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Michael S

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  1. Andrew, I'm pleased that you're enjoying the Harnoncourt recordings! I've not heard the Kremer/Harnoncourt performance of the Violin Concerto (my set of the symphonies is the original one, with the symphonies only), but that sounds dreadful. I couldn't imagine it working well even if Beethoven himself wrote some version with a piano part. Even the best composers make bad decisions sometimes (so do conductors, orchestras, soloists, et. al.).
  2. Andrew, I think that's correct: symphonies 5 and 6 and the piano concerto all in one concert. I doubt any orchestras perform programs of that length today -- everyone in the audience would leave early (or not show up in the first place), no matter how good the music might be. Across the arts, including music of course, it is interesting to think about evolutions in critical reception. Van Gogh, if I remember correctly, died penniless, with much of his work unappreciated. Some movie critics (Pauline Kael being one of them) reacted to L'Avventura and other modernist films and didn't really affor
  3. Very cool, Andrew. Swafford's biography is great. Excellent analysis of the music itself, and also, as you point out, rich context as well. One might say that there really was a point in Vienna's music history when it was a great time to be alive. Just like Salieri says in the film Amadeus: "Vienna, city of musicians!" I hope you enjoy the Harnoncout recordings. I've always loved his recording of the third symphony in particular. I suspect that Harnoncourt has his detractors as much as he has his fans because he's unique, but I always find him thoughtful. Could you imagine what it m
  4. Michael S


    This seems strange to me -- I believe it happens, but "strange" in the sense that any critic's responsibility is to the film/art/book/whatever and to its creators, and so I wouldn't really understand critics who write negatively about a film or work of art to spite someone else. That's too bad. Having said that, studios sometimes won't have screenings for critics because they already know the film is terrible! If the story is true (or even if it isn't, actually), it's a reminder that genuine intellectual honesty is something that can't be overrated.
  5. Michael S


    And I found that it's all one endless wormhole, with my YouTube feed suggesting one video, then another, then another, and of course I couldn't stop myself from basically watching all of them. The funny thing is that I don't really even like the Star Wars sequels and only watched them because of the nostalgia I have for a childhood spent with the original trilogy (my parents took me to see A New Hope in a theater when I was but a very wee lad, and I walked out saying that it was the greatest movie ever made ). I usually trust film critics, but -- and I'm just speculating here and thin
  6. Michael S


    Incidentally, as a way to fill a little downtime this past week or two, I watched a handful of videos by various YouTubers discussing the Disney Star Wars sequels, Mulan, etc., and while I don't think of their content as necessarily solid criticism, I noticed a pattern in their concerns: for the most part, they're very loyal to the original films (particularly the original Star Wars trilogy, not so much the prequels), they feel that Disney doesn't make enough effort to listen to the fans, and that Disney seems to make films by "committee", instead of allowing directors and writers more autonom
  7. Ken, I also noticed that permanent links to Top 100 individual films/write-ups are also not working and only redirect to the forum's main page. Hopefully that'll be an easy fix too.
  8. Ken, I just noticed that the link for the 2020 Top 100 doesn't work, despite it working just a few days ago. I noticed that the forum interface is different, so perhaps that's affected some of the permanent links? When I use this link for the top 100, I'm redirected to the forum's main page.
  9. Michael S


    I've had a difficult relationship, so to speak, with Herbert's novel. I've tried and failed multiple times over the years (decades, honestly) to make my way through Dune. I can't clearly pinpoint why, though -- whether it's the tone, the prose, the subject matter itself, the ideas, the characters, or something else. I've never read beyond the first quarter of the book. I'm not the most avid of sci-fi readers, but I sailed through Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and Theodore Sturgeon's More than Human (to take just two examples) easily. I can't imagine giving Dune another try, unless Vill
  10. I've only seen the film once, many years ago, on a bad DVD transfer. So I'm definitely looking forward to the Criterion release as well.
  11. DVD Beaver's review of Beau Travail includes the forthcoming Criterion Blu-Ray. The transfer looks good.
  12. Andrew and Ken -- thanks. Seems like I need to cast a wider net (movie theater websites, online media and film reviews, etc.). For the most part, I've been sticking with Amazon Prime and the Criterion Channel but would like to access a wider array of new releases, especially since I don't intend to return to movie theaters anytime soon and since there's really no telling how long the pandemic will last.
  13. Your point underscores a related issue as well: the commercial/corporate impetus behind these serialized franchises. One could make a good argument that some narratives, whether novels, films, comic books, short stories, etc., are meant to be serials by design, but it's hard to overlook the extensive merchandizing and ticket-selling opportunities that come with Marvel and Star Wars movies. Raiders of the Lost Ark is indeed a good example of a narrative that stands on its own and, in my opinion, didn't really need a sequel and probably would have been better served without one. I say the
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