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Screening Log 2006 - What did you watch this week?
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 07.05.2006 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

6/26 - 7/3

Yeah...well...all those times I said I would try to post regularly throughout the year proved to not work out, but now that summer's in full gear, let's hope the boards perk up once again.

This week, in preferential order:

Superman Returns (Singer, 2006)

The Squid and the Whale (Baumbach, 2005)

Munich (Spielberg, 2005)

Running Scared (Kramer, 2006)

I saw Superman in Los Angeles when looking at colleges in the area, and, boy: you haven't lived until you have seen a movie in a 1,400 seat auditorium with one of the few super-super-high-definition digital projectors running in the country. That aside, I think the movie is one of the best of the year, and also perhaps the best in the Superman series. The gorgeous special effects notwithstanding, the part of the movie I admired the most was Kate Bosworth's Lois Lane, one of the few performances to date that serve as solid proof that comic-book movies can offer something more than just caricatures.

The Squid and the Whale is also terrific; although, even at a short hour and twenty five minutes, I kept feeling as though it was plauged by excess, especially during the totally unnessecary and ridiculously exploitive scenes featuring the Owen Kline character masturbating. Nevertheless, the performances are mesmerizing all around and the use of Baumbach's use of music is highly unique and additive.

Spielberg's Munich is a movie with ideas, certainly, but I thought the presentation was far too over-the-top to allow it to be interesting. Running Scared, on the other hand, is only interesting because it is over-the-top. I still can't get over the absurdity of the scenes in the murderous child pornographers' house.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 07.05.2006 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
now that summer's in full gear, let's hope the boards perk up once again.


I fear our current lull may be semi-permanent. We need some new blood, other than shills.

Miss your regular discourse, Danny. I think you, Michael, Jim, and I ought to take a road trip this August. We'll search out the whereabouts of NW and drop in unexpectedly.
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 143
Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 07.06.2006 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny has re-inspired me to post more often, starting today!!! Here is my recap of the past couple of weeks. In preferential order of course.

Syriana (Gaghan, 2005)

Why We Fight (Jarecki, 2006)

Cars (Lasseter, 2006)

Night Watch (Bekmambetov, 2006)

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Jones, 2006)

Glory Road (Gartner, 2006)

The Hills Have Eyes (Aja, 2006)

Running Scared (Kramer, 2006)

It was a repeat viewing of Syriana and I feel that I gleaned a little bit more from it this time, was able to pay a little bit better attention to it, and simply enjoyed a little bit more as I sit and watch the price of oil rise and the Middle East fall farther into turmoil. Why We Fight presented a very tilted view of the the American War machine, but did so that seemed a bit more balanced and acutally had such people as John McCain interviewed during the piece, thus giving it a bit more credibility then some of Michael Moore's attempts. Other than that Running Scared was just so over the top and completely deconstructed upon itself that by the end I was left in a stage of dumb shock.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 07.07.2006 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Miss your regular discourse, Danny. I think you, Michael, Jim, and I ought to take a road trip this August. We'll search out the whereabouts of NW and drop in unexpectedly.


Well, I have already--somehow--inspired two to hop back on. Now if only that NW were listening...
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: Pearland, TX

PostPosted: 07.07.2006 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Running Scared, on the other hand, is only interesting because it is over-the-top.


Like Ebert, I dug Running Scared's over-the-top absurdity. At least Wayne Kramer's nasty sadistic streak fit snugly within the film's nightmarish gangster-fairytale tone, unlike his awful previous film, The Cooler. I don't for a second buy into Armond White's suggestion that Running Scared is "full of moral consequence," but I enjoyed the ride a lot more than I expected.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 07.08.2006 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Scrutchin wrote:
Like Ebert, I dug Running Scared's over-the-top absurdity. At least Wayne Kramer's nasty sadistic streak fit snugly within the film's nightmarish gangster-fairytale tone, unlike his awful previous film, The Cooler.


I liked The Cooler more than Running Scared, but both have furthered my interest in Kramer.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 07.08.2006 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Scrutchin wrote:
his awful previous film, The Cooler.


Awful? Really? I at least enjoyed the performances a great deal.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 07.08.2006 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Michael Scrutchin wrote:
his awful previous film, The Cooler.


Awful? Really? I at least enjoyed the performances a great deal.


Oh, I liked the cast, too -- it's just everything else that killed it for me. But maybe "awful" is too strong a word.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 07.09.2006 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I head off on my four-day, coast-to-coast pilgrimage to look at NYU, I figure I will add that, during the past week, I saw:

Waist Deep (Hall, 2006)

The Devil Wears Prada (Frankel, 2006)

The former is actually rather good, contrary to what I was expecting, with some terrific work from Tyrese and Megan Good, both of whom are good actors who have appeared in all too many terrible films. The over-the-top ending and ridiculously-cut close-ups during the climax keep it from being a truly good film, but color me stunned: it's highly entertaining.

