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Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week?
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 03.08.2005 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3/1 - 3/7

The Jacket (Maybury, 2005) - It kept me interested for awhile, but it ends up being stunningly awful. A movie without feeling should at least have a good plot-twist.

Paper Clips (Berlin, Fab; 2004) - Any movie with pro-American themes and historical reflection should be appreciated but, come on. There's nothing interesting, here! Middle-schoolers did a Holocaust project that worked out well. Good for them, but not exactly interesting viewing. Still, at only about 70 minutes it's tolerable enough. (I would seriously hope that the advertised 82 minutes is wrong, as I walked in about eleven minutes after the official screening started. Had there not been trailers, I would've been really late, but it seemed as though it was just starting to me.)

Get Shorty (Sonnenfeld, 1995)

Be Cool (Gray, 2005)

I disliked them both, equally. While the first has some good dialogue, it is all over the place and uninteresting. The second's problems are more character-related; sure, I liked John and Uma and Christina Millian, but Vince Vaughn and The Rock were so downright annoying that their superior co-stars became the least of my worries.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2/28/05-3/6/05

Constantine (Francis Lawrence, 2005) - The story is half-assed, and while it monkeys around a whole lot with Christian theology it doesn?t go nearly far enough to do anything interesting with the permutations. What is interesting is how many movies of this type operate within the logic of Biblical good and evil, but never have the wit or courage to follow it to its natural conclusion. That said, I actually kinda liked the movie. The cinematography and special effects are visually exiting, and some genuinely disturbing imagery can be found early on. Reeves delivers a perfectly acceptable performance in a role that is well within his means, and Rachel Weisz is always a pleasure to look at. I also liked Tilda Swinton as the angel Gabriel and Peter Stormare as the devil.

Bartleby (Jonathan Parker, 2001) - I enjoyed this absurdist version of Melville?s story, but was ultimately disappointed by it, especially by the ending, which brings the story rather needlessly full circle. Still, I think it?s worth watching, and Crispin Glover is always fascinating.

Shock (Mario Bava, 1977) - Although the box art utilizes the cover art from my copy of Shirley Jackson?s We Have Always Lived in the Castle (and sneaks a bloody box opener into Merricat?s dangling hand), Shock has less to do with creepy little girls with witchy wind-blown black hair and everything to do with creepy little boys with curly blonde hair. This is an effective little creeper, with some really neat camera and editing tricks that I can?t believe other filmmakers haven?t ripped-off more often, and a pretty good (and coherent) story to boot. Bava gets an amazing performance from David Colin Jr., who plays the creepy little blonde boy. The movie suffers from the typical ailments of Italian horror cinema of this era--the dubbing is apathetic, and the story becomes dull and trite whenever it attempts to present ?normalcy?--but it soars during most of the spooky bits (even if it does too often utilize spectrally-manipulated inanimate objects, a generic trope that has never been particularly scary to me). Over all, extremely enjoyable exercise in the genre.

Possession (Anderzej Zulawski, 1981) - I?d heard about his movie for a long time and always figured it to be schlock with art house pretensions. After watching it, I discover it?s really art house with schlock pretensions. It makes more sense than most reviewers seem to think, but the histrionics and altogether bizarre behavior of the cast tend to distract from what is a rather straightforward story (if an utterly fantastic one). I cocked my eyebrow a lot, laughed more than once, and generally enjoyed myself; however, all the inarticulate screaming caused my wife to poke her head into the living room more than once and say, ?What the hell are you watching?? I recommend either watching the movie while you're alone in the house or turning down the volume.

Gave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988) - Here is a movie that achieves its intentions perfectly. It uses the medium of animation to observe tragedy while avoiding the distraction of gruesome special effects and make-up a realistic live-action movie would require. It also avoids sentimentality by showing us at the beginning of the movie the fate of the two central characters. The scene in which Seita finally allows himself to grieve for his mother (or simply grieve) is as heart wrenchingly beautiful a moment as ever I?ve seen in a movie.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.08.2005 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Constantine (Francis Lawrence, 2005) ...What is interesting is how many movies of this type operate within the logic of Biblical good and evil, but never have the wit or courage to follow it to its natural conclusion.


I'm often frustrated by the same, especially when it comes to apocalypse movies. These stories often replace a perfectly fascinating mythology with absolutely ridiculous variations--I'm waiting for a Rapture movie that's done with wit, style, and a true mix of dread and joy.

Oh, and I agree totally with your thoughts on Bartleby and Fireflies. I'll have to catch Possession soon.

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I'm waiting for a Rapture movie that's done with wit, style, and a true mix of dread and joy.



Have you seen The Rapture (Michael Tolkin, 1991)? It's on IFC sometimes, but I always manage to miss it.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Argh! Now I'm mad...

I RSVPed for a screening of In My Country tonight, and I just got my invitation now. There's no way I'll make it to the theatre with ample time to get a good seat in just forty-five minutes. People are so disorganized.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 03.08.2005 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
It doesn't even have as many hilariously inept Keanu Reeves moments as I thought it would! Without those, what's the point?!


You could even concentrate on WHAT he was saying? The monotone voice, the dark look of the movie...I was too bored to even notice.
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.08.2005 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Have you seen The Rapture (Michael Tolkin, 1991)? It's on IFC sometimes, but I always manage to miss it.


I'm almost positive that I have seen it, but I remember nothing. Is that a sign of addiction?

Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just added The Rapture to my Netflix queue. Even if I have seen it before, it's worth checking out with eyes that are 14 years older and wiser.

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
matt header wrote:
It doesn't even have as many hilariously inept Keanu Reeves moments as I thought it would! Without those, what's the point?!


