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Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week?
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mfritschel
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 05.10.2005 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

una pelicula para mi



Crash (Haggis, 2005) - The movie seemed much more like a composite of a bunch of movies. It was entertaining at the beginning and made some interesting ideas about racism and our cultural perceptions, but by the end I was rather disappointed as it fizzled into the standard Hollywood happy ending.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 05.10.2005 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May 1 to May 7, 2005:



Three Colors: Red (Kieslowski, 1994) A

Cannes juror Tilda Swinton said of Fahrenheit 9/11, "This film validates cinema." No, this one does.



Ninotchka (Lubitsch, 1939) B+

Garbo is adorable as a strict Russian communist perked up by an unexpected Paris romance (tagline: "Garbo laughs"). Not Lubitsch's best, but lots of fun.



Tomorrow Is Forever (Pichel, 1946) C

Groan-inducing melodramatic twaddle with a good turn by Orson Welles as a long-declared-dead WWI veteran who returns home 20 years later, unrecognizable and with a new identity -- only to become entangled in the lives of his widow (Claudette Colbert), now happily remarried, and his now-grown son. By turns dull, involving, silly, and mildly moving, it's second-rate melodrama that could've used the graceful excess of Douglas Sirk to make it work.



The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles, 1942) B+

Oh, what could have been. But what is is pretty damn good.



Crimes and Misdemeanors (Allen, 1989) A-

"A strange man defecated on my sister." Is there a better line in all of cinema?



Primer (Carruth, 2004) B

Is Primer smart, or am I just dumb? Either way, I was completely engaged, even when I had no idea what was going on. But the film's monotone disposition is very odd -- dramatically, there's not much to latch onto, and key plot points are glossed over in the same just-the-facts fashion as everything else. That it was so fascinating, alarming, and fun in spite of that is baffling, but there you go.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 05.10.2005 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

4/26 - 5/10



Listed preferentially:



Undertow (Green, 2004) - Just when I thought Undertow would be another All The Real Girls out of David Gordon Green, except without the romance or the interest, it took a 180-degree turn and surprised the hell out of me, with more tension, suspense, and poetically affecting imagery than any other movie in a very long time. Green still embraces a lot of the things that I have grown to hate about his style after only seeing three of his films, but the good he does here far overpowers the bad. Also: it's impressive that Josh Lucas has actually found a role that suits him. Jamie Bell is amazing in the movie. Not to mention, the ending is absolutely beautiful, a total rarity in modern filmmaking.



The Virgin Suicides (Coppola, 1999) - Coppola creates atmosphere in the same way her father did--but in a far more contemporary way--juxtaposing time-period and filmmaking style, almost. Terrifically narrated and reminicent of some sort of demented, contemporary tragedy that Shakespeare never wrote, it works to the extent at which an otherwise jumbled finale ("rushed" doesn't seem like the word) works, in context. Not to mention, Kirsten Dunst is wonderful, and I was in denial that the male lead was Josh Hartnett 'cuz I'd never seen him be so subtle.



A Love Song For Bobby Long (Gabel, 2004) - While disappointed by its predictability, I was pleasantly surprised by how genuinely it reaches its conclusion. A wonderful, flowing first two acts make up for most of the elementary errors in its finale. Not to mention: John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson, and Gabriel Macht are always there to surprise us with terrific performances. Had it been released wider, A Love Song For Bobby Long might've had a shot at acting nominations outside of Johansson's shot-in-hell for the Golden Globe. This, while flawed, is certainly a movie to check out.



Wayne's World (Spheeris, 1992) - There are several funny moments in the movie, but I think 'ya had to be there when it first came out to really enjoy the thing. So many buddy movies over the years (Dude, Where's My Car, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle) have completely destroyed my taste-buds for this type of movie; not even Myers and Carvey's obvious wit allowed me to immerse myself in it. I dunno if anybody'll be able to forget the theme song, though. "It's 'Wayne's World'! It's 'Wayne's World'! It's party time! Excellent!"



Darkness (Balaguer?, 2002) - If there's one thing this movie proves, it's that artistry and efficiency have nothing to do with each other. Several scenes boast excellent lighting and sound mixing, but, because they are basically thrown together in a slew of chaos by director Balaguer?, they simply contribute to the film being weird-looking and loud. And I still don't get the point of a "horror"-movie like this trying to delve into deeper areas than the central story--Darkness' attempts at commentating familial dynamics and referencing scripture are only laughable.



