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What did you watch this week?
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 04.30.2004 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mfritschel wrote:
Malcolm X (Lee) - I can't imagine how you went and saw that in the ghetto Eric and made it out of theatre alive.


I had a similar experience with Menace II Society, where I was the sole white guy in a nearly sold-out show. As far as I could tell, there were only 4 empty seats in the entire auditorium, and they were the 2 to my left and the 2 to my right. But I'm always equally fascinated by the sociological dimensions of spectatorship as I am the cinema itself.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 05.02.2004 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The exact same for me and my dad with Undisputed.
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 05.03.2004 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4/26 ? 5/2/04



Carnages (Gleize, France 2002)

Midnight (Leisen 1939)

The Big Animal (Stuhr, Poland 2000)

Jap?n (Reygadas, Mexico 2002)

Mean Girls (Waters 2004)

Nightmusic (Brakhage 1986)

Rage Net (Brakhage 1988)

Mona Lisa Smile (Newell 2003)

Dogville (Von Trier, Denmark 2003)

Dirtie Basterdz (Gleize, France 1998)

A Castle in Spain (Gleize, France 1999)



I was struck by how skillfully Gleize reduced the function of plot and script in Carnages?she gets the movie floating by on visual and thematic rhymes. The Big Animal and Jap?n both carry impressive cinematic pedigrees (the first was scripted by Kieslowski before he died, the second has been hailed as part of the recent Mexican renaissance), but I?d argue that both are slight pictures that primarily coast on cachet.



I?m not sure I can think of two more divergent pictures than Mona Lisa Smile and Dogville?one features overly simplistic representations, while the other manufactures a dense, complex system of symbols and metaphors?yet to me they tread common ground: Both are mired in dubious and borderline intractable gender and moral politics.



As the townspeople in Dogville become convinced their generosity entitles them to debase ?Grace,? it?s tempting to read the film as a critique of how the U.S. extends international assistance but then uses that aid as leverage?as if our charity entitles us to assimilate or enslave entire cultures. Quite honestly, though, I was far more willing to read the film as a universal parable about Puritan cruelties and the insidious nature of droit de signeur practices, primarily because Von Trier?s political coding is too muddled to really say much of anything. Considered as mere parable, Dogville, which uses its artificial setting to great aesthetic advantage, is probably some kind of bold, provocative genius. Unfortunately, the final chapter, which seems to suggest that only circumstance separates victims from victimizers, is more difficult to justify and is much easier to read as boneheaded allegory. And the closing montage, which features photos of real Depression-era suffering, is entirely inappropriate.



Eric
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stefanieduckwitz
Director


Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 295
Location: West Bend

PostPosted: 05.03.2004 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Battling Butler

The Day The Earth Stood Still

Saving Private Ryan

Ghost World

Gettysburg

The Haunted Mansion

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The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 05.03.2004 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This week I've seen:



Schindler's List ~ 10

Jules et Jim ~ 10

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ~ 10

Blazing Saddles~ 8



As for Schindler's List (I finally saw it):



A ravishing, majestic and gloriously filmed portrayal of the Holocaust, Spielberg's unrepeatable film plunges you right in the middle of the chaos of something that should never occur again. Liam Neeson gives a subtle performance as Oskar Schindler, the man whose inner strength made him save the lives of countless Jews. This is a film as unflinching as they come, both horrific and brutal, but exceedingly rewarding in the end. Spielberg's direction is well-handled, showing us the events as they were, with a serene, honest sight, John William's sweeping score is moving and brilliant and Janusz Kaminski's cinematography is some of the finest I have ever come to witness.



Schindler's List is not a film that you can "like" -- like all good art, it is a film that you admire and appreciate above all, a work that has left a prfound scar within you, and will most likely never fade. This is a film which opens your eyes.
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Fred C. Dobbs
Director


Joined: 11 Mar 2004
Posts: 201
Location: New York

PostPosted: 05.03.2004 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stefanieduckwitz wrote:


Battling Butler

The Day The Earth Stood Still

Saving Private Ryan

Ghost World

Gettysburg

The Haunted Mansion




The Day the Earth Stood Still is a classic.



