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What did you watch this week?
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 832
Location: Pearland, TX

PostPosted: 08.22.2004 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last three weeks or so:



  • Adam's Rib (Cukor, 1949) B

  • The Magdelene Sisters (Mullan, 2002) B+

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968) B

  • Tokyo Story (Ozo, 1953) A

  • Susan Slept Here (Tashlin, 1954) C

  • Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, 1954) A-

  • Bringing Up Baby (Hawks, 1938) B+

  • Singin' in the Rain (Donen/Kelly, 1952) A-

  • Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick, 1964) B+

  • Screaming Dead (Piper, 2003) C

  • Bite Me! (Piper, 2004) C+

  • L'Atalante (Vigo, 1934) B+

  • Night and Fog (Resnais, 1955) A-

  • Garden State (Braff, 2004) B+

  • The Elephant Man (Lynch, 1980) A-

  • I Spit on Your Grave (Zarchi, 1978) C-

  • Lolita (Kubrick, 1962) A-



Much to comment on, but I don't have the time (or maybe I'm just being lazy). I will say that Garden State marked my first trip out to the movies since Kill Bill: Vol. 2; I wanted to love it, but only ended it up liking it a whole lot. It has a few great moments, including Natalie Portman's impromptu tap-dance -- as the music swelled up, wow. Why does that scene just kill me?
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 08.22.2004 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HoRRoRFaN wrote:
beltmann wrote:
Fat Girl (A Ma soeur!) (Breillat, France 2001)




Very ashamed that I haven't seen this yet, but on October 19th when the Criterion DVD comes out, I'll be picking it up.


I think Vinterberg's The Celebration is also scheduled for a soon Region 1 release.



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

PostPosted: 08.23.2004 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:


Much to comment on, but I don't have the time (or maybe I'm just being lazy). I will say that Garden State marked my first trip out to the movies since Kill Bill: Vol. 2; I wanted to love it, but only ended it up liking it a whole lot. It has a few great moments, including Natalie Portman's impromptu tap-dance -- as the music swelled up, wow. Why does that scene just kill me?


That scene, and the surprising jolt at the end in which you think his opening dream may've fortold reality are two of my favorites in any movie in a very long time.
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HoRRoRFaN
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Joined: 06 Jul 2004
Posts: 128

PostPosted: 08.23.2004 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I think Vinterberg's The Celebration is also scheduled for a soon Region 1 release.




I think it's available now, so I'll be adding it to my Netflix queue. Speaking of which, LITTLE OTIK is coming tomorrow.
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


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

PostPosted: 08.23.2004 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After an extremely long hiatasis this is what I can muster up.



Barbarian Invasions (2004)

Bowling for Columibne (2002)

Bus 174 (2003)

De-Lovely (2004)

Pitch Black (2003)

The Dreamers (2004)



Out of those Bowling for Columbine I found far more intersting and seemed to follow a much more logical thought process then Farenheit 9/11. Also, Bus 174 was quite an amazing film, with the extensive coverage that was provided during the events, and the way the film maker was able to blend together interviews, back story, and actual footage into a quite through moving and critical piece. I keep trying to find time to make it to the theatre and keep getting shot down, so I will continue to live off rentals when I get the chance.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.24.2004 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/17 - 8/23



If I had been let into Open Water, there would've been one more. But, oh well, I shall try again, tomorrow. That'd be a riot if this theatre tried to check an ID after my parents buy the ticket for me. As for the small list, I've had quite a bit to do (Golf, lots of summer AP homework I've neglected, etc.), so, I will hopefully see a lot, to wrap up the nice vacation from school. Well, at least hopefully better than these measly four:



Predator (McTiernan, 1987) - Honestly, I thought it was rather awful, with no especially riveting or shocking sequences. It's not even all that cool, and there's no charm in Arnold's presence. I suppose my hatred is more because it's average than that it's bad. I'm not all that sure Predator is really a good villain, either. I originally rented it in preparation for Alien vs. Predator, but with so many other, better choices, I think I'll pass 'till video.



