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What did you watch this week?
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 12.13.2004 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

12/6 ? 12/12/04



The Punisher (Hensleigh, USA 2004)

White Chicks (Wayans, USA 2004)

Closer (Nichols, USA 2004)

Finding Neverland (Forster, USA 2004)



Although there?s nothing realistic about it, I thoroughly enjoyed the sharp, sophisticated rat-a-tat of Closer?s dialogue. I?m skeptical that the film has anything truly useful to say about sexuality, but it?s a well-acted and wholly engaging story. The same is true of Finding Neverland, which never trades in the intellect to make its claims for the power of the imagination. I liked ?em both.



Neither White Chicks nor The Punisher were as terrible as I expected. In fact, I quite enjoyed The Punisher until its final act, which devolves into a dull, silly, arbitrary series of violent showdowns.



Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 12.13.2004 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wanted to say a little something...



This thread rules, and I read every post here. Every post. I often add movies to my ever-growing must-see list thanks to the comments in this thread. Thanks to everyone who has contributed. I haven't made any of my own contributions in over a month, but I plan to get back into the groove soon and start doing weekly rundowns of my viewings with a little commentary on the side.



Thanks, everyone. I love this thread. Very Happy
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Mark Dujsik
Director


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 12.13.2004 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

12/6 - 12/12



Blade: Trinity (Goyer, 2004): Review



Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004) (repeat): Watched this one again so I could write a review.



Hotel Rwanda (George, 2004): Review



Notorious (Hitchcock, 1946): Yeah, I know... Loved it, though. Sparkling dialogue, and Bergman is luminous.



Ocean's Eleven (Soderbergh, 2001) (repeat): Caught it so the girl friend would be ready for the sequel. Old-school review



Ocean's Twelve (Soderbergh, 2004): Review



Sideways (Payne, 2004): Review



South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Parker, 1999) (repeat): Heh, heh.



Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Mostow, 2003) (repeat): I have no idea why I pulled this off the shelf. It still feels more like a remake of Terminator 2 than its own movie. The set of shots showing humanity's last moments of peace are still a but haunting, though. Review



28 Days Later (Boyle, 2003) (repeat): Felt like something scary, and this one holds up well after a few viewings. Review



Pretty busy week.
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10 Best Films of 2006



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Last edited by Mark Dujsik on 12.13.2004 8:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 12.13.2004 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Neither White Chicks nor The Punisher were as terrible as I expected.


I watched White Chicks last night and didn't laugh a single time, and was never amused. It was more terrible than I expected. Full comments be added tomorrow.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 12.13.2004 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark Dujsik wrote:


Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Mostow, 2003) (repeat): I have no idea why I pulled this off the shelf. It still feels more like a remake of Terminator 2 than its own movie. The set of shots showing humanity's last moments of peace are still a but haunting, though.[/b]




To me, T3 feels and looks like a straight-to-video release. Really didn't like it.



Just saw Saw last night. Lame, lame, lame. I am convinced this movie came into being when one of the writers said to the other, "Hey, let's make a movie with this set-up, and this plot twist at the end." Both are good ideas, but the problem is, everything in between is utterly arbitrary. The movie could have been about anything, hence, it ends up being a series of contrivances for 90 minutes that add up to nothing. Essentially, the entire movie is red herring. I admit I did feel a little thrill on the final revelation, but it's about as close to a cheat a movie can commit without actually cheating. The only way anyone could have foreseen it is to second-guess everything in the set-up in an attempt to figure out the most unexpected way the filmmakers could pull the rug out from under the audience. I've seen worse movies this year, but nothing as useless Saw.
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Mark Dujsik
Director


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 12.13.2004 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:


To me, T3 feels and looks like a straight-to-video release. Really didn't like it.




I didn't like it either, in case you thought I did.



the night watchman wrote:


Just saw Saw last night. Lame, lame, lame. I am convinced this movie came into being when one of the writers said to the other, "Hey, let's make a movie with this set-up, and this plot twist at the end."




"And we'll throw in this clich? and that clich? to fill in the time in between." Yeah, fairly annoying. The premise would have made an interesting short film, though.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 12.13.2004 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark Dujsik wrote:
The premise would have made an interesting short film, though.




