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Brian D

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  1. Partly because I want to find a good reason to spend more time in Arts and Faith, I would love to get a discussion going about the possibilities for a future film list. I have been more and more drawn to Letterboxd lately, but thinking (even considering) a film list would be enough to get me hanging out here some more. I miss Arts and Faith. Let's think about lists again!
  2. Brian D

    Paul, Apostle of Christ

    Thoughts on this film and the idea that, just maybe, I might actually find my way to liking something that comes under the frightening heading of "Affirm Films"... Full review at https://letterboxd.com/brian_d/film/paul-apostle-of-christ/ "I confess. I confess that I’m inclined to dislike and discredit any modern film that comes billed under the label “Affirm Films.” In other words, I’m inclined to start looking for all that is wrong with a film that is aimed directly at a Christian audience. I will start looking for the dead ends as soon as the opening credits are rolling. This is a bit funny, of course, because I myself am a Christian. I don’t approach the Bible or the average teacher of the Bible with a readiness to disbelieve or distrust. I don’t come to these with the expectation that they will be wrong or that they are likely to be worthy of harsh criticism. Modern Christian film, on the other hand, often seems to me an industry producing low-quality goods with high-faith labels. The label, then, legitimizes the poor product. I think this assessment is not too far from the truth. However, I hadn’t given much thought to the prejudice that I automatically bring to a modern Christian film…the expectation and assumption that it will be terrible even before I have really seen it. I don’t think I bring such a prejudice to the latest big Hollywood action blockbuster, however. I don’t bring that prejudice with me even though modern Hollywood studios have left a body of work that on the whole would be just as worthy of skepticism as modern Christian cinema..."
  3. Brian D

    Top 25 or 100 for 2018-19

    Exciting. So thrilled this is starting to roll.
  4. Brian D

    Top 25 or 100 for 2018-19

    I also strongly recommend we find a way to include dynamic female film voices like Melissa Tamminga and Alissa Wilkinson. Whether for blurbs or just voting, their contribution would be incredible. Also, BethR and other women who've played a key role in Arts and Faith.
  5. Brian D

    Stranger Things (Netflix)

    Any comments on Season 2? Should I prioritize it? I've very much enjoyed Season 1 as a boy who came of age in those days of ET and Stephen King films.
  6. A fun topic I have long wanted to raise: Many films leave us cold the 1st time we see them. Only a select few of those, however, go on to take a place among our favorites or treasures on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th viewing. Name some of the films that have been like this for you. If you'd like, you could also address why you think this change took place. Which time did it for you...2nd, 3rd, 7th?
  7. Would love it if anyone would share their list of favorites for 2017. I'm too behind in this year's films to share my own list, but hopefully that will come with time.
  8. Brian D

    The Tree of Life (2011)

    Noted...although I was assuming Penn's limited time on screen in the theatrical cut dovetailed with some script portions that included his character but were cut from the theatrical version. Seems to me that someone around here (Ryan H?) had said they had read the original script. Ryan?
  9. Brian D

    The Tree of Life (2011)

    Wow, that is exciting news. Especially given Sean Penn's statement that this film was a lot better as originally scripted than it ended up being after the edit for theater release.
  10. Back to High and Low: *spoiler alert* I was really intrigued by that final scene in a way that strongly pulls me back to revisit it. The superposing of the faces of the 2 men (Gondo and the criminal) is striking. It makes me think of what those 2 men may actually share even in spite of the dramatic class gulf between them. Of course we know that Gondo by this time is no longer in the rich, lofty social class that he once was. Perhaps a partial closing of this social class gap is suggested here. Even more fascinating to ponder, though, is the possibility that this shot suggests Gondo is not as far from the guilt and condemnation of the criminal as it may seem at first. We recall that, were Gondo to have not opted to pay a ransom for the boy's life, he may have spent a life of somehow sharing in (or at least condemning himself) the guilt of the boy's murder. 2 faces, superimposed on one another. Both human and both not far from the tormented, guilt-wracked cries of that final scene. Ah, for the grace of God to break in..
  11. I will start this Film Club thread with a goofy ad filled with sensational blurbs meant to get you to watch Kurosawa’s High and Low. Easy to rent on Amazon or ITunes. “HIGH AND LOW is really great…if we went with it I'd be more than happy to re-watch. I mean, Kurosawa!” - NBooth “I'd be excited to watch anything by these directors!” – Rob Z “Let's go with High and Low. I'll try to start a thread soon!” – Brian D “HIGH AND LOW is high on my to-watch list for my PhD research!” – Joel Mayward I hope you are inspired to watch with us!!!
  12. Great idea! I'd be up for that or a similar category -film maybe, say, in April. I would try to join the discussion if you started a thread in a few weeks, Rob.
  13. Brian D

    2017 lists

    Your list of favorite songs or albums from this year, please! Here is Joel Hartse's list of "audio stuff" from Image: https://imagejournal.org/2017/12/29/listening-life-17-listens-2017/
  14. Brian D

