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Backrow Baptist

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  1. Watched it with my wife. It wasn't as bad as I feared. The figure talking to Abraham at the destrucion of Sodom seemed intentionally to look like what we later see of Jesus. I actually liked the idea of including the pre-incarnate Christ but there must be better and more biblical ways. The moments of Abraham's anguish over trusting in God's promises, the near sacrifice of Isaac in particular, worked for me. That being said, I have alot of gripes. Having Noah tell the creation story from the ark was an interesting way to telescope an already 10 hour mini series but it reduces everything pre-Noah to a story within a story. I'm sure it was unintentional but I worry it will give viewers even more reason to dismiss the creation account and the fall as pure myth. Also, it's frustratingly modern to hear Noah say that God sent the flood because of "bad choices" and not, you know, "sin". As others have pointed out, it's interesting to note what the producers chose to include and spend time on. The destruction of Sodom was probably the most distracting. There is no mention of homosexuality and the only kissing I saw appeared to man on woman. Lot agrees to give shelter to the angels when the people of Sodom (the bible tells us "young and old") demand that Lot give them up. The producers choose to leave out the biblical detail of Lot offering the mob his own daughters to be violated. This seems to go along with the producers' interpretation that Lot escapes because he is a righteous man who helps the angels and not simply another sinner who receives mercy from God. Instead the angels throw off their robes (in slow mo, not unlike Django Unchained), one of them unsheaths double swords from behind his back, and proceeds to slaughter the bad guys with some poorly choreographed martial arts. On the holier than thou issues, I'm currious to see if the producers continue to imply the bible is just about Theists vs. non-believers. I agree that the "God is with us" idea is problematic in that context.
  2. This seems like as good a place as any to jump back in. Django Unchained is the first Tarantino film I have really disliked and have no desire to see again any time soon. As others have pointed out, you can feel the loss of Sally Menke's influence. In particular the shootouts at the end were sloppy, and not just because of the gushing blood and splooshing sounds whenever a bullet hits bad guy after bad guy. Even in the House of Blue Leaves sequence in Kill Bill Volume 1, there is a deliberate quality to how the action is staged and cut and I never felt bored by it. I actually got bored during a western shootout in a Tarantino film, which I thought would never happen. It may be all about Broomhilda for Django, but for Tarantino she's a human macguffin. Consider the scene when Django and Broomhilda are finally reunited. Schultz gets another clever monologue while Django hides behind the door, waiting to surpise his wife. How will Broomhilda react? Will she scream? Will she be angry at Django for taking so long? Will she finally be allowed to speak more than a few words at a time? Will Django and Broomhilda finally get the chance to make love while the bad guys listen in, thinking it's Schultz in there having his way with her? Nope. She Show hidden text catches the vapors and faints like a delicate flower . Even at the very end, she is only there to cheer Django on when he has killed the last bad guy. Tarantino has no interest in that relationship. And Django does not just watch a fellow black man get gnawed to death by dogs, he speaks up and actively stops "Dr. King" from saving a fellow black man in order to advance his own interests. Schultz earlier told Django to play the part but Django becomes ruthless in a way we are meant to admire. Tarantino is smart enough to know what he's doing there. He did the same thing in Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds, which I appreciated for the skill on display if nothing else. After DU, the schtick is wearing thin and I am convinced Tarantino includes scenes like that because he knows that's what other movies about revenge do to be more interesting, not because he is personally interested in morality, racism, slavery, or anything other than movies. If I sound too harsh, please know that I take no pleasure in it. I have been a huge fan of Tarantino's since Reservoir Dogs. After Jackie Brown it looked like he was maturing but instead he has become more immature and self indulgent. He's become like one of those friends you know from high school who refuses to grow up and ultimately has nothing new to say.
  3. I'm still holding out hope for that stand alone special edition blu-ray. I've read mixed reviews on that Hannibal Lecter Anthology, but I'm really tempted now after reading your comments. Without endorsing Neitzsche, I'm reminded of the famous line "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.". Real life FBI profiler John Douglas made that the title of his book about hunting serial killers. Great book btw.
  4. Doc Hollywood/ Cars The hero gets stuck in a small town on his way to "success" in the big city. He learns to accept the small town values and finds happiness.
