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M. Leary

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  1. M. Leary

    Still Life

    Thanks so much for posting, this Rob. It is great confirmation of my experience of the film, which still haunts me. And you used the phrase "bearing witness," which is a helpful way to process Jia. We just have to learn how to look, long and deep.
  2. M. Leary

    Top 25 or 100 for 2018-19

    I would love to participate. I have not really been part of any cinema conversation for a while, but have kept current and am gearing back up for some writing this coming year. There were some really spectacular films from the last few years which went under the radar but would look great on this list. Looking forward to feeling the old flicker of life at A&F. I second or fourth the notion about communicating with Image to defining our relationship at the moment.
  3. M. Leary

    Avengers: Infinity War Part I

    Relentlessly okay, thirded. A lot of really inert dialogue. The critical problem for me is that Thanos is not a compelling character, and the relationships intended to imbue his prodigious chin with pathos are not well scripted. A similar thing happens with the Iron Man/Spiderman relationship, which doesn't quite connect the emotional dots. There just aren't any stakes present. A telling flaw is the first Guardians of the Galaxy sequence, which lacks the crackle and pop of their film installments. This makes me think that had Gunn directed this entire film, it would have been more coherent and incisive. He is a much better director.
  4. M. Leary

    Stan Brakhage

    This is great. Hope it sticks. I am training this year for a long race in July - so I will join you as you journey through these discs.
  5. Ah, must have looked at the wrong list for Hunter Gatherer. Such a shame, as this one really fell through the distribution cracks. And I think Aquarius did have a run in 2016, but am not sure. Again, feel free to pull whatever you think best.
  6. Yeah, it does look like it had some sort of very limited release in 2016 (Box Office Mojo has zero recorded stats for this release) - though D'Angelo has it on his NYC release list for 2017. I follow the latter but I don't see why that has to be the standard for this jury. Feel free to pull it from the nominations if you think that advisable.
  7. Rescind Nomination: 20th Century Women Nomination: Behemoth
  8. And a really wild score to push the whole thing along. Andre Royo here is one of my favorite performances of the year. Glad you also caught this one.
  9. Want to make a plug for the documentary For Ahkeem. This was particularly affecting for me, being from St. Louis, but is worth taking some time to see it. The documentary follows a young girl in a special joint program of the public school district and juvenile courts. While in production, the Ferguson riots transpire. The splicing of footage from the event into this girl's story is masterful. And then the whole thing is superintended by her voiceover. I know, I know. Documentary voiceover. But this one is so plaintive and prayerful. It turns out that she had been writing a diary and the filmmakers helped her turn these thoughts into a beautiful oral performance of young motherhood in urban St. Louis. Contact them here and they will surely provide a screener link: http://forahkeemfilm.com/contact/ There is an email address for press if you hover over the button on that page.
  10. Well, I am not going to try too hard. I think this film becomes a bit too overt about the career vs. family thing the entire series has toyed with - but I just love watching these guys talk. There are few good films like this about friendship out there. More germane to the award,
  11. A few nominations: Trip to Spain For Akheem Strong Island Aquarius Hunter Gatherer 20th Century Women Second: Marjorie Prime
  12. Happy to do 2-3 of the following: Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2001) The Insider (Mann, 1999) Cleo from 5 to 7 (Varda, 1962) Picnic at Hanging Rock (Weir, 1975)
  13. M. Leary

    A Ghost Story

    A good contrast to the minimalism here may be Tsai's Stray Dogs, which features similar, but even more challenging minimalist shots. A few of these are a test even for Tsai fans, yet they are so utterly captivating, even overwhelming given the context. But the primary narrative anchors for the minimalism here are the Will Oldham soliloquy and the really nifty chronological shift toward the end. While I liked both of these elements, and the technical adventure of the latter, it still kind of falls apart (get it?) for me at the end. I am a big fan of using cinema to depict the unspeakable elements of grief and loss, which Lowery does a fine job of articulating around the various cuts of the first half of the film. This idea that both living and dead are still bound together by the same experience is something I guess we see more in Asian cinema than we do in the West. Something just didn't connect here for me. Very similar reaction to Upstream Color.
  14. M. Leary

    A Ghost Story

    Huh. Pretty split on this one. Any ardent fans?
  15. M. Leary

    Marjorie Prime

    It is relevant to your interests, for sure! The sci-fi elements are fairly muted, but imagine a Resnais chamber drama with a light touch of Philip K. Dick and a few crisp visual interludes.