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


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

PostPosted: 04.03.2005 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkeypox wrote:


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.


Sebastian gives one of the best performances in Deadroom, and appears in the best segment by far. I was riveted.

Eric
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Monkeypox
Cinematographer


Joined: 17 Jul 2003
Posts: 156
Location: TX

PostPosted: 04.04.2005 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Sebastian gives one of the best performances in Deadroom, and appears in the best segment by far. I was riveted.

Eric


I'll pass that along to him, but only after I tell him that his recent stage performance was "wafer-thin" or "pedestrian" and that his choice to mold his British accent after Kevin Costner's showed astoundingly poor judgement.

None of that's true, mind you, it's just that I feel a need to keep actors in a certain state of dysphoria to achieve maximum performance. So, with Bill the ACTOR, it's bring him up a peg, knock him down a peg...

I believe he shares that segment with Grant James (as I said I haven't seen it), who's one of our favorite PEOPLE on top of being a phenominal local actor. He's also an important link for keeping many of us only 3 degrees from Kevin Bacon.
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 04.05.2005 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schindler's List (Spielberg, 1993)

Millions (Boyle, 2005)

Troy (Peterson, 2004)

Closer (Nichols, 2004)

Being Juila (Szabo, 2004)

A solid week for me, with having a Friday off really helping when I can run down a catch a movie at the Oriental. I do have to admit that Troy is definetly one of my guitly pleasures of last year.

Also, in regards to Millions the more I think about the movie, the more I come to appreciate, I do have to admit that it the movie did not quite capture my intent while viewing as much as I had hoped that it would have. I did really appreciate the not so typical twist that Boyle added to an otherwise all to familiar story, but apart from these twist and gimick and am fighting over what else the movie really has to stand on.
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Jim Harper
Director


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

PostPosted: 04.07.2005 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

19/03/05-04/05/05

Love Object (dir. Robert Parigi, 2003)*

Trouble Every Day (dir. Claire Denis, 2001)*

The Unnamable (dir. Jean-Paul Ouellette, 1988)

The Unnamable Returns (dir. Jean-Paul Ouellette, 1993)*

Life Is Beautiful (dir. Roberto Benigni, 1997)*

Fiend without a Face (dir. Arthur Crabtree, 1958)*

Salem?s Lot (dir. Tobe Hooper, 1979)

The Warriors (dir. Walter Hill, 1979)

Return to Salem?s Lot (dir. Larry Cohen, 1987)

Azumi (dir. Ryuhei Kitamura, 2002)

Day of the Beast (dir. Alex de la Iglesia, 1995)

Hiruko the Goblin (dir. Shinya Tsukamoto, 1990)

Whispering Corridors (dir. Ki-Hyung Park, 1998)

Blood: The Last Vampire (dir. Hiroyuki Kitakubo)

The Toolbox Murders (dir. Tobe Hooper, 2003)

Another Heaven (dir. Joji Iida, 2000)

Lots of cheesy fun this time around. Day of the Beast is an undiscovered classic. It should be much more well-known.

Love Object was fun until it got very predictable, and Trouble Every Day wasn't fun at all.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 04.11.2005 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4/4 ? 4/10/05

Public Lighting (Hoolboom, Canada 2004). Experimental anthology that presents seven widely diverse pieces linked only by a common reflection upon how memory, photography, video, music, and immortality are cosmically connected. Most of the subdivisions rely on dense, esoteric layers of ?found? imagery that complement and extend the poetic narration. Most also function as both philosophy and biography?I was absolutely riveted by 5 of the 7 sections.

Video Out (Finkelstein and Vlachos, USA 2005). Documentary about live video art, an underground scene that modernizes psychedelic light shows for the age of laptops, techno beats, and digital editing. Although punctuated with short video clips, the film is comprised almost exclusively of talking heads. These working VJs?most would prefer to be called visualists or video artists?are interesting subjects and yet most strain to persuade us that their hobby is an undiscovered land of significant art. Considering the subject matter, the film?s crisp digital aesthetic seems appropriate, but it conveys the same techno-geek impersonality that limits much of this art: The featured clips lack the human touch that made their forbears Pollock and Brakhage so vital. Most of this work has a far better chance of ending up as screensaver material for the next edition of Windows than ending up in MOMA. (Still, this is an art form in relative infancy, and evolution may eventually make it more relevant than mere wallpaper.)

