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Everything posted by kenmorefield

  1. 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.
  2. This is a beautiful film. I realize that's a weak, generic word these days, but I can't think of a better one. Speaking as someone who hasn't particularly resonated with Miyazaki the way that some of the folks here have, I was surprised by how much the film got to me. (Katabuchi was screenwriter for Miyazaki before doing Princess Arete.) The story is not particularly narrative (which is again, usually a problem for me), but it (re)creates its world with such richness and detail that I was more than happy to just observe these people and their daily rituals. (It takes place in Hiroshima just prior to dropping of atomic bomb.) It's opening in NC in mid-August, so I imagine it will work its way around to major cities. If you are an animation fan, do make an effort to see it.
  3. I am on the yea side, fwiw, though certainly not one who wants to argue with those who didn't like it. Perhaps because the last war movie I saw was Hacksaw Ridge, I found myself appreciating the mournful, resigned tone rather than going the route of sensationalizing the violence to the point of fetishizing it. Typically I like a more traditional narrative, but that didn't bother me here because I didn't really need or want it to be any one person's story...the relative anonymity of the characters felt...appropriate...
  4. Is there really no thread on this? I looked twice, using Google and A&F's search function. I recently posted some thoughts upon revisiting the film Ten Years Later:
  5. This has been getting raves across the interwebs, but I just don't get it:
  6. Today only, you can rent this movie at Vudu for 10 cents as part of its anniversary celebration.
  7. Full reviews are under embargo but publicist said it was okay to chat it up on social media, so I'll just say I thought this was visually rich. I haven't been a particular fan of Lowery's other work, but I thought the shot compositions and editing here was terrific. (Lowery also did film editing for Caruth's Upstream Color.)
  8. FWIW, my review:
  9. I kinda thought the film more than entertained that possibility...that it leaned in that direction. It's certainly true that the audience I saw it with, which wasn't exactly sophisticated, was mostly assuming she was guilty, but I think that had more to do with modern movie expectations than in what the movie was actually doing. Still, I don't feel enough to champion the film...but I enjoyed it.I thought it was interesting how much was made of Rachel's large "appetites" and how even today, that quality stigmatizes women more than men.
  10. I enjoyed the film for what it was, especially in the midst of a sea of superhero carnage. So I'm interested in what set Evan off and/or what I missed.
  11. I thought Tennessee (aka "One Night") asks if he can talk to "my wife" when communicating with those on the planet, right before whatever the main character's name is tells him to go on a private channel. Or words to that effect.
  12. I guested on the InSession podcast, where we discussed Alien: Covenant and (around the 85 minute mark) "movies as prayers" in response to an interview they did with Josh Larsen. Feel free to give a listen here:
  13. I have read the novel and have no idea if it might shed light on any of these questions.
  14. I realize this is set in the future and all, and there are concessions made to the whole notion that we've figured out space travel, but this bugged me (especially from the director of The Martian) just on the level of being profligate with water. Showers on space ships? Are they making water? Recylcing it? I realize this is the least of science concerns, maybe, but it grated. (Was it Bill McKibben or someone else who introduced the axiom that if our technology is sufficient to terraform some other planet, wouldn't it be sufficient to terraform, i.e. save, this one?) EDIT: P.S. -- it is indicative of the issues griped about above that when this shower scene happened (don't want to be too specific for possible spoilers), I had no clue who these two characters were, what their relationship was to each other or the main characters, or whether I was supposed to even know or not.
  15. Major Spoilers for various Alien films, including Covenant.
  16. Thank you for this, Peter. It pretty much articulates all I feel/felt but couldn't rouse myself to articulate beyond the "So, ugh." P.S. I disagree with Kermode in this: I think Scott an exceedingly poor world-builder. At least, if by world-builder we mean something in a mythopoeic sense. He has a great eye for art-design and visual details, which can pass for world building but isn't quite the same thing.
