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Everything posted by kenmorefield

  1. The Case for Christ (2017)

    It's ironic to me that Peter mentions the treatment of Catholicism here, as one of the main things that I was struck by is the representation of race. Towards the end of my article on "Left Behind as Evangelical Pornography" I tried to respond to one (anonymous) reviewer's assessment that I was doing a "paranoid reading" and asking whether it would be possible to do a reparative reading. I wrote a little about race and Catholicism: I was thinking about this last paragraph a lot during the early scenes of The Case for Christ as we get the trope of the religiously enlightened Black contrasted to the intellectually arrogant white. There is something in the treatment of race in these films (Pure Flix, Sherwood, LB) that genuinely puzzles me. At times I think it is aspirational, but at other times I feel like it it (and I use this word advisedly), politically correct...an indication of something that the writers/creators know should be but when they try to draw it comes out like nothing I've ever seen in real life.
  2. Oscars 2018: Best Foreign Language Film

    The Insult is really good and surprisingly accessible. Glad to see it getting noticed.
  3. It is still in my Top 10 for the year, but that honestly has more to say about lack of depth this year.
  4. The Breadwinner

    It's emotionally devastating. Didn't quite woo me the way Persepolis did, but I liked it better than Kells or Sea. A brief endorsement here.
  5. Bi-weekly reminder that nobody has seconded The Boss Baby yet....
  6. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

    I actually turned to Cindy when a certain character is exonerated and said I'm glad to be wrong about that, meaning the film is more than a whodunit. But I wouldn't be shocked to find out there was a version of the script where that incident has more significance.
  7. Hi Joel, I have no particular emotional investment in HG, but in the past we've sort of gone by the first-time festival, theatrical, or dvd release to allow for films that made Oscar qualifyng runs the year before but were not widely accessible to those without screeners. (I'm thinking of Selma, which got traction among the people who saw it but was largely unseen by voters at time of voting.) Not saying you should do it that way, but historically what determined eligibility was whatever the foreperson (in this case you) said was eligible.
  8. Haven't seen the film yet as I had a conflict on the screening date; hope to catch up with it before voting.
  9. I nominate Molly's Game. I waffle on whether this is not typical of our list or exactly typical of it. But I do think about recommending films for faith audiences, and Plus I'm very much in the fan camp when it comes to Sorkin's writing. Aside from the morality issues of the justice system, I think the film evokes several resonant themes: role-models, shame, repentance, socialization vs. free-will. And in the way some people thought about O.J. last year --that race is an issue that should be inherently important to Christians -- I think this film really makes you feel and understand the long-term anger around long-term gender subordination.
  10. I suppose the condemnation of the priest might be viewed as akin to Rockwell character's use of the "n" word or the verbal attacks on gays. It's certainly understandable, and the film depicts actual violence (mostly against women) to really force us to consider ways in which rhetorical and physical violence are related, different, or feed into each other. But the film also sets up Mildred's Catholic-gang comparison by having the priest criticize her without any real attempt to hear her or aid her. We get no sense that Mildred is religious, attends service, has any prior relationship with him, etc. Why is he there except to condemn her and leave the low-hanging fruit of "sez all the pedophiles!" Plus, in a film that is remarkably real and honest about representing the circular nature of violence, he (and the religion he represents) is surprisingly omitted from any growth, awareness, or small steps towards reconciliation. It may well be that the film (especially the back half) contrasts institutions with individuals. It wouldn't be the first to show organized religion as uniformly corrupt and failing when compared to individuals who are still capable of giving and receiving grace, mercy, and forgiveness. But when I think about how careful the film is to represent, say, the police force as being comprised of individuals with different levels of understanding, complicity, guilt, dysfunction--but also genuine caring--and how the violence (actual and rhetorical) against the members of that institution, while understandable, is never justifiable, I think the treatment of the priest is of a different shade/tone. I guess to put it succinctly, in Evan's terms, I think we *are* meant to agree with Mildred's sweeping condemnation of the Catholic priest/church, which is odd given how the rest of the film shows anger (on all sides) raging out of control, leading to more harm, and as something that needs to be overcome with grace and love. Harrelson's letter is the film's coda, is it not? It's hard for me to view the film as one that includes the Catholic priest in the category of those who are capable of growth and/or reconciliation. Don't get me wrong, I loved the film. Definitely a top tenner, especially in a weak year (so far). But like a mishit note in a well-played sonata, that scene sticks out as a clunker because it seems out of tune with the rest of the film. Post-script/random thought. It is a *great* speech. Superbly written and delivered. Just not sure it fits well in this movie. I know many writers/directors capable of falling in love with speeches and having a real hard time cutting them precisely because they are so good.
  11. Nominate: Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri. Really good. Kinda in the wheelhouse for certain kind of Christian viewer -- complexity, some surprises. More about meaning of life than explicitly religious, and I'll get it if the priest scene puts of SDG or Evan -- it's an angry scene in the way that sometimes Irish Catholicsm can be, but despite that scene I don't think it is anti-religious. Don't want to give away too much of the plot, part of the pleasure is in the way it defies conventions and expectations. But I really recommend.
  12. The Boss Baby is now streaming on Netflix. You know what to do! Don't make me come over to your house and tie you to a chair and watch.
  13. Has anyone else seen The Breadwinner? It's emotionally devastating animated tale set in contemporary Iran. I guess the most obvious point of comparison would be Persepolis. I esteem the film, but I am still not sure if it is something I necessarily recommend for a Christian audience. We've had films that depict World Religion before (Timbuktu; Gett), but some of those have generated discussion about how or why the depiction of another religious community is relevant to Christian audiences.
  14. La Fille Inconnue / The Unknown Girl (2016)

    Hmmm, makes me want to hear Evan's comparison essay between this film and Murder on the Orient Express.
  15. I don't know if it is because I had only an abbreviated stint at TIFF this year or if things are really wide open, but I feel very lost. I usually come home from TIFF with a pretty clear idea of frontrunners and favorites, but I got the A24 FYC package in the mail today and was looking at the titles and thinking, "Have I even heard of these movies?" Menashe, Good Time, It Comes at Night, The Lovers, The Ballad of Lefty Brown. I've got like 60 titles and very little indication of how to prioritize...so beyond nominations if anyone wants to put in an enthusiasm metric for stuff that has been nominated, I'm certainly willing to hear it.
  16. Many of the critics' groups got FYC screeners for 20th Century Women, so it's quite possible Peter did screen it in the mad rush before some other awards.
  17. Justice League

    Ummm...was that Leonides of Sparta in one flashback? Hope my eyes deceived me, because if it was I may have to move Snyder below George Lucas on the "oh-my-God-aren't-I-clever!!!!!!!" index.
  18. And yet...still no second for The Boss Baby. I won't say I'm hurt, but...
  19. 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.
  20. First Reformed

    Thanks for sharing that, Rob. I hadn't seen it.
  21. I'm against including television series, just because I don't know when we open that door where it stops. (Didn't vote for O.J. last year, either.) That said, my general attitude in this, as with festival question is that if there is a nomination and a second to let the voting sort it out. A slightly bigger jury means one low vote or abstaining vote (didn't see it) isn't as likely to derail a title.
  22. I nominate Patton Oswalt: Annihilation, which is probably to reflexively political to make an *ecumenical" jury selection, but which does grapple with the themes of grief and the meaning of life and which expresses the pain and horror of both "hellscapes" and the post-God is dead culture really realizing that "annihilation" is not just a theological construct but either a true, inevitable reality or a horrible, horrible lie. It's available on Netflix, by the way.