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Doug C

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Everything posted by Doug C

  1. Night on the Galactic Railroad is a beautiful film in spite of its often clunky animation; its reflective tone and unusual mix of elements makes it an unusually sensitive and contemplative anime. A few years back, it was available in segments on YouTube, so maybe it still is? Like you say, Anders, it uses strong Christian motifs as a stepping stone to more universal ideas (in some ways, it's a simple predecessor to Haibane Renmei) regarding personal responsibility, death and afterlife. It has a strong cult following. I think Netflix does have Spring and Chaos (2001), an animated biography of author Kenji Nakagawa, for rental. I never got around to watching it before I canceled my DVD subscription, but I hear it's good.
  2. Existing thread here: http://ArtsAndFaith.com/index.php?showtopic=27914&hl=pivellina
  3. The AE disc is fine, especially since you can often get it cheap and it includes the excellent documentary The Road to Bresson, but there is a French Blu-ray with English subs as well. It is true that Criterion will be releasing it some day soon--as its recent Hulu and theatrical appearances have made clear--so do keep that in mind. Edit: I definitely wouldn't get the NYer DVD...it's a lackluster transfer from the PAL source (which means it has a lot of interference in stills and plays at a slightly faster speed than normal), doesn't have any extras, and (I'll admit this is minor) blasts Mozart at you every time you go to the menu. Wait for a proper Criterion release...or better yet, catch it on the big screen!
  4. Okay, new Kindle HDs catch up with many Nexus stats, but add a bunch of silly software I'm not that interested in. (And I already have a camera and HDMI hooked to my Mac and Roku). Given that most of my content is side-loaded anyway, the fact that the Nexus has partial GPS capability is a major draw for the city explorer and hiker I am. I'll probably get a Nexus, but I'll always be grateful for Amazon forcing Google and Apple to make devices at a much more realistic recession price point.
  5. I was just reminded, in the spirit of comparisons, of Criterion's recent DVD release of Paul Fejos' masterpiece Lonesome (1928), a beautifully romantic and lyrical Hollywood silent film. If you like L'Atalante (or vice versa)—not to mention Sunrise or The Crowd—it would make a powerful companion piece. http://www.criterion.com/films/28212-lonesome
  6. Just wanted to give a heads up for this great little film, which is now streaming at Netflix. It's a handheld, neorealist character study with a mixture of documentary and fiction, exact in its details but nevertheless open-ended in interpretation. I was extremely moved by it and included it on my Top 10 last year (even though I saw it the year before). I will say that I saw it at a film festival with a largely ho-hum lineup, and it really stood out of the pack, and that its drama, which surrounds the plight of a two-year-old, resonated with me as the father of a then-two-year-old. Despite those biases, however, and the fact that it can rightfully be described as Dardenne-esque (which some have used as grounds for dismissal), it's much more than a simple aping of their work and develops a deserved gravitas all its own. Highly recommended. http://firstrunfeatu...com/littlegirl
  7. Pilgrimage Top 20? Congrats on discovering Vigo, Andrew! (And thank you for mentioning Yamanaka, still in need of much wider appreciation.) Vigo is indeed one of the great tragic losses of cinema--his brief life and foray into cinema exerted a profound influence on the New Wave. The lyricism of L'Atalante is overpowering; it's certainly one of the most romantic (but also as you rightly put it, earthy) films I know, almost certainly a direct influence on another favorite, Helmut Kautner's Under the Bridges (amazingly, 1945). L'Atalante is a film I rewatch every couple of years, usually ostensibly to introduce it to a friend who has never seen it.
  8. Really great piece, Ken, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I particularly like how you emphasized that while there are plenty of fun technical explanations and movie clips, the film really probes deeper than that to ask questions about the underlying meaning and importance of the films on a much larger cultural level. I'm also impressed by the film's deft mixing of tones, from fun dialogues of 'quirky old men' to reflective ruminations on culture to very touching exchanges between longlasting friends. If the assembly seems breezy and easy, it's a tribute to Raim's skills as a documentarian.
  9. J. Hoberman's new article: "The Lost Futures of Chris Marker"
  10. Are you chomping at the bit for the Netrunner reboot?
  11. Doug C

    Top Gun... 2?

    It bears mentioning that suicides from bridges happen all the time, it's just usually not famous people jumping from famous bridges. As such, if you or anyone you know are contemplating the act, you would do well to familiarize yourself with some of the realities involved.
  12. Tell me about it! It's why The Matrix has always seemed redundant and old hat to me from day one. I haven't seen Ferrara's adaptation, which has a critical following, purely on account of my love for Gibson's story (which I read 20+ years ago).
  13. But especially "New Rose Hotel," right?
  14. Doug C

    Top Gun... 2?

    Not defending their actions at all, but keep in mind that we're looking back with 20/20--at the time, it was such an unexpected and brief event, some witnesses thought he was a maintenance worker or a daredevil thrill seeker before the reality seeped in.
  15. Doug C

    Top Gun... 2?

