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Joel Mayward

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Everything posted by Joel Mayward

  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.
  15. Thanks for doing this! It's great to peruse the huge list of films here, and to note which films have been included, and how often. Some random observations: Seeing that The Straight Story was also #1 the Road Movies list, I don't know that I would have called it *the* favorite film of A&F, but perhaps it is, as it's on seven lists. Tokyo Story and Wild Strawberries have also appeared on seven, but not as #1. And The Remains of the Day is coincidentally #24 on both the Memory and Growing Older lists.
  16. Rachel Held Evans has died. She was 37 years old. It's such deeply saddening news, and a reminder of the fragility of life.
  17. Joel Mayward

    Tolkien (2019)

    This released in theaters here in the UK, including the little local St Andrews cinema. So while the hoards continue to go see Endgame, I may go check this out and review it.
  18. Ah, that's a fair distinction. At least he brings *something* distinctive.
  19. The irony is not lost on me that this well-said and honest paragraph is in our "Growing Older" results thread. Thank you, Ken, for coordinating this list, and for quietly "working the kitchen" in this post-IMAGE season at A&F. I'm happy to help coordinate future lists, and would be open to more of the invitational side of things regarding the value of A&F (if that sort of thing were seen as genuinely beneficial and not just marketing for the sake of marketing). And I have to say, I'm genuinely excited about a Top 100 list for 2020 (if that's the timeline we've chosen), as it just feels like it's time for that sort of a project. I know my life probably won't get less busy following the completion of my PhD, but I'm still striving to be present here for the long-term, as this seems like one of the genuinely good places on the Internets these days.
  20. The notion of a "spoiler ban" lifting as determined by the film's directors is problematic for me on all sorts of levels. I still enjoyed the film overall, but things like this are not helping. I was mentioning to a friend today who hadn't yet seen Endgame how the Russos are essentially like a solid B- student in education--they are consistently fine, definitely not outright failures, but certainly not standouts or the top of the class. Even with his faults, one wonders what Infinity War/Endgame would have been like under the helm of Joss Whedon, or at least a director with a distinctive style and vision. (Tangential: one of the Russos' kids attends U. of St Andrews.)
  21. I'm with you on this, and one could even add Wonder Woman and Justice League here--I'm thinking here of how Wonder Woman addressed death and suffering and the human tendency towards war. Sometimes the DC films become too pseudo-philosophical or existential, but I think I prefer that sort of attempted weightiness rather than a flippant Tony Stark comment or a Steve Rogers pat on the back. But maybe I'm just too dark and brooding. The farther I get from the actual viewing of Endgame, the more problems I have with it. But my experience of seeing it in a packed cinema was genuinely wonderful, as I was caught up in the MCU fervor within the room. I can't imagine how I'd feel about it if I had seen it alone in my living room.
  22. A fascinating list--The Straight Story at #1 is not what I expected, but it's not an unpleasant surprise. The list leans towards world cinema, which is not a complaint either; I count seven American-directed films, and Before Midnight is set in Europe. Regarding a book, count me in--I could write on specific films, a thematic essay, or both!
  23. I kid. More seriously, I had mixed-to-positive feelings about Endgame (here's my review), but it's nowhere near as incredible as it's being touted by the MCU fan-cult; it's currently #5 in the IMDB Top 250.
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