Bus 174 (Larcerda, Padilha; 2003) - Overly long, and, at times, strays from the point. Other than that, it's flawless, containing absolutely haunting footage, far superior to anything in City of God. The comparisons seem inevitable, but are actaually rather unjust. While that one focused purely on crime, itself, this picture is more a view of the general depression of a society. The clips of some of the Rio de Janero prisons are absolutely unreal, raising unanswerable questions about punishment (at least politically). There's a fascinating layer to a two-sided debate of the issues presented in the film--neither political "side" can really resolve the problems. Ironic, but not surprising, that the conviction made by one of the interviewees in the documentary say Brazilians "only care about elections."



De-Lovely (Winkler, 2004) - Interesting, but almost entirely unsatisfying, even if likable. Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd are absolutely terrific, sharing some moments of quiet intimacy that are beyond almost any other biopic ever made. What a shame that the rest is as plain as genre-material could be. The music is certainly well sung, but are the performance sketches really all that good? I blame Winkler; he hasn't really done anything special. And, the screenplay, by the otherwise fantastic Scorsese-colaborate Jay Cocks contains a few good, zingy one-liners, but, aside from that, basks in shallowness. It's a mixed bag, but I guess you could say I found it worthy of a viewing, sometime.



Garden State (Braff, 2004) - It grew on me as it played, and has continued to do so, after walking out of the theatre. I love Braff's writing; it has a quirky resonance to it that's subtly brilliant. I think that I originally thought it'd be kind of forgettable, seeing that it's light. And I guess I still don't know if I'll remember it for awhile. But, I sure enjoyed it more than most pictures, this year. The final sequence is absolutely brilliant, too; I was literally leaning towards the screen, as my heart rushed. I learn that it was the definitive, original ending choice, too. That, in a sense, proves Braff to be far more confident than I thought he was, making the film. His style is flowing, too; I especially dig the spin the bottle scene, towards the beginning, in that sense. Great work from Natalie Portman; she's so warm here, it's impossible to dislike her. Same goes for the dark, blank deepness of the Peter Saarsgard character. Exceptional, all around. I hope it ends up on my best of the year list; only time will tell.
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matt header
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.24.2004 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not going to post my viewing list yet - I'll wait about two more days, since I have two more movies I really want to include on this list but haven't seen yet - but there's lots of juicy discussion going on here.



Quote:
I should also add that I giggled like a moron all the way through The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.





Me too. For me, giggling like a moron is an understatement.



Quote:
This Is Spinal Tap (Reiner, 1984)

Young Frankenstein (Brooks, 1974)

History of the World: Part I (Brooks, 1981)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Gillaim/Jones 1975)





That's an enjoyable collection! Three of my favorite all-time comedies are on there.



Bringing Up Baby is my favorite screwball comedy (that or The Lady Eve); I'm enchanted every time I see it. And 2001: A Space Odyssey used to be my favorite movie, but I saw it again two and a half months ago; while I still like it a lot, it wouldn't even be on my Top 50 any more. Nonetheless, it remains my favorite Kubrick.



I think I'm one of the few folks on this board who didn't like Garden State, although I can certainly see where all of you are coming from; its photography is consistently beautiful and the mise-en-scene can be perfect. (That long shot of the fireplace during Portman's tap dance is indeed sublime.) But it reminded me too much of Vanilla Sky in that it's too self-conscious, too worried about looking and acting cool, to provide any real resonance. Its inspiring message that life involves accepting wounds and rolling with the punches was muted, in my opinion, by the obviousness with which that message was presented.



Bus 174 was on my Top Ten list of last year. It certainly leaves no stone unturned.
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frostiang
Grip


Joined: 25 Aug 2004
Posts: 11
Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: 08.25.2004 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This week I saw:



Napoleon Dynamite (Jared Hess 2004)

Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie (Hatsuki Tsuji 2004)

Dogville (Lars Von Trier 2004)

Bandits (Barry Levinson 2001)

Show Me Love (Lukas Moodysson 1998)

The Big One (Michael Moore 1997)

The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez 1999)

Fargo (Joel Coen 1995)

The Sandlot (David M. Evans 1993)

The Godfather Part III (Francis Ford Coppola 1990)

Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee 1989)

Flying (Paul Lynch 1986)

Flashdance (Adrian Lyne 1983)

Blazing Saddles (Mel Brooks 1974)

The Wild Child (Francois Truffaunt 1970)

The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock 1963)

Sunrise (Raymond Longford and F. Stuart Whyte 1926)



A lot for me but I had a week of vacation and had nowhere to go so I decided to watch a bunch of movies and join a forum. This is a bit new for me but reading previous posts should allow me to get a hang of these things. I watched most of these on movie channels but some in theaters and some on VHS and DVD. So I hope this is really fun in the future.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.25.2004 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

frostiang wrote:
So I hope this is really fun in the future.


