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Tim Willson

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Everything posted by Tim Willson

  1. It's surprising to me that this film has generated no more comment than I find in this thread... Is this Steve James' least memorable film? I just saw it tonight at a local film festival. I have to say that while I found Carroll Pickett to be a noble figure in many ways, the film left me unmoved. I kept waiting for something like momentum, a development in the story that would turn it in some compelling way, but really nothing moved the film into gear. There are some intriguing aspects of life and faith (especially in how his beliefs intersected with his job) and some compelling characters -- but the film didn't dwell on them (for instance, the convicts from the choir -- one of them in pastoral ministry. And De Luna's sister Rosa is the closest thing the film had to a "star"). It was too bad that the film didn't follow those threads, but left in such disjointed and ill-fitting segments as the one on Karla-Faye Tucker or the one on the ending of Pickett's first marriage. I'll suggest this film to others, but not so much for its treatment of the death penalty or the power of its narrative as for its picture of the integration of faith and vocation, faith and justice.
  2. Wow. Thank you all for gushing about this -- discoveries like this are one of the great gifts of this board. I hit MySpace, and when Going Down started playing I experienced the very thrill you all have described. Cool, eh, that in this music-saturated world we can still get a shock from greatness? The odd thing is that I jumped into this thread after reading some of the moaning about CCM... and it just struck me as a bit incongruous that two names jumped off the list of credits for Pistol City Holiness - Ashley Cleveland and Rick Cua (listed as "band members" at Dave's MySpace page). Phil Madeira is another CCM figure (Dove Award winner) who played with Perkins at the 'Evening of Sacred Blues." There may be other CCM connections but these are the ones I noticed, and it makes me think the CCM machine may be one thing on the surface (predictable and formulaic) and quite another underneath (with under-used creative energy and passion). Anyway, thanks again for this. Andy, your insights into great music are always helpful.
  3. I wasn't expecting much, so I was blown away by the sheer adventure of ENDURANCE, Alfred Lansing. Great read, true story. PASCAL'S WAGER, James A. Conner - outstanding biography of Blaise Pascal. A thrill to read. GILEAD, Marilynne Robinson. Gently exquisite prose. Sentences and whole paragraphs to savor.
  4. I listened to this album throughout the day (thanks to the link on NPR). I found it quite compelling (most songs, at least), but the last track is unbelievable. Sounded like something Leonard Cohen or maybe Bob Dylan could have written, and delivered in a sparse arrangement, Joe's voice was about perfect for the reminder that darkness and storm have their place, too. I know, the voice had been the subject of some differing opinions, and I won't try to convince you. But it sure works for me on Light No Lamp When The Sun Comes Down,
  5. What a shame you missed your chance to experience this -- that would have been great. Amazing that he was still able and interested at 96.
  6. That's a bit underwhelming. I mean, Kisha and Jen go through with a hellish swimming event, survive another leg and earn another $500 each (if, in fact, they moved up another place in the standings that week - can't remember). No wonder the networks love reality shows!
  7. Watched this last night on tape -- what a leg! Surprises all around, such as the fact that Victor and Tammy left Beijing at 9:15, five hours before Jamie and Cara (2:05). Talk about dominance... even though they all took the same flight to Hawaii. I'm just saying... Then, a masterful leg by Margie and Luke -- I really hoped they'd win, and they powered through the whole thing to the end. A perfect task for Luke too, and I felt badly for him. But you have to hand it to Victor and Tammy... I was quite annoyed with him after his long walk in the woods in Romania, but he really redeemed himself. And who would have believed that Jamie and Cara could have managed as much grace as they did in the final? (Gracelessness, too, but we know that's there...) Nice touch, to help Luke at the end. There have been races with more memorable individuals, but this was good all-around viewing. Does anyone know if second-place is worth anything? Third-place? Do all competitors get something (besides the experience)?
  8. I guess I'm not sure what just happened. (Maybe I don't want to know. Online forums are perhaps like politics, church life and sausage: the end result can be good, but you don't want to know how it's made...) I'm gathering that I missed a difficult week behind the scenes. I'm sorry I wasn't here as a load-lightener, if I could have been. Again I want to state how profoundly grateful I am to Alan, Jeffrey, Steven, Peter and all moderators and frequent posters whose contributions here have deeply enriched me. Greg, this new relationship with Image sounds perfect. Like, maybe, in some way, the logical (and even inevitable) outcome for your forum and ours. A warm welcome and a hearty thanks from here. And to everyone who sailed through stormy seas recently, grace and peace to you.
  9. I found the following article from Watts Up With That to be very enlightening. Anthony Watts finds a great disparity between theoretical predictions and observed, empirical data. He spends quite a bit of time explaining the role of the earth's oceans in global temperatures.
