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  1. amcoffin


    Peter, did you realize that it is YOUR name by the copyright at the end of this review? "
  2. amcoffin


    Darrel, were you surprised at this quote from Hansard? It seems to me to be nearly the exact opposite of the point the film was making (if the film was making any point at all). "I believe that if joy exists between two people, let it happen. If it stops existing, split up. It's the bottom line: Wherever magic exists, follow it. I think if you're open to that kind of thing in your life, your life will be filled with magic. If you're about commitment and if you're about logic, then your life will be filled with commitment and logic." Irglova's quotes seem more consistent with the film; as much as I like Hansard's music, I can't figure out what on earth he's talking about here.
  3. amcoffin


    One additional note: I also just discovered that much Hansard and The Frames' music is available on eMusic, including, "The Swell Season," an album Hansard recorded with his costar from Once, Marketa Irglova, in 2006. "This Swell Season" has, I believe, four songs which overlap with the Once soundtrack. Both albums are fantastic.
  4. amcoffin


    Yes, definitely take Sarah. Having her look at the Metacritic scores may be useful, but I'd warn against two things: - Most critics really, really like this movie--and with good reason. But it's not a movie you want to oversell. The plot is minimal, and the pleasures small. The movie won't disappoint, unless you go in expecting too much... - Regarding that minimalistic plot--some reviews I've read give away too much, I think. It's not a movie that depends on plot twists, but, the script takes the characters in somewhat unexpected directions, and I think these small moments are best experienced in the context of the film. Also, one's enjoyment of "Once" will be somewhat affected by one's appreciation for the music of Coldplay, Keane, or, particularly, Damien Rice. I wasn't that familiar with Hansard or The Frames going into the film, but Hansard sounds a lot like Rice, I think. (I was actually excited to discover another artist with many of Rice's strengths, but who does not appear to be as much of self-indulgent jerk!)
  5. amcoffin


    I'm surpised this little film hasn't attracted more attention here. Seeing it prompted me to check back in to this site, which I haven't done in some time. I've only seen a handful of films in the theater since I stopped writing for World regularly last summer, most of them forgetable. Not "Once," though. Loved the simplicity, loved the ending, and the music...well, I'm listening to the soundtrack right now, and I also picked up The Frames' latest CD today. Some great shots in the film too, despite the budget (under $200K, I think?)...especially that tracking shot following "the girl" as she walks back from a convenience store while listening to the CD player. :spoilers: In any case, although one wouldn't want to spoil the ending in a review, the relationship between the main characters may be particularly appealing to Christian audiences. (With the caveat that the film contains quite a bit of Irish-accented profanity.) -Andrew
  6. Right, no junket. In fact, Grace Hill told me that they were completely off the film (after including it on some earlier calendars)...then sent me word of a screening last night on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. Glad to know you appreciated it as well, Steven.
  7. Christian: Poland is wrong. Very wrong. At least in my opinion.
  8. amcoffin