Welcome, frostiang! Quite a varied list. Sounds like you're interested in pretty much all of cinema, which means you're in the right place. This is a great group of film lovers. (Steer clear of Duckwitz, though.)



Show Me Love is still my favorite Moodysson picture. It says nothing about love but much about sexual confusion and growing up; I think it's one of the most sensitive, compassionate films of the Nineties. I've also never forgotten Truffaut's Wild Child, even though it strikes me as far more controlled than his best work. It reflects some of the same moral sensibilities that marked its late 18th-century setting--particularly the inherent superiority of Western civilization--but it still leaves room to question whether removing this boy from his natural, "wild" habitat is more of a cruelty than leaving him there.



I haven't seen the Australian Sunrise, but I have seen the Sunrise made a year later, by F. W. Murnau, and I think it's one of the greatest movies ever made.



Eric
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stefanieduckwitz
Director


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

PostPosted: 08.25.2004 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
(Steer clear of Duckwitz, though.)




Thanks Beltmann. There goes your cookies!
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theatrejunkiecampbell
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Joined: 25 Jul 2004
Posts: 16
Location: My own little corner of hell, WI

PostPosted: 08.25.2004 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You really do have to steer clear of ducki!!!!! Shocked Beltmann knows best EXCEPT IN CLASS.....wait I never had him in class, but he knows what hes talking about most of the time Wink
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 08.25.2004 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmmmm... cookies...
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 08.29.2004 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/23 ? 8/29/04



New this week, alphabetically:



The Bad Seed (LeRoy, USA 1956)

Brakhage (Shedden, Canada 1998)

Brakhage on Film (Gassan and Seegmiller, USA 1965)

Ghosts of the Abyss (Cameron, USA 2003)

I Vitelloni (Fellini, Italy 1953)

The Lower Depths (Renoir, France 1936)

The Manchurian Candidate (Demme, USA 2004)

The Milky Way (McCarey, USA 1936)

Open Water (Kentis, USA 2004)

Phantom of the Paradise (DePalma, USA 1974)

The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (Sturges, USA 1947)

Who?s That Knocking at My Door (Scorsese, USA 1967)



None of those approach must-see status, although The Lower Depths and Who?s That Knocking at My Door contain passages that might be considered classic. In the former, Gabin's scenes with Louis Jouvet, as a baron whose gambling losses land him in a flophouse, ooze true friendship, while in the latter, Keitel impressively mimics Scorsese, especially in a breezy conversation about The Searchers.



Neither Brakhage documentary was remotely interesting, and neither Harold Lloyd talkie?Milky Way and Sin of Diddlebock?ranks among his quality work. The 1947 Diddlebock revives Harold?s character from the 1925 silent The Freshman to investigate whatever happened to that fresh-faced college boy over the last 20 years. (He?s now a mediocre Babbitt about to get canned.) That premise reeks of classic Sturges and is a great place to start, but it?s also where the picture?s resourcefulness stalls.



I found De Palma?s Phantom of the Paradise insufferably tacky, and became equally exasperated with Ghosts of the Abyss. Cameron secured such beautiful images of the sunken Titanic, but his central gimmick?superimposing costumed actors over the wreckage to ?visualize? the ship?s former glory?grows tiresome, especially since it continually obscures the evocative pictures. And even though Cameron deeply furrows his brow while trying to recover two lost research robots in the final sequence, I wasn?t buying the sense of dramatic ?urgency? being sold. After all, we?re talking about metal boxes, not, say, hundreds of drowning human beings.



