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Everything posted by kenmorefield

  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

    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.
  5. Last week I was screening Last Vegas, a middling comedy about aging and male friendship, and I had that experience where, somewhat bored by the film, I thought, "You know what was a better film about [whatever the subject of the film was about]?" So instead of going home and writing a review of Last Vegas, I wrote a review of Shepard & Dark, which I thought also about male friendship but done better. Today Ender's Game opened, and I didn't hate it, but I thought about how much I really liked Searching for Bobby Fischer, another film about a child genius in a hyper-competitive environment. I put a tag for such films on my blog, and started my own list on Letterbox'd, but I thought I might mention it here if people come up with one. The (unenforceable) parameters) are: 1) A (somewhat) new film... 2) that reminds you (thematically or, heck, even formally) of another film... 3) that you liked/appreciated/esteemed better than the new film. If you have/have had that experience, feel free to share your recommendations here.
  6. kenmorefield

    A better film about...

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

    The Nutcracker and The Four Realms (2018)

    This is getting some push for faith media outlets. The first of these clips focuses on Misty Copeland: The other is on holiday traditions: For some reason the whole art design here reminded me most of Wrinkle in Time, which wasn't a pleasant association. But I have no previous affinity for The Nutcracker, and I like Keira Knightley, so who knows...seeing the film on Tuesday.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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???)
  12. 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).
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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?
  18. kenmorefield

    Oscars 2019: Best Picture

    That is...a depressingly mediocre list of movies. I've been feeling for a while now that I don't see an early frontrunner, but rather than this making groups more adventuresome in their picks this just feels....random. I guess three of the films are about race, and two are about performers. And I realize this is SAG and not Academy, so a lot of actor vehicles.
  19. Link to our Forum thread on The Ninth Configuration. Not much movement yet on resurrecting Film Club, but I went ahead and watched The Ninth Configuration, so I figured I'd go ahead and make a thread for it in case anyone else wanted to chime in. I see from the forum thread and recommendations that Nick is a fan, and Anders appears to be endeared to the film. My own response was somewhat more muted. It seems like even it's fans admit this is an acquired taste, with an emphasis on theme Blatty is cited at Wikipedia saying that he considered the novel on which the film is based "comic," and I was reminded in the first half of Catch-22. It's very 70s in its music, hair, and acting. One key scene reminded me of the end of Psycho. The tendency to explain what one has seen is usually annoying, though in this case, it is probably necessary. I suppose I see parallels to The Exorcist in that there is a frame narrative that basically allows for abstract discussions of theology and psychology. I'll let this sit for a while and see if anyone else has comments.
  20. kenmorefield

    Three Identical Strangers (2018)

    Major Plot Spoilers to Follow in this Thread.
  21. kenmorefield


    If I understand the control panel correctly, I haven't figured out how to prevent new user from posting yet, but I did change the automatic moderation settings so that if *any* member flags content as spam it is hidden pending review. This works only if the person reported has less than 10 posts. I'll set up a separate response is reported for something other than spam. Edit: I created a rule that would temporarily hide content if it is reported as Offensive -- Inflammatory. This doesn't delete it, just hides it pending review. Question, how many reports should it take to temporarily hide an offensive post?
  22. kenmorefield

    Film Club December 2018: The Ninth Configuration

    From your review: I so expected the last line to be, "...but since madness is the only proper response, he must be." I like this line of thought, and it helps me appreciate the film more than I did.
  23. kenmorefield


    I am not opposed to such an idea, though I'd like to try some less intrusive fixes first. The board software seems good at identifying those who have spammed other boards and flagging them when they register, so the requirement to make people respond to a validating follow up may be sufficient.
  24. kenmorefield

    Beautiful Boy (2018)

    I wanted to start a thread for this film for no other reason than to say, just once, I wish I could see a film where a modern teen says to a parent of my generation, "But you experimented with drugs when you were my age, right?" and have the parent reply, "Ummm, no." I don't know if that's a lazy cliche or just a reflection of the community writing. Really, I've been conscious since, oh, Family Ties in the 1980s of the media fascination with the theme of parents having to say, "Don't do as I did." But I find this trope rarely actually leads to examining why the choices were wrong or even acknowledging them as such. I sorta enjoyed Steve Carrell's character's impatience with the language of addiction treatment, but here again, I kept waiting for that to develop into a genuine conflict over the procedure with the wife or helpers...one that actually interrogated the ideas behind their assumptions. But it seemed mostly just to use the situation for pathos, which is fine, I guess, but fairly narrow in scope.
  25. kenmorefield

    Black Panther

    #13 with a bullet! (Just imagine how many posts you would have if you could post stuff like..."#13 with a bullet!")