  5. Those are the shots (though I also like the one in Clockers quite a bit). Given the fairly clear context of the film, which is brought into focus in the conversation that takes place overlooking the tower footprints, I think it is fair to interpret much of what goes on in 25th Hour through the post-9/11 lens. The dolly shots in this film, in comparison to other uses of the same shot, seem to suggest that the way it disconnects characters from the frame itself is a handy expression of how it feels to party in Manhattan post-9/11. It riffs a bit on the "no poetry after the Holocaust" axiom. I like that. And for Hoffman in particular -- the lit prof who can't articulate anything -- that read on the shot makes a lot of sense. I think the first time I saw the film, the post-9-11 imagery just felt like something tacked on because it was current, but viewing it years later, I could really see how significant that context was to the narrative. And now I very much like your reading of those shots. 25th Hour was the first time that shot didn't work for me. In Malcolm X it's a great moment of a character moving towards what he knows will be his death. In the Clockers "You too can be hard" scene, it gave me a feeling of inevitability to the tragedy of a young kid making a stupid decision and Keitel's perspective on it. But in 25th Hour it felt kind of tired and unnecessary. Hoffman is always great, but in that shot I felt conscious of Hoffman the actor riding on the dolly and trying hard to bring something to the moment.
  6. Not sure if this counts but, the "Sister Christian"/ "Jessie's Girl" drug deal gone bad in Boogie Nights. There's a moment while they are all sitting on the couch waiting for Alfred Molina to finish playing around with the fireworks and hi-fi cassette player, so they can sell him fake cocaine. Wahlberg/ Dirk stares off into space for as if he's in deep thought. Dirk seems to have a rare moment of clarity that leads him to get up off the couch and walk out. For my money it's one of the best moments in the film and in the commentary PT Anderson says it wasn't planned. In Snow Angels there's a tracking shot with Griffin Dunne and another character walking and talking. The characters stop walking but the camera continues until they are out of frame. The camera then comes back to them. David Gordon Green admitted that as they were filming the camera operator was supposed to stop with the characters but wasn't paying attention.
  7. From Patton Oswalt's recent essay for wired. Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die.
  8. Right now my plan is to play a few short clips from my DVDs or ripped and embedded into the Powerpoint. I expect most of the attendance will be high school and college age members who have already seen the films covered. The youth pastor is interested in maybe getting a group together to see Thor or Captain America, (or one of the other bazillion superhero films) in the theater. As for analysis, yes that's a concern. Here's how I ended my email pitch to the youth pastor. "Please know that I have no desire to wedge God into a comic book. Christ is more than just another superhero. My hope for this class is that we can look to The Lord as the original author of every good and true story and to test what we read, hear, and watch against what we know to be true from scripture. I’m a big believer in “All truth is God’s truth.”. Thanks again for your time and please let me know your thoughts.".
  9. Ok, I couldn't find a thread on this but if there is already one please post a link. Basically, our youth pastor is on board with me putting together a church class on superhero films. This would be specifically superhero films, not"Comic book movies" per se. I don't know exactly how many weeks it would last, but probably around 5-8. I proposed these books as reference. - “Hollywood Worldviews” by Brian Godawa as a basic introduction to assessing a film’s worldviews and themes from a biblical perspective. He discusses some superhero movies like The Dark Knight. This is also the book I would use to teach a broader class on worldviews. - “Parallel Universe: A Theater For Heroism” by Dr. Brian Kinnard. Kinnard is a professing Christian and former police officer turned PhD who blogs for Psychology Today. - “America’s Profit: Moses and the American Story” by Bruce Feiler. The book looks at how Moses was an influence on many real and fictional American heroes such as Superman (who is also an obvious Christ figure in many ways). He details the ways the creators of Superman were influenced by Moses’ story. And these verses from scripture. - Mathew 10:16 “Behold I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” - Romans 13:4 “For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (obviously a favorite for many police officers) - John 10:17-18 “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father." - Timothy 1: 6-7 "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" Has anyone here already taught or participated in something like this? What discussion questions would you like to see? What would your concerns be? Thanks.
