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Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week?
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 06.14.2005 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Don?t let the complaints of graphic violence scare you off? what?s truly shocking is Aja?s surprisingly tasteful restraint.




I think that tasteful restraint might be editing-to-secure-an-R-rating.



Anyway, High Tension was a disappointment for me. The most shocking thing about it was the awful and unnecessary dubbing -- really, what was Lions Gate thinking? And while it wasn't as intense as I'd expected, the film was made with enough skill and panache to keep things pretty gripping. Dean Koontz's Intensity crossed my mind a couple of times (how prophetic that the 1995 Publishers Weekly review describes Koontz's novel as an "exercise in high tension"), and things were going OK -- until, um, you know. For the most part, though, Aja's a sharp, efficient filmmaker, and he's a good choice for the upcoming Hills Have Eyes remake.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.14.2005 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
beltmann wrote:
Don?t let the complaints of graphic violence scare you off? what?s truly shocking is Aja?s surprisingly tasteful restraint.


I think that tasteful restraint might be editing-to-secure-an-R-rating.



In some cases, perhaps. But mostly I was thinking of camera placement and the general POV. For example, when the killer first enters the house, Aja emphasizes Marie's inability to see what's happening. Nearly all of the actual violence happens off screen while we watch Marie's ears tightening. And later, when Marie is hiding in the closet, notice where the camera is placed and how we more or less see only what Marie sees, with all the violence just out of frame or obscured by the door slats--which has the odd effect of reducing the overall gore while simultaneously increasing the tension. That scene, in particular, uses first-person POV to great advantage.



I agree that Aja shows real promise. Unlike most of the recent horror makers hailed as genre geniuses, he displays capabilities that go beyond merely bludgeoning the audience.



Eric
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 06.14.2005 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
[There are indeed isolated "clues," but for me they don't add up. Even worse, the twist completely undermines the logic (and, by extension, the weight) of all earlier scenes--if the twist is true, then huge chunks of the story simply could not have happened.




It's very much a Usual Suspects type thing.



Quote:
As Roger Ebert put it, "I am tempted at this point to issue a Spoiler Warning and engage in discussion of several crucial events in the movie that would seem to be physically, logically and dramatically impossible, but clever viewers will be able to see for themselves that the movie's plot has a hole that is not only large enough to drive a truck through, but in fact does have a truck driven right through it."




I don't see it as a plot hole. The scene you mention did take place, but with a little role reversal.



Quote:
Still, Jim, I presume the version you saw is somewhat different from the re-edited one we received here in the States?




Did you see the R-rated version? That is missing a minute of footage.



Quote:
(Ebert awarded the film only 1 star, apparently for this logic lapse but also for a "nasty, brutish" tone. I too left the theater peeved about the ending, but I never felt the movie was overtly cruel--in fact, I thought it was more restrained than most of its counterparts, perhaps because Aja stages his violence with an eye for first-person tension rather than merely for aesthetic "beauty." Unlike Ebert, I admired most of the picture, and would recommend it to genre fans despite the ending.)




I've found it hard to take Ebert's disdain for the more exploitative elements of certain films ever since I discovered that he was responsible for "writing that model of quiet good taste, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls." (Kim Newman, Nightmare Movies).
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a35mmlife
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PostPosted: 06.15.2005 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkeypox wrote:


Irreversible - I have no problem with violent extremes. I have a cast-iron stomach. I have been accused, perhaps rightly so, of my own tendencies towards nihilism, and a personal proclivity to violence. Cheesy revenge fantasy flicks are right up my alley...



... I didn't like this film, nor did I view it as great art. It didn't tell me anything and it couldn't even seem to make a point OUT OF not telling me anything. In the end, I view its use of violence with the same lens as Spielberg's WWII cartoon Saving Private Ryan. Showing me something longer DOES NOT necessarily make it all the more harrowing. In fact, my reaction was quite the opposite. By the end of these extended scenes, I find myself saying "Yeah, yeah... he's gonna talk about how tight her *** is and call her a **** some more. Let's move on. Yawn." It's the same effect as hearing them cue the strings in Titanic. I've got no problem with the mechanisms employed, but their lack of purpose.




