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Nick Alexander

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Everything posted by Nick Alexander

  1. Nick Alexander

    The Ninth Configuration (1980)

    This aired on TCM this past week; I DVR'd it and finally caught up with it. The Ninth Configuration is the directorial debut of William Peter Blatty, working off his own script. This was a loose follow-up story to The Exorcist (which he wrote), except it follows the exploits of an astronaut (Scott Wilson, lately seen as Herschel in The Walking Dead) who appeared in the beginning of that former film (he was told by Regan, in an early scene, that he was going to "die up there."). In the opening moments of this film, he abandons his mission to the moon moments before takeoff, and is taken to a crazy ward in the Pacific Northwest (the film was actually filmed in Hungary). He meets with the new psychiatrist, played by Stacey Keach, who's an extremely devout Catholic. Their conversations about faith take up a sizable part of the movie's running time, with Keach demonstrating an impartial, Jesuit approach to therapy, while Wilson chews the scenery resisting in every way possible. And that's just one storyline thread. Blatty includes storylines that hearken to his "A Shot In the Dark" era, complete with punchlines, sight gags, and a patient staging an all canine-version of Hamlet. I would say part of the movie's failure is also why I am chomping at the bit to see it again. It is a "comedy drama", only that the comedy is waaaay out there, and the drama has so much importance at stake. There is a twist ending, and there is an extremely tense bar-room fight sequence late in the movie. And each of these elements, on their own, work on their own terms, with excellent acting (and overacting... and underacting). Put together, it's like eating Salsa Ice Cream. But it demands a second viewing, just because the twist changes the game substantially. In all fairness to this board, this movie is a rare find, and not many people have clamored to watch it for themselves. But on the basis of some extremely significant visuals, and on the basis of many significant dialogue scenes (including explaining the title), this film should have been listed in any Arts & Faith 100 listing, near the very top.
  2. Nick Alexander

    The Ninth Configuration (1980)

    Good review!
  3. Nick Alexander

    The Ninth Configuration (1980)

    Scott Wilson has passed away. He was a character actor who had been in movies since the 1960s (In Cold Blood) and most recently held a recurring role in The Walking Dead TV series. However, it was in The Ninth Configuration that he had garnered his highest acclaim, garnering a nomination for Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor (1980). He played an astronaut who suffered a mental breakdown after he abandoned his mission moments before takeoff. The movie is a faith-based psychological drama/comedy/mystery/thriller hybrid where his character has the greatest transformation over the course of the story, the one who challenges the belief in a loving God the strongest. His performance was wonderful to behold.
  4. Nick Alexander

    Student inquiry: Films about sexual violence and responses to it

    Sleepers, Mystic River, The Butterfly Effect and The Prince of Tides all come to mind. And Molly Ringwald would make the case that The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, (and probably Weird Science) as examples of those films which "let us down."
  5. Nick Alexander

    Ready Player One

    Just came back from seeing it; and I am surprised that I liked it as much as I did, in the face of all these (now reading) detractors.
  6. Nick Alexander

    Ready Player One

    I suppose I had that one-liner coming.
  7. Nick Alexander

    Ready Player One

    Happy you liked it. I'm also a child of the 80s and had an Atari 2600.... and yet the trailer still underwhelmed me. I also have a fandango coupon for a (mostly) free ticket. And yet... that trailer still underwhelmed me, and my time is precious. On the fence.
  8. Nick Alexander

    Criterion sale at Barnes & Noble

    24-hour Criterion Flash Sale going on at criterion.com . Purchased blu's of The Breakfast Club, The Hidden Fortress and The Uninvited.
  9. Nick Alexander

    God's Not Dead (2014)

    White went into specifics about the conversion scene itself. I don't recall him going into any other details about that initial shot.
  10. Nick Alexander

    God's Not Dead (2014)

    I've not seen this film yet; but that said, I have just finished reading David A.R. White's book "Between Heaven and Hollywood", where he shares his experiences working in the film industry as a faith-filled Christian, first as an actor, and then as a producer (including films like "God's Not Dead.") Anyway, here's an interesting tidbit: the first scene they shot was the rain-soaked conversion scene, the climactic scene at the end (I've not seen the movie, but hearing your angst about this scene has deterred me from actually seeing it). Why was this the first scene shot? So to share with financial backers to get more funding so to complete the movie. They knew they'd have a better chance securing funding if there was such a scene in their film. Something to chew on....
  11. Nick Alexander

    Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    "DID YOU GET IT?" - Half In the Bag
  12. Nick Alexander

    Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    From a Reddit user:
  13. Nick Alexander

    Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    One critic considers it to be a deeply Christian movie, but only if you interpret the title character to be the devil himself.
  14. Nick Alexander

    Werner Herzog Masterclass

    Just a note that TCM will be playing lots of Herzog titles this coming Thursday night: 8pm ET: Fitzcarraldo 10:45pm: Stroszek 1:00 AM: Aguirre, the Wrath of God 2:45 AM: Cobra Verde 4:45 AM: Burden of Dreams (documentary on the making of Fitzarraldo) 6:30 AM: Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (short). http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/1349154|0/Directed-by-Werner-Herzog-9-7.html
  15. Nick Alexander

    The Ninth Configuration (1980)

    Shortly after I saw it, I listened to The Projection Booth podcast, where all three members were quite enthusiastic over the film. It helped detail for me what I had missed in my first screening. projection-booth.blogspot.com/2017/05/episode-323-ninth-configuration-1980.html
  16. Nick Alexander

