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About kenmorefield

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

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    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 will second Mary Poppins Returns with the caveat that I'm still processing it and trying to articulate a better argument than I currently have about why it should be on this list as opposed to just being a personal favorite. Mary makes a comment late in the film about how adults will quickly forget magical things that happened. So there is a part of me that wants to twist this into an allegory of faith. Similarly, there is something important about the way London itself is transformed and not just the individual characters. As I say, I'm not sure I'm there yet as far as spiritual significance, but then again when asked about the significance of Ready Player One for Christians, I wrote "do Christians like fun?"
  2. kenmorefield

    Free Solo

    Aren, my first response was to want to carve out a space between "extreme greatness" and great accomplishments. I'm ambivalent about Alex's accomplishment (see above), so I have a hard time thinking of him as having achieved greatness. What he did was remarkable, and I guess I can get behind the notion that part of the reason he was able to do it was his diconnection. But was it worth doing? One could make an argument, though it is still a bit removed, that the moon landing evidenced greatness because the risks and sacrifices were in service of something greater than personal satisfaction or glory.
  3. kenmorefield

    Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

    I'm a fan. I was, unfortunately, sick when I watched this, which complicates the viewing situation, but damned if the film didn't overcome that. I kept watching Blunt like a Soviet ice skating judge -- just looking for anything to penalize, but she was the bomb. Miranda was, possibly, even better. The story is kinda meh, as are the new kids, but there is an infectious joyfulness about the whole enterprise that feels fresh in the face of so much slick commercialism at the movies these days. FWIW, the test audience I saw it with loved it. I saw a mom talking to her tyke, and he asked if they could come back "tomorrow" to watch it again. There's a little bit of fan service, but only a dash.
  4. kenmorefield

    A better film about...

    Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a better version of Oceans 8.
  5. kenmorefield

    The Nutcracker and The Four Realms (2018)

    I'm glad that you saw merit in it, Christian. It seems like our film tastes have been coinciding a bit more over the last 2-3 years.
  6. Second Can You Ever Me? Evan's comments capture much of what I liked about the film, though I thought it less of a "searing mockery" as a dispassionate chronicle. I commented to Cindy that while there was no scene in Bohemian Rhapsody that we did not know what its point was and what it was doing in the movie by the end of the scene (usually through a character articulating the point in dialogue), there were several scenes here that built on other scenes or set up other scenes: Jack helping Lee clean the filthy aparttment, Jack waking up to feed the cat, Jane Curtain's barb that at the party that would have been sufficient for another movie but set up a longer exchange in her office, Anna Deveare Smith on the park bench. This is a film that will, I think, get a lot of praise for the acting, which is deserved, but may overlook the direction and writing because they conventionally well done rather than being flashy. For our list, though, the thing that fascinates me is the way it explores in a somewhat nuanced way the balance between circumstances and voluntary hardening of heart in contributing to the choices we make. There are a lot of films that I can think of that come down hard on one side or the other of that divide, but this film does the harder work of showing both--and the ways that they can frightfully synergize with each other.
  7. kenmorefield

    What do you subscribe to?

    That shuttering is a particular kind of wistful feeling that I've felt only a handful of times in my life, but I relate to the feeling if not the particular object that prompted it for you. Feel your pain.
  8. kenmorefield

    Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

    There was probably a moment during Bohemian Rhapsody where I wasn't consciously thinking that I would rather be watching Queen Rock Montreal, or Love & Mercy, or An Open Secret, or X-Men 2, more or less in that order. I don't remember that moment specifically, but the movie was 134 minutes long... According to this article, Singer was fired from the film, and IMDB lists Dexter Fletcher as uncredited co-director. I guess that explains why the FYC DVD only mentions Rami Malek, although the back does say "For Your Consideration in All Categories." It wasn't horrible or anything, it just wasn't any good. There was no particular focus and the scenes drifted into one another without any sense of building toward anything other than a character giving exposition of the scene we just watched.
  9. kenmorefield