Open Water more tactfully taps into multiple facets of human vulnerability?such as the fear of injury, of isolation, of the unknown, of the natural world, of the universe's ultimate indifference?yet the purely functional acting and dialogue prevents the movie from becoming more than a tepid thriller. Although the film has a flat, cruddy digital look?the artless images are much uglier than necessary, I think, especially in the opening scenes?at least the ocean is photographed with some reverence, and there is a sense of poetry to the story?s inevitability. Unlike some, I wasn?t put off by the ending (except perhaps in terms of banality). Instead, my biggest complaint is that the film is never daring ENOUGH. For example, the movie?s truest moment of panic occurs when Susan wakes to discover herself alone, but Kentis doesn?t have the guts to commit to that deepened helplessness. He lets her?and us?off the hook almost immediately. (In his defense, such a scenario raises questions of where-do-we-go-from-here?, but a careful re-shuffling of events could address that.)



I confess that this week I most enjoyed watching the campy histrionics of The Bad Seed. I?ll leave my badge at the door.



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 08.29.2004 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Open Water more tactfully taps into multiple facets of human vulnerability?such as the fear of injury, of isolation, of the unknown, of the natural world, of the universe's ultimate indifference?yet the purely functional acting and dialogue prevents the movie from becoming more than a tepid thriller. Although the film has a flat, cruddy digital look?the artless images are much uglier than necessary, I think, especially in the opening scenes?at least the ocean is photographed with some reverence, and there is a sense of poetry to the story?s inevitability. Unlike some, I wasn?t put off by the ending (except perhaps in terms of banality). Instead, my biggest complaint is that the film is never daring ENOUGH. For example, the movie?s truest moment of panic occurs when Susan wakes to discover herself alone, but Kentis doesn?t have the guts to commit to that deepened helplessness. He lets her?and us?off the hook almost immediately. (In his defense, such a scenario raises questions of where-do-we-go-from-here?, but a careful re-shuffling of events could address that.)





I completely disagree. I'd call the dialogue and acting naturalistic rather than functional. Both work as convincing approximations of the type of speech you'd hear in a documentary. The Susan and Daniel sound like people spontaneously articulating their thoughts and emotions. I've also heard complaints about the supposedly ugly visuals, but, frankly, I never found them "bad" at all. Rather, the photography looks like well-composed documentary footage, as, I'm sure, it was intended to, and, like the dialogue, works to establish a sense of verisimiltude that worked, for me, quite well.



Also, I thought Kentis paced the movie exquisitely. Stretches of non-action break up the tension to lull you into a false sense of security and allow you to think again and again that the worst is over. It ain't. Ultimately, no one is "let off the hook." And the ending, far from being banal, was, for me, effective in its quiet poignance.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 08.29.2004 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I'd call the dialogue and acting naturalistic rather than functional. Both work as convincing approximations of the type of speech you'd hear in a documentary. The Susan and Daniel sound like people spontaneously articulating their thoughts and emotions. I've also heard complaints about the supposedly ugly visuals, but, frankly, I never found them "bad" at all. Rather, the photography looks like well-composed documentary footage, as, I'm sure, it was intended to, and, like the dialogue, works to establish a sense of verisimiltude that worked, for me, quite well.


I considered wide swaths of dialogue to be failed attempts at sounding naturalistic, but I'm willing to excuse the acting on the grounds that no performers could have sold that opening phone scene nor the bedroom scene--and I concede that each performance improves considerably once panic begins to settle in.



I understand the verisimilitude defense, and think it applies better to better pictures. Consider something like Bloody Sunday, which actually does look like well-composed documentary footage, and has twice the intensity and immediacy of Open Water. Kentis' prowess with digital video appears mediocre by comparison. (And his "exotic" shots of the region feel like travelogue stock shots. That may have been the point, but if so, it's a miscalculation.)



That said, my previous post probably misrepresented my overall response to the movie, which I actually liked. My emphasis on the disappointing elements was probably a retort to how so many fans are making "classic" claims for a B-movie that is merely efficient, well-paced, and occasionally has an elemental thrust that is easy to digest and identify with. I can't say I found any of it a "white-knuckle" experience, though.



Eric
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