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Darren H

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Everything posted by Darren H

  1. Darren H

    Podcast Recommendations?

    Pete Holmes (comedian & creator/star of Crashing on HBO) is an acquired taste. He's goofy and laughs too loudly at his own jokes and interrupts his guests constantly, but I really enjoy his podcast, You Made it Weird. The episodes are long (usually two hours), which allows for a lot of diversions and surprising revelations from guests you might have heard interviewed a dozen times before. Holmes was raised in the church, went to Gordon College on a track to become a pastor, and then gradually drifted away from religion. But he's a devoted, obsessive seeker, and every episode of his podcast is designed to eventually work its way to questions of belief and meaning. He's especially good, I think, when talking with name-brand Christians like Rob Bell or his latest guest, Kent Dobson. David Bazan is predictably great too.
  2. Darren H

    First Reformed

    Just a quick note for A&F old-timers. It looks like I'm gonna have a sit-down interview with Schrader next week for Filmmaker, and I intend to talk to him about transcendental style, Bresson, Bergman, Tarkovsky, and all of those topics we debated so passionately here (and in other fora) 15 years ago. It feels like a coming home.
  3. Darren H

    La Fille Inconnue / The Unknown Girl (2016)

    Thanks, Jeffrey. It's funny that you mention that particular line because I'm not sure that I totally believe it. Even when Jean-Pierre said it, it felt rote compared with the rest of our conversation -- like it was an idea that they were committed to and liked to mention to interviewers. I can imagine them trying to take that stance as writers, but everything about their production model is so measured and controlled. I think they pull more strings than they're willing to admit. My favorite part of the interview is when I pressed them on their expressionist style. Luc is much more chatty and he rambled for a while around the question. Then there was a pause and Jean-Pierre broke their pattern (they always take turns answering questions) to add, "It’s true. [pause] We do try to pick primary colors. We liked to see Jenny dressed in blue and burgundy." I'm weirdly proud of getting that out of him. Critics seldom talk about their films in that way, and the two of them never do.
  4. Darren H

    First Reformed

    Agreed. The long conversation near the beginning of the film was the best thing I saw at TIFF. Part of the fun was imagining Schrader alone at a computer, arguing both sides of the debate.
  5. Darren H

    La Fille Inconnue / The Unknown Girl (2016)

    My interview was posted a couple weeks ago.
  6. Darren H

    First Reformed

    MAJOR SPOILERS (because I want to talk about this with Ken) . . . . . . I have a completely different reading of the end. If you think it's anticipated by Pickpocket, then I assume you think the last image is really happening? I'm 100% sure he has committed suicide and the final moments are him "standing on holy ground." In which case the main point of reference isn't Pickpocket but Through a Glass Darkly, when the father tells his son:
  7. Darren H

