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What did you watch this week?
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JoeE
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Joined: 07 Aug 2003
Posts: 43
Location: Athens, GA

PostPosted: 08.09.2003 2:25 am    Post subject: What did you watch this week? Reply with quote

I've seen several sites with threads like this and they're not always interesting but with the potent personalities (and elevated tastes!) that dwell here I'd actually LIKE to know what you folks are watching. It tends to spawn discussion and remind you of things youve been meaning to check out...

This week I saw:

Bread and Roses (Loach)

Even Dwarves Started Small (Herzog)

The Last Movie (Hopper)

The Brothers Quay: Ten Astonishing Short Films

Irreversable (Noe)

What Time Is It There? (Tsai Ming-Liang)

Tully

Another Day in Paradise (Clark)

Skins (Eyre)

MASH (Altman)

Hamlet (Almereyda)

Talk To Her (Almodovar)

(As a consultant with an irregular schedule, it's feast or famine with my film diet... this was a good week. Smile )
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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: 08.09.2003 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, I love the Brothers Quay. Haven't watched the DVD this week, but I prolly oughta.

This week I watched:

Planet of the Vampires (Bava)

SWAT (some guy)

Shower (sum gai)

The Night Holds Terror (some guy w/ Cassavetes in the cast)

That's how elevated my taste is. Wink
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 08.09.2003 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New this week:

Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky In Our Times (Junkerman, 2003)

Umberto D. (De Sica, 1952)

Confidentially Yours (Truffaut, 1983)

Ararat (Egoyan, 2002)

American Wedding (Dylan, 2003)

Spider (Cronenberg, 2002)

Zatoichi's Vengeance (Tokuzo, 1966)

Baptism of Solitude: A Tribute to Paul Bowles (Hurley, 2002?)

Cousin Bette (McAnuff, 1998)

Gigli (Brest, 2003)

Brother's Keeper (Berlinger and Sinofksy, 1992)

The strongest was Umberto D., and yes, Gigli is as bad as they say. Most disappointing was Power and Terror, because I generally find Chomsky to be enlightening but here he was glib and surprisingly disinterested in scholarly support for his notions. (Frequently his defense was simply, "Everyone knows this...")

I also re-watched Magnolia with two friends who had never seen it. Under those circumstances, it's like screening it fresh--you watch with their eyes, rather than your own. I still think Anderson allows his actors too much leeway (especially in the second half), but that flaw is dwarfed by the film's overall brilliance; it's a hypnotic experience.

Eric
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matt header
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 08.09.2003 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, I need to see more movies. These are the only new ones I've caught this week:

Spider (Cronenberg)

American History X (Kaye)

Detroit Rock City (Rifkin)

Seabiscuit (Ross)

Scotland, Pa. (Morrisette)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford)

Solaris (Soderbergh; still haven't seen the Tarkovsky version, tragically)

I enjoyed The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance very much, especially the way it commented on the screen personalities of John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart as well as their characters themselves. Seabiscuit, also, is one of the best movies of the year so far.

Matt
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 08.09.2003 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, I got to see "Spider." Croneneberg's my favorite director alongside Lynch.

Tarkovsky's "Solaris" is really good, but be sure to have a pot of coffee handy while you're watching it.
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 08.09.2003 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surprisingly, I just began creating a new Screening Log (I was awful at keeping one before) for just this reason. I've seen a ton of crap this week, some good movies are on the way from Netflix soon, though.
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 08.09.2003 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I watched over the past 10 days:



  • Gilda (Vidor, 1946)

    Would be a decent but forgettable noir if not for the scorching presence of Rita Hayworth. Yow.

  • The Firemen's Ball (Forman, 1967)

    Strikes a tone similar to Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, with its mixture of light, humanistic humor and pathos. It's an enjoyable 70 minutes, but it's already fading from my memory.

  • Rebel Without a Cause (Ray, 1955)

    Saw this one as a kid, revisiting. Not great, but I still dig it.

  • Network (Lumet, 1976)

    Some say that Network is too talky, too obvious in its satire, but I think I loved it. I literally got chills during Peter Finch's "mad as hell" speech.

  • American Wedding (Dylan, 2003)

    Take away my film geek badge: I liked it. It's a bit too over-the-top even for the American Pie series (Seann William Scott's Stifler seems like a parody of the character he played in the first two), but there are some funny bits -- and, hey, Eugene Levy rocks.

  • American Graffiti (Lucas, 1973)

    Another one I saw as a kid. A good example of what Tarantino would call a "hangout movie," but I don't like it nearly as much one of its obvious descendants, Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused. Still lots of fun, though, and a great early rock 'n' roll soundtrack. It's certainly my favorite George Lucas film.

  • Lawrence of Arabia (Lean, 1962)

    And I waited so long to see this because...?



EDIT: Now I'm getting started on most of Francois Truffaut's films available at Netflix, in chronological order. Yes, I shamefully admit, I'm a Truffaut virgin.
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 08.10.2003 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could we tolerate life sans Netflix?

