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Joel Mayward

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About Joel Mayward

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    pastor | theologian | film critic

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    St Andrews, UK

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    Pastor, Writer, Film Critic

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  1. Favorite films of 2017

    As I now live in the UK, I'm going to have to adjust my end-of-year list-making to UK release dates. So, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, Coco, and a number of others aren't being released here until February. In fact, I'll be able to watch Black Panther before I'll be able to see Lady Bird. There will likely be films released in the UK which aren't available in the US too, hence my Paddington 2 inclusion on my 2017 list.
  2. A better film about...

    For 2017 films about the same WWII event: Dunkirk > Their Finest > Darkest Hour. They're all worth viewing, but for entirely different reasons.
  3. Favorite films of 2017

    Here's my Top 20 of 2017 (plus one TV show: Twin Peaks): Dunkirk The Unknown Girl The Salesman Personal Shopper Columbus Wonder Woman The Son of Joseph Graduation Get Out Princess Cyd The Florida Project Good Time The Lost City of Z Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blade Runner 2049 War for the Planet of the Apes Mudbound Paddington 2 Song to Song The Beguiled
  4. Columbus and The Son of Joseph are both in my Top 10 of 2017 at #5 and #7, respectively. I haven't seen Brigsby Bear, and Logan Lucky honestly surprises me as being a nominee for this list.
  5. You're very welcome, and sounds good! I'm eager to hear your response to Thelma.
  6. I haven't seen Loveless, and it's not coming to the UK until February according to IMDB. But I imagine there are a few films on our list of nominees like this, such as Ken's favorite 2017 film, First Reformed, or the Kiarostami film 24 Frames. All played at festivals, but many who haven't been a part of the festival circuit this year probably haven't seen them. In all this, I remain eager to see how the jury votes on these particular nominees and what sort of list we'll produce.
  7. If I've followed the nominations correctly, Coco received a second (from Evan), while Logan did not.
  8. The surveys were created sent out only minutes before this post! Not sure I can edit the survey without having to resend it out. It did surprise me that the film which has been #1 on so many critics' top 10 was never seconded here, but I haven't seen it, so I never seconded it. I'm also very curious. It's an eclectic group of nominees.
  9. I have a final list of the nominees, and will email out the survey for voting soon. Check your emails today! The deadline for voting on the nominees is January 6 (midnight, PST), so you have about a week to catch up on films you haven't seen yet. Per our practice in previous years, a film is eligible if it's been viewed by at least 50% of the jury (so 8 out of 15 this year). Happy voting!
  10. For my own personal purposes, I am counting World of Tomorrow Episode 2 as a 2018 film, mostly due to its super-late Vimeo release, and that it will play festivals, like Sundance). IMDB lists it as a 2017 release, but Mike D'Angelo's NYC master list doesn't have it. All this to say: it's been nominated and seconded and qualifies based on release dates, so it counts for our list of nominees. Also, I loved it. 5/5 stars from me, which is a rarity these days with new releases.
  11. A reminder that nominations/seconds close tonight, December 30, at midnight (PST). If there are any films I've somehow missed in this thread of nominations, please let me know so I can add them to our final list to vote on. Also, if The Unknown Girl is currently streaming on Netflix in the US, *please* watch it.
  12. Mary Magdalene biopic

    A new poster: Also, Wikipedia and IMDB currently give release dates of March 16 in the UK and March 30 in the US.
  13. This comment has intrigued me for the past day--can you unpack this description? Like, the film hasn't "aged well" in terms of tone or themes or content? Or, it addressed an issue which has already been dealt with, and it's been there/done that? Or, it feels like it was made in a different era? It's old-fashioned? Anachronistic? I'm happy for the second. It's a film which has stuck with me longer than I anticipated, and I can see both the Exorcist and God's Not Dead connections. One more film which came to mind during a few particular scenes was Under the Skin.
  14. La Fille Inconnue / The Unknown Girl (2016)

    This is really good stuff, Ken. I rewatched all of the Dardennes' films this fall, and I think your observation rings true: "If you are going to watch Dardenne movies, you will need to get accustomed to staring at people’s back." Formally, I think the Dardennes are doing something a bit paradoxical, in that they are figuratively and literally depicting the significance--even the transcendence--involved in human face-to-face interactions while also respecting the alterity of their characters. So, we almost never get POV shots in their films (apart from some scenes in La promesse where Igor looks through a peephole in the wall into Assita's room), as that might suggest we've "invaded" their interior world, something we can never truly do. But we do follow the characters very closely while still allowing each character his/her personal space. Your observation about where Jenny will be in 5-10 years is interesting, because I think the Dardennes' endings are purposefully ambiguous, inviting the audience to imagine where the story might go, or how they (the audience) would react within the story. I imagined Jenny not as burned out, but as a faithful doctor within that community, akin to the doctor who preceded her that we briefly meet. What will happen to Sandra from Two Days, One Night in 5 years? Does she experience financial ruin and further depression, or something else? What of Cyril and Samantha? What about Olivier and Francis after leaving the lumber yard--how are they to go back home now? Perhaps the most unknown futures are with Lorna (Lorna's Silence) and with Igor (La promesse), where it's nearly impossible to determine what will become of them (at least for me). But we do know that something has changed within them. It's not quite a Rorschach test, but I do think these films are intentionally "unfinished" and tease the audience into active interpretive and imaginative thought.
  15. I nominate Thelma. As I posted in my Letterboxd review, "The four films which came to mind while watching Thelma: Carrie, The Witch, Let the Right One In, and The Trial of Joan of Arc (Bresson, not Dreyer)." I'll keep the plot details to a minimum, but the film follows a young woman in her first semester at university after growing up in what is suggested to be a strict-but-kind conservative Christian home. Her faith plays a key role in her identity formation. The portrayal of Christianity here is noteworthy in that the film remains fairly neutral--or at least ambiguous--in its evaluation of faith, and I will say that there's an overt spiritual or transcendent dynamic. A few Letterboxd review say that it's cold, boring or pretentious, so your mileage may vary. I found it interesting, and even sympathetic.