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Everything posted by BethR

  1. BethR

    Dream Horse (2020)

    Dream Horse, directed by Euros Lyn, is a fictionalized version of the story told in the 2015 documentary Dark Horse. A group of Welsh working-class villagers pool their money to breed and train a racehorse they name Dream Alliance. When the horse turns out to be a much better investment than expected, the surprise is more--surprising--in the documentary than in the fictional version. Under two hours isn't really that long by today's standards, but the film seemed to drag at times while hammering home class divisions and various characters' individual quirks and trials. However, Toni Collette i
  2. Interesting review, Ken. I was one of those millions watching the original TV movie The Day After, and still remember it as a horrific experience. It certainly cemented my existing conviction that we should do everything in our power to prevent nuclear war.
  3. Retreading some of the ground in articles linked above (and yes, it's published in First Things), Mark Bauerlein's history of the decline of English departments, "Truth, Reading, and Decadence." The emphasis on "identity critics" is over the top, but probably what FT readers want. Along similar lines, a former student found herself in a graduate course on Shakespeare with an instructor whose interest in eco-criticism ovrwhelmed almost anything Shakespeare actually wrote. The student was pretty disgusted.
  4. Peter Chattaway, who hasn’t been active on A&F for a while, has reviewed The Chosen s1 on his Film Chat blog, as well as recaps of all 8 episodes, and more. Thanks, PTC.
  5. Is anyone else watching The Nevers? Episode 1 premiered April 11. Last night was ep. 4, so two more to go in the first half season. The remaining six episodes will be run by Philippa Goslett. No word yet whether writers/producers Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie will remain with the series. From Caroline Framke's Variety review:
  6. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this crowdfunded, app-based series, now in its second season, which is re-telling the gospel story more or less from the perspectives of the disciples and others "chosen" by Jesus. Created by Dallas Jenkins (son of Jerry B. Jenkins), who produced or directed a couple of so-so Christian films, it is a crowdfunded project that raised over 10,000,000 for season 1, and plans to continue in this way for seven seasons. Season 1 can be viewed free online here, or by downloading the free app, which works with Roku or various TV things. I don't know if
  7. I'm usually "meh" about Oscar songs, but I feel strongly that this performance should have created a special exception and caused "Husavik" to win, not just for Molly Sanden throwing heart and soul into the song, but especially for the chorus of Icelandic sweater-wearing children. Also, fireworks:
  8. Thanks, Ken. Looking forward to watching this film this weekend.
  9. Emily in Paris (Netflix). Total fluff, but fortunately only 10 episodes, each less than 30 min, so I got through it in a Saturday afternoon/evening. The fashions are nice. Lily Collins (Edith in Tolkien) is chipper, all the men are good-looking. Created by Darren Starr, it's Sex in the City-light, with more boring social-media-marketing chatter. So I guess I stuck with it to find out if Emily would learn French, and how the romances would play out. Come to think of it, though, almost every secondary character had a more interesting plotline than Emily's.
  10. The documentary has its flaws, undoubtedly, but it seemed to provide some useful information to those among my first-year writing students last fall who watched it as part of a unit on social media. I wonder now if any of them are reflecting on it now.
  11. BethR


    I finally got to see Wolfwalkers, and it is another visually delightful addition to the work of this group of animators/creators. I think Ken and Aren both raise good points about the presentation of religion in the movie--Cromwell (here called only "the Lord Protector," a name that becomes more ironic as the story proceeds) was a famously dour and destructive historical figure, but as a character, he also fits easily into expected stereotypes, especially as there are no counter Christians. All the villagers are terrified of the woods/nature/wolves, except Robyn and her father. A certain actio
  12. The Nevers wrapped filming season 1 Nov. 15 and seems to be still on track to premiere on HBO sometime in 2021. Joss Whedon, however, will have no further involvement with the series.
  13. Regular CBS finally broadcast season 1, so I'm caught up with that. It's good, and Ken is right about Christine Baranski, although I would argue that Julianna Margulies' character called for a different style, but Margulies has never been an expressive actress, going back to her ER days. Ken, I think you definitely nailed this point: The Good Wife was trending in that direction by the final season.
  14. BethR


    I wish this film had been made as a study of four complicated people in their situations, rather than a fictionalized biopic of Shirley Jackson. It sounds as if it doesn't particularly add anything to our understanding of her writings. The book it was based on might, but I still find biographical criticism the least valuable form of literary criticism.
  15. People are raving about this new Netflix series (7 episodes) based on Walter Tevis's 1983 novel. It is outstanding serial filmmaking, both visually, and as a troubled prodigy's bildungsroman. Excellent cast. You don't need to know anything about chess (I didn't know anything except the basic moves when I read the novel, and that's about all I know now.)
  16. I'm enjoying it very much, so far. Mostly Tilda Swinton narrates (not Cate Blanchett--I don't know why I always confuse those two), but also Jane Fonda, Adjoa Andoh, Sharmila Tagore, Kerry Fox, Thandie Newton and Debra Winger. I'm sure it will be available on DVD or something eventually.
  17. BethR


    Alissa Wilkinson and Aja Romano discuss/review the film and the reactions against it on Vox:
  18. For those in the USA, TCM will show this documentary series and 100 films by women filmmakers every Tuesday in September-December 1 (14 weeks). You can find the full schedule and more here: https://womenmakefilm.tcm.com/schedule/ It looks like a great series. My DVR is going to fill up fast.
  19. How interesting! I watched TWW intermittently. Martin Sheen was great as Bartlett, but I would have loved to see Sidney Poitier in the role.
  20. I look forward to Christian's commentary on The Good Place, which ended (intentionally) this past Spring after four seasons.
  21. Rectify is on Netflix. They offer a free 30-day trial, so if you can watch 4 seasons of Rectify in that time, you can cancel before the trial is up, if you find that acceptable? The seasons are 6/10/6/8 episodes.
  22. This Netflix Original series (based on a manga series--I can't say how closely) has a lot of potential and some serious Buffy vibes, though it doesn't quite know whether it wants to go with "Note to self: religion freaky" (Buffy 2.9) or fully embrace the "warrior nun" ethos. The main character, Ava, provides a strong focus. The episode titles are well-chosen scripture references, suggesting some among the writers know what's what (e.g., "Psalm 46.5," "Ephesians 6:11"). The plot drags a bit after episode 1, then picks up again about halfway through, so the series probably could have been 8 epis
  23. May I suggest that this sentence "Wisely, he implores French New Wave (FNW) characteristics..." should read "he employs"? That is so minor, though--I found the commentary very insightful.
  24. link to the 2004 thread on Anchorman, for some wayback yet still relevant commentary on Will Farrell's comedic acting Having had mixed experiences with Will Farrell comedies over the years, I enjoyed Eurovision...Fire Saga (Netflix) much more than I expected: laughed out loud several times (mostly at scenes not primarily focused on WF). Rachel McAdams and the rest of the supporting cast really put their hearts into it. I have only watched a few evenings of Eurovision (including a performance by Conchita Wurst, who won that year) and have seen mixed reviews from Eurovision fans, but at le
  25. I'm happy with my write-up for Places in the Heart, so that's all right.
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