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Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week?
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 06.23.2005 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
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.


Actually, so did I... that thing might be one of the most sympathetic characters in all of Lynchdom. I am so not joking.



Eric
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matt header
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PostPosted: 06.24.2005 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Off the top of my head:



Finian's Rainbow (Coppola, 1968) B-

Howl's Moving Castle
(Miyazaki, 2004) B-

Oldboy
(Park, 2004) B+

His Girl Friday
(Hawks, 1940) A

Mad Hot Ballroom
(Agrelo, 2004) C+

Batman Begins
(Nolan, 2004) B

Beat the Devil
(Huston, 1953) B



Nothing bad, but nothing really out of sight either, except for His Girl Friday, which I had already seen and is one of my favorite comedies. I have to admit to a slight disappointment in Howl's - I found it overlong and its anti-war message somewhat simplistic - but it's magical nonetheless.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.24.2005 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Nothing bad, but nothing really out of sight either, except for His Girl Friday, which I had already seen and is one of my favorite comedies. I have to admit to a slight disappointment in Howl's - I found it overlong and its anti-war message somewhat simplistic - but it's magical nonetheless.


Hi Matt! Good to see you back. (By the way, I agree on both counts. What did you think of Old Boy?)



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.27.2005 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

6/20 - 6/26



A lot of crap, for sure, but I won't say that I didn't ask for it. In preferential order:



Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994) - Where do I start? Of all the masters of dialogue, Tarantino is the most in tune with what the viewer wants to hear--the random subjects, the details, the sound--and this is fully embraced by the pitch-perfect cast. The movie has a sort of mythical, jarring presence, which can be gritty, sexy, beautiful, dark, brutal, and disturbing all at once, as each shot is so incorporating, perfectly art-directed by Charles Collum. Somtimes Tarantino goes too far--he seems to be self-indulgent in all the wrong places in all of his movies (but I guess what makes the good stuff good is that it leaves us wanting more, eh?)--and his work suffers as a result. But, this is worth forgiving here, just 'cuz there are so many moments of genuine, twisted greatness in Pulp Fiction. Still, Reservoir Dogs, I think, is his best movie, albeit less of an encompassing motion picture than this one.



(repeated and changed opinion on:) Batman Begins (Nolan, 2005) - I was tired on opening day--what else could explain it? This time around, I was able to embrace the way director Nolan masters a blend of playfullness and viscera, crafting a tormented, vengeful protagonist. The reason I wasn't sympathetic or empathetic for Bruce Wayne the first time I saw the movie was because I took no notice of the way Nolan allows the atmosphere to show the way in which the dark, brooding brutality onscreen affects the character. It's really very amazing--gritty and unrelenting, but still very much characteristic of a filmic spectacle. Christian Bale, even with his face half-covered by a mask, proves expressively deep, when viewed under these parameters.



George Washington (Green, 2000) - Just as poetic as All The Real Girls, but I found its sort of everyday-tragic atmosphere to be far more effective than it was in that film. Beautifully shot and excellently performed, it's not in Undertow's league, but it keeps me excited to see what will come out of David Gordon Green next.



Boyz 'N The Hood (Singleton, 1991) - Singleton's imagery, motifs, and thematics are profoundly ridiculous and, as the characters evolve, they seem to become far more stereotypical than they should be. I found the exercise to be deeply lacking in emotional resonance; the I was jarred by the tragedy in the movie without being affected by it--if that makes any sense. I suppose what I found most fascinating about it was the way in which time and happenings mold the protagonist's psyche. The performances help to keep this aspect of the film interesting. Still, as any kind of statement or experiment, I found it to be very simplistic.



Herbie: Fully Loaded (Robinson, 2005) - Those things were CGI-deflated???



Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (Pasquin, 2005) - Not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, the movie somehow manages to be mildly entertaining when, at the same time, it has nothing entertaining about it. The cash-out sequel premise is almost as bad as what I assume they tried to propose for a Titanic 2. Still, for someone who doesn't like Sandra Bullock at all, it wasn't agony (although certainly not "fun", either). I actually like the first one. Go figure.



Alone In The Dark (Boll, 2005) - Particularly hilarious for awhile, mainly because of its terrible one-liners and ridiculous music selections. It's technically a worse movie than Boogeyman, but far more enjoyable, simply because its filmmakers don't have a brain in their heads and, in a way, realize this. One of the year's worst, no doubt, but amusingly so.



