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What did you watch this week?
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: Pearland, TX

PostPosted: 07.20.2004 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Michael, I don't suppose your close proximity to Austin somehow affects your relationship with Linklater's work? I'm curious--how are his releases generally treated and discussed in Texas?



Nah, doesn't affect me. I've been a fan since Dazed and Confused, the first Linklater film I saw as a teenager. I'm not sure his films are treated any differently here than they are elsewhere. Maybe there's a bit of a Texas pride thing going on for some of his fans, but I don't know. It's probably a bit different in Austin.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.20.2004 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7/13 - 7/19

Too long to post yesterday, but here goes...

First Viewings

Monsier Ibrahim (Dupeyron, 2004) - Superb performances from the two leads, but the shallow and conventional script leaves much to be desired.



The Safety of Objects
(Troche, 2003) - Amazing movie with many great performances, particularly that of Timothy Olyphant, only flawed by the story of a little boy and his Barbie doll.

Cape Fear (Thompson, 1962) - Am I the only one who didn't like it? The main character is so unlikeable, despite Gregory Peck's best efforts, I couldn't get involved, especially in the third act. I'm interested in Scorsese's remake now, though.

The Butterfly Effect: The Director's Cut (Bress, Gruber; 2004) - When it's actually efficient, it's grusome and unwatchable. The rest of the time, no matter how many plot devices it entrusts, it's just plain awful. Bad performances, brutal direction, and vomit-inducing visuals.

The Lady From Shanghai (Welles, 1947) - Now this is how "fun" crime should be done. The fact that it is made by the greatest filmmakers of all time shouldn't stop anyone from striving short of such.

The Barbarian Invasions (Arcand, 2003) - I loved it in almost every possible way. Great dialogue, entirely plausible, both uplifting and traumatic finale, spectacular acting. Tonally, it's amazing, too.

Against the Ropes (Dutton, 2004) - I would actually call it fun, for what it is, if you don't count the wretched first twenty minutes. It has its fair share of excitement, and unlike it's fellow cheeseballs, isn't overly showy. That doesn't excuse it from being mediocre.

Wait Until Dark (Young, 1967) - Eerie mood and creepy performances, even though it falls up short in its ending, which I found to be overly corny. I prefer Johnny Depp's inner-battle in Secret Window to Alan Arkin crawling across the floor, using his knife as a lever. Shoot me.

Riding Giants (Peralta, 2004) - Peralta has a knack for merging shots together like he does. The greates part of this film of his is the relationship between the color onscreen and the music selection. It is beautiful, and far superior to last year's Step into Liquid.

The Dreamers (Bertolucci, 2004) - As I further explained in another thread, it's entirely self-infatuant and superficial in its supposed love for cinema, but redeems itself by expertly captures familial relationships, culture clashes, and has an excellent conclusion. Not a worthless effort.

The Real Cancun (Oliveira, 2003) - Think about this: the one thing the characters overcome is turning a kid who has been sober his whole life into a drunkard, who says "I want some boobies!" every five minutes. This could be taken as a study of the degrading youth, but the director, in fact, glamorizes the behavior, and targets it at the same people endangered in it. Another MTV production.

I, Robot (Proyas, 2004) - Amazing special effects, but unlike Spider-Man 2, it lacks a narrative and storytelling abilities. As a result, it cannot get away with the cheesiness its fellow picture does, and turns out to be quite a waste of time.

Quiz Show (Redford, 1994) - An engaging study on the changes of the human psychology when it has its eyes on money. Expertly performed and directed, it's certainly one of the best of what was a great year in film.

Being There (Ashby, 1979) - Peter Sellers in another darkly funny role, but, like so many others I watched this week, it cops out at the end. Still likeably entertaining, though.

Repeat Viewings

Girl with a Pearl Earring (Webber, 2003) - Second - Now that I've seen it, I concentrated more on the sullen imagery and frequent use of the beautiful score, and how they allow the film to progress. It deeply relies on its visuals, and ironically, always prevails as a result.

Whale Rider (Caro, 2003) - Third - Is there anything more pleasant than to sit down and be uplifted by Pai's story? I have my doubts.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 07.20.2004 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:


Cape Fear (Thompson, 1962) - Am I the only one who didn't like it? The main character is so unlikeable, despite Gregory Peck's best efforts, I couldn't get involved, especially in the third act. I'm interested in Scorsese's remake now, though.


I agree that the movie's greatest weakness lies in only allowing Peck's character to be a take-charge manly man, but Mitchum's villain is so gloriously beastly it made up for it. Yeah, I wanted Max Cady to win. Twisted Evil
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mfritschel wrote:
Station Agent (McCarthy, 2003) - I really don't know what to make of this movie. The story interested me at times and the characters were compelling, but never really proved or did anything.


I'm not sure the "story" of The Station Agent matters nearly as much as its tone: The main subject, loneliness, isn't approached through plot so much as through personality, silence, and mood. The real story takes place in the relaxed space between dialogue, between events, between idiosyncrasies. What does it prove? At the very least, it observes how human connections are possible, how friendship is valuable, how life's small moments are often its most beautiful, and how some filmmakers still believe in treating their characters with humanity, generosity, and compassion. I'd say that's doing a lot.

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree fully with Beltmann. One of my favorites of last year.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
I'm not sure if that scene is in the theatrical cut, since it's actually a setup for the director's-cut ending.


