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Everything posted by phlox

  1. 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
  2. Mary Magdalene biopic

    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.
  3. 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.
  4. 2018 Reading Journals

    Jesus was a Liberal by William McLennan (2009) Devotions: Selected poems by Mary Oliver (2017) Magdalene: Poems by Marie Howe (2017)
  5. The Lord's Prayer

    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.
  6. 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.
  7. The Lord's Prayer

    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.
  8. Star Trek 14

    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.
  9. Star Trek 14

    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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Hope to see this in the next few days.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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?
  17. Grantchester

    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.
  18. Movie Calendar

    Marshall January 1941 -- Trial begins for the case of Connecticut vs Joseph Spell Inspiring film… also interesting that it includes Marshall’s connection with Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston and – neat cameo at the end with Ben Crump
  19. Process vs Open Theism

    Thanks for sharing – it brought me back, in a comforting way, to an on-line discussion on this same topic (of course it’s mostly way beyond my understanding). I was hoping the two theologians might relate their views to some present day issues, though I didn’t listen to every word. The point about prayer did come up - If process thought denies that prayer could ever change anything, or oneself, that is discouraging. My vague impression is that process thought seems to make God too dependent on humanity, in a way that doesn’t offer much reassurance or hope. Of the two “sermons” at the end, I felt Boyd’s open theism interpretation of eschatology was far more appealing.
  20. The VFF has announced its 2017 schedule
  21. Movie Calendar

    Tulip Fever Amsterdam, 1634 (only date I saw in the film) Not enough character development...but worth seeing for the actors, lavish sets and Vermeer-like interiors
  22. Mary Magdalene biopic

    Looking forward to this portrait of Mary Magdalene –love Rooney Mara, not so keen on Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus. It will be interesting to see how the two women script writers (Helen Edmundson and Philippa Goslett) show the relationship between Magdalene and Jesus, and her life after the resurrection…if they adopt the “golden legend” that has her traveling to France and living in a cave, or moving to Rome as a church leader, or something else.
  23. LA Divine

    This new album from the Cold War Kids came out in April. I like this track and a couple others—though they are what has been called “relentlessly intense”
  24. A Quiet Passion

    Thanks for your further thoughts…you’ve clearly studied Emily’s work in depth…and I agree with Susan Vanzanten’s point about aspects of E.D.’s life that were omitted. I also agree that ambivalence is a better term than rejection. (What I was getting at was that she rejected the Calvinist ‘spatiality’ of heaven, if that makes any sense.) And I like your idea of “counter-hymns.” To me though, orthodox is too strong a word for her views, even toward the end. My understanding is that Emily constantly sought an authentic and unmediated relationship with God, and that while she did not believe in hell, neither was she certain of a blissful afterlife. Maybe her firmest conviction was “Who has not found the heaven below / will fail of it above.” The film came out on amazon video last week- when I re-watched it I noted the titles of the poems included, in order – For each ecstatic instant…..The heart asks pleasure first…. I went to thank her, but she slept…..I reckon, when I count at all……I’m nobody, who are you…… To fight aloud is very brave….. There is a word which bears a sword….. If you were coming in the fall…… We outgrow love, like other things….. The dying need but little, dear….. Of so divine a loss, we enter…….We never know we go, when we are going….He fumbles at your soul….This world is not conclusion….Our journey had advanced….My life closed twice before its close.…Tie the strings to my life (last stanza).…Because I could not stop for death…This is my letter to the world. This time it seemed to me that Davies does focus a lot on Emily’s spiritual struggles, in the context of mortality and bereavement…he mostly ignores her blurring of erotic and religious imagery, like the early mystics - and her literary friendships.