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David Smedberg

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    I am a lifelong student. I just love learning, teach me and I will listen. The internet is my playground.

    I am currently actively pursuing writing and publishing.

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  • Favorite movies
    Kurosawa, Miyazaki, Pixar, and many more
  • Favorite music
    Gregorian Chant, and other simple chant-like melodies (Proulx, Part, Tavener, etc.)
  • Favorite creative writing
    Terry Pratchett Graham Greene G. K. Chesterton Ursula K. LeGuin Lloyd Alexander need I mention Tolkien? ;-)

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  1. Interesting to note that this movie is now more highly rated on IMDb than Inglorious Basterds, is the highest ranked film released in 2016, and is overall ranked #90 of all time. I saw it last night, finally. I was inspired and moved. It made me think, "What small beans are my problems!" when compared to what these men had to face going over that ridge. Of all the Gibson movies I've seen (bracketing The Man without a Face, which doesn't contain any violence that I can recall), I found I could tolerate the violence the best. The car crash scene at the beginning, with its frank, unpretentious shot of the protruding bone, did a good job of setting up the frank, unpretentious tone of much of the battle violence. But I did have to look away occasionally. I was glad I didn't buy popcorn. The whole movie, not just the approach to violence, was unpretentious. One particular scene, where Dawes loses a man he'd recently come to befriend, impressed me especially.
  2. I thought I'd resurrect this thread one more time, since the duo I mentioned here has since managed to springboard themselves all the way to the #1 spot in the Billboard rankings: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/6576138/twenty-one-pilots-first-no-1-album-billboard-200 Their latest album, Blurryface, is not my favorite of their albums but contains the same elements that made them so addictive to me--the subtle complexities, the willingness to challenge me as a listener to listen more closely, and the hard-won hopefulness. Anyone else catching on to Twenty One Pilots now that they've fought their way out of being "Regional at Best"?
  3. Didn't have any problems with ours that were discernable to me, but keep in mind I hadn't seen it before so I didn't have a baseline to compare it with.
  4. Thanks, Tyler. I'm glad to see that the critic Christian quoted had a similar experience to mine.
  5. Christian posted in the "What You are Watching this Weekend" thread about his plans to see this film this weekend. I saw it too with him and Victor. I didn't see a topic, "Ahem" me If needed. Sorceror has a reputation on this forum (I think for a while a still from the film was Ba'al T'Shuvah's avatar?), and it lived up to the reputation-I was on the edge of my seat. However, afterwards I wasn't sure I liked its aftertaste. It was calculated for effect, but the effects were often disparate and unearned. Consider the explosion that drives the rest of film (the act of terrorism in Columbia). We see in great detail the people being burned, and then later their charred corpses as impetus to mob violence. These scenes were effective in abstract, but as a part of a whole they don't seem to have added anything. After all, the people of the village were hardly humanized before or after. The closest thing was their turn as comic relief in the scene where they each successively fail to test drive the truck. Ultimately, their gruesome deaths in the explosion were seen, exploited and then forgotten. That kind of exploitation seems to me to almost make a fetish of death, and the movie as a whole doesn't have much of an understanding of life--ie of the reasons these men fight to live. The one person who really has a life (Victor, the Parisian) has it through his spouse, so it's his single-minded goal to get back to her. That leaves his story roughly on par with run-of-the-mill B-movie fare. It's not surprising, I think, that Friedkin resorts to his only real sour note when the American mobster is left on his own in the desert--his hallucinations are heavy-handed and lack the same cinematic grace as most of what came before. When I was talking with Christian afterwards, I told him that the only other movie I'd seen which kept me as riveted on the survival story was The Great Escape. In the end, I think I appreciate that movie's accomplishments in terms of character development and patience more now that I've seen Sorceror.
  6. It's interesting (and I am working on figuring out what that "interesting" means-- I'm vacillating between "dismayed" and "intrigued") how musicals and animation are apparently comedies by default. Seriously, I absolutely LOVE Ratatouille and Fiddler on the Roof, but neither is a comedy, despite comedic scenes. I am dismayed by the lack of British films beyond Life of Brian. (Right? Am I missing some?)
  7. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is on sale at Steam for 18 more hours. I've heard rumors that it's one sale for PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 as well-I'm not sure how to check that. I just finished playing, and it is a great game. Not perfect, but great. Emotionally resonant in ways that only the player can understand--my wife was watching me play and I was explaining to her what I was doing--in the sense of what buttons I was pushing on the controller--so that she would understand the meaning of what was taking place on screen. Highly, highly recommended. Game reviewer "TotalBiscuit" has it exactly right.
  8. Overdrive, the service that allows libraries to offer free eBook and audiobook rentals, is rolling out a trial of free movie streaming in certain areas: http://www.mobiletechreview.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Board=news&Number=45642
  9. I'm watching movies I haven't seen before to see if they are worth nominating, so last night Mrs. Schmed and I sat down to watch Clockwise, starring John Cleese. I've since nominated it, because [A] it is a clear fit with the list (it is framed by the singing of the hymn "He Who Would Valiant Be"), and yet it contains no heavy-handed moral. It is concerned with the comic comeuppance of this particular man, and the fact that he is a straight-laced Christian man makes it all the more delicious. upon (only) 12 hours reflection, it seems to me to be brilliantly acted, and generally well-made enough to be worth consideration. (PS It's available from multiple streaming sources. I watched it on Netflix and unfortunately it seemed to change aspect ratios every few seconds, it was quite a distraction. I'm interested to hear if anyone else has a similar or dissimilar experience.)
  10. Title: Clockwise Director: Christopher Morahan Running Time: 96 min. Language: English IMDB Link Clip from the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl36yb8EBz4 Link to the A&F thread: There isn't one yet
  11. I recently (finally) finished Papa Y Yo, and it was the one game I've played in years that re-kindled the spirit of awe that Myst and Riven had. The sense of mystery that the boy faces as he rearranges Rio in his imagination is spectacular.
  12. Can't melodies be more or less melodic? Literature more or less literary? Paintings more or less painterly? Poems more or less poetic? Prose more or less prosaic? Etc. No. A melody cannot be comparatively more melodic than another, although a piece of music can (since melody is one ingredient in music). More directly to the point, I think we probably say a movie is "cinematic" when we really mean it is visually spectacular. I'd vastly prefer to vote on a "Top 25 Most Visually Spectacular" list thant "Top 25 Most Cinematic" list. Default acknowledgement, I am not Tyler and yet here I am answering the question you posed for him.
  13. Exactly right. I'm currently thinking I'd vote for best films about spiritual or existential malaise... and I'd hope we can find some films that (per Nick's nomination) inspire positive action to resolve said malaise
  14. David Smedberg


