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Overstreet

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Everything posted by Overstreet

  1. Overstreet

    Dune

    I can't believe there's no thread on Dune. It's only one of the GREATEST contributions to sci-fi/fantasy ever composed. And the David Lynch film is... well... it's something, that's for sure. Not sure what, but it's something. I'm actually a fan, even though I tend to think of it as a different entity than Herbert's novel. The film has some pretty unforgettable scenes.... And I'm nostalgic about it: It was my introduction to Patrick Stewart, and Francesca Annis, and Grima Wormtongue (I mean, Brad Dourif)... The miniseries has won some praise here and there. And now... rumors of another big screen adaptation. I need to pick this up and read it again soon, simply because I miss that world. I love the first book, like the second, love the third, and need to revisit the fourth now that I'm old enough to appreciate it. So... any fans around here? Of any particular manifestation of the story? Who would be in your dream cast for Dune?
  2. A reader at Looking Closer writes to say he's teaching a film class and he wants to focus on films on the theme of exile (personal and corporate) and restoration. An intriguing theme. Do any particular discussion-worthy films spring to mind?
  3. Overstreet

    Acme

    Deadline New York:
  4. Overstreet

    Spotlight (2015)

    Variety: Wow. And yikes.
  5. Overstreet

    Still Life

    It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2006. And here, in 2009, I figure it's time we had a thread on it. I've only just caught up with Jia Zhangke’s Still Life, and it's left me in a very strange mood. I feel the same sense of sadness that I felt when I saw Up the Yangtze (an extraordinary documentary) last year, probably because it's set in the same context. It's a sadness that's hard to describe. It's heartbreaking enough when you see news of a child drowning in a lake. But in these films, you're watching, in very very slow motion, an entire civilization drowning. And this isn't a tsunami, a natural disaster where the people have nowhere to send their anger but upward. This is a government-sanctioned flooding of river valleys with histories that run back thousands of years. Filming in Fengjie, Jia gives us images of a real place that has to be seen to be believed. China is tearing down thousands of years of history, demolishing buildings, driving old farming communities to higher ground, and then flooding the entire Fengjie landscape through the installation of the enormous Three Gorges hydroelectric-dam project. Watching Up the Yangtze, I saw a present-day Atlantis formed, as villages were drowned by the rising waters, while the villagers stood on higher ground staring down in disbelief as their histories and their ancestors histories' were submerged. To add insult to injury, they then had to go looking for work -- new work, often in tourism, as Westerners come "flooding" in on cruise ships to tour the region. How can any sense of sadness be an adequate response to this? Whole villages are being forced out of their families' homes, livelihoods, and histories... and they were nearly starving to begin with. What will they do now? Most of them are already so far behind the modern world that they'll have no hope of finding a place anywhere. Both Up the Yangtze and Still Life are beautiful movies. Beautifully horrifying. They feel like the documentation of a turning point on Planet Earth. In Still Life, we follow two people who are searching for loved ones. One is a rural coal miner (Han Sanming) looking for the wife and daughter he lost 16 years earlier. The world is crumbling around him as he travels back through lands he once knew. He hardly recognizes anything, and nobody lives where they once did. It's as if he's desperate to reconnect with the last strand of connection he has with the past, as if he fears his wife and daughter were swallowed up in the rising waters. There's also a woman (Zhao Tao, who was in Jia's The World) looking for the husband she hasn't seen in two years. She feels he has betrayed her, or at least been very dishonest. I'm not sure what to make of this simpler storyline, unless their relationship is meant to suggest the relationship of China's people with their government. The two stories never directly connect, save for their similar backgrounds, where cities have been hollowed out so that they look like massive wasp nests. If you pay attention you'll occasionally see a skyscraper suddenly implode in the distance, erased from the skyline as if it was never there. Cinematographer Yu Lik Wai has a slow, observant style, panning patiently from left to right and back again as if his attention is more on the context than the characters, and who can blame him when you have that context? These are some of the most disturbing, apocalytpic images I've seen in any movie... precisely because they are not digital inventions. I kept thinking of lines from Radiohead songs: "This is really happening, happening! Women and children first!" "It's the devil's way now... there's no way out... you can scream and you can shout... it's too late now... because you have not been paying attention." Two men sit drinking and reminiscing, and one tells the other that they are both unfit for this new world because they are "nostalgists." It turns out that he's quoting Chow Yun Fat from an old, favorite movie. Then they sit across the table from one another and, in one of the film's most intimate exchanges, they call each other's cell phones so that they can hear each other's ringtones. One is an old, old song about China, and the other is a dreamy, romantic pop song about the flowing river of love. Meanwhile, a different kind of river swamps a civilization behind them. But it gets stranger. Once in a while, you might see a U.F.O. Or notice a building in the background blasting off like a space shuttle. As wacky as that sounds, it works. Because it gives us a strange sense that things are accelerating far too quickly, so that we don't even know what's happening, or understand the skylines that are materializing in this new world. Are they falling to pieces, or part of some new world for which we have no key, no language, no marketable skills? On the wall of one of the crumbling buildings, a banner reads, "Give it all you've got!" Is it a command for the demolition workers? Or was it an instruction for the people who lived there, whose efforts are now being swept away, as if they never existed at all.
  6. Overstreet

    Top 25 or 100 for 2018-19

    Count me in.
  7. Overstreet

    Batman Begins (2005)

