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What did you watch this week?
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 09.29.2003 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

9/22 ? 9/28/03

Ten again this week, five in the theater:

Anything Else (Allen, 2003). One of my least favorite Allen comedies. As many others pointed out, too much is merely a mediocre reworking of Annie Hall and Broadway Danny Rose. I found myself sinking deeper into my seat as I realized that yes, maybe all the naysayers are right: perhaps one of my screen idols really has lost his touch.

Underworld (Wiseman, 2003). Obviously a movie for 12-year-old boys, but I guess I was in the mood for it, because I had a blast. Despite the awful dialogue and derivative plot (The Matrix and the Blade pictures are heavy influences), I loved simply looking at every frame. So much to admire?the wonderfully expressive sets, the sleek, bizarre costumes, the color (or lack of it), Kate Beckinsale. Sometimes that?s enough.

Matchstick Men (Scott, 2003). Perhaps I?ve seen too many cinematic shell games, because not a single ?twist? offered here took me by surprise. I wouldn?t say that Nicolas Cage is good in the movie?his neurotic, obsessive-compulsive con artist is a showboating charlatan--but he sure is watchable, snapping his neck and voice all over the set. There?s something beguiling about Scott?s impassive direction, but for the most part I was only mildly entertained.

Cabin Fever (Roth, 2003). I disliked a good deal of it?especially the last third?but I haven?t made up my mind about the more surreal, Lynchian elements. Okay, I know I love the kung fu kid. Most memorable about my screening: I was one of only 5 patrons, so when a teenage girl let out a blood-curdling scream at one of the jump scares, we all knew exactly who it was. Her boyfriend found it hysterical.

National Security (Dugan, 2003). The first 20 minutes are surprisingly good, because it looks like Dugan, for the first time, is going to take his story, characters, and gags seriously. It?s all downhill after that, although I found Steve Zahn likable?he makes this poor sap?s frustration levels funny but also believable.

The Shape of Things (La Bute, 2003). Perhaps my favorite La Bute, although that?s not saying much. The dialogue and performances are astonishingly arch, but by the end the picture has made so many persuasive and intelligent points about socialization and the nature and power of art, I was won over. Still a tad too bitter for my tastes, but far less misanthropic than La Bute?s earlier work. I?ll take it.

The Nazi Officer?s Wife (Garbus, 2003). I didn?t learn a single thing about World War II or the Holocaust, or even the survivors. Yet that doesn?t mean this story, about a Jewish woman who survived by masquerading as an Aryan and marrying a Nazi, isn?t important and worthy of being heard.

Lost In Translation (Coppola, 2003). Why not? I?ll jump on this bandwagon?it?s one of the best of the year, and not just because it?s the first time in many months my eyes felt compelled to well up. For me, the title is about the difficulties of human communication and connection, but also about how our lives don't always translate into what we hoped. Deadpan, hilarious, compassionate, but also profoundly moving. Coppola?s 2-for-2 in my book; this will be her second film to appear on my Top Ten.

Laurel Canyon (Cholodenko, 2003). Despite her clear intelligence, I wasn?t a big fan of Cholodenko?s High Art, and I didn?t take a shine to this film, either. Well-acted (especially by Christian Bale), but I found it superficial and far more conventional than Cholodenko seems to believe.

Holes (Davis, 2003). It has the shape of a comedy, but more is going on here, as Davis, working from Sachar?s own script, weaves a great yarn involving all the big themes that captivated us when we were adventurous little boys. All the adult actors have a blast jumping overboard, and the glee translates perfectly onto the screen.

I was hoping to catch a preview of School of Rock Sunday afternoon, but I had too much work to catch up on. Next week, I guess.

Eric
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Mark Dujsik
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: 09.29.2003 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So my week was incredibly busy with auditions and callbacks, and I only got to see one movie. And I haven't even finished the review for it yet. Yeah, I'm disappointed too.

The Rundown (Berg, 2003)

I'll get a review up tomorrow, I'm sure. Hopefully, I'll catch up this week.