    I loved the scene where Parker talks the guy out of the panic attack. I am of 2 minds about the fight which lasted most in my memory, the brutal fight in the hotel room involving the balcony. That was GRUESOME, but it was also pretty memorable. I didn't care for Jennifer Lopez's character or the scenes with her (except the scene which also included his SO--girlfriend? wife? I forget). Oh, and for Pete's sake, do they ever show him change the license plate off of any of his stolen cars? It felt stupid that he never got apprehended for all those thefts.
  15. Not my intent to come after you. Your terms slavish and pathetic were blood-raising terms. Rod Dreher is a friend of a friend... rather than get deeper into his personal muck, let me speak from my own. Ironically, knowing what is right and wrong can be the wrong way to consider the struggle. Knowing what my religious duty is can be the crux of my obedience... since I am a very religious person--in a sense that is abstracted from the truth or falsity of the religious claims. I've reflected to myself that if there were no true religion, I'd probably be sorely tempted to invent one, since I crave that sense of belonging that comes with communal worship. Thus, for me, hearing my religious leaders preach the need for repentance has been key to my actually repenting, much more so than contemplating it in a solitary way (even though I had no illusions that I needed to!). That's true because then I know that this moral duty is also my religious duty, and that makes it both more critical and somewhat easier. I don't know that it would be true to say, "I can't do it alone," but it would be unlikely that I could. I don't know if in your eyes I am just digging myself deeper into the Pit of Pathetic-ness (John Bunyan should totally have used that one). I don't think I'm describing anything unique to Catholicism or anything that is foreign to you (in case it sounded like I did think that).
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