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Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week?
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 06.09.2005 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mfritschel wrote:
But also with the sam record as the Yankees!!


Which, this year, is nothing to be proud of. Or maybe I'm just arrogant cuz the Pads are actually doing well.
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xAndyx
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PostPosted: 06.09.2005 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Which puts them at only...10 back!




Hey...you get us at 10 games back and we start having federal parades!
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.12.2005 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


The Whole Wide World (Ireland, USA 1996)





Finally. And no comment?
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 06.12.2005 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

02/06/05 - 12/06/05

Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (dir. Kenji Misumi, 1972)*

Read My Lips (dir. Jacques Audiard, 2001)*

Lone Wolf and Cub: Babycart at the River Styx (dir. Kenji Misumi, 1972)*

Behemoth the Sea Monster (dir. Eugene Lourie, 1959)*

Roadgames (dir. Richard Franklin, 1981)

Teaching Mrs Tingle (dir. Kevin Williamson, 1999)

The 13th Warrior (dir. John McTiernan, 1999)

Dead Birds (dir. Alex Turner, 2004)*

Face (dir. Sang-Gon Yoo, 2004)*

Shadow of the Wraith (dir. Toshiharu Ikeda, 2001)*

The Soul Guardians (dir. Kwang-chun Park, 1998)*

Unborn but Forgotten (dir. Chang-jae Lim, 2002)*



Some decent stuff recently. Dead Birds was a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be. It's not the next horror classic but it looks good and holds your attention. The crew did some pretty good work, despite the low budget.



Roadgames and The 13th Warrior are fine popcorn films, but very entertaining in their own way. Roadgames proves that Stacy Keach can actually act when he likes the part. After this and Psycho II I thought I'd discovered another great director. It's a pity he's been largely relegated to TV for nearly twenty now. Aside FX2 of course.



Shadow of the Wraith is a lightweight two-part horror anthology aimed solidly at the teen market. Ikeda however seems to have thought he was working on something else entirely (perhaps a Kiyoshi Kurosawa flick?) because he indulges himself in colored filters,complex camera angles, 'mood lighting', framing, color contrasts and a whole host of similar techniques. I know he's a great director with a flair for the visuals (I don't care what anyone says, Evil Dead Trap looks fantastic), but he's doing a basic pay-the-rent throwaway film. Most directors couldn't care less for such films and go through the motions, but Ikeda's put a hell of a lot of attention into his. I wouldn't recommend buying it, but if anyone has a cheap way of viewing it, it's certainly worth it for the visual appeal. The stories and the script are naff though, so be warned.
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 06.12.2005 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Finally. And no comment?


:shock:



The Watchman Lives! Greetings old friend!



In brief: I found The Whole Wide World to be a quiet, thoughtful, intimate movie, one that celebrates iconoclasm while still recognizing that sometimes non-conformity is a version of immaturity. Howard is often an unlikable, self-important sexist, and yet... there's something there that Zellweger sees as special, even beyond his writing ability. Both Zellweger and D'Onofrio give convincing performances, but mostly I liked Ireland's unassuming, elegant staging. Pretty good stuff.



Where've ya been, NW? I feared you abandoned us... and it hasn't been the same without you.



Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 06.12.2005 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Finally. And no comment?




:shock:



Oh my. He hasn't forgotten us. Very Happy
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.12.2005 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
the night watchman wrote:
Finally. And no comment?




:shock:



Oh my. He hasn't forgotten us. Very Happy


I'm just so... speechless right now.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.12.2005 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aw shucks, you're all makin' me blush! Sorry, I just needed to divorce myself from certain distractions for awhile. I promise I won't stay away for so long anymore.



Anywho, excellent summary of The Whole Wide World, Eric. You hit the nail on the head. D'Onofrio's performance is an little-known gem, I think, and I can believe that the film's portrayal of Howard is precisely how he must have been after reading many of his stories, which themselves are "immature and sexist," and yet are somehow endearing in their earnest and almost unnassuming conviction. I had no idea it was filmed in Ireland, but the landscape looks exactly like how I picture Crossplains, Texas circ 1930.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.12.2005 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I promise I won't stay away for so long anymore.


Rad.



the night watchman wrote:
I had no idea it was filmed in Ireland, but the landscape looks exactly like how I picture Crossplains, Texas circ 1930.


By "Ireland" I meant Dan Ireland, the director. I have no idea where the movie was shot, but I doubt it was overseas--you're right, it looks and feels very American, very authentic.



Eric
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 06.12.2005 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
I have no idea where the movie was shot, but I doubt it was overseas--you're right, it looks and feels very American, very authentic.




