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  1. Today
  2. I'm going to resurrect this ancient thread because--well. I read Angels in America years ago for a graduate-level class and it's stuck with me, in various ways, since. I've often, for instance, pulled up clips of the miniseries and watched them, recalled particular plot-threads and lines, and generally had the thing kicking around in my brain. But I've never made it through the miniseries--it's been in some way too much, to huge, and I just wore out emotionally before I could finish it. I finally watched the whole thing this week. The miniseries? I mean, it's wonderful, isn't it? The performances are universally excellent (Al Pacino as Roy Cohn and Jeffrey Wright, returning to the role of Belize after having played it on stage, are stand-outs, but I mean everyone is so good....). The effects are ropey, but who cares? It's an old HBO joint. Speaking more broadly--both more subjectively and more seeming-objectively--this thing wrecked me. The scene where they say the Kaddish for Roy Cohn is a particularly complicated moment of grace, and the concluding blessing of "more life" is moving and empowering. I really can't think of a late-20th C work that feels as enormous and eternal as the play of which this miniseries is an adaptation. It's Melville-big. It's Whitman-big. The Great American Stage Play. Anyway, I'm reading The World Only Spins Forward now and finding it very helpful in terms of contextualizing the play (the messiness of Perestroika, for instance, is no doubt down to the fact that it was literally the size of a phone book in its first draft). I may post more as that book brings thoughts to mind.
  3. Yesterday
  4. It is possible if we had a smaller number of people interested (say 5-8) we could write longer essays, but that would be a bit of a discussion. Will give it some time to see what response rate is.
  5. On the question of prequels enhancing the originals: Maybe with books more than movies/TV. The book The Sword in the Stone, as part of The Once and Future King, is lovely and a significant in White's partially reworking Malory as a bildungsroman. Works well as a standalone, too. The cartoon, unfortunately, is a travesty. In terms of GoT-world plot, there's not much in the prehistory of GoT that seems interesting, unless they can create compelling characters. I might not have stuck with GoT either, if I hadn't cared what happened to Arya. Other book prequels that work, IMO: The Magician's Nephew, which I will defend to the death (figuratively) as the 6th Narnia Chronicle, rather than the first, because it refers to earlier books and also expects a level of maturity that LWW perhaps does not. Another is Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolo series (8 books), a historical novel sequence that is effective on its own, but also a prequel to her earlier Lymond Chronicles (6 books)--that's not really a spoiler, as she says as much in the preface of HN book 1. You don't need to know that before reading, but HN does add significantly to a re-read of LC.
  6. I don't have any interest in the GOT prequel and agree with your premise, Ken. I guess GODFATHER 2 is both a prequel and a sequel, so it's not an apt counterexample, but that's the best I could come up with.
  7. On some abstract level, I guess I understand "prequels" over "sequels" but on another level, I don't. Much like the Star Wars prequels, I don't see how this would avoid the problem that the "prequels" in order to set up the situation in the show, has to end in at least temporary defeat. Also, the audience more or less knows how the story ends. I supposed there are some who care more about the "how did they get there" but, again, citing Star Wars, what is interesting or adds richness as a backstory is seldom as interesting as its own story. I can't really think of any prequels that enhanced the originals -- The Silmarillion? Ender's Game prequels? The Sword and the Stone?
  8. Evan C

