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Everything posted by kenmorefield

  1. kenmorefield


    It's almost a cliche to say "Ebert," but truth is in reading him (rather than just watching on TV) I realized it was okay to use the movie, particularly if it was unexceptional, as a hook to write about something else. So I would say he was definitely an influence in my developing an approach that is (I hope) informed by formal analysis but leans more heavily on cultural criticism or Reader-response. It's worth pointing out, though, that that approach isn't for everyone. (My wife once archly asked me about a review I was writing, "Is this one where you actually talk about the movie?") So it's important to me, if I allow myself to be influenced or suggest other things for aspiring writers to read, that it is understood that no one approach or style is "right." You are very kind. Doug has a humility and openness (inclusive/welcoming) that I admire greatly and have tried to emulate, but which is hard to adopt. (For him, it's an expression of his personality.) I'm interested to see how, if at all, graduate school influences that. ( I was super-pleased when he did his presentation on phenomenology and the Dardennes that he was able to take a complex philosophical idea and make it and its application comprehensible to newer/younger students. Plus he is incredibly well read and well viewed, but I never feel like he is showboating or lording it over me.
  2. I have no objection to a poll but am skeptical as to its necessity given low traffic these days. For example, the 2019 Theme Vote for Top 25 had 14 responses. Its possible that a Top 100 might pull in some more people or lurkers, but these preliminary discussions are also a way of having input.
  3. They were apparently ineligible last time I voted, but things might have evolved and changes over time.
  4. Agreed. Plus that opens up a bit more room for documentary which has always sort of operated under a different distribution model.
  5. Oh, I've railed against The Dekalog's inclusion in the past, not because it isn't great (or spiritually significant) but because it was so obviously a television miniseries and there seemed something capricious and arbitrary about making an exception just for its sake. (But I *might* have overstated those objections because the last Top 100 I did got all the way to the final list before Admin realized "The Man Who Planted Trees" was 30 minutes long, deemed it a "short," and cut it. ) Really, though...time has only made this more complicated given the development of distribution models, but Darren has articulated my general thoughts quite succinctly. (With the possible exception that some of the 7 Up films were made for television, but since I am also a proponent of nominating individual films in a series rather than the series, I don't know that that would be an issue.)
  6. In moving this to new format and thinking about a possible book essay, I've been wondering a bit what to make of the facts that -- The father/daughter relationship is much more represented, I think, than the father/son relationship. --That more of the films about being *elderly* are male (or couples) centric, and more of the films about being middle-aged are perhaps female centric. I suspect hte latter has to do with the ways in which we conceptualize a man's life around employment and a women's around domestic issues, but I am not sure how to shape that into a thesis about what makes these films *spiritually* significant except maybe that are conceptions of spirtuality are more informed by gender roles than we would like to think. Any thoughts?
  7. Perhaps Joel and Ethan could huddle together, PM, and make a preliminary proposal/discussion for -- When dates transition from noms to voting and voting to blurbs. -- Mechanics of nominations. (Are all previous Top 100s automatically nominated? Are there limits to number of nominations someone can make? Does a film need to be seconded? Thirded?) Some of these might change from previous years based on number of participants. --Voting structure. I haven't participated in a Top 100 since 2006 or 7 maybe? Anyway, at time a big turn off for me was the *weighting* of votes to privilege those who had participated more actively at A&F. Like Brian mentions above, it would be great if project included new people, but it would be hard for me to say with a straight face to someone who has not participated at A&F before, "We really want you to be a part of this project, so much so that we are willing to offer you half a vote!" That said, I seem to remember one Top 100 where the admin e-mailed a bunch of people to try to get them to participate and that resulted in questions about whether or not the resulting list actually was an *A&F* list, that is reflected the views of people who used this web site. If the EJ or critics groups have taught me anything, it's that the more people there are the more the lists tend to all look the same. If we have 10-15 people voting on a Top 100, our Top 100 may look markedly different from past iterations. I'm okay with that, but there is something to be said for not being *too* abrupt in our changes. --We'll need to resolve the *series* questions (Three Colors, Up Series, Before series) and determine whether people can nominate series or just individual movies. Also the TV/movie/outlet question. (You all know my position on the Dekalog, but I sense I may lose that argument...) Maybe we do a top 25 one year for television....but are made for TV movies eligible? Netflix or Amazon prime movies that got only limited theatrical distribution to awards qualify? Case by case basis?
  8. How would people feel about opening nominations March 1 and posting results May 1? (I'm flexible as to where we transition from nominations to voting and voting to soliciting blurbs?) Also, assuming there will be *some* carry over from previous lists, is it typical to solicit new blurbs for every film or to reuse old blurbs for the films that are carried over?
  9. Possibly, though I'm inclined to be as minimalist as possible here since the format won't always be the same. But a link directly under title can direct readers to a discussion thread or a post where introductory comments are made.
  10. Yes. That is what we have now with sample, though I noticed on my phone that the text doesn't necessarily show up as a link, so it may be worth writing out the URL. I think one or two lines doesn't push the beginning of the list off the bottom of the screen so that you have to scroll down to see that it is a list.
  11. My point is, I don't know how to take the comment, facetious or otherwise. Is he poking fun at Mendes? Praising him? Making a joke about how people are obsessing about the single-shot conceit? Because, in answer to Joel's question above, I think this has something to do with 1917's status in the awards race.
  12. Hand to heart, I'm not being snarky with this question. Does this make Mendes a great director, Cumberbatch a great actor, or both or neither?
  13. Christian is not the only one who has mentioned the use of "11" for Honorable Mention. Right now the app *requires* a numerical value, but I may ask developer about that. Joel and Andrew also consulted by e-mail. I am waffling about the *introduction* space. I asked for it, but I agree that I think the space overall looks cleaner and better if it just gives us the list. That makes me wonder -- where to put prefatory material for past or future lists. This issue probably comes up because some lists (Top 25s, EJ have been published elsewhere -- Image/Transpositions) but the forthcoming EJ list is being published here. So I'm tempted to say, let's make A&F the depository for the *lists* (which includes blurbs of individual films) but not necessarily for the the introductions/essays about the lists...still there are some nice intros to past Top 25s. Other thoughts?
  14. We've got a new app in place, and I've been playing with it. What do people think? http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?/films/year/3-2018-arts-faith-ecumenical-jury/
  15. kenmorefield