  10. I've said before that glaciers covered the prairies 10,000 years ago, and have been in retreat ever since. I certainly appears to be a warming trend, broadly speaking. I continue to be more concerned about water conservation than "warming", per se. I think we would do enormous good by slowing the rate that water races to the oceans after falling inland. Swamps and lakes offer tremendous conservation and filtering advantages, and provide habitat that permit greater bio-diversity. (Water can also moderate temperatures, given its thermal inertia.) On a related note, I watched an intriguing show on Discovery channel in which the roofs of urban buildings arabout "green roofs", which feature rooftops covered with vegetation. These rooftops hold rainwater (so it doesn't contribute to flooding), filter it, and use it to cool the building and the urban environment. (rooftops cover 20-percent of cities, IIRC).
  11. Slightly off topic, since I don't have any particular songs to rant about, but still... I can't quite remember the quote, but I once heard Chuck Swindoll complain that too many worship songs follow a tried and true formula (misquoting here, but you get the idea): one verse 2 key changes 3 chords 4 lines 5 words sung 6 times... ....or something to that effect. (But lest I sound merely cynical, the Psalms often repeat the same ideas over and over. I'm not sure repetition is always a sign of simple-mindedness, though it can be.)
  12. Loved Tammy and Victor until the incident where Victor insisted on following a trail that did not exist, refusing to listen to her. But they've really come together well since then, and they are a force. Margie and Luke have been my favorites until recently, though I still really admire them for doing so well. As someone already said, Margie may be one of the toughest racers of recent seasons, stronger than a lot of younger racers. (I totally understand her adreneline-fueled outburst at the mat with Kisha and Jen, but no-one came out of that looking mature.) The swimming pool scene was gritty - and good on Kisha for a great attitude when Jen lost it. 18 minutes in the pool means they weren't that far behind Victor and Tammy, who finished in about 9-10 minutes, I think. The non-stop pit stop will be a pretty amazing relief to them when they get there, and Kisha deserves it for they way she supported her sister, wanting to finish well even though elimination seemed certain. Not a crazy-good cast, but these are pretty memorable, pretty strong racers. Should be a good finish.
  13. I know there have been 'famous' people on the show before -- Rob and Amber, if not the NFL stars that we've seen. But I think it's the first time a national figure has been on, no? White is 68, and not many older participants have made it through very many legs. It will be interesting to see how far he goes. The other team that catches my eye is the mother-son Adams team, as Luke is completely deaf (and does not speak or read lips) -- now that will be an interesting dynamic to watch, as communication is ALWAYS a key part of this most cross-cultural of TV events.
  14. The next race is about to start, and I was surprised to find a familiar name on the list of competitors: Mel White, the former evangelical insider turned gay rights activist, competing with his son. Here is an article, and here are the contestants (from this story): ___ Name: Mark Munoz, 48 Hometown: Los Angeles Occupation: Stuntman Name: Michael Munoz, 51 Hometown: Maui, Hawaii Occupation: Stuntman Relationship: Brothers ___ Name: Tammy Jih, 26 Hometown: San Francisco Occupation: Lawyer Name: Victor Jih, 35 Hometown: Los Angeles Occupation: Lawyer Relationship: Siblings ___ Name: LaKisha Hoffman, 28 Hometown: New York Occupation: Program Coordinator Name: Jennifer Hoffman, 24 Hometown: Louisville, Ky. Occupation: Marketing Assistant Relationship: Sisters ___ Name: Christie Volkmer, 37 Hometown: Choctaw, Okla. Occupation: Flight Attendant Name: Jodi Wincheski, 40 Hometown: Houston Occupation: Flight Attendant Relationship: Flight Attendants ___ Name: Cara Rosenthal, 26 Hometown: Boca Raton, Fla. Occupation: Law Student Name: Jaime Edmondson, 29 Hometown: Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Occupation: Former Police Officer Relationship: Former NFL Cheerleaders ___ Name: Brad Hunt, 52 Hometown: Columbus, Ohio Occupation: Distribution Dispatcher Name: Victoria Hunt, 47 Hometown: Columbus, Ohio Occupation: Tax Manager Relationship: Married ___ Name: Mel White, 68 Hometown: Lynchburg, Va. Occupation: Clergyman Name: Mike White, 38 Hometown: Santa Monica, Calif. Occupation: Actor-Writer Relationship: Father and Son ___ Name: Linda Cole, 52 Hometown: Martinsville, Va. Occupation: Customer Service Supervisor Name: Steve Cole, 43 Hometown: Martinsville, Va. Occupation: Carpenter Relationship: Married ___ Name: Jennifer Hopka, 26 Hometown: Columbia, S.C. Occupation: Student Name: Preston McCamy, 28 Hometown: Columbia, S.C. Occupation: Software Engineer Relationship: Dating ___ Name: Amanda Blackledge, 23 Hometown: San Diego Occupation: Student Name: Kris Klicka, 24 Hometown: San Diego Occupation: Sales Representative Relationship: Dating ___ Name: Margie Adams, 51 Hometown: Denver Occupation: Clinical Research Associate Name: Luke Adams, 23 Hometown: Denver Occupation: College Graduate Relationship: Mother and Son -------------
  15. A very satisfying race, and while I was cheering for Toni and Dallas, it's fine with me that Nick and Starr won it. What a competitive team. I especially appreciated that this was very family-friendly. We love to watch this as a family, but we sometimes have winced at some of the content. This race was more enjoyable for that reason. I taped the marching episode in Russia -- I may never be able to bring myself to erase it! Watching Dandrew stumble through that roadblock was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. And then losing their shoes... The carmera work was, as always, near genius. So many things communicated by context, such as a sign in the background. Last night, it was Nick walking under a theater marquee saying that he didn't know where the theater was. The shot of Dallas' backpack in the cab was another great example. This team has a great instinct for visual detail. Yes, Ken and Tina's moment was very touching. Not a perfect couple, no easy fixes for them, no starry-eyed delusions -- but an honest re-commitment to do the hard work of making it work. God bless 'em. Man, I wish Canadians could compete in this show! Anyone here going to apply?