EDIT: Added link to review of The Rundown.
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10 Best Films of 2006

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Last edited by Mark Dujsik on 10.01.2003 12:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 09.29.2003 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Beautiful Week:

Confidence

It's fun, and has some fabulous direction, but nothing is really ever going on. The characters are never in too much danger or involved in anything more than some interesting scenes. Ebert got it right, "there's nothing on the line," although I did like it more than him. Some great performances, and some awful performances; Dustin Hoffman is the worst. Good rental, though.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 09.29.2003 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't it odd that we all have bad weeks (besides Eric) at the same time?
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Danny Baldwin
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 09.29.2003 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


I was one of only 5 patrons, so when a teenage girl let out a blood-curdling scream at one of the jump scares, we all knew exactly who it was. Her boyfriend found it hysterical.


A year ago, when I was at Sweet Home Alabama and Dempsey's character (I don't remember his name) announces that he's going to "Get back his woman," a teenage girl started screaming "OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD!!!" That made my day. I always wondered why I liked that movie so much.
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the night watchman
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 09.29.2003 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Cabin Fever (Roth, 2003). I disliked a good deal of it?especially the last third?but I haven?t made up my mind about the more surreal, Lynchian elements. Okay, I know I love the kung fu kid.


"Pancakes!" I must also confess I laughed at the final punch-line.

Small week for me too:

9/22-9/28

Dark Passage (Daves, 1947) It?s official; Lauren Bacall was a babe. I really enjoyed this movie, loved the way the plot shrugged off the implausiblities and just kept rolling along, and was delighted by the first-person point of view for the first 30 minutes. Lots of fun, this one.

The Third Man (Reed, 1949) I haven?t seen this in a while. Man, I forgot what a great movie it is. Or maybe I didn?t realize it until I watched it again. Lime receives one of the best entrances any character's ever been afforded in a movie. And I can?t stop whistling that zither tune.

The Rundown (Berg, 2003) Highly entertaining actioner with a refreshingly low level of gun play. The Rock is shaping up to be a solid action star. I loathed The Scorpion King but I liked him in it. He keeps making movies at least as entertaining as The Rundown he won't regret quitting his day job.
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The Third M?n
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Joined: 09 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: 10.02.2003 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just finished L'Avventura. Wow.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 10.03.2003 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just saw Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Pretty good, actually.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.05.2003 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

9/29-10/5

Pretty miniscule week for me:

Funny Games (Haneke, 1997) Reaction and debate here: http://www.flipsidearchive.com/forum/viewtopic.php-t=184.html

The School of Rock (Linklater, 2003) Goofy and predictable, but maybe not as much as you might think. The child cast was quite good, and their characters were fairly well-rounded. Black was a hoot. Cusack was allowed to deliver a pretty remarkable performance. I think it rises enough above convention, and has just enough real wit and smarts, to merit appreciation greater than that reserved for affable fluff.

Yojimbo (Kurosawa, 1961) Man, movies just don?t get much better than this. Samurai, dark humor, a cracking good story, and Toshiro Mifune. What more could you want?
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 10.06.2003 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This week, five:

The Shape of Things

Neil LaBute?s writing and sense of humor are an acquired taste. His latest film, The Shape of Things, is no exception. While I enjoyed every single bit of it, LaBute virgins should proceed with caution. The writer and director of this film, he engages us in consecutively witty passages, which are all divinely rich in flowing content. The scenes in The Shape of Things run for about ten minutes each, and have a very subtle, elegant tempo. LaBute is amazingly gifted at writing dialogue; we?re always intrigued in what he has to say. He doesn?t rely on quick cuts and an MTV-style production to move the flick along; the softly appealing tempo works fabulously. While many other filmmakers do not take advantage of every minute of footage shown in their motion picture, LaBute keeps us interested in The Shape of Things, until the very end of its ninety-seven minute running length. The concluding crisis is spectacularly marvelous. It does have a few flaws, but on the whole, this one is fantastic.

Lost In Translation

Lost in Translation is so stunningly beautiful, insanely refreshing, and hysterically funny, I could watch it a thousand times, and never get tired of one scene that?s featured in it. Its subtlety is astounding?the theme, in which it chooses to convey, is communicated through normal people living unwanted lives?a simple, but amazing concept. There is more emotion packed into Lost in Translation then there ever will be in any Hollywood movie. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson give amazing performances, and deserve Oscars for their work, indeed. Murray is one of the few talents, still acting, who could?ve delivered such a genuine performance, in this role. Johansson has always been one of the most underrated actresses in the business; as expected, her interpretation of her character is believable, true, and she always gains the audience?s sympathy. Especially when together onscreen, performing under the forces of brilliant writer/director Sofia Coppola, these two are extraordinarily fabulous. Lost in Translation will stay with me for a long time; it?s undeniably one of the best movies of the entire year.

