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Everything posted by kenmorefield

  1. I was hoping for entirely new blurbs for Top 25. For other films, I was hoping to do those that had no blurb before those that had old blurbs. For those that had old blurbs, my general feeling is: 1) If the person who wrote the previous blurb is still around, he/she has option to revise *or* keep their old blurb. 2) If the person is around but doesn't want to revise blurb and someone else wants to write that blurb, the newer one will replace the older one. 3) If the person who wrote the old blurb is no longer present, anyone can request to write a new blurb and is okay to do so. Here is what is not assigned--an asterisk means there is an old blurb that can stand unless someone else wants to write a new blub: Diary of a Country Priest (1951)* The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)* Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)* Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)* Monsieur Vincent (1947)* The House is Black (1963)* Heartbeat Detector (2007)* A Moment of Innocence (1996)* Close-Up (1990)* To Sleep With Anger (1990) The Gleaners & I (2000)* The Apostle (1997)* The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) Munyurangabo (2007)* Tokyo Story (1953)* Dead Man Walking (1995)* The Burmese Harp (1956)* The Mill and the Cross (2011) Chariots of Fire (1981)* A Serious Man (2009)* In Praise of Love (2001)* Ponette (1996)* Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)* Fiddler on the Roof (1971)* Silent Light (2007)* Schindler's List (1993)* The Ushpizin (2004)* The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)* The Immigrant (2013)* Places in the Heart (1984)* Nazarin (1959)* What Time is It There? (2001) Right now, the only films I believe with no blurbs at all are Do the Right Thing, Tree of Wooden Clogs, and What Time is it There? Also, there are a handful of films that people have claimed that I'm sure they would probably give up if someone else actively *wanted* them, so if there is a particular film you have in mind, let me know. I don't feel much like giving anyone a deadline unless there is someone else waiting. Kevin S. said he'd do Do the Right Thing, and I did want a Black voice to do that, but he's understandably had his attention elsewhere the last few weeks. I'd certainly allow someone else to do it if they felt ready to tackle it.
  2. Steven sent me his blurbs for Of Gods and Men and The Miracle Maker.
  3. Brian, Here is a link that worked for me...you may have to scroll down through various episodes: https://tinyurl.com/y8txez4n
  4. My social distancing book club will be discussing Dawn beginning July 7 (via zoom). Send me a PM if you want an invite...the group is centered on Goodreads, but it has developed mostly just as a place to put the Zoom link for weekly discussions.
  5. I've had this sitting on my screener shelf for a year or more, but you know with the pandemic and all.... Anyway, it is quite good, and I was pleased that it had the moral complexity of "real life" and avoided turning all the characters into he flattest versions of themselves or the principles they represent. Might even be worth adding to the "Spiritually Significant...by Women" thread. My one reservation was that I thought the film deliberately glossed over the fact that Sture Lindgren was married (he eventually left his wife to marry Astrid) since that didn't really fit the thematic narratives about family, parental devotion, suffering, etc. That's a shame, I thought, because I thought the film primed the audience to see complexity in decisions where other films might just show things in black and white, so it made me wonder if that part was elided because it didn't trust the audience or because some part of it really ran counter to the themes in the film. I was also unaware that actress Alba August was the daughter of Bille August (Pelle the Conqueror).
  6. Andrew, I don't really want to have this conversation and certainly not here, but you directed a specific question about a specific action to me, so I felt I needed to respond. I am not going to get into what seems to me a very unlikely to be fruitful back and forth about the nuts and bolts of dozens of different hypotheticals. (It seems to me that you've already shifted from a call for some sort of unified action to a call for some sort of non-binding resolution. ) So this will be my last word in this thread. You are, of course, welcome to continue asking for other responses. Given the first sentence, I think the second is overly broad, and thus not one that I would feel comfortable endorsing and certainly not mandating to a membership (which was the form of the question posed to me). Don't get me wrong, some (incalculable number of) people will die because they choose to go see Mulan. Just as some will die because they chose to get a haircut or go back to colleges with face to face classes. Worse, some people (like that pastor in Arkansas whose church became a local epicenter) will indirectly kill other people, perhaps knowingly, perhaps unknowingly, to go see Tenet. There is, however, a fairly large spectrum between least possible risk (everyone shelter at home by law until there is a vaccine that everyone is mandated to take and in the meantime the government pays a living wage to everyone out of work and hazard pay to essential workers who determined by.....) and greatest possible risk (ignoring common sense and proceeding as normal). Given the number of variables and the constantly amassing amount of data, as well as the social and political climate, I see more upside to informing the public than trying to manipulate their choices. No matter what is proposed, it seems evident to me that no proposal will be without any risk and that there will always be some who propose we could do something else that had even less risk. I don't know yet under what circumstances, if any, I would attend a screening. But the day I have to decide, while not far off, isn't here yet. And I'm not willing at this time to commit to saying I won't review "x," (or cover it in any way) if I can do so with the amount of risk that is commensurate to other non-essential activities. EDIT: Given what I've seen already in response to AMC and the mask thing, changes in decisions will be more likely based on people saying they won't attend or actually not attending than critics saying they won't review. I am having a hard time envisaging the sliver of the population that says, "this is unsafe, and normally I woudn't go, but Ken reviewed it, so I'm gonna chance it..."
  7. Short answer is not at this time, but things change pretty fast in this landscape. Couple of reservations: 1) In film social media, this sentiment appears to have been prompted by AMC, but there is a difference between boycotting a particular theater chain and not covering any movie. The target appears to shift from trying to mandate the theater chain to be more responsible to trying to pressure the studio to not release the film or release via streaming. 2) NCFCA (and other organizations) are made up of members in different situations. If someone was close to a local independent theater (like Alamo or that bar in Phoenix that was renting out theaters for groups of 10+, or the drive-in theaters that are being revitalized) the lines don't seem as black and white between safe/unsafe. 3) Most critics are freelancers (at least in NCFCA), but if someone has a job, the consequences of "refusing" to cover might be different for them than others. 4) Critics routinely cover films (such as as festivals) that aren't available to all/most people. I am skeptical of the notion that a critic reviewing a film somehow frees people to go or validates it. 5) For the NCFCA to "make this an "organization action" (as opposed to a recommendation) begs the "or what question." And any punitive action seems unenforceable. I mean, I guess the answer for the "or what" question would be "or you'll be dropped from membership roster" but I'm not sure I want to get in the business of auditing members or telling them what they can and can't review.
  8. kenmorefield