    Christian Bale. That's the big news at AICN. With Nolan (Memento, Insomnia) at the helm, does this story have anything more to give audiences? I'd venture to guess that in Nolan's hands, we might finally have a Batman film of serious substance. He's all about conscience, the guilt of violence, the difficulty humans face in trying to deal out justice that resolves anything... Well, he's got a great leading actor. I wonder if the project will make it to the screen.
  8. Here's a new interview with John Lasseter about Pixar, its origins and style.
  9. Overstreet

    Slumdog Millionaire

    Kim Voynar's Cinematical review:
  10. Overstreet

    Super Size Me

    Is there a thread on this already? If not, before you get too excited about this film, this criticism of "Super-size Me" is worth noting. Has anyone here seen it?
  11. In 2013, I led a seminar at the Glen Workshop that encouraged participants to trace poetic connections between images in poetry and film. I used a short film — about five minutes, I think — that was just a series of quick images, a cleverly sequenced montage. Those paying attention could see how the images were related by clever poetic or aesthetic connections. It was sort of like a game. Does this ring a bell for anybody? I'm dismayed that I can't find the name of the film in my notes.
  12. A student of mine is writing a research paper about how to respond to sexual abuse (from harassment to assault), and specifically focusing on how the movies "let us down" in shaping our ideas about this. She's specifically looking for films that explore responses to abuse: Characters who go to the police, the press, counselors, etc. Characters who choose retaliation. Characters who suffer in silence. I'm sure glad I'm not writing a research paper about this, as I wouldn't want to watch a bunch of movies on this subject. But, I'm glad somebody's thinking about how we need stories that help us empathize with those who suffer. And we need stories that give those who suffer some better understanding of how to respond... and how not to respond. Ideas? Suggestions?
  13. Overstreet

    The Tree of Life (2011)

    According to a quick trip through some stories at The Guardian, IMDB, and various online chats about sci-fi and Mel Gibson, it looks like the next Terrence Malick film may be Tree of Life. Colin Farrell and Mel Gibson are the actors supposedly involved, but it sounds like something along the lines of 2001: A Space Odyssey, beginning in some pre-historic era and jumping forward in time. (And that's interesting, considering how I've heard The New World compared to 2001 several times.) But this all sounds very vague and speculative. Who knows? Anybody here heard about this? (I see Peter mentioned it in his blog about a year ago.)
  14. Overstreet

    The Tree of Life (2011)

    Um... This seems significant: Terrence Malick’s ‘Tree of Life’ Gets Longer Criterion Version
  15. Overstreet

    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

    Rachel McAdams will join Downey Jr. and Law for round two, due Dec. 2011.
  16. Overstreet

    The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)

    (Insert cry of dismay here!)
  17. I was startled tonight to discover that My Brother's Wedding, a film by Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep), has just been added to Filmstruck's streaming service. Reading about it, I find that it's a hard title to track down. Has anyone here seen it? It sounds like it's worth a look:
  18. Overstreet

    My Brother's Wedding (1983) - dir. Charles Burnett

    Whoa, I didn't even think to check. If I saw that thread back in 2007, I sure don't remember it. Thanks! I hope I get a chance to see it, but this week is slammed, and I have some promising screener links to upcoming things I want to check out too. Argh.
  19. My favorite faith-related films aren't about heroes passing tests, but about would-be heroes failing and God remaining sovereign and full of grace. Three Colors: Blue, for example. Or The New World. If I had to pick a story in which a person faces tests and succeeds, under incredible pressure, I'd suggest The Son. If you're interested, I have a whole book about this subject. Regarding your question "Is there a difference between faith based and spiritually based films?" — I don't know. I don't believe in "faith-based films," because all creative work is an act of faith. I don't know what a "spiritually based film" is. All creativity is an incarnational activity and thus involves spirit. I'm not sure what you mean by "overt or subtle themes." The more a work of creativity announces what it thinks it means, the less artful it is — and it usually ends up being wrong about what it means anyway. Art is an invitation to explore what an artist has made out of his or her own encounter with mystery. We do not go to art to get a lesson; we go to experience beauty and consider what we might make of it, which, if the art is good, will be an ongoing and inconclusive journey.
  20. Overstreet

    First Reformed

    That Variety clip is so cool! Congrats, Ken! And good for you, Darren. Wow. I can't wait to read what you write up from that.
  21. I nominate World of Tomorrow, Episode Two: The Burden of Other People's Thoughts, by Don Herzfeldt. In retrospect, I rate World of Tomorrow as one of my top 5 films 2015. And since I have no reason to disbelieve the reviews, which are hailing this as every bit as spectacular, I'm throwing a "Hail, Mary" pass to the end zone and trusting that this will be well worth our time and consideration. The question is, of course, whether or not it qualifies, being only 22 minutes long. It played festivals, but it's not getting a wide theatrical release. It's on Vimeo today.
  22. Hoo, boy. I've been wondering how long it would take for this idea to take root somewhere... Variety:
  23. I'm going to assume that Twin Peaks: The Return is not eligible. I understand, and yet this just shows how the increasingly cinematic qualities of some television productions are blurring the lines between the art forms. Nothing I've seen this year stays with me, in the way great art films stay with me, like that series.
  24. Overstreet

    The Women's Balcony

    This film is already on its way out of theaters in Seattle, but with a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a synopsis like this one, it seems like a film this community should consider: Anybody here seen it?
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