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Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week?
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 08.23.2005 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
The movie is funny and endearing where others of its ilk are simply shrill and obnoxious because it remains relatively mature in its attitudes about sex, even if its characters don't. Ironically, the most "sexually mature" character in the whole movie is "the virgin" himself.


Precisely. The greatest surprise is how the movie isn't predicated upon mocking virginity but in mocking adolescent notions about what sex is all about; in other words, it's the antithesis of American Pie. I also appreciated how Carell's new pals seem genuinely interested in accepting him, not just aiding his cause as a form of selfish, cruel, ironic amusement. As much as I enjoyed Wedding Crashers, the sweet-tempered Virgin is light years better, and has more resonant laughs.

NW, have you seen Brown Bunny yet? I'm very interested in hearing your take on it.

Eric
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Last edited by beltmann on 08.24.2005 4:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 08.23.2005 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


NW, have you seen Brown Bunny yet? I'm very interested in hearing your take on it.


Is it on video? If it's unrated I'll have to convince one of my friends with a Netflix account to rent it for me, since it won't be available at Hollywood Video. I'm really interested in seeing it.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 08.23.2005 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:


Is it on video? If it's unrated I'll have to convince one of my friends with a Netflix account to rent it for me, since it won't be available at Hollywood Video. I'm really interested in seeing it.


I saw it through Netflix.
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mfritschel
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 08.28.2005 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A recap of the past two weeks or so:

Grizzly Man (Herzog, 2005)

Downfall (Hirschbiegel, 2005)

The Thin Red Line (Malick, 1998)

Ed Wood (Burton, 1994)

Layer Cake (Vaughnj, 2005)

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Anderson, 2004)

Saints and Soldiers (Little, 2004)

Grizzly Man has many different intersting aspects / layers to it and all are explored execptional well. From the fact that Treadwell was once trying to be an actor, to how he essentially made a star out of himself with videotaping of himself and the bears, to his disenfranchised view of the bears and nature. Herzog again looks at the human state finding a type of salvation in nature, while it completly loses all contact with the real / natural world. Following similiar lines is Downfall as it traces Hitler's loss of power and reality, as he envisions armies coming to Berlin's rescue and his eventual dissent to suicide.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 08.29.2005 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/22 ? 8/28/05

In preferential order:

Sweet Lord, This Is Why Movies Matter

The Fanny Trilogy: Marius (Korda, France 1931) / Fanny (Allegret, France 1932) / Cesar (Pagnol, France 1936)

Grizzly Man (Herzog, USA 2005)

Outstanding

The Machinist (Anderson, Spain 2004)

Pretty Decent, I Guess

Broken Flowers (Jarmusch, USA 2005)

Not Good, But With Minor Merits

The Aristocrats (Provenza, USA 2005)

Hide and Seek (Polson, USA 2005)

The Pacifier (Shankman, USA 2005)

Guess Who (Sullivan, USA 2005)

Don?t Feel Bad Sleeping Through ?Em

Constantine (Lawrence, USA 2005)

Elektra (Bowman, USA 2005)

XXX: State of the Union (Tamahori, USA 2005)

Marcel Pagnol's "Fanny Trilogy? was hugely popular in the Thirties, primarily because it brings to life vivid characters and builds a complex, frank view of sex, dreams, and responsibility. Cesar is a barkeep whose son, Marius, longs to leave Marseilles for the open sea. Cesar is played by the actor Raimu, who has an amazing scene in Marius in which he carefully, tactfully scolds his son for even thinking about leaving after deflowering Fanny, the local beauty. For my money the cycle?s high point comes in the middle: Fanny is relentlessly adult, funny, and emotionally complicated. Set 20 years later, Cesar is the odd man out, but it brings the story to a satisfying and surprisingly intricate conclusion.

Grizzly Man is one of the most fascinating studies of self-delusion I?ve ever seen, and is probably one of the year?s best. For elaboration, I refer you to Rob?s excellent review.

