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  1. Yesterday
  2. I look forward to participating and thumb wrestling Evan over the relative merits of Parasite and Jojo Rabbit.
  3. Last week
  4. Okay, I've sent out an email to those who participated last year, and created a nominations thread. Nominations will officially begin November 25. This allows for some time for the jury to be finalized. If you are an A&F member and a film critic and would like to participate in this ecumenical jury, please indicate this in the forum thread, or email/message me directly.
  5. Welcome to the 2019 Arts and Faith Ecumenical Jury thread! Here's the vision for our jury and the films we nominate each year, written by Ken Morefield a few years ago: Here’s our timeline for this process: Nominations open on Monday, November 25. To nominate a film, simply post the film title in the nomination forum thread or email it directly to me (jmayward@gmail.com). All nominated films must receive a "second" vote from another jury member in order to appear on the voting ballot, which can happen either by posting “seconded” in the forum or via email, or a jury member nominating the same film. Non-jurors can also recommend films for nomination in this thread, but they must be seconded by two jury members. I will keep a tally of all the nominated and seconded films within this thread, updating it regularly as we go. You can use this same thread to discuss, advocate, question, process, or to direct folks to links to other threads or conversations about the nominated films. I'd encourage you to give your reasons behind nominating or seconding a film, especially during this nomination process—encourage us to check out great films we may not have seen yet! Qualifying films: a North American first-time theatrical, DVD/Blu-ray, streaming, or festival release in the 2019 calendar year. Regarding questions of release dates (e.g. Young Ahmed premiered in 2019 in festivals like VIFF and NYFF, but will get a wider release in the US in 2020) and what constitutes a “film” (e.g. limited series like Unbelievable on Netflix), I put full trust in the jury’s viewing and voting practices, and in the conversation we will have within the forum. If you think a film is a 2019 film and worth our consideration, make your case in the forum thread! Nominations will close at 11:59pm (PST) on Tuesday, December 31. This is fairly late in the year for end-of-year film lists, but it follows our pattern from previous years. On January 1, I'll email jury members a link for a survey with all the nominated films that they can rank 1-5 (strongly disagree-strongly agree that the film should be on our jury's top 10 list). You are to vote only for films you have seen--if you haven't seen a film, simply leave that ballot blank or unranked. Again, how you rank/rate a film is entirely up to your discretion and judgment; I trust in the process. Per our practice in previous years, a film is eligible if it's been viewed by at least 50% of the jury. This is so a film with high scores seen by a minority of jurors doesn't have an undue advantage (i.e. a film with only three “5” votes in total would have a higher average score than a film with ten “5” votes and one “4” vote, but the latter film would be a better reflection of the jury's collective opinion and film-viewing experience). If there are not ten eligible films that score “4” or higher on average, the foreperson (that's me!) reserves the right to look at film(s) that averaged over 4 but had less eligible voters. Voting closes at 11:59pm (PST) Wednesday, January 8. This gives a week for jury members to vote on the nominated films. After the totals have been added up using some math wizardry, I'll send out an email with the results. Then I’ll send you an optional second ballot with the ten finalists asking folks to rank them. This had a big impact on where certain films ranked in the final top 10 last year, so indicate on your first ballot if you'd like to receive this optional second ballot. If you choose not to ask for the second ballot, I'll base your rankings on your scores for this first ballot, giving equal weight to all films receiving the same designation/score. Finally, I'll solicit "blurbs" for the final list, as well as your Honorable Mention, a film which did not end up on the top 10 list, but you would like to see recognized. I appreciate the various Honorable Mentions, as it’s always very diverse and interesting.
  6. Brian D

    HIgh Life (2018)

