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jrobert

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About jrobert

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    Chicago, IL
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    Hockey, bridge
  1. Ah, good. That's what I was hoping for. I saw the first McDull at the Chicago festival two years ago and loved it. Here's what I wrote then: The new one is playing here at Chicago's fest in a couple weeks. I had high hopes, and judging from your review, Peter, I don't think I'll be disappointed. McDull is my hero. J Robert
  2. jrobert

    Time of the Wolf

    Actually, Peter, I was talking about the last shot in that sentence you quoted. I was being vague so as not to spoil anything. And I would argue that it doesn't "almost transcend" the despair; it completely transforms it. But not everyone reads the film's conclusion as hopefully as I do. SPOILERS Regarding the point of view in that last shot, that's an interesting question. My gut feeling is that Haneke wants to put us in the train. The film is designed to make us feel that we're part of this "community," that we too have lost almost all hope. I know I haven't had such a visceral reaction to a movie in a long time, so it makes sense that we'd feel as if we've escaped. As far as the timing of the shot goes, the movie is resolute in its linear narrative--moving desperately forward in time--so I think the natural interpretation is to see it as after the fire sequence. Yeah, that's nice, Peter. I love that shot, too, and you're exactly right that seeing it (and much of the movie) on a small screen would ruin the effect. I can't think of another director who does so much with darkness in a single movie. You could never re-create that in your home; it has to be seen in a theater. Peter, I'll be curious what you think in a few days. When I first saw it, I knew I liked it a lot but only considered it a very good film. But a week later, I was ready to call it a masterpiece. I've seen it again since then, and my opinion hasn't changed. J Robert
  3. Just updating this info. The main blog will be at mike h's Flickerings site. I'm going to try to post to FilmJourney as well, but I can't guarantee it'll work. My plan is to write up a pre-fest post in the next couple days explaining what films I'm seeing and how I chose those. Then over the weekend, the real fest coverage will begin. Feel free to check it out and pass on the word. Ok, shameless self-promotion over. A big thank you to Mike Hertenstein for his work on this. J Robert
  4. It'll probably be at a few different places. Doug is going to Toronto too this year, so I'm not sure how easy it'll be to post to his site. Mike H has offered to host the blog at Flickerings, and I'm sure the Tollbooth will carry it, too. But I'm not proprietary about it. Anyone who wants to put it up is free to. So if Leary wants to post it at Matthew's House, that'd be great. And if you have any interest, Jeffrey, I'll email you, as well. Yeah, but I think it'll be harder this year. I know the passes and coupon books have already sold out, so attendance looks to be higher. Last year it was down on the SARS scare. sel, I'd encourage you to check out the website that opus posted above. The whole film lineup is there. Yes, it's intimidating, but find some films that look interesting to you. Then on Sept. 8, single tickets go on sale online. I'd encourage you to get online fairly early, as I wouldn't be surprised if a number of films sell out even before the fest begins. On the other hand, even if a film sells out, you can always try rush tickets. To get those, you go to the theater 60-90 minutes before the show begins and stand in the rush line. Often two to three dozen in line will make it into the screening. An hour might sound like a long time, but I had some delightful experiences last year doing rush tickets. The stereotype about Canadians is true--they're generally extraordinarily friendly and pleasant. opus, we'll have to compare notes on what films we're seeing. That way we can connect sometime while we're there. Doug Cummings and Darren Hughes don't post here much anymore, but they're going to Toronto, too. Anyone else on the board going? J Robert
  5. Thanks for that. I'm not a huge Midnight Madness person--both because I'm not a "genre" fan and because I like to get some sleep--but it's always fun to see what might be coming. I spent part of today reading through the Cannes coverage in the new Film Comment, and now I'm hoping, hoping for certain films to show up on the TIFF schedule. J Robert
  6. I'll be there. It's already a fascinating lineup. I'm arriving on the first Friday (the day after opening night) and staying for the entire fest. J Robert
  7. jrobert