Christian Bale?s skeleton figures prominently in The Machinist, and that ghastly vision is a deeply effective metaphor for the guilt and dementia that?s eating the machinist from within. The mystery of his insomnia is less spectacular?and telegraphed too easily?but the atmosphere and psychology are solid, and the characters are all convincing. In particular, Michael Ironside achieves a great deal with very little screen time.

Who would be offended by The Aristocrats? Certainly nobody that?s ever set foot on a junior high playground. The movie contains a few gut-busters, but it also quickly grows monotonous and wearying. There?s something spurious, too, about the way these comics work overtime trying to convince themselves that this harmless joke warrants such reverential treatment. Sure, the joke has some kind of structural perfection, but the frenzied devotion on display here feels like mass delusion?or like a fabricated insider mythology that requires constant cultivation to avoid exposure.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 08.29.2005 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Don?t Feel Bad Sleeping Through ?Em


I'll pretend like I don't have anything else to respond to in the post and ask a question: did you really fall asleep? Of course, all of those, save maybe Elektra, deserve to be slept through.

I really, really want to go see Grizzly Man tomorrow (I'm not sure how long it'll stay around), but I have so much summer-history homework to finish before school starts on Tuesday, I dunno if I'll get to it. Not to mention, I've gotta get my dad to go. Less than seven months till I can go to R's alone without the trouble of sneaknig in.
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Danny Baldwin
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 08.29.2005 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/17-8/28

In preferential order:

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Apatow, 2005)

Red Eye (Craven, 2005)

The Great Raid (Dahl, 2005)

In My Country (Boorman, 2005)

Heaven (Tykwer, 2002)

Layer Cake (Vaughn, 2005)

Beauty Shop (Woodruff, 2005)

Look At Me (Jaoui, 2005)

The Wedding Date (Kilner, 2005)

The last two are the only truly vile stuff to be found here.

Hilarious, heartfelt, and surprisingly moral, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is unexpectedly one of the best films of the year so far. Coming off of the unfortunately unpopoular "The Office", Steve Carrell is finally able to prove to the masses that he's just as funny--if not funnier--than all other silver-screen comedians currently working. The movie's raunchiness is never too playful and never too disturbing, but rather molds into the narrative in a way that rings subtlely true. As for what's actually tasteful in the first place: there's no denying that it's full of both gut-busting laughs and observant social wisdom. While I may seem overly ready to praise, the fact that this is so much more than I ever thought it would be makes it into a film to cherish. After enduring a great cast's talents ruined in the unfunny Wedding Crashers, it was a joy to watch one shine, here.

The Great Raid is one of the elite few movies to return to the roots of the war film and explore the nobility of being a soldier, the movie is rather bland on all other counts. Director Dahl's implementing real footage from the actual event and its true surrealism keep the picture riveting, in a way, but this is a minor miracle considering the fact that the performances and writing are about as plain as could be.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.29.2005 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
did you really fall asleep?


No, I didn't. But sleep might have been a preferable alternative.

Do what you can to see Grizzly Man!
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 08.29.2005 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's what I've seen recently!:

Saraband (Bergman, 2005) B

Drugstore Cowboy
(Van Sant, 1989) B

Last Days
(Van Sant, 2005) B-

In the Cut
(Campion, 2004) F

Grizzly Man
(Herzog, 2005) A-

Murderball
(Shapiro & Rubin, 2005) B+

The Aristocrats
(Provenza & Jillette, 2005) C+

Pretty Persuasion
(Siega, 2005) C

The Edukators
(Weingartner, 20050 C+

Red Eye
(Craven, 2005) C-

Wedding Crashers
(Dobkin, 2005) C+

Ong-Bak Thai Warrior
(Pinkaew, 2003) C+

Last Days is gorgeous and haunting, but I don't really think it has too much to say, a problem many people also pointed at Elephant. But whereas Elephant's minimalism heightened the unknowable, inexplicable violence it depicted, I think Last Days' intentional simpleness only accentuated how the film is 95% form, which annoyed me more than it would other movies.

Grizzly Man is outstanding; entertaining, funny, sad, and complex, about the allure of nature, the delusions of man, the subjectivity of cinema, and other themes. Outstanding.

Wedding Crashers seemed like an awful script enlivened by naturally funny performers. In any other hands it would be obnoxious.

