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What did you watch this week?
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matt header
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 11.22.2004 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (Cohen + Hillenburg, 2004) B

After the Sunset
(Ratner, 2004) F

The Good Fairy
(Wyler, 1935) A-

L'Atalante
(Vigo, 1934) B

Deserted Station
(Raisian, 2004) A-

Sideways
(Payne, 2004) B

Food
(Matta-Clark, ?) C+

Conical Intersection
(Matta-Clark, ?) C+

City Slivers
(Matta-Clark, ?) D



Nothing outstanding, although The Good Fairy is delirious fun. L'Atalante was severely disappointing; its poetic evocation of a melancholy relationship is visually beautiful but fails emotionally, perhaps because the man's love for his wife never feels sincere.



Sideways is exceptionally witty and feels honest, but as Beltmann mentioned before, it's frustratingly hard to care for either of these guys.



Gordon Matta-Clark called himself an "anarchitect": he'd demolish parts of buildings into geometric shapes so that sunlight would invade the space in artistic, natural ways. Also a painter and performance artist, Matta-Clark doesn't seem to have a grasp of film form to match his awesome ideas and ambitions. This sometimes works for Food, which has an off-the-cuff style that suits its theme, and Conical Intersection is gorgeuous despite its lack of a structural aesthetic. City Slivers, though, is entirely constructed off of formal experimentation, which makes it disastrous when these images aren't at all interesting or beautiful. Masked strips of city images - mostly just crowded streets, actually - blend together, creating an abstract collage of urban life. But this intriguing idea is wasted on images that were probably ugly in whole form and are even less appealing cut up into segments.



Hey, I just noticed that Fred Dobbs saw L'Atalante as well; that's cool.
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Fred C. Dobbs
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PostPosted: 11.22.2004 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Hey, I just noticed that Fred Dobbs saw L'Atalante as well; that's cool.




AND we techinally gave it the same rating. Shocked



I liked it quite a bit, but the comparisons to Murnau's Sunrise (one of my top 5 films) was unwarranted. Other than the basic structure of the film, they are completley different. Sunrise and Punch Drunk Love go together better than L'Atalante and Sunrise imo.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 11.23.2004 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

11/16 - 11/22



I'm Not Scared (Salvatores, 2004) - Harrowing, in its own sort of way, using textures and moods to really play with the audience.



The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (Cohen, Hillenburg, Osbourne; 2004) - I've seen a few episodes of the show, and they were much wittier than this. The standard-issue Nickelodeon release, with a few more perverse gags.



Love Me If You Dare (Samuell, 2004) - Could've been truly fun if it had been in touch with its style, but instead, it comes out sickeningly sweet.



National Treasure (Turtletaub, 2004) - Wildly fun, if never truly engaging. It rarely embraces its rediculousness, in full, and as a result, comes off as trite. But, I'll take popcorn-entertainment where I can get it and Diane Kruger is something else.



The Johnson Family Vacation (Erskin, 2004) - The cliched road-movie here is actually better than the rest of it. Who would've guessed?



After the Sunset (Ratner, 2004) - Plot = predictable. Acting = pathetic. Salma Hayek = always covered, if by a thread. Me = Crying or Very sad.



The Isle (Kim, 2000) - As blatantly symbolic and unrewarding as a movie could possibly be.
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matt header
Studio Exec


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PostPosted: 11.23.2004 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love Me If You Dare is my third-least favorite film of the year so far. For a movie as hyperkinetic, vibrantly colorful, and obnoxiously edited, I was amazed at how dull it was; are these the two most self-absorbed assholes in a romantic comedy ever? It's impossible to care for a man and woman who, we are told, love each other dearly, but who prove it by stabbing each other in the back and inflating their own egoes; I honestly think I was more involved in the love story in The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Yann Samuell uses the same style as, say, Guy Ritchie, in that he seems incapable of holding a shot for longer than four seconds; and while Ritchie's films self-consciously display how cool it is to love guns and violence, Samuell's film is a self-conscious display about how cool it is to be pretty and have someone else love you.



Okay, that rant is over, now on to another one:



Ironically, After the Sunset is my absolute least favorite movie of the year. It's not because it's amazingly boring, though it is, or because Pierce Brosnan must be one of the most charmless jewel thieves in caper history, though he is. It's because Ratner's film will inevitably be sent overseas and will do more business in other countries than their own domestic films will (this is what usually happens, anyway). And they will see on display in this film the stereotype, whether it's true or not, that the American people have internationally now: crude, misogynistic, loudmouthed, ethnocentric, violent, impatient, and so on. After the Sunset should be a harmless exercise in escapist stupidity, but if it were that I could probably just dimiss it without another thought. Ratner's film, in my opinion, is a depressing summation of why we're the most hated country in the world right now.



