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Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week?
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 01.02.2005 7:29 pm    Post subject: Screening Log 2005 - What did you watch this week? Reply with quote

Should we start a new thread for the new year?



12/27 ? 1/2/05



Love Me If You Dare (Samuell, France 2003)

To Be and To Have (Etre et avoir) (Philibert, France 2002)

The Door in the Floor (Williams, USA 2004)

Twentynine Palms (Dumont, France 2003)

Kedma (Gitai, Israel 2002)

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Anderson, USA 2004)

100 Years at the Movies (Workman, USA 1994)

Main Street on the March! (Cahn, USA 1941)

An Optical Poem (Fischinger, USA 1937)

Meet the Fockers (Roach, USA 2004)

D.E.B.S. (Robinson, USA 2003)



I enjoyed Life Aquatic but it?s no Rushmore, which, to my eyes, is Anderson?s masterpiece by a wide margin.



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 01.02.2005 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Code 46 (Winterbottom, 2003) - Didn't displace any of my top ten of 2004, but I liked it a lot. Solid, idea-driven science fiction, like Blade Runner, Gattaca, and 2001. Visually gorgeous and consistently imaginatively and intellectually stimulating all the way up until the last twenty minutes or so when it suddenly falls dramatically flat for some reason. A flaw, and not a minor one, but not fatal either.



Videodrome (Cronenberg, 1983) - Just picked up the Criterion Collection two-disc set (the case is made to look, fairly convincingly, like a Betamax cassette tape). I was a little irked at having to pick up this so soon after buying the first DVD release, but the extras make it well worth the dough, and it boasts numerous special features on the second disc, including a 1982 TV program hosted by Mick Garris with Cronenberg, John Carpenter, and John Landis, and two separate audio commentaries on the first with Cronenberg, Debbie Harry, James Woods, and cinematographer Mark Irwin. The movie itself remains one of my favorites from Cronenberg.
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mfritschel
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PostPosted: 01.03.2005 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To some up the past two weeks or so, in descending order



The Aviator (Scorsese, 2004)

The Saddest Music in the World (Maddin, 2004)

Kill Bill Volume 2 (Tarantino, 2004) repeat

Shaun of the Dead (Wright, 2004)

Before Sunrise (Linklater, 1995)

Stander (Hughes, 2003)

The Manchurian Candidate (Demme, 2004)



Hightlight definetely being the Aviator, including the fight I had to put up to secure E. Beltman's seat at the theatre, and Saddest Music was just wildly entertaining and not quite like anything else I have seen.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 01.03.2005 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mfritschel wrote:
Hightlight definetely being the Aviator, including the fight I had to put up to secure E. Beltman's seat at the theatre


And I thank you for that sir! The only thing more arduous, perhaps, was the jockeying for urinal position.



Heck of a week, Matt--you managed to see 4 of my very favorite films of the year: Aviator, Saddest Music, Shaun, and Before Sunrise (okay, that's a stretch for '04, but I consider it the first half of Before Sunset). If you liked Saddest, be sure to check out Maddin's Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary. It's nearly as good.



Eric
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matt header
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PostPosted: 01.03.2005 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oy! It hasn't truly hit that it is 2005 until now, a new thread for a new screening log.



I haven't seen too much recently, except...



Saved As a satire on society's close-mindedness, it may be too predictable, too lovable, to say anything truly powerful or affecting. But, of course, that's a plus, too: I really loved all of these characters, and couldn't help but feel relieved at the perhaps-too-convenient happy ending.



Saddest Music in the World I've seen two of Maddin's films so far, this and Tales from the Gimli Hospital, and I've been entranced so far: his style is truly like no one else's, beautiful and garish at the same time. Saddest Music is hilarious and more poignant than one would expect - absurdity at its best. (Beltmann, did you see Sissy Boy Slap Party, the third "short film" of Maddin's that is an extra on the DVD? I remember you commented on the other two in an earlier post. I couldn't help but laugh foolishly during that one.)