Here's my review for it: http://www.eccentric-cinema.com/cult_movies/dtess.htm



I watched these films this week, ratings are out of five:



4/26 - The Road to Singapore (1940) ****

4/27 - Big Fish (2003) ****

4/28 - The Cooler (2003) **1/2



May 2004:

5/1 - Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1998) ***1/2

5/2 - Kill Bill, Volume 1 (2003) *****

5/2 - The Ladykillers (1955) ***1/2

5/2 - The Naughty Nineties (1945) ***
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Hawkwing74
Camera Operator


Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 51
Location: Schaumburg, IL

PostPosted: 05.03.2004 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cyborg 2 1/2 star out of five.



This movie was shockingly bad in every way. The lighting, scenery, special effects, plot, dialogue, everything! Was this a college film project? Probably not, it wouldn't have been this bad.



Even Angelina Jolie couldn't save this movie... Shocked
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 05.03.2004 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The Big Animal and Jap?n both carry impressive cinematic pedigrees (the first was scripted by Kieslowski before he died, the second has been hailed as part of the recent Mexican renaissance), but I?d argue that both are slight pictures that primarily coast on cachet.





Wow - a difference of opinion here. I also saw The Big Animal and thought it was a tender, beautiful portrayal of the need for companionship, a fable-like parable that got right to me. I adore Japon - it is one of my favorite movies of the last couple years. I can see your viewpoint, though, admittedly.



My perception of Dogville has brightened since I first saw it, and wasn't quite sure of my reaction. I'm now willing to notice its moments of brilliance, and its style hits you like a brick wall. But I also admit that I'm frustrated by a lot of it, especially von Trier's reliance on the torturing of the nymphet to get to his audience (which he's repeated in his last three movies) and his I hate the world misanthropy. That even Grace eventually succumbs to absolute cruelty may be understandable, but also reveals von Trier's absolute lack of trust in anything even remotely humanistic or hopeful. (By the way, I hate criticizing a movie for being misanthropic or nihilistic because I think many critics use that for any movie about even remotely dark issues, but I think it fits Dogville.)
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 05.03.2004 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
I also saw The Big Animal and thought it was a tender, beautiful portrayal of the need for companionship, a fable-like parable that got right to me.


I agree that The Big Animal is a tender, beautiful, fable-like parable, and even one that I enjoyed watching. (The camel certainly provides many striking images that continue to resonate with me.) By calling it "slight," I meant only that this allegory about how seemingly "useless" items can have abstract value isn't particularly significant--its scenarios of injustice aren't dramatized, its "poetry" isn't refined, and its freedom metaphors are a tad clumsy. (Okay, I get it: "individualism" sounds good, but not when your neighbor starts exercising it. Now how about some actual characters?) Although I had a reasonably good time, I'm forced to concede that it's merely an annotation to Kieslowski's career.



Despite some reservations, I'm not willing to call Dogville misanthropic, nor another Von Trier "torture chamber." Many critics have accused him of bullying and debasing his actresses, but I think that's an unfair cheap shot, a method by which to smear Von Trier without having to first engage with his material and his themes. I liked Medea, liked Breaking the Waves, loved Dancer in the Dark, and like Dogville--and not once have I felt that his "dark" material crossed over into transgression. (Madness and delusion, perhaps, but not creative malice.) If Von Trier tends to repeat themes and scenarios, I'd argue that he's merely an artist working through variations, no different from the repetitions of Hitchcock or Godard.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 05.03.2004 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I skipped the thread last week, so here's 14 days worth:



Beyond Borders (Campell, 2004)

REPEAT | Kill Bill: Volume One (Tarantino, 2003)

Criminal Lovers (Ozon, 1999)

Duplex (De Vito, 2003)

13 Going on 30 (Winick, 2004)

Bram Stroker's Dracula (Coppola, 1991)

Mean Girls (Waters, 2004)

Man on Fire (Scott, 2004)

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (Luketic, 2004)



Of those, I would recommend Kill Bill, Criminal Lovers, Duplex, 13 Going on 30, and Man on Fire. I was amazed at how well-recieved Mean Girls was, because it felt like a sick and perverted excercise to me, much like what everyone else made The Girl Next Door to be, a few weeks ago. Bleh.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 05.03.2004 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought Mean Girls was infinitely sharper and wiser than Girl Next Door. My only complaint is that the satire goes a bit limp before the end.