Without A Paddle (Brill, 2004) - Opening to sort of a pleasant but poorly acted montage of childhood with soft, warm, and at the same time awfully annoying voiceover narration, I thought I might, just might end up being pleasantly surprised by this one, but then came the crude humor. And there is a lot of it. And not only crude humor: just plain stupid humor. It is a juvenile exercise in every sense, just as expected; how a person could find it funny is beyond me. Had the hillbilly sequence in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle lasted for 100 minutes, then it'd probably be identical to Without a Paddle.
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xAndyx
Director


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PostPosted: 05.11.2005 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Wayne's World There are several funny moments in the movie, but I think 'ya had to be there when it first came out to really enjoy the thing.




It is amazing that you have not seen this movie until just now. I'll admit that the movie is not good, but it was definatly one of my favorites in my early youth, and I donno if that is morally something that should happen. but then again if your child grew up to be Garth, wouldn't you be proud?
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Jim Harper
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Joined: 29 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: 05.11.2005 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't believe it's been this long since I posted an update, but here goes anyway.



20/04/05 - 11/05/05

Abre Los Ojos (dir. Alejandro Amenabar, 1998)

And Now the Screaming Starts (dir. Roy Ward Baker, 1973)*

The Devil?s Backbone (dir. Guillermo Del Toro, 2001)

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (dir. Val Guest, 1961)*

Bram Stoker?s Dracula (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1992)

Shadow of the Vampire (dir. E. Elias Merhige, 2000)

Bubba Ho-Tep (dir. Don Coscarelli, 2002)

When a Stranger Calls Back (dir. Fred Walton, 1993)

Dr. Terror?s House of Horrors (dir. Freddie Francis, 1965)

I Bury the Living (dir. Albert Band, 1958)*

Mikadroid (dir. Tomo Haraguchi, 1991)*

The Exorcist: The Beginning (dir. Renny Harlin, 2004)*

The Bourne Supremacy (dir. Paul Greengrass, 2004)*

Collateral (dir. Michael Mann, 2004)*

Love Actually (dir. Richard Curtis, 2003)*

Looney Tunes: Back in Action (dir. Joe Dante, 2003)*

Rasputin: The Mad Monk (dir. Don Sharp, 1966)*

The Red Squirrel (dir. Julio Medem, 1993)*

Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse (dir. Olivier Dahan, 2004)*

Vidocq (dir. Pitof, 2001)*

Blade Trinity (dir. David S. Goyer, 2004)*

Amityville II: The Possession (dir. Damiano Damiani, 1982)

Bichunmoo (dir. Young-jun Kim, 2000)*

The Dead Eyes of London (dir. Alfred Vohrer, 1961)*

Blessed (dir. Simon Fellows, 2004)*



Disappointing: Crimson Rivers 2. Having loved the first one I was disappointed in the listless pace and second-rate performances that caharcterized this one. If you've got Christopher Lee in a film, at least give him more than ten minutes screen time. Blessed. I knew it wasn't going to be great, but I didn't think it would that bad. And what a crap ending!



Not As Bad As Could Have Been: The Exorcist IV. Surprisingly well-directed and atmospheric film. Over-the-top trash, to be sure, but very watchable. I have to say that after everything he faced in Africa, the events of the original Exorcist should have been a walk in the park for Father Merrin.



Highlights: Collateral. Mann's best film for ages and one of the few times I've actually seen Tom Cruise look like he's having fun. If Collateral is anything to go by, his villains are considerably more interesting than his dull-as-dishwater action hero types. Love Actually. As a staunch of the 'romcom' I'm slightly ashamed to admit this, but I thought it was great. No offence to my American cousins, but Hugh Grant's speech was good stuff, as was Bill Nighy scrawling 'We've Got Tiny Pricks' above a picture of one of our hated boybands.



This Week's Prize: Vidocq. Colourful, over-the-top, bizarre detective story that's largely style over substance but infused with the director's restless energy and a great performance from Gerard Depardieu. The sooner Pitof (as well as Matthieu Kassovitz and Emilio Florent Siri) heads off back to France and leaves Hollywood far behind the better. I'll take Vidocq, The Crimson Rivers and The Nest over Catwoman, Gothika and Hostage any day of the week.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 05.11.2005 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xAndyx wrote:
Danny Baldwin wrote:
Wayne's World There are several funny moments in the movie, but I think 'ya had to be there when it first came out to really enjoy the thing.