  16. Ha! Like I said, takes real talent to write like that...
  17. It takes a certain talent to write promotional copy like that, don't you think?! Almost makes me want to pack up the kids and drive to Winnipeg to see this legendary proto-Snowcore scene...
  18. Loved your review, Steven. You are right about not really caring about this one -- almost none of the plot points seemed to amount to anything. Things just happen, and then other things happen. The one main gadget in the film is actually just MI-6 technology -- the touchscreen table in M's office... but it's used for a complex explanation of money and bank accounts that amounts to very little. I am frustrated by movies that invest no energy in major plot points but invest a great deal of screen time in minor ones. Another example - Is this incompetance or complicity? No explanation is given, but it appears to be lazy scriptwriting -- just make up an event to add some interest, but don't connect it to anything. And what really is the plot here? Really? One of my other complaints: enough already with the disorienting action sequence. A blurry frenzy of footage over a sound effects mashup was interesting the first time it was used in a Bourne film, but in QoS it was like there were a few sequences where the hyper-editing felt like it could be stock footage borrowed from another movie. Whirling-motion footage with a thud/grunt/crunch soundtrack. In the airplane scene, at least you could tell it these were aircraft, but it's edited so tightly that there is no continuity. I mean, there isn't much suspense in a dogfight if you can't tell where anyone is or what they are doing. It's like watching a boxing match in the dark, but the lights come on after the fight so you can see the results and the identity of the winner. The one thing this film gets right is the physicality of Bond, the sheer athleticism of a man whose body is a finely-tuned machine. Watching him jump a balcony or run along a ledge is like watching a giant cat, and you can believe that there are operatives who are lethal. (You couldn't believe that about either of the CIA agents in the film, pudgy and dopey as they are.)
  19. I know a number of you will appreciate this article about Ron Reed... (http://www.canadianchristianity.com/nationalupdates/081030reed.html) Just thought I'd share! Congrats, Ron.
  20. Stef, there is no "Mack", though William P. Young (his real name) wrote this out of his own experiences. It will be a film, no doubt; the people who helped get the book through several re-writes are involved in the film business and planned a film even before the book made a kajillion dollars.
  21. I have spoken with many people for whom this book has dramatically re-formulated their view of God. In fact, I have rarely seen a book get the response this one does (raving fans and strong word of mouth) - and I say that as someone who also wished the writing were more polished. There is something unhelpful about how God has traditionally been portrayed, and that something is being undone here for many readers. A very positive development, literary polish aside. Just fwiw.
  22. I mentioned it a year ago here, but I don't know that it was discussed beyond that. I wrote: Indeed, it is a publishing phenomenon.
  23. Just fwiw... Sony recently (unexpectedly) dropped the Cloud Ten films from their catalog, but they have been picked up and will be re-released soon by Goodtimes. I'm not sure why Sony dropped them, but the move seemed to catch Cloud Ten off guard.
  24. The final act of THE BLACK STALLION (1979), especially the race itself, is an outstanding film version of a sporting event. And no sportscaster voiceover blaring the obvious details as it plays - just outstanding camera work and gorgeous, gorgeous visuals.
  25. For younger kids, Robert Munsch is great, and you could do a lot worse than Winnie the Pooh. I heartily second every Roald Dahl suggestion. I have also love this delightful, simple story every time I've read it to my kids: It would be great as a story without pictures, and I would buy this book if it were illustrations only -- story and plasticine illustrations are each that good on their own: together, they are perfect. Oh, and You Are Special (Max Lucado) is quite touching and meaningful.
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