Now that that's out of my system, I watched Duck Soup last night and I'm still on cloud nine!
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 11.29.2004 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

11/22 ? 11/28/04



I Heart Huckabees (Russell, USA 2004)

Vera Drake (Leigh, UK 2004)

Heir to an Execution (Meeropol, USA 2004)

The Alamo (Hancock, USA 2004)

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (Kitano, Japan 2003)

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (Gosnell, USA 2004)



One pretty decent flick, three disappointments, and two sorry excuses for movies. I?ll let you decide which are which.



Matt, while I completely sympathize with your rationale for detesting After Sunset, I'm curious as to why that particular picture drew such fierce ire--couldn't the exact same charge be leveled at any number of American releases in any given month?



And for the record, L'Atalante is clearly one of the greatest films ever made, and I don't want to hear any back talk from the philistines. Very Happy It's my favorite picture about separation and reunion, and I feel the intense tug of romantic yearning pulsing through every frame. Your mention of it actually reminded me of how much I love it. I just added it to my Christmas list, below The Apu Trilogy and above Sledge Hammer! Season One.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 11.29.2004 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Matt, while I completely sympathize with your rationale for detesting After Sunset, I'm curious as to why that particular picture drew such fierce ire--couldn't the exact same charge be leveled at any number of American releases in any given month?


I was about to ask the same thing. Isn't it interesting, too, that in After the Sunset the two leads are not originally from America?
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mfritschel
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 11.29.2004 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo, 1965) - The movie takes a very different approach with its documentary style and uses it very well. A very intersting look at rebel uprisings, how they can be affective, and the reaction by the governing body. It obvisouly resounds greatly with todays certain situations, but these are timeless problems and can really be attributed to anytime in history.



Intermission (Crowley, 2004) - This movie was rather obnoxious, really did not prove anything new, and just kind of trainwrecked itself together into an ending.



The Eye (Chun, 2002) - Fairly effective horror movie, it seemd to much of the Sixth Sense to me, and that lost some of it effectiveness.



My Architect: A Son's Journey (Kahn, 2004) - Very interesting look at a son coming to grips with who his father actually was and what he had choose to dedicate himself, instead of his family. I was very drawn into how peoples opinion of his father had been formed over the years and how they could never really remember specifics, but always seemed able to draw broad sweeping conclusions without much to back them up.



Alexander (Stone, 2004) - My only question is that I understand he was bi-sexual, but was it really necessary to have him wear eye-liner and was Greece and Babylon really full only of half-naked men and no women.



Kinsey (Condon, 2004) - It's ideas on sexuality ring almost as true today as they did when he was conducting his research. It was funny to see audience reaction to the discussion of the sexual topics and how they giggled at them. Almost proving how Kinsey's research, albeit very necessary, still hasn't made that much of a differce.



Love Me If You Dare (Samuell, 2004) - I completely agree with Mr. Header. I was almost sickened in the pleasure they took in trying to destroy each other.[/b]
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matt header
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PostPosted: 11.29.2004 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Matt, while I completely sympathize with your rationale for detesting After Sunset, I'm curious as to why that particular picture drew such fierce ire--couldn't the exact same charge be leveled at any number of American releases in any given month?




Quote:
I was about to ask the same thing. Isn't it interesting, too, that in After the Sunset the two leads are not originally from America?




Most of the terrible movies that come out of Hollywood, I think, are too stupid to be offensive; After the Sunset, in my mind, is too offensive to be taken as stupid entertainment. Why, one might ask? Maybe my hatred for it is unjustified, and to be sure I haven't seen a lot of the movies this year that probably deserve equal ridicule. But here's my point-by-point checklist of things that pissed me off.



A review on Slant magazine labeled the film as offensively homophobic, and while I wasn't as disgusted as Ed Gonzalez, it certainly gains a lot of awkward humor by Brosnan and Harrelson's desire to appear perfectly straight and narrow. If the scene where they slather sunscreen on each other's backs - a look of supreme frustration in Brosnan's eye the whole time - isn't exactly morally reprehensible, it does maintain a very narrowminded viewpoint that straight is right, and anything else is worthy of ridicule. When the Feds break into Harrelson's room one morning to find him and Brosnan in the same bed together, they treat it as an offense worthy of suspension, when they illegally broke into his room for absolutely no reason at all, in which case what he does behind closed doors is nobody's business. (So I'm looking too far beneath the surface, maybe, but I'm not liking what I find there.)



Now on to the misogyny! The almost-minute-long shot early on of Salma Hayek's breasts looming before the camera pretty much sums up her role in the film, as well as Naomie Harris', as well as all of the dominatrixes parading around Don Cheadles' manor. Sure, Hayek joins in on the fun at the beginning, but this is a man's world where females are paraded around as slim objects incapable of holding an intelligent conversation, much less solving a case. (Harris' portrayal is a bit more sensitive - she's a strong woman, no doubt about it - but her ultimate personal liberation seems to come when she has sex with Woody.)