In the Cut, meanwhile, is one of the most obnoxious movies I've ever seen: Meg Ryan sulks around through a story of misogynistic eroticism (though it's directed by Jane Campion), and the movie's gore and "brazen" sexuality only point out how unskillful Campion and her cast presents them. Ridiculous and shallow and infuriating.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 08.29.2005 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:


The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Apatow, 2005)

Hilarious, heartfelt, and surprisingly moral [...]

(emphasis added)


You know, because the story is simple and uncomplicated, I didn't really bristle at (or even notice at first) the movie's overall implication that happiness is found by adhering to a monogamous, heterosexual relationship, preferably one sanctified and socially approved through marriage - a very traditionalist concept that I don't necessarily agree with, even if I do prefer to live by it. I think Virgin deftly sidesteps moral soapboxing by making it clear that, while there may be other recipes for personal contentment and satisfaction out there, the particular group showcased here really need a bit more imposed structure and order in their lives. An interesting movie, albeit a much more complex one, might find a similar protagonist entering a world outside the frame of traditionalist ideals. Undoubtedly, something like that would be restricted to the art house circuit, not to mention receive a stern tsk-tsking from Michael Medved.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 08.29.2005 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Hilarious, heartfelt, and surprisingly moral


Rather than "moral," I've been describing it to friends as surprisingly old-fashioned. That's not automatically a virtue, but I did find it refreshing in a way--most mainstream comedies are predicated upon transgression, which means it's rare to find one that asks audiences to respect conventional notions about marriage and sex. I think reading the film as a moral or political statement is a bit much; all it really suggests is that this choice is what makes this particular character happy.

Eric
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matt header
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PostPosted: 08.30.2005 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Look At Me (Jaoui, 2005)

The last two are the only truly vile stuff to be found here.


Shocked

Look At Me is one of my favorite movies of the year. What didn't you like about it?
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 08.30.2005 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Writer/director/star Jaoui tries to pass the absolutely insufferable cries of her characters, which refrain from being either comedic or dramatic--intolerable is the only adjective that accurately describes them--as motifs of unapparent depth. But the truth is that Look At Me is everything it appears to be on the surface: a stereotypical soap-opera which leaves an inconceivable amount of excuses for itself whenever development or contrivance is in question. The actors aren't acting; they're merely pawns on a chessboard of ickiness that tries to pass itself off as presentable. The movie tries hard to remind us that the whole exercise is unconventional, when it's really as chiched as it gets.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.05.2005 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/29 ? 9/4/05

In preferential order:

Downfall (Hirschbiegel, Germany 2004)

Inja (Dog) (Pasvolsky, Australia 2001)

Mutiny On the Bounty (Milestone, USA 1962)

Two Rode Together (Ford, USA 1961)

Memories of Murder (Bong, South Korea 2003)

The Jacket (Maybury, USA 2005)

Sangam (Bhargava, USA 2004)

Mt. Head (Yamamura, Japan 2002)

Dismissed at the time of its 1962 release, the large-scale, three-hour, psychologically adventurous remake of Mutiny On the Bounty perhaps deserves critical rehabilitation. (I'd place it below the 1935 Charles Laughton version, but ahead of the 1984 take with Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson.) Trevor Howard is a hissable but credible Captain Bligh, an extremist who actually buys into his own fascist rhetoric about maintaining control. The movie's heart, though, lies with Marlon Brando, who interprets Fletcher Christian as a foppish British gentleman who resists even thinking about mutiny until honor forces him to act. His personal sacrifice is palpable.

Two Rode Together is mediocre John Ford, full of embarrassing macho routines and a thematic re-hash of The Searchers... but Jimmy Stewart is very convincing as a mercenary sheriff enlisted to recover several people kidnapped by Comanches. He's also given lots of fantastic, selfish, funny lines to recite.

Downfall is mesmerizing and deceptively complex: It looks like a routine recreation, but actually charts the collapse of an entire ideology.

Eric
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 09.05.2005 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Memories of Murder (Bong, South Korea 2003)


I'm guessing from its place in your list that you weren't too impressed with Memories of Murder?
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