  10. What a great film. Thank you for that Jeffrey. I can't wait for my 3 year old to get a little older so I can show it to her. There was so much about it that was over my head when I saw it at 8 years old. I didn't know what "meta" meant, but now I see the complex brilliance of Kermit in the film reading the script of his own story from the beginning until he catches up with himself at that point within the film. Charlie Kaufman was out there paying attention somewhere. I didn't know that big fat man behind the desk in Hollywood was this guy named Orson Welles who made films I would grow up to discover and respond to. I didn't know exactly why, to use a grown up expression, the film "works for me". But I did know the feeling The Muppet Movie gave me. I felt that yearning wistfulness of "The Rainbow Connection". I felt scared and disturbed by Hopper's frog bounty hunter and the sight of Kermit strapped into a tiny electric chair. I felt Kermit's doubt in his Garden of Gethsemane moment on the roadside. And I felt that sense of joy and community that Kermit finds at the end. More please.
  11. Here it is. Manhunter Q&A
  12. So ... What did you think? Which version did they show? I went online and found the video of the Q&A after the screening. Found it disappointing. I didn't hear Mann share much that isn't on the Manhunter DVDs. I was hoping for some word on a stand alone blu-ray will all the extras and different versions, similar to the Brazil and Blade Runner box sets.
  13. Donnie Darko has already been taken so I'll say another good Gyllenhaal performance in October Sky , but more for the father/son relationship with Chris Cooper. Favorite Great Surrogate Family The Outlaw Josey Wales
  14. That does explain alot. The moment the film started going off the rails for me was the weird, techno style score during the first street big brawl.
  15. I'm finishing up season 1 of the Mann produced TV series Crime Story. Mann's Heat consultant Chuck Adamson (a real life retired Chicago detective) co-wrote and produced the series. On the Heat DVD Mann described how Adamson was investigating a high line burglar and actually invited him to sit down for coffee, which inspired Pacino and Deniro's famous sit down. There are alot of interesting parallels between Crime Story and Heat. Several lines of dialogue appear in both. For example there's "They haven't invented a hard time we can't handle"/ "Ain't a hard time invented I can't handle.", and "When these guys come out they're gonna get the surprise of a lifetime."/ "When these guys come out of whatever score they have planned next, they're gonna get the surprise of a lifetime.". We even get a scene of the lead cop coming home to find his wife cheating on him, yelling at the other man to sit down, storming out with his TV set, and kicking the TV set out of his car at a red light. Crime Story also includes the use of a burning bar to break into a jewelry vault, just like in "Thief". Thief's crooked Det Urizi (real life ex-con John Santucci) and random organized crime thug "Carl" (real life former Chicago Detective Dennis Farina) also star in Crime Story, only this time the roles are reversed back to their former off screen lives. Has anyone else here caught Crime Story? Is season 2 worth seeking out?
  16. Yeah, the anachronisms in Payback didn't quite work for me either. There were the rotary phones, the clothing styles, comments about "President Nixon", etc. I liked the stylistic touch of the washed out, desaturated color scheme but ultimately even that didn't really add much on a storytelling level.
  17. Ok, I really need to re-watch Point Blank, like right now. Unfortunately the special edition DVD you list isn't out on Netflix yet. I'm kind of disappointed the Slate review didn't do into more detail about the differences between this and Payback, of which, the director's cut is in my queue. Producer/ star Mel Gibson famously clashed with director Brian Helgeland and recut the film to his liking. One major difference I remember is the way the Walker character's obsession with the money is portrayed. Gibson's character seems principled and at worst kind of quirky, where Marvin sometimes comes across as foolish and bull headed. In both films the other characters are baffled at Walker's demands to be payed the exact amount he feels he's owed but in Point Blank I remember a few moments where Walker seems like even he's not sure why it matters to him so much.
  18. You're right! I forgot about that. If you watch the documentary on the Magnolia DVD there's a funny scene where Anderson playfully goads Luis Guzman into saying he's a better director than Lumet. Guzman, who was directed by Lumet in Q&A, affirms him. As for their directing similarities, I think you hit the highlights. As for differences, Anderson obviously has no problem with style that calls attention to itself (sweeping camera moves, Scorsese style music cues, whip pans, etc.), while Lumet famously said he didn't want us to notice style. To me though, Lumet's restraint made any use of style more noticeable. I always remember the shot in the final courtroom scene of The Verdict when the camera swoops down for a closeup reaction from Paul Newman. I don't think either director's use of style works against them btw, but I'd be lying if I said Lumet's is completely invisible.
