Defining Conservatism
The Great Sundays-in-Lent Controversy

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Several people have recommended this to me in the most enthusiastic terms possible, and as you probably know most critics seem to have loved it, and it's been nominated for, or received, a whole lot of awards. I watched it this past weekend, and although I'm not as taken with it as many apparently are, I did enjoy it. It's sweet and romantic, with a touch of fantasy, but it has muscle, too. It's set among some rather crazy people who live in "the Bathtub," a region of coastal Louisiana, and is principally about a little girl named Hushpuppy and her father. The performance of the actress who plays Hushpuppy, Quvenzhan√© Wallis, is pretty amazing. (No, I don't know how to pronounce that name). The trailer gives you a pretty good sense of it.  

 

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Apparently, her name is pronounced "kwa van je nay".

I found that in this Slate piece, where you can also watch an interview with her. She's quite articulate and has the composure of someone much older.

At the top of the Slate page there's a link to a piece called "SNL Gets Delightfully Blasphemous" which seems to be some sort of mockery of Jesus. That sort of discouraged me from hanging around to watch the video. Have you seen the movie?

I didn't notice that "delightfully blasphemous" when I was there, or I'd have skipped reading the article, too. It still stuns me how-in-your-face the hostility toward Christianity has become.

If you're interested in seeing the interview, you can go directly to the YouTube link and skip Slate altogether.

Haven't seen the movie. Don't know if it's made its way to New Zealand yet.

But just blaspheme one of their dogmas and see how delighted they are.

I'll listen to the interview tomorrow sometime.

One fairly big negative about the movie for me was that it preaches a sort of nature-mysticism or pantheism. And there was no evidence of Christianity among the people, which there would certainly be in reality. Granted, this was somewhat fanciful, but it was obviously intended to be well grounded in the actual culture.

Did y'all see that Malick's follow-up to 'The Tree of Life' is coming out next month? 'To The Wonder' stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem. It's already been released in Europe and the critics there are divided. Some are saying it's a lot like ToL, but moreso, while others are saying it's a great companion piece, sort of a B-side. There seems to be a fair amount of comment on the movie's religious aspect (Bardem plays a priest who's having a crisis of faith of some sort). Trailer looks good.

Funny you should mention this. I was just considering whether to post a link to this rather grumpy review of Beasts which in passing dismisses Tree of Life and Malik's work in general. Personally I would not have thought to compare the two.

But yes, I had heard about this. I'm not sure what the odds of it showing here are.

One of the last issues of 'Chronicles' I looked at contained a very negative review of ToL, which was a bit jarring, as I usually agreed for the most part with their movie review guy (whose name I forget).

I've not seen 'Beasts' yet, and probably won't get to it anytime soon. I would like to see 'Argo' and 'Anna Karenina' however.

Come to think of it, both AS and Chronicles are fairly cranky mags, and perhaps it's not too much to expect a cranky movie review. I remember when I subscribed to National Review in the 80's, John Simon was doing the film reviews and he hardly ever liked anything.

I thought of Simon, too. And really, doesn't this look like someone who'd write a harsh review of ToL?

I had a look at a few of his reviews of movies that I like and he didn't. It's not so much that he dislikes them, but he dislikes them for what seem to me to be frightfully wrong reasons. And like Simon, he doesn't seem to like very many!

He writes a monthly column on the media for The New Criterion, and I usually like it, because that's a better target for his negative impulses. One thing I'll say for Simon is that he's a great admirer of Bergman.

By the way, I think you would probably enjoy Beasts. It's not great, but it's enjoyable.

I have 'Virgin Spring' on hold at the library right now, as well as Kieslowski's 'Double Life of Veronique.' A friend from work recommend both very highly.

I think Virgin Spring is magnificent. Don't know the other one.

Watched 'Virgin Spring' last night -- outstanding. Definitely my favorite Bergman film of the ones I've seen so far.

Glad to hear it. I agree with "outstanding," although it's not quite my favorite Bergman. That would probably be Winter Light...probably.

There is one thing that really bugs me about Virgin Spring: Max von Sydow's moustache-less beard.:-)

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