You're right, Danny, that Brosnan and Hayek aren't American, but that doesn't say anything for the movie's sensitivity towards foreign societies. Notice how Cheadle's character, though certainly despicable, has the very general aim of bettering the island's expansive ghettoes and poverty-stricken areas. When his plot is foiled by Brosnan, our heroes make out pretty damn good while the ghettoes completely wallow in poverty. I didn't expect some rousing ending where Brosnan steals from the rich and gives to the disenfranchised poor, but the nation's poor, oppressed population is presented only as a plot point to establish Cheadle's villainy, only to be tossed away when they're no longer convenient to the story. Add to this Brosnan's throw-off line that they can't go to France because he "can't stand the French" and the portrayal of much of the island's police force as ineffectual do-nothings, and we have simply another example of the America kicks ass philosophy.



And when I say the film is crude, loudmouthed, and impatient, I assume you understand why. These characters' "witty" dialogue sounds like the immature bantering between high schoolers fighting over the hot cheerleader. No time is taken to establish any sort of characterization or even to enhance the cleverness of the heist -- indeed, the ultimate robbery seems like a diversion, it's so simple and crudely performed. It seems suitable that the film ends with Harrelson's face getting smashed against a glass window -- that's literally the last shot -- for this is what the movie does to the audience the whole time.



So that's why I hate it, but you're right, this is true of lots of other American releases each year. The only reason I can really give for hating this one particularly is that I've seen few of the other examples; although I wouldn't mind seeing everything that comes out, even stuff I assume will be terrible, I certainly try to see all the good ones first, so that a lot of the crap just passes me by. I happened to catch After the Sunset, so unfortunately for it, it receives all of my ridicule and hatred unreserved. I do also think that, generally speaking, the film seems more self-consciously macho than a lot of stupid actioners out there. I just saw National Treasure, for example, and although it's a silly film, it has the common decency and sense to not act like an ass.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 11.29.2004 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really want to know what you thought of Zatoichi, Mr. Beltmann! As you know, I was extremely disappointed by it; was it one of your disappointments or the decent one?



I'll take a stab and say you liked Vera Drake the best.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 11.29.2004 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt, your case against After the Sunset seems sound; I think of Eurotrip, which I found offensive and intolerable for identical reasons.



I was disappointed by Zatoichi, not for straying from the Shintaro Katsu formula but for not straying enough. While I enjoyed Kitano's obvious respect for Zatoichi history--it's fun watching him check off each and every convention--it essentially plays like a perfectly mediocre entry in the original series. I also felt that Kitano's interpretation of the character was a misstep. Where Shintaro confronted the masseur's checkered past--and mined his sense of kindly regret and shame for perpetual dramatic tension--Kitano's version is condescending, flippant, and more than a little irritating.



Much has been made of the quick-and-out fight scenes. I found them effective and yet largely unimpressive; the best idea was using CGI for the spurting blood, which lends the violence a striking, stylized look--the rest of the picture could have used the same kind of artistic ambition.



My favorite of the week was actually Heir to an Execution.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 11.29.2004 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see your point, but I'm still not convinced that After the Sunset is actually intending to depict what you're suggesting. Rather, it is so mindless and stupid that it has come off in such a way, because the characters are so improperly developed and the execution so careless. If Brosnan was aware of Harrlson's relationship with Harris, then why would he be worried about slathering him in sunscreen? He wouldn't, but would, instead, be apprehensive because of Harrelson's strangely open lifestyle. (In a sense, Harrelson's request should come across as bizzare because the scummy and selfish crook would be asking for the sunscreen, usually, not the swift FBI agent). Of course, the end changes this, but, perhaps, the movie wasn't originally as vile as you say. Offensive or not, I do think it was too stupid to actually be considered something to be worked up by. I'm not all that interested about fully analyzing any of the scenes. All that I really felt was dehumanizing about it was its sheer mediocrity.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 11.30.2004 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I see your point, but I'm still not convinced that After the Sunset is actually intending to depict what you're suggesting.


I don't think original intentions matter more than what viewers--here or abroad--actually take from a film. For example, I'm quite certain that the makers of Eurotrip did not intend to make a culturally insensitive film... and yet their ignorance/poor taste/misjudgment (take your pick) doesn't excuse the film.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 11.30.2004 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I don't think original intentions matter more than what viewers--here or abroad--actually take from a film.


Nor do I, exactly, but I think that it clearly points to someone involved in the actual making. In After the Sunset's case I think Brett Ratner is almost entirely responsible (as awful as Harrelson's peformance is). He is to blame for the way in which the movie comes off; it just strikes me as interesting that, had the script been in the hands of another director, it could've been entirely fine. Line for line, act for act, I don't think the movie is all that offensive. Unispired, maybe, but not offensive.
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DontKnowFist
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PostPosted: 11.30.2004 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw The Incredibles (oh sorry can't spell right now) , thought it was a pretty good family movie. Someone mention before about the how they (the heros) were killed, what part was that? yes but thats all..i must go now..
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 11.30.2004 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
My favorite of the week was actually Heir to an Execution.


That's what I figured. Does that mean that The Alamo was a "Sorry excuse for a movie?" I haven't seen it, but, even with the bad reviews, I have remained hopeful to like it.
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