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Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week?
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 11.05.2005 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats, Jim! Cover looks perfect. We're all getting signed copies, right?
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 11.05.2005 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:
Which reminds me, this should be out soon:


Super-cool, man. Let us know when it's available. I bought Legacy of Blood from Amazon.com ages ago, and I still refer to it whenever I'm thinking about renting a slasher film. Very Happy
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 11.05.2005 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Congratulations! Are you taking requests for the subject of your next book? You know what mine'll be. Very Happy


I suspect I do Wink However, the next topic has been decided and it's already under way, hopefully for publication next year: modern Japanese horror movies, roughly 1983-2005.

beltmann wrote:
Congrats, Jim! Cover looks perfect. We're all getting signed copies, right?


Absoutely, no problem. Do you mind paying the p&p? It'll come to about $25 a copy. Wink

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
Super-cool, man. Let us know when it's available. I bought Legacy of Blood from Amazon.com ages ago, and I still refer to it whenever I'm thinking about renting a slasher film. Very Happy


I really appreciate that, Mike. The big question is: how many bad movies has it steered you away from? Laughing

This week's films:

31/10/05 - 05/11/05

Die Monster Die! (dir. Daniel Haller, 1965)

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

Tales from the Crypt (dir. Freddie Francis, 1972)*

Terror (dir. Norman J Warren, 1978)*

Satan?s Slave (dir. Norman J Warren, 1976)*

The Creeping Flesh (dir. Freddie Francis, 1973)

The Fellowship of the Frog (dir. Harald Reinl, 1959)

Night of the Big Heat (dir. Terence Fisher, 1967)

Not much in the way of new viewing this week. I was so bored one night this week I even sat through A vs. P again. *shudder*

Tales from the Crypt is a solid Amicus anthology, one of the few I hadn't seen. It's a fun film, but only two of the stories ('All Through the House' and 'Blind Alleys') are really good. Just got to find From Beyond the Grave and Tales That Witness Madness now; I'd also like to give Torture Garden another go, but it hasn't been on TV for ages.

Terror was surprisingly good, given Norman J Warren's reputation, but I was a little bored by Satan's Slave, despite the presence of the incomparable Michael Gough.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.05.2005 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:
However, the next topic has been decided and it's already under way, hopefully for publication next year: modern Japanese horror movies, roughly 1983-2005.


Close enough for me. Smile
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.08.2005 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (George Lucas, 2005) - This final installment doesn?t excuse the missed opportunities of Episodes I and II, but it easily ranks in quality with Star Wars and Empire, and most importantly, it?s a hell of a lot of fun. Hayden Christensen delivers a better performance than the movie?s detractors (and even many of its supporters) are willing to give him credit for. Ian McDiarmid gives an absolutely great one. But I especially appreciated how Lucas at long last was finally able to tap into the magic of the first two movies, and, in doing so, return me to the sci-fi zeitgeist of my childhood for three hours.

The Beguiled (Don Siegel, 1971) - I hadn?t heard much about this movie, and guessed it to be a Civil War drama, but since I generally like the team of Eastwood and Siegel, I thought I?d give it a try. I was happy to discover that it?s actually a delightfully ghoulish little Gothic tale about a deceitful Union soldier and a gaggle of sexually repressed adolescent girls, and their equally repressed matron, at a Southern boarding house for girls near the end of the war. It?s like Misery with seven Annie Wilkes and a less than sympathetic Paul Sheldon. Wake up your inner sadist for this one.

Jarhead (Sam Mendes, 2005) - Anti-war, and correctly so, but not anti-military, Jarhead is a fairly unique post-Vietnam war movie. Instead of combat it delivers anticipation, and instead troubled and remorseful soldiers killing the enemy for their lives and for their country, it delivers marines who really really want to shoot someone, but are never allowed. I think the very lack of warfare underscores the existential tragedy of training up young men to be killers better than can the sight of a slue of bombs, firefights, and wounded soldiers.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 11.08.2005 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
it?s actually a delightfully ghoulish little Gothic tale about a deceitful Union soldier and a gaggle of sexually repressed adolescent girls, and their equally repressed matron, at a Southern boarding house for girls near the end of the war. It?s like Misery with seven Annie Wilkes and a less than sympathetic Paul Sheldon.