Step into Liquid

In granting Step into Liquid a very mixed review, I?m hardly blaming the filmmakers. While I would?ve preferred some edgier production and shorter scenes, the ultimate reason why I only found this movie to be half-decent is because I?m not very interested in surfing. Those who love the sport are more aware of the tremendous skill one must have to master the art of riding waves than the average person. The majority of people, who are not intrigued by surfing, will have a hard time admiring Step into Liquid.

Make no mistake, I have a clear understanding of how talented certain surfers are, and cannot deny that some of the footage in this movie is absolutely insane. I?m just not all that enthralled by it. The message of Step into Liquid basically states that the sport will always enjoyable, no matter what the circumstances. Since I feel the exact opposite way about this, as a film, it failed to hook me in. I was entertained by it, though. At times, it can be one hell of a ride.

Another problem is that the material that the filmmakers have chosen to present doesn?t translate well onto the big-screen. Half of the excitement that comes from witnessing giant ocean-waves is generated by their massive size. When compressed down the confines of you?re local cinema, the experience isn?t nearly as fun or amazing as it is, in person. This one would?ve been a much better movie if it had been released in IMAX format. If you?re going to see Step into Liquid, however, you mustn?t wait for it to come onto video; the smaller the size of the screen, the more magic it will loose. If you?re a fan of surfing, this is a definite must-see. Everyone else will have a better time, watching another type of film, though.

The Kid Stays in the Picture

While this documentary on the life of Hollywood producer Robert Evans, narrated by the subject himself, may fudge facts, it?s a stylishly done and entertaining journey. I?m not a fan of this genre, but when watching The Kid Stays in the Picture, I was captivated and admired the work of the filmmakers behind it. If this one had been trimmed down by a solid fifteen minutes, it would?ve been more tolerable and consistently fascinating. It?s just fine the way it is, however. This is a very good movie, and is definitely worthy of checking out. The fact that Bowling for Columbine won the award for ?Best Documentary Feature? at the Oscars and this wasn?t even nominated is a crime, in itself. The Kid Stays in the Picture is usually enthralling; the few boring moments are outnumbered by the great ones.

2nd Viewing of: Identity

I'm just sitting down to it now. I've gotta confirm what I thought about it the first time...
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Mark Dujsik
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PostPosted: 10.06.2003 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

9/29 - 10/5

Luther (Till, 2003)

The Magdalene Sisters (Mullan, 2003)

School of Rock (Linklater, 2003)

Thought I'd get to see more this week or maybe watch something tonight, but it's karaoke night tonight! :)

EDIT: Added links to reviews of The Magdalene Sisters and School of Rock.
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10 Best Films of 2006

Mark Reviews Movies


Last edited by Mark Dujsik on 10.10.2003 5:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.06.2003 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark Dujsik wrote:
it's karaoke night tonight! Smile


LOL. I do karaoke too. Or, rather, my wife and friends do karaoke. I drink. Laughing

BTW, Mark, how to you pronounce your last name?

Danny - I haven't seen The Shape of Things yet, but I was blown away by The Company of Men and Your Friends & Neighbors, and I adored Nurse Betty, which I consider to be a romantic comedy for people who hate romatic comedies. I'm also dying to see Lost in Translation. I think Murray is a great, underrated comedic actor. (Of course, he might get the more respect if he could pick better projects more often.) I hope I don't have to wait to see this one on video.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 10.06.2003 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

His last name is pronounced Doo-sick. I read the FAQ on his site, lol.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.06.2003 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, thank you. I was thinking it was something like Doy-sick, the j pronounced like in "fjord."
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Mark Dujsik
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PostPosted: 10.06.2003 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
LOL. I do karaoke too. Or, rather, my wife and friends do karaoke. I drink. Laughing


Looks like plans fell through. So maybe I will get to watch another movie. :)

But I was going to sing "Honky Tonk Women." Sad

I'm surprised I don't get asked about my last name more often online.
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10 Best Films of 2006

Mark Reviews Movies
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