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Everything posted by Rushmore

  1. Rushmore

    A&F Site News -- Please Read

    This is a surprise to me, but probably a good thing for the board. I haven't participated much lately, but I still care about this site and the community here, and I don't have a problem with trusting you (Ken) to run it. Thanks for stepping up.
  2. Rushmore

    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    I realize I was excessively melodramatic myself in acting like no one ever questions these films. I think a lot of people have been doing so, with the passage of time and gaining more perspective. On the popular level, though, I don't think their star has fallen much if at all. They seem to be untouchable classics in many circles of the geek/nerd crowd, which has gained quite a lot of cultural power in the last couple decades. (Perhaps these films played a part in that, come to think of it.)
  3. Rushmore

    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    I want to get something off my chest, prompted by rewatching The Two Towers extended edition in the theater the other night. I do appreciate that these films are, in many ways, an enormous achievement. I love the look of many of the sets, landscapes, costumes, etc. I deeply appreciate the immense amount of work that was put into things like languages, getting all kinds of little details right in ways that most viewers wouldn't even notice. I admire some of the writing, and it's quite impressive how many of Tolkien's words are incorporated. The pacing is generally good, such that even The Two Towers goes by quite breezily for a three-and-a-half hour movie (and without an intermission at that, at least in the theater where there's no pause to change discs). And it can't be denied that the major set pieces are amazing. The siege of Helm's Deep is a sight to behold, and while I need to rewatch Return of the King I'm sure that the siege of Gondor succeeds in topping it. But. The greatest impression they leave me with, what overwhelms just about everything else, is that they're so silly. It's strange to me that Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies are so widely derided and mocked while The Lord of the Rings is lauded to the skies, even though all the elements that made The Hobbit: Gilding the Dragon so ridiculous are present in Lord of the Rings too - to a lesser degree, usually, but very clearly present. The same excessive melodrama, which tries to heighten the tension of every scene so much that the dramatic arc is more like a dramatic flat line at the shrillest possible level. The same drunken camera movement. The same outrageous stunts with no regard for their emotional appropriateness. The same corny, overdone action and fight scenes in places where there's no good reason for an action scene at all. The same general bad taste. These. Are. Not. Good. Movies. In some places I was really surprised how clearly the seeds of The Hobbit: An Endless Adventure were planted. I laughed in The Hobbit at the part in the barrel-riding scene where Legolas is surfing down the river with each foot on a dwarf's head while shooting orcs, but I had forgotten that he does a similar stunt in Helm's Deep while sliding down a staircase. There are other places, like the appalling Revenge of the Sith-like Force battle between Gandalf and Saruman in Fellowship, that don't remind me of a specific scene in The Hobbit (maybe there is a similar one; I've forgotten a lot) but are surely just as bad. There are a few extravagant touches, like the skull avalanche, that even admirers of the films admit are too much, but it seems to me that many other parts are just as bad and don't get called out the same way. In the exorcism of Theoden, I almost expected Theoden to start levitating while Gandalf shouted "The power of Christ compels you!" Some of Frodo's experiences, like when he falls into the water in the Dead Marshes and is suddenly surrounded by screaming ghosts, seem to be right out of a B horror movie. (In fact, all the frightening visions Frodo has strike me as far more goofy than scary, and I generally scare very easily.) But then, it's possible that people didn't notice this scene because it was surrounded by so many other unnecessary falls - into water, off cliffs, you name it. In the book, there's one crucial scene where Gandalf falls into a pit in Moria, and it's a devastating moment. In the films, it's not enough for Sam to run out to the boat to catch Frodo at the end of Fellowship - he has to fall into the water and nearly drown. It's not enough for Denethor, in a breathtakingly dramatic tragic climax, to light his own funeral pyre - he has to light himself on fire, run around crazily, and JUMP OFF THE ROOF. It's not even enough for Aragorn to have his own near-death and resurrection to rival Gandalf's - he has to tussle with a Warg and fall off a cliff, because falling off of random cliffs is just what people do in this cinematic universe. It's like watching The Hobbit: Goblintown IMAX all over again. This post may not make me any friends, but I'm at the point where I have to post this somewhere. It seems obvious to me that these movies are an enormous achievement but also full of devastating flaws which would be enough to ruin most movies completely, and the over-the-top praise they get in nearly all quarters makes me feel like I'm living in some kind of bizarro world.
  4. Rushmore

    Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc

    Might as well link to SDG's review. The very limited North American theatrical tour seems to be coming to an end, and I'm still waiting for a way to see this. As yet, the only DVD/blu-ray edition is a French one that lacks English subtitles.
  5. Rushmore


    Perhaps this thread is the place to suggest this: I've joined a couple forums where new members need to have one or more posts approved by a moderator before they can post freely. (On CriterionForum.org it's five posts, but one is probably enough.) Seems like a good way to avoid spam without raising the barrier to entry too high.
  6. Rushmore

    A better film about...

