergrated. She's been doing this character long enough that she now just inhabits it, and a scene in which she verbalizes what she thinks about Kurt in comparison to other men is full of the sorts of contradicitons and raw honesty that one doesn't get too much in network television. If I am honest, the one issue that tires me is the fakes within fakes within fakes. Nobody's decisions are rooted in a genuine sense of values or principles, and there is always another layer beneath the one that gets peeled off. It's a legal thriller equivalent of Lost...never resolution only moving on to the next level.
  4. Always a pleasure to hear from you, Russ.
  5. I'm not there yet, but with swag like this... Seriously, though, it made me think of the excessive coffee table books for Us, The Irishman, and A Marriage Story and sorta made me like the film all the more for it...quite possibly the best swag I've received since that Conjuring 2 incantation candle.
  6. kenmorefield

    The Lighthouse

    About the one thing the film did for me is finally help me articulate why I've always thought The Shining was overrated. Descents into madness that feel too affected end up making me focus on the externals rather than actually invoking or creating any kind of feeling in me. Not really my aesthetic, though that's not surprising since I was similarly unmoved by The Witch. Most unpleasant experience I've had at the movies all year. Edit: Oh well, at least Parasite is looking better and better by comparison.
  7. A/an (exhausted, indifferent, conflicted?) second for Dark Waters, a film which is as relentlessly depressing as any I have seen since Beasts of No Nation. Yes, I will say that I second it not in spite of its grimness but largely because of it. Maybe there is an essay in here, maybe not, but I don't think it was a coincidence that I was listening to Brene Brown on audiotape on the way home and she was talking about despair. Excepting a half-hearted populist coda at the end, this flirted with being the legal thriller equivalent of On The Beach or First Reformed. As I waited...and waited...and waited...for it to turn triumphal in the last act, I started to think that maybe its greatness is that it channels an age that has given up a belief that anything can or will save us and thus forces us to think about how our lives might have meaning in such an era, whether its apocalyptic fears are real or manufactured.
  8. Actually I meant for other groups. I realized over the years that the EJ is just about the only group for which I've ever had "discussion." There seems to be some (antiquated?) idea in the blogosphere that lobbying is gauche or wrong. (Perhaps this originated with the Oscars?). I was also somewhat discouraged last year that all three of the groups I voted had finalists and lists that were nearly indistinguishable. I'm not saying be different for the sake of being different, but part of the joy of this job is just bringing attention to things that you think deserve it. I'm not sure why, but JM didn't do it for me. Perhaps it was because I saw it at a film festival and had serious movie fatigue. Perhaps it is because it seemed so designed to win awards. It felt like a collection of trailer moments rather than a fully realized narrative. That said, I saw the film among a largely African-American audience, and the energy was palpable.
  9. That's a great story, thanks for sharing.
  10. Thanks Christian. You are the second person in several hours who has recommended I Lost My Body, so I will definitely check that out.
  11. Was Inception only ten years ago? Weird what time does...
  12. The Second Coming meets Rashomon?
  13. Since we all love lists, making them and arguing about them, I was wondering if anyone wanted to post their favorite films of the decade lists?
  14. Over in the Ecumenical Jury threads we sometimes have discussion about films or performances before voting. I find these helpful, especially since the end-of-the-year is a glutted with screeners. I especially appreciate people who aren't jury members making recommendations. Several participants in this board vote for one or more critics groups. I figured I'd make a thread for people who wanted to make suggestions for films or performances that might warrant attention. I'm especially appreciative for any suggestions of films or performers you think are deserving that may not be getting as much attention. What are some of your favorites in any of these categories (which we vote on in the NCFCA)? BEST NARRATIVE FILM BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM BEST ANIMATED FILM BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM BEST DIRECTOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY BEST ACTOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR BEST ACTRESS BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS BEST MUSIC
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