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Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week?
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xAndyx
Director


Joined: 28 Sep 2004
Posts: 207
Location: Platteville, WI

PostPosted: 03.13.2005 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

American History X

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

I felt American History X was a very interesting and powerful movie that featured a prosepective I have never seen before. While the movie presents in the end a moral against racism and neo nazis, it is intrueging to see how they interpret events and society. I have never seen a film that focouses on why they feel it is right as compaired to most where it shows why everyone else feels it is wrong.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was a disapointment to me to say the least. I had high hopes for the film, but it lacked in nearly every area, and I did not even enjoy the alternative animation style of the film. I felt Jude Law gave a modest performance, but the rest of the acting was poor and it was hard to get into the film
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 143
Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 03.13.2005 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Recap of the past two weeks or so, as you will notice I have been watching some really bad movies lately for some unexplicable reason.

Baadasssss! (Van Peebles, 2004)

Vanity Fair (Nair, 2004)

I Heart Huckabees (Russell, 2004)

Open Water (Kentis, 2004)

Constantine (Lawrence, 2005)

Saw (Wan, 2004)

Alien vs. Predator (Anderson, 2004)

Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie (Hillenburg, 2004)

Baadassss was by far the strongest of the bunch and quite an entertaining movie. Open Water had potential and really was interesting in the middle, but the very dissapointing beginning and especially ending segements were just too much to overcome. As far as the rest I really can't say they struck enough of a cord to really have me post anything meaningful about them.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.14.2005 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3/7 ? 3/13/05

Eyes Without a Face (Franju, France 1960)

Kadosh (Gitai, Israel 1999)

Operation Petticoat (Edwards, USA 1959)

For the Common Defense (Kenward, USA 1942)

The Postman Always Rings Twice (Garnett, USA 1946)

Magnificent Obsession (Sirk, USA 1954)

Vampire?s Kiss (Bierman, USA 1989)

Spent the week catching up with films I meant to see long ago. Excepting For the Common Defense, an MGM short designed as WWII propaganda, I enjoyed them all.

I can?t quite pinpoint why, but Eyes Without a Face reminded me a lot of Cocteau?s Beauty and the Beast. At over two hours, Operation Petticoat is still light on its feet and admirably focuses on character and situation rather than plot. It also sports at least a half-dozen of Cary Grant?s devastatingly funny facial expressions. The Postman Always Rings Twice is a steamy and surprising thriller about cosmic retribution, and Magnificent Obsession is one of Douglas Sirk?s most magnificent stories (and only slightly marred by another inadequate performance by Rock Hudson).

Vampire?s Kiss is hardly a great flick, but it?s definitely worth seeing for Nicolas Cage's gonzo performance. He plays a trendy literary agent who thinks he's morphing into a vampire after a particularly violent one-night stand. The movie is positioned somewhere in between horror and black comedy, and Cage does things with his eyebrows that would have Lon Chaney or Max Schreck baring their teeth in envy. It?s a performance of astonishing physical invention, and Cage revives old silent tropes only to vividly explore the psychological mayhem tormenting this doomed figure. Plus he eats a live cockroach!

Eric
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Jim Harper
Director


Joined: 29 Feb 2004
Posts: 226
Location: Totnes, Devon, UK

PostPosted: 03.20.2005 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

10/03/05-20/03/05

The Hillside Strangler (dir. Chuck Parello, 2004)*

Deep Red (dir. Dario Argento, 1976)

Alien vs. Predator (dir. Paul WS Anderson, 2004)*

The Sleeping Bride (dir. Hideo Nakata, 2000)*

Ring (dir. Hideo Nakata, 1998)

Been too busy to watch movies recently. Unsurprisingly, the only great ones from the list are two old favourites. The Sleeping Bride was a pretty entertaining sentimental drama, with a touch of fantasy thrown in. I can see why Nakata's Japanese fans hated it- and why it's been barely released anywhere else- but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The Hillside Strangler was a deep disappointment, especially given that Chuck Parello actually showed some ability with Ed Gein, but I'm guessing that was a one-off.