    Before Sunset

    MASSIVE SPOILERS Ah, I missed that part. I guess I was too busy looking at Ms. Delpy. Seriously, that was a fault of mine. I should've picked up on that. I wonder how it would've affected my viewing experience. Now I don't agree with this. I think the film stacks the deck. We're supposed to root for Hawke and Delpy to get back together. We don't want him to get on that plane. How else to explain that absolutely lovely scene in Delpy's apartment--her touching song that she wrote and plays, her brilliant Nina Simone impersonation, her dancing, Hawke's befuddled looks. And then Linklater's gorgeously modest fade-to-black. 99% of the people in the audience are going to be thrilled that Hawke is missing his plane. That's rooting for infidelity. I'm on a couple other listserves, and I'm fascinated by how many people refer to their own experiences in explaining their reaction to Before Sunset. There's something going on with this movie that hits people at a very primal level. Which is one of the reasons I like it so. Though its morals still bother me a bit. J Robert
  8. Some other suggestions: Before Sunset--Best Director, Best Original Screenplay
  9. It is in fact a Sao Paulo Football Club jersey. A student of mine went to Brazil last year and was nice enough to bring me back a souvenir. I assumed it was completely obscure (I didn't know what SPFC stood for). But in what can only be described as a Cornerstone moment, a guy my age came up to me after my seminar and asked where I'd gotten the jersey. Turns out he was from Brazil, knew all about the soccer club, and gave me an interesting persepctive on Brazilian club football. He assured me that, if I ever travel to Brazil, I should be careful where I wear the shirt. I'll just chime in on Cornerstone. It was a fantastic time, as always. But this year was especially rich. Getting to meet old friends and placing faces with names--doesn't get much better than that. For me, the highlight of the fest was the final discussion, for The Wind Will Carry Us. Such a rich discussion of a rich film. I wish I had seen more of Stef von Loy, but he's a popular guy. The DW Murnau story was certainly the funniest part of the weekend. Huge props have to go to Mike Hertenstein. Flickerings continues to grow in wonderful ways. As I mentioned to Jeffrey O, I don't know how we'll top ourselves next year. But I have no doubt we will. Everyone's presence will be required. I genuinely believe this is fast becoming a necessary "convention" for any Christian film critic interested in more than just thumbs-up-thumbs-down reviewing. J Robert
  10. APOLOGY FROM SDG: Crap. J. Robert, I accidentally deleted the contents of your post attempting to reply to it, and then botched my attempt to restore it from my cache. What makes it worse is that your post was much better than my reply, which can still be found below. I'm really really really sorry.
  11. Hi, Darren. I didn't realize you had made it back to these parts. I might've hurried back more quickly if I had known. Mad props to Leary for raising such an important and fascinating issue. I appreciate both Darren's qualms as well as SDG and Doug's counter-examples of how multi-valent a film's authorship is. As Rosenbaum points out, I think we've become far too lazy in focusing merely on the director's voice and not acknowledging how many cooks there are stirring the broth. I'd like to address this issue in a couple different ways. Let's start with Darren's assertion: I'm not going to disagree with this completely, but I do want to trouble the waters. It is a fact that the human brain is programmed to look for connections. We see similarities and intuit a relationship. We find common themes and deduce a common vision. That is particularly true for critics. We're conditioned to look for how a film is similar to and different from other films. We're supposed to acknowledge how a movie is like the sequel, other movies in the genre, and other movies the director has done. That's part of our craft. But I think sometimes in looking for similarities and common themes, we assume intentionality (or authorship) when in fact it's just a coincidence. I'm confident that if I randomly chose four movies from a particular time period or a particular genre, we could all find common ideas, themes, and motifs. In fact, we could write 25-page grad papers pointing out various elements that occur in all four movies, and we'd posit "an authorial voice." But of course it wouldn't be that at all. It's just that movies, like all works of art, have things in common, and if we assume there has to be a reason for the similarity, then we find it. Conditioned to see the director's role, we assume it's his voice that's responsible. I don't doubt, Darren, that you found Hal Ashby's hand in all those films, but I wonder if you would've if you didn't know they were all his films. Again, I'm not saying that we can't try to divine a director's thematic arc or that we can't try to tease out what a movie (or a line of dialogue) is attempting to "say," but I would argue that such attempts should be done with deep humility and with the understanding that there are a lot of different ways to approach the task of criticism. Now, I don't think anyone on the board would disagree with much of this. But in my next post (designed to break up an otherwise interminable post), I want to argue why I think "authorial intent" and auteur theory are indeed over-rated. J Robert
  12. It could be, if the right money changed hands. Sorry, I couldn't resist. J Robert
  13. jrobert

    Jersey Girl

    I like this one better than Jeffrey does. I haven't quite thought through it yet (writing the review this weekend), but I was really touched by the movie. The family dynamic is wonderfully handled, J-Lo's cameo is nice (Jeffrey's exactly right), and I was more impressed with the young girl than Jeffrey (and I have a low tolerance for Hollywood child actors). Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck have a nice sense of chemistry, and it's especially fine how Kevin Smith doesn't push too hard. In fact, despite yet another standing ovation near the conclusion, the movie is surprisingly low-key, which gives Ben Affleck a chance to shine. Jeffrey's right (again) that this is the sort of role Affleck is great in. He needs to give up the big action-hero stuff. Jersey Girl is reminiscent of Chasing Amy, but I like this one even better. It won't be on my Top10 at the end of the year, but it'll definitely be an honorable mention. J Robert
  14. I knew you were already coming, with expenses paid for! Or is that a secret? J Robert
  15. Everyone, including Mr. Overstreet. Jeffrey, you know it won't be the same without you. You and Ron need to get CT to fly you guys out here. That is a legitimate business expense. My hope is that Flickerings is quickly becoming the place for Christian film critics to come together. J Robert
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