    I just watched this for the first time. Don't know what to say yet, especially given the complexity of the interlocking pieces of that puzzle. But this much I can say: For most of the run time, I was gritting my teeth and preparing to cover my eyes from pure fear of the despair and horror that was surely to come...and fear of that ominous score on this ominous ship. And yes, there were times that I almost crawled into a shell because of the brutality and cruelty in the film (I think I did crawl into that shell during the scene with Binoche in the box, but for different reasons...I just can't justify that particular level of provocation in this film.) Then came the final act, after which my attention was so captured that my eyes watched every mysterious star-gleam of the final credits. Then came the next day, when this film exerted such a magnetism on my mind that I ran to Darren's article (great work, Darren) above and to Josh Larsen's review...and the magnetic pull just got stronger. I think there is something here...
  7. Hi Scott, Glad you are keeping up with this show. I watched a couple episodes but drifted away from it. Then I was reminded today by a friend that it just wrapped? Is that right?
  8. New article on the show today. https://lovethynerd.com/what-is-faith-when-you-live-in-a-dystopia/?fbclid=IwAR3BCxhf97IXqUPbgy7YVhRKlVKrQjn0FOl_St6Cm3zy9CtHuB6xXoHuhPU What is faith in a dystopia?
  9. I thought this one better than anticipated. It does not soft pedal the religious angle while also not overplaying it, a hard thing in this day and age. I did think the script was clunky and sporadic in spots, more like individual episodes strung together than a cohesive whole. I thought the film was largely successful in demonstrating how slavery as a system was bad for whites and condoned/promoted some of the behavior more often attributed to individual evil. That is, it did better than most at showing slavery as a systemic and structural evil rather than just the manifestation of individual(s) evil...and that's the brass ring right there. I am categorically not saying that it makes a moral equivalence between the victimization or pressures the system put on whites and those it put on slaves. It doesn't. But it does show through economic pressures, community pressures within white culture, and government support of fugitive-slave-law the internal logic of many such actions as being necessitated by the system. Once you accept the system of slavery, things like the Fugitive Slave Law are logical conclusions. I do wish the film had interrogated the religious assumptions of Harriet more, particularly as to the question of whether or not others recognized her as being called and led by God or whether, when she spoke that way, they were just "that's Harriet being Harriet."
  10. Yes, it is no problem publishing the list here. I may, depending on the the make up of the jury and the timing of the list, run it by Image and/or CT, though I doubt either would want to run it. But it doesn't hurt to ask.
  11. Kalee-- Welcome. I have deleted the link to your "blog" which was actually an ad for a paid essay writing service. While the line between self-promotion and advertisement is murky on this site, links are usually reserved for content that adds to or prompts discussion, not for services or products for sale. Ken
  12. I like the way that film was shooted. This is amazing how many details were adjusted for further attraction. It was keeping my eyes from the beginning to the end. And that I like the most. It brought me a lot of pleasure and emotions. Usually, after watching the films I like to write a review about them, make it in essay way. It helps me to go through all emotions again and again. Sometimes I found this part even more excited than watching. I used it for my essays at work for my blog. It helps me with my imaginary and creativity.
  13. Thanks for this reminder, Ken! I do still have the EJ on my to-do list, so perhaps I need to prioritize it this week and get things rolling again. Would publishing the finished list at ArtsandFaith.com be possible this year, like the "Growing Older" list?
  14. Andrew

    By the Grace of God

    I never would've expected a serious film from Francois Ozon about pedophilia in the French Catholic Church, but whaddya know? And Ozon bends over backwards to make it clear he's not attacking the Church, but is attempting to thoughtfully criticize its (ongoing) misconduct. I go into full detail into my longer-than-usual review, which I won't repeat here. But it's not a stretch to state this is France's Spotlight, arguably more relevant in showing that the same criminal violence and neglect are continuing under Pope Francis' watch. I'll end by strongly urging Ecumenical Jury voters to make every effort to see this before year's end. My review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/11/by-the-grace-of-god-under-pope-francis-unpunished-pedophilia-is-still-business-as-usual/
  15. Andrew

    Harriet (2019)

    Until seeing By the Grace of God yesterday, this had been my favorite film since TIFF, and it's still a near-run thing. This is excellent on damn near every level (with a week's hindsight, I'm less convinced of Leslie Odom's thespian prowess): a high level of historical fidelity, respect but not hagiography of its protagonist, top visuals, and an incredible lead performance by Cynthia Erivo. My full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/11/harriet-an-epic-worthy-of-its-hero-relevant-to-our-time/
  16. Andrew

    Parasite (2019)