Yeah, it would have made for a good Alfred Hitchcock Presents or Night Gallery.
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


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

PostPosted: 12.14.2004 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chronicles of Riddick (Twohy, 2004)

Hero (Yimou, 2004)

Ju-On: The Grudge (Shimizu, 2004)

Maria Full of Grace (Marston, 2004)

Super Size Me (Spurlock, 2004)



A rather strong week of movies for myself, both quality wise and quantity wise, I was quite amazed by the great use of scenery in both Riddick and Hero, especially how one was so CGI driven and the other so much much more color and symbolic driven and how it really set the two movies apart. I have to admit that I was quite suprised with Super Size Me, and that it delved far more into the problem then I though it would, and I found myself quite enthralled in it
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 12.14.2004 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

12/7 - 12/13



White Chicks (Wayans, 2004)

Sylvia (Jeffs, 2004)



Two rather awful pictures. The first is so blatant in whatever sense of satire that it may possess that it is impossible to laugh at. At least other crude teen comedies remain interesting because of the simple amazement that they would dare to put such tasteless material in a widely released movie. However, even the "unrated version" of this trite, painfully pathetic and resoundingly boring movie, sticks with the simplest and grossest of all scatalogical humor, all of which is in the realm of dumb fart jokes. Neither of the Wayans Brothers is very funny, and this is coming from a guy who usually likes them. To top it all off, it's five minutes shy of two hours long.



Sylvia is picturesque, I suppose, but it has some rather weak performances and so many blunt tie-ins to Plath's poetry that it becomes overbearing. Gweneyth Paltrow: "Me hysterical! Me go write poetry and be vulnerable for awhile!" Rinse, lather, repeat until we reach a rediculous ending.
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Jim Harper
Director


Joined: 29 Feb 2004
Posts: 226
Location: Totnes, Devon, UK

PostPosted: 12.18.2004 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
I just wanted to say a little something...



This thread rules, and I read every post here. Every post. I often add movies to my ever-growing must-see list thanks to the comments in this thread. Thanks to everyone who has contributed. I haven't made any of my own contributions in over a month, but I plan to get back into the groove soon and start doing weekly rundowns of my viewings with a little commentary on the side.



Thanks, everyone. I love this thread. Very Happy




This is the one thread I always come back to as well. Unfortunately I'm averaging between two and four movies a day at the moment so the prospect of detailing (even in brief) a possible twenty-eight films has stopped me from joining in as often as possible. However, I do intended to keep a 'film diary' starting from Christmas and I'll try to transfer it to the board once in a while.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 12.19.2004 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

12/13 ? 12/19/04



Decent

Maria Full of Grace (Marston, USA 2004)

Spanglish (Brooks, USA 2004)

Sissy Boy Slap Party (Maddin, Canada 1995)

Mediocre

Tarnation (Caouette, USA 2004).

A Home at the End of the World (Mayer, USA 2004)

Facing Windows (Ozpetek, Italy 2003)

A Trip to the Orphanage (Maddin, Canada 2004)

Sombra Dolorosa (Maddin, Canada 2004)

Forget It

Scorsese on Scorsese (Schickel, USA 2004).

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (Ferland, USA 204)



No time for comments; perhaps I?ll chime in later.



Eric
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matt header
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PostPosted: 12.20.2004 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with most of your general description headings, Mr. B, but I'd be interested in knowing your take on Tarnation especially. I'd label it maybe better than decent, but I was annoyed by the unprofessional-looking scrolling text and it did seem repetitive. What were your beefs?



I haven't seen too much recently, but here are the ones I can remember:





Tarnation Like I said, a few problems, but an emotionally jarring and personal film; this is one of the few instances where I can clearly see the particular aesthetic qualities of video over film. (I usually find video cheap and sloppy-looking; not always, but usually.)



Tales from the Gimli Hospital The first Guy Maddin film I've seen, and I loved it - a hallucinogenic through a surreal world located somewhere between silent-film melodrama and modern-day absurdity.



Enduring Love I hated both this and The Mother, Roger Michell's two films of this year. He uses extreme close-up handheld cinematography as a cheap excuse to disturb the audience; there is very little beneath these characters or beneath the (admittedly intriguing) story to provide as much suspense. The dramatic confrontations seem ludicrous and overwrought, as though the performers are forced to overact only to prove that something important is going on.