Chema?s House (Macaulay and Macaulay, USA 2004). Documentary about Jose ?Chema? Soto?s Bronx home, a neighborhood oasis where Puerto Rican immigrants gather to garden, eat, dance, and play music that reminds them of their homeland. Great subject, but never a great movie. I wish the movie explored Chema?s house in some kind of wider social context, but it?s content to keep things small and trifling. In fact, it?s so limited in scope that it often feels like an expanded version of a human interest segment on the local news. Still, it does provide an eager guide in Luis Ramos, who offers ripples of enthusiastic talk.

Fever Pitch (Farrelly Brothers, USA 2005). Nick Hornby?s memoir about growing up an obsessed Arsenal soccer fan has now been adapted into two likable, low-key, humane comedies about balancing romantic love and sports love, and how they are nearly the same thing. Both pictures compare unfavorably to Hornby?s book, which mounts a perceptive, abstract, hilarious look at why obsessions matter and can even be healthy?it?s a book that profoundly understand why sports, for those that love them, are not just a game. Neither movie even attempts to function on such a philosophical plane. Still, each works reasonably well on its own terms. In this new version, the Farrellys draw warm, understated laughs while oiling a small-scale romantic comedy.

Shorts

The Last Laugh (Epstein, USA 2004)

The Passage of Mrs. Calabash (Tuft, USA 2004)

An Act of Cupidity (Gallagher, USA 2004)

Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


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

PostPosted: 04.11.2005 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:
Love Object was fun until it got very predictable, and Trouble Every Day wasn't fun at all.


I like Love Object a lot -- even the predictable, over-the-top ending worked for me. And you're right: Trouble Every Day certainly isn't fun; I didn't like it much, but I adored Claire Denis' next film -- the lovely, mesmerizing Friday Night (no bloodletting in that one, though).
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 04.12.2005 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't posted here in a while, and these are off the top of my head, so...

Sin City (Rodriguez, 2005) B

Melinda and Melinda
(Allen, 2005) C-

Kabala
(Kouyate, 2005) A

Brothers
(Bier, 2005) B

La Face Cachee de la Lune
(Lepage, 2005) C+

Lili's Apron
(Galperin, 2005) D+

Closer
(Nichols, 2004) B

Millions
(Boyle, 2005) C+

In the Realms of the Unreal
(Yu, 2004) B-

Let's Start a Revolution
(Catalano, 2004) C-

She Hate Me
(Lee, 2004) D

Alter Egos
(Green, 2005) C-

Lone Star
(Sayles, 1996) A-

Night on Earth
(Jarmusch, 1991) B-

Mystery Train
(Jarmusch, 1989) B

Play Time
(Tati, 1967) B+



I might be missing some.

Sin City is spectacularly unpleasant, exhilarating filmmaking; forgettable, perhaps, but done with its own brand of skill.

Coming from a huge fan of Allen - even his more recent stuff - Melinda and Melinda is empty, stiff, pandering material. Nothing is being said, although Allen tries to disguise this fact by pondering about endlessly with ridiculous characters spouting supposedly intricate truths. The ultimate philosophy: life is both comic and tragic!!! That's not exactly Sartre.

I saw Kabala at the Wisconsin Film Festival and it was outstanding; the best film I've seen in a long time. Millions has a sincere humanism at its core but a lot of grating, hyperactive effects at its surface; they're supposed to portray childlike joy, I guess, but they seem like MTV-style restlessness awkwardly supplanted onto a family film.

She Hate Me. Oh, what can one say? Offensive on too many levels and ridiculously entertaining. Spike Lee slyly refers to lipstick lesbians as "businesswomen"! Then they're all impregnated by a homophobic guy they all lust after, even though they're lesbians! Oh, the wit!

Lone Star and Play Time are two great films by two great directors, although Play Time is one of Tati's lesser films I've seen. Then again, two of his are among my favorite movies, so that's not saying much.
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 04.13.2005 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

April 1 to April 9, 2005:



  • Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952) A-

  • The Freshman (Newmeyer/Taylor, 1925) B

  • Speedy (Wilde, 1928) B

  • Safety Last! (Newmeyer/Taylor, 1923) B+

  • Laura (Preminger, 1944) A-

  • The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (Sturges, 1944) B+

  • Ran (Kurosawa, 1985) B+



My favorite of these is easily Kurosawa's Ikiru, which, despite being a bit heavy-handed at times, is a profoundly moving, thoughtful, and enlightening rumination on mortality; everyone should see it.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 04.13.2005 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great week, Michael. I wouldn't dock Ikiru--it might be my favorite Kurosawa--and I'd bump each of the Lloyd pictures by a half-grade. Glad you liked them all!

