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What did you watch this week?
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 09.14.2004 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Isle aired on the Sundance Channel once and I missed it. I need to check into some future viewings, if there are any...
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.14.2004 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool



The Isle is sometimes shown on IFC. That's where I caught it.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.14.2004 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
The Isle aired on the Sundance Channel once and I missed it. I need to check into some future viewings, if there are any...




Yeah, maybe it was Sundance.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 09.15.2004 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, Spring... is also one of the best movies I've seen so far this year (number four, actually Smile ). I teared up a bit as the monk makes his climactic journey up the hill as a test of his spirituality, and the few intrusions made by characters outside of this very solitary world seem to work exquisitely.



I'm dying to see The Isle.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 09.15.2004 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Yeah, Spring... is also one of the best movies I've seen so far this year (number four, actually Smile ).


I have it as five; I actually hope it makes the final list, even though that would mean a kind of miserable fall/winter season.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.15.2004 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I have it as five; I actually hope it makes the final list, even though that would mean a kind of miserable fall/winter season.


Quite appropriate.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 09.15.2004 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Danny Baldwin wrote:
I have it as five; I actually hope it makes the final list, even though that would mean a kind of miserable fall/winter season.


Quite appropriate.



Eric


Shocked Running an English class really does make you see things the author did not intend. That was clever.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 09.15.2004 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Running an English class really does make you see things the author did not intend.




That was pretty clever as well!
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.20.2004 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

9/13 ? 9/19/04



Chronologically:



Godsend (Hamm, USA 2004)

Hidalgo (Johnston, USA 2004)

Rumble Fish (Coppola, USA 1983)

Man on Fire (Scott, USA 2004)

Baadasssss! (Van Peebles, USA 2004)

The Horse Thief (Tian, China 1986)

Springtime in a Small Town (Tian, China 2004)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Conran, USA 2004)



Is the motorized, cheerless Sky Captain what we mean by having F-U-N at the movies? There really isn't much to the picture besides its velvety, rose-tinted settings that nostalgically conflate old action serials like Buck Rogers, German Expressionism, film noir, and pulp sci-fi into a shimmering, modernist shadow of 1939. Many critics have called it a reminder of ?how much fun the movies are supposed to be,? as if fun at the movies reaches its apex only in juvenile, idealized, and naive forms. (As for me, a kid weaned on Star Wars and Indiana Jones, I don?t think I knew what real fun at the movies was until I discovered Bergman, Truffaut, and Fellini.) Sky Captain ungainly evokes Raiders of the Lost Ark without ever once replicating its joy, tension, or wonder. It might be interesting to look at, but it?s never interesting to follow. There?s no zip.



Rumble Fish was my favorite book in junior high, and Coppola?s ambitious, expressive venture fails to capture a single thing that I loved about it. I?ll grant that the photography is beautiful and Copeland?s score is some kind of percussive masterwork, but this is still an over-stylized, over-mannered adaptation with truly lousy acting.



Man on Fire is yet another morally reprehensible revenge tale that asks us to indulge our basest instincts. Are we seriously meant to cheer Denzel as he methodically mutilates and murders his way through Mexico City, just because his victims ?deserve? it? Ultimately, Man on Fire is a movie about how due process is for chumps. Even worse, the movie tries to connect his quest to a version of Christian retribution, what with Denzel reading Scripture and reciting verses throughout. What Would Jesus Do? If turning the other cheek failed, I guess he?d go ahead and shove some C-4 up his enemy?s rear.



Baadasssss! is less an incisive look at the social conditions that led to blaxploitation than merely another crowd-pleasing comedy about resilience in the movie industry. Fortunately, Mario sees how his dad?s single-minded determination functioned as both virtue and vice. Unfortunately, he slavishly assumes the value of Sweet Sweetback?s, never questioning the merit of its cultural legacy.



The best movie I saw all week was Tian Zhuangzhuang?s Springtime in a Small Town, a lyrical, gorgeous picture about a married couple in 1948 China. Shortly after the Japanese occupiers vacate their bombed-out community, an old friend comes to visit. Nearly every scene occurs within their shell-shocked residence, serving as a beautiful, significant backdrop for the romantic tensions that soon escalate into a complex, sad triangle. Although the story is rather stagy and familiar, I was consistently interested in how the characters interact with each other, often saying volumes with nearly indiscernible body language. Unlike Sky Captain, the movie gains substantial momentum and emotional weight as it proceeds. I had real fun watching it.



Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 09.21.2004 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The past week:



  • The Man Without a Past (Kaurism?ki, 2003) B+

  • Trouble in Paradise (Lubitsch, 1932) A-

  • Realms of Blood (Massetti, 2004) C-



Light week, but The Man Without a Past and Trouble in Paradise were both delightful.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 09.21.2004 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

9/14 - 9/20



Egh...school is wearing me down. I've got four reviews, two featurettes, a retrospective and festival coverage in less than a week and a half to do for my site. Bring it on.



The Future of Food (Garcia, 2004)

Mr. 3000 (Stone, 2004)

Mon Oncle D'Amerique (Resnais, 1980)

Great Expectations (Cuar?n, 1998)

Wimbledon (Loncraine, 2004)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Conran, 2004)



I saw The Future of Food at the in-Fact documentary showcase at my local theatre, in which Oscar hopefuls are played, to allow them to be in contention for the big award. To me, writer/director/producer is the female equal of Michael Moore, only this time exploring the world of genetically engineered food. They both raise worthy questions, but their execution ignores liberal faults is the process, failing to acknowledge the true problems of the situation. During the Q&A, which ran for nearly ninety minutes, I felt as though I was strangling, within her wrath.