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Tyler, I don't have a defense, but my wife and I noted the same and I wrote pretty much what you just said on my comment card. I opined that it might be a function fo being 3D ready which often creates the out-of-focus effect, but my wife said no, because the standee in the theater lobby looked just like it. Combined with the super-quick editing, the film gave me a headache. I enjoyed the story, but I found the film itself unwatchable. Will be interesting to see if I ever revisit it on DVD if it has the same effect. Oddly, it was the second film I've seen in the last week--along with At Eternity's Gate, that appeared to be deliberately out of focus in parts. (The Schnabel film we assumed was to mimic how Van Gogh saw???)
  10. Most of you know Corby Pons at WITPRO. He is helping Netflix with Sandra Bullock's Bird Box. If this is something you want to screen for jury, let him know (if you have his address) or PM me for his contact info if you don't. (He said it was okay to post offer here).
  11. Hey has anyone seen Lean on Pete? The publicist was pushing this when I went to SXSW as something that might be of particular resonance with CT audience, but I didn't get to see it...and I just realized it didn't really show up on any screener lists...just sorta disappeared.
  12. Boy Erased and Love, Simon come to mind, though those are movies overtly about homosexuality. Your post does remind me that one of the things I liked about Love, Simon was that it parlayed that acceptance of homosexuality into a marginal ability to be critical of the homosexual character rather than simply excusing anything he does wrong as stemming from fear. I am more specifically interested in characters who are comfortable around alternate sexuality that I wouldn't normally expect to be. I heard two colleagues argue this point about Green Book. That film does at least have Mortenson's character float the explanation that he worked at the Copa and if you are in the business you are around and get comfortable with, gay people. That explanation could extend to A Star is Born and suggest that part of the appeal of these movies is that they reflect back on the industry in a self-affirming way.
  13. kenmorefield

    Destroyer (2018)

    Funny, that's the exact question I asked Kusama at a Q&A (at Filmfest 919). Her response was understandably broad and non-committal, it's Manfredi's script. Of the ideas that were floated or alluded to, I guess I am most sympathetic to "time" being the answer to "who or what is the title referencing?" I've been in enough academic classrooms that I would be lying if I didn't admit that more than a small part of me thinks the title was chosen for it's aural similarities to "Destroy her" but that never came up and I'm not inclined to ask questions in that leading a form. I spent the back half of the film really wondering if Kidman's character was a male whether the film would be at all interesting and whether or not the answer to that question really mattered. (It reminded me in some ways of Bosch, though that's probably a very superficial connection.) This is essentially Oscar-bait for Kidman, and I'm okay with that. I think she's terrific in general and okay in this movie. Though her body type (slender) made it hard for me to see her as the detective, the scene where she gets beat up and then goes back after Bradley Whitford convinced me...and perhaps made the movie into a broader metaphor of women living in a man's world.
  14. I've been thinking about Dumplin', a winsome Netflix film about a "plus-size" teenager who bonds with her skinnier friend over the music of Dolly Parton. They both join a beauty pageant to sabotage it, but in doing so they inspire another plus-size teen to follow her dream of participating. During the talent show, the other plus-size teen sings the hymn "High and Mighty." The cynic in me almost immediately responded with, "Yay Texas, where the only thing they love more than hating people not like them is Jesus." That's not really fair to the film, though, and I kinda, sorta, think a film with positive representations of red-state religion is significant even if it is somewhat aspirational. As an aside, this is the second film this year (after A Star is Born) where being comfortable visiting a drag bar is a badge of moral tolerance. Here there is perhaps slightly more overt implications that both groups (drag queens, plus-size) are rejected by the status-quo and are consequently more tolerant of others outside the mainstream even if those others are outside in different ways. I suppose the film is open to the critique made above toward The Hate U Give that characters outside the principals exist to mouth hanging curveballs for the main characters to knock out of the park, but unlike that film, I never get the sense that the main character is all good or that those who surround her are all bad. There is a certain amount of introspection, and rather than presenting Dumplin' as perfectly okay with herself and those who surround her as hopelessly obtuse, the film does show her dealing with self-loathing rather than just other-loathing and it does others trying to actually incarnate the values they say they hold even when dealing with the fringe's hatred or rejection of them and those values. So, anyway, I nominate Dumplin'. It's not the typical kind of film that we've historically had on this list, but I wonder if there might be room for it somewhere.
  15. kenmorefield

    Consolidating Film Forums

    My personal preference is Film Title (year) with tags being optional. This appears to me to be the group consensus, though nobody really seemed to push back if someone didn't comply. So here's my follow up question -- should moderator or admin change (usually older) thread titles to conform to this format, request that the initial poster (often not here) do it, or leave it alone?