You could even concentrate on WHAT he was saying? The monotone voice, the dark look of the movie...I was too bored to even notice.


Whoa! You guys are harsh.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Whoa! You guys are harsh.


They're such elitists. Makes me ill. Not Keanu-in-Much-Ado ill, but still.

Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lots of catching up to do...

February 8 to March 6, 2005:



  • Sideways (Payne, 2004) A-

  • The Uninvited (Allen, 1944) B+

  • Memento Mori (Kim/Min, 1999) B+

  • The Changeling (Medak, 1980) B-

  • Last Life in the Universe (Ratanaruang, 2003) A-

  • Saw (Wan, 2004) B

  • Jaws (Spielberg, 1975) A-

  • Payback is a Bitch [short] (Harold, 199?) D

  • The Skywalk Is Gone [short] (Tsai, 2002) B

  • Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai, 2003) B+

  • Gopher Broke [short] (Fowler, 2004) B-

  • Guard Dog [short] (Plympton, 2004) B+

  • Ryan [short] (Landreth, 2004) A-

  • 7:35 in the Morning [short] (Vigalondo, 2003) A-

  • Little Terrorist (Kumar, 2004) B-

  • Phone (Ahn, 2002) C+

  • Battle Royale: Special Version (Fukasaku, 2000) A-

  • Rush Night (Adams, 2004) C-

  • Wasp (Arnold, 2003) B+

  • La Dolce Vita (Fellini, 1960) A-

  • The Crowd (Vidor, 1928) B+



Yes, I finally saw Battle Royale, but it was the "Special Version" found on the Korean Starmax Region-0 DVD (Netflix has it in stock now). Has anyone here seen both versions -- and, if so, which is superior? I dug this version, but the subtitles on the Starmax DVD are terrible -- fuzzy and hard to read, with awful translations to boot; I hear the Tartan DVD has much better, more accurate subs.

Lots of other things to comment on, but I'm out of time for now.
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Monkeypox
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Joined: 17 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody laughs at my Keanu impression...

... that's how spot on it is.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most hilarious line in Constantine (in Keanu's voice):

"Water is a universal medium. It acts as a lubricant between the planes."

Oh, okay! Now I understand! Thanks, Keanu!

I actually rather like him, in the sense that I usually enjoy watching his (often futile) attempts at acting. He's certainly an entertaining performer.
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Jim Harper
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Joined: 29 Feb 2004
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Location: Totnes, Devon, UK

PostPosted: 03.09.2005 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
Yes, I finally saw Battle Royale, but it was the "Special Version" found on the Korean Starmax Region-0 DVD (Netflix has it in stock now). Has anyone here seen both versions -- and, if so, which is superior? I dug this version, but the subtitles on the Starmax DVD are terrible -- fuzzy and hard to read, with awful translations to boot; I hear the Tartan DVD has much better, more accurate subs.


I've heard the same thing too. I'm not sure where I stand on the 'Special Version'; mostly I tend to feel it was largely unnecessary. It's a compilation of re-instated frames of blood and gore that were removed in order to secure the '14' rating and other scenes that Fukasaku removed because he felt they were unnecessary. In general I have to agree with the great man; Mitsuko's character seemed much more effective when she appeared to be an ordinary schoolgirl who found it surprisingly easy to make the change to psychopathic killer. The scenes describing her childhood were potent, but ultimately they dilute her character.
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 03.09.2005 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

17/02/05-09/03/05

Ichi the Killer (dir. Takashi Miike, 2001)*

Fist Men in the Moon (dir. Nathan Juran, 1964)*

Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (dir. S.S. Wilson, 2004)*

The Keep (dir. Michael Mann, 1983)

Ginger Snaps (dir. John Fawcett, 2000)

Ginger Snaps Unleashed (dir. Brett Sullivan, 2004)*

One Missed Call (dir. Takashi Miike, 2003)

Jeepers Creepers 2 (dir. Victor Salva, 2003)

Strange Days (dir. Kathryn Bigelow, 1995)

The Boys from Brazil (dir. Franklin J Schaffner, 1978)

Dimension Travelers (dir Kazuya Konaka, 1998)*

Hellevator (dir. Hiroki Yamaguchi, 2004) *

Three? Extremes (dir. Takashi Miike, Chan-wook Park, Fruit Chan, 2004)*

The Devil Rides Out (dir. Terence Fisher, 1968)

Sisters (dir. Brian De Palma, 1973)*

The Virgin Suicides (dir. Sophia Coppola, 2000)*

Secret Window (dir. David Koepp, 2004)*

Blood from the Mummy?s Tomb (dir. Seth Holt, 1971)

Chronicles of Riddick (dir. David Twohy, 2004)

Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt (dir. Paco Plaza, 2004)*

Switchblade Romance (dir. Alexandre Aja, 2003)*

These past few weeks have been fraught. I could really have done with a slew of decent (and previously unseen) movies to distract me from the horrors of my life, but it didn't happen. Nonetheless, there were some good efforts there.

Romasanta and Switchblade were both well-made and highly entertaining, even if they weren't terribly original. I think Europe is producing some fine horror movies right now, and Switchblade is one of them: gory, tense and brutal. Despite what you may have heard, the 'twist' isn't half as catastrophic as it's made out to be.

Ginger Snaps Unleashed is a worthy sequel to the first film, somehow avoiding the almost-compulsory drop in quality associated with the sequel. It can't claim to be as original as Ginger Snaps, but it should still please fans of the first film.

The Virgin Suicides was surprisingly good, but I could have done without the accompanying depression... Wink
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