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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 02.12.2004 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adaptation - PRO

Aliens - pro

The Bicycle Thief - pro

Donnie Darko - pro

Gangs of New York - pro

Halloween II - con

It's a Wonderful Life - pro

Kids - con

The Matrix - hmmm

Raiders of the Lost Ark - hmmm

Reservoir Dogs - PRO

The Return of the King - PRO

Unbreakable - pro

The Usual Suspects - PRO

xXx - hmmm
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 02.13.2004 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, all right. Bullies.

Adaptation - pro

Aliens - PRO

Battle Royale - hmm

The Bicycle Thief - PRO

Donnie Darko - pro

Dressed to Kill - hmm (leaning pro)

Gangs of New York - hmm

Gerry - hmm

The Gospel According to St Matthew - pro

Halloween II - n/a

It's a Wonderful Life - pro

Kids - con

Kill baby, kill! - n/a

Last Action Hero - con

Lost Highway - hmm

The Matrix - pro

Operation Intercept - n/a

Raiders of the Lost Ark - PRO

Red River - PRO

Reservoir Dogs - PRO

The Return of the King - pro

The Straight Story - pro

Unbreakable - pro

The Usual Suspects - hmm

xXx - hmm

Eric
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 02.13.2004 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
It's a Wonderful Life - Simply put, I don't buy it, not one bit of it, even for a second. I've watched this movie a few times, but it's always felt like a grand exercise in emotional manipulation. I did like the photography. But to prove I'm not a cynical bastard, here are some movies I like with affirmative messages: The Shawshank Redemption, Whale Rider, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, The Straight Story, and Babe.


To a degree, I feel the same way. But for me the virtues--including Stewart's performance, and the surprising dark streak--outweigh the emotional manipulation. Definitely not one of my favorites, though, not even among Capra.

the night watchman wrote:
xXx - Silly, hyperactive, and far-fetched? Sure. But I think it also functions as a subtle parody of action movies, especially action movies in the post-Playstation/XBox age. Also, I don't think "Vin Diesel tries to emulate the 'machoness' of the good old 80s' action heroes." (And even if he did and failed, I'd have to rank him over Chuck Norris, if only because he's not Chuck Norris.) Diesel plays Xander Cage as a guy playing an action hero. Xander's world-view is fed by video games and action movies and extreme sports. The movie does actually have little fun with this perspective at the character's expense; for example, the car Xander has designed to his specifications is nearly useless for the first situation in which it's put to use. The movie also allows short moments of humanity to peek through; for instance, in one scene early on, after Xander passes the first "test," the camera lingers on his emotional reaction as he makes the choice to join Jackson's team or go to jail; in another scene, Xander watches in impotent horror as a group of scientists are betrayed and murdered by the bad guys. Beyond that, I suppose whether or not the action sequences are "bland, lifeless, and preposterous" are simply a matter of opinion. For me, most of them didn't quite cross the line over into absurdity.


I'm with the Night Watchman on this one. Everybody knows meathead action movies typically give me headaches and bore me to tears, but I kinda enjoyed XXX, for many of the same reasons NW listed. I must admit I was rather baffled by this, and my review briefly explored that. I sheepishly confess I also bought the DVD--and watched it, even.

Eric
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matt header
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 02.13.2004 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just so all y'all know, I'm listening to The Avalanches right now, and they rock the house.

Adaptation - pro

The Bicycle Thief - PRO!!!!!! (among my favorite movies)

Donnie Darko - pro

Dressed to Kill - con (I rarely get into De Palma's stuff)

Gangs of New York - hmm

It's a Wonderful Life - PRO (yeah, I dig it)

Kids - con

Kill Baby Kill! - pro (violence never looked so beautiful)

Last Action Hero - hmm

Lost Highway - hmm

The Matrix - hmm

Raiders of the Lost Ark - PRO

Reservoir Dogs - hmm (my least favorite Tarantino, by far)

The Return of the King - pro

The Straight Story - PRO (maybe my favorite Lynch)

Unbreakable - pro

The Usual Suspects - pro

xXx - hmm
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beltmann
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Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 02.13.2004 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Just so all y'all know, I'm listening to The Avalanches right now, and they rock the house.


Yeah, I dig them too, 'specially "Since You Went Away." Just put it on, thanks to your reminder.

matt header wrote:
Dressed to Kill - con (I rarely get into De Palma's stuff)


De Palma's uneven, sure, but I would gladly trade a half-dozen Hitchcocks for Casualties of War, The Untouchables, Blow Out, Raising Cain and Mission: Impossible.

Didn't we rank De Palma's stuff a long while back? Maybe that was on the old Flipside board.

Eric
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The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 02.13.2004 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


I'm with the Night Watchman on this one. Everybody knows meathead action movies typically give me headaches and bore me to tears, but I kinda enjoyed XXX, for many of the same reasons NW listed. I must admit I was rather baffled by this, and my review briefly explored that. I sheepishly confess I also bought the DVD--and watched it, even.

Eric


I would have never expected you to say that. What a dire disappointment, my dear Eric.
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The Third M?n
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Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 02.13.2004 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
To a degree, I feel the same way. But for me the virtues--including Stewart's performance, and the surprising dark streak--outweigh the emotional manipulation. Definitely not one of my favorites, though, not even among Capra.



I have Meet John Doe on DVD but haven't got round to watching it yet. Is it any good?
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 02.13.2004 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Third M?n wrote:
I would have never expected you to say that. What a dire disappointment, my dear Eric.


I'm not predictable? Excellent.