    The Dead Don't Die

    I loved it, although to be honest I've loved nearly every Jarmusch film I've seen. https://catholiccinephile.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/the-dead-dont-die/
  9. This is really encouraging to read, and quite the endorsement. How does it compare to Falling Upward, a Rohr book you mentioned in our "Growing Older" thread as being significant for you?
  10. Yeah, I walked out. First movie in a long time that I did that for. More because it was bad than offensive. I think the point where Shaft's son threw up over the women at the club was probably the point where I said, "hmmm, if I don't watch the whole thing, can I still call it a Deuce -1?
  11. Last week
  12. I totally hear you, Ken. I wish I had some tech expertise to offer--that would surely be more helpful than the editorial/proofreader stuff!
  13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0fmrrFcEPY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctcw7JQX0LQ
  14. I'm game for writing a chapter on growing old with either Ozu or Kurosawa, drawing from Eriksonian and/or existential points of view. If you have a taker for one, I'll gladly write about the other.
  15. I am not a particular Firefly fan, but the Legendary Encounters: Firefly was on sale at a recent game convention, so I picked it up. Unlike the Aliens or Predators Encounters, this one feels like you need to know the show a bit more. I am not sure about replay-ability since it is tied to missions that are episode specific and there are only 15 of them (will you learn which heroes go with which eps?) Also - nether a plus nor minus - the Encounters depends much more on the "Coordinate" mechanic, making it more of a truly co=op game than Marvel Legendary where people mostly just play their own hands and build their own deck. Cindy and I lost the first two games, the first quite badly as the most powerful enemy entered into the combat zone as the very first card revealed and proceeded to destroy the ship. We lost the second game by taking a ship strike that had to be healed in one turn and again when we played on and didn't have enough strike to defeat the main villain (Crow). But we won the third game quite easily, as by then we knew which characters were optimal for that episode.
  16. As per previous discussion, I'm not averse in principle to these ideas, but I am working with a template, teaching myself .html editing, ftp, etc., while not really having any help (that I don't have to pay for out of pocket) on the tech side. So things are likely to change very slowly since priority one is to to not break anything by making changes that I don't understand. According to our file structure, we have stand alone pages for 2005, 2010, 2011, and 2019. Those prior to 2019 are on a different template and heavily covered with IMAGE branding. I would like to have some sort of master page for the Top 100/25 lists that goes to each separate page as well as easier integration back and forth to the forums. I like the 2019 format, but it plays better on phones than laptops and the text is too small to actually read the blurbs. It's a better clickbait than actual resource. But I wouldn't mind having a separate page of just the texts.
  17. I loved everything about this film, and I don't consider myself a huge Pixar fan. Mostly I like the way the stories are different in each of the Toy Stories, and they aren't afraid to develop the characters and/or put them in different situations rather than simply doing the same formula over and over. (How ironic that the trailer before the film was for The Lion King, which looks like a shot-for-shot remake). I also love how the films have subtext without being strictly allegorical. There are metaphysical similarities, but the owners/makers aren't God. There are comparisons to parenting (and/or in this case adoption), but it's not allegorical in the rigid sense. It's just that there are similarities enough to draw and make comparisons rather than just decode. The lost toys inversion of Pinocchio is brilliant, and the new characters interesting. It's been a long time since I left the theater this enthused.
  18. Turning this back to MiB for a second, I enjoyed Matt Lynch's take on Letterbox'd more than the movie itself: https://letterboxd.com/colonelmortimer/film/men-in-black-international/ I like this not necessarily for the jab at government but because it points out how devoid of imagination are so many movies today. Think of all the directions this could go and yet we get warmed over action scenes and "who is the mole" plot structure.
  19. Final decision: just discovered that Amazing Grace is playing at a local theater at the perfect time slot. Sorry mediocre summer blockbusters, this seminary class is going to go see Aretha.
  20. Yes, thanks again, Ken! I agree that it would be helpful to have year and director but also that it looks much better in the gallery to only have the title. Could there be another page with just the 1-25 list that contained this information (basically what is at the beginning of this results thread with year and director)? That would deal with this issue, and address what I see as the most glaring omission—the list itself, in an easily readable form. At the top of each page, “List” could be added to Home, Gallery, and About with the link to that page. I love the click-advancing gallery with the blurbs, but a list like that would make the page much more user friendly. I think that list would be the appropriate place to link to the threads for the respective films in the forum (an idea I really like). Even better, perhaps that list could appear on the Gallery page (which currently just has pictures) in the form of captions under each picture that give the rank, the film title, director, and year. Those of us who have seen or at least been in on the discussion might get the hint as to what each photo refers to, but not someone who happens across the page due to interest in the topic. I think it would be a mistake to assume that anyone would find their way to the nominations or results thread in the forum, even if they wanted to. This is the spot. Those heading links do not appear at the top of the About page. It think it would be best to have them there to allow people to navigate within the site without having to rely on the browser’s back button. I know that clicking the title in the upper left also brings one back to Home, but the consistency would be nice, too. Speaking of consistency and that title in the upper left, it’s different in terms of line breaks on all three pages: Home has Arts & Faith Top 25: Growing Older About has Arts & Faith Top 25: Growing Older Gallery has Arts & Faith Top 25: Growing Older That last one (Gallery) is the one that looks best and makes most sense (3 lines of 2 prominent words each), and I think all of them should be changed to look like that. On the Home page, moving the cursor over the Gallery heading link reveals a drop down menu containing the words “Growing Older,” but if you click on that, it stays on the home page. Clicking the word “Gallery” obviously leads to the gallery. On the Gallery page, the text “(Click on a Photo for a description from A&F contributor)” should be subordinate (lower, smaller font) to the word “Gallery.” I’m not sure it needs to be in parentheses. Is there a reason why “Photo” is capitalized and not the other key words? I’d suggest “Click on a photo for a description and commentary from an Arts & Faith contributor. Click on the film’s title for a discussion of the film in the Arts & Faith film forum.” That would of course necessitate adding the rank, title, and ideally year and director to the gallery page, as mentioned above. Could there be a prominent link to the A&F home page? At the least, the “Artsandfaith.com” in the Our Mission section of the About page should be an active hyperlink. I still think that there should be a dedicated, aesthetically pleasing (like this one) A&F home page with links to the forum, Top 100 and 25 lists, ecumenical jury lists, etc. but that’s probably a project for another time. Some of these are quibbles; some are more substantive. I have used templates like this in the past and I know they can be very tricky, but if these changes are possible, I think that the consistency and additions would improve the site a lot.
  21. I'd be okay with a comparison of a film that is on the list to one that is not or to a theme that included films on the list as well as films not on it. I wouldn't want an essay just about a film that wasn't on the list. But I think something like you describe would be fine.
  22. Is the group of available films for discussion limited to those in the list? I ask because I'd been kicking around a comparison piece on MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW and AMOUR and Haneke's film isn't on it.
  23. Thanks for sharing your review. I am uncomfortable with the use of "authoritative," though I recognize that the "in one way" qualifies it. It's been my experience as a peripheral victim impacted by gun violence and a witness to others that such traumas can dull one's capacity for reason, forgiveness, or even non-personal judgments about what is in the public good. As a matter of personal relationships, its fine to recognize someone's greater experience with trauma. As a foundation for social expectations or even public policy, it's dangerous, and it can (and I think has) reduced those trauma victims to agitprops That's not across the board, of course, and the way one frames and responds to trauma changes over time. But I generally tend to be wary of political arguments or social calls that are motivated by what will or will not give closure, healing, payback, or satisfaction for the victims. As this film shows, the victims themselves often don't know what that is. I don't think that is what Steven is doing here. I think he's just acknowledging that he knows my family history and is being respectful of it. I just bring it up as a way of that my ambivalence about the film's presentation is less about about different values regarding what the victims should have done as in this film's overall tone of praise suggesting that such questions are less complicated than I think they are. (Then again, maybe they aren't. There are plenty of commands in Christian New Testament that haven't so much been tried and found impractical or unhealthy as assumed to be wrong and left untried.) Perhaps because we just did the Growing Older list, I'd love to see a follow up of Emanuel in 7-10 years to see how they have changed, if at all, and/or how the decision to take the very difficult road of emotional forgiveness impacted them in other areas of life. (The film argues that such an impact will, inevitably, be positive, but I'd like this argument to be a bit more detailed.)
  24. SDG