  19. Deadline has the full article. "Michael Mann, who last directed Public Enemies, is closing in on his next picture. He's getting serious about Gold, a contemporary Treasure of the Sierra Madre-type treasure hunt about prospectors and speculators involved in the chase for gold. The project is just taking shape. It had been developed by Paul Haggis, who showed it to Mann as a writing sample for scribes Patrick Masset and John Zinman. Mann liked it so much that he became the director. He's producing through his Forward Pass banner, with Haggis and his Highway 61 partner Michael Nozik. The hope is to begin production late in the year." Deadline.com Can't say I'm a fan of Haggis but I'll see anything Mann does.
  20. Maybe, maybe not. I'm always conflicted with a Tarantino film. Anything he suggests about the morality of his characters' actions seems somewhat thwarted by his characters' complete artificiality and outrageousness. There are exclusions to this in his films, though, with those characters that rise above (Jackie Brown and Max Cherry, for example). It depends what you mean by glorifying. He certainly seems to be enjoying violence, which may or may not be the same thing as glorifying it. It's been years since I re-watched RD but I still hold it in high regard. I have cooled off toward Tarantino himself though. The more movies he makes and the more interviews he gives, the more I've had to accept that he is not so concerned with meaning as with stories about stories/ movies about movies. He just happens to be incredibly talented at what he does. As for the morality angle, I don't just don't believe Tarantino is actually concerned with it beyond story structure. Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, and Inglourious Basterds all include scenes where characters are threatened with death and we are made to feel bad for them because they have children. The cop in RD, Vernita Green (Vivica Fox) in Kill Bill, and the young German soldier in the basement bar in Inglourious Basterds. Does anyone believe Tarantino actually cares about these people as human beings? I don't. But I do think Tarantino is smart enough and aware enough of genre conventions to use that angle to raise questions, purely in the interest of drama.
  21. For Worst. In Shrek 3, Fiona's father, the king(Jon Kleese) dies as a frog to "Live and Let Die".
  22. Ooo! #11 reminds me. Slim Pickens' much more somber death scene set to "Knocking on Heaven's Door" in Pat Garret and Billy The Kid. As for Minority Report, there is a very similar death scene of a major character in LA Confidential.
  23. The same goes for Magnolia, although I put it on my "Best" list. Also Boromir in LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring. Aragorn's compassion and reassurance to Boromir that he "fought bravely" (and redeemed himself) gets me every time.
  24. Eckhart came across as a guy just trying to be a team player promoting a movie he doesn't really have much faith in. He spent most of the time talking about how much respect he has for the real marines that were the technical advisers and not, you know, how great the actual film is supposed to be. I was looking forward to this but the negative reviews have convinced me to skip it for now.
  25. The Michael Mann Blogspot found an interesting quote from Mann during an interview he gave while promoting The Keep in 1983. Film Comment Interview Michael Mann Blogspott And Molasar comes to life by taking the power, the souls, of the Wehrmacht Nazis. Mann: What happens is that after the second time you've seen him, Molasar changes. And he seems to change after people are killed. After he kills things. It's almost as if he accrues to himself their matter. Not their souls; he doesn't suck their blood. It's a thing unexplained, his transforma­tion is seen visually. He evolves through three different stages in the movie. He gets more and more complete. He starts as a cloud of imploding particles, then he evolves a nervous system, then he evolves a skeleton and musculature, and at the third state he's complete. And then it's a bit ironic when he's complete, because there's a great resemblance to Glaeken Trismegistus. Is he evil personified? No. Well, yes he is. Yes, Evil Personi fied. But what is evil? Try Satan? Or Lucifer? Yes, but think about that. Satan in Paradise Lost is the most exciting charac­ter in the book. He's rebellious, he's independent, he doesn't like authority. If you think about it, Satan could almost be played by John Wayne. I mean the Reaganire, independent, individualist spirit. It's all bullshit, but that's the cul­tural myth that the appeal taps into. Is Glaeken Trismegistus the alter ego of Molasar? Is he the good side? No, he's not. I tried to find a more surreal logic to the characters; so that there's nothing Satanic about Molasar. He's just sheer power, and the appeal of power, and the worship of power, a be lief in power, a seduction of power. And Molasar is very, very deceptive. When we first meet him, we too believe that he is absolute salvation. And it's all a con. Now when Glaeken shows up, the first thing he does is seduce Eva Cuza. So my intent in designing those characters was to make then not black-and-white. I put in things that are not normally consid ered to be good into Glaeken and qualities that are not evil into Molasar.
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