    TIFF 2017

    Not much recent activity on this forum, but I've been posting my TIFF list here for more than a decade and I'm nothing if not a creature of habit. Anyone else going this year? And if so, what do you think of the lineup? I feel a little unmoored because so few of my favorite directors have films at this festival. I've done my research and made my best guess at what I'm most likely to connect with, but I still know almost nothing about most of these films. For those who haven't been following TIFF news, a third of the lineup this year was directed by women, and I'd guess my schedule has about the same ratio. Thursday, 9/7 BPM (Robin Campillo) The Nothing Factory (Pedro Pinho) Good Luck (Ben Russell) Western (Valeska Grisebach) Friday, 9/8 The Rider (Chloé Zhao) The Future Ahead (Constanza Novick) I Am Not a Witch (Rungano Nyoni) Mrs. Fang (Wang Bing) Wavelengths 1: Appetite for Destruction (6 shorts) Florence (Erkki Kurenniemi) & Prototype (Blake Williams) Saturday, 9/9 Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig) Strangely Ordinary This Devotion (Dani Leventhal, Sheilah Wilson) & Beyond the One (Anna Marziano) Occidental (Neïl Beloufa) High Fantasy (Jenna Bass) Wavelengths 2: Fluid Frontiers (8 shorts) Nina (Juraj Lehotsky) Sunday, 9/10 Hannah (Andrea Pallaoro) ¾ (Ilian Metev) Cocote (Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias) Wavelengths 3: Figures in a Landscape (7 shorts) Monday, 9/11 Angels Wear White (Vivian Qu) Jeannette, the Childhood of Joan of Arc (Bruno Dumont) Caniba (Véréna Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor) Wavelengths 4: As above, so below (4 shorts) Le Fort Des Fous (Narimane Mari) Tuesday, 9/12 Ex Libris - The New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman) Outside In (Lynn Shelton) Zama (Lucrecia Martel) Dragonfly Eyes (Xu Bing) Wednesday, 9/13 Lean on Pete (Andrew Haigh) A Fantastic Woman (Sebastián Lelio) I Love You, Daddy (Louis C.K.) Scaffold (Kazik Radwanski) & Ta peau si lisse (Denis Côté) Thursday, 9/14 Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (Angela Robinson) First Reformed (Paul Schrader) Alanis (Anahí Berneri) Let the Corpses Tan (Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani) The Day After (Hong Sangsoo) Friday, 9/15 Dark River (Clio Barnard) Faces Places (Agnès Varda, JR)
  8. Darren H

    La Fille Inconnue / The Unknown Girl (2016)

    I hadn't seen the new release date. I guess I need to finish writing up that interview!
  9. Darren H

    Something, Anything (2014)

    Well, this is one step closer to happening. From the IFP week announcement . . . James is the Indie Spirit-winning producer of Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Listen Up Philip, and A Ghost Story. And you've probably already heard of Elisabeth Moss.
  10. Darren H

    Something, Anything (2014)

    Something, Anything, which premiered last week at Wisconsin and Sarasota, will almost definitely be of interest to folks around here. It's about a young woman who has a spiritual crisis and ends up visiting the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. The film doesn't have distribution yet, but it will definitely spend most of the next year on the festival circuit. I'd recommend seeing it if you get a chance. I'm hopeful it will find a buyer. My interview with writer-director Paul Harrill (who also happens to be a friend) was just posted at MUBI.
  11. Darren H

    Why is my website invisible?

    Go to Settings > Reading in Wordpress and make sure the "Discourage search engines from indexing this site" isn't checked. Your designer might have checked it when the site was under development (that's what I usually do) and then forgotten to uncheck it. Once you've done that, ask Google to recrawl your site.
  12. Darren H

    TWIN PEAKS

    My friend Jordan wrote a great piece about Pat O'Neill recently and posted some compelling side-by-side comparisons on Twitter yesterday: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3.
  13. Darren H

    Paterson (2016)

    For the record, my tweets were an attempt to describe the scenario in realistic terms. Jarmusch always has one foot in reality, so I think that kind of description is not only fair but essential to understanding how the films work. I wasn't condemning the film. "It's about an emotionally co-dependent amateur poet in a not-altogether-healthy relationship" is a pretty great starting point for a film. Paterson, obviously, is about other things too.
  14. Darren H

    Paterson (2016)

    Isn't that the same thing as "desperately clinging for beauty?" I think you've loaded my comment with a lot more criticism than I intended. I also identify strongly with Paterson -- I'm working through PTSD and am a bit codependent and hyper-vigilant (to quote my therapist), which is why the film made me so anxious. Peter might not have seen my other Tweet last night because it was in conversation with someone: "It still might be really good -- just not in the ways I originally experienced it."
  15. Darren H

    Something, Anything (2014)

    Thought the Something, Anything fans might get a kick out of this. I had a nice dinner last week with Paul, Ashley, and Linds.
  16. Darren H