Boogeyman (Kay, 2005) - Also called How to Use Every Horror Movie Cliche Combined to Make A Movie That Doesn't Make Any Sense At All But Has An Audience Whose Members Will Think They Understand And This Will Make Them Very Proud of Themselves. This type of thing packs viewers into multiplex seats but isn't scary, interesting, or even remotely sensical. The opening fifteen minutes had me hoping for something psychological, but the movie ended up being exactly what I thought it would be: ridiculous. And, boy, that term makes it sound like it's remotely sane.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 06.27.2005 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
5/20 - 5/26

Boyz 'N The Hood (Singleton, 1991) - Singleton's imagery, motifs, and thematics are profoundly ridiculous and, as the characters evolve, they seem to become far more stereotypical than they should be. I found the exercise to be deeply lacking in emotional resonance; the I was jarred by the tragedy in the movie without being affected by it--if that makes any sense. I suppose what I found most fascinating about it was the way in which time and happenings mold the protagonist's psyche. The performances help to keep this aspect of the film interesting. Still, as any kind of statement or experiment, I found it to be very simplistic.


There's a lot to admire in Boyz N the Hood, but I still tend to agree with you, Danny. There's nothing subtle about Singleton's themes, messages, and emotions. Talk about overt signals: He actually uses a stop sign to summarize what he wants urban audiences to do. The last decade has not been kind to this film (nor Singleton's career, for that matter).



Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.27.2005 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

6/20 ? 6/26



In preferential order:

The Assassination of Richard Nixon (Mueller, USA 2004)

Rize (LaChapelle, USA 2005)

Bad Education (Almodovar, Spain 2004)

A Dirty Shame (Waters, USA 2004)

The Land of the Dead (Romero, USA 2005)

Eraserhead (Lynch, USA 1977)

Gretchen the Greenhorn (Franklin and Franklin, USA 1916)

The Grudge (Shimizu, USA 2004)

Hostage (Siri, USA 2005)

Xala (Sembene, Senegal 1975)

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Kidron, UK 2004)

The Invaders (Ford and Ince, USA 1912)



plus an avalanche of shorts, listed in chronological order:

Two Men Dancing: Dickson Experimental Sound Film (Dickson, USA 1894)

Annie Oakley (Dickson, USA 1894)

Buffalo Dance (Dickson, USA 1894)

Bucking Broncho (Dickson, USA 1894)

The Suburbanite (McCutcheon, USA 1904)

The Country Doctor (Griffith, USA 1909)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Turner, USA 1910)

The Stenographer's Friend (Edison, USA 1910)

Johann Mouse (Hanna and Barbera, USA 1952)

Tweetie Pie (Freleng, USA 1947)

Birds Anonymous (Freleng, USA 1957)

Quiet Please! (Hanna and Barbera, USA 1945)

The Milky Way (Ising, USA 1940)

Hazards of Helen: Episode 26--The Wild Engine (McGowan, USA 1915)

The Breath of a Nation (La Cava, USA 1919)

De-Light: Making an Electric Light Bulb (None credited, USA 1920)

Skyscraper Symphony (Florey, USA 1929) *the most abstract of the bunch, and my favorite

Greeting By George Bernard Shaw (Connolly and Shaw, USA 1928)

Robots Are Blue (Sebastian, USA 2005)



Whoa.



Eric
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the night watchman
Studio Exec


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 06.28.2005 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:


Boogeyman (Kay, 2005) - Also called How to Use Every Horror Movie Cliche Combined to Make A Movie That Doesn't Make Any Sense At All But Has An Audience Whose Members Will Think They Understand And This Will Make Them Very Proud of Themselves. This type of thing packs viewers into multiplex seats but isn't scary, interesting, or even remotely sensical. The opening fifteen minutes had me hoping for something psychological, but the movie ended up being exactly what I thought it would be: ridiculous. And, boy, that term makes it sound like it's remotely sane.




I found Boogeyman fairly entertaining and atmospheric, liked that the bulk majority of the running time was almost without dialogue, and thought there were some pretty good surprises involving the "passages" the main character finds. I thought the story was heading toward a neat plot twist (without going into spoilers, I'll just mention the spots of blood on the bathtub in the hotel room), but agree that the final ten minutes go for flash and dazzle, and seem to wuss-out just when the narrative seems to be taking a really interesting turn. In fact, I'm almost positive an earlier draft the of the script must have followed through on the twist I anticpated, but the Powers That Be forced a routine climax into the third act. The parts are greater than the whole, to be sure, but I think there are some pretty damn good parts to be found, and I'd recommend it to hardcore horrorphiles who are happy with -- to paraphrase Stephen King -- finding the gem in the manure.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 06.28.2005 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really liked )Oldboy a lot. Your response to it was aptly put: it may just be an elaborate revenge thriller, but Park does an outstanding job at making this particular quest seem shocking, intense, always threatening, and inescapably violent. It seemed like Dickens-meets-Tarantino or something.



I also saw The Girl Next Door last night. In the longstanding debate between Beltmann and Danny, I side with Beltmann. The juice is most definitely not worth the squeeze.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.28.2005 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
In the longstanding debate between Beltmann and Danny, I side with Beltmann. The juice is most definitely not worth the squeeze.


