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Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.30.2005 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I just watched Alexander tonight, and pretty much all the interest lies with how ill-conceived nearly every aspect is. Never boring, though.


Very Happy The only truly bad movie is a boring one.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.02.2005 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

9/26 ? 10/2/05

In preferential order:

A History of Violence (Cronenberg, USA 2005)

Corpse Bride (Burton and Johnson, USA 2005)

Lords of Dogtown (Hardwicke, USA 2004)

Rock School (Argott, USA 2005)

Alexander (Stone, USA 2004)

In the way Cronenberg uses violence to get us thinking about how we respond to violence--in real life and at the movies--A History of Violence reminded of Haneke's Funny Games, but it also offers so much more than that. I don?t have time to jot down all my thoughts about it, but I think it?s a masterpiece. And that poster captures the movie's tone and themes perfectly.

The best, and most subversive, idea in Corpse Bride is that the land of the living is drab, dreary, oppressive and colorless, while the underworld is an energetic, happenin? jive bar. It?s a simple, beautiful story of lost love and self-sacrifice, and for me it carried the weight of myth?as if it were an old, familiar folk tale embedded in our cultural consciousness.

I even liked Lords of Dogtown, which vibrantly captures the need for speed and at least approaches authenticity at times. As far as modern ?youth? films go, this is one of the best. Still, I preferred the documentary version of this story, mostly because this one finally succumbs to melodrama and clich?s about friendship, success and commercialism.

Rock School is a documentary about Paul Green, sort of a real life version of Jack Black's character from School of Rock. A self-described "great teacher" who leads an after-school program for kids, Green's style of teaching pretty much amounts to berating them until they meet his expectations. (I didn't see any actual teaching going on.) Plus, his fossilized notions of what "real" rock gods sound like ("Tonight is all about Satan!") reveals just how much he confuses tacky showmanship with musicianship. It doesn't take long to realize that this first-class jackass is far less interested in helping kids fulfill their potential than in using them to fulfill his own frustrated dreams. All of that ought to be compelling material for a documentary, but director Argott is a blind believer--this is lazy, slight journalism, and a clumsy celebration of self-delusion.

Alexander was beaten to a pulp by the press, and I have nothing fresh to add. It?s bad.

Eric
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 10.04.2005 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

25/09/05 - 04/10/05

Land of the Dead (dir. George A Romero, 2005)*

Blow Out (dir. Brian De Palma, 1981)*

School of Rock (dir. Richard Linklater, 2004)*

St. John?s Wort (dir. Shinoyama Ten, 2000)

Flowers in the Attic (dir. Jeffrey Bloom, 1987)*

Moho-han (dir. Yoshimitsu Morita, 2002)*

One Missed Call 2 (dir. Renpei Tsukamoto, 2004)*

Infection (dir. Masayuki Ochiai, 2004)

Premonition (dir. Norio Tsuruta, 2004)

Tales of Terror from Tokyo, Volume 1 (dir. various, 2005)*

A Frightful School Horror (dir. Makato Yamaguchi, 2001)*

Land of the Dead was bloody marvellous, but beyond that it's been a pretty poor week.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.04.2005 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No love for Blow Out or School of Rock?
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 10.04.2005 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
No love for Blow Out or School of Rock?


Neither one was too bad actually. Blow Out is easily my new favourite Travolta movie. I was pretty impressed with some of the camerawork there, especially the wraparound shot in the sound booth. Nancy Allen was annoying however, and it's hard to believe anyone could be that stupid. These days it's hard to buy John Lithgow as a serial killer unfortunately, but the Co-ed Frenzy scenes were pretty amusing.

