Brian D

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Brian D

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender

Previous Fields

  • 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. Joe versus the Volcano: I saw this in the theater in 1990 at age 15. As an Ebertophile who believed everything Roger Ebert said, I went to see the film based on Ebert’s 3 ½ star review. This turned out to be one of the few instances where I allowed myself to sharply disagree with Mr. Ebert. I took my teen movie critic pen and scratched something in the neighborhood of 2 stars into my movie notebook. This film, its appeal, and its world were completely lost on my 15-year old mind. Flash forward to 2017…what’s this? Is this film really being held up as a cornerstone example for our “waking up” list? I have to see this again. How delighted I am to finally come into line with that Ebert 3 ½ star review. He is totally right when he said the film “achieves a kind of magnificent goofiness.” So it is perhaps the magnificent part that has caught our eye here at A and F. The intimations of eternity, the waking up to something greater. I think we are right to highlight the film in a list like this. However, there is an aspect of “waking up” and this film that sticks in my craw. I see and appreciate the waking up element throughout 90% of this film. But what about the big decision Joe makes near the end of the film in response to the natives’ request? Is this really an enlightened decision? It strikes me more as a moment of foolishness, an example of trying to unselfishly help others in a misguided way that will result only in self-destruction. (Help me out, fans of the film. Should I just ignore Joe’s decision, or is there really a case to be made for the decision being a part of Joe’s awakening?) But then again, why am I going to great lengths to argue about foolishness and wisdom with a film whose main character suffers from a brain cloud? J Overall this movie is a joy, and it would give me joy to see it land highly on our “waking up” list.
  2. Still waiting for your second: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days There is a half-wilted pink flower. It appears in a prominent place in the room right after this film’s most horrific passages. Is this flower beautiful? Is it alive? Waking up to the consequences of decisions. Waking up to the weight of the devaluation of life.
  3. Nominating Selma: A few weeks ago, we had a discussion/debate going about the civil rights crisis (past and current) and whether the concept of staying “woke” in a civil rights sense should have an impact on this list. I see that Malcolm X and Fruitvale Station were both nominated with this connection in mind. Both of those are appropriate nominations for this category. With openness to this line of thinking in mind, I rewatched DuVernay’s Selma to see how well it would fit with this list. It’s clear to me after my rewatch that Selma would make a striking and appropriate contribution to our list. There are all sorts of waking up going on here (both black and white), and those embedded in a film that is an artistic achievement on many levels. Here are just a few ways I see “waking up” in Selma: -The film unfolds many stirring examples of the civil rights movement itself waking up on ever-deepening levels to the urgency of the task at hand. My favorite example is when King gives a speech at the funeral of the murdered Jimmie Lee Jackson. In this remarkable scene, the viewer is carried along the crest of the urgent wave that rolls toward the Selma march itself. We see King’s speech propel that wave along. We and the listeners in the film are woken by that wave as one would be woken by cold water in the face. -The Selma march itself wakes up the nation as a whole to the necessity of progress in civil rights, and this is depicted both in scenes making clear that many (black and white) were coming from far distances to participate in the march and in scenes of the march unfolding via TV in front of the nation. -I will also never forget the scene in which King drives John Lewis in a car while Lewis wakes up King from his own fatigue and discouragement. Piercingly, Lewis uses King’s own past words to rouse King from despair. Lewis says, “You said we would triumph, that we would triumph because there could be no other way. And you know what else you said? You said, ‘Fear not. We’ve come too far to turn back now.’” This last is the sort of wake-up that says “arise and remember who you are, remember where we’ve come from, and remember where we’re going.” Cold water to the face, indeed. But also refreshing and clear water.
  4. Title: Selma Director: Ava DuVernay Year: 2014 Language: English IMDB Link: YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Link to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one):
  5. Second Wings of Desire. I also want to point out that my nominee 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days is listed in bold on the compiled list of nominees, but it has not yet (alas!) been seconded. Seconds, anyone?
  6. Title: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days Director: Cristian Mungiu Year: 2007 Language: Romanian IMDB Link: YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Link to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one):
  7. Running on Empty: Partially borrowed from my quote in our “Movies that teens should see” thread : There is no movie I find more devastatingly emblematic of a certain universal experience that many kids must pass through : the experience of having to leave home and family to find an identity. The way this experience finally plays out in the Phoenix character’s life is like a direct collision between grief and hope. Given that the character’s climactic decision finally opens the doors to the formation of his own identity, it is most certainly a film about waking up. Amazing Grace: Wilberforce…this film shows him not only waking up to the death-dealing reality of the slave trade, but also to the compelling need to express personal faith in a way that impacts the real world around him.
  8. Title: Running on Empty Director: Sidney Lumet Year: 1988 Language: English IMDB Link: YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Link to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one): No dedicated thread, but this Lumet thread includes a number of comments about the film. Title: Amazing Grace Director: Michael Apted Year: 2006 Language: English IMDB Link: YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Link to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one):
  9. Second The Fits, This is Martin Bonner, Take Shelter.
  10. 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."
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Now streaming on Amazon Prime! First Lucky Life added on Prime, now this. Someone at Amazon Prime must be dropping wise hints.