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What did you watch this week?
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.11.2003 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
On a few things that really don't need spectacular cinematography (or even great quality) I'd rather watch the full-frame version. Most things need widescreen, but there are some exceptions.


I can't agree. Either we respect a cinematographer's work, or we don't. If we believe in cinema as an art form, the fringes of the frame always matter--even if the movie is "lesser." Besides, there's more to cinematography and composition than the "spectacular." The fringes are used, even in small chamber pieces, to enhance or sustain mood, psychology, spatial relationships, etc. To suggest that some cinematography doesn't deserve preservation is to say that cinema isn't a respectable medium. It's an insult to every hard-working cinematographer.

The truth is, if you've seen a film fullframe, you simply haven't seen the film. You may have seen and understood the story but there's much, much more to the art form than merely narrative.

Besides, fullframe routinely destroys narrative nuances. For example, take a look at the final shot of Run Lola Run in widescreen, and then fullframe. The full entirely eliminates Lola's smile from the picture, which deprives the viewer of a very telling, significant narrative detail that helps explain the dynamic between the characters, their plans for the future, and their understanding of what just transpired. Such mutilations are the rule, not the exception. To accept fullframe is to accept that you are watching a mere shadow of the picture, not the picture itself.

No one would tolerate an edition of "Moby-Dick" with all the "extraneous" words eliminated. Why do we make excuses for the dismemberment of cinema?

Eric
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.11.2003 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
On a few things that really don't need spectacular cinematography (or even great quality) I'd rather watch the full-frame version.


Almost forgot... one other thing: Let's assume for a moment that there are a few things that don't need to retain their widescreen form. Why prefer the fullframe version? Danny, surely you aren't suggesting that the pan-and-scan process actually improves these works? Why not just accept widescreen as the default setting?

(I know I'm harping about this, but the evils of pan-and-scanning are so well-documented that anyone who takes the art form seriously ought to shout from the rooftops about it. Critics must educate their readers about it, not justify it.)

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 08.11.2003 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, this was my second viewing, and I did experience it in theatres. And, I think on full-frame televisions that aren't big enough, full frame can enhance certain things, because they're not particularly good small, and the bigger the better. With stupid comedies like this one, it really doesn't matter, but I would prefer full-frame, without a gigantic TV screen.
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the night watchman
Studio Exec


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 1373
Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 08.17.2003 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/10 - 8/17



    Irreversible

    Sasquatch

    Spider

    Dead & Buried

    Godmoney

    Motel Hell

    Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter

    Boggy Creek 2
    (via MST3K, thank providence)

    Freddy vs Jason



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JoeE
Key Grip


Joined: 07 Aug 2003
Posts: 43
Location: Athens, GA

PostPosted: 08.17.2003 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/10-8/17

If... (Anderson)

XX/XY (Austin Chick)

The Jimmy Show (Whaley)

Holy Smoke (Campion)

Kind of a slow week...
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.17.2003 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/10 - 8/17

Several are second viewings (indicated):

Bartleby (Parker, 2002) (2)

May (McKee, 2003)

Irreversible (Noe, 2002) (2)

Zatoichi's Cane Sword (Kimiyoshi, 1967)

Desistfilm (Brakhage, 1954) (2)

Wedlock House: An Intercourse (Brakhage, 1959) (2)

Freddy vs. Jason (Yu, 2003)

Dog Star Man (Brakhage, 1961-1964) (2)

Open Range (Costner, 2003)

Maryam (Serry, 2002)

Till Human Voices Wake Us (Petroni, 2003)

Swimming Pool (Ozon, 2003)

Northfork (Polish, 2003)

Of those, I'd highly recommend Bartleby, Open Range and the Brakhage shorts. Despite its clumsy direction and familiar melodramatics, I was fascinated by Maryam (one of the only pictures I can think of that deals with the subtleties of the Iranian-American experience), and I preferred the haunting romantic grandeur of Till Human Voices Wake Us to the vaunted atmospherics of Northfork. As a cross between Lynch, the Coens, and Dali, Northfork is a singular achievement, simultaneously elegant, hypnotic, and insufferable. As much as I adored looking at this peach fuzz, I found it entirely misjudged, from its stonedead comedy to its precious, cringe-inducing idiosyncrasies. Still, I can grasp why it might resonate with others.

Eric
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matt header
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.18.2003 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just watched "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" last night - I found it really exciting stuff, even more so in the fond remembrances of the Funk Brothers of Motown (most of them now about 60+) than in the concert footage. I would compare it to last year's "Scratch," another excellent movie (I love turntablism, though, so I'm a bit biased). I've seen very few music documentaries, but I liked both of these.
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 08.18.2003 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, Standing in the Shadows of Motown is good and interesting stuff.

This week I saw:

S.W.A.T.