The latter is also enjoyable, but offers little of of the flashiness that Waist Deep does. I suppose it's cleverly written, but I chalk most of its brilliance up to the interaction between Meryl Streep and a pleasantly surprising Anne Hathaway. Some bizarrely amateurish continuity errors aside, I thoughroughly enjoyed its combination of bubbliness and brains.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 07.09.2006 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7/3 ? 7/9/06

Cimarron / Mann / USA / 1960

Anthony Mann?s sprawling adaptation of Edna Ferber?s novel casts Glenn Ford as a noble adventurer who helps settle an Oklahoma pioneer town, but this take doesn?t have the crusading spirit of the 1932 version that won Best Picture. It leaps from one episode to the next without building momentum nor a clear point-of-view, and it begs the question: Why hire Mann, the consummate artist of open spaces, and then limit him to ugly soundstages? Still, there are beautiful passages, spots of unflinching toughness, and welcome (but undeveloped) hints at how greed first infects individuals, and then entire communities.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 07.10.2006 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

July 1 - July 8, 2006



  • Match Point (Allen, 2005) B-

  • A Streetcar Named Desire (Kazan, 1951) B+

  • Til Death (Williams, 2006) F

  • Edge of Outside (Davis, 2006) C+

  • Alien (Scott, 1979) B

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Verbinski, 2006) C+



Despite its simplistic musings about luck, the uninspired recycling of Crimes and Misdemeanors, and a shiny surface so cold and humorless it borders on banality, Match Point is pretty damn compelling. Why does it work so well? Maybe because Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys-Myers are just too fucking hot. Yeah, I'll chalk it up to the performers, since everything else in Match Point has a been-there/done-that vibe that even Allen's clever final-act ironies and a surprisingly powerful ending can't quite overcome.

One of the things I love about Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire is the way Vivien Leigh's traditional theatricality and Marlon Brando's Method naturalism play off each other. The stark contrast in acting styles works because both styles fit the characters: Leigh's Blanche DuBois is always putting on a show, hiding her tortured past and sexual appetite under the guise of an innocent, proper Southern belle, while Brando's Stanley Kowalski is an explosive, unmannered brute who doesn't hide a damn thing.

Til Death is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I don't care to comment.

Turner Classic Movies' Edge of Outside, which premiered on TCM this past week, is a mundane, unfocused talking-heads doc about filmmaking on the fringes of Hollywood. There are some good segments on Fuller, Peckinpah, Ray, Cassavetes, and a couple of other directors, but Edge of Outside ultimately doesn't give much insight into any of them or how they got their films made ("He was a maverick, an outsider, always butting heads with studio execs, blah, blah, blah...") or "indie" filmmaking in general. For a documentary purporting to be about "independent cinema," most of filmmakers discussed were operating well within the Hollywood studio system. Not a total waste of time, but nothing really engaging, informative, or revelatory either.

I really like Alien's restrained minimalism and its effective, slow-building suspense, but the chest-bursting scene can never be intense or shocking after having seen Spaceballs. Damn you, Mel Brooks!

Watching Pirates from the front row is not recommended.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 07.10.2006 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Scrutchin wrote:
One of the things I love about Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire is the way Vivien Leigh's traditional theatricality and Marlon Brando's Method naturalism play off each other. The stark contrast in acting styles works because both styles fit the characters: Leigh's Blanche DuBois is always putting on a show, hiding her tortured past and sexual appetite under the guise of an innocent, proper Southern belle, while Brando's Stanley Kowalski is an unmannered brute who doesn't hide a damn thing.


That's precisely what I most admire about Streetcar, too.
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Jim Harper
Director


Joined: 29 Feb 2004
Posts: 226
Location: Totnes, Devon, UK

PostPosted: 07.10.2006 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

18/06/06 - 10/07/06

The Jacket (dir. John Maybury, 2005)*

Ju-on: The Grudge (dir. Takashi Shimizu, 2002)

Flashback (dir. Michael Karen, 2000)

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (dir. Joseph Zito, 1984)

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (dir. Tom McLoughlin, 1986)

Escape From L.A. (dir. John Carpenter, 1996)

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (dir. Rawson Marshall Thurber, 2004)*

The Tomb of Ligeia (dir. Roger Corman, 1964)*

The Phantom of the Opera (dir. Rupert Julian, 1925)*

Black Christmas (dir. Bob Clark, 1974)

Tesis (dir. Alejandro Amenabar, 1996)

The Devil?s Backbone (dir. Guillermo Del Toro, 2001)

Stir of Echoes (dir. David Koepp, 1999)

Phantom of the Opera (dir. Arthur Lubin, 1943)*

Mark of the Devil (dir. Michael Armstrong, 1970)

Fausto 5.0 (dir. Isidro Ortiz, 2001)*

The Resurrected (dir. Dan O?Bannon, 1992)*

The Hills Have Eyes (dir. Alexandre Aja, 2006)*

The Mask of Fu Manchu (dir. Charles Brabin, 1932)*

Dark Water (dir. Walter Salles, 2005)