I think Speedy is one of Lloyd's most underrated movies. Besides the flawless gag construction, I really respond to how it depicts a burgeoning New York City; the sense of community, from the marketplace to Yankee Stadium, is tangible. Plus, the movie captures a specific moment in time when NYC was transitioning into a more mechanized place. (It might have been inadvertent, but I think the auto crash into an "el" support beam speaks volumes.) Even without story and jokes, Speedy is a beautiful movie to look at.

Eric
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xAndyx
Director


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

PostPosted: 04.14.2005 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sin City (Rodriguez, 2005)

I thought Sin City was a masterpeice visually. I found it to be the most entertaining movie to look at and notice all the fine detail. I veiw it more as a work of art than a film however. The movie itself is alright, I enjoyed it but did not think it was anything amazing.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 04.14.2005 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xAndyx wrote:
Sin City (Rodriguez, 2005)

I veiw it more as a work of art than a film however.


Is there a difference?

Eric
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juhsstin
Camera Operator


Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 87

PostPosted: 04.15.2005 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

perhaps he meant it as something like, i would rather watch this standing in an art museum than sitting in a cinema eating popcorn.... Confused
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Jim Harper
Director


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

PostPosted: 04.16.2005 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

05/04/05-15/04/05

Cursed (dir. Yoshihiro Hoshino, 2004)*

Memories of Murder (dir. Bong Joon-hu, 2003)*

Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (dir. Grant Harvey, 2004)*

Nosferatu the Vampyre (dir. Werner Herzog, 1979)*

Dagon (dir. Stuart Gordon, 2001)

Dolores Claiborne (dir. Taylor Hackford, 1995)

The only real stinker here is Cursed, which is derivative unfocussed rubbish that can't make up its mind to be a wacky comedy or a horror film, and fails miserably at both.

I very much enjoyed Ginger Snaps Back and Dagon, both solid pieces of horror entertainment. Herzog's Nosferatu is excellent. Incredible-looking film that actually manages to stand up respectably against Murnau's original. It's not as good, but it's definitely a worthy film.

However, by far the stand-out film recently has been Memories of Murder. I've already watched it twice. It's the story of the police hunt for South Korea's first serial killer, and it focusses almost exclusively on the team of cops handling the case. For all their faults the film manages to portray them as sympathetic and sincere, even if some of their methods are not exactly 'by the book'. Compelling viewing, and a welcome change for the sizeable number of Seven-inspired serial killer flicks. Highly recommended.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 04.18.2005 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4/11 ? 4/17/05

The Sea Inside (Amenabar, Spain 2004). I found it completely engrossing, mostly because it investigates the subject of euthanasia from multiple angles--emotional, moral, psychological, theological--without ever becoming didactic. Although the movie clearly has a point-of-view regarding euthanasia, both sides are treated with equal respect and intelligence. Plus, it has one of those so-poetic-it-takes-your-breath-away moments that justifies filmgoing.

Love, Ludlow (Weiss, USA 2005). Nice guy Reggie asks out Myra, a tough co-worker from Queens, but Myra?s special-needs brother Ludlow aims to sabotage their relationship. Mainly set over the course of a weekend, the miniature story feels confined and stagy. (With its zinger dialogue and metronomic rhythm, it might be a dusted-off Neil Simon dramedy.) That said, the characters gain in stature as the film progresses and the actors have considerable chemistry. In particular, Brendan Sexton III turns Ludlow into a memorable individual.

The End of the Year (Kukkee, Canada 2004). Surreal comedy about two friends sharing a New Year?s Eve dinner and discussing the absurdity of life, time, and human interaction. As the conversation veers into flashbacks, the same two actors play all of the roles, which underscores the movie?s fratboy roots?it?s sometimes a little too arch, shrill, and overlit for my tastes. Still, the script is loaded with surprising non sequiturs. These skits resemble sketch comedy produced by Luis Bunuel, and I laughed a lot.

Heartbreak Ridge (Eastwood, USA 1986). The entire movie has one subject: The size of Sgt. Highway?s cojones, and by extension, of American military might. It?s well-made but lunkheaded.