    This doesn't play in Asheville till next weekend. I'm dying to see it. Up till now, I've hated everything of Bong Joon-ho's that I've seen, so I'm eager to see if this breaks that chain.
  17. This year's Palme d"Or winner has popped up on a few of our festival threads but doesn't yet have its own thread. This really isn't my aesthetic, so I wasn't surprised that I was less thrilled by it than some of the ecstatic buzz its been getting, but I was surprised by how little enthusiasm I could muster at all. Both Cindy and I reference Shoplifters in the car on the way home, and the bulk of our conversation was about why we liked Parasite less than other similarly themed movies. I also reference Jojo Rabbit just as an aside because I am not totally against mixes of serious ideas and over-the-top comedy or violence. But whereas in Waititi's film I felt the comedy was subordinate to the more serious themes and thus used to accentuate them, here I just felt dissonance. It didn't help that about half way through, I was like, "Okay,...I get the message," and the escalations didn't seem to me to enhance, interrogate, or complicate the message so much as just hammer it home. Cindy called it a "train wreck" film, not to slight the productions but to identify the subject matter/genre, and I totally agreed. I suppose there are other films that lead up to people going off a cliff (metaphorically) that are interesting or meaningful to me, but the thing is, once they do, the fall to earth is the least interesting part of such story arcs....and it just goes on and on. I didn't really care about any of these people. My friend Gareth said he thought it was the movie Joker was trying to be, and I guess I can see that. In a weird sort of way, the film it reminded me of was Roma ... another critically lauded auteurist masterpiece about intersections of rich and poor that made me long for Rooney Mara's character to wander in from The Social Network and start telling random characters that sometimes the reasons people don't like you is that your being an a--hole. Anyhow, as Russ used to say, if there is consensus greatness, it's the critic's job to at least *try* to find it. So I promise not to snipe at the first three people who tell me I'm wrong.
  18. Earlier
  19. Bumping this thread to see if Joel had any sense of a timeline in mind or whether you had changed your mind about coordinating. (I know schedules can be unexpected during late stages of postgraduate study.)
  20. I am on hold for 20 minutes as I type trying to cancel AMC A-List. I really despise products that let you sign up online but deliberately make it difficult for you to cancel/discontinue. The AMC site offers no discontinue option, instead mandating that you call in or use a chat function that requires you to select from an option of why you are contacting them but does not list "cancel my account" as one of the options.
  21. I mentioned on Letterboxd that I spent part of this screening just trying to imagine that no other Terminator films existed -- that this was a stand alone. That didn't make it any better. In some ways I was reminded of whichever Star Wars was essentially the same plot as the first one, and how it left me with a similar, listless, "why bother?" kind of feeling. The Newting of John also illustrates how little the film cares about itself as part of a series even as it sells itself almost exclusively based on nostalgia for the earlier movies. I mean, there was more pathos in the character relationships in fracking Deadpool 2.
  22. My interview with Tom Junod, whose 1998 Esquire magazine article 'Can You Say... Hero?' was the basis for the film (and a fictionalized version of whom is played in the film by Matthew Rhys): https://www.patheos.com/blogs/filmchat/2019/11/exclusive-mister-rogers-chronicler-tom-junod-on-prayer-minutes-of-silence-and-seeing-a-fictionalized-version-of-his-relationship-with-fred-rogers-in-a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood.html
  23. I appreciated some of the visuals, though my recent visit to Northern Ireland made me wonder where they were. The description of Finn McCool and the coast semed farther north, but they mention Wicklow at one point which is south of Dublin. Anyhow, I like how this phone call before he goes to the beach juxtaposes the tower in the background as a symbol. The work of the church is unfinished, and he, as Christ's body "finishes" the work. Or, does it mean the work of the church is ancient but decaying, no longer standing up to the cares and problems of the modern world?
  24. This difference seems pretty key to me. I love it when actual board users promote/link their stuff here. I agree with Andrew and Nathaniel, but I also would (find it annoying but) totally understand if it were just a few ads per year and they were clearly labelled as such.
  25. So our class discussion was informed by their having to have just completed an "ideology" paper in which they situate a film left-center-right using Giannetti's descriptors. This scene got a lot of comments, not surprisingly, since the the whole "thou shalt not kill" and "no exceptions" gets the reply "what about self-defense?" In other words, the exchange is about absolutes. Father James is mostly an absolutist but he concedes there are some instances (such as self-defense) that are "tricky." He then apparently goes on to make an exception for Milo, suggesting he move someplace he is more likely to find a loose woman. The question that I think the film invites is whether that exception is because he sees sex outside of marriage as being less important (venial/mortal) than some potential violence, or whether he is making the exception for others but not himself. (For Milo and the abused parishioner, I'll take context into consideration, but for myself and my duties, there are no exceptions.) I almost don't think this is entirely fair. Hear me out. I am with Jeff here, at least as to interpretation of the movie's point, not necessarily if it is correct in where it lands. What I think missing from Steven's article/analysis/defense is the fact that this exchange takes place in a movie that is centrally about and informed by the clergy-sex-abuse scandals. Within that thematic context, Father James's advice/question to Milo sounds a lot like what the church has been condemned for -- passing the buck, trying to send the perpetrator away. (When the inspector comments about arresting a pedophile priest and getting demoted, Father James asks what happened to the priest and the inspector says he was sent away to the third world where he could do whatever he wanted.) There is a difference in that the priest(s) have already sinned whereas Milo is stating his intention, but even buying into Steven's argument, if Milo did harm to someone in London, or Dublin, or New York (whether that harm be spiritual harm of "moral sin" or violent harm of sexual crime), wouldn't those victims feel as though Father James had acted much like the church in pushing the problem away rather than confronting it? Non-related aside--I had forgotten the story of Finn McCool was included here. There is a lot of meaning for me in Father James's comment to Fiona (when she spouts the story back to him) of "not much poetry in that reading." There are two themes that are reinforced here and throughout: 1) Meaning of stories change depending on how you tell them. 2) Father James gets irritated when people reflect back to him the things he has said or that they have heard said already. (Doctor's joke about suicide, Fiona's recitation of his story. Quip to bishop about thinking he read that "in a book"; Fiona's list of "suicides" including Christ, original voice in the confession adding "as they say in the reports", etc. etc.) I think it is telling and touching that when speaking to the French woman after he performs that last rites, he asks her to pray with him rather than asking her if she would like him to pray for her or with her.
  26. Well, it's out...
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