It is amazing that you have not seen this movie until just now. I'll admit that the movie is not good, but it was definatly one of my favorites in my early youth, and I donno if that is morally something that should happen. but then again if your child grew up to be Garth, wouldn't you be proud?


I think all of the recent SNL-star-makes-movie releases turned me off to it.
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Monkeypox
Cinematographer


Joined: 17 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: 05.11.2005 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayne's World was great, and, watching it recently, I was still impressed by it. Outstanding comedy from the early 90s.
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xAndyx
Director


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PostPosted: 05.12.2005 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:


I think all of the recent SNL-star-makes-movie releases turned me off to it.




This is true, however I still find it hard to dislike them. I love SNL (the older times anway) so to see a star try and go out to make a movie doesn't initially turn me away from the film, however its content usually does.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 05.15.2005 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

5/9 ? 5/15/05



Magnum Force (Post, USA 1973)

The Enforcer (Fargo, USA 1976)

Star Wars: Clone Wars, Vol. 1 (Tartakovsky, USA 2003)

This Land Is Mine (Renoir, USA 1943)

Kicking & Screaming (Dylan, USA 2005)

Simon of the Desert (Bunuel, Mexico 1965)

Bronco Billy (Eastwood, USA 1980)

2046 (Wong, Hong Kong 2004)



This Land Is Mine might be the best movie Renoir made while in America, but the week?s real standout is Wong Kar-Wai?s 2046. This quasi-sequel to Wong Kar-Wai's great In the Mood for Love stars Tony Leung again as newspaperman Chow. We learn that he fled to Singapore following the events of the first film but, unable to shake memories of Maggie Cheung, has returned to the same Hong Kong hotel where they first met. Now a writer of hack martial arts and sci-fi stories, Chow enters into a series of hollow affairs to re-ignite memories of his true love and to inspire his fiction. These new women include his landlord's daughter (Faye Wong), his wild neighbor (Zhang Ziyi), and his gambling partner (Gong Li).



When it comes to Wong Kar-Wai, I'm a true believer--most careers would be distinguished by just one Chungking Express, Ashes of Time or In the Mood for Love--and his signature non-linear, dissociative, fragmented style once again yields impressive dividends. 2046 is a movie about how we can feel trapped by our memories, fenced in by regret. It's also one of the best movies I've seen so far this year.



Kicking & Screaming is pleasant and perfectly harmless, and I admired its lack of true villains and general embrace of human decency.



Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


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PostPosted: 05.16.2005 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
2046 is a movie about how we can feel trapped by our memories, fenced in by regret. It's also one of the best movies I've seen so far this year.




Did you rent the import DVD from Netflix? If so, how's the image/sound quality?
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 05.16.2005 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
Did you rent the import DVD from Netflix? If so, how's the image/sound quality?


Some of the subtitles were misspelled or contained improper syntax, but it otherwise looked and sounded fine. I had no real quibbles.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 05.17.2005 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

5/11 - 5/17



Not a bad week, but not a good one. In Preferential Order:



(repeat viewing of:) In Good Company (Weitz, 2004) - This one holds up quite well a second time; as I said in my January review, it would've made for a great sitcom, simply because the characters are so likeable and so revisitable.



The Cameraman (Sedgwick, Keaton; 1928) - This one is mainly fascinating for its historical perspective on the evolution and the devolution of the comedy and the romance over the years--not "romantic comedy". Keaton is bitingly klutzy, as always, and the film is an absolute delight. There are a few times when it drags (i.e.: the scene in the pool dressing room), mainly because of the humor being somewhat out-dated. Nevertheless, as someone who has only seen a few dozen silent films, I completely enjoyed it.



Kicking and Screaming (Dylan, 2005) - Speaking as someone who would consider their self to be an expert on the formulaic kids' soccer movie, growing up with The Big Green and its fellow inferiors, I found Will Ferrell's attempts in the genre to be rather amusing. He, along with the firery Mike Ditka, clever veteran to the industry, Robert Duvall, and the Jonathan Lipniki of Asians, whose name I think I remember to be Elliott Cho, save the picture from mediocrity. There were certain yawn-inducing stretches and I think I'm already forgetting all about the movie, sitting here, an hour later, but it was pleasant and fun. What more can you ask for on a Sunday afternoon?



