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Everything posted by phlox

  1. phlox

    New Stuff Worth Hearing

    Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien (now goes by EOB) released a solo album this year, “Earth” – here is the catchy “Shangri-La"… the last track is a slow duet with Laura Marling.
  2. Haven’t watched this particular documentary, but meditation sure seems like an appropriate suggestion during this year of uncertainty and upheaval. Also - good to have views from an established film critic who is a woman – all too rare on this board! Hope to see more.
  3. phlox

    Black Pumas

    The self-titled album came out last year...despite the name, guitarist Adrien Quesada says "One of our goals is unity in a time when there's a lot of divisiveness...we're not trying to make a political statement...it's about inclusiveness." Two of the best tracks --
  4. Peter wrote: ------I wouldn't say the Klingons are being entirely parodied. I agree, some of the Klingon beliefs—e.g. the legendary Kahless, and the afterlife of Stovokor-- are taken fairly seriously. The parody is mainly for the Ferengi. About the last episode, Zack Handlen's AVClub review of "What you leave behind" made a lot of good points -- “That’s what this finale is about to me….the reminder that there are so many stories that go on without us.”
  5. Peter wrote: :: Clearly Sisko doesn't *really* believe that there is room for *all* philosophies on DS9. Sisko is *angry* with Worf where he learns that Worf was about to kill his brother in a form of Klingon ritual homicide. Good point….in the episode “Sons of Mogh” Sisko does draw the line at murder. Maybe he accepts all philosophies (as taught in Keiko’s school), but not all practices. Sisko to Worf: "I have given you both a lot of leeway when it comes to following Klingon traditions, but in case you haven't noticed, this is not a Klingon station, and those are not Klingon uniforms you're wearing. There is a limit to how far I'll go to accommodate cultural diversity among my officers and you've just reached it." But also, as you noted, on the whole, Klingon and Ferengi beliefs are treated more or less as parodies of faith. The Bajoran religion is the only one taken seriously. :: the actors objected to Kira and Odo becoming a couple, because that didn't really seem to be the direction their characters were going, but apparently the actors lost that argument) That was news to me, but I’d say the actors made the relationship convincing. I loved the episode (“His Way”) where Odo takes courtship lessons from Vic Fontaine, and Vic tricks both Odo and Kira into a date on the holodeck. :: I don't think it's a coincidence that two of the three original female leads in TNG both wanted out of that show by the end of the first season I agree that Roddenberry definitely had feet of clay… a creative genius but full of contradictions. I wonder how the documentary will treat the theme of faith. Maybe DS9 suggested as a whole that religion becomes prominent when “paradise” is lost… -- the utopia and optimism of TOS and TNG gave way to a more subversive and fragmented universe … political cynicism and diminished expectations. Bajor never does join the Federation, maybe it was meant to stay apart from the secular world. Another thing unique to the series was the way characters grew through change and matured –Sisko gradually embraced his role as Emissary. Odo found his way home to the Great Link. Nog became a fine Starfleet officer. Ezri and Bashir got together. Worf is named ambassador. Garak discovered he could serve a meaningful purpose. And others…The finale wrapped up many story arcs in a satisfying way. I hope watching it after viewing the series from the start made more sense :-)
  6. Well, my comparisons were pretty limited...About the ‘religious’ terrorists, I was thinking mainly of the Pah-wraiths, who carried out attacks on the Prophets; they abducted Kira and tried to assassinate Sisko. The Founders/shapeshifters-- who were sometimes referred to as gods-- controlled the Dominion which waged war on the Federation. But, yeah, they and the Pah-wraiths were not so much religions as cults radicalized toward violence. Also I didn't mean to imply Obama resembled Sisko as Emissary....more like his tolerance as mediator-- "there is room for all philosophies on this station." All the DS9 actors were outstanding… just wish Terry Farrell hadn’t left the show. Kira was portrayed as one of the most spiritually committed characters. “That’s the thing about faith…if you don’t have it, you can’t understand it. And if you do, no explanation is necessary. “ --Kira to Odo Trekmovie said that Avery Brooks is actually very supportive of the project though he did not contribute interviews. Interesting bit from Ira Behr-- he said DS9 was “being told constantly that it was a dark show with dark themes, but it’s really a show about love and family.”
  7. Thanks for your thoughts…think you’ll enjoy the last few episodes. Many of the long story arcs are resolved in the 2- part finale, though (as I recall) at least one major issue is left up in the air, which I guess explains why Ira Steven Behr’s documentary theorizes on what an 8th season could have been like. One thing I really appreciated was how DS9 took spiritual themes seriously, developing their potential for both good and evil. Behr and Michael Piller deserve a lot of credit for combining science and faith, and exploring moral ambiguity--though hope is kept alive even in the bleakest times. Looking back, it almost seems that, for the US, Sisko’s leadership anticipated the Obama administration, and the “religious” terrorism foreshadowed the 9-11 attacks by militant extremists. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but Trek often did appear to predict things (in technology anyway). The light-hearted episodes stand out in my mind as well – Sisko’s baseball team, the return of the tribbles, Quark’s mother, Vic Fontaine’s Vegas lounge, etc.
  8. What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, will take a detailed look at this historic series and consider the reasons why "fans all over the world are rediscovering and embracing the show with an enthusiasm rivaling the affection they feel for any other Star Trek series." I’m curious to see this documentary -- supposed to be released early this year. Ever since Adam Nimoy quit the project, it seems Ira Steven Behr has been dragging his feet to complete the film. Like many Trek fans, I think Deep Space Nine has been sorely underrated…. can’t recall seeing TV reruns of any DS9 episodes (or Enterprise either, for that matter) – only Next Generation and Voyager, besides the original series. One thing does seem problematic-- Avery Brooks apparently declined to be interviewed.
  9. It looks like the latest biblical movie being released for this Easter season is not the Mary Magdalene biopic (not in the US anyway) but a new film on Paul -- http://www.paulmovie.com/site/ (I see Peter has a thread on this) Probably too much violence for me to watch, but would like to hear how Paul and Luke are portrayed, how their mission is interpreted, etc
  10. It looks like reading reviews of the film may be, for the US, as close to viewing it as we get. At least the narrative apparently succeeds in presenting Magdalene as a devoted and chaste apostle rather than a reformed prostitute. I’m not surprised at the negative response to Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus – e.g. Stephen Dalton from the Hollywood Reporter: “Phoenix… playing Jesus as a doubt-wracked mystic-stoner cult leader somewhere between Charles Manson and The Dude from The Big Lebowski”…Dalton also referred to Rooney Mara’s “blank presence and narrow range.” It does seem that as a pale Irishwoman she was not a great choice for a Hebrew woman from ancient times. It sounds like most critics thought the actors for Peter and Judas were the best.
  11. phlox

