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What did you watch this week?
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Tooky Cat
Cinematographer


Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Posts: 106
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: 05.25.2004 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This weekend I saw The Triplets of Belleville and [/i]Troy.



I thought the first one wasn't quite as good as I had been led to believe. Although I liked the animation and the story, I just didn't really respond to it at all. It was humorous, in subtle ways, and I was amazed that the entire story was sustained strictly through visuals, there was a grand total of maybe 4 lines of dialogue. Despite, I was still unimpressed.



Troy turned out to be mostly just like I had feared. It was almost like a Gladiator wannabe. The camerawork was terrible and I was less than happy with the battle sequences. I wasn't very fond of Orlando Bloom's performance, although I did like Brad Pitt's. In fact it was the character of Achilles who more or less saved the film, it's just unfortunate that he waited until the last half hour to do so.
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matt header
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 05.25.2004 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really dug Triplets of Belleville - I saw it four times in the theater, and had a blast each time. Its hallucinations, its absurd humor, its one-in-a-million animation: it was one of my favorite movies of last year. One critic (I forget who, unfortunately) got it exactly right when he said it resembled a child's nightmare. (And the music is brilliant.)



Speaking of hallucinatory, absurd humor, I saw Roy Andersson's Songs from the Second Floor last night and am still awed by that as well: I've never seen anything like it (maybe Bunuel comes close). It has an amazing ability to emit laughter, and then immediately make the viewer question, and feel guilty about, why he's laughing. The words "Divine Comedy" constantly came to my mind: Andersson portrays both the monotony and the outrageousness of everyday life with a passion for the tragedy of the everyman.



I also saw:



Osama, which is a well-made, sentimental tale of a girl disguising herself as a boy to work for her family in Kabul, Afghanistan. The first post-Taliban movie made in Afghanistan, it's less thematically strong than, say, The Circle, but it's hard not to become involved.



Party Monster, the true story of Michael Alig, club kid celebrity who found himself in a perpetual drug-induced blur in the late 80's, early '90's and ended up murdering his drug dealer. The movie tries to duplicate the temporary high of a drug rush with schizophrenic camera work, vibrant, highly saturated colors, techno dub music, and hyperrealistic lighting, but it also apparently delivers its story and moods with the redundant ignorance of a bumbling coke addict, strung out and paranoid until it reaches its next big score/payoff moment. I don't have a problem with the acting, which some have called terrible, and I actually think one of the few saving graces of the movie is that we can see glimmers of intelligent performances by Macaulay Culkin, Seth Green, and Wilmer Valderrama; but whatever power their performances have are overshadowed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato's desperate, obnoxious technique. It's also disconcerting how the movie sympathizes with the club kids and often reasserts that Ecstasy isn't a drug, it's magic, and that they're just having fun, and so on; and then contradicts itself by condemning the drug scene and reasserting the necessity to go into rehab. That may be even more hypocritical than The Rock kicking ass for peace in Walking Tall.



Bon Voyage, breeze escapism set during WWII featuring spies, chemical water, double crosses, murder, love triangles, and so on. Jean-Paul Rappenau's desire to skit across multiple genres with energetic bravado means that we don't really get to know any of these characters, but he succeeds in making his movie a diverting, nostalgic rush, a tip of the hat to the old days of French filmmaking. It's at least forty minutes too long, but the photography is astonishing: every single shot is perfect. And if every movie had Virginie Ledoyen in it, the world would be a better place.
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 05.25.2004 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Which made you laugh harder, Napolean Dynamite or, I dunno, say, The Girl Next Door?




I chuckled more frequently in Napoleon Dynamite but laughed harder in The Girl Next Door. The jokes in the former are more predictable and light hearted, completely diverting in every way, whereas with the latter, they're wholesome, amazingly well-written and more clever. I enjoy both immensely, but I will remember GND for years to come, while it will take looking at my review database to vividly remember my experience with ND.
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 05.25.2004 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I chuckled more frequently in Napoleon Dynamite but laughed harder in The Girl Next Door.


I was reading about Napolean last month in a film publication--I forget which--and it sounded quite amusing. I'm glad to hear you confirm its potential. Its arrival in Milwaukee may be a few months off, but I wait in eager anticipation.



Eric
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Tooky Cat
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Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: 05.26.2004 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just came back from Shrek 2 not more than 30 minutes ago. Quite disappointing. The writers seemed to be trying much too hard. I will say this though, the "camerawork" is stupendous, as is Banderas' Puss-In-Boots.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 05.30.2004 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

5/24 ? 5/30/04



Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (Broomfield, UK 1992). British documentarian Broomfield sinks his old-school boom mike and tape recorder into yet another morass across the pond, this time investigating the slippery ethics surrounding the handling of America?s ?first female serial killer.? Much of the film is standard research into the events leading to her arrest, but the most compelling segments suggest that a miscarriage of justice occurred because too many involved authorities?including the police, her lawyer, and her adoptive mother?were more concerned with profiting from the murders than with justice. I?m not sure Broomfield recognizes the irony of making a commercial documentary that accuses law officers of pursuing movie-rights deals, but once again his investigative style yields a fascinating picture that is equal parts journalism, skepticism, and an expos? of the documentary form itself.