The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Wes Anderson really is the most original voice in American comedy right now, probably in all American cinema; his Life Aquatic is like reconsidering sadness, adventure, curiosity, regret, and ambition through the delirious imagination of a child. It has many more awkward moments than either Rushmore, his best movie, or The Royal Tenenbaums, which was so gosh-darned lovable; I think those uncomfortable segments can be a blessing in disguise, in that they make Life Aquatic an unexpectedly strange, disarmingly unique film. Perfect Claymation.



A Very Long Engagement I loved Amelie, and Engagement is just as strangely humorous and stylishly offbeat...and yet, not anywhere near as wild a trip. The parts are greater than the whole here, which may be true of Amelie, too, but at least then we had the pleasure of falling in love with the main character over and over again, with each vignette. Identifying with the plight of these two separated lovers in A Very Long Engagement is vital, and hard to do when the film feels like an elaborate cat-and-mouse game, albeit technically dazzling and with a sincerely emotional romanticism.



Ocean's Twelve A sequel to a not-bad remake that manages to duplicate an extremely precise style, the mod crime caper of the 1960's and early 1970's, especially those that came out of Europe. (The stylistics in the Las Vegas predecessor were quite different - flashy, manic, like the city itself.) Ocean's Twelve is a delight to watch and listen to, then, but as a self-proclaimed caper film enthusiast, it falls through where most films of this type pique my fascination. Sometimes it feels like a flimsy excuse for a lot of pretty well-known people to prove how much fun they have with each other. But that's too glib a response - there's still lots of fun to be had here.
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Monkeypox
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PostPosted: 01.04.2005 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:


Ocean's Twelve A sequel to a not-bad remake that manages to duplicate an extremely precise style, the mod crime caper of the 1960's and early 1970's, especially those that came out of Europe. (The stylistics in the Las Vegas predecessor were quite different - flashy, manic, like the city itself.) Ocean's Twelve is a delight to watch and listen to, then, but as a self-proclaimed caper film enthusiast, it falls through where most films of this type pique my fascination. Sometimes it feels like a flimsy excuse for a lot of pretty well-known people to prove how much fun they have with each other. But that's too glib a response - there's still lots of fun to be had here.




I don't feel it's glib so much as it is uhm... accurate. Watching Ocean's Twelve was like contributing to the Christian Children's Fund or whatever, except that instead of my 60 cents a day going to feed some little round-bellied malnurished 3rd-world 6-yr-old, it's my $8 going to Julia Roberts so she can get her teeth waxed in Amsterdam. Now how am I gonna afford to get the 'Clooney Cut' when I go to the salon next month? I'm gonna have to settle for the damn Casey Affleck! Well, screw you, Soderbergh!



So, I like heist films, too. And while I don't mind that the charm of entries like Ocean's Twelve is directly related to the charming (and enormous) cast, at some point, I'd like them to stop smirking and do something. I kept waiting and waiting for the big payoff and it never came.



I thought the writing was lazy and predictable. If they needed a script, all they had to do was ask. I gotta killer 'Untitled Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts Project' on the bookshelf at home.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 01.04.2005 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I liked Ocean's Twelve.



12/28 - 1/3



Spanglish (Brooks, 2004)

Meet the Fockers (Roach, 2004)

The Aviator (Scorsese, 2004)

Code 46 (Winterbottom, 2004)

The Phantom of the Opera (Schumacher, 2004)



Spanglish and Phantom are laughably bad, while Meet the Fockers is entirely mediocre, if somewhat entertaining (I thought that Barbara Steisand was hilarious). The only two remotely interesting pictures this week were Code 46 and Aviator.



The first is a gem of a sci-fi movie with actual realistic complexity; it was quite the treat, considering I do not like the genre. The second is great filmmaking with many fatal flaws. Scorsese's editor needed to force him to make lots of cuts, as the whole experience loses any intensity because of its strung-out length. DiCaprio and Blanchett are both excellent in their roles (even though he tends to overact at times), but I was rarely captivated by it, with the exception of during the first hour and the court-scene. If it weren't so well-assembled and good-looking, I'd call it a waste of talent.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 01.04.2005 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What did you think of Twentynine Palms, Beltmann? (And where did you see it? Is it out on video already?) I know that Slant Magazine called it the most important film of the 21st century so far.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 01.04.2005 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
What did you think of Twentynine Palms, Beltmann? (And where did you see it? Is it out on video already?) I know that Slant Magazine called it the most important film of the 21st century so far.