  17. I really disliked this. Well "dislike" is probably not the right word. It is a well executed version of what it is, but that "what it is" is something which I mind increasingly numbing rather than engaging. I suppose, in order, my complaints are: --nothing is ever really at stake, even though everything is always at stake. The escalation of consequences with the lack of any real consequences makes me hyper aware that MCU films are in a fictional universe and whatever damage is done or good things that happen is not happening to anyone or anything "real." Yeah, almost all fiction is imaginary, but much of it is posited in worlds/universe enough like my own that I can relate by analogy. This is just video game stuff. --Philosophically (religiously) this universe sure seems nihilistic to me. I suppose there is a bravura in the face of man's inconsequential meaninglessness, but one can get that in 10 minutes without the $20 price tag by reading Hemingway's "A Clean Well Lighted Place." --The mix of humor and attempts at grave, graver, gravest seriousness just grates on me after awhile. It's like the thing one can most aspire to being in the universe is an emotionally stunted juvenile adolescent. There's a relationship to humor here that goes all the way back to Ghostbusters for me -- when someone I knew said he "wished" something like what happened in the movie would happen in real life? Why? Because the essence of cool is the wisecrack and the end of the universe allows opportunities for great quips. -- The over-reliance on music. Don't get me wrong. I love the music. But isn't film supposed to be a visual medium at least in addition to a soundtrack delivery system? All the real emotion here comes from the music and at some point you realize you'd be better off dusting off that ELO or Cat Stevens album. I make no claims for this being bad. It will probably make a quintazillion gazillion dollars. And judging by Rotten Tomatoes, it's fans are being well serviced. But didn't Michael Todd once say of one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies that it hurt his soul? I get that. I walked out of the movie depressed, not by anything that happened in the movie but by the increasingly desperate feeling that I'm on an endless treadmill of 2 1/2 hour ads for more MCU movies, all bigger, none better, all the same. I have counted out my life in coffee spoons.
  18. The first season is fairly strong. Not as good as The Good Wife at its peak, but better than it was at the end. There's a pretty great illustration of the mechanisms of fake news, reminding us of what the show is good at -- illustrating complex modern ideas through narrative. Also, I'll cop to thinking Diane is a more interesting character than Alicia was. "Life has a way of reminding you who you are." Indeed. The best thing, though, is getting away from Lockhart-Gardner, where the in-house politics became a distracting self-parody. The new firm has some politicking, of course, but the racial wrinkle is interesting and it the office politics becomes more about self-definition than the Machiavellian maneuvers themselves. Rose Leslie's thread feels dull. Maybe that's because she's new and we know DIane, but she just feels like she's in a Damages retread. Her character's incidental lesbianism is perhaps relevant in a social/cultural context but doesn't really add much to the story. I'd be happy to stick with S2, but only to the extent they keep Christine Baranski around.
  19. There's nothing quite like revisiting a movie from your teen years and saying, "wow, how did I miss that?"
  20. I've done a 10 Years Later piece on No Country, which debuted (is that a word) at Cannes in 2007.
  21. I will be surprised if 1/2 the reviews of Song to Song don't have a "glass houses" reference and the other half don't include something about "beside still waters."
  22. This surprised in a couple ways. Under embargo for another day or two, and I want to pair it with another film at SXSW depicting atheism, so no time for a full review right now, but I will say it struck me as somewhat cynical about O'Hair and thus wasn't entirely the pro-atheism, anti-Christianity screed I expected. There are some stereotypes to be sure, but it isn't all one sided.
  23. Yeah, they actually told us he was going to be at that panel, but they scheduled it the same time as the American Gods premiere. Sigh. Such is life at a festival. I was talking to a friend yesterday and I said that Malick doesn't seem to me like he conceives of narratives in terms of scenes, so it's like we have the same vocabulary but a different grammar. For me, watching a Malick film is a bit like listening to someone used to speaking another language trying to explain his ideas in English. I can get the gist of it, but it's hard to stay engaged.
  24. So, yeah, that scene with Bilquis is definitely in the pilot. Is it just me or do HBO, Starz, and Cinemax have their own NC-17 style? There's a lot to like here. Gaiman gave a a video message to SXSW saying he loved the adaptation, and Fuller and Greene said they've messed with timeline a little and tried to bulk up female presences. Pablo Schrieber and Betty Gilpin kinda steal the pilot, and I'm wondering if Shadow is going to become overshadowed by the huge cast of more colorful supporting characters. Still thinking about: they moved the funeral home scene to a (I think Roman Catholic) Church. I suppose it is understandable for a TV audience to underline themes, but it seemed wrong for the characters and was the one place the first episode made me scratchy.
  25. Actually the clause as written says Paul Thomas Anderson, but it was amended a few years ago to make the punishment, while still on the books, slightly less severe.