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Joel Mayward

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Everything posted by Joel Mayward

  1. A Ghost Story

    I was split too, but leaning much more towards the negative/disappointed side of things. For all the critical praise this received, it was too opaque and vapid for my taste. Still, it has memorable cinematography. Here's my review.
  2. Star Wars: Han Solo origin story spin-off

    The official title, per Ron Howard's tweet: "Solo: A Star Wars Story"
  3. My apologies for the delay in posting a discussion thread. For April 2017, I'm choosing Agnes Varda's 1962 film Cleo from 5 to 7. Inspired partly by the current Varda marathon happening on the Filmspotting podcast, as well as my recent discovery of Varda's The Gleaners and I on Amazon Prime, this is a film often cited as one of her best. Playing out in real time, with chapters and sequences tracked by titles every few minutes, the film follows a beautiful young singer, Cleo, as she wanders about Paris awaiting the results from a biopsy, which will tell her if she has cancer or not. The opening title sequence using tarot cards and the only colorized moments in the film set the tone for an unique, intriguing journey alongside Cleo as she navigates her own emotions about the impending news. I loved it. It's a bit languid at times, but it's also quite exciting, even as it simply follows a young woman around as she talks with various friends about her life and future. It's a beautiful contribution to the French New Wave, and has fascinating formal elements as well as interesting themes to discuss ranging from art, to the nature of romance, to spirituality vs. medicine. I believe it's streaming on Fandor, and perhaps on Filmstruck. I watched it via the Criterion DVD rented through the library. Roger Ebert's review. Josh Larsen's review. Molly Haskell essay. A recent interview with Varda at Criterion, "I'm Still Here." Our woefully sparse A&F thread.
  4. 2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury

    I want to recognize that Ken has been in this role for the past few years and it's gone smoothly (even with Silence dates), so thanks to Ken for keeping this thing going. I would gladly take up the baton if Ken would want/need a break--in writing up the introductory piece and collecting people's Honorable Mentions and blurbs, I found myself in a bit more of an administrative role last year corresponding with Greg Wolfe, and I enjoyed it enough. But I will also defer if someone else is more keen or available to do this. And I think it'd be beneficial to have another voice write the opening paragraph. Here's the list of the jury members from last year, as well as the website/handle for each person (I've put in bold those who have responded here in the forum for this next year): Anders Bergstrom (3 Brothers Film) Peter T. Chattaway (FilmChat) Evan Cogswell (Catholic Cinephile) Jessica Gibson (Freelance/Christ & Pop Culture) Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films) Christian Hamaker (Crosswalk) Josh Hamm (Cut Print Film) Gareth Higgins (The Porch Magazine/Movies and Meaning) M. Leary (Filmwell) Noel T. Manning II (Cinemascene) Joel Mayward (Cinemayward) Kenneth R. Morefield (1More Film Blog) Jeffrey Overstreet (Christianity Today) Is there anyone else we could imagine inviting, or has participated in previous iterations of the jury? I think of Alissa Wilkinson, Wade Bearden, and Elijah Davidson. I'm not sure about a "cap" but an ideal number seems to be 12-15, as it allows for a wide diversity of nominated and viewed films and fosters discussion without turning it into something unmanageable.
  5. Maurice Pialat retrospective

    MUBI UK is doing a Maurice Pialat retrospective, and as he's one of the filmmakers featured on this list of the Dardennes recommended films to watch, I watched Under the Sun of Satan. It's a hard film for me to judge, but the Bernanos sensibilities come through, and it's certainly a film worth viewing and contemplating. Did I enjoy it? Not really. But I'm still thinking about it. I'm going to watch Police next.
  6. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

    Via Mark Hamill on Twitter:
  7. Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

    I've only seen the Kiarostami, and would be willing to see any of them. HIGH AND LOW is high on my to-watch list for my PhD research, fwiw.
  8. Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

    I'd also be interested. Is the "waking up" list ever going to emerge from its slumber?
  9. La Fille Inconnue / The Unknown Girl (2016)

    Excerpts from this interview will likely end up in my PhD dissertation, fwiw. Especially the parts about moral psychosis and responsibility, and the final line about the unknown girl traveling into the audience's mind.
  10. La Fille Inconnue / The Unknown Girl (2016)

    Adele Haenel is the lead in the Dardennes brothers' next film. The synopsis from the article:
  11. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    So, if I'm understanding your reading correctly, mother! is more of a parody than a strict allegory, a hyperbolic critique which takes some of the negative aspects of fundamentalist religious ideology (anti-environment, anti-women, celebrity worship and political power grabs, exploitation or marginalization of the weak, etc.) and turns them all up to 11.
  12. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    I wondered the same thing, but a recent unrelated conversation in a research seminar about Biblical adaptations within literature brought up some interesting, anecdotal evidence: a prof asked a group of undergraduates in a theology class if they could explain the basic premise of the parable of the Prodigal Son, and about 1/3 of the class had absolutely no knowledge of the story. This was in the UK, but it did make me wonder if the Biblical allusions in mother! might be lost on audiences who don't really have much practice in having to read a film like this one. A lack of biblical literacy would make the already-off-putting film feel totally bizarre or incoherent. And FWIW, I picked up on the environmentalist themes well before I understood the biblical allegory, which didn't really hit me until the Cain-and-Abel scenes.
  13. Kill List