Run Lola Run (dir. Tom Tykwer, 1998)

Poltergeist III (dir. Gary Sherman, 1988)

Twins of Evil (dir. John Hough, 1971)

Gamera, Guardian of the Universe (dir. Shusuke Kaneko, 1996)

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (dir. Joe Chappelle, 1995)

Anatomy 2 (dir. Stefan Ruzowitzky, 2003)

Dead & Buried (dir. Gary Sherman, 1980)

Day of the Dead (dir. George Romero, 1985)

Phantasm (dir. Don Coscarelli, 1979)

Phantasm II (dir. Don Coscarelli, 1988)

Unleashed (dir. Louis Leterrier, 2005)

May (dir. Lucky McGee, 2002)

Donnie Darko (dir. Richard Kelly, 2001)

House of Voices/Saint Ange (dir. Pascal Laugier, 2004)*

Red Eye (dir. Wes Craven, 2005)*

Das Experiment (dir. Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2001)

Eyes of a Stranger (dir. Ken Wiederhorn, 1981)

The Fifth Element (dir. Luc Besson, 1997)

Deadly Blessing (dir. Wes Craven, 1981)*

Hello folks. Lots of good new films over the past few weeks. The best is definitely Aja's The Hills Have Eyes, which is hands down the best of the 70s remakes/tributes of recent years, and proof (not that it's actually needed) that a remake doesn't have to suck. Aja sticks to the format of the original but ups the brutality stakes even further and provides, for the most part, a pretty exciting film. It confirms Aja's status as one the finest young horror directors working today, as well as possibly the best horror director France has ever produced (Jean Rollin can piss right off, to be quite honest). I suspect his next film will step away from the gore, and that he'll get crucified by the horror community for it. For me though, his next horror film is something I'm definitely looking forward to.

The Jacket was interesting and entertaining enough, with solid performances all round. The material is too familiar for it to be truly successful, but it's certainly better than The I Inside, a film that occupies similar territory. Good to see Fish (former Marillion singer) as a mental patient!

Dodgeball is a fun spoof of 80s sports movies. It's more entertaining than all the 80s spoofs of 80s sports movies, if you see what I mean.

Tomb of Ligeia is actually the weakest of the Corman-Poe-Price films, in my opinion. Too talky and considerably less visually interesting than the others.

The silent version of Phantom was excellent, but I was frankly bored by the Claude Rains version which I saw the next day. Less interesting in just about every way.

Fausto 5.0 is an entertaining Spanish take on the legend. It doesn't actually have much to say, but it's sleazy and stylish and often very funny indeed.

Dan O'Bannon's The Resurrected was a fun popcorn movie. Nothing staggering, but certainly not the worst Lovecraft adaptation I've seen recently.

Karloff's performance in The Mask of Fu Manchu is typically decent, but when he's not on screen the film is pretty forgettable, especially the bland Nayland Smith.

House of Voices is a recent French period ghost story, apparently modelled on The Others, but nowhere near as successful. It starts promisingly, but soon fades into alternate moments of tedium and confusion before the tension-free 'climax' rolls around.

I enjoyed Red Eye, even though it's alarmingly short. I'm not sure about the villain's capacity to recover from his wound, and he certainly sounds pretty silly afterwards, but the two central performances are excellent. Craven's Deadly Blessing had some fine moments in and some interesting images, but I can't escape the feeling that he really wasn't sure what he wanted to do with the film, particularly the ending.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
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PostPosted: 07.13.2006 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Scrutchin wrote:
Despite its simplistic musings about luck, the uninspired recycling of Crimes and Misdemeanors, and a shiny surface so cold and humorless it borders on banality, Match Point is pretty damn compelling. Why does it work so well? Maybe because Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys-Myers are just too fucking hot.


You think so? I can agree on Rhys-Meyers, but I will never understand the praise for Johansson, who I thought was absolutely awful. After Lost in Translation and A Love Song for Bobby Long, I really began to think she might be the next big star, but I found her to be so out of her league in the movie (compare her skills to those of Emily Mortimer) that I couldn't help but laugh at her over-acting.

Maybe she'll be able to make more of Allen-convention in Scoop, but I sort of doubt it.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 07.17.2006 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

7/10 ? 7/16/05

In preferential order:

Paradise Now / Hany Abu-Assad / Palestine / 2005

My Mother?s Smile / Marco Bellocchio / Italy / 2002

The Tall Target / Anthony Mann / USA / 1951

16 Blocks / Richard Donner / USA / 2006

Cinderella / Geronimi, Jackson, and Luske / USA / 1950

The Pink Panther / Shawn Levy / USA / 2006

Tango & Cash / Andrei Konchalovsky / USA / 1989

The Bamboo Blonde / Anthony Mann / USA / 1946

Wide Sargasso Sea / John Duigan / Australia / 1993

Cobra / George P. Cosmatos / USA / 1986

I very much enjoyed the first four, thought Cinderella was merely okay, and then believed the remainder to be quite dreadful.
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