    Please Stand By

    This looks a little goofy, but could be fun – for Star Trek fans anyway - from Trekmovie.com Please Stand By is a character-based indie film about a young woman with autism, who goes on a journey to deliver her Star Trek script to a competition at Paramount Pictures. Written by Michael Golamco and based on his short play of the same name, it’s directed by Ben Lewin, starring Dakota Fanning, Alice Eve, and Toni Collette. The film will be released January 26 in theaters and on demand via Amazon Video and iTunes.
  12. Jesus was a Liberal by William McLennan (2009) Devotions: Selected poems by Mary Oliver (2017) Magdalene: Poems by Marie Howe (2017)
  13. Mr. Turner was another memorable artist film, though the character is not nearly as sympathetic as Van Gogh. [spoilers] It would have been interesting if Loving Vincent could have showed more of the artist’s Christian faith… as I recall it skimmed over his religious paintings, his desire to become a preacher like his father, his exhausting missionary work with the miners. The film’s focus was on the investigation… but Van Gogh taking the blame and covering for the teenage boys who very likely killed him accidentally, makes more sense when we see how compassionate and self-sacrificing he was all along.
  14. Way out of my league in terms of biblical scholarship, but I’d have to agree about the NRSV translation-- ‘time of trial’ isn’t the best choice. From what I read, the Pope’s suggested rewording is “do not let us fall into temptation.” I can’t go along with his assertion that Satan is a person, but I find it significant that he calls attention to this verse at this particular time… when the authority of political leaders is being questioned, when it seems we are indeed being led astray.
  15. Surprised to read that the Pope wants to change a line of the Lord’s Prayer. I understand his point that Satan (or evil personified), not God the loving Father, leads us into fear, anger, bitterness. The question is whether the word 'temptation' suggests being encouraged to do wrong, or being allowed to suffer to the point of losing faith. Most bibles have the word temptation; the translation I use is the NRSV, which has “And do not bring us to the time of trial…“ I’m no theologian, but I’ve always thought this line meant ‘please don’t let our faith be tested beyond endurance, don’t let affliction destroy our trust in You.’ I wonder how this suggested change in the prayer reflects on the Pope’s view of current events in the world.
  16. Well, you clearly remembered more about that TNG episode than I did! Apparently there is a whole book about it, by Eric Stillwell, one of the script writers. The other episode Tarantino mentioned was from TOS-- “City on the edge of forever” -- to expand into a movie. So he’s definitely into the time travel theme. He also said the first Star Trek reboot was the best film of 2009.
  17. Interesting, saw that report on Trekmovie.com….was surprised that Tarantino prefers Star Trek to Star Wars. A new Trek movie from Abrams teamed with the director known for the ”estheticization of violence” – ? doesn’t exactly lift my spirits (!). He said an episode like TNG “Yesterday’s Enterprise” could easily be adapted into a feature film –the one where the ship enters a time rift and the crew find themselves in a long doomed battle with the Klingons, that has spread to the entire quadrant. Seems like Trek scripts keep getting more firmly entrenched in the genre of action flicks. What I’d like to see is a film that “boldly goes” into the period after the arrival of the Vulcans in 2063 and before the United Federation of Planets in 2161…the never-explored transition beyond tribal conflict, that somehow ends war, crime, disease, poverty, hunger, etc.
  18. phlox