AvP was such a turkey. Not even remotely scary, or even thrilling. Waaay below even the worst moments of either franchise.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.20.2005 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

3/14 ? 3/20/05

In preferential order:

The Big Country (Wyler, USA 1958). An underrated Western, perhaps because William Wyler isn't a "hip" director accorded auteur status. That bias isn't fair?his storytelling skills are impeccable?and in this film he submitted work that's every bit as nuanced, thoughtful, and focused as anything by Anthony Mann. In fact, his compositional use of landscapes seems directly influenced by Mann, and just as effective: The West has rarely seemed so cavernous and so overwhelming, and the extended use of long shots helps underline the film's theme about the pettiness of human egos, as well as the futility of violence. Plus, both Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston give performances that rank among their very best.

11'09"01 September 11 (Various, 2002). I found at least half of this omnibus film mediocre, but I'd give the Lelouch, Loach, Inarritu, and Nair entries 8/10, and the Makhmalbaf 10/10 (nice to see her return to form after At Five in the Afternoon). I should mention that nearly all of the shorts are about September 11 only tangentially, usually refracting the attacks through the prism of global and historical perspective. For example, Loach focuses on another 9/11, the US-backed overthrow of Allende in 1973, while Imamura speaks about the human toll of war by telling of a Japanese war veteran.

Rhapsody in August (Kurosawa, Japan 1991). More elegiac than angry, Kurosawa?s film about the after-effects of the atomic bomb seems informed by a lifetime of acquired wisdom. That said, it still feels lightweight.

Man in the Sand (Hopkins, USA 1999). I?m obviously a huge believer in Wilco, but I found this documentary about their collaboration with Billy Bragg on the Mermaid Avenue collection to be an extremely mediocre, unfocused affair. If I didn?t already like these songs, this film would not have kickstarted an interest in the project.

Born Into Brothels (Kauffman and Briski, USA 2004). Despite plenty of powerful, isolated images, the movie never unifies into something greater than its parts; I certainly don?t feel that I learned much about prostitution, Calcutta, nor disadvantaged childhoods. There?s not a single revelatory moment in this entire film, but there?s plenty of self-congratulation on the part of the filmmakers, who recruit Calcutta youth to take pictures of the red light district on their behalf. To be fair, Briski seems sincere in her attempts to teach the kids photography and then win them the right to attend decent schools. Yet there?s something crass and self-serving about selling yourself as the rescuing heroine of this story?as if Briski?s routine dealings with the Indian bureaucracy somehow earn her the status of savior.

Eric
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 143
Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 03.22.2005 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (Maddin, 2004) - Guy Maddin is one of the most interseting and unusual film makers presently arround, his throwback to old film style making combined with an unusual sense of humor and horror have produced two of the most memorable movies of the past year. Maddin's version of Dracula was a very interesting take on the tale focusing primarily on Dracula's place as foreign element invading the scantity of the great state of England, and thus reflecting much of the post-colonial literature of 19th century England. In a way it did much more justice to the literary interpretations of the Stoker's novel then many of the past versions have, and this combined with the ballet performance and Maddin's film making make for a very pleasurable movie going experience.

Coffee and Cigarettes (Jarmusch, 2004) - pieced together cominc vinattees that really have no linear story line, unlike a Tarantino movie were they by the end form a pieced together story, Jarmusch's movie is entertaining and enjoyable but not very memorable. The final skit was by far the best and stuck with me the most.

The Notebook (Cassavettes, 2004) - for a movie that many would label as a so-called "chick flick", I was rather entertained and drawn into the story. Whether this means I should cut off my penis or not would depend on who you talk to.

What the Bleep Do We Know!? (2004) - this movie starts out with an intersting point and makes you really think, but only for a second and then you realize that the so-called power of positive thinking probably isn't all its cracked up to be. Also, I don't know about you guys but I have never been to a wedding that resembles that at all.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.22.2005 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mfritschel wrote:
Whether this means I should cut off my penis or not would depend on who you talk to.


I'll send over a copy of In the Realm of the Senses, along with a bottle of Bactine.

Eric
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xAndyx
Director


Joined: 28 Sep 2004
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Location: Platteville, WI

PostPosted: 03.27.2005 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saw (2004)

I, Robot (2004)

I already saw I, Robot prior to last night, and I felt tht the movie lost a lot of the appeal it originally had on me, but I got it previewed From Jordan at Video Plus for a nice sum, so I do not mind. It is still a decent movie, and a lot of fun to watch.