    Hello, Byron. Welcome to the Arts & Faith forums. Just a quick administrative note -- I moved your post to the more general "Film" forum (as opposed to Featured Film or Filmmakers) where it appears you cross-posted. Please don't feel bad about that. It can take awhile to get the hang of where to post different kinds of posts. You ask, I am sure different members of this community will have different opinions. Like book criticism (or music/art criticism) film criticism varies widely in quality, so it depends on what you read. I think just reading the standard "movie review" might not help you too much, but while looking at different reviews you may find people who express themselves well or whose ideas spark something in your own analysis. My suggestion might be to read a book of film appreciation as opposed to film criticism. There are many good ones. (I use Louis Giannetti's UNDERSTANDING MOVIES in my class.) These won't (or shouldn't) give you a take on a specific movie, but they may help you to build a vocabulary that helps you to express your ideas more clearly and understand others when they talk about films. Like you, I prefer to read as little as possible before a film experience. Afterwards, I might read a few reviews if I want to see whether others had similar responses or if I note that my response seems to vary widely from the general consensus. (For example, I did not care much for Parasite, which a lot of other critics liked, so I read a bit more here or on Letterbox'd from people who did to try to get a sense of what I might have missed. I don't think there is a right answer, but I would say that the more you work on articulation, the more your understanding will improve and vice-versa. As you work on articulating your ideas, the process of others asking you to clarify what you think and why you think it will help you to be more precise and think about it in a more focused way, which should help your understanding. And, of course, the better or more confident you are in your understanding, the more articulate you may gradually become.
  16. Saw the touring production last night. I've seen a documentary about the events, so I knew the story very well, but it was still powerful. The show evidences its off-Broadway roots (no spectacle sets, true ensemble piece) which is good, but I did miss a little the idea of a showstopper -- or even of fully developed songs. I don't know if they are musically similar, but I thought of why Sondheim musicals usually feel flat to me -- everyone talking in song as opposed to singing. Still, it works here, I guess, because the material is about the gradual accrual of emotion rather than about rising and falling action. Definitely my favorite show of the season thus far (Aladdin, Bronx Tale, Come From Away, Mean Girls, Band's Visit, Maragarittaville, JC Superstar), though some of that is suitability of venue. (DPAC auditorium is so huge it is is hard to fill with theatrical energy. Also, wow, I learned from the pilot's song that the first female Captain in American history was...1986? Surely that can't be true... Anyway, best song is probably the opener...(use of explective):
  17. Evan, I notice our thread on the "Irishman" has exactly one post, a trailer from Netflix. Have you written about it anywhere?
  18. kenmorefield


