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Everything posted by jrobert

  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
  16. Yeah, Yellow Earth is pretty impressive, though it can be a slog to get through. But it signalled the arrival of what's now called the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers. Fifth Generation has some reference to how Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou, and others came out of film school at the same time. Someone more versed in that sort of thing can correct my inaccuracies. Anyway, Farewell, My Concubine is well worth seeing, and apparently the original version of Temptress Moon is breathtaking (according to J. Rosenbaum), but then Miramax got their hands on it. I'm not a huge fan of Emperor and the Assassin, but it certainly has its defenders. But with Killing Me Softly and Together, he seems to have gone for the worst sort of audience-pleasing fare. J Robert
  17. Hmmmm, fun. More list-making. Echoing Jeffrey's comments that many (most) of these won't make the final list. And I'll wait until movies are close to officially released before adding them, in case release dates get pushed back (I'm talking about Time of the Wolf and other fest faves). 1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2. Jersey Girl 3. Rana's Wedding Older movies seen for the first time or little movies that'll probably never get a release (I include these in my Top10 review) a. Simon of the Desert (Luis Bunuel) b. Home from the Hill (V. Minnelli) c. This Little Life d. By the Bluest of the Seas (B. Barnet) J Robert
  18. I'm surprised to see Together on any list that has the word 'best' in it. How Chen Kaige has fallen. J Robert
  19. Yeah, that is a pretty good list. But those coming to Flickerings this summer could see a pretty spectacular ten films in four days, and that's not even counting stef and leary's short movie, which is sure to be the event of the year. Dale, do you have another Flickerings short this summer? Anyway, mike h, have you officially unveiled the Flickerings movie lineup? Some folk are going to want to reserve their airplane tickets shortly. J Robert
  20. Well, you need to see Balthazar on the big screen. If you can make it out to C-stone this summer, you can see Bus 174 there. Osama and My Architect have some nice moments in them, but I find them both to be overrated. And I don't care much for Ibrahim, but Darrell has already put it on the potential awards list. So you should probably grab that one, too. Hmmm. Not much help I am. J Robert
  21. Well, you need to see Balthazar on the big screen. If you can make it out to C-stone this summer, you can see Bus 174 there. Osama and My Architect have some nice moments in them, but I find them both to be overrated. And I don't care much for Ibrahim, but Darrell has already put it on the potential awards list. So you should probably grab that one, too. Hmmm. Not much help I am. J Robert
  22. I don't disagree with this, but I don't think Ceylan has quite the mastery over pace and emotion as he does over his images. So that for me is why it's certainly a top10 contender but not a best-of-year candidate. And sorry to be pedantic, but Distant is his third feature. J Robert
  23. Hmmm. This makes me jealous. I thought only Chicago was allowed to have cool events like this. Are you showing it on dvd, Jeffrey? If you were showing it on film, I'd have to look into Southwest's fares to Seattle. J Robert
  24. I wouldn't quite go that far, but I do think Ceylan is one of the most promising directors in world cinema right now. Distant is such a leap over his previous film, Clouds of May that I can't wait to see what he does next. It'd be cool to get a dvd of that and watch it at Cornerstone, then sit around for hours discussing it. We never really did anything with the Flickerings mystery midnight movie, did we? J Robert
  25. I find this last sentence to be particularly amusing. We're supposed to send our "hard-earned tax dollars"?? Some people just get certain phrases stuck in their minds and have no idea what they mean. He's gotta be a Bill O'Reilly watcher. Yes, the distinction is important, and it's also fascinating how he can't actually defend Baehr. He can only criticize CT. The point he raises about CT, though, is one certain evangelicals have been concerned about for years. J Robert
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