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About Christian

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  • Interests
    Film, religion, jazz.

Previous Fields

  • Favorite movies
    Dardennes brothers, Tarkovsky, Dreyer, Coens, De Palma, some Kubrick
  • Favorite music
    Hard-bop jazz.
  • Favorite creative writing
    Junot Diaz, Matt Labash, Marilynne Robinson

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  1. I like it, with two caveats: If the introductory text is to remain, do you want to keep the reference to the Oscars being "this Sunday"? Also, it throws me off to read about a "Top 10" list followed by icons that conclude with "#11." Yes, #11 goes not to a ranked film but to "Honorable Mentions"; however, I find that confusing as well. I'd simply strike the "#11" and retain the avatar/image. EDIT: It occurs to me that you're probably planning to replace all the 2018 info with 2019 EJ info, in which case, sorry that I pulled the trigger on my comments.
  2. Best A&F non sequitur ever? Anyway, my big takeaway isn't disappointment (although the Academy's shutout of A Hidden Life will live in infamy) but amazement at how many nominations, across categories, Parasite received.
  3. Christian

    The Two Popes

    I just meant that he'd posted his review. I'd thought he'd done that here in this thread, but I must have linked to it from elsewhere.
  4. Christian

    The Two Popes

    And now that both Steven and Evan have chimed in, I wanted to return to the film as drama, and not so much as theology/history. Doesn't it fail simply on that level - as drama? And not because of its historical embellishments/inaccuracies, although those make things worse. The film gives its game away fairly early on, and because we know whose "side" the film takes, it's simply uninteresting from that point forward. I appreciate Andrew's take from an atheist perspective. It's interesting to me that he's the only thread participant who's positive on this film. I'm not angry at the film, although I could see why others might be. (I'm not saying anyone else's review comes across as angry, only that the film feels designed to tweak certain sensitivities.) The Two Popes is this awards season's big letdown - not even good enough to challenge people on the "other side" of the film's debate. Frankly, it felt lazy to me. I'm surprised it has as many fans as it does.
  5. It occurred me as I read your post that I wasn't sure if you were asking specifically for EJ screening recommendations, or more broadly for local critics-group voting consideration. I think it's the latter, but just in case it's the former - and you may have discussed this in the dedicated EJ thread, although I didn't see any mention there when using the search engine - you might want to prioritize Just Mercy. I see that Peter has a thread on the film with just an initial post. As I mentioned to a friend on Twitter, it's a film that doesn't do much for me cinematically, but which doesn't need to do anything more than point a camera at its excellent performers and let them do their thing - their "thing" being bringing to life one of the most Christian-drenched storylines I've seen in a mainstream release in recent memory. It's primarily, I think, a polemical film about the death penalty, and that might alienate some viewers who aren't opposed to the death penalty (I'm not opposed, FWIW). But from its opening moments, it's clear that some of its characters - those imprisoned and those not - have church backgrounds, and Christian faith/practice comes to the fore at key moments. It's sometimes subtle, but it's also hard to overlook/ignore. I appreciated that, as well as the (to me) shocking statistics about wrongful convictions among those on death row. I've seen the film twice in the past week - I didn't plan to, but my wife wanted to see it and decided to watch it again. I'm glad I gave it a second look. The film's strengths grew; its weaknesses faded (but didn't disappear).
  6. For Best Animated Film, give “I Lost My Body” a look. I also am a fan of the look of “Alita: Battle Angel,” but I have no idea if the way they made that film qualifies as a special effect, animation or something else.
  7. Jumping off from the discussion in Ken's FilmFest 919 (2019) thread, here's the lineup for the 2019 Virginia Film Festival. My first-look lineup never strictly holds, but I do hope to avoid the sellouts I experienced last year (a first! the festival almost always has had tickets available for the shows I want to see, and I've waited until my arrival in Charlottesville to purchase them) by buying tickets as soon as they go on sale this year. That's probably especially important, as my lineup is dense with heavy-hitter evening screenings of awards-touted titles. Those aren't what I've emphasized in years past; I'd see maybe one or two such titles, while focusing on more offbeat fare I wasn't sure would be booked in my home market of Washington, D.C. But with life changes keeping me from seeing movies with the frequency I once did and me being unable to attend the Middleburg Film Festival closer to home, I plan to use the Virginia festival to "binge watch" several high-profile awards candidates. My rough lineup as of this moment: 10/24: Frankie (or Those Who Remained) The Kingmaker Waves 10/25: Forman vs. Forman Mickey and the Bear (or Portrait of a Lady on Fire) In Fabric 10/26: Marriage Story Jojo Rabbit Parasite 10/27: Family Romance, LLC (this one's very tentative; I don't usually attend the Sunday of the festival, and may go to a morning church service) I Lost My Body A Hidden Life Bacurau (ends late for me to start my drive home, so I may bag this screening depending on what I hear from friends who see it at NYFF) I'm a little discouraged by how few documentaries I'll be seeing at the festival this year - I enjoy seeing docs at the festival, even though many have disappointed me.
  8. That's quite a lineup, Ken, and it gives me a better read on what might be coming to the two regional fests I've attended in recent years - the Middleburg and Virginia Film Festivals. Conflicts will keep me from Middleburg this year, but I'm hoping to have more than 1 or 2 days in Charlottesville for the Virginia Film Festival. I've already booked one night there - even though the schedule of films won't release until this coming weekend. EDIT: And just like that, early VA Film Fest announcements start rolling out! https://mobile.twitter.com/VaFilmFest
  9. Co-written by Aleksandar Hemon??!! Seems like the lede was buried here. Not to mention Mitchell. This seems promising from a literary perspective. Doesn't mean it'll be a good movie, of course, but it's still promising.
  10. Tonight I pulled up Twitter and saw that Speed Racer was trending. I don't often notice what's trending on Twitter, but because I've grown to love this movie, I clicked and found that ... well, I'm still not sure why the film is trending - and neither are most others who've been tweeting about the film today. Everyone's just, "I don't know why Speed Racer is trending, but that's a great movie." And then they post a GIF. I have to say, this is the most fun I've had on Twitter in a long time. And I'm still not sure why the film is trending.
  11. Just curious, Ed: What version/format of this film did you watch? The Criterion 4K restoration is lovely, but so was my earlier laserdisc. The movie's good enough that the format probably doesn't hurt, as long as it's not an old washed-out TV print (perish the thought).
  12. Christian