    Not having seen Boss Baby, I find this very hard to believe.
  7. Rushmore

    Exploring the List 2011

    The spreadsheet with all previous lists, updated with the top 25 films on "waking up".
  8. If anyone's interested in a data dump: I believe this has fewer unique films than any previous 25. Ikiru and Wings of Desire have been on every version of the top 100 (the former has always been in the top 15). The Double Life of Veronique, The Trial, Spirited Away, and The New World were on the 2011 list. Spirited Away was also on the Mercy list and The New World on the 2010 list. The Truman Show was on the 2004 and Comedy lists. Fearless was on 2004 and 2006. Punch-Drunk Love was on 2010, 2004, and Comedies. The Tree of Life was on Memory. There's no overlap with the Horror, Road, or Marriage lists. Here's a spreadsheet with all the lists. I can write up The Truman Show if no one wants it.
  9. Rushmore

    Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    (We should probably just say once that discussing this film at all without spoilers is impossible) A question about this. Am I wrong in thinking that the woman seen in the very last shot is a different actress, but the woman burning in the opening shot (seen only in extreme close-up of her eyes) is Jennifer Lawrence? You'd have to check the DVD to be sure, but the fire at the beginning and the fire at the end looked like they used some of the exact same footage.
  10. Rushmore

    Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    It's been a long time since I was so unsettled by a film. It's certainly worth seeing and even beautiful in a certain horrible way. Maybe it's even great, though I'm not quite ready to affirm that. The Gnostic interpretation makes some sense, though we've certainly reached the point by now when all alleged Gnosticism in movies should be looked on with grave suspicion. The mother-as-devil interpretation, though, is either some kind of joke or one of the most horribly wrong readings of a film I've ever seen. It just makes no sense. You would have to fight the film every step of the way to twist it into that shape.
  11. Do the extra features include filtering people's likes out of your activity stream? This is a feature I want so much that I might even pay for it, after I ramp up my Letterboxd usage again (I've let it fall by the wayside recently). The flood of "So-and-so liked Such-and-such's review" notices is a major obstacle for me in using the site the way I want to.
  12. Rushmore

    What we're reading

    I now have Wright's The New Testament and the People of God on the way to me from Barnes & Noble. It might not be the most accessible starting point, but the one I'm really eager to read is The Resurrection of the Son of God, so I want to start the series it's in. On a completely different note, I just read Orson Scott Card's Xenocide . I thought the setup was equal to any of the previous Ender books, but the payoff was imperfect at best. It was worth reading, but doesn't make me wildly eager to read Children of the Mind, though I'm sure I will eventually.
  13. Rushmore

    What we're reading

    I'm looking forward to reading N.T. Wright soon. I think a few members here, including SDG and Peter Chattaway, have found his books helpful.
  14. Rushmore

    What we're reading

    I just finished reading the second volume (on the events of Holy Week) of Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth. I really value these books. They're quite readable and accessible, but ultimately they're basically academic in character, not devotional - which isn't quite what you'd expect from the author's description of them as "my personal search for the face of the Lord," but it's exactly why they work so well for me at bringing out the reality of Jesus. (Especially since lately, I've found the Church and even God, in the philosopher's sense, difficult to believe in. It's still easy to believe in Christ.) For example: Happy Easter to all.
  15. I don't think so, given that the origin of "woke" in current parlance was with internal use in the black community.
  16. Rushmore


    Anecdotally, I can confirm that the film and its central character resonated deeply with several critics I follow (e.g. Angelica Jade Bastién and Kyle Turner) and people I know in the black and/or gay communities. I don't have data. I found something real and convincing in Chiron, despite the narrowness of his experience in the film. Holy Moly's Invisible Man comparison seems to be an illuminating one.
  17. I haven't been around here much for the last few months and I don't think I've even posted in any of the film club threads, but for the record I'm still on board with this (and with selecting a film for next month). I'll watch Scarlet Street tonight, if I can.
  18. Rushmore

    Is the film medium in a slump?

    I love the experience of going to the movies as much as ever. The frequency varies with the spare time and money available to me, but during times when I have plenty of both, I average between once and twice a week. Since I moved to a large metropolitan area (St. Louis) last year, though, I do find much more variance in the quality of theaters. I used to always go to the same AMC multiplex for wide releases and a Landmark Theater in a nearby city for limited ones, and I was very happy with both. I haven't yet found a wide-release multiplex I'm quite happy with here, but there are some wonderful smaller theaters, some of which have retrospective screenings regularly. (Overpricing, excessive previews, etc., are real issues, as are those digital sound systems that somehow make a loud crackling noise every few minutes. The worst thing I've found, though, is an AMC theater that doesn't admit anyone under 18 after 5 PM. I got asked for ID while buying a ticket to The BFG. I found that so depressing I never intend to go to that theater again.)
  19. Rushmore

    Unfinished Books

    My favorite example is probably The Brothers Karamazov. Of course it's great, but I just didn't find it satisfying. There are too many passages obviously meant to set up a much bigger story than the one we have.
  20. Rushmore

    Upcoming Criterion Releases

    I'd like to have Andrei Rublev, but I keep telling myself maybe they'll put it out on blu-ray.
  21. Rushmore

    Upcoming Criterion Releases

    The Decalogue!
  22. Rushmore

    Is Short Term Parking really that?

    I'm not sure the stuff ever really got deleted in the first place. At least as long as I've been on the forum, you could find old Short Term Parking topics with the forum search function. (I don't know if Google worked as well.)
  23. Rushmore

    Your Top 10 Favorite Films

    Yes, and it would still be in my top 10 or 20, but I'm not so sure now about including it with the other four. (Although my opinion of it hasn't gone down, and I don't have specific films in mind that would replace it. Just following my gut.)
  24. Rushmore

    Your Top 10 Favorite Films

    I can confidently name at least four of my top five: Into Great Silence (Gröning, 2005) The Tree of Life (Malick, 2011) 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968) Raising Arizona (Coen brothers, 1987)
  25. Rushmore

    Film Club from the Ashes

    To be clear, taking a month means selecting the film that will be discussed in that month, right? So the person who gets August will have everybody watching a film in July?