    Babette's Feast

    Good point…. the parable analogy is bit of a stretch. :-) I guess you could say the film does a better job of making Babette’s character consistent and graceful as a humble martyr, while the novella clearly doesn’t want us to view her that way in the end. The one thing Babette had left in life after all her loss and hardship was her creative gift, and she’d been forced to bury it. To me that explains her words and tone in the novella. Maybe Dineson as an author had a similar axe to grind, being encouraged to do her second best instead of her utmost…. I don’t know.
  19. phlox

    Babette's Feast

    Thanks for your thoughts. The part about the two spiritual sensibilities working together seems very true to me. Not sure about the cross/ crucifix (in the film maybe?) There might not be anything specific about Babette being redeemed in the villagers' eyes after the feast...but there are hints that they saw her extravagance and sensual indulgence brought good spiritual “fruit”– relationships are enhanced, they feel restored to a blissful childlike innocence-- “They realized that the infinite grace of which General Loewenhielm had spoken had been allotted to them, and they did not even wonder at the fact, for it had been but the fulfillment of an ever‐present hope. The vain illusions of this earth had dissolved before their eyes like smoke, and they had seen the universe as it really is.” Babette's final words about artists do seem a bit harsh, jarring compared to the film.... but she had been forced to suppress her creative expression for so long. Dineson's ending in a way combines the parable of the talents with the celestial feast of the lamb.
  20. Hope to see this in the next few days.
  21. phlox

    Babette's Feast

    Someone else could probably articulate this better, but the blog post does show a thought-provoking contrast between the way Babette’s character is portrayed in the novella and the film. Ironically, her fulfilling position as head chef at Café Anglais in France, was supported by the very aristocracy she later fought against and fled, losing everything. But her lavish feast, and the personal epiphanies it brings, makes her finally independent from the Parisian elite whose praise once gave her identity. Perhaps it also frees her from being distrusted as a Catholic in the Puritanical culture of the Danish villagers. So maybe the assertion of being an artist is not denying the blessing bestowed on her employers, but simply claiming her own gift in the process. While the film undoubtedly presents a more humble, saintly impression of Babette, the literary version can also be seen as God choosing unlikely servants, flawed humans with complex motives and backgrounds, to accomplish works of grace and transformation.
  22. I found this purely dazzling, as a one-of-a- kind visual experience that took 7 years, with 125 artists painting over 62,450 frames in Van Gogh’s style. (Seven years- ! like the devotion/obsession of the artist himself). I especially enjoyed seeing /hearing Saoirse Ronan animated as Marguerite Gachet. And the score by Clint Mansell is moving. The weak part is the story itself, investigating Van Gogh’s supposed suicide, which lacks dramatic energy-- though the film did change my mind about the circumstances of his death.
  23. phlox

    Harold and Maude

    Thanks for the helpful insights. The producer Chuck Mulvehill was at the festival, and said about the 'morning-after' scene, "Oddly, while this was pitched as a love story, the studio never thought it was a LOVE story. They were not down with the idea that the relationship might actually be consummated." I liked the anti-war, fight-the-system attitude, which seems as relevant now as it was then. My favorite film from VFF though, was The Leisure Seeker (2017) -- [spoilers] which also ends in suicide -- but has many funny parts throughout.
  24. phlox

    Harold and Maude

    Saw this yesterday at the Virginia Film Festival. Reading this thread helped me make more sense of it. Apart from Ruth Gordon's acting, and the final upbeat scene, the deadpan humor seemed too heavy-handed (for me). The real pathos of the characters' lives gets lost. I found myself asking simple-minded questions like [spoilers] Why wasn't there more about Harold discovering Maude was a holocaust survivor? Why did she throw the ring he gave her into the water? Did Harold and Maude actually have sex or just sleep together? And most of all, if Maude had so much free-wheeling love of life, art and play, why did she off herself with pills at the end?
  25. Maybe a few of you have watched this PBS series that ended in June, now on Netflix -- James Norton as the oh-so-human vicar of a British village, solving crimes with his detective friend in the early 1950’s. I guess part of the reason Norton is so convincing is that he excelled in theology at the University of Cambridge. And the show was based on mysteries by James Runcie, son of the former archbishop of Canterbury. It will be hard to find another series that offers as much as this one.
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