Does anyone know how the theatrical cut ended? I'm curious.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
I'm not sure if that scene is in the theatrical cut, since it's actually a setup for the director's-cut ending.


Does anyone know how the theatrical cut ended? I'm curious.


SPOILER (natch) The theatrical cut ends with Kutcher's character being intentially cruel to Smart's when the two first meet in junior high, preventing their friendship and removing him from her life. The denoument portrays a brief chance encounter between the two years later as adults, which serves to imply that Smart's character turns out okay.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:


SPOILER (natch) The theatrical cut ends with Kutcher's character being intentially cruel to Smart's when the two first meet in junior high, preventing their friendship and removing him from her life. The denoument portrays a brief chance encounter between the two years later as adults, which serves to imply that Smart's character turns out okay.


I watched the last few minutes of the theatrical cut. That ending was executed well, and I can see why the studio went with that one -- it's bittersweet, wistful, kinda sad, but also reassuring and hopeful. The director's-cut ending is also hopeful, but also more tragic. Overall, I'd say the director's-cut ending is the better one, but it wouldn't have worked without the palm-reader scene and Kutcher's mom's revelation to him -- which, I just read on the IMDb, are scenes that weren't included in the theatrical cut. I think The Butterfly Effect had the potential to be pretty damn good. Too bad.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:


I watched the last few minutes of the theatrical cut. That ending was executed well, and I can see why the studio went with that one -- it's bittersweet, wistful, kinda sad, but also reassuring and hopeful.


I felt the same way. I haven't watched the director's cut yet, and I'm curious to see it. (Is the theatrical ending not included on the DVD?)
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I felt the same way. I haven't watched the director's cut yet, and I'm curious to see it. (Is the theatrical ending not included on the DVD?)


The DVD includes both versions of the movie. It's one of New Line's "infinifilm" DVDs, and it's high-quality and feature-packed. I didn't have time to check out the extras, though.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool DVDs are truly the best thing to happen to movie-lovers since the advent of home video, don't ya think?
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matt header
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I envy your sheer magnitude of movie-watching, Danny; I've seen a paltry two movies this week! I've been somewhat busy finishing a film, however, and I just finished editing it earlier this afternoon, so surely August will be a month of ceaseless movie-watching.

Napoleon Dynamite (Hess, 2004) Although much of the film's comedy stems from how goofy its characters act, its celebration of the eternal outcast (showcased by a shot at the high school prom in which Napoleon, Pedro, and Deb are lit halo-like from above as they watch everyone else dance) never allows the movie to be mean-spirited. Unfortunately, I also didn't find it consistently funny, which is problematic when straight-out comedy seems to be the movie's main intention.

Before Sunrise (Linklater, 1995) I'm seeing Sunset on Thursday and had to see this first. A conversation piece in which two strangers meet, get to know each other, fall in love, and part ways; it maintains a remarkably naturalistic spell, and very little of the dialogue seems staged. I especially appreciated how neither character is an angelic sweetheart; there are unlikeable things about both of them, and that humanity makes them even more likeable.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
I envy your sheer magnitude of movie-watching, Danny; I've seen a paltry two movies this week! I've been somewhat busy finishing a film, however, and I just finished editing it earlier this afternoon, so surely August will be a month of ceaseless movie-watching.


If I had had time for three more, I could've beat my week's record. But, I have nothing to do in the days of summer, thankfully. Unfortunately, I do not yet have a driver's liscence and my parents won't allow me to walk the four miles to the theatre due to the busy roads. I would, though.
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HoRRoRFaN
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PostPosted: 07.21.2004 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Before Sunrise (Linklater, 1995) I'm seeing Sunset on Thursday and had to see this first. A conversation piece in which two strangers meet, get to know each other, fall in love, and part ways; it maintains a remarkably naturalistic spell, and very little of the dialogue seems staged. I especially appreciated how neither character is an angelic sweetheart; there are unlikeable things about both of them, and that humanity makes them even more likeable.


The very fact that both of the characters, throughout the course of the movie, find flaws in each other is one of the reasons why the film works as effectively as it does methinks. One of these moments is when Ethan Hawke's Jesse makes the comment about the poet, who writes the poem including his word of choice. When he finishes the poem and reads it to him and Julie Delpy, she is so touched and moved by it -- but soon after walking away from him, he comments on how he probably didn't even write the poem. Linklater directed a few movies that I respect and enjoy, such as DAZED AND CONFUSED, WAKING LIFE, and TAPE (which also is graced with a great Hawke performance), but I can't even explain why this Linklater film and the sequel left such a sublime impression on me. BEFORE SUNRISE is great, but its sequel is a masterpiece and one of my favorite films of the year. This year was pretty disappointing to me aside from a few films, and BEFORE SUNSET sticks out the most probably. I've seen it twice already, and I can't wait to see it again.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.22.2004 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:


I watched the last few minutes of the theatrical cut. That ending was executed well, and I can see why the studio went with that one -- it's bittersweet, wistful, kinda sad, but also reassuring and hopeful.


Hearing NW talk about it makes me glad I didn't watch it. That seems far too conventional for its own good. Right before watching the movie, I was about to pop on here and ask which you guys watch when both versions are present, and don't much want to view the movie twice. I never thought to do what Michael did, but I'm not interested enough to rent it again.
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