    King Lear

    There will never be a better Lear. Rest in peace, Sir Ian:
  9. kenmorefield

    Da 5 Bloods

    I am not going to be able to make chat tonight probably, but I am following your discussion and look forward to hearing how (if at all) the Zoom helps.
  10. Greetings. Should you feel so inclined, the Introductions thread allows people to get a sense of new participants and allows new participants to indicate some of their interests. Judging another's intent seems more difficult to me than judging a work of art, but I agree (and I think I've heard others here say so as well) that these sorts of discussions often strain at the gnats of language and swallow the camels of violence. It's interesting that you list Pasolini as one of your two "yes" examples. I found Salo nearly impossible to watch all the way through, though I suspect his intent in making the film was to say something about violence and fascism that was true. I'm also not sure how to parse the opening sentence ("...profanity in Christian films...") given the examples you conclude with. By a "Christian" film, I generally mean the product of a Christian production company or a film intentionally participating in the creation of films specifically directed and marketed to Christians. But perhaps you mean the product of Christian auteurs? I'm not sure how Tarantino's films fit either definition.
  11. Prufrock-like, I have counted out my life in mediocre Christian movies: http://1morefilmblog.com/2020/06/16/selfie-dad-silverman-2020/?preview=true&_thumbnail_id=17002
  12. The 2017 list "Waking Up" is now populated on the list page: http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?/films/year/14-2017-top-25-films-on-waking-up/
  13. Amidst the wash of imagery and sound in Terrence Malick’s film is a portrayal of humanity’s search for meaning and grace. The parallels between the journey of Christian Bale’s Rick through the bacchanalia of contemporary America and John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress are stated quite clearly, but most importantly these parallels frame Rick’s awakening from a life of selfish pursuit as a journey, an intentional action in which each step along the way leads him to a clearer and clearer understanding. Yet, its confessional nature does not result in a film certain of itself. Instead, this is Malick at perhaps his most experimental, seeing what he can uncover with his roving, unsettled camera. The film does not serve merely as a lesson of spiritual and moral re-enchantment for Rick, but potentially for the viewer as well.

    —Anders Bergstrom

  14. A quote attributed to Chesterton, although heavily paraphrased from his original words, reads: “Fairytales do not tell children that dragons exist; children already know dragons exist. Fairytales tell children that dragons can be killed.” Pan's Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s fairytale for adults, reminds us of the power and beauty of fairytales as a way to triumph over both spiritual and physical adversity. When young Ofelia’s (Ivana Baquero) mother remarries a sadistic general of the fascist army during the Spanish Civil War, the girl discovers a mysterious labyrinth and faun, both of which serve as a means of her waking up not only to the harsh realities of her daily life, but more importantly to the ways she can avoid succumbing to them. As she becomes increasingly aware of this supernatural world and its inextricable link with the physical world, Ofelia awakens to a sense of wonder and goodness that exist in both, even when they are difficult to find.