OK, this is going on the Netflix queue.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 11.08.2005 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (George Lucas, 2005) - This final installment doesn?t excuse the missed opportunities of Episodes I and II, but it easily ranks in quality with Star Wars and Empire, and most importantly, it?s a hell of a lot of fun. Hayden Christensen delivers a better performance than the movie?s detractors (and even many of its supporters) are willing to give him credit for. Ian McDiarmid gives an absolutely great one. But I especially appreciated how Lucas at long last was finally able to tap into the magic of the first two movies, and, in doing so, return me to the sci-fi zeitgeist of my childhood for three hours.



That's pretty much I how felt. Here's what I said at the time: "Sith might not be a great movie, but at least I found myself invested in the story?and the Star Wars mythology?for the first time since 1983. It?s easily the best of the new trilogy, if for no other reason than it managed to capture my imagination in a way that reminded me of being 10 and in love with Star Wars. There is nothing in Phantom or Clones that remotely rivals the resonance of this new film."

I'm looking forward to seeing it on DVD. I'm also fairly excited for the long bonus feature called "Within a Minute," which might make for a very useful teaching tool. Did you watch that, NW?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.08.2005 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I'm looking forward to seeing it on DVD. I'm also fairly excited for the long bonus feature called "Within a Minute," which might make for a very useful teaching tool. Did you watch that, NW?


No, I don't have the DVD. I watched it at a friend's house. What is "Within a Minute?" I might borrow the disc from him.

beltmann wrote:
OK, this is going on the Netflix queue.


I hope you enjoy it. Smile
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Mark Dujsik
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PostPosted: 11.08.2005 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I'm looking forward to seeing it on DVD. I'm also fairly excited for the long bonus feature called "Within a Minute," which might make for a very useful teaching tool. Did you watch that, NW?


It is long, but it is pretty extensive in covering everything that went into the process of making about 55 seconds worth of the final lightsaber duel. Probably would be good viewing for a high school film class.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 11.14.2005 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

11/6 ? 11/13/05

I?m still recovering from the film festival, but here?s what I managed to see this week:

Jarhead (Mendes, USA 2005). I can?t say whether Swofford?s book provides the template, but I?m surprised by how resolutely Mendes favors the psychological over the political. Quite refreshing, even if the overall effect is underwhelming.

Nobody Knows (Koreeda, Japan 2004). Time constraints forced me to stretch the viewing over four nights, which surely detracted from the overall experience. I?ll refrain from passing judgment.

North Country (Caro, USA 2005). Well, at least I liked the three Bob Dylan songs. (To be fair, I also very much admired the look and places of the movie.)

The Hitchhiker?s Guide to the Galaxy (Jennings, USA 2005). I hated it, but I also never much cared for the book?s absurdism or toothless satire.

Eric
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xAndyx
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PostPosted: 11.14.2005 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donnie Darko 2001

Grosse Pointe Blank 1997

Star Wars Episode III 2005 (repeat)

Saw 2 2005 (repeat)

I spent the weekend at my friends house in Platteville, WI and enjoyed quite a few movies over the days. Donnie Darko is a great, but WEIRD movie. If anyone in that rabbit suit got within 100ft of me I would stab them with a fork. Well since its 100ft it'd be more like throw,but you get what I mean. Grosse Pointe Blank was also a fairly good film, nothing that great but I enjoyed it. Saw 2 is great. It improves every element of the 1st film, and the introduction of the villan may be one of my favorite characters of all time. You know a movie gets you thinking when on the 2 mile walk back to my friends house we discussed traps we'd use on people. HA...creepy.
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Jordanio
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PostPosted: 11.14.2005 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Annie Hall

The Graduate

I'd seen both numerous times, but I needed some good viewing for once.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 11.14.2005 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Jarhead (Mendes, USA 2005). I can?t say whether Swofford?s book provides the template, but I?m surprised by how resolutely Mendes favors the psychological over the political. Quite refreshing, even if the overall effect is underwhelming.