House of Wax
(Serra, 2005) - While not scary or very suspenseful, unlike The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, it has a lot of the same things going for it as the Marcus Nispel effort did. Gorgeous imagery that is highlighted by jaw-dropping set-design, especially during the finale, is definitely its greatest asset. Nevertheless, I found some admiration in the performances, which function in exactly the ways that they're supposed to. Elisha Cuthbert gets down and bloody and Paris Hilton, well... isn't all that bad. Still, for a new-age horror movie to spend over forty-five minutes to even reach a point in which anything akin to a climax is in sight, isn't too encouraging. Director Jaume Serra is one to watch out for, but he needs a better editor to help him work the kinks out of his work to become more defined.



The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
(Jennings, 2005) - A big, fat mess of sci-fi jargon it is, indeed, but what kind of a Douglas Adams movie would it be if it was not a big, fat mess of sci-fi jargon? Narratively and thematically, the movie fulfills its need to be totally off-the-wall, but a lot of surpreme clunkiness accompanies this. Is it worth seeing? Probably, due to several moments of hilarity and some mind-boggling visuals, but it doesn't go without its fair share of annoyances, which are headed by Sam Rockwell's downright irritating performance. Still, its lively spirit is damn hard to resist.



Kingdom of Heaven
(Scott, 2005) - A better movie than Troy and Alexander in a fundamental sense, but it has none of the energy that they had to propel it along. Ridley Scott surely keeps things thematically rich, but I couldn't help but think of the previous two cinematic, unintelligent "history lessons" when watching it, especially during the battles (save the moment when the Muslims are catapulting balls of fire into the kingdom). Eva Green, last year's Best Supporting Actress, in my book, is given nothing to do, and it seems that the only thing that her co-star, Orlando Bloom, is actually competent at is giving grand speeches. Except for the occassional great scene and swooping ariel views, this one could be considered snooze-ville.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 05.18.2005 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Paris Hilton, well... isn't all that bad.




That's probably the greatest compliment she'll ever get.



I just wanted to specifically mention Crash, which I found unbearable, grating, and simplistic. I suppose you could find it offensive--in Haggis' world, you either start out a selfish bigot or end up that way--but I found it too obnoxious to be truly offended. With the most pompous musical score this side of Passion of the Christ and dialogue comprised entirely of didactic speeches, these characters resemble nothing even close to reality, which would be okay if their dialogues revealed anything perceptive or prescient, which they don't. Every conversation escalates into a pseudo-Rodney King within two minutes, and most of these performances (mostly by actors who we we're supposed to applaud for their "daring change of pace") are ridiculously over-the-top, which may be the more fault of Haggis' pedantic screenplay. This is the kind of movie where Haggis must have pat himself on the back after each day of shooting, despite the fact that it's awful.



But the Enron documentary is great!
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 05.22.2005 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

12/05/05-22/05/05

Into the Mirror (dir. Seong-ho Kim, 2003)*

Tell Me Something (dir. Yoon-hyung Chang, 1999)*

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (dir. Werner Herzog, 1972)*

Nightmare (dir. Byeong-ki Ahn, 2000)*

The Uninvited (dir. Su-yeon Lee, 2003)*

The Ninth Configuration (dir. William Peter Blatty, 1980)*

The Face of the Frog (dir. Harald Reinl, 1959)*

Infection (dir. Masayuki Ochiai, 2004)*

Sorum (dir. Jong-chan Yun, 2001)*

Saw (dir. James Wan, 2004)*

Cellular (dir. David R. Elis, 2004)*

The Door with 7 Locks (dir. Alfred Vohrer, 1962)*

At the Earth?s Core (dir. Kevin Connor, 1976)



I've recently been wading through a stack of Korean horror films, not one of which was particularly good.



The two German krimi, The Face of the Frog and The Door with 7 Locks, were both very entertaining and I'll certainly be trying to track down more of that particularly genre.



Saw displayed a great deal of talent but unfortunately chose to yolk it to one of the most derivative and predictable plots I've seen in a long time.



Still not sure what to make of The Ninth Configuration. Anybody got any ideas?
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xAndyx
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PostPosted: 05.23.2005 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[/i]Star Wars: Episode III (Lucas,2005)



I felt that this film, unlike the previous prequels, finally gave reason to the creation of this earlier trilogy, or later depending on your thought, by George Lucas. It makes the sufferings of the last two, or first two, worth while and actually improved my thoughts on them and the older, or younger, movies. It did a much better job of tying the two trilogies together than I thought it would, and it actually brought true emotion into the viewer, which neither Episode I or II came close to. The fall, as usual is the dialogue.... But this time the rest of the film outweighs it.




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