Laughing



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.28.2005 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
matt header wrote:
In the longstanding debate between Beltmann and Danny, I side with Beltmann. The juice is most definitely not worth the squeeze.


Laughing



Eric


You go on and laugh your little laugh, Beltmann. You go on.
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mfritschel
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PostPosted: 07.01.2005 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Belto - What were your feelings on Bad Education? It was one of my favorites of this year so far and is definetely one of my favorite Almodovar films.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 07.01.2005 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
I also saw The Girl Next Door last night. In the longstanding debate between Beltmann and Danny, I side with Beltmann. The juice is most definitely not worth the squeeze.




I'm not firmly in either camp, but I liked the movie. I thought it was a lot of fun, far more technically and artistically adept than most teen comedies (the buildup to and execution of that first kiss kicks all kinds of ass), even if the film is ultimately a bit hypocritical and narrow-minded. Once again, I quote Charles Taylor's Salon.com review: "Instead of being about Matthew's coming to the mature conclusion that Danielle could have worked in porn and still be capable of love, The Girl Next Door becomes an adolescent 'redeem a slut' fantasy. It reinforces ancient ideas about what good girls will and won't do. The question the movie doesn't ask is this: Did Matthew think Danielle -- or any of those other girls -- were 'so much better than this' when he was jerking off to them?"
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.02.2005 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
(the buildup to and execution of that first kiss kicks all kinds of ass)


Oh my God yes...and that song...
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 07.02.2005 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:


You go on and laugh your little laugh, Beltmann. You go on.


Laughing Laughing
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 07.04.2005 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

6/27 ? 7/3



Features in preferential order:

War of the Worlds (Spielberg, USA 2005)

Notre Musique (Godard, France 2004)

In the Realms of the Unreal (Yu, USA 2004)

Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (Sears, USA 1956)

Be Cool (Gray, USA 2005)



Shorts in chronological order:

What Happened On Twenty-Third Street, New York City (Porter, USA 1901)

At the Foot of the Flatiron (Weed, USA 1903)

New York City "Ghetto" Fish Market (Smith, USA 1903)

From Leadville to Aspen: A Hold-Up In the Rockies (Marion, USA 1906)

The Teddy Bears (Porter and McCutcheon, USA 1907)

Children Who Labor (Miller, USA 1912)

Concerning $1,000 (None credited, USA 1916)

Exhibition Reel of Two Color Film (None credited, USA 1929)

The Flute of Krishna (Graham, USA 1926)

Gus Visser and His Singing Duck (Case and Sponable, USA 1925)

The Old Negro Space Program (Bobrow, USA 2005)

Coven (Borchardt, USA 1997)

International Newsreel, Volume 8, Issue 97 (None credited, USA 1926)

Now You're Talking (Fleischer, USA 1927)

There It Is (Muller, USA 1928)

A Bronx Morning (Leyda, USA 1931)

Rip Van Winkle (Dickson, USA 1896)

Mr. Edison at Work in His Chemical Lab (White, USA 1897)

Life of an American Fireman (Porter, USA 1903)

Westinghouse Works Series: Films 1-3 (Bitzer, USA 1904)



Obviously I?ve been indulging my interest in silent film the last several weeks.



?See, in 1957, if you were black, and if you were an astronaut, you were outta work.? Cue the strings. Straight-faced mockumentaries crumple if they don't at least feel authentic; regardless of subject matter, they should work first as deadpan parody of the nonfiction form itself. In the case of The Old Negro Space Program, the filmmakers ridicule our racist past, sure, but the real pleasure is in how they dropkick Ken Burns, pilfering his style right down to the portentous pans over still photos, the ostentatious social experts, and those manipulative strings. My favorite line, from the (white) Afro-American Studies professor: "What we see recurring, or re-occurring, if I may, in this story, or tale, if you will, is the insistence, or the assertion, on the part of NASA that it... never... happened. Which I think is a very roundabout way of denying, or negating, something--if that is indeed your intention, or your intent."



I had a blast at War of the Worlds. It might only be a B movie made with an A budget, but no one infuses B entertainment with the craft, humanity, and visual fluency that Spielberg does. One of my friends?a film major?complained that the movie's effects became less grandiose as the story progressed, citing that as a major flaw in a sci-fi action film. In particular, he criticized the scene in which a major battle occurs over a hill, out of our sight. I'd argue that special effects are merely a tool for storytelling, and that Spielberg correctly resists the urge to throw more at us merely for more's sake. That battle scene should be out of sight, because we are following this story from the average citizen's point-of-view, not the POV of a military general. What's most impressive about War of the Worlds is how consistently Spielberg adheres to that ordinary POV. I also found the scenes depicting mass panic and mob mentality very persuasive.



Eric
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