    —Evan Cogswell

  15. If the key image of spiritual awakening in the Christian tradition is the Apostle Paul’s encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, I would suggest that Roy Neary’s encounter on a dark country road with a UFO is cinema’s “Road to Damascus.” Close Encounters of the Third Kind portrays the meeting of human and extra-terrestrial life as an awakening to transcendence. For those who encounter the ETs—or those who wish to, like François Truffaut’s Lacombe—the experience compels them to actions they scarcely understand, to abandon their present life in the pursuit of communion with the unknown. Few films have offered an articulation of spiritual longing and wonder, but here Spielberg portrays spiritual awakening using the idioms of his time.

    —Anders Bergstrom

  16. Max Klein (Jeff Bridges) survives a devastating plane crash virtually unscathed, leads many others to safety, and then disappears - not only from the wreckage site, but from himself and his family. Max, having been brought to the threshold of life and death, doesn’t seem to be able to, or want to bring himself back from that threshold. The efforts of his family and another crash survivor may be the only connections Max has left to be able to fully embrace his second chance at life.

    —John Drew

  17. Learning your entire reality is a carefully constructed lie would be a moment of crisis and potential awakening for anyone, but learning that lie has been constructed for the entertainment of an entire country makes it all the more overwhelming. That is precisely what happens to Truman (Jim Carrey) when the meticulously designed reality show that forms his life beings to fall apart, not only because of Truman’s increasing awareness, but also because of the moral awakening of several people who had helped delude him. Peter Weir’s dark comedy also serves as a wakeup call to the audience, asking us to consider the ways we have enabled the exploitation of others for corporate profit and our own entertainment, reminding us through Truman’s journey there is a greater reality worth seeking.

    —Evan Cogswell

  18. Looks like we don't have a dedicated thread for Michael, though it's been mentioned in a few places, notably the William Dieterle thread where Doug C. responds to my having watched Dieterle's Sex in Chains by mentioning that Michael was part of the same series from Kino. I think the arguments for it being "gay" or "gay-themed" or "bisexual" are a bit stronger than Doug apparently did (though I'm reading a decade old response to a deleted comment) and certainly more than Dreyer's biographers apparently did. Mostly, though, my review developed into a meditation on critical blind spots, since I found myself not being comfortable at either pole in the forced debate between those who seemingly champion it because it is gay and those who would see the rater latent depiction of homosexuality as stemming from something other than just skirting censorship. http://1morefilmblog.com/2020/06/14/michael-dreyer-1924/
  19. Thanks, Andrew! It looks like the only films without a previous blurb that are as yet unclaimed are: Lourdes, The Tree of Wooden Clogs, and What Time is it There? I could probably do Lourdes as some point, though I haven't seen What Time is it There? and am having trouble locating it. Not sure what I'd say about Tree of Wooden Clogs. Also, if anyone wants to revisie or revisit a film with previous blurb, I'd be happy to have at least the Top 25 having new blurbs, which means Diary of a Country Priest, Sophie Scholl , and Monsieur Vincent.
  20. In this early Varda film, Cleo is hooked on her own reflection. She is constantly looking in mirrors, window reflections, and ensuring her well-manicured presentation is in order. But something dramatic happens in our two late afternoon hours with Cleo, during which she is waiting to hear the results of a test for stomach cancer. After a series of encounters revealing how shallow her life is, Cleo tears a perfectly coiffed wig from her head and spends the remainder of the film in an iconic parable of self-discovery. In a dramatic subjective movement of Varda’s camera, we begin to see a new Paris through Cleo’s eyes. The mirrors give way to conversations. Cleo’s mortal fear becomes a pathway to a new way of seeing and self-awareness. This is all one of cinema’s great reflections on beauty, identity, and wholeness.

    —Michael Leary

  21. Spike Lee uses three spiritual awakenings to frame the story of Malcolm X's life. Malcolm was raised in a Christian household but was never a committed follower. His ties to the underworld led to a prison sentence where he experienced his first spiritual awakening. We see the vision that led him toward the decision to join the Nation of Islam. This awakening forms his early activism and resistance, all in submission to Elijah Muhammad. When disappointed by Elijah Mohammed, he distanced himself from the Nation of Islam and took a pilgrimage to Mecca, his second awakening. Upon meeting Muslims of all races, his work became inclusive. Shortly before his murder, he walked outside a Christian church where a woman told him she's praying for him. His response to this presents his third spiritual awakening and leaves us wondering how his life and work would have changed had he lived longer.

    —Ed Bertram

  22. Delbert Mann's Marty tells the simple story of two lonely, desperate people (played by Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair) meeting one another and waking to the possibility that life can offer more than what society has allotted for them. Marty remains one of only two films to have won both the Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Picture, and it bridges both Hollywood romantic comedy and European art cinema. The venerable Paddy Chayefsky penned its fleet screenplay, which often stands in peculiar relationship to Delbert Mann's frequently severe direction, which, with the utilization of high-contrast lighting and occasionally stark composition, underlines the characters’ isolation and existential longing. That isolation can only be dispelled by awareness that, as Borgnine's Marty so memorably declares, “we ain't such dogs as we think we are.”

    —Ryan Holt

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