If there's one thing we ought to avoid, it's knee-jerk responses to art, which are a disservice both to artists and ourselves. Even though I find most of them utterly tiresome, I'm unwilling to dismiss the entire "meathead action" genre. Like NW said, XXX distinguishes itself in several minor ways, and we shouldn't overlook those virtues merely because much of the film is mediocre. Critics should always be honest when it comes to their reactions to art--and, to be honest, I had a good time at XXX, despite many reservations. Films don't have to be all-or-nothing; the vast majority fall somewhere between good and bad. Very few are awful, and even fewer are great. (Of course, I'm speaking as someone who generally likes movies and likes watching them.)

Eric
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The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 02.13.2004 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
The Third M?n wrote:
I would have never expected you to say that. What a dire disappointment, my dear Eric.


I'm not predictable? Excellent.

If there's one thing we ought to avoid, it's knee-jerk responses to art, which are a disservice both to artists and ourselves. Even though I find most of them utterly tiresome, I'm unwilling to dismiss the entire "meathead action" genre. Like NW said, XXX distinguishes itself in several minor ways, and we shouldn't overlook those virtues merely because much of the film is mediocre. Critics should always be honest when it comes to their reactions to art--and, to be honest, I had a good time at XXX, despite many reservations. Films don't have to be all-or-nothing; the vast majority fall somewhere between good and bad. Very few are awful, and even fewer are great. (Of course, I'm speaking as someone who generally likes movies and likes watching them.)

Eric


Your unpredictability is one of the elements that most charaterises you, Eric.

That said, how can you *enjoy* xXx and not LOVE the utter and deliberate cheesiness of Commando? Now that's what I call a sacrilege of the worstest kind.
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beltmann
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Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 02.13.2004 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also wanted to add that, as a believer in cinema, we ought to be open to the widest possible range of cinema. I may spend a lot of time with silent and experimental stuff, but I also equally enjoy mainstream, commercial, popcorn stuff. All I ask is that I'm engaged on some level. If it's true that much popcorn fails to engage me, that doesn't mean the entire product line is automatically suspect. (In other words, don't let the Vin Diesel backlash affect your response to XXX).) To me, Bergman and Cohen can co-exist, right next to Harlin and Kiarostami.

Too many people sniff at the art-house; and too many people sniff at the multiplex. Can't we all just get along?

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.13.2004 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Worstest? ;)

Anywho, I thought Commando was a kick in the pants when I was 15. The last time I watched it, when I was around 22, my taste had gone through a process of "maturation," and found I was becoming impatient with the more juvenile stuff I'd enjoyed when I was, well, a juvenile. It's possible I would have been irritated with xXX at that time, and it's possible if I watched Commando again today I'd find more to enjoy than the last time I watched it. (Does that mean I'm becoming more juveline as I get older?)

There are movies I loved when I was younger that I don't like now, and vice versa. There are also movies I liked when I was young that fell out of my favor when I was in my 20s that I've since "rediscovered." My "rediscovery" may spring from a sense of nostalgia (many 50s giant bug movies fall into this category), or my perspective may changed in such a way that the movie "hits" me in multiple ways, both positive and negative.
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 02.13.2004 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I thought Commando was a kick in the pants when I was 15. The last time I watched it, when I was around 22, my taste had gone through a process of "maturation," and found I was becoming impatient with the more juvenile stuff I'd enjoyed when I was, well, a juvenile. It's possible I would have been irritated with xXX at that time, and it's possible if I watched Commando again today I'd find more to enjoy than the last time I watched it. (Does that mean I'm becoming more juveline as I get older?)

There are movies I loved when I was younger that I don't like now, and vice versa. There are also movies I liked when I was young that fell out of my favor when I was in my 20s that I've since "rediscovered." My "rediscovery" may spring from a sense of nostalgia (many 50s giant bug movies fall into this category), or my perspective may changed in such a way that the movie "hits" me in multiple ways, both positive and negative.


I think recognizing these shifts in taste, maturity, and perspectives is integral to understanding our own relationship to any art form. The sooner we grasp this process (reflecting on it is called metacognition), the sooner we can harness it and use it to steer our own progress.

By the way, I share your late-term enjoyment of bug movies. Very Happy

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.13.2004 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


By the way, I share your late-term enjoyment of bug movies. Very Happy



My absolute favorite is probably Them!, followed by The Black Scorpion, Tarantula! (parodied wonderfully in Lilo & Stitch) and Monster That Challenged the World.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 02.13.2004 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Raiders of the Lost Ark - PRO



I used to love it, but I watched it a couple of weeks ago, and there was no magic, whatsoever. I dunno what happened. Crying or Very sad
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 02.14.2004 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
beltmann wrote:


Raiders of the Lost Ark - PRO



I used to love it, but I watched it a couple of weeks ago, and there was no magic, whatsoever. I dunno what happened. Crying or Very sad


I've probably seen it 20 times, but I just watched the DVD last week. I was struck by how well it holds up, even in the era of CGI. (Perhaps I should say especially in the era of CGI.) I'd argue that the stunts and vistas in Raiders are more thrilling, more breathtaking, more cool, than anything in the vast majority of movies that employ "advanced" CGI. I know we're talking about varying degrees of fake here, but I still prefer a smaller-scale stunt that I know real stuntmen performed, over a larger-scale stunt only pixels performed. Psychologically, there's a vast difference for me. It's why I still get a rush when watching something as old as Hatari!, but zone out during the complex choreography of Phantom Menace.

Eric
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