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Joel Mayward

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    897
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About Joel Mayward

  • Rank
    pastor | theologian | film critic

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  • Website URL
    http://www.cinemayward.com
  • Twitter
    @joelmayward

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    St Andrews, UK

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    Pastor, Writer, Film Critic

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  1. Joel Mayward

    The Miseducation of Cameron Post

    This opened in Paris this week, so I hope I can find a moment to see it.
  2. Joel Mayward

    Top 25 or 100 for 2018-19

    Regarding Andrew and Christian's questions about participation, I didn't vote in the 2011 list, but reading through the various threads and nominations, many of the same people who were commenting there are still somewhat active on A&F, at least within the past year or so. And A&F has added a few folks since then. Are there any stats somewhere about the actual numbers for voting in previous lists? A bigger question for me is the role of Image--Greg Wolfe and Anna J seemed like the main organizers for the list, but I'm not sure what role Image would play now. All this to say, I still think it's very much worth doing.
  3. Joel Mayward

    Top 25 or 100 for 2018-19

    YES. In a Top 25 thread from nearly two years ago, SDG suggested 2018 as the year for a Top 100. Ken also proposed the idea of a companion book. Both ideas seemed to be met with a lot of positive feedback, so is that enthusiasm still here? A&F seems a bit quiet these days, although I do check the forum daily. I'm game for a Top 100, and wonder if such a list-creating endeavor could reignite some of the discussion here.
  4. Joel Mayward

    The Rider

    Thank you for sharing this, Darren!
  5. Joel Mayward

    The Rider

    Thanks for starting this thread, Andrew. This is currently my favorite film of 2018. I went into it with zero knowledge of the story's premise apart from "horses," and was deeply moved by the film's characters and the strong directorial vision. Here's my review.
  6. Joel Mayward

    Ahmed

    Links to our other threads on the films of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne: La Promesse, Rosetta, The Son (Le Fils), L'enfant, Lorna's Silence; The Kid with a Bike; Two Days, One Night; The Unknown Girl. The upcoming film from the Dardennes has a title: Ahmed. From this Screen Daily article about Wild Bunch acquiring it for distribution: The synopsis at the Wild Bunch website is similar: "Belgium, today, Ahmed, a young fanatic barely out of childhood, plans to kill his teacher in the name of his religion. How can love of life win out over his desire to put someone to death?" As I wrote on Twitter, apart from the allusions to Christian imagery throughout their oeuvre, and the treatment of North African religious ceremony/beliefs in La Promesse, this could be the Dardennes' most direct examination of religion. Not sure when it'll be released yet--filming begins in Belgium this summer (2018)--but I do hope to visit and meet the Dardennes at some point in the filmmaking process, to observe how they do their "two-headed filmmaker" thing.
  7. Joel Mayward

    Star Wars: Boba Fett spin-off movie

    This film is probably for everyone wondering what Boba Fett was up to before and after the events of the Star Wars Holiday Special. Fett's character thrives on mystery and looming in the background. Giving him the spotlight and more of an origin story undercuts any lingering sense of enigma Episode II didn't already exorcise. But ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  8. Joel Mayward

    Star Wars: Han Solo origin story spin-off

    I do find myself beginning far too many sentences with "Indeed..."
  9. Joel Mayward

    Star Wars: Han Solo origin story spin-off

    Yeah, the more I've thought about L3's character and her fate, the more I find the treatment of droids in the film and the employment of a liberative framework for comedic use problematic. Are droids sentient persons capable of love and moral choice, or are they mere machines for utilitarian use by "live" beings? Solo strongly suggests both, which is...confusing. Let's say Lando is truly in love with L3, and that she is capable of love too. What happens to her--being torn apart and "dying," then being uploaded to the Millennium Falcon as its new "brain" (are these the "special modifications" Han made?)--could either be seen as restorative and life-affirming in resurrecting her, but it also suggests that she's mere coding, a mechanical Gnosticism where her body doesn't matter as much as her system. And she's never heard from again on the Falcon, so is she "alive" still in the computer system? Is the Falcon now somehow sentient? Could we hear from L3 in future installments? Should we have heard from her all along? I'm probably overthinking all this.
  10. Joel Mayward

    Star Wars: Han Solo origin story spin-off

    FWIW, I enjoyed the film more than I anticipated, even if it's just a trifle of a movie. It's totally unnecessary--even more than Rogue One--to the Star Wars mythos, but I can't say I didn't enjoy it.
  11. Joel Mayward

    Congratulations, Joel.

