Joel Mayward

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About Joel Mayward

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    pastor | writer | youth worker | film guy

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    Portland, OR

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    Pastor, Writer

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  1. Well, I loved it. The entire film is its emotional center--it's about mise-en-scene more than about particular characters or moments of dialogue. My review. For having such little dialogue or backstory, their performances are simply remarkable, and quite affecting.
  2. I'm quite excited about this film.
  3. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre?
  4. The sale has begun! I've purchased the new Blu-ray of Stalker and the Dreyer DVD box set with Ordet, Day of Wrath, etc.
  5. Did a quick search too, and it's all Patheos stuff.
  6. Ah, I'm not making an argument for utilizing live animals in films, especially in the way they're portrayed in Okja. But for my viewing experience, the super pigs didn't elicit the emotional response within me I imagine Bong was striving for, and I imagine a significant part of that was the artificiality of the entire construct, the CGI super pigs being only one element within the film that didn't really feel all that real to me. Maybe that's the character design of the pigs, maybe that's a flaw within the narrative itself, or maybe I'm just not as emotionally moved by animal stories as I could/should be. I understand the pragmatics, as well as the ethics, behind using real live animals for such a film, but that also means using CGI animals allows for bigger, bolder risks and narrative choices. For all its wackiness at moments, the final half of this film felt comparatively slight after Bong's previous films. Also, a better comparison than E.T. or Free Willy might be the recent version of Pete's Dragon.
  7. I had really mixed feelings with this. Ironically, I might have enjoyed it more and felt more involved had I seen this in a theater and not streaming it in my living room. For a film with a very heavy message about animal rights and business ethics, it's something of a mixed message when the primary animal(s) are entirely CGI, and, IMO, not all that convincing. The horrors and joys were kept at a distance for me due to the artificiality of it all. I understand the Miyazaki comparisons, but this never captured the whimsy and wonder of Miyazaki's films for me--where Miyazaki soars, Bong is straining for the moment of awe, as well as "awwww...." The pacing of the script is so uneven and jumpy that the opening sequences in Korea and the final act in NYC were, tonally and formally, very different films. Perhaps this is all intentional, and Bong & CO. wanted to create such uneven pacing, wanted to use a CGI animal for an animal rights movie, and wanted to critique Western consumerism via the Netflix platform so I could watch it all comfortably on my couch. I honestly was surprised by how little action there was overall. Beyond the chase sequence--which really is quite well done--and a brief cliffhanger scene early on, the latter half is mostly speeches or edits moving from location to location. Having seen The Host and Snowpiercer, this felt quite restrained in comparison, apart from Tilda ad Gyllenhaal's batshit crazy performances (and even then, Swinton's character is nuttier in Snowpiercer).
  8. What I found remarkable about the film was how it, at once, made me feel incredible calm and peaceful while still having this subtle, underlying tension or provocation. That literal "aha!" moment in the conversation with the Japanese man is the moment of catharsis and release of the tension, a further invitation for Paterson into his vocation of "poet." Without that moment, the rest of the film would feel too sparse and inert. I don't see the codependency or terrible writing suggested by Peter's screenwriting friend--that entire interpretation of the film feels like a significant misreading of the characters and their interactions, as well as a cynical evaluation of Paterson's poetry, which I found to be better than average. Like Jeff suggests, I think there's so much more going on under the surface of these characters, especially Paterson and Laura, which is only hinted at through this week-long snapshot of their lives. How did these two meet? How long have they been together? How did their respective backgrounds and cultures and personalities lead them into this routine, a daily office in the vein of monastic life? What about children? I think the film offers hints and glimpses without spelling anything out. I agree that Paterson is "clinging for beauty in the mundane," though I don't think his search for beauty can be considered "desperate." I might be clinging for beauty in the mundane, too. I hope I never give up that search.
  9. Now streaming via Amazon Prime.
  10. I hope this isn't true, and I bet DDL is as retired as Steven Soderbergh. Which is to say, he isn't.
  11. Based on the reviews--those listed above and a few more I've read via Twitter--this film sounds absolutely atrocious...and I kind of want to see it now.
  12. The first trailer is here:
  13. Really, really good stuff, Evan.
  14. Ah, I didn't look at those exact dates. I don't know much of the relationship between the two Scotts, or how Tony's death affected Ridley, but the latter's most recent films seem to wrestle with philosophical and theological questions or ideas with an openness and some ambition. In my previous comment about how much time elapses in Alien, I almost wrote, "This seems like something Peter would know." Made me wonder about Aliens and Alien3 as well, figuring out the lifecycle of a xenomorph and how long those events last within the context of each film.
  15. I re-watched Alien this past weekend, with the director's commentary on. Three observations relevant to A:C: 1) Scott explicitly describes Ash as "basically a replicant," which is interesting to consider re: David in Prometheus and A:C as a precursor to Ash. 2) Scott repeatedly spoke of being uninterested in sci-fi or horror and how much of it was unoriginal, and how he would only revisit that world if there was a really great script. I think the commentary was recorded in 2003, so it feels like a time capsule capturing his sentiments at that particular moment--in a post-Tony Scott world, Ridley has made Prometheus, The Martian, and A:C, the only sci-fi he's done since Blade Runner. 3) It's difficult to discern just how long time elapses on the Nostromo from the crew awakening to Ripley's escape, but perhaps my recollection of the xenomorph's growth would, in fact, be in mere minutes even back then. The pacing (and thus the dread) of the original film is much slower, and we don't see the actual growth like we do in A:C, but I'm now wondering if my previous comments here were too quick, that the gestation period within Kane could have been an hour or two, which is admittedly much shorter than what happens in A:C, but it's not like it's happening over the course of a week--the events in Alien seem confined to a day, even hours.