I was prepared to be refreshed because of just this, but I found the movie's psychological interpretation of war's effect on soldiers to be blatantly one note and absolutely absurd in almost every way. Rather offensive, too--I'd say--considering the fact that Swofford wasn't even exposed to combat. I don't buy the mere excuse that the institutionalized happenings are to blame.

Not to mention, was anyone bothered by the fact that the movie treats the Marines as tactic-less souls randomlywandering through the desert? I get that the focus isn't on the specifics of military procedures, but it hindered my ability to buy anything that it might've had to say (especially the scene in which they decide to make camp in the oil fields). That and the fact that it's totally MTV as far as assemly is concerned, the polar opposite of Road to Perdition and American Beauty.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.15.2005 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Tale of Two Sisters (Ji-woon Kim, 2003) - Flat out one of the best supernatural horror movies I?ve ever seen. I?d rank it up there with Wise?s The Haunting, Kubrick?s The Shining, Kiyoshi Kurosawa?s Kairo*, and, yes, even Dreyer?s Vampyr. Lest you think I dropped a big steaming spoiler with the first sentence, I?ve read reviews (including Eric?s?) that approach Tale as purely psychological. Either way, it?s an acute and moving portrait of emotional pain and denial, and rings remarkably true whether viewed as fantasy or realism precisely because uses its horror tropes to reveal the inner life of anguish.

Swamp Thing (Wes Craven, 1982) - Boy, wasn?t this movie more entertaining when you were thirteen?

Christine (John Carpenter, 1983) - Carpenter and scripter Bill Phillips do an adequate job of stuffing six-hundred pages of novel into ninety minutes of movie. Carpenter?s score is superb (especially the sultry, noirish theme set to Christine?s resurrection in Darnell?s garage), and there are more than a few really wonderful sequences to be found. However, replacing Roland LeBay with his brother George, while essentially keeping the character Roland, alters the essence of Arnie?s transformation and renders the changes in his personality somewhat arbitrary. Also, the role of Leigh Cabot is woeful underwritten, and Alexandra Paul doesn?t quite have the chops to make up for it. In the end, Christine suffers from the typical malaise most King screen adaptations suffered in the 80s--too much story, not enough time. Still, for my money, I think it?s worth watching.

Derailed (Mikael Hafstrom, 2005) - Noir sanitized for your health. Actually, it?s pretty engaging even if (or maybe because) it?s clear what?s up from the get go. The problem lies in the third act, which wants to wrap everything up in a pretty ribbon and restore the nuclear family to its pedestal when it really should stick to assessing why Clive Owen?s character is in the situation he?s in. Though I wouldn?t try to dissuade anyone from checking it out, I wouldn?t try to talk him into seeing it, either.

*I caught a trailer for Pulse, the American remake of Kurosawa?s Kairo, at the front of Derailed. On the plus side, it showed a few scenes that seemed straight out of the original (including the crashing cargo plane). On the negative, the cast is the usual bevy of blandly attractive twenty-somethings, and the dialogue sounds thumpingly banal. I also get the sense that the narrative will be regularly punctuated with prerequisite jumps and fake-jumps. I?ll keep my fingers crossed anyway.
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Last edited by the night watchman on 11.15.2005 1:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 11.15.2005 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I found the movie's psychological interpretation of war's effect on soldiers to be blatantly one note and absolutely absurd in almost every way. Rather offensive, too--I'd say--considering the fact that Swofford wasn't even exposed to combat. I don't buy the mere excuse that the institutionalized happenings are to blame.


But not all the men had the same reaction. Furthermore, while it is true that Swofford's experience of the military and the war was negative in the extreme, and while his perspective holds a certain degree of weight with the audience since this is his story, his opinion contrasted with the opinion of Staff Sgt. Sykes. Sykes eloquently expresses the exhilaration and fulfillment the military affords him; and since he is portrayed in a positive light--he is affable (if hard-assed) and charismatic, and the audience is clearly meant to like and respect him--his opinion holds at least an equal amount of weight, as well. These are the two extremes, and the rest of them men represent particular gradations in between--certainly much more than one note.
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