I had a similar distaste for the film... but my reasoning might make me sound more like a ninny.



I was invited to advance screening of Irreversible where I did something that I have never done before in my life-- I walked out of the theater. I have seen many horrific images projected in my lifetime. But never have I felt like the director of the film was standing behind me hitting me over the head with a hammer, for no reason other than trying to hurt me to get some kind of a rise out of me. Maybe it worked. Durring the extended anal rape scene, I just decided I had enough. The mystic surrounding the innovative reverse story telling had warn off and all i was left with was the pointless brutality.



I'd have asked for my money back if I had paid.
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mfritschel
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PostPosted: 06.15.2005 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein, 1925) - Sure the movie acts as communist / revolutionary propaganda, but does not that further ad to its greatness. For what other greater purpose can art serve then to influence people into action or make a statement upon society and how it needs to change. Especially when the movie is done so well that one realizes that the movie is acting on more than just the plane of personal entertainment but rather making a point, and yet it can capture a person and really draw them into the story line.



Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unforunate Events (Siberling, 2004) - Jim Carrey was of course great in a role perfectly designed for him. The movie was slightly disturbing as it seemed to take so light heartedly the horrific events as they happened, and yet it treated death in such a fashion that it almost hindered the emotional attachment one should get from the film because it lacked such pathos.



Vera Drake (Leigh, 2004) - whlile Lemoney Snicket seemed to dance along the emotional plane and never really set down, Vera Drake dived right in and really brought us face to face with the different emotional spectrum the characters were facing and the connection with the characters was a very real one.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.20.2005 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

6/13 ? 6/19



In preferential order:

Exterminating Angel (Bunuel, Mexico 1962)

Batman Begins (Nolan, USA 2005)

Oldboy (Park, South Korea 2003)

Howl?s Moving Castle (Miyazaki, Japan 2004)

Assault on Precinct 13 (Richet, USA 2005)

The Forgotten (Ruben, USA 2004)

She Hate Me (Lee, USA 2004)

Wimbledon (Loncraine, UK 2004)

Besotted (Hardman, USA 2002)

Ladder 49 (Russell, USA 2004)

Funny Lady (Ross, USA 1975)

Tsui Hark's Vampire Hunters (Chin, Hong Kong 2002)

The Thief (Jones, USA 2004)

Wherever Two (Myette, USA 2005)

plus three shorts:

Knighty Knight Bugs (Freleng, USA 1958)

The Cat Concerto (Hanna and Barbera, USA 1946)

Writer?s Block (Jones, USA 2003)



I expected Howl's Moving Castle to be another engrossing phantasmagoria from Miyazaki, but I didn't expect to admire Oldboy, another complicated revenge thriller from Park Chan-Wook. I've never liked a Park picture before, but this one has a surprisingly rueful and elegiac tone. Unlike Tarantino and Rodriguez, Park creates a perverse, sinister universe in which something is always truly at stake--what starts as familiar Asian pulp eventually turns into some kind of cruel poetry.



Neither The Forgotten nor Assault on Precinct 13 were as bad I was led to believe?the first, despite being profoundly silly, offers at least one genuine jolt, and the new Precinct is an improvement upon Carpenter. The ambitious and entertaining cartoon She Hate Me, too, isn?t the train wreck most reviewers saw?were they just too lazy to engage with the movie?s satirical intentions?



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.20.2005 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

6/1 - 6/19



I can finally post and get caught up on reviews now that school's out. This thread is a start, eh?



