Brian D

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About Brian D

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  • Occupation
    Family medicine doctor
  • Favorite movies
    In America, Of Gods and Men, Munyurungabo, New World, Running on Empty, Where the Wild Things Are, Dead Man Walking, Men Don't Leave, The Apostle, Into the West
  • Favorite music
    U2, Dylan, Springsteen, Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, Sara Groves, Innocence Mission
  • Favorite creative writing
    Novels: Gilead - Marilynne Robinson Brothers Karamazov-Dostoevsky Auralia's Colors-Overstreet Short stories: The Tumblers - Nathan Englander My Mother's Garden - Katherine Shonk
  1. Manohla Dargis of NY Times is somewhat positive about the film (see final paragraph below), though in a guarded way: " "Song to Song” is filled with beautiful people adrift in beautiful (glass) houses and natural settings. All this loveliness has its pleasures, but Mr. Malick’s visual choices also give the film a commercial luster that can rob that beauty of its power. That’s partly because the advertising world and mainstream cinema have long pilfered his aesthetic, turning it into a sales pitch. Mr. Malick is enraptured with beauty as an expression of God and as a path to God. But in “Song to Song” both the familiarity of his aesthetic and the inability of some of his actors to summon an inner light create immaculately photographed surfaces rather than immanence. You see the poses, not the divine. That’s disappointing, even if there’s also much here that’s exhilarating, including the film’s ambitions and its seriousness. Seriousness in cinema is often viewed with suspicion and that’s as true now as it was when, say, Antonioni shook up the art. The difference is that now seriousness (and beauty and grace) is rarely part of a wider discussion, because that conversation is dominated by corporate cinema, where there’s often little to argue over and get excited by. There is, by contrast, much to admire in “Song to Song” and much to argue with, including its ideas about pleasure and women. So go, fall into its embrace, resist its charms, argue. This may not be a film to love, but it is a film to see."
  2. Thank you for answering, Rob Z and Phlox! The more I think about it, one thing I am very drawn to about this film is the fact that the soundtrack was made expressly for the film. It wasn't added many years later. This makes me more inclined to revisit the film and pay close attention the score and how it has been carefully woven into the poetic texture of the film.
  3. Now streaming on Amazon Prime. Joining the recently added Miracle Maker and Lucky LIfe on Prime as evidence that someone from Arts and Faith is helping suggest titles for the Prime catalog. That and the presence of Adam's Apples and Sophie Scholl.
  4. What SDG said : The word "thrilling" is mentioned in this review. As I think about it, I rarely ever seek out movies these days that are described as "thrilling" in an old-Hollywood sense. That could be one of the reasons I am so taken aback when a movie, as with this film's final hour, does actually thrill me.
  5. Now streaming on Amazon Prime! First Lucky Life added on Prime, now this. Someone at Amazon Prime must be dropping wise hints.
  6. I just saw this a week ago for the first time. I still have to consider what to say and write about it, but for now just wanted to bump this thread in protest of this idea : that we could possibly have only 2 posts over the past 6 years for a film that is (A) #12 on our latest top 100 list and (B) #5 of all time from the Sight and Sound critics' poll. I hereby attempt an experiment : to wrestle you out of the current cultural moment, out of the Marvel films and Oscar discussions of today, to make a comment or two on a great film from 1927. Let's start with this question : How does this film look to us today? I myself struggled with the urge to say something cynical like : "Yes, it is great, but it is flawed. It is hard to believe these dramatic swings of character and emotion." But I think that opinion would be hopelessly rooted in the modern era, forgetting the value of fable and the value of melodrama. I think I need to see more silent films and more melodrama in general. And I need to open my heart to learn from the great films of the past. Especially films that do not quite fit the mold of our current film era and current culture. Thoughts about this film or reactions to what I've shared? Is the statement in quotes above a legitimate criticism of the film? I myself doubt it, but I would love to hear why.
  7. Haven’t seen many films from 2016, but… The Innocents – a photo shoot of a community transformed The Fits - the first dance scene on the overpass, awakening to something The Fits – the final scenes, "must we choose to be slaves to gravity?" Gleason – the voiceless man pierces to the heart as he interviews Eddie Vedder…leading the singer to voice something deep inside Gleason - 2 beds in a wide room, camera not looking away from the physical and emotional separation between an ALS sufferer and his wife Embrace of the Serpent – classical music in the jungle Hidden Figures – doorway is destroyed to accommodate the huge computer, then Dorothy getting it to work Hidden Figures - Kevin Costner passionately knocks down a bathroom sign Love and Friendship – the character intros, a playful playbill onscreen Almost Holy – every scene of rescue
  8. Sounds good to me.
  9. Awesome. "Be the first to rate this movie." Tried to give it 5 stars, but sadly it didn't take. Maybe I actually need to watch it on Amazon first, which sounds like a fine idea.
  10. Oh yes, and this film provides one of the best "who could have imagined this" moments I've seen recently : Gleason, via his voice box, interviews Pearl Jam's lead singer Eddie Vedder at one point. The scene only lasts a minute, but it's such a delightful surprise what we get here that I don't want to spoil it by saying anymore about it.
  11. Documentary streaming on Amazon Prime. Amazingly intimate portrait of a former football player's downward slide into ALS. As a doctor, I learn so much from seeing Steve Gleason's story. As a Christian, I am cut to the heart by the faith-related tension between Steve Gleason and his father here. There is one astonishing scene in which Gleason attends a "faith-healing" service at the request of his seemingly new-believer father. The way Steve Gleason himself responds to this service is something I will never forget. There is so much going on here in this scene, and I think a lot of it has to do with the relationship between the father and his son. This comes even more into focus in a later scene in which Steve Gleason, with the slurred words of his advanced disease, confronts his father about the father's "evangelization" attempts. The scene ends with tears and an embrace, but there is a bitter taste of tragedy here that really lingers in the mind. As Steve Gleason alludes to at one point in the film, this is in essence the story of a father and a son. Perhaps we should say "fathers and sons." The football player and his son, yes, but certainly also the football player and his father. The father and son themes, in fact, make this essential viewing for parents...and children of parents.
  12. About the topics that are most exciting: Cultural upheaval = awesome Waking up = perhaps even moreso
  13. Thanks, everyone. Long overdue for A&F to get a discussion/appreciation thread going on this. Nathaniel, intriguing thoughts about existentialism. Can you flesh out the details of how this film perhaps departs from a traditional existentialist response to the brokenness of the world? Joel and Evan, I agree that this is relevant beyond all expectations. Amazing. Similar to what I said before, I really like this film's ability to live both in the realms of "high-spiritual" cinema and "high-adventure" cinema in the sense of its epic scope. Rare combination in cinema, and one that is compelling because a life of mercy, of faith lived out, is much more of an adventure than is usually acknowledged onscreen. Or in any corner of modern culture, for that matter.
  14. Shall we extend for a week or two after January so that there may be some more chance for participation? I know folks want to join in, but likely haven't found the time yet.