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What did you watch this week?
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The Third M?n
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Joined: 09 Sep 2003
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Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 09.11.2003 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Me too. What I like best about Pi is the idea that here is a man who knowingly and willingly risks his own sanity in order to pursue his obsessions, his convictions. Personal sacrifice is acceptable to him because it is in the service of a higher purpose--it helps him feel that his life transcends mediocrity.

Frankly, I think the movie expertly uses extremes to depict a sensibility that a lot of us around here can relate to.



Very well said. The themes and story of Pi are very often ignored when they're in fact some of the best components of the film. That said, the visual style is very, very impressive indeed.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, after adjusting to the first few days of school. Here they are! (in reverse order, and I doan't really know why).............

Friday, 09/12

The 400 Blows (dir. Francois Truffaut, 1959, France)

Thursday, 09/11

The Magdalene Sisters (dir. Peter Mullan, 2003, Scotland)

Jaws (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1975, USA; 7th viewing)

Wednesday, 09/10

American Beauty (dir. Sam Mendes, 1999, USA; 3rd viewing)

Tuesday, 09/09

Citizen Kane (dir. Orson Welles, 1941, USA; 2nd viewing)

Kandahar (dir. Mohsen Makmalbaf, 2001, Iran/France)

Monday, 09/08

Man With a Movie Camera (dir. Dziga Vertov, USSR, 1929)

Mothlight (dir. Stan Brakhage, USA, 1963)

Speed (dir. Jan de Bont, USA, 1994; 3rd viewing)

Sunday, 09/07

Japon (dir. Carlos Reygadas, Mexico, 2003)

Friday, 09/05

American Splendor (dirs. Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini, USA, 2003)

Out of these, Man With a Movie Camera, The 400 Blows, Citizen Kane, and Japon were definite high points; American Beauty, Kandahar, and American Splendor are all clever and interesting; and I found Speed (which I used to love) and Mothlight quite disappointing.

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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How the hell do you get to see more than two movies every day with school and all? Shocked

Oh and would you like to share your thoughts on Citizen Kane?
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just watched On the Waterfront. So what did I think of it? It was an example of virtuoso filmmaking; Marlon Brando delivered one of the most splendid performances of his entire career, Kazan's direction was splendid and Berstein's music was a work of art itself. Oh, and the ending was wonderful. *****/*****
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waterfront is difficult not to view within context of HUAC and Kazan's decision to name names. I have a hard time with it, even though I think Kazan builds a fairly compelling defense for his own actions.

Still, Kazan ranks among my very favorite American filmmakers. Consider this list of genuine masterpieces: Streetcar Named Desire, East of Eden, America America, Man on a Tightrope, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. That last one is often called sentimental, as if that neutral description carries an inherently negative connotation. I think it is expert sentiment, and has a lot to say about postwar Americana and--watching it now--this country's need to bronze nostalgia.

Streetcar is fascinating on many levels, including Kazan's background as a stage director: Brando helps inaugurate naturalism, while Leigh argues for the power of traditional theatrics. It's like watching a duel of disparate acting styles. Rather than implode, the movie gains from the conflict. I should add that most of Kazan's films highly benefit from his ability to elicit intense performances.

I also like Wild River, Splendor in the Grass, A Face in the Crowd, and, to a lesser degree, Gentleman's Agreement.

Must reading for all film fans is Kazan's autobiography, A Life, which lavishes many words on the beauty of acting.

Eric
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matt header
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason for my being able to see more than one movie a day with school is quite simple: I have no life. Jusk kidding - a number of those were actually required viewing for my film classes.

"Citizen Kane" is a great, great, great film - not one of my favorites, but intelligent, innovative, important, and very grand. The cinematography throughout is absolutely stunning, using oblique camera angles that were quite bizarre for its time (I love the shot of Kane typing up Leland's review of Susan's opera in extreme close-up, while Leland staggers up behind him in the distance; somehow, both are perfectly in focus, and the image isn't distorted). The music is compelling and cynical (the first time the musical score was completed before filming of the movie began, I'm pretty sure), and the dialogue usually has a power that remains realistic to the characters.

Most amazing are the themes, though: Can a man's life really be summed up by one word? When we see "Rosebud," does that explain everything? Was Kane a man incapable of love, except for money? Or did he only want love, but didn't know how to get it, or receive it? At what point did his carefree lifestyle (dropping out of several colleges, buying the Inquirer "as a lark") turn into a conquest for greed? The only scene in the movie that isn't channeled through a newspaperman (the "News on the March" sequence, the investigations by Thompson) is Kane's death. Is that the only time he is "free" of greed and expectation? The flashback structure in itself is perfectly coordinated.

I do have a problem with a few scenes, especially the one where Kane first meets Susan in her apartment; Dorothy Comingore's performance here is perhaps overly theatrical, which would be fine, except her wide-eyed screen star vibe doesn't really coincide with the rest of the scene. (She gets much better later in the movie.) But I gripe - "Citizen Kane" is a deserved American classic.