    Make Way for Tomorrow

    I was just looking over the list of films I've watched in 2010, and the stand-out by a fairly wide margin is Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow. It had been one of my holy grails for years -- one of those films that was impossible to see and whose reputation had ballooned to impossible-to-match proportions -- so I was thrilled when Criterion announced its release on DVD and, in the near future, blu-ray. Maybe the best compliment I can give Tomorrow is that it was the direct inspiration for an A&F perennial favorite, Ozu's Tokyo Story, and having now seen both films a couple times, I don't hesitate at all in saying that I prefer McCarey's film. The styles are radically different. McCarey's is a studio film that wears its sentiments on its sleave; Ozu is Ozu. But, I'm telling you, Make Way for Tomorrow is one of the greats. As Orson Welles famously said about it: “My god! I watched it four times and cried my eyes out every time! That movie would make a stone cry!" I consider this must viewing for anyone interested in films about marriage, family, aging, death, and love.
  17. Darren H

    The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)

    I somehow missed Enrique Irazoqui's posts on this thread almost exactly a decade ago. Awesome.
  18. Darren H

    Manchester By The Sea

    Even as I wrote that, I knew I was skipping some steps in my proof! The short answer, though, is that we're talking about artistic expression here. The form a piece of art takes is at least as important as its content (to me, it's more important, actually), so if I'm seeking wisdom through an experience of art, much of it will be discovered in the creativity of individual decisions made by the artist -- in this case, where to put the camera, the duration between cuts, the music that plays over the images, and on and on.
  19. Darren H

    Manchester By The Sea

    I've described MBTS a few times on social media as a middle-aged man's banal daydream, which is a bit overwrought, too, but it gets at something I haven't seen in other critiques of the film. First, a confession: I'm 44, I've been married for 20 years, I have two kids and a big mortgage, and I'm midway through a career that no longer gives me much personal satisfaction. In other words, I'm right in the midlife-crisis sweetspot, and more often than I care to admit I find myself fantasizing about escaping it all. (Don't worry, friends, I'm fine, my marriage is fine, my job is fine, everything is fine.) I've never entertained the exact scenario that we see in MBTS, but the film felt familiar to me. I could too easily imagine Lonergan shuffling down the street, indulging in this daydream (I passed him on the sidewalk soon after I saw the film and he looked exactly as annoyed with the world as his character). That in and of itself is not a condemnation of the film. It's the banality of the work that left me wanting. I've never been a member of #TeamLonergan, but this one in particular struck me as a failure of imagination. For someone who is praised for his writing, Lonergan, I think, copped out by making Lee so inarticulate. I'm not saying it was an inaccurate portrayal of a certain kind of self-punishing PTSD behavior or that great films can't be made with quiet, inarticulate characters (most of my favorites do, in fact); I'm saying that Lonergan is, by his own admission, a not particularly experienced or gifted filmmaker, from a formal perspective, and so the wisdom of the piece must be generated elsewhere -- the scenario, the writing, the performances, all of which were . . . fine. For all the flack American Beauty gets these days, I think these two films have much in common. By comparison, I just finished watching Horace & Pete, which is also a middle-aged man (Horace and his creator, Louis C.K.) reckoning with family, the life he's made for himself, and the future, and I found it all deliriously imaginative. Scene after scene did things I couldn't have predicted. By the end, I was in awe of CK's creativity, which goes hand in hand with wisdom and insight.
  20. Darren H

    Best of 2016?