    Sophie Scholl

    Is anyone else depressed at how quickly this film disappeared from theaters, and how little attention it received? The Academy Award nomination was nice, but this film struggled through a somewhat haphazard distribution scheme, and never really caught on with the right audience. I spoke more highly of this film than any in recent memory (it was one I could recommend freely with neither artistic nor moral reservations), and yet I found it incredibly difficult to convince friends, family, or coworkers that it was worth seeing. I'm not sure if it was the seemingly unpleasant subject matter, a young, female protagonist as the lead in a serious film, limited availablility in theaters, or what... One wonders, though, if films like this now need to utilize the services of Grace Hill or Paul Lauer's Motive Entertainment to reach Christian audiences. Without the "buzz" created by a BreakPoint commentary or a Dobson recommendation, is a serious film about faith like Sophie Scholl doomed to fail?
  9. Excellent post, Steven. Worthwhile questions that I consider myself frequently. I think you do a nice job framing the issue in a way that encourages reflection and self-examination, rather than defensiveness. I've found myself in a similar position to what describe. In matters of some specific problematic content, I have, I think, become more tolerant, and perhaps desensitized. But I think I'm more critical of fundamentally corrosive flaws in the general outlook (or, to use an overused term, worldview) presented by a film. The former can be troubling, both personally and from the perspective of identifying with and serving your readers. I often find myself (carefully, I hope) recommending films that include content I know would be considered offensive (horrifying to some, even) to WORLD's readers. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Junebug, etc. But I think these films offer something fundamentally useful and even edifying, despite some troubling elements. What I'm far less tolerant of, now, are the films that fly under the radar from the perspective of obviously offensive content, but offer a fundamentally corrosive perspective on life, virtue, God, compassion, etc. Much forgetable mass entertainment falls into this category, just as you describe in M:I . I am also far less patient with the boundery-pushing filmmakers that awed and amazed me when I was first becoming serious about film in college: Tarantino, Cronenberg, even Kubrick to some extent. The Tarantino knock-off generation (Lucky Number Slevin is a recent film that comes to mind) is providing a particularly useless and unhealthy form of entertainment. Technically impressive, I think that they often have very little to offer the average filmgoer (other than making sinful, unhappy people seem cool) and I'd rather direct them to films that will encourage virtue, empathy, or even simply a honest understanding of sin.
  10. The word I'm getting (from Grace Hill and others) is that the only junket scheduled for Da Vinci is taking place overseas and only "heavyhitters" are invited. Also, there may or may not be preview screenings the week before the film opens. Does anyone know if this is accurate?
  11. Just now saw the above... Not that it matters much, but for the record...I was actually very enthusiastic about The New World. I loved it, in fact. Very disappointed with my published review, though. I had hoped for more space in the magazine for this one, so my review had to be heavily edited. In the process, the tone changed significantly, and most of my minor criticisms and caveats for unprepared viewers were left in place and my rapturous praise ended up in the dust bin. Just letting you know that we agree on this one...one of the best of 2005, or, if you prefer, I expect one of the best of 2006. -Andrew
  12. Thanks for the compliment a few posts up, Christian. Here's what I got for my troubles, from a loyal World reader: ______________________ Andrew Coffin must be hooked on porn if he could give The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada the review he did. Better check on that young man. XXXXX XXXXX south Bend, IN ______________________ As much as I liked it, I was geniunely troubled by some aspects of the film, and thought that I gave a stronger warning about content and provided harsher criticism of these elements than most. But, regardless, I'd be so much more willing to engage in a self-critical review of my work if readers took the time to make a careful, reasoned argument against something I've written, instead of this type of dashed-off personal attack. I'd actually LOVE to get more negative feedback (by people who honestly disagree with me and are willing to discuss their disagreement), but letters like the above are, sadly, not atypical.
  13. As a semi-regular lurker on these boards but very infrequent contributor, I feel compelled to say that I've found this discussion (along with its parent thread, on Sophie Scholl), one of the most engrossing debates on a message board I've come across in some time. I've found myself returing to this thread repeatedly over the past 24 hours to catch up on each successive installment. As an observer, I'm appreciative of Steven and Jeffrey's dedication to battling this one out...although that's part of the reason I never post here: debates like this are just too time consuming! In any case, the real reason for my post is that I happened to stumble across this Whit Stillman quote today (the Criterion release of Metropolitan reignited my interested in Stillman), and thought it apropos: "Some visual purists still think film is pictures at an exhibition. They seem to forget that we've been making sound films ever since the Twenties. Talk is incredibly important. . . . Of course you have to be very careful with it, and I understand why all the screenwriting gurus warn against too much dialogue, but I think they're making a mistake. Even action films often have very good dialogue, though there isn't necessarily a lot of it. What's the charm of a buddy comedy? Just to see two guys shooting bullets? It's what the two guys say to each other that matters." The man to whom this quote was directed, drama and music critic Terry Teachout, continues on his own: "I agree. When I want to immerse myself in wordless narrative, I listen to a symphony or look at a plotless ballet. This isn
  14. Jeffrey- I think your criticisms are probably on target in many ways, particularly when disecting the worldview that Howard and his screenwriter bring to this project. But I think that there's more here of value that you're willing to credit to the film. Stepping back from the explicitly religious components of the movie for a moment, tales of heroism, courage, and integrity have an intrinsic value, even if they don't directly explore the spiritual dimensions of a character. Much of classic (at least juvenile classic) literature and classic Hollywood would fit this mold. I appreciated the way Howard sought to tell the story of a character who embodied certain virtues, and was both consistent in and rewarded for his commitment to those virtues. (Whether you agree that Braddock should have fought that final fight or not, it's clear that filmmakers were building the case that he fought not simply for pride or personal glory, but out of care for his family and a respect for others who had placed their faith in him.) This is particuarly appreciated in contrast to two very common themes in modern film that were refreshingly absent from "Cinderella Man": that revenge is the only motivating factor strong enough to push a man to great acts of courage and heroism (e.g., "The Patriot," etc.) and an almost obsessive interest in exploring and exploiting the personal demons of well-known (sports or otherwise) figures. As far as how the film treats religion, certainly there were things that were lacking--this was not Chariots of Fire, and Braddock's faith is not fleshed out the way I would have loved to see it. But, again, I appreciated the way Howard included religion as a normal part of the Braddocks' lives. In some ways, this is a comparative judgement, since so many modern films want to pretend that faith, in the traditional sense, doesn't exist--rarely do we see families at church, or praying, or treating faith as an integral part of their everyday lives--yet millions of Americans do. That Howard was willing to see the Braddocks' Catholicism as being a part of what defined them as a family, I think is significant. Braddock's unwillingness to pray was poignent--it was clearly a practice to which he was accustomed, but had reached a point where he was struggling with understanding God's providence in his family's current situation. I don't think that this was a wholesale rejection of his faith, or intended to be a turning point in the film, in which Braddock was deciding to remove God from the equation and rely on himself. The scene at the church picnic, I believe, came later in the film. To me, that signaled his continued involvement in the church. And again, to see a family at a church picnic, and who clearly knows and is known by their priest, is a rare and welcome component of the film. I may hope for, but don't expect, a full-fledged, understanding portrayal of Christian faith from non-Christian filmmakers. What I do respect, though, is Howard's willingness to understand faith as at least one important element in this family's life. A film not without weaknesses (particuarly in its portrayal of Baer), but, I think, a great film nonetheless. It's only the second film of Howard's that I've liked, but it gives me new respect for him.
  15. amcoffin

    Man On Fire

    I don't suppose this will make me very popular here: http://www.worldmag.com/subscriber/display...le.cfm?id=10731 I have to say, I'd expect pretty wildly divergent reactions to this film, but I'm surprised that
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