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M. Leary

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Everything posted by M. Leary

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Rescind Nomination: 20th Century Women Nomination: Behemoth
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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,
  8. A few nominations: Trip to Spain For Akheem Strong Island Aquarius Hunter Gatherer 20th Century Women Second: Marjorie Prime
  9. 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)
  10. 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.
  11. A Ghost Story

    Huh. Pretty split on this one. Any ardent fans?
  12. Marjorie Prime

    This latest from Almereyda is now on a few streaming services for your viewing pleasure. And it is a pleasure. I think I am the resident Almereyda fan at A&F, but Marjorie Prime is well worth a visit for those interested in cinema about marriage, memory, and a little sci-fi. I have really been enjoying Almereyda's recent evolution, as his films are a bit of a grab bag of the habits of some of my favorite directors. There is a lot of Resnais and Godard in this one. There are some beautiful avant garde shots scattered in between the obvious scene breaks imposed on the film by its script (it began as a play). The performances here are really captivating, especially Geena Davis - who apparently is a wonderful dramatic actor. Almereyda is definitely onto something in his recent cinema.
  13. Princess Cyd

    For those following Stephen Cone's work, I noticed BAM is playing his latest film, Princess Cyd. Seems to veer a bit from the Evangelical setting of the last two, but perhaps not? From this Salon interview:
  14. 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.
  15. 2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury

    I have been looking forward to it.
  16. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    Very much so. And there is not too much variation between "secular" and Christian audiences. I have learned the hard way I cannot just drop OT or NT allusions into lectures expecting students to pick up on them - whether in the Christian undergraduate or graduate seminary context. This is in part a matter of sheer content knowledge, but also an issue of the narrative literacy which allows for people to connect referential dots on their own. Lots of well-documented reasons for both of those problems.

    But also... I have enjoyed taking this journey through The Return with you all. This has been a very helpful place of reflection and I learned a lot.

    On 3, Yes!! That is incisive and gets at what I have had trouble articulating. On 9, I guess I did not experience it as unsexy in the sense that sex is a much broader experience than cinema/tv typically conceives. This pairing was so exquisitely framed as the kind of physical pairing which occurs for reasons other than mere physical pleasure, after time and desire have bloomed into something a bit like desperation but more a way to tell someone you both belong to the same story at the same time.

    Right. Except there is always a universe out there with a Wally Brando in it. (And everyone else in the last interior shot of the Twin Peaks police station.)

    SPOILERS BELOW -- Episode 17 is legendary. Canon. Episode 18 was blistering, unpredictable, and not where I thought this was all going. It is the first time I have sensed a willful resistance to closure in Lynch's work. The loose ends always feel so natural, part of the work. I am sure part of this is from everyone wanting answers to lingering questions about different characters and occurrences, but the quantum tack of the narrative here was so quick and pervasive that even Coop was taken by surprise and left confused at the end. We could handle Coop having been sucked into the Black Lodge on his law-abiding quest to rescue Laura. Even in the eventual transition of Coop to Dougie as he found his way out of that dimension, there was always hope that Coop would resurface and get back to business. And he certainly does in Episode 16-17. But then everything begins to slip and shudder in a way Twin Peaks never has before. To herald the emergence of this hazard, Cooper's face resolves across the entire screen like a watermark. He is no longer in the screen, he has somehow become the screen and this unsettling new point of view is beyond the professional ken of both Coop and Cole. He does have Diane by his side as he tumbles into this new lead back at the Great Northern. Cooper travels back in time to save Laura, thus unraveling the sequence of events which has led to Seasons 1-3. The plastic-wrapped blue rose of her body vanishes from the pebbled beach. Coop and Diane then arrive at a precipice, mile marker 430. The narrative mechanics which got us here are really clear; the crumbs scattered as far back as the first encounter between Cooper and The Fireman in this season. But what happens next is so remarkable as an advance in the clarity of Lynch's depiction of the cosmos riddled with gaps, threats, and aggressions - navigated only with bursts of confidence by people of love and wisdom. Even so, this evil is no mere abstraction as it is embodied and personified across time in thieves, conspirators, rapists, the people who make bombs, etc... Just as someone like Cooper incarnates a will to live and thrive, so does Judy instantiate fates worse than death. Cooper and Cole have always had a confidence in the grain of the universe, bent toward justice. What happens when this is proven false? Well, Cooper finds himself in the answer to this question. A world in which Diane love is impossible. Laura is always being awoken to her past. He doesn't even know what year it is. In this season we met bad Coop, Dougie, and were reacquainted with the real Coop. Now all we have left is alternate Coop, who seems an amalgam of all three (fights like bad Coop, moves and walks like Dougie, feels and remembers like real Coop). If the key to survival in Lynch-world is a strong sense of self which resolves in the confidence to love someone else, then this Coop has lost this inner narrative integrity. This is, to our great surprise, a first for Twin Peaks. Call it absurdist, confusing, intentionally ambiguous, whatever... it has always had a center in Cooper. Not anymore.
  21. Luc Besson Sci-Fi project

    Io9 has a nice little scoop on an unknown Besson sci-fi film in the works. A choice quote from the post: Did he mean to say illusion? I hope not, as delusion is a choice word here. Reserving this thread for what will hopefully be news about a good Besson film.
  22. Dunkirk

    Yes. The conflation of the "One Week" part of the time sequence does not quite work. I think we are meant to assume that the unseen week passage of time accounts for the massive amount of people movement on the beaches.
  23. Dunkirk

    On that point, Andrew: " I never felt the main characters in these scenes were actually in grave danger" I did only when prompted to by the score, which in IMAX was not merely a matter of sound, but a felt experience of alarming rumbles and seat-shaking. This film was the most physical experience I have had in a theater, given what I can only assume was in intentional side effect of the amped up score. And I say "score" loosely, as a lot of this prompting to feel danger came from very low register rumbles, kind of a Zimmer sensory assault (low-flying panic attack?), which was often coupled with gunfire or bombs. At other times it was present beneath engine noise from the airplanes. But then at other occasions, the idea that something life-threatening was about to happen was signaled by a deep, room shaking, crackly base note. I am familiar with this particular kind of sound from various industrial concerts in the 90s. This was unnerving for me throughout. I get what Nolan was doing technically, or even formally, there. I did somewhat appreciate the sound design around gun activity, as I hate the way films sanitize what guns actually sound like. But the overlap between score and sheer sensory assault rankled my convictions about cinema, verite, and all that.
  24. Dunkirk

    I think there is some kind of Interstellar Preference Nolan Club out there. Dude does sci-fi with such aching precision, I wish he would indulge more. The only other director I could compare to Nolan's sci-fi acumen is Tarkovsky, as Solaris is probably the closest companion piece to Interstellar genre-wise. If Nolan could spend the next decade adapting Bradbury, we would all be in his debt. Sorry for the off topic post though, I look forward to your responses should you catch Dunkirk.
  25. Dunkirk

    I do not connect to Nolan (other than Interstellar, which I like a lot). But I do like hearing people describe their connection to a director in this way. What do you think are his primary priorities? There is the obvious technical stuff, which always makes him must-see regardless of what I think about his scripting. Thematically though, what do you see there? I do think Nolan takes camaraderie seriously kind of an ideal human experience. Memory for sure. But what in Dunkirk strikes you as essentially Nolan?