    For what it's worth, here are my favorites of 2016, broken into different release categories. I'm really proud of the fact that six of my top ten US releases screened (or will screen) at my microcinema in Knoxville, and if all goes as planned at least four of the yet-to-be-released films will screen there this spring. Favorite New Films Released in America 1. Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse (My Golden Days, Arnaud Desplechin, 2015) 2. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016) 3. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015) 4. Rak ti Khon Kaen (Cemetery of Splendor, Apitchatpong Weerasethkul, 2015) 5. L'ombre des femmes (In the Shadow of Women, Philippe Garrel, 2015) 6. Shan he gu ren (Mountains May Depart, Jia Zhang-ke, 2015) 7. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2015) 8. The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer, 2015) 9. Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2015) 10. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016) Favorite New Films Yet to be Released in America 1. AS WITHOUT SO WITHIN (Manuela De Laborde, 2016) 2. Ears, Nose and Throat (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2016) 3. Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello, 2016) 4. The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2016) 5. Die Geträumten (The Dreamed Ones, Ruth Beckermann, 2016) 6. Dead Slow Ahead (Mauro Herce, 2015) 7. La fille inconnue (The Unknown Girl, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2016) 8. Der traumhafte Weg (The Dreamed Path, Angela Schanelec, 2016) 9. Ma Loute (Slack Bay, Bruno Dumont, 2016) 10. Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu, 2016) Favorite New Films I Saw for the First Time in 2016 1. AS WITHOUT SO WITHIN (Manuela De Laborde, 2016) 2. Ears, Nose and Throat (Kevin Jerome Everson, 2016) 3. Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello, 2016) 4. Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse (My Golden Days, Arnaud Desplechin, 2015) 5. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016) 6. The Lost City of Z (James Gray, 2016) 7. Die Geträumten (The Dreamed Ones, Ruth Beckermann, 2016) 8. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2015) 9. Dead Slow Ahead (Mauro Herce, 2015) 10. La fille inconnue (The Unknown Girl, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2016)
  21. Darren H

    Under the Sun

    Just a head's up for any of you who are still cramming 2016 new releases. I don't watch as many documentaries as some of you do, but I always take notice when Eric Hynes recommends one. He included Vitaliy Manskiy's Under the Sun on his Indiewire Top 10, so I watched it last night (it's streaming on Netflix) and really enjoyed it. Manskiy is a Ukranian filmmaker who was granted permission to make a film in North Korea, but as we're told in an opening scroll, government authorities had total control of the script, monitored every minute of the shoot, and signed off on all of the footage. Manskiy then recut it all, including a lot of "real life" footage that was captured before and after each take. It's brilliant, conceptually -- so much so that I worried the film itself might be redundant. But it's an always-compelling and complex document of totalitarianism. This trailer is terrible but it'll give you a sense of the visual style.
  22. Darren H

    Moonlight

    Two days later, I'm beginning to think Moonlight is my favorite film of 2016. Can't wait to see it again to see how it holds up.
  23. Darren H

    The Son of Joseph

    I watched this just last week and really liked it. Guy Lodge is a great writer. His review nails my feelings about the film.
  24. Darren H

    Best Film-Related Textbook?

    I wonder how many copies of FILM ART have been sold? It's been taught in thousands of courses a year for nearly four decades.
  25. Darren H

    Henry Gamble's Birthday Party

    We showed Stephen Cone's new film, Henry Gamble's Birthday Party, at The Public Cinema last night. I think it would be of interest to many here. It all takes places over 24 hours at the home of a mega-church preacher, whose family and friends have gathered to celebrate his son's 17th birthday. It's Linklater-esque in that you end up learning bits and pieces about the lives of 15 or 20 different characters, every one of whom reminded me immediately of people I've known over the years. If you grew up in an evangelical youth group, I guarantee you'll recognize the "types," too. Stephen grew up closeted in a conservative family in South Carolina, and his treatment of wealthy American evangelical culture is as accurate as I've ever seen on screen. Talking to a few people afterwards, we agreed that the film is a bit schematic--there's maybe a bit too much drama and all of the parts fit together a bit too neatly--but Cone gets away with it because he's a really deft writer and director of actors. I worried that one plot involving a suicidal kid might throw the tone out of balance, but the way that story is resolved totally wrecked me. It's one of my favorite scenes of the year. I'll leave it at that until a few more of you have had a chance to see it. Maybe one word of warning: a few scenes are played ironically. The audience laughed at things Christians were saying. But the punchlines are exact quotes I've heard many, many times over the years, including the classics, "Love the sinner, hate the sin" and "I've been into you since we were prayer partners." These are counterbalanced with a few lines I won't spoil that are painfully, beautifully cutting. The film doesn't have theatrical distribution, but it should end up on streaming services soon. There's a great interview with Cone at Reverse Shot. I especially like this bit. The idea of allowing a child to grow up without threat of "severe emotional trauma" is key to the film. It's also given me much to think about as a parent.
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