It's on video. And, interesting, too, that it has one of the worst average user ratings I've ever seen on Netflix. Then again, this is coming from the same people who seemingly adored Two Weeks Notice.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 01.04.2005 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkeypox wrote:


I don't feel it's glib so much as it is uhm... accurate. Watching Ocean's Twelve was like contributing to the Christian Children's Fund or whatever, except that instead of my 60 cents a day going to feed some little round-bellied malnurished 3rd-world 6-yr-old, it's my $8 going to Julia Roberts so she can get her teeth waxed in Amsterdam. Now how am I gonna afford to get the 'Clooney Cut' when I go to the salon next month? I'm gonna have to settle for the damn Casey Affleck!


LOL. Monkeypox, you really gotta start hanging out here more often.



Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 01.04.2005 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
What did you think of Twentynine Palms, Beltmann? (And where did you see it? Is it out on video already?) I know that Slant Magazine called it the most important film of the 21st century so far.




Twentynine Palms is out on DVD. I posted my reaction to it in in another thread, and I think it has secured a spot on my top 10 for 2004. Whatever you do, don't watch the trailer before seeing the film: it gives away too much.



So yeah, Eric, what was your reaction to it?
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Monkeypox
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PostPosted: 01.06.2005 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


LOL. Monkeypox, you really gotta start hanging out here more often.



Eric




i dunno, i tend to have limited use in intelligent conversation....
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 01.08.2005 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1/2/04-1/8/04



Donnie Brasco (Newell, 1997) - Yeah, I should have seen this by now, but Mafia movies just turn me off, even though I usually like them. It?s a perversion, I know. Really liked this one. Taut and unexpectedly funny at points. I especially liked the way it presents loyalty as inescapably relative. By the way, I believe a great drinking game could be made from this flick -- take a shot every time someone says ?fuggeddabout it!" The same type could be made from The Replacements* -- a shot every time someone says ?fuck off!? I will test these theories and report back.



Better Luck Tomorrow (Lin, 2002) - Although this movie isn?t exactly anything we haven?t seen before, it is a skillful piece of filmmaking, well-written and -acted, it boasts some nice screen composition, and throws in a few surprises along the way. The scene involving an ironic car ride after a handgun is drawn at a party is subtle and astonishing. Moral watchdogs have heart palpitations every time a movie presents anything besides an absolute version of morality. But frankly, I think Better Luck?s ambiguity is more useful in exploring the consequences of actions than the questionable, if steady, black-and-white moral world-view of something like Braveheart. Furthermore, on that level, I think Better Luck works as a excellent companion piece to Van Sant?s Elephant.



Twentynine Palms (Dumont, 2003) - I didn?t have a problem with the lack of plot and the apparent aimlessness of the narrative, a complaint levelled at this movie by some reviewers. In fact, I think it drew me in immediately because, even though it takes place in Arizona, it might have just as well been filmed out where I live. The craggy mountains ranges, Joshua trees and creosote bushes, over-bright sky, sand and dust, not to mention the long, static scenes of car travel (out here we?re used to driving at least an hour and a half out of town to shop, see a movie, or just eat a different restaurant), all worked to establish for me an instant mood and sense of place. I did get impatient spending so much time with a couple whose personalities and relationship grew progressively more stale and dreary as the movie wore on. The climax reveals the logic behind miring these two people in a ceaseless state of unpleasantness, and I admired the skill with which Dumont brings about the final moments. But after the first fifty minutes I was wishing he?d throw me a bone. Still, Palms did rattle around inside me brain pan for a while afterward, yet I can?t help but think that a running time shaved of even fifteen minutes (which could be achieved just by clipping twenty seconds off the lead and tail of many scenes) might have improved it.