Eric
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


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

PostPosted: 05.04.2004 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bend it Like Beckham (Chadha) - This movie was entirely disappointing, and I feel missed the point it was trying to make entirely. Although it took and tried to make a very pro feminist, break down the walls and everyone become more acceptant of each other, it missed the point entirely. Lets take the way the girls soccer team is portrayed while practicing, all running around in sports bra's obeying their male coaches every wish. Two of the girls even admittely have crushes on the male coach and spend half of the movie fighting over him. Instead of trying to empower women by having displaying them as capable female athletes, the movie essentially sexualizes its female characters and has the center of the team revolve around a male. I may be coming a little out of left field on this one, but sometimes these themes were just a little too much to take. Not to mention the film takes a very formulaic approach to its topic, and follows the old cultural take of one can learn more about their culture only if they portrary the members of it as completely out of wack and absurd, to the point of entertaining, see My Big Fat Greek Wedding. All in all this accomplished for soccer and femine power the same that Bring it On did for cheerleading.



Dogville (Von Trier) - Whether the movie works as an attack on american colonialism, disparity between the classes, or the feutality of life I have yet to decide, in all actuality it seems to work on all levels in one way or another. I agree the movie is some type of genius and I can recoginze that, yet I still can't quite pinpoint it. It was entertaining, I love the format, and did not really seem to mind the pacing as so many other critics seem to have criticized it for. It seems for certain that the movie does have a very hard edge anti-american attitude, however one can even go as far and assume that these traits reflected supposedly by Americans can really be assigned to all of humanit, but Von Trier's use of american symbolism is just too over whealming to persuade one that they were ment to be taken as such.



Ararat (Egoyan) - The movie works on so many different levels and achieves success on many of them. However, I missed completely the significance of the son being held up for possession of drugs. Was it just to further reiterate the story of his people, and if so doesn't the movie do this? Was it because he was trying to reestablish a connection with his people, or a type of bond with others, ie the customs agent. Or rather just to show how all life in interrelated and everyone is connected. Maybe it was suppose to work on all these levels, but I just didn't find this connection as clearly defined as the others, then again maybe that was the point. But if that is the case, it doesn't really seem to fall in line with the rest of the movies and almost feels out of wack.
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matt header
Studio Exec


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PostPosted: 05.04.2004 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
By calling it "slight," I meant only that this allegory about how seemingly "useless" items can have abstract value isn't particularly significant--its scenarios of injustice aren't dramatized, its "poetry" isn't refined, and its freedom metaphors are a tad clumsy.




I agree with all of that, and know I should like it less than I do, but this may be a case where I was in exactly the right state of mind to be overwhelmingly charmed. And I think camels might be my new favorite animals.



Quote:
If Von Trier tends to repeat themes and scenarios, I'd argue that he's merely an artist working through variations, no different from the repetitions of Hitchcock or Godard.





I loved Dancer in the Dark and Breaking the Waves as well, but I'm just a tad more reserved with Dogville. Part of me is annoyed that every single person, from von Trier's viewpoint, is comprised of cruelty, selfishness, and debasement - even Grace eventually succumbs. Misanthropic may not be the right word; pissed off at the world may be more appropriate, and I suppose not necessarily a bad thing.



By the way, I wrote a review for Dogville for the UWM newspaper. Here it is:



http://www.uwmleader.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2004/04/28/408ecb5462021



I'd also like to reiterate I did like Dogville, but it has its frustrating aspects. At least even these aspects are delivered with creative ingenuity, though.
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Fred C. Dobbs
Director


Joined: 11 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: 05.04.2004 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Of those, I would recommend Kill Bill, Criminal Lovers, Duplex, 13 Going on 30, and Man on Fire. I was amazed at how well-recieved Mean Girls was, because it felt like a sick and perverted excercise to me, much like what everyone else made The Girl Next Door to be, a few weeks ago. Bleh.




Funny, I WANT to see Mean Girls, but have no intrest in The Girl Next Door. Diffrent strokes, I suppose. *shrugs*
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 05.04.2004 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mfritschel wrote:
Ararat (Egoyan) - The movie works on so many different levels and achieves success on many of them. However, I missed completely the significance of the son being held up for possession of drugs.


Ararat was one of my favorite movies from last year, but it's been many months since I last saw it. I'd probably need to revisit it before I could discuss it in any depth.



Eric
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