    Yeah, Christians never attempt to make money off morally-specious media. Anyway, I'm not really a fan of Tony Scott's work--although I haven't seen his more recent, critically acclaimed films--but his death has put me in a funk all week, and not only because I've driven across that bridge on numerous occasions. I'm impressed by the outpouring of love within the industry, with many people coming out of the woodwork to say what a nice person he was. I'm also moved by the Hollywood Reporter's interview with him about his childhood and relationship with Ridley, and reminded that many attribute the unusual concern with life, death and meaning in Blade Runner to Ridley's own confession that he made that film as a way of dealing with the cancer-related death of his older brother. The Scott clan may be old school, virile workaholics but one gets the sense that their family is important to them, and I'm sure this a severe blow.
  16. Want to give a very strong recommendation for Something's Gonna Live, a moving and elegiac documentary revolving around legendary Hollywood art director Robert Boyle (North By Northwest, The Birds) and his one-time Paramount cohorts he continued to hang with well into old age: production designers Henry Bumstead (whose last films before he died--at 91--were Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima) and Albert Nozaki (The Ten Commandments), storyboard illustrator Harold Michelson (The Graduate), and cinematographers Haskell Wexler and Conrad Hall (who shouldn't need introductions around here). The title refers to artistic legacy, and the film charts their decades-long friendships and collaborations with candid interviews and great movie clips. It asks questions about the ultimate meaning in films, and what makes them lasting and important, and celebrates the sense of camaraderie that permeated old Hollywood. It's directed by Daniel Raim, who was Oscar nominated for his documentary short on Boyle, The Man on Lincoln's Nose, which you can download for free at his website: http://somethingsgonnalive.com Really strong statement on community and craft, but also on friendship and aging in general. It's now available on DVD and streaming via Netflix.
  17. Doug C

    Top Gun... 2?

    Whether or not he thought he had brain cancer, I wouldn't presume anything about anyone who suffered that kind of despair.
  18. Doug C

    Top Gun... 2?

    It is a very long and scary bridge. It curves so that you cannot see the other side as you're speeding over it. I can't imagine the state of mind one would have to be in to contemplate jumping off it.
  19. Truthfully, I'm getting bored with a lot of app games. More and more it's clear to me that I really play games for their social component, and no amount of cool graphics and sound effects or appealing interfaces can sustain my interest in the long term. Played a game of Wasabi! with some friends the other night, and combined it with a Japanese potluck, roll-your-own sushi theme. Eventually wrapped and went home, only to stare in amazement at the clock, which said it was nearly 1 a.m.--where did the time go???
  20. Cool, I didn't realize it had GPS. There's no doubt that it's better than the year-old Kindle, my question is how will it compare to the upcoming Kindles. I have no brand loyalty to Amazon, and will gladly switch to the Nexus if they don't make the cut! I heard the Nexus, surprisingly, had "issues" with Google Play--is that still true?
  21. Lewis is either forgetting or ignorant of the fact that the theme of sexual control is also integral to the book that inspired 1984, a book I think is superior to it in a number of ways, Yevgeney Zamyatin's We (1921). It's also a theme that has remained in many fictional dystopias that have followed, from The Handmaid's Tale to THX-1138 and much more, so I wouldn't simply chalk it up merely as Orwell's anti-puritan indulgence. I can't say that I feel strongly one way or the other regarding Orwell's novels, both books are definitely worth reading, but I highly recommend his wide-ranging essays (sometimes focusing on film subjects such as Charlie Chaplin) that prove he was a much broader thinker (Orwell was an anti-authoritarian socialist) than the mere reputation or specific focus of 1984 or Animal Farm might suggest. Also, I would highly encourage anyone interested in these books to check out Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth's classic The Space Merchants (1952), a thrilling novel equally concerned with thought control and totalitarianism, but through a different lens--the rise of unregulated multinational corporations, a fear that seems even more pertinent to our lives today than any Stalinist horrors. It's an amazing, prescient book. I noticed Audible.com released an audiobook last year.
  22. Doug C

    Vertigo

    Thanks for your thoughts, Ryan, I have a few comments. Totally agreed on Herrmann. So many long stretches without dialogue, with only his score to pull us in. In terms of the score and theatrical experience, however, the "restoration" done in the 1990s of the film completely rerecorded and remixed Hitchcock's entire soundtrack according to "modern standards" so that it can sound swell in a theater; but it's important to note that only the original mono soundtrack is definitive. As to the plot, Donald Spoto writes about the differences between the book and the movie, and points out that the forest sequence, the spiritual theme of "wandering," the crucial theme of Madeleine being an unrealized part of Judy, and the final return to the church tower and retributive fall are all Hitchcock additions. He points out that the story's structure is inherently vertiginous, set in "America's most vertical city," and is comprised of a stop-and-go, cyclic, hallucinatory dreamworld plot--not the kind of traditional, three-act structure we might be used to. (Visually, the camera movements in the first half of the film are right-to-left; camera movements in the latter half are left-to-right.) "Were Hitchcock to have given us a straightforward account about a romance that ends tragically, that would indeed be a reinforcement rather than a condemnation of dangerous illusions. Here the love object is literally a fraud, and we're struck by the wasted energy spent in pursuit of what's neither attainable nor authentic."
  23. I'm tempted to do the same, but I'm waiting to hear about Amazon's imminent Kindle Fire upgrades and Apple's likely sub-$300 iPad-mini (rumored for mid-September). Though I really don't want to get locked into the Apple world again.
  24. Not much of a video game player, but I've been enjoying the Android versions of "Settlers of Catan" and "Carcassonne" lately, and my new favorite (though interest is already waning) is Fantasy Flight's app version of their game "Elder Sign: Omens," an absorbing Lovecraft-themed dice game. Has great art (scanned, I assume directly from their physical game) and a detailed, atmospheric interface. What I really enjoy are "MYST"-style, non-violent adventure games, but I hasten to add that I really detest "hidden object" games, which I think are entirely different. Again, another Android family favorite (we play as a group and even my then-three-year-old really got into it) is "The Lost City" and (to a lesser extent) "The Secret of Grisly Manor." We tried playing "Machinarium," and though we loved the graphics and ambience, the puzzles seemed too complex and random for us to really enjoy it. Any other suggestions?
  25. That's good to hear; my brother has the first edition and he thought the second edition had better art and general look and feel. Too bad it's a mixed bag!
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