That's really about it, but final exams and projects are over now, so I'll get back in the swing of things.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 12.20.2004 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Tarnation Like I said, a few problems, but an emotionally jarring and personal film; this is one of the few instances where I can clearly see the particular aesthetic qualities of video over film. (I usually find video cheap and sloppy-looking; not always, but usually.)


There are astonishing passages in Tarnation--the ones that redefine what cinema can be--but they are tempered by Caouette's narcissistic tendency to trump up his own misfortunes as grand drama. I might have been willing to bite, except I found the film far less revelatory--and far less moving--than its admirers assert. At 86 minutes, the movie is still filled with clutter, and there's no excuse for the drawling, scrolling text. Not only do the words thud like bricks, they play like an uninspired parody of one of those home movie montages screened at weddings. I kept waiting for Bob Saget to start cracking really lousy puns.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 12.21.2004 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

12/14 - 12/20



Maria Full of Grace (Marston, 2004)

Luther (Till, 2003)

Ocean's Twelve (Soderbergh, 2004)

Control Room (Noujaim, 2004)

House of Flying Daggers (Yimou, 2004)

The Core (Amiel, 2003)



Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers, I think, is undisputedly a masterpiece. By its cover, it could pass for something melodramatic, and it sort of is, but in a moving way. Yimou takes the ideals of good and bad and plays with them, thematically, by decieving his audience with relatively simple plot twists. However, what they inspire is something greater. As truth is revealed, the audience's opinion on the love story working here is bound to change, minute by minute, with each revelation of sorts. Also, consider all of the transformations that occur in the battle sequences--characters feelings are exposed and their actions analyzed--with swooping visuals and exhilerating choreography. Hero is one of the better pictures of this year, but this approaches the best.



I wish I could say the same for Maria Full of Grace, a powerful movie with no emotional resonance whatsoever. I fully understood why there was heartbreak, tension, and harship, but more of in a textbook way than an empathetic one. Did I sympathize with them? Not one bit; for the entire duration, I was an outsider looking in. Even the history of Luther or the cheeseball moments of The Core had me more involved and caring.



Control Room was a very interesting expose for me on the media--Fox, CNN, and BBC included--with a focus on the ever-popular Arabic station al-Jazeera. Director Noujaim approaches the thing rather generically, but it works. As the scummy representatives and employees of al-Jazeera are interviewed, the state over in the Middle East is almost entirely summed up. The American media is falling into the same hole. What happens when we can't seek out the truth? And, since there really isn't such a thing as unbiased media, why is the case so radical right now? It's fascinating to watch, but at times I questioned the motives and their effect. Much of the time, Noujaim just shows al-Jazeera footage: a kid in Iraq who detests Bush, civilian casualties in the war, dubbed speeches of American leaders and spokespeople. It feels as though she's almost feeding us the information in their light, instead of looking down on their techniques, in certain passages. Nevertheless, in the lot of political "documentaries" that have been made lately, it's probably the best of the bunch. (I can't wait to see The Yes Men, more than ever, however, now that I read Beltmann's commentary on it).



Wrapping things up, I thought that, as far as Hollywoody entertainment goes, Ocean's Twelve was pretty quick on its feet. It even took me awhile to make sure I had put the whole thing's sequence of events together correctly, in my head. That's not something I see everyday at the multiplex. Some good laughs are to be had with it, too. Still, after House of Flying Daggers has begun to consume my mind, I doubt I'll spend much time thinking about Soderbergh's fun little vehicle, in coming weeks.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 12.21.2004 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Not only do the words thud like bricks, they play like an uninspired parody of one of those home movie montages screened at weddings. I kept waiting for Bob Saget to start cracking really lousy puns.




Very Happy I can see that. It's a good thing a lot of this material speaks for itself, I suppose, because Caouette's filmmaking doesn't really add much to it.



Danny, I fully agree about both Maria Full of Grace and Control Room. Maria was really intriguing for about 45 minutes or so and then got bogged down, in my view, by a straightforward desire to wrap up the story; we leave the confines of Maria's mind, which is a fascinating, exciting place to be. Control Room is the best political documentary I saw this year, too, negating any questions of manipulative fimmaking by questioning that very sort of subjective news-delivery.
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