Mystery of Monster Island (Simon, 1981) - The synopsis promised Peter Cushing and dinosaurs. I thought it might be worth taking a chance on. I was wrong.



Blow (T. Demme, 2001) - Again, probably nothing we haven?t seen before when it comes to drug movies, but if entertainment is an Art, I have to say that I was thoroughly engaged for two hours. Can?t be bad.



?It?s Still a Good Life? (?? ,2003) - Though not a movie, it is on DVD and it is a sequel to one of the best known Twilight Zones, and is worth mentioning for being one of the only worthwhile episodes of UPN?s abysmal attempt to resurrect the classic series. If the original tale was a sly parable on the nature and consequences of fascism, this follow-up makes clever motions toward fascism?s weaknesses, fumbling only when it tries to reproduce the chilling downer ending of its predecessor. Still, worth watching if you?re a TZ freak like me. Oh, and in case you didn?t know, ?Rod? is just ?God? spelled with an ?R.?



Spanglish (Brooks, 2004) - I think I?m turning into an Adam Sandler fan. That doesn?t mean that I?ll be revisiting his earlier work any time soon, but this movie, 50 First Dates, and especially Punch Drunk Love, regardless of their individual overall quality, reveal him as a real actor with charm and talent. Spanglish itself is not bad, and much more engaging that I was expecting. Even if the effect of its fluffy, low-impact, two-steps-above-sitcom comedy and drama began to dissipate even as I walked from the theater, I can?t say I didn?t enjoy it while it lasted.



Lost Highway (Lynch, 1997) - I?ve resisted purchasing this Pan & Scan version -- the only version yet available in North America -- since its release because of its reportedly awful picture and sound quality, but when I found it for five smackers in the bargain bin at K-Mart the last vestiges of my armor fell. Still, I?m not sure I made the wisest choice. The picture and sound is so awful it?s distracting, and I came away from this viewing (the first in nearly five years thanks to the film?s limited accessibility) frustrated and unsatisfied, and not for the reasons most people come away from a Lynch film frustrated and unsatisfied.



* EDIT - I meant The Commitments, not The Replacements. No one will probably see this edit anyway, so everyone will continue on, benighted, pondering daily the question, "What the hell was Night Watchman talkin' about with that Replacements remark on his screening log for 1/2/04-1/8/04?" Sorry for that, guys; I take full responsibility for the final unanswered mystery of your lives.
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Last edited by the night watchman on 01.11.2005 4:32 am; edited 2 times in total
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 01.08.2005 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkeypox wrote:
beltmann wrote:


LOL. Monkeypox, you really gotta start hanging out here more often.



Eric




i dunno, i tend to have limited use in intelligent conversation....




Real wit is intelligent conversation. Very Happy
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 01.08.2005 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

02/01/05-07/01/05

Daleks? Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (dir. Gordon Flemyng, 1966)

Deathwatch (dir. Michael J Bassett, 2002)

The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (dir. Jeremy Summers, 1967)

Day of the Triffids (dir. Steve Sekely, 1962)

Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (dir. Kevin Allen, 2004)*

Dreamcatcher (dir. Lawrence Kasdan, 2003)

X the Unknown (dir. Leslie Norman, 1956)*

The Abominable Snowman (dir. Val Guest, 1957)*

Wrong Turn (dir. Rob Schmidt, 2003)

Highwaymen (dir. Robert Harmon, 2003)*

The Nameless (dir. Jaume Balaguero, 1999)

King Kong vs. Godzilla (dir. Ishiro Honda, 1962)

Chaos (dir. Hideo Nakata, 1999)

Pyrokinesis (dir. Shusuke Kaneko, 2000)



Haven't watched anything earth-shattering this week, although I did give The Nameless another go, and found an interesting though deeply flawed thriller lurking there. It's still got a handful of serious problems, but it bodes well for the director's future at least. I'll do a review for Flipside at some point.



Likewise with Chaos. Although I didn't dislike the film the first time I found it much more agreeable with the second viewing. I'm optimistic about The Ring 2, but I think it might be a step backwards for Nakata.
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