(I, too, love Kazan as a director, although his morals might be a bit shaky; "East of Eden" is my favorite of his. I think I should watch "A Streetcar Named Desire" again; I remember being disappointed.)
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Mark Dujsik
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Consider this list of genuine masterpieces: Streetcar Named Desire, East of Eden, America America, Man on a Tightrope, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. That last one is often called sentimental, as if that neutral description carries an inherently negative connotation. I think it is expert sentiment, and has a lot to say about postwar Americana and--watching it now--this country's need to bronze nostalgia.


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is my girlfriend's favorite film, and I'm inclined to agree that it's great. That's one that should be on DVD but sadly isn't.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

9/10-9/17

Nightstalker (Fisher, 2002) This might have been a passable serial killer movie if it hadn?t been based on a real serial killer. The jumpy editing, under cranked cameras, growls on the soundtrack, and the presence of the Nightstalker?s grinning, demonic doppelganger are effective for about five minutes, then simply suggest writer/director Chris Fisher has no idea how to present Rameriz?s madness. That might be bad enough, but the fake jumps and bad horror movie cliches are unforgivable. Also, I?m not overly familiar with the case, but it seems this movie has many facts wrong, and the lead character is suspiciously a little too much like Clarice Starling, even down the need to ?put her father?s death to rest,? as the script has her priest ham-handedly blurt out. A curiosity for enthusiasts of low-budget horror, maybe, but I wouldn?t recommend it to anyone else.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (Garnett, 1946) An okay movie. I was expecting to like it better, considering it?s a noir classic, but it just didn?t quite seem to get going until about the middle. I?ll try watching it again sometime. Anybody know how this compares to the remake with Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson? Anybody read the book?

Carrie (Carson, 2002) Up until the inane, panty-waist ending (was it just me or did anyone else get the feeling they were making a last-minute grab at a potential series?), this was a decent adaptation of King?s novel. Nowhere in the same league as De Palma?s, natch, but once you get past 30-year-olds playing high school students and the awful fade-outs for commercial (Can?t they edit those out for DVD? Sheesh.) it?s a pretty respectable, if not exactly necessary, flick. Better than The Rage: Carrie 2, anyway. Angela Bettis was better in May, though. And I do have to question the wisdom of transplanting the irrational hostility toward Carrie from Chris to Billy.



Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Rodriguez, 2003) One of the best popcorn flicks of the summer, jut behind Pirates of the Caribbean. Great, convoluted storyline that was fun to get lost in, ass-kickin? near-parody action sequences, hysterical one-liners and visual gags, and Johnny Depp, who is quickly becoming another Chris Walken to me, if you know what I mean. A hoot. Makes me want to see El Mariachi and Desperado again, right now.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.13.2003 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
I love the shot of Kane typing up Leland's review of Susan's opera in extreme close-up, while Leland staggers up behind him in the distance; somehow, both are perfectly in focus, and the image isn't distorted.


That's deep focus, a technique Toland was experimenting with even prior to Kane. Welles usually gets the credit for it--that's the auteur theory at work--but check out Long Voyage Home to see what Toland was up to.

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 09.14.2003 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the last five days, I only saw two movies--Matchstick Men and Malibu's Most Wanted. Bleh. School slows down everything, and apparantly, alters my ability to pick good movies.

You know what's even worse? I sat through the mezmerizing Winged Migration two weeks ago in the country's 8th oldest theatre (I think), with a screen that's the size of some of the new TVs that are coming out, chairs that are hard as rock, and the film went out two times (it took the projectionist 3 minutes to fix it each time). Now, I learn it's exclusively playing on Pay-Per-View. What I raw deal. Tough luck, I guess.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.14.2003 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:


Carrie (Carson, 2002) Up until the inane, panty-waist ending (was it just me or did anyone else get the feeling they were making a last-minute grab at a potential series?), this was a decent adaptation of King?s novel. Nowhere in the same league as De Palma?s, natch, but once you get past 30-year-olds playing high school students and the awful fade-outs for commercial (Can?t they edit those out for DVD? Sheesh.) it?s a pretty respectable, if not exactly necessary, flick. Better than The Rage: Carrie 2, anyway. Angela Bettis was better in May, though. And I do have to question the wisdom of transplanting the irrational hostility toward Carrie from Chris to Billy.



What did you think of King's novel? I'm a big fan of his.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 09.14.2003 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carrie is a great book, and the movie is great until the climax. I agree with Matt. Somehow, every King adaptation is either great or awful, but this one falls in between.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.14.2003 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, but he wasn't talking about De Palma's version, was he? It was some cheapo made for TV one, (I've heard about it), given that it was made in 2000 and not in the '70s. Oh, and the greatest King adaptations are: The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption, Misery and Stand by Me and the aforementioned Carrie..

Pet Sematary (the novel's splendid) is an okay movie, but nothing special, really, while the rest of his movie adaptations are usually either so-so or just plain bad. IT, for instance, was appalling (and I'm not biased because I think the book's a near masterpiece).

Oh, and am I the only one who thinks that King normally sort of ruins his novels because of their weak endings?
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 09.14.2003 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OH OH! Sorry, my bad...writing reviews and reading posts isn't a good idea, if you're wondering.

I didn't even watch the TV run of that one, simply for that reason.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.14.2003 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
OH OH! Sorry, my bad...writing reviews and reading posts isn't a good idea, if you're wondering.



Huh? What, are you doing that simultaneously? Sorry, I don't really know what you meant there.
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