Shorts

Hot Afternoons Have Been In Montana (Kimmelman, USA 2005)

The Idle Class (Chaplin, USA 1921)

Pay Day (Chaplin, USA 1921)

Knit Wits (Eig, USA 2004)

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 04.18.2005 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

3/31-4/18

In Preferential Order:

Melinda and Melinda (Allen, 2005) - What a movie! Flowing amidst a genuine air of music and two beautifully interspersed styles of the same story-thread, Melinda and Melinda is like a piece of theatres with the benefit of all of the quirks of filmmaking, making it a unique, spot-on experience. While its detractors (my father is one of great magnitude) say that is is standard-Woody, I dunno if there is such a thing. It's talky and balky, but oh so delicious; I'm not sure I've ever really not liked an Allen picture. This is his best film in the last five years, easily, one which I will remember for his return to the sorrowful bitterness of comedy, a true tribute to emotion and its many functions. And the grand art of film, too.'

Fever Pitch (Farrelly, 2005)

Millions (Boyle, 2005)

Both interesting concoctions from interesting directions. I liked 'em quite a bit, and they both have some very funny moments.

Finding Forrester (Van Sant, 2000)

Sin City (Rodriguez, 2005) - A much stronger entry into the world of CGI and its counterparts than Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, but, near the middle, it tires. I have intense admiration for the threads involving Micky Rourke, Jessica Alba (who looks just amazing, here), and Bruce Willis, but the entire second act, which mainly features Clive Owen and Brittany Murphy, threw me off. Still, it rebounds and is in full-form during the conclusion, and its overall "weird" factor made it hard to not dig.

Goodbye, Lenin! (Becker, 2004) - Wickedly plodding through a kind of comedically melancholy tone, this German crowd-pleaser earned its European box-office status through a quite interesting, albeit dark, style. Good performances all around and the one-joke premise actually inspires quite the range of emotional complexity, for what it's worth. I'll probably eventually forget this one, but I will do so lovingly.

Selena (Nava, 1997)

Sahara (Eisner, 2005) - As hundreds of bullets fly through the remnants of a civil-war boat which the three main characters use for a means of shielding themselves, making it about as decimated as the punch-card of an undecided voter in an election, most viewers will be inclined to scream "Yeah, right!" at the screen, as the central figures make it out of the situation unscratched. I, on the other hand, developed some sort of geeky admiration for such sequences; Sahara is like a rough, updated Indiana Jones where the characters have greater super-human abilities and agility than Indy, himself, but never realize that they do. The movie isn't a great one--perhaps not even a good one--but it is made and performed with such energy, it's impossible to dislike. Embracing its silliness every step of the way, unlike the naively-constructed Day After Tomorrow, I had fun. It'll make a great movie to rent and forget in the years to come. And then there's Penelope Cruz. My only question is: why didn't Salma Hayek come along with her?

Guess Who (Sullivan, 2005)- Bernie Mac is terrific and Ashton Kutcher tries in this welcomingly sub-plotless string of vignettes between an interracial copuple and the maternal family. While the material is tastefully handled, the one-joke premise wears by the end, although it still remains kind of amusing.

Robots (Wedge, Saldanha; 2005) - Beautiful, inventive imagery makes this one quite a triumph of the sight, but, in every other area, it comes up short. Some nice moments fill its tank enough to allow it to remain entertaining, but the entire experience is comparable to watching a few friends play a video game for an hour and a half. Still, it's worth recommending for its visuals and some of the humor in the first act. After leaving a previous showing because of the obnoxiousness of the audience, I'm glad I finally caught it.

Vera Drake (Leigh, 2004) - Stripped down to the bare essentials and accompanied by blustering British accents, this period-drama, while an ultimate failure, increased my fascination in Mike Leigh and strengthened whatever anti-abortion opinion I have in me. Imelda Staunton and Richard Graham are terrific, but does Leigh have anything more to say than "Ooh! Look at Me! I Can Make an Abortion Movie!"? I doubt it.

The Upside of Anger (Binder, 2005) - Timeless camera work highlights this full-throttling tirade of angst which is, otherwise, completely and utterly dreckish. Director Mike Binder tries to melt the line between what's humorous and what's sorrowful and then solidify it, come the end, but I see the self-indulgent, wannabe-lyrical approach that he uses as purely intolerable. I was downright annoyed by at least two-thirds of the material. Evan Rachel Wood delivers a terrific performance, but Joan Allen feels out of place, Kevin Costner couldn't be more sluggish, and Erika Christensen will only work for male viewers. Not since Closer have I wanted to like a film so much and ended up abhoring it so deeply.
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