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Posts posted by Overstreet

  1. Painting with John on HBO Max is the entirely unlikely, heaven-sent sequel to series to the cult classic Fishing with John.

    The new All Creatures Great and Small is playing things entirely too safe. It could have been generated by a BBC A.I. program based on what their older viewers want.

    Hilda Season 2 was just so-so for a while, but the second half of the season began reaching some of the glory of Season 1.

    Little by little, I'm working my way through Abstract on Netflix, which is a remarkable series of documentaries on creativity.

    Song Exploder's episode on "Losing My Religion" is fantastic; the episodes on "Wait for It" and "Hurt" are good too.

  2. Haven't finalized the list yet — I'll post a more precise one soon:


    • Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
    • Emma
    • First Cow
    • Minari
    • Nomadland
    • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
    • Small Axe: Lovers Rock
    • Small Axe: Mangrove
    • Shirley
    • Wolfwalkers


    • American Utopia
    • Another Round
    • Da 5 Bloods
    • Dick Johnson is Dead
    • Driveways
    • Extra Ordinary
    • Little Fish
    • Miss Juneteenth
    • Never Rarely Sometimes Always
    • Rocks
    • Sound of Metal
    • Tesla
    • The Invisible Man
    • The Vast of Night
    • Vitalena Varela
    • Young Ahmed



  3. I'm interviewing Chad Hartigan tomorrow about his new film Little Fish. Has anyone here seen it yet? It's uncanny about how pandemic-focused this project was already before the pandemic hit.

    Anybody have a burning question for him? I'm happy to take suggestions.

  4. Gut-wrenching, stomach-souring, infuriating, like crawling through broken glass... this is one of the most difficult documentaries I've ever sat through. What I began to think was too sensationalistic, characterized by a spirit of vengeance, eventually justifies itself by broadening its scope to reveal the purposefulness within it all. It's a necessary film and I'm glad it exists. I wish I could remove the word harrowing from all of my previous reviews, though, so that I could more properly and powerfully apply that term here.

  5. I love this video and was going to share it today, but I'm realizing that it's really difficult for people to find a formal presentation of the list itself.

    The link given with the video is just artsandfaith.com. A newcomer arriving at the home page could have a hell of a time wandering around trying to find whatever we're considering the central publication of the list. 

    Similarly, if I go to Ken's introduction to the list on The Porch, I can read that long essay and still not know where to click. 

    So... forgive me if I've missed something obvious, but what link represents the public-facing announcement with the full list? Seems like it deserves a hub with the Intro and then the detailed rollout of titles and summaries.

  6. It's great. (I saw it during a brief big-screen exhibition in Seattle earlier this year.)

    It's compromised, as each episode increasingly seems to be, by how fragmented the stories are becoming. But there is an emotional gut-punch in this once that was inevitable, and I have to stop there to avoid spoilers. 

    Here's what I posted at Letterboxd.

  7. Thy Kingdom Come, a short made entirely from outtakes of To the Wonder, following Bardem's priest as he takes confessions that are actually true confessions, is now streaming on Kanopy and rentable elsewhere.

  8. This EOB album is a lot of fun, although I'm glad that Radiohead leaves the lyrics to Thom Yorke. The rhythms and sounds here are very Radiohead, but the lyrics aren't nearly as compelling. When I first heard "Shangri-La," I thought I'd be buying this record on vinyl. After a few spans, I still like it, but I don't feel like I need to give it the deluxe treatment.

    Here are my favorite albums for 2020 so far.


  9. I didn't like Madelne's Madeline. 

    Shirley, by contrast, is my favorite film of 2020 at the halfway point.

    My review is up at Looking Closer. 

  10. Regarding the question of comparison — since I'm the one that was doing that most insistently in the Zoom discussion, let me clarify.

    I don't mean to say "I love A, and since B doesn't impress me as much as A, I don't like B." 

    For me, it's more like this:

    "B left me curiously unmoved. I'm trying to work my way to why. It is styled like other films — A and C, for example – that really did move me. And it deals with subject matter that other films — like D and E — have dealt with, and those films moved me. I can talk about what worked in A, C, D, and E stylistically and substantively. I can't make the same claims about B. Maybe this helps me explain, somewhat, why I'm disappointed with B. 