Althought it got a mediocre review on this site, I felt Saw was one of the best thrillers that I have ever seen. I loved the fact that you are kept guessing throughout the entire movie, and you really think that you actually have it figured out, and then everything completly spins on you. The problem with this statement is that I am a relative virgin in horror/thriller movies, so it can probably be topped by a lot of films.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.29.2005 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3/21 ? 3/27/05

Features in preferential order:

The Women (Cukor, USA 1939)

Deadroom (Various, USA 2005)

The Story of Marie and Julien (Rivette, France 2003)

Home of the Brave (di Florio, USA 2004)

Saw (Wan, USA 2004)

Steamboy (Otomo, Japan 2004)

Woman in the Moon (Lang, Germany, 1929)

Stander (Hughes, Canada 2003)

Shorts in preferential order:

Claustrophobia (McLaughlin, USA 2003)

Two Ten (Taylor, USA 2004)

Show & Tell (Dollard, USA 2005)

Bus 24 (Various, USA 2003)

Short Cut to Hollywood (Haunold, Austria 2004)

Deadroom is four stories, each set in a single, sparse room where one living person confronts a person from their life who has died. Three out of four ain?t bad: The darkest is the weakest, but the other three conversations develop into funny, perceptive, convincing exchanges about guilt, destiny, and how some obligations transcend death.

In The Story of Marie and Julien, a Parisian clockmaker begins to question his own grasp of time and reality after an old flame re-appears in his life. The cat?s name is Nevermore, which points at how Rivette?s elegant, evocative romance is really an ethereal ghost story about love and loss. (Like Poe's figure, the clockmaker is tormented by his memories.) Although I never felt emotionally connected?it?s a slow, icy puzzle?I felt challenged and rewarded by its mysteries and beauties. I was reminded of Hitchcock, Cocteau, even Shyamalan.

Home of the Brave is a documentary about Viola Liuzzo, the only white woman killed in the battle for civil rights. Murdered by the KKK in 1965, the victim was then smeared by the FBI. Although structured, edited, and narrated according to very conventional methods, the central story carries the impact of revelation?it?s both an account of how official government forces obstructed the civil rights movement and a very moving examination of how the Liuzzo family endured longlasting effects after the murder.

Saw is a nonsense mix of old-fashioned Grand Guignol and the modern serial killer flick. The derivative story has huge logical loopholes, and the way the filmmakers seem to enjoy torturing the audience lets us know where their sympathies lie. What a vile, nasty, filthy little movie. That said, I had a blast. Cary Elwes swings for the fences with one of those big, ridiculous, great, over-the-top performances--it's the sort of thing that will be widely mocked but equally cherished.

There are some nifty sci-fi images in Woman in the Moon (is this the earliest film to speculate about the nature of weightlessness?), but it's no Metropolis, that's for sure. Lang's worst miscalculation is to have a crew survive a crash landing on the moon and then immediately begin bickering about petty melodramas--rather than, say, marvel at the new world opening up before their eyes.

Plus I bought and watched the DVD of Teen Wolf. Dude, that sucker holds up.

Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 832
Location: Pearland, TX

PostPosted: 03.29.2005 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
What a vile, nasty, filthy little movie. That said, I had a blast. Cary Elwes swings for the fences with one of those big, ridiculous, great, over-the-top performances--it's the sort of thing that will be widely mocked but equally cherished.


I think Elwes knew exactly what he was doing in Saw; naysayers just don't get it.
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Monkeypox
Cinematographer


Joined: 17 Jul 2003
Posts: 156
Location: TX

PostPosted: 03.29.2005 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:


I think Elwes knew exactly what he was doing in Saw; naysayers just don't get it.


I submit that Elwes always knows EXACTLY what he's doing, and anyone who says otherwise deserves a boot in their eye.

As for Deadroom, I've yet to see it, but I'll go ahead and plug it shamelessly since it stars (among many) one of my long-time friends and collaborators, Bill Sebastian.

