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Everything posted by amcoffin

  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
  16. Went to an event yesterday on the Disney lot in Burbank, designed to introduce the film to "faith groups." (It wasn't really a media event.) A nice line-up of people involved in the film were present, including Andrew Adamson. Not sure how much I'm able to say right now, but I'm working on an article for World this week that will cover some specifics of the event. I will say, though, that my expectations for the project were raised considerably by the event. The best intentions don't always produce a great film, but things are looking good so far. -Andrew
  17. amcoffin


    Haven't posted on the board for a while, but I'm curious to see some more feedback on this film... I actually thought that Spanglish was quite good. Not perfect by any means, but I found a lot to enjoy in this one. However, I just received a very strongly worded email horrified and offended that I would recommend the film (in response to my review in WORLD). Due to WORLD's audience, I see plenty of complaints about innappropriate content in films I review, and they don't normally bother me. This one, though, was from a pastor who chose to make his criticism very personal and pointed. Anyone else have an opinion on Spanglish?
  18. Sorry...I did a search first, but somehow missed that thread. Maybe I spelled the name wrong or something. Maybe I need to take a class...
  19. Oops...forgot this choice ending: "A CINDERELLA STORY should be used in script classes to help demonstrate good scriptwriting. Bravo! It
  20. amcoffin

    Cinderella Story

    Anyone else seen this movie? (I don't think it has its own thread yet, nor would I expect it to have its own thread here.) Not up my alley, but certainly with potential appeal for WORLD's audience, so I bit the bullet and went... To put it mildly, the film is terrible. Not surprising, but certainly on the lower end of the bad tween movie spectrum...groan after groan after groan... Out of curiosity, I checked MOVIEGUIDE's review... And they gave it FOUR STARS! I'm regularly shocked by how far off (I think) they are, but FOUR STARS! Anyone know if they're somehow invested in this movie? My eyes just got wider and wider as I kept reading. Here's the first paragraph: "A CINDERELLA STORY is one of the three best produced movies of the summer of 2004. It
  21. "Quiz Show - Mark Van Doren realizes the truth about his son and, thus, the family name, in a late night kitchen confrontation" I'm so glad you mentioned that scene, Jeffrey. Gets me every time. Paul Scofield's sad, quietly expressive face can work wonders on me (as it also did in A Man for All Seasons). The one film that immediately comes to mind though is Gallipoli. I've seen that movie 4 or 5 times, and, every time, I have almost the same reaction I did the first time I saw it. A good test of a film's real power. That final scene is in no way surprising, but is still absolutely devestating. Peter Weir consistently effects me more emotionally than just about any other filmmaker, I think.
  22. Jeffrey- I'll assume that mine is not among the seven reviews you've collected, because I hope that you're not characterizing my take as a "gushing rave"! I tried to be charitable, but certainly was NOT a fan of the film! -Andrew
  23. amcoffin


    Very thoughtful reply, Jeffrey. I plan to follow up--just don't have time at the moment. You make a strong case for the film, though...
  24. amcoffin


    I'm late to this discussion, but SDG is making some fine points, and I wanted to offer my support. - SDG's observation that there's no room for Christians with "genuine compassion, human decency, intellectual honesty, and honorable religious commitment" is dead on. The problem, to me, lies in the fact that other characters in the movie DO exhibit some or most of these characteristics. The Christian characters in the film are parodies of real people, little more than cartoons. While they do bear some surface resemblance to people with whom we've all come into contact (which is why they resonate with many on this board), they don't have enough complexity or nuance to exist alongside the other characters in the film. They're types, not humans. Had the film stuck with outright parody, I would have had far less argument with this approach. But it's intellectually dishonest, and a cheap shot, to stack one-dimensional characters up against two-dimensional characters. We're meant to identify with and feel compassion for Mary, Roland, and Cassandra. They're not parodies, and they exhibit qualities we're meant to admire. I think this is why the discussion of genre above became somewhat confused...the characters in Saved! are really in two different films. - Jeffrey, being no great fan of modern evangelical culture, I can sympathize with your admiration for the film to a certain extent. However, I'm not sure that we agree on what's at the heart of this film's attack on Christianity. While hypocrisy and mean-spiritedness are part of the film's concern (and worthy of condemnation), it's clear by end, and reinforced in the last scene, that what really bothers the writers is the exclusivity of the gospel. The gospel, they think, requires adherence to standards that can't be met (here, they're right to some extent), and excludes those who don't accept its definition of morality or its offer of Christ as the only means of salvation. This is what the world hates about the gospel, and will always hate about the gospel, so long as it's honestly presented. We can take the film as an opportunity, as you suggest, to examine ourselves, but the sinners whom Christ has called to bear his name will always be weak representatives of the gospel. Even were all of the characters in this film (or all of the Christians in the world) not mean-spirited hypocrites, the central problem that this film (and the world) has with the gospel would remain the same. Several posts have acknowledged the weak ending of the film, but I don't think that it can be severed from all that's come before it. In fact, I think it's profoundly illuminating that the final confrontation is NOT at all about hypocrisy, but instead about standards that are too high. A film about hypocrisy would seek to advocate more fervent, more consistent, belief, not a rejection of the central tenets of one's beliefs. I think the point was made earlier about effective satire requiring an ultimate fondness for its target. That's not here in this film--or, to the extent that it is, the Christianity that this film wants to allow has little to no resemblance to Biblical faith. I'm sure this wasn't very well-stated, as I don't have time to go back and review it...my review is on the WORLD blog if anyone's interested...
  25. I don't know how you all have so much time to post here. As much as I enjoy stopping by occassionally to check out what's being discussed (answer: just about everything), there's just no way I can get seriously involved in these threads--it would be a full time job! There are others of you who are married, right?! And have kids?! And aren't full time critics, but also work other jobs?! (I know the answer to all three is yes...) I just don't know how you do it... But, to stay on topic (I know there's someone around here that polices that pretty stringently): I had no idea WORLD was going to start a movie blog. It just happened one day. Looks like we're jumping on the bandwagon, doesn't it? So far, it's not getting much action--most of the debates occur on the main WORLDBlog site still. It's not a bad idea though. Our coverage in the magazine has expanded significantly (I was aware that this was going to occur), to include a weekly chart and additional space for movie and television reviews. However, the new format requires more, but shorter, articles. So there's not really an opportunity to expand on a particularly worthwhile film, unless we give major coverage to it, such as we did on The Passion. I was hoping to squeak in a full page on Dogville, for instance, but that didn't happen--my full review gave Von Trier a little more credit for what I thought was a remarkable, if frustrating, accomplishment. But that's neither here nor there. SDG, enjoyed your Bobby Jones review, and, as one myself, won't dispute your Presbyterian hypothesis. The readers of both our reviews may have been diserviced by our failure to warn of the club chucking scenes, however... So, to sum up, I'm impressed with the output of everyone on this board, and had almost nothing to do with the Movie Incite blog, aside from producing content for it. -Andrew
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