The two sports pictures, Mr. 3000 and Wimbledon, are entirely different. The former relies solely on viewer's passion for baseball to be successful; I certainly enjoyed the scenes on the diamond. But, it's during everything else that all good is lost to convention, and just abominable interaction between characters. It becomes tedious. The latter, on the other hand, functions on its own, even though my love for tennis certainly helped. It's as funny and as romantic as a romantic comedy will ever be; even the cliches don't seem unwelcome. I still dunno about Kirsten Dunst, though. As good as she was in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I just don't know.



Mon Oncle D'Amerique and Sky Captain are about as experimental as films get, but neither of them truly works. The first would make for great literature, but the fascinating concepts just seemed uninteresting to me, acted. It's all over the map, drawing nonexistent conclusions, aimlessely. But, some of it works, without having any emotional punch. Even though such is not intended, it seems like the material deserves it. Sky Captain can't even boast this. As Eric said, it's not fun, in the least. Actually, it represents one of the few times I actually zoned out at the theatre, in the past few years. It's a style over substance extravanganza, and whatever meat it does have is completely incomprehensible. The visuals, while tiresome, and terrific cast, while not particularly spectacular, kept me from completely and entirely loathing it.



To round out the list, I thought the new version of Great Expectations was just tremendous, even though I liked it far more than I can appreciate it. Paltrow needs to put her energy into more movies like it, and less like Sky Captain. What a shame...



Thirteen films scheduled for the festival. Woo-hoo! Writing all the reviews is going to be a definite problem. They're all recieving release soon, so I feel that capsules could be too contstraining.
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Tooky Cat
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PostPosted: 09.22.2004 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow yesterday, and I'm inclined to agree with what's been said about it before. Although I think I enjoyed and appreciated the style in which it was filmed more than others, that's about all it had going for it. The music fit very well with the cinematography, but I'd say the both of them got somewhat tiring after a while.



Of the characters, which were done by what would normally be a great cast, the only one I actually found myself to have any interest in was Angelina Jolie's, but that may have been just because I really like her.



By the way, is this movie based an really old book or something? Because I really thought it was. Seems like Jules Verne or something. Anyways it'd probably make a better book that it did a movie.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.23.2004 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is, I think, a very expensive movie aimed at a very select audience. It is spectacle for the love of spectacle, and a particular formula for the love of that formula. Even before Star Wars and Raiders I was familiar with the old Flash Gordon serials and 50s-style space opera, not to mention the original King Kong and at least images from Metropolis, the garish covers of 20s and 30s pulps, and those early-80s Steve Caldwell SF coffe table books like Aliens in Space and Settlers in Space (anyone remember those?). This movie was an ode to all those things rolled into one, without excuses, or a desire to hip it up or justify it with "substance." What can I say? It worked for me.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.23.2004 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is, I think, a very expensive movie aimed at a very select audience. It is spectacle for the love of spectacle, and a particular formula for the love of that formula. Even before Star Wars and Raiders I was familiar with the old Flash Gordon serials and 50s-style space opera, not to mention the original King Kong and at least images from Metropolis, the garish covers of 20s and 30s pulps, and those early-80s Steve Caldwell SF coffe table books like Aliens in Space and Settlers in Space (anyone remember those?). This movie was an ode to all those things rolled into one, without excuses, or a desire to hip it up or justify it with "substance." What can I say? It worked for me.


I agree that it's wrong-headed to complain about Sky Captain in terms of "substance" or narrative sophistication, and I agree that the movie should make no excuses for itself. It is surely intended as iconic mythmaking, reminiscent of the forms that once thrilled us as children. Yet it is precisely my memories that prevented Sky Captain from working for me. I still recall the exhilaration I felt watching old Flash Gordon and Superman installments, and endless pulp sci-fi. They captured my imagination, and I wanted nothing more from Sky Captain than a similar rush of innocent exuberance. To me, though, the movie merely replicates the feel of its ancestors without ever once capturing their spirit -- my imagination failed to spark.



Might we argue that the only difference is that now I'm watching with older, more wary eyes? Perhaps. Yet I'd like to believe that I'm still able to connect with innocent spectacle and find pleasure in mythopoetry, and would point to my unabashed joy at Spiderman 2 as hopeful evidence. (Obviously that picture revives a completey different subgenre, but I think they press similar pleasure centers.



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.23.2004 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Might we argue that the only difference is that now I'm watching with older, more wary eyes? Perhaps. Yet I'd like to believe that I'm still able to connect with innocent spectacle and find pleasure in mythopoetry, and would point to my unabashed joy at Spiderman 2 as hopeful evidence.




Well, Spider-Man 2 is a better movie than Sky Captain. I think we can both agree on that and on the reasons why it is without going into detail. Sky Captain only really works on one level. On that level it either connects with a viewer for whatever reason or it doesn't. If we plumbed our personal histories and mapped our personal genetic codes we might figure out why one's experience was a hit while the other's was a miss. In a time when the market is oversaturated with CGI extravaganzas, I can understand how someone could get bored or impatient with Sky Captain. I'm just saying that I think Sky Captain was completely successful in what it was trying to accomplish, even if that success is rather modest and limited. It sort of reminded me of Guy Maddin's Careful; that is, in appearing to be a genuine example cinema from a time and place that never was.
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