    Watched this due to the praise it received here and elsewhere, and because I found a DVD copy at the house I'm renting in Scotland--they left behind double copies of Titanic and The Bucket List, lots of romantic comedies, and this film. Like Jeff said above, this is one of the few movies I wish I could unsee. I found it totally lacking in scares or thrills, but lingering on, perhaps reveling in, the violence depicted. And for what purpose? What ideas are really being explored here? Dreadful all around, especially as a parent. Up there with Frank Darabont's The Mist for a twisted ending prominently featuring the violent death of a child as the film's pinnacle scene.
  14. 2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury

    I'm in. I've already been thinking of a few films needing to be nominated.
  15. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    The allegorical elements of this film are fairly obvious and heavy-handed, but there are a few elements I'm wondering about regarding their symbolism or meaning. SPOILERS all around: So, Lawrence = Mother Nature/Creation and Bardem = God/deity. The house is the created order, or the planet Earth in particular, which Mother Nature cares for and keeps alive (hence the beating heart in the walls) though it is "owned" and controlled by God. Harris and Pfeiffer are Adam and Eve figures. The Gleesons are Cain and Abel. That all seems fairly clear to me. So what do you think the following represent: The toilet monster/heart. Is this the Earth crying out for help? The yellow powder Lawrence drinks throughout the film. I have no idea what to make of this yet. The pictures of Bardem. Are they icons of sorts, or even idols (graven images)? FWIW, here's my review. I'm mostly positive on the film, though I find it difficult to recommend it to anyone.
  16. All Saints

    It's available for free download at the film's website under "Resources." Regarding my thoughts and a review, I agree with your assessment, Beth--it's not great film-making, and it's all in service of the heartwarming story. I think Corbett is a bit miscast; the role needs someone with a bit more East Coast competitive/driven personality, and Corbett just comes across as too nice, IMO. But the real-life story is quite remarkable and inspiring. As a pastor myself, I found Corbett's struggles relatable. And I honestly didn't know where the film would go or how it would end, which is a strength for a faith-based film. So, I'm mostly positive on it.
  17. Blade Runner 2

    "The sequel is skipping festival season but has begun screening and sources say it runs well over the two-and-a-half hour mark. The exact runtime has not been confirmed by Warner Brothers yet, but Sony Russia has listed the movie at 163 minutes." That's a lot of blade running. The original film length ranges from 113 to 117 minutes according to Wikipedia's page on the various versions.
  18. U2 - Songs of Experience

    U2 posted a Facebook video of "The Blackout" from the upcoming album: The post says, "First single, ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’ coming Sept. 6th"
  19. Congratulations, Joel.

    Thanks Ken! I applied way back in February and hadn't heard anything since, and I assumed I didn't make the cut, so it was good news to receive today. I like the name of this thread. I may post updates here on my Dardennes-related PhD stuff in the future, should anyone be interested.
  20. A better film about...

    I'm writing my review of Logan Lucky now, and the "Oceans 7-11" joke made me actually roll my eyes. (I think I liked LL more than you did, but still.)
  21. The Good Place

    Just finished Season 1, and I gotta say, this is both a very funny and very complex/interesting comedy. I'm still a fan of Lost--even with its muddled later seasons and finale--and the parallels to that show are certainly apt, in terms of afterlife environment and flashbacks used for character development. It's not so much about religion and spirituality as it is about ethics and philosophy, especially the significance of human action and choices. Any show that can potentially help wake people up to better consider their personal decisions and treatment of their neighbors is laudable in our present political climate.
  22. The Good Place

    Totally missed this last fall, so I've just begun Season 1 on Netflix, and am really enjoying it so far. Very funny, while also addressing fairly deep ethical questions, which is a tough balance to maintain. It doesn't feel irreverent to me, despite not really addressing religion itself.
  23. The Son of Joseph

    Well, I ended up writing an entire review this morning.
  24. The Son of Joseph

    This is now streaming on Netflix in the US, and y'all should watch it. Definitely an A&F film. My brief Letterboxd impressions: Matt, I'd enjoy looking at that, if you still have the document.
  25. Columbus (2017)

    Reading Brett's review and reading some of the interviews with Kogonada have really piqued my interest. But Columbus doesn't seem to be playing anywhere near me, so I may have to wait for a streaming option.