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Best Movies of 2003 (What're your picks?)
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 01.19.2004 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang, I forgot LOTR for some reason, here's the revised list:

Alien: Director?s Cut

Whale Rider

Open Range

May

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Holes

Kill Bill Vol. 1

28 Day Later

Pirates of the Caribbean

Identity

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matt header
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Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 01.19.2004 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last night I saw "Bus 174," an overwhelming, passionate, and heartbreaking documentary from Brazil that would make my list. Here's the revised version:

1. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Weir)

2. Lost in Translation (Coppola)

3. Whale Rider (Caro)

4. Elephant (Van Sant)

5. Capturing the Friedmans (Jarecki)

6. Bus 174 (Padilha)

7. All the Real Girls (Green)

8. Winged Migration (Perrin)

9. Kill Bill: Volume 1 (Tarantino)

10. Raising Victor Vargas (Sollett)
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 01.19.2004 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm dying to see Bus 174! Where did you see it, Matt?

Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 01.19.2004 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mfritschel wrote:
Here we go:

1. Elephant (Van Sant)


I sadly admit I missed Elephant during its brief Milwaukee run. I had other obligations that week, and it just didn't work out. I was really bugged about it, too, because that was on the short list of films I'm most interested to see.

Eric
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matt header
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PostPosted: 01.20.2004 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:

Quote:
I'm dying to see Bus 174! Where did you see it, Matt?


Oh, man - if you rush you still have a couple days to see it. It has a one-week exclusive engagement at the Times Cinema at 5906 Vliet Street in Milwaukee (one of my favorite all-time theaters). Friday is the last day it's showing; it plays nightly at 7:00 and 9:15. I hope you can make it there in time! It's definitely worth the effort.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 01.20.2004 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yikes. That's not gonna happen. This is finals week, and I'm swamped with grading, planning, etc. Hopefully it will make it to video soon, or play elsewhere after the exlusive engagement expires. (That's unlikely, though.) Thanks for the info, anyway--I hadn't checked the Times schedule lately.

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 02.01.2004 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EDIT: Link
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.06.2004 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Indeed, I wasn't a huge fan of "Ararat" - intellectually it's intriguing, but its elaborate intelligence sort of diluted the emotion to me, turning a tragic historic event into something of a dull head-trip exercise. I can admire it, but I can't quite love it.


I meant to respond a while back... I can't agree that Ararat turns a tragic historic event into an exercise, because I don't think the movie is about the Armenian extermination. Instead, it's about the ripple effects of such a tragedy, about how the psychological and social ramifications--especially in terms of identity--seep down through the generations, mutating into new strains of disaffection and dislocation. To do that subject justice, I think a certain "elaborate intelligence" is required. If you felt the movie contained "diluted emotion," well, then I can see your point. (Emotion can't be measured objectively.) For me, though, the emotion was intensified as a direct result of the intellectual jockeying--I felt that Egoyan was gingerly exploring a difficult aspect of humanity rarely represented in the movies, and I was touched.

Eric
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matt header
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PostPosted: 02.06.2004 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can admire it for every single point you brought up. If the movie isn't about the Armenian extermination specifically (I agree with that theory), it still sort of put me off how he uses the tragic remnants of the event as a catapult for his social-generational analysis. The themes he brings up - how any past instance of terrible tragedy seeps through generations, how people can still (perhaps subliminally) have animosity for the cultures that once oppressed them - are striking in their newness. I used "elaborate intelligence" in a derogatory-sounding manner, which is simply stupid: a movie should never be criticized for trying to expand its intelligent viewpoints. Rather, it seemed to me that Egoyan was intentionally trying to suppress the emotional implications of the Armenian extinction so he could play with it methodically and thematically. Could he not have addressed similar issues while retaining a very tangible emotional relationship between past and present? This is, of course, simply a matter of taste: whereas you were touched emotionally by Egoyan's creative and profound addressing of prescient topics, I was emotionally distracted - even bored - by the layers of art vs. reality, then vs. now, fact vs. fiction. I'm not saying it's damning for a movie to try to address such complex, sometimes-confusing issues; but the way that Egoyan does so, by using a very real historical tragedy as a springboard and then practically ignoring the springboard that set him off, seems to ignore the full potential of his ideas.

If anything, could the movie have gone on for at least another hour, so that Egoyan could more ably juggle his many political, social, emotional, and historical issues?
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.06.2004 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
I'm not saying it's damning for a movie to try to address such complex, sometimes-confusing issues; but the way that Egoyan does so, by using a very real historical tragedy as a springboard and then practically ignoring the springboard that set him off, seems to ignore the full potential of his ideas.


I can certainly see where you are coming from, and while a fuller investigation of the genocide might have yielded an even better film, I'm not sure that examination is necessary. I like to believe that the snapshots we receive are enough to transmit the reality of the tragedy--intellectually, we all comprehend the nature of genocide, oppression, and ethnic cleansing, and Egoyan is less interested in giving us yet another sensationalized "holocaust" re-enactment than in delivering the next logical step. And let's give him credit: It is infinitely more difficult (and rewarding) to explore the issues of "art vs. reality, then vs. now, fact vs. fiction" than to merely show us yet another round of human beings in the gas chambers. I doubt more specific information about the Armenian massacre would have improved my understanding of those themes. And if the event remains relatively abstract for viewers, then that usefully mimics how the event feels for the characters, who are by several generations at a remove from the actual genocide.

I don't want to sound dismissive; I think re-creations can have great value--Schindler's List and The Pianist are masterpieces--but I don't think every artist trying to engage with the subject of genocide must follow the established, expected route, especially since we already have learned the lessons of Spielberg and Polanski. To use an anology: When I begin Trigonometry, I don't need to review pre-algebra. A starting knowledge and understanding can be assumed, and built upon.

Eric
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matt header
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PostPosted: 02.07.2004 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey all you Milwaukeeans! "City of God" is playing at an exclusive engagement at the Prospect Mall Theatre on the corner of Prospect and North. This is interesting because I'm pretty sure it hasn't played in Milwaukee until now (and for some reason, only at Prospect Theatre, which - despite how much I enjoy going there - isn't the best in the area). In any case, that's very cool, and I can't wait to see it.

By the way, this is in this thread because I wasn't sure where else to put it, and this seemed as good a place as any.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.07.2004 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coolage. I'll be at the Oriental Saturday night ("Triplets"), but maybe I can make time to catch "City of God," too. Strange choice for an exclusive engagement. My guess? Distributors wanted an East Side venue, and the usual suspects--Times, UWM, the two Landmarks--were all booked up.

Eric
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matt header
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PostPosted: 02.07.2004 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'll be at the Prospect soon - maybe I'll take a doubleheader with "Barbershop 2," which is also there. I really enjoyed the first one.

Hey, I'll also be working Saturday night - hopefully I'll see you there.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 02.07.2004 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a little unhappy about the City of God rerelease. While I could've waited a week for the DVD, I now have to go on an excursion to catch it before June. Sad
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.13.2004 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt, did you manage to see City of God? I noticed that as of tomorrow (Friday), it's no longer at the Prospect but at Northtown (kinda at 76th & Good Hope). That's substantially closer for me (25 min rather than 45), so I'm pleased. Hopefully I can catch it this weekend.

Eric
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