    "Having said that... I can't deny that B is very interesting and very well made. I'm glad I saw it. And I will see it again, fully anticipating that I might come to appreciate it more the second time."

    Please remember that in that Zoom discussion, we also began making comparisons and asking questions that I found quite exciting — particularly when it came to moments of intimate touch in the film and what they represented. I remember being inspired by that and saying that now I was ready to go back and reconsider the film.

  11. Every time I see it, I bump it farther up my list of all-time favorite films. It gives us a rare and honest depiction of just how complicated it is to discern "the right thing" — and how dangerous and costly, to oneself and others, that "thing" might actually be. It shows up just how commonly we settle for oversimplifications of righteousness in cinema.

    I've noticed recently that I cannot stomach anymore the kinds of common detective- and police-drama TV shows I've watched my whole life because I can no longer take the self-righteous grimaces of the detectives and cops when they murmur their contempt for the crooks once they've caught them. Watching Broadchurch Season Three last week, I couldn't even take it from David Tennant and Olivia Colman — their sheer contempt for the villain and their utter lack of curiosity about the forces that might have influenced the villain in his misdeeds. Unlike the first season, which was so richly nuanced, it felt like a standard "Well, we caught the monster — and what a monster!" 

    Do the Right Thing, like so much of Lee's work, refuses to settle for the standard "Here is prejudice in America: Black people are the victims of hate." I reveals prejudice at work in everybody's hearts in myriad ways to the point that even Lee himself doesn't seem to know what "the right thing" is. I've come to see his films as trash cans thrown through windows: He figures that making messy art may not solve things, but at least it can relieve some of the tension and get people thinking and talking instead of just shouting and shooting.

  12. Hartigan was a special guest via Skype in my Glen Workshop film seminar in Santa Fe last summer. We watched Martin Bonner and then he joined us for 45 minutes of Q&A. It was great. He was so generous with his time and perspectives.

  13. The body-on-body sequence you're referring to, while executed in an effectively creepy way, just checked the box of Tarkovsky Reference for me (or, at least one of the Tarkovsky references). It just felt to me like he was working through a list, incorporating a sort of Top Ten Ideas from Great Art Films. But by that point I was already somewhat frustrated with the footnotey-ness of the whole affair. I think I've described it before as like reading T.S. Eliot in a study edition filled with annotations.

    But for what it's worth — I'm not dismissing First Reformed or Young Ahmed. Not at all. They are entirely worthy of admiration, study, interpretation, and revisitation. I just find that I don't find them as rewarding or as satisfying as other work by those artists (any other Dardenne film, or several Schrader screenplays). I would hope that I don't come across as dismissive of — or, God forbid, hostile toward — either film. 

  14. Outside of Radiohead and Over the Rhine, this is my favorite band making music today. 

    Once I'd spent enough time listening to Garvey's voice to stop thinking he was Peter Gabriel in disguise — their cover of "Mercy Street" resembles the original so much, it's uncanny — I started marveling at what a fantastic vocalist he is. The lyrics are always substantial, the stylistic range awe-inspiring, and the musicianship confident and constantly inventive. Live, they are out of this world. (I saw them in Seattle on the Little Fictions tour, and they surpassed my high expectations.) 

    "The Birds" may be my favorite song of theirs too, but there are so many contenders. "My Sad Captains," "Grounds for Divorce," and "Lippy Kids" are way up there, along with the recent "My Trouble." I love the version of "Kindling (Fickle Flame)" that features John Grant. But the whole record of The Take Off and Landing of Everything rates with the very best albums I've heard in the last decade.

  15. When we can talk spoilers, I want to hear others' takes on the ending. The last moment was in no way a surprise... or even interesting to me. It was just sort of like "Here endeth the lesson."

  16. This trailer is so much of what I don't miss about the closure of theaters. My interest in Nolan has waned in direct proportion to how much bigger and louder his movies have become.

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