    Since moving to St Andrews, I've had the pleasure of meeting a few A&F members face to face. First, Joel Clarkson is also in the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, so we connected last fall; he's finishing up his masters and I believe will be doing a PhD in ITIA as well. Then, a few weeks ago, I met Anders Bergstrom in Toronto during the Religion & Film Conference; he presented an insightful paper on Mad Men and the documentaries of Adam Curtis, and it was great to discuss film theory and grab a drink at TIFF Lightbox. Today, I met Brian Duignan and his lovely family as they visit friends in Scotland and were able to come by St Andrews; we had a great conversation about life as ex-pats and the wonderful films of the Dardennes. The Internet can be terrible, but it can also be good. I'm thankful the connections this A&F forum has fostered.
  12. Joel Mayward

    Come Sunday aka Heretics

    I think this is an example of why I found the film more interesting and complex than, apparently, you did Peter, in that it doesn't always portray Pearson in a positive light. He makes these impulsive, isolated decisions that have big community ramifications, then is surprised to be held accountable for his words and decisions. I think that's actually quite realistic and indicative of many Protestant evangelical senior pastors and leaders (e.g. see the recent Bill Hybels scandal and firing), in that they operate and lead quite autonomously, given significant power due to their rhetorical skills. The church literally lives or dies based on the one charismatic leader. The self-baptism scene reveals this complexity too--I think (I hope!) viewers would find such a decision to be problematic. So, I think the film is just as much about systems of leadership in evangelical culture as much as it is about theological questions.
  13. Joel Mayward

    Come Sunday aka Heretics

    So fascinating to see the early posts about this film and the various folks who've been involved! This film has finally been released via Netflix. Here's my review. Really great performance from Ejiofor, and a surprisingly good one from Jason Segal playing against type. I do wish we could have seen a Jonathan Demme version of this, and I'm glad Martin Sheen took the role of Oral Roberts instead of Redford.
  14. Joel Mayward

    A Quiet Passion

    FWIW, my review at Letterboxd:
  15. Joel Mayward

    Mary Magdalene biopic

    My review. I can understand the various criticisms--whitewashing, subtly anti-Jewish, dull and navel-gazing--but I found it quite moving and interesting, and I think Mara and Phoenix give better performances than people are giving credit. In a subgenre where melodramatic performances and big emotional speeches are the norm, seeing a Jesus film with quiet, contemplative (almost inert) performances really worked for me. I don't get into the details in my review, but one scene really stood out for me: Jesus sends out the apostles on mission in pairs, and he places Peter with Mary. The film portrays Peter as fairly antagonistic towards Mary, almost like they're playing favorites to Jesus. As they enter a village in Samaria, they discover that its been ransacked and burned by the Romans, leaving people to starve and die. Peter wants to move on, as there's nothing they can do, and no one to really hear their message. But Mary stays and cares for the starving and dying, leaving Peter to remark later something like, "What mercy! What mercy!" It's an extra-biblical scene, but it also highlights the emphasis not just on the words of Christ's kingdom message, but the praxis of such mercy and justice. To be clear about the humanistic/supernatural dynamic: Jesus does actually heal people miraculously, including raising one person from the dead (the scene plays out like the Lazarus story in some ways, but differs in key decisions), and there is a bodily resurrection--we see Jesus after he's come from the tomb, and he speaks with Mary. The film doesn't portray him post-resurrection with the other disciples however, so one could interpret this appearance in a non-literal way.
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