Bill also starred in PORTAL, the DVD for which has just been completed, with multiple features such as a "making of" documentary, two versions of the film, commentary, trailers, and MORE!!! (currently seeking distribution... or putting out a few copies solo)
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 03.31.2005 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3/8 - 3/30

Blue (Kieslowski, 1993)

White (Kieslowski, 1994)

Red (Kieslowski, 1994)

Tailor of Panama (Boorman, 2001)

Hostage (Siri, 2005)

Alfie (Shyer, 2004)

Intimate Strangers (Leconte, 2004)

The Ring 2 (Nakata, 2005)

Bride and Prejudice (Chadha, 2005)

The Phantom of the Opera (Julian, Chaney, Laemmle, Sedgwick; 1925)

L.A. Confedential (Hanson, 1997)

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Kidron, 2004)

Repeats: All About My Mother and Spider-Man 2, both of which grew the second time, in my mind.

Not much that really inspires must-say comments, but I'll say that the Three Colors trilogy is wonderful when all three films are looked at together, but I think that Red is the only movie that can really stand on its own. Intimate Strangers, while not as good as Man on the Train, furthers my interest in Patrice Leconte.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 03.31.2005 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I'll say that the Three Colors trilogy is wonderful when all three films are looked at together, but I think that Red is the only movie that can really stand on its own. Intimate Strangers, while not as good as Man on the Train, furthers my interest in Patrice Leconte.


I always liked White best of all, but I probably should take another look. It's been a decade since I've seen them.

Danny, if you're interested in Leconte, I highly recommend Ridicule and especially The Widow of Saint-Pierre, which is my favorite by far.

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 03.31.2005 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I always liked White best of all, but I probably should take another look. It's been a decade since I've seen them.


I liked Delpy a lot in White, but, for me, the third act didn't really work. The exact same applies for Binoche and Blue.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 04.03.2005 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

3/28 ? 4/3/05

Rather than grade the mountain of essays on my desk, I spent spring break having binge screenings. No regrets right now, although next week I probably will have a few.

Features in chronological order:

Kounandi (Traore, Burkina Faso 2003)

Democracy Afghan Style (Gould and Shenk, USA 2004)

Echo (Patel, Canada 2004)

Now, Voyager (Rapper, USA 1942)

The Temptress (Niblo, USA 1926)

Clash of the Wolves (Smith, USA 1925)

Le Corbeau (Clouzot, France 1943)

Divorce, Italian Style (Germi, Italy 1961)

This So-Called Disaster (Almereyda, USA 2003)

The Lower Depths (Kurosawa, Japan 1957)

The Rapture (Tolkin, USA 1991)

A Sunday In the Country (Tavernier, France 1984)

Smash Up, the Story of a Woman (Heisler, USA 1947)

Millions (Boyle, UK 2005)

The Search (Zinnemann, USA 1948)

The Paper Chase (Bridges, USA 1973)

Divorce Iranian Style (Mir-Hosseini and Longinotto, UK 1998)

The Story of G.I. Joe (Wellman, USA 1945)

The Hollywood Knights (Mutrux, USA 1980)

Shorts in chronological order:

Branson: Musicland USA (Sillen, USA 2003)

Wrong Way Butch (O?Brien, USA 1950)

The Check Up (Dayton and Faris, USA 2005)

The Bad Plant (Winfrey, USA 1999)

Blue City (Birdsell, USA 1996)

Billy?s Balloon (Hertzfeldt, USA 1998)

El Banquete (Gout, Mexico 1997)

Bovine Vendetta (Judd, USA 1997)

Midnight Dance (McCloskey, Ireland 1996)

Franky Goes to Hollywood (Kelly, USA 1999)

Black Coffee (Beilien, Belgium 1997)

Jack-Jack Attack (Bird, USA 2005)

Mary (Ruell, USA 2005)

I?ll just add that of the features I most enjoyed Le Corbeau, Divorce, Italian Style, The Lower Depths, Millions, The Search, and The Paper Chase. Plus, it?s sheer coincidence that I saw Divorce, Italian Style the same week that I saw Divorce Iranian Style and Democracy Afghan Style. Those last two are very illuminating documentaries about circumstances in parts of the world that we would be wise to learn more about.

Eric
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