    Yes, agreed all around. I appreciate the (few) films I see where religion is just part of daily life - casual expression of "the Lord will take care of her," etc. I suppose that can be a platitude, but it feels meaningful in the context of Diane, where people are in the hospital or otherwise suffering or just getting by. The film focuses on older characters - in itself quite unusual (and admirable - that audience is underserved). It's easy to let such talk pass by, and had it not been raised several times, I might not have made a big deal of it. But it comes up several times throughout the film, and I found myself wondering about Jones' religious background (if any). I'm tempted to assume Jones was raised Catholic because he so often has interviewed Scorsese and has made Hitchcock/Truffaut, based on interviews in which Truffaut directly asks Hitch about his religious background. But I've not been able to confirm anything about Jones' own thinking on faith. I suppose such knowledge isn't essential to understanding Diane, but the movie made me want to understand better where the filmmaker might be coming from on the subject.
  13. Christian


    I don't start new threads here often, but I'm very curious to know if anyone has seen Kent Jones' "Diane." I had heard the film has a strong lead performance from Mary Kay Place, but until seeing "Diane" last night, I hadn't known how prominent a role religion plays in the story. I was pleasantly surprised, though the expressions of faith are sometimes hypocritical (just like real life!). I'd like to know to what extent others here found the depiction of faith to be positive, if at all.
  14. This is something I wonder about frequently. Have the movies changed or have I changed? I certainly hardly ever feel the thrill from summer blockbusters that I felt from movies through my teen years. (That was the 1980s.) I've sometimes returned to those films to show them to my own kids now, but it's not unusual for me to feel some disconnect with the material, even as I still enjoy the films. So it must be me, not the movies, right? No. The blockbusters of today are worse, and the kids just don't have my endless wisdom and experience to inform their Marvel-crazed opinions. Something like that. This is why I got so excited about The Kid Who Would Be King. Not only did my kids love it, but it made me feel like a kid again while watching it. Thanks for letting me post these thoughts, which will get buried by Endgame (thread-appropriate) reactions. I haven't seen the film yet, though I enjoyed the earlier Avengers movies more than I expected to. If I see Endgame and am moved to say anything about it, I'll be sure to post here.
  15. Doug! Great to see you! Hey, I did a little tweet storm about this film, and how watching it with my 12- and, yes, 10-year-old boys was close to magical. I watched the film but also watched my boys watching the film, and saw the effect it was having on them. I don't see a lot of movies with my kids, and when I do, the movies aren't always good. So this was a very special experience. I'm indebted to Joe Cornish.
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