School of Rock entertained, but the best/worst aspect was knowing all the lyrics and the riffs. I don't mind Jack Black, and this was one of his better outings. The wife enjoyed it, mind you, which is always nice.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.04.2005 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) - I think History will take a seat alongside Crash and M. Butterfly as a Cronenberg movie I?ll like more after another viewing or two. That?s not to say I was disappointed with it at all. My friend and I discussed it at great length on the way home from the theater, and my appreciation of it continued to grow as we spoke. Like Eric noted, it?s about human responses to violence, but I also perceived thematic concerns of identity more in tune with other works like Shivers, Videodrome, M. Butterfly, The Fly, and Dead Ringers, and the Cartesian disconnect between the biological ?self? the and psychological ?self,? similar to The Brood, Naked Lunch, and The Fly. Without giving too much away (minor spoiler?), I thought of Tom?s situation as a sort of counterpoint to Seth Brundle?s in The Fly, when in midst of Brundle?s transformation he tells Ronnie, ?I?d like to be the first insect politician. You see, I?d like to, but ... I?m afraid ...[I can?t].? In History, Tom Stall, it seems, does manage to become an ?insect politician? -- for all the good it does him.

Serenity (Joss Whedon, 2005) - While Rob Vaux oversells the movie a bit in his review by calling it ?the greatest science fiction movie ever, ever, ever? (I?d take out an ever-and-a-half), within the context of the series as a whole it certainly counts, by my reckoning, as one of the best space operas ever1/2. Fans of Firefly will love it, because it resolves enough threads to count as a decent capper to the show and leave us with a sense of closure. But Whedon?s strengths as a storyteller are on full display here -- well-defined characters, structure, suspense, peppy dialogue, and his ability to use familiar tropes and formulae to play with audience expectation -- which will hopefully raise the interest in those unfamiliar with the series enough for them to decide to give the whole shebang a go. I?d like to see Firefly continue, but I can live with Serenity as the finale.
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j miller
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PostPosted: 10.04.2005 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A History of Violence (2005) - This is a well crafted film that easily fits the title masterpiece. A very interesting view on violence and how we react to it.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.04.2005 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Like Eric noted, it?s about human responses to violence, but I also perceived thematic concerns of identity more in tune with other works like Shivers, Videodrome, M. Butterfly, The Fly, and Dead Ringers.


What's strange is that the movie could easily be read as Cronenberg's most conventional--but I completely agree with you that it easily slides into place alongside his usual themes. The identity issue is, perhaps, handled with even more nuance than the violence issue.

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.07.2005 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kingdom of Heaven (Ridley Scott, 2005) - Good hack-n-slash entertainment with a wonderfully sneery villain played by Marton Csokas and a confict that gains tension by establishing the general goodness of both opponents. I also liked the very post-9/11 anti-war point of view that suggests that war is basically a creation of the ideologues on either side, and not necessarily the desire of those who are obligated to carry out the battles. And how can you not like a movie in which Liam Neeson casually tosses off the line "I once fought two days with an arrow through my testicle."
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.07.2005 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once taught two days with an arrow through my testicle.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.07.2005 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing

Let me guess: Jane Austin?

Which reminds me:

A pirate walks into a bar with a ship's wheel on his penis. He asks the bartender for a shot of rum. The bartender serves him, then asks, "Excuse me, sir, but do you know you have a ship's wheel on your penis?"

The pirate replies, "Arr, it's drivin' me nuts."
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 10.07.2005 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Laughing

Let me guess: Jane Austin?


No, her identical twin sister Jane Austen.

the night watchman wrote:
A pirate walks into a bar with a ship's wheel on his penis. He asks the bartender for a shot of rum. The bartender serves him, then asks, "Excuse me, sir, but do you know you have a ship's wheel on your penis?"

The pirate replies, "Arr, it's drivin' me nuts."


Bloody marvellous.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.08.2005 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:
the night watchman wrote:


Let me guess: Jane Austin?


No, her identical twin sister Jane Austen.


Whoops. Sorry. I was thinking of that famous Southern writer, Texas Austin.
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xAndyx
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PostPosted: 10.08.2005 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I once taught two days with an arrow through my testicle.


i read this before reading the post above it and was quite disturbed...almost as good as the liquor line in class!
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.08.2005 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rare footage of Eric teaching while testicularly pierced:

-----------------------------------
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