    Emanuel (2019)

    Interesting, Ken. I had a much more positive response to the film, which I thought did a decent job of establishing its priors and offering sufficient perspective for the target audience, or at least for the portion of the target audience I’m most in tune with, i.e., reasonably open-minded white American Christians who either know there’s a lot about the black American experience they don’t know or are at least open to that insight. But it doesn’t surprise me that you had a different take. On topics relating to deadly violence and ways of reacting to, depicting, or framing it, your perspective is obviously different from mine, and in one way more authoritative. I don’t know, but it’s possible my experience of the film might be more common. My review.
  25. Yep. I'd be pretty surprised if there is enough interest, but I've been surprised before. If not, perhaps thinking about it will add some momentum for doing a Top 100 in 2020. I've got three new course preps for Fall, so I can't say I'd be crushed if it doesn't make. But I do like the idea of having *something* to accompany the A&F lists...and this forum tends to do a little better if there is some sort of communal project as opposed to just chattering about the newest releases (which is fun, I admit). Of course, it could be the case in which the board begins to take a shape around a seasonal calendar...with some sort of Top 25 in the first half of the year and the Ecumenical Jury in the end...leaving people the Summer to, you know, live their lives....
  26. BethR

    Late Night (2019)

    I agree with your review, Ken. For me, Mindy Kaling's performance salvaged the movie, so I ended up on the positive side. Also, having just seen Men in Black: International, I enjoyed comparing/contrasting Emma Thompson's suiting choices. But yes, it could have been better.
  27. I don't know what your timeline is, but the Yesterday trailers look good.
  28. NBooth has accurately summed up my experience with MiB:International. It was diverting, and the theater was nicely air-conditioned
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