Texas, according to IMDb. Definitely not a similar landscape to Ireland Very Happy
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.13.2005 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops. I re-read your post. Yes, I was a little bewildered by the idea that any place in Ireland would look like Texas. Laughing
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.14.2005 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

6/6 ? 6/12



The Cat Returns (Hiroyuki, Japan 2002)

St. Elmo?s Fire (Schumacher, USA 1985)

Viridiana (Bunuel, Spain 1961)

High Tension / Haute tension (Aja, France 2003)

Turtles Can Fly (Ghobadi, Iran-Iraq 2004)

Chushingura (Hiroshi, Japan 1962)

Son of Dracula (Siodmak, USA 1943)

House of Dracula (Kenton, USA 1945)



Two genuine masterpieces this week: Viridiana and Turtles Can Fly.



Like Nazarin, which was about a mistreated priest, Bunuel?s Viridiana is about how difficult it is to change a world disinterested in change. This time the lead character is a pious nun who cares for a group of downtrodden beggars only to have them turn on her hospitality: While she is away, they throw an utterly hedonistic party that destroys her home. (At one point, Bunuel poses them at the table as if it were "The Last Supper," a scandalous artistic choice that got the film banned in Spain.) The scene is about violation--an interpretation reinforced by an attempted rape--but also about how good intentions don't amount to much if the world isn't prepared to welcome them. Originally the movie ended with the resigned nun entering a man's bedroom, but censors forced Bunuel to alter the scene... Now the movie concludes with the nun sitting down for a game of cards with a man and his lover, and I'll be damned if Bunuel doesn't make his menage a trois metaphor crystal clear.



I wasn?t enthralled by Bahman Ghobadi?s two earlier features (A Time for Drunken Horses and Marooned in Iraq), but Turtles Can Fly seems a major step forward?it?s the best Iranian movie I?ve seen since The Circle. Set in a Kurdish refugee camp on the Iraq-Turkey border, the movie deals with the impending US-Iraq war as anticipated by stateless, orphaned kids. Led by the 13-year-old Satellite, the children spend their days scavenging the soil for unexploded land mines, which will collect good money on the black market. We also meet an armless boy traveling with his older sister and a young, blind boy that may or may not be his brother. Ghobadi has always trafficked in poetry, but here the startling, evocative, lyrical imagery hurtles from the screen at an astonishing rate, with surprising and totally convincing strains of surrealism and magic realism.



Most reviewers correctly nailed High Tension for its stupid ?twist? ending and ridiculous dubbing (which inexplicably comes and goes). Yet none of them bothered to mention how, for most of the way, Aja creates a gripping exercise in first-person perspective?almost everything transpires from the POV of the main character, which often relegates the violence just out of sight or barely within earshot. (Don?t let the complaints of graphic violence scare you off? what?s truly shocking is Aja?s surprisingly tasteful restraint.) There are several taut sequences in the film?s midsection that are genuinely impressive. Too bad about that awful, nonsense ending, which really does mar the entire enterprise.



And I?d like to point out that Chushingura is 207 minutes long. 207.



Eric
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Monkeypox
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Joined: 17 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: 06.14.2005 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once Upon a Time in Mexico - Better than I expected. Now, that doesn't mean it was GREAT, or even good, but it had received such an overwhelming negative response from those with whom I'd discussed it, that I was surprised to find it, quite honestly, no worse than Desperado. I enjoyed it. In some ways, I felt it was more artistically committed than Desperado. Cheech Marin's opening speech, to me at least, creates the tone of what is intended to be a legend, giving the excuse to Rodriguez to use his bombastic pretensions to the fullest.



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.
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 06.14.2005 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Most reviewers correctly nailed High Tension for its stupid ?twist? ending and ridiculous dubbing (which inexplicably comes and goes). Yet none of them bothered to mention how, for most of the way, Aja creates a gripping exercise in first-person perspective?almost everything transpires from the POV of the main character, which often relegates the violence just out of sight or barely within earshot. (Don?t let the complaints of graphic violence scare you off? what?s truly shocking is Aja?s surprisingly tasteful restraint.) There are several taut sequences in the film?s midsection that are genuinely impressive. Too bad about that awful, nonsense ending, which really does mar the entire enterprise.




I thought the ending worked fine. The director certainly plays tricks on the viewer, but I wouldn't have called it "nonsense", because it's in keeping with the clues presented earlier in the film.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.14.2005 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:
beltmann wrote:
Most reviewers correctly nailed High Tension for its stupid ?twist? ending and ridiculous dubbing (which inexplicably comes and goes). Yet none of them bothered to mention how, for most of the way, Aja creates a gripping exercise in first-person perspective?almost everything transpires from the POV of the main character, which often relegates the violence just out of sight or barely within earshot. (Don?t let the complaints of graphic violence scare you off? what?s truly shocking is Aja?s surprisingly tasteful restraint.) There are several taut sequences in the film?s midsection that are genuinely impressive. Too bad about that awful, nonsense ending, which really does mar the entire enterprise.




I thought the ending worked fine. The director certainly plays tricks on the viewer, but I wouldn't have called it "nonsense", because it's in keeping with the clues presented earlier in the film.


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. 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."



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



(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.)



Eric
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