    Kino Lorber Studio Classics Blu-Ray & DVD Sale Through August 6

    They have that Jesus Music classic "Beware, The Blob!"
  17. Nick Alexander

    Captain Fantastic

    Crisis Magazine (Spoilers)
  18. Nick Alexander

    The Founder

    The movie's ad campaign doomed it. Nobody wants to see a movie that looks like a PR stunt from that most obnoxious of corporations. Nobody wants to see a movie that appears to glorify the commercialized excesses of all that fast food restaurant franchises represent. It appeared that the movie was to attempt to turn the tide on the restaurant chain since the damage inflicted on them from the one-two-punch of Supersize Me and Fast-Food Nation. Add to that the rise of Trump (not that I want to get political), and it appears to embrace commercialism and capitalism, at a time when this nation is divided upon these concepts. But it's still an EXCELLENT movie. It's done in a way that does not hide his flaws, but still brings about an insightful study of a man who stumbles into a goldmine, in the second half of his life. He loves the idea, he runs with it, and he even makes it better... but this is because a successful idea oftentimes attracts others who also have successful ideas. And the moment he stumbled upon how he could circumvent the contract he made with the brothers, there was no stopping him. It's also insightful in giving us a glimpse of what life was like before the dominance of fast food chains, what we gave up (the good and the bad).
  19. Nick Alexander

    La La Land (2016)

    Finally saw it. And I am eternally grateful for the naysayers. Because I came in with lowered expectations, and we **loved** it. It should go without saying that I, too, love movie musicals, but I found Umbrellas of Cherbourg utterly unwatchable. (Sorry Evan). Turned it off in the first ten minutes. We still have the Young Girls at Rochefort in our DVR, from when it played on TCM. Will watch soon. But, yeah, I really thought the movie was daring in how it attempted to resurrect older movie styles, and share that with the audience in the same way with how it referenced Jazz. Nonetheless, I suppose expectations have everything to do with how a movie is referenced. I thought it even better than the hyper-edited Moulin Rouge! with long, extended, smooth steadicam shots that Astaire wouldv'e been envious of.
  20. Nick Alexander

    The Founder

    I really enjoyed this movie. It's a great story. And I don't even like McDonalds.
  21. Nick Alexander

    Hell or High Water

  22. Nick Alexander

    Son of God

    Finally catching up with this. It's on Netflix. So far, only watched half of it, up to the beginning of the Last Supper (will watch this on Friday). Peter, I would like that spreadsheet, if you have it. Anyway, I never saw this film, nor the miniseries. So it's kinda hard to put myself in the position of disliking it for rehashing previously done material (didn't David Lynch do the same thing, save for the fact that Mulholland Drive never aired? And since I seem to be the only person on the planet who hates MD, oh well). I think SoG works in small segments. I think they do a marvelous job a story at a time; they really over-directed the whole thing. But it gets a little hard to watch after awhile.
  23. Nick Alexander

    E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

    This forum has been around for well over a decade, and not one person has started a thread devoted to this film? For shame, for shame. This past weekend I had introduced this movie to my six-year old daughter. A few things struck me in this viewing than in past viewings (which has been some time). First of all, I get the sense that, over time, the status of this movie has diminished in the eyes of our current environment. When the movie was released, it was clearly a four-quadrant movie. But nowadays I believe it's become relegated to the kiddie movie section. We forget that children, adults, teens, twenty-somethings--everybody--went to see this film when it was released. Secondly, I was struck at how deliberately paced the movie is. There are stretches where not much seems to be going on, or what went on could have been mentioned at a fraction of the time allotted. It is changing times, to be sure, but beginning the film was a struggle for my daughter, but once she got settled into the movie's rhythms (about thirty-minutes into the film), she was hooked. I think that little suburban development had the very best Halloween costumes I had ever seen. No masks and plastic draperings out of the box. The only character costume was that of Yoda, and that was a full head, not a mask. The medical-technician scenes were hard for her. As little Drew Barrymore was bawling while the doctors tried to save E.T.'s life, so was my daughter. She seemed to relate to her the most. I forgot how much Spielberg loved Peter Pan and The Quiet Man, and Elvis Costello. All three make their presence known. A scene that I think works far better today as I see it was the scene shortly after the medical technician cacaphony, when there was quiet, and the doctors pulled down their masks. Up to this point in time, the only adult in the film was Dee Wallace, whereas everybody else was seen from the neck down, or in silouette. Peter "Keys" Coyote emerges as a sympathetic figure with a boy-like wonder. The "bad" government guys, caricatured up to this point, finally had faces and personalities. They weren't all bad. They may have wanted to dissect E.T. in a laboratory like a frog, maybe not. Humanizing them at the 2/3 mark was one of the strongest decisions in the movie. The only flaw in the film is that we do not know exactly why E.T. came back to life. But being science fiction, they can rewrite the rules of the aliens' nature and attribute it to these up-to-that-point-unseen attributes. Still makes for an effective story. In short, if you haven't seen E.T. in a long time, you may be surprised as to how effective it is still. It pulls you into its own world and doesn't let go easily.
  24. Nick Alexander

    Films About Church History?

    Amazing Grace Black Robe The Agony and the Ecstacy
  25. Nick Alexander

    Top 100 or 25 Christmas movies?

    Christmas was made for the 1940s. My favorites: The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) Holiday Inn (1942) It's A Wonderful Life (1946) Miracle on 34th Street (1947) The Cheaters (1946) It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1948) Remember the Night (1940) The Shop Around the Corner (1940) Christmas In Connecticut (1944) 1941 (1979)