In preferential order:



Cinderella Man (Howard, 2005)

Howl's Moving Castle (Miyazaki, 2005)

The Wild Parrots of Telgraph Hill (Irving, 2005)

The Machinist (Anderson, 2005)

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Liman, 2005)

Mad Hot Ballroom (Agrelo, 2005)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Kwapis, 2005)

Imaginary Heroes (Harris, 2005)

The Perfect Man (Rosman, 2005)

Batman Begins (Nolan, 2005)

Seed of Chucky (Mancini, 2004)

D.E.B.S. (Robinson, 2005)



I adored the first two movies on the list, the first for its ability to allow its protaganist to simply be a great guy sans manipulation, and the second for its visual prowess and unapparent complexity. The beauty of the Miyazaki movie is that childen can take it at face value as amazing, outlandish fantasy and those inclined can look into the writer/director's rich symbolism. I'm also giving Batman Begins another chance because, out of the desire to see it on opening day, I saw it when sleep-deprived from finals at school. I zoned out a lot of the time and really disliked it, mainly because I just didn't care about Bruce Wayne. I hope to catch it again sometime this week. I owe it to Nolan to try again.
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xAndyx
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PostPosted: 06.21.2005 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Equilibrium (2002)



I am told that this movie was not given much hype due to its "faint", if that, relation to the Matrix. However I think this movie puts the Matrix to shame, and provides great insight into what our world might one day become. I really found it fascinating that the film is quite the parallel to 1984, which I have just started reading for school next year.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.22.2005 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



I can't deny that Eraserhead is a skillful nightmare about the anxieties surrounding sex and parenthood, but I didn't really respond to it, perhaps because I don't share the same anxieties.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.22.2005 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I'm also giving Batman Begins another chance because, out of the desire to see it on opening day, I saw it when sleep-deprived from finals at school. I zoned out a lot of the time and really disliked it, mainly because I just didn't care about Bruce Wayne. I hope to catch it again sometime this week. I owe it to Nolan to try again.


I take back all of what I said before. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire second viewing, and see exactly the way in which Nolan correctly institutes a sort of visceral playfullness about the material. I should try to watch Citizen Kane as tired as I was during my first viewing of Batman Begins and see how I like it.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.23.2005 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xAndyx wrote:
Equilibrium (2002)



I am told that this movie was not given much hype due to its "faint", if that, relation to the Matrix. However I think this movie puts the Matrix to shame, and provides great insight into what our world might one day become. I really found it fascinating that the film is quite the parallel to 1984, which I have just started reading for school next year.




100%



beltman wrote:


<snip>Eraserhead is a skillful nightmare about the anxieties surrounding sex and parenthood<snip>




Oh, that's what it's about.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.23.2005 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
beltman wrote:


<snip>Eraserhead is a skillful nightmare about the anxieties surrounding sex and parenthood<snip>




Oh, that's what it's about.


Maybe. Kinda hard to tell, really. Doesn't seem to be much point in trying to "interpret" surrealism, though, does there?



Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.23.2005 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote





A Dirty Shame (John Waters / USA / 2004)



Even though it's rated NC-17, this parody of hysterical movies like Reefer Madness is fairly harmless stuff--it's like spending 90 minutes with bawdy 14-year-olds with good timing. It's also one of the few John Waters movies I've been able to watch without hating myself in the morning.



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.23.2005 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
the night watchman wrote:
beltman wrote:


<snip>Eraserhead is a skillful nightmare about the anxieties surrounding sex and parenthood<snip>




Oh, that's what it's about.


Maybe. Kinda hard to tell, really. Doesn't seem to be much point in trying to "interpret" surrealism, though, does there?




No, I don't think that interpretation is too far off the mark, although to me sex and parenthood act as catalysts for Henry's anxieties about nothing less than physicality itself. I think there's a battle going on between the "purity" and freedom of the psyche (of which the woman in the radiator is a sort of gatekeeper or guide) and the gooey, troublesome, prison of the material world (of which the man in the planet is the -- not master -- but operator). That's the general conflict of the movie, I think, although the details always seem to transmogrify.



No matter how often I watch Eraserhead, I always glom onto a different aspect of it. I've watched it around ten times since the mid-eighties, and I've never become "familiar" with it. It somehow manages to always take me by surprise.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 06.23.2005 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I can't deny that Eraserhead is a skillful nightmare about the anxieties surrounding sex and parenthood, but I didn't really respond to it, perhaps because I don't share the same anxieties.




I just thought the baby was, like, the most adorable thing ever.
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