    I'll no doubt get scoffed at for saying this in some circles, but I sometime think in wake of all the pearl clutching on behalf of Greta Gerwig and there being no female directors nominated in some circles (like the NCFCA) that maybe Marielle Heller did a better job for A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD but people just liked Gerwig's *movie* better. For example, in the fight between Laurie and Jo (when she rejects the proposal) Gerwig breaks that 180 degree plane when he walks away. The long shot of Jo sitting on the hill is, as a single shot, beautiful, but the way she gets to that shot is somewhat jarring and, for me anyway, undercut the emotional nature of the scene as a whole in service of having a particular staged image that we had to get to -- it drew attention to the direction/cinematography rather that having that element serve the movie as a whole. In contrast, I've heard some people call 1917 gimmicky, but I think the gimmick actually reinforces the film's themes and is appropriate to it. Unlike the Marshlands tweet you embed, I did't experience the continuity as smooth and continuous thrills but slow, incremental progress. There is a trapped-ness about these characters in this war (and in this kind of war) that is reinforced by the director and cinematographer being trapped in their own self-imposed parameters. Also, I take some exception at his/her use of "thrills." I've heard police work (or military work) described as long stretches of boredom punctuated by seconds of sheer terror. I can't think of a whole lot of better movies at slowly building/accumulating dread -- the first 60 minutes of Aliens maybe? -- and I do think the decision to present the material in that way, a choice of the director, is a big contributing factor to its success, even as I acknowledge that the methodology itself probably wouldn't carry the day if you didn't have Roger Deakins to execute it.
  19. I returned to the film in the wake of the Cats debacle to take more intentional look at Hooper's direction. (I see Stef and others already noted some of the quirks of the editing that really stand out in retrospect.) http://1morefilmblog.com/2020/01/09/the-kings-speech-10-years-later-hooper-2010/
  20. kenmorefield


    I valued 1917, though like (it sounds like) you, I felt like I had more of an artistic respect for its technical achievements than for the film experience as a whole. The most interesting thing about the film, for me, during awards season is how it contrasted to Little Women. More specifically, I kinda felt like Mendes got a lot of recognition (and some noms) for directing even though people consistently cited Deakins's contributions as the best parts of the film. Meanwhile, Little Women seems to be garnering nominations for actors (Ronan, Pugh), but not the director. I'm not saying any of that recognition or judgements are prima facie wrong, but I do think it is interesting how and when critics/audiences attribute a film's success to the actor, writer, director, editor, etc. I've long argued that absent a first-hand knowledge of the production itself, it can be very, very difficult to determine how to apportion credit (or blame) for what finally appears on the screen.
  21. As you all may know, the creation this list made me look into trying to standardize the format of past Top 25 and Top 100 lists, which is still an ongoing process. Our wonderful tech guy (RAW) created an app that helps this process, and I am slowly using it to populate the lists into a standard format. (I also have permission from Image to reprint the introductions that appeared there along with any blurbs for past lists. Since the only format for "Growing Older" didn't really allow for an introduction, I've added one in this new format. http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?/films/year/2-top-25-2019-growing-older/
  22. Amy is 12 when the novel starts. As much as I thought Pugh excellent (and I did), I'm not sure she ever looked or felt 12 in the early scenes. Of course, that may be all the more reason to tip cap to Gerwig's writing. The flashback structure lets her skirt the questions of how much time has passed and how old the sisters are supposed to be.
  23. I could live with that, though I'd like to hear any other thoughts about timeline. My principle concern, which need not be shared by anyone else is that I have a different book contract with a manuscript due in January 2021, so Fall is going to be tough. On the one hand, this timeline would mean that a major project is done in the Summer, but I have a feeling like people won't want to submit essay proposals until the final list is done. (I think maybe a handful of people might have an idea for an essay that they reasonably expect will be on the list, but the external people may want to know the list). So if the list is done in early July... Given the way academic schedules work, I think people may be more likely to be thinking about working in summer, so a CFP that goes out in late April/Early May might be better for me...but that's essentially guess work.
  24. I re-watched Toy Story 4 this weekend, and I was struck by the opening scene where Andy gives away Bo-peep. To the extent the franchise has always toyed around (no pun intended) with the parallels between toy/child and child/parent or person/God, I appreciated this film's emphasis on whether or not the child deserves the devotion that Andy gives and how conceptions of the god-like that are capricious or show favoritism undermine our devotion even if we are (or perceive ourselves to be) the favored.
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