Good Bye Lenin! (Becker, Germany 2003). There are jokes, but this is really a minor domestic drama about what the past means to us. Nostalgia is a powerful, yet frequently fraudulent, emotion. Although disappointed that Becker didn?t go deeper into politics?whether as satire, criticism, or even history?I perked up in the last half hour, when the main character concedes that the GDR he concocts for his mother?s benefit doesn?t resemble reality so much as the version of communism he had always hoped for. I was also mildly amused by the references to famous filmmakers, including Fassbinder, Kubrick (2001; Clockwork Orange), and?in the movie?s most inspired bit of visual poetry?Fellini?s La Dolce Vita.



Welcome to Mooseport (Petrie 2004). Most of the generic gags are toothless, but the movie is certainly pleasant, which qualifies it as some kind of tonic for all the coarse crap peddled as comedy these days. I?m also surprised by how so few critics recognized how the script tackles an ambitious balancing act: The four main characters are frequently at odds, but the script never resorts to using straw men. Their motivations are always reasonable, and all four remain likable, civilized, humane. A mediocre film, no doubt, but not without some merits. One question: On what planet would a tiny burg like Mooseport have its own airport?



Eric
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Tooky Cat
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Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: 05.30.2004 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw Super Size Me yesterday. I was fairly impressed. The style of documentary was much more sensible and enjoyable to watch than, say, Michael Moore's. It's mostly just informative. He isn't saying "fast food is evil and you're a fool for eating it", he simply points out through his ludicrous McDiet that fast food is terrible unhealthy and generally speaking, Americans eat too much of it.



It's full of lots of interesting tidbits of information regarding fat, calories, sugar, etc. etc. in fast food and what not. Very interesting. I must admit I feel a bit deterred from the golden arches now. If I were grading it, I'd give it a B+.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 05.30.2004 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tooky Cat wrote:
I must admit I feel a bit deterred from the golden arches now.


That's how I felt after reading Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation. Still, I devoured a Big Mac last Friday, along with fries.



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 05.30.2004 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
One question: On what planet would a tiny burg like Mooseport have its own airport?





Inyokern, California has a population of 984 people spread out across just over eleven square miles, and it has an airport. Of course, it's adjacent to the China Lake Naval Weapons Center. Also, it's smack dab in the middle of the Mojave Desert, which I've long suspected was located on another planet.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.01.2004 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

5/25 - 5/31



Bubba Ho-Tep (Coscarelli, 2003)

Japanese Story (Brooks, 2004)

Chasing Liberty (Cadiff, 2004)

The Day After Tomorrow (Emmerich, 2004)

Raising Helen (Marshall, 2004)

Ghostbusters (Reitman, 1984)

Repeat | Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino, 1992)



I recommend Bubba Ho-Tep, Ghostbusters, and Reservoir Dogs. Japanese Story and Raising Helen had their redeeming qualities, but ultimately failed in the end. Chasing Liberty and Day After Tomorrow, though, were pretty darn terrible, even though I would certainly go down harder on the ladder. At least the first keeps probability SOMEWHERE on its priority list.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.01.2004 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
At least the first keeps probability SOMEWHERE on its priority list.


Is assessing the "realism" of The Day After Tomorrow a reasonable or meaningful endeavor? That's like criticizing Ringu for its incoherence and fanciful imagination--in both cases, it's probably more fruitful to consider how each satisfy and honor their genre conventions. In other words, could we perhaps argue that probability has as much relevance to an old-fashioned disaster flick as to a farce like, say, The Girl Next Door?



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.01.2004 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, okay, I came off wrong, and seriously thought about omitting that line, but didn't want to waste the time. I simply don't care enough about the movie. But, anyways, here is my main problem:



In order to even keep one's interest, a movie has to at least act as if it knows whether it is supposed to be serious or not. I don't think Emmerich does. Sure, the corny dialogue may be, but the "political commentary" is most definitely not. He wants us to take Americans immigrating into Mexico seriously. He wants us to conclude that the Vice President looks like Cheney and therefore the situation should seem real. he wants us to conclude that such catastrophe could happen. and then of course he screws himself over by presenting loads of rediculous ideas off of this. If I was a liberal, I'd feel insulted.



I really enjoyed the disaster sequences from the get-go, but the movie begins to go downhill when it tries to mix realism with silliness. It just gets to be too stupid for us to even watch. When we aren't laughing at what's supposed to be serious, we're thinking about it, and therefore what's supposed to be silly seems like it's supposed to be serious. I don't know if that sentence makes sense, or if you understand what I'm saying, but I tried. Wink



It's impossible to even enjoy a movie that contains the lines: "Just tell her how you feel" and "We must thank our third-world allies for taking us in."



And, Beltmann, you need to stop it wth The Girl Next Door. Laughing
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stefanieduckwitz
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Joined: 07 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: 06.01.2004 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being John Malkovich

Mean Girls
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.01.2004 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Danny: the problem with The Day After Tomorrow is not that it employs stock characters and situations on which to hang its sensational events -- such is to be expected -- the problem is that it thinks its characters and situations are more than stock. The movie believes it?s a human interest story. I tell you I would not want the people in this movie to be humanity?s last hope. And yes, it's heavy-handed political maneuvers are absurd (although the Mexico scene was, I am sure, played for laughs). And I too felt that rabid environmentalist were probably shaking their heads and covering their faces with their hands by the end credits. Or at least when the characters were being persued down hallways by killer frost.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.01.2004 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
And, Beltmann, you need to stop it wth The Girl Next Door. Laughing


I... just... can't... seem to... help it...
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