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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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  • Occupation
    PhD Candidate, Pastor-Theologian, Film Critic

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  1. The first half of this film is boring, boilerplate MCU CGI-saturated punchfest. The second half is a wonderful deconstruction that first half. Also, while I am tired of these MCU Spider-Man films being more about Tony Stark worship than about Spider-Man, they have something interesting to say about class systems between billionaires and the people they employ/exploit.
  2. This is really encouraging to read, and quite the endorsement. How does it compare to Falling Upward, a Rohr book you mentioned in our "Growing Older" thread as being significant for you?
  3. Final decision: just discovered that Amazing Grace is playing at a local theater at the perfect time slot. Sorry mediocre summer blockbusters, this seminary class is going to go see Aretha.
  4. I'll share the CFP as well and we'll see who sends in proposals. I'm happy to write an introduction as well as an essay (or two!) for a film (I wrote blurbs on Before Midnight and Another Year for the list). Thanks for putting this together, Ken!
  5. Thanks for sharing, and I'm so with you on this. Living in the UK and exploring theological aesthetics from a non-US and non-Reformed perspective has been wonderfully liberating regarding the relationship between Christianity and the arts. So often the language of "dialogue" is used regarding Christianity and the arts, but then the scholar or critic ends up using utilitarian methodologies which simply turn art into illustrations for a particular theological perspective. Art isn't allowed to actually speak in the so-called dialogue, and if it is, theology still has both the first and last word in the conversation. I'm more interested in a genuinely dynamic egalitarian conversational approach to Christianity and the arts, what Michael Oakeshott describes as an "unrehearsed intellectual adventure."
  6. I'm now leaning towards Godzilla: King of the Monsters for my purposes. It's also an ongoing franchise--much more history than MIB--and this new film has sparked enough critics saying it's a "religious" film to merit consideration. And I kinda loved it. But I don't want to derail this MIB thread with Godzilla praise.
  7. I am planning on bringing a seminary class to a movie theater to discuss the experience of the "liturgy of movies" (i.e. how going to the cinema is akin to a religious ritual) and wanted to pick a new release blockbuster or popular film. This was my first pick based on what was releasing this month...but after the really poor reviews I'm starting to reconsider. I think there might be merit in bringing a class to discuss how a film *doesn't* work or what makes for a truly "bad" film, but I'm also not sure I want to waste our class time on dreck. Any ideas on films I should consider? Or is MIB:Intl worth discussing?
  8. One thing I'm very curious about for this project is the casting: is Jesus actually in this film, and if so, who portrays him?
  9. Joel Mayward


    A post-Cannes update: The English title is Young Ahmed, the Dardennes won Best Director at Cannes (a bit of a surprise upset for most of the film critics), and I was able to ask a question to the Dardennes in the Cannes press conference, which you can view here (my question begins at 20:30): Here's my review of the film: https://cinemayward.com/review/young-ahmed/
  10. I haven't seen the film yet, but Matt Zoller Seitz's comments on Twitter, especially his reference to this being like a "religious" film, really piqued my interest. With so many negative reviews, I'd wondered if that had pulled a Prometheus (fantastic trailer, not-so-fantastic albeit ambitious film).
  11. That sounds frustrating, Ken, and I wish I knew how to help. Are all the devices somehow synced? I initially wondered if there's something about your Apple ID, but you also mentioned a Windows computer that wasn't working, so I'm not sure. But if it's only happening at home and not at work, maybe it's a network or WiFi router issue.
  12. Popping by A&F to say that I'm publishing reviews from Cannes at both Fuller Studio and Cinemayward for those who are interested. Here's my review. It was striking, both visually and thematically. The word "haunting" gets used a lot in film criticism, but it feels so appropriate for this film.
  13. I mentioned the rat briefly in my review, but the more I think about it, the more I believe this rodent to be the True Hero of Endgame. Mouse Ex Machina. Oh, all sorts of violations occur with the time travel in this film. It's still unclear to me as to Loki's fate after he escapes with the Tesseract due to the botched time heist--even if their plan to go back to the 1970s and fix that mistake works, and they put back the Infinity Stones on that military base, I could see the writers finding a way to bring Loki back due to this thread. But regarding Steve, if he stays in the past to marry Peggy, does that mean *any* of the events of Avengers, Winter Soldier, Civil War, Age of Ultron, etc. ever occur? Or do they still occur with the frozen Steve (let's call him SteveB) while SteveA (that's the time-traveling Steve of Endgame) lives his life off the grid (albeit in the suburbs somewhere)--does he simply allow all the terrible things to happen with this prescient knowledge? And wouldn't this completely mess up the timeline's of the TV series Marvel's Agents of SHIELD and Marvel's Agent Carter? But I've already thought about this too much. Remember, the Russo-authorized "spoiler ban" lifts on Monday, which is today for me, as I'm presently in the UK and therefore living in your future. Because, time travel. Edit: For whatever reason, Endgame has prompted some of my snarkiest A&F posts in recent history. I blame Tony Stark.
  14. Wouldn't there not be another version of himself there to be killed, because he was trapped in the ice all that time? Also, this reminds me why Shane Carruth's Primer is so good.
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