As a (nearly) lifelong Wisconsinite, I've been a film student in a land with sparse access to the movies that matter. I remember long years scavenging the back corners of libraries, small video stores, and rummage sales, just to get my hands on significant works. For example, I recall finding, a decade ago, Battleship Potemkin, Rashomon, Paths of Glory, The Virgin Spring, Napolean, and Intolerance (among others) stacked in a dusty, forgotten room at the Green Bay Public Library. Thankfully, Netflix has made our task exponentially easier.

Michael, feel fortunate that Netflix has made your Truffaut quest simple. I spent many years slowly tracking down most of his works. (My first was his first, The 400 Blows, which I rented at my local Blockbuster in 1992; a few months later bought the exact same VHS copy pre-viewed for $4--and I still have it.) Netflix has allowed me to fill in a few gaps. Still, I sorta miss the old days of trolling for good stuff--there was a sense of ecstatic discovery, of palpable gratitude, that simply doesn't exist with Netflix.

I'll add The Eye to my week's list. Enjoyable, although clearly derivative of both Sixth Sense and Ringu. (I liked it more than either Ringu or its American remake.)

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 08.10.2003 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still prefer the good 'ol video store, but Netflix is cheaper and has a better selection. I gave up on Blockbuster and Hollywood Video after the late fees had just amounted to too much.
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JoeE
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Joined: 07 Aug 2003
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Location: Athens, GA

PostPosted: 08.10.2003 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've got a rental haus near me that is owned and run by film enthusiasts. It's been in business for years and has thousands of titles.

It's truely a marvel of a store. Sections include the usual drama, thriller, comedy, western and horror/sci-fi, as well as, about 30 director spolight sections ranging from Scorsese and Altman to Fassbinder, Kore-eda and Wong Kar-wai. Plus: Foreign, classic, cult, blaxploitation, The Critierion Collection Series, Independant, animation and a few more. I went in the other day and they had just gotten Kieslowski's Decalogue on DVD and 4 copies of Irreversable (actually they've had an import for awhile). They totally rock and if I ever get real rich I'm going to buy the place.

The most unbelievable thing is all non-new releases are 5 titles for 5 days for 5 dollars! It makes it real easy to be a film glutton. All you need is the time.
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matt header
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 08.10.2003 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds like the greatest building in the world. I've lived in small-town West Bend for fifteen years now (although I was at Madison for a year, and I'll soon be in Milwaukee), and though our library has some treasures (The General, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Napoleon), it's definitely not the number one option for classic film collecting. Some of my favorite memories have been going to the Virgin Record Store in Chicago every couple of months, where I've gotten some films I've heard were necessary (The Bicycle Thief, The Seventh Seal, The Seven Samurai). Still, I'd rather not drive in one of the most heavily trafficked cities in America every couple of months just to buy a movie, no matter how much I love them. I gotta join Netflix.

Matt
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 08.10.2003 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Still, I'd rather not drive in one of the most heavily trafficked cities in America every couple of months just to buy a movie, no matter how much I love them.


Wouldn't a Borders or Barnes & Noble in Milwaukee be just as useful? And of course there's always Amazon.com, which has the best overall selection (at least for Region 1 releases), or eBay.

Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 08.10.2003 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny, I just clicked on the link to your Screening Log and found this quote: "If you do rent it, try to get the full-screen edition of the DVD, though. Widescreen isn't necessary." Say what? Isn't widescreen always necessary?

In the Humanities class I teach, I transition from painting to cinema by placing a slide of the "Mona Lisa" up, and then positioning a frame over it that covers the top and bottom. Since the frame still enables us to see her face, we can still see the "story" of the piece, so I argue that the chopping is of no consequence. The students always argue (correctly, of course) that the top and bottom are indeed significant--if they weren't, da Vinci wouldn't have bothered to paint them. After that, convincing my students that a pan-and-scan movie isn't really the movie isn't too difficult.

The fringes of a frame may not directly relate to the "narrative," but they are still there for a reason, as any cinematographer would vociferously insist. This is true whether the film is Lawrence of Arabia or Bringing Down the House, since in each case a cinematographer worked very hard to carefully compose each and every shot.

Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 08.10.2003 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Danny, I just clicked on the link to your Screening Log and found this quote: "If you do rent it, try to get the full-screen edition of the DVD, though. Widescreen isn't necessary." Say what? Isn't widescreen always necessary?


I think Danny just needs a bigger TV. It's not much fun watching a film with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on a small TV. So much detail is lost you might as well opt for the full frame version because, hey, at least you'll be able to see the image more clearly, even if you don't see the entire image. Not that I'm defending the evils of pan-and-scan...
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 08.10.2003 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is Bringing Down the House we're talking about, Michael. On a few things that really don't need spectacular cinematography (or even great quality) I'd rather watch the full-frame version. Most things need widescreen, but there are some exceptions. I was watching it on a 42" TV, too, and that's pretty big.
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