    2017 lists

    Some good stuff here: http://www.lookingcloser.org/blog/2017/12/25/your-favorite-song-of-2017/
  15. Yes, lovely list. Great job everyone! Thank you for your guiding hand, Evan! Like all good film lists, this one makes me want to spend my week watching (and rewatching) all of these. Is it possible to archive this thread in a more prominent place? The threads that appear first under top 100 are still the 2016 ones. I am only aware of the waking-up list release because I happened to be looking for it. No big deal if there's no easy fix.
  16. Excellent, Joel. Being part of that Dardennes list is a high compliment for a film.
  17. Brian D

    The Breadwinner

    Cartoon Saloon's The Breadwinner...coming out this week in some places. I love Song of the Sea and really like Secret of Kells. Maturity and creative joy that is so rare in modern animation. A new film from this group gets me a good deal more excited than the prospect of a new Pixar or Disney animated film. Not more excited than Studio Ghibli, but maybe next in line. Can't wait.
  18. That's an interesting question about the joking of the police detectives. There may be some truth to the idea that the breezier tone of the middle-act police investigation scenes is at odds with the gravity of the 1st and 3rd acts. Honestly, though, I enjoyed those investigation scenes so much that it didn't occur to me. I coasted along with them, delighted that such a high-level filmmaker as Kurosawa would stoop down to revel not only in the twisty crime logistics but also in the very lively humor of those police discussions. Those police meetings seem like deep dives into the genre of the police procedural, yet with a crackling energy and levity. I can see, though, how the film when viewed as a whole might break down a little from that sharp tonal shift in the middle. It makes it slightly more difficult to piece it together in our minds as a complete work. The 1st and 3rd acts, though, are also not without their own dark humor and crime genre elements. This is so fun to talk about... would love to hear what others think of this issue.
  19. What is the due date for write-ups?
  20. When you mentioned Nakadai, I took a look to see who he played in the film. I was just recalling how his and the Bosun character register so strongly as characters with seemingly almost no introduction at all. If I go by this example, I would say that Kurosawa has a gift for bringing in characters that arrive in a film fully formed, as if you had met them before or were instantly familiar with them. Yes, a master class indeed on all of those levels. I'd like to add that the sound design of the film is masterful....especially in the sounds of the final scene and in one of the climactic scenes in which the music seems incongruous but overwhelming. And that telephone, signaling another round of dread with each ring... The final scene's jarring sounds could in fact be seen as illustrations of a certain desperate state of the soul.
  21. I would be happy to do The New World. Tempted to do Close Encounters but not sure I can articulate the waking up angle without tying myself in knots. So can't go in for that one just yet. Here's to giving Jeremy a chance to choose Joe Versus the Volcano because that was one of the core films he suggested for this list when he proposed the idea.
  22. Questions: (lots of spoilers!) -What did you love about this film? What did you struggle with? -Haunted by the final shot of the faces interposed. How does this scene and this shot impact the film? -How does the title interact with the film? Why High and Low? It's adapted from a novel called King's Ransom, which could signify a different meaning and intention. -Do you have any thoughts about Gondo's change of course? What prompted it? What does it mean for you as you look at the film as a whole? -Fascinating that this is on Joel's list of films to watch for his PhD research. Joel, can you please share more about that? -For those who know Kurosawa's works well: does this relate or compare in interesting ways with his other films? -Mystified by the intern and the way the film associates him with dead-end poverty. Help me out, someone...am I understanding this right? Extrapolating from modern Western societies, this intern would eventually be able to make a good deal more money a few years down the road. Would an intern like this have been in a different situation at this time in Japanese history? Perhaps I don't understand this character's profession correctly. -Share your own questions as well!
  23. Other (more serious) stuff meant to get you to watch High and Low : -A.O. Scott on High and Low : “One of the best detective thrillers ever filmed.” - Roger Ebert on High and Low (sort of spoiler): “Few Japanese directors would have thought to adapt one of Ed McBain's crime stories, for example, but Kurosawa, reading King's Ransom, found the materials for one of his most challenging films, "High and Low" (1962). In it, a wealthy man is told his son has been kidnapped. He must sell everything to raise the ransom. Then it's discovered that the kidnapper mistakenly kidnapped the son of the millionaire's chauffeur instead. Is this boy worth the same ransom? As the eyes of the millionaire and the workingman meet in a shot of stunning power, Kurosawa confronts the question of whether all lives are equal.” -In a 3-way tie with 2 other Kurosawa films for 1st place on Guillermo del Toro’s favorite Criterion films list. -#3 on Scott Derrickson’s list of his favorite Kurosawa films. On A & F, he noted that the top 20 on his list are all masterpieces. To emphasize the point, High and Low was #3.
  24. Brian D

    Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

    Let's go with High and Low. I was able to watch the first 30 minutes last week, enough to see that it's a great film for discussion. Also, enough to be able to say, "Kurosawa made a film like this?" The man had range. I'll try to start a thread soon.
  25. Brian D

    Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

    Thanks, NBooth. Should we avoid it because you've already seen it, or would High and Low be your vote? By the way, I should mention why these choices came to mind. Le Silence de la Mer came up since it relates a bit to Image and A and F. Kenneth Morefield (if I remember correctly) did an essay in the recent film issue of Image on that film. This one was his choice in the category of "the film that helps me live better." Intriguing. Though less seen, the Kiarastomi is thought by some to be one of his very best. And Kurosawa because....you can really never stop exploring his deep well of great works. I would be excited to go with any of these choices.