The Lizzie McGuire Movie (Don't ask...I suppose I had an awful overwhelming curiosity)

Open Range

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Freddy vs. Jason

Out of those I'd highly recommend Open Range and He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. S.W.A.T. was good. Freddy vs. Jason was okay and entertaining. The Lizzie McGuire Movie was, as expected, horrifically terrible.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.18.2003 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like both Scratch and Standing in the Shadows of Motown, too. I can't say I knew much about turntablism prior to viewing Scratch, but I enjoyed the way the director, Doug Pray, made the artistic decision to use some of the same "zap" techniques that his subjects do, meaning that the film sometimes skips and samples, in a bizarre but effective visual representation of the music. It employs a rather tedious format, of non-insightful interviews (these guys aren't exactly trained in music, theory, history, or the English language), but I learned a great deal and loved the passages that featured the artists scavenging for gold: long-forgotten but sample-worthy material.

Part discursive, anecdotal conversation, and part reunion concert, Standing... is an entertaining tribute. I question whether it qualifies as insightful documentation, but I imagine it's a must for fans of Motown.

Eric
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.18.2003 3:20 am    Post subject: Music Documentaries Reply with quote

Speaking of music documentaries...

Here are a few of my favorites:

Woodstock

Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock n' Roll

A Great Day in Harlem

Say Amen, Somebody

Biggie & Tupac

Kurt & Courtney

U2: Rattle and Hum

The Last Waltz

Stop Making Sense

That's Entertainment!

Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey

Wild Man Blues

Bittersweet Motel

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart


Many others seem to deeply admire Buena Vista Social Club, The Filth and the Fury, and Tie-Died: Rock n' Roll's Most Deadicated Fans, but I am not among them. I should perhaps add Style Wars, Tony Silver's marvelous 1983 examination of several NYC underground movements. It focuses on graffiti artists, but briefly includes insights about early hip-hop, especially rap and breakdancing.

Any other recommendations out there?

Eric
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matt header
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.18.2003 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love Radiohead's concert/tour film "Meeting People is Easy," but once again I'm a bit biased. I would agree on "Stop Making Sense," too - I saw that movie more than three years ago, and there are still moments when I can't get it out of my head.
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the night watchman
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 08.23.2003 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I probably won't be watching any movies this weekend, so here's my list for 7/18 - 7/24

Basic (McTeirnan,2003) I enjoyed this movie, but *SPOILER* it's a little frustrating that the end of the movie makes the mystery completely pointless. Still, it was nice to see McTeirnan back in form after Rollerball.

Gift Interesting movie by Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro that mixes autobiography with fiction.

Open Range (Costner ,2003) Wow, much better than I expected. Prolly one of the best this year.

About Schmidt (Payne, 2002) Great, unexpected performance by Nicholson. Funny and poignent; the final moment was quietly wonderful.

Solyaris (Tarkovsky, 1972) I liked this movie quite a bit, but -- and I realize it's churlish to ask -- did it have to be so long?

Bowling for Columbine (Moore, 2002) I don't necessarily agree with some of Moore's conclusions, but his questions were brilliant. I wish more conservatives would watch this with an open mind. I do think Moore was a tad unfair to Heston, but, as my friend pointed out, the president of the NRA ought to be able to answer questions like those posed rather than just be a figurehead.
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xxxchloexxx
Grip


Joined: 23 Aug 2003
Posts: 3
Location: England

PostPosted: 08.23.2003 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This week I have watched:



Signs

Pirates of the caribbean

the lord of the rings (bought the DVD its just come out 2day)

notting hill

and the patriot (unfortunatly)
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.25.2003 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last eight days. From my screening log.

(All Ratings out of four)

August 18, 2003

Blue Streak - 2 Buckets - [Definitely conventional, and pretty awful--but Martin Lawrence and Luke Wilson completely save it. They make it watchable, and occasionally fun. It's worth an afternoon cable-watch, but not much more. Blue Streak is funny some of the time, but misses the bar, for most of its duration.]

August 19, 2003

Jackass: The Movie[/i] - Zero Buckets - [Capsule Review]

August 20, 2003

Cradle 2 the Grave - 2 Buckets - [This is probably the lowest two bucket rating I'll ever give, but I suppose this movie deserves such. It's preposterous and ridiculous, but entertaining, regardless. The end really makes the movie feel a bit more reasonable, and was what I was waiting for. At times I struggled to get into it, but at other times I had fun. Cool concept, awful execution.]

Monster's Ball - 4 Buckets - [Seriously amazing, packed with emotion, and touching. The director's style is unique, and fits the work; the entire movie flows like none other. Billy Bob Thorton and Halle Berry give fabulous performances. Words cannot describe how tremendous this work is--see it if you haven't.

August 21, 2003

2nd Viewing of: Chicago - Original Rating: 4 Buckets - [Original Review] - [When I saw this one on the big screen, I loved it, just loved it. On the small screen, it's not as magical, but still pretty damn great. I was just as entertained as the first time, but to experience the same film I saw back on the 5th of January, I'll need to watch it on a bigger TV with a better sound system. My thoughts haven't changed about it, but I cannot deny that I really needed to watch it, under circumstances as close to a movie theatre as possible. When you rent or buy it, definitely watch it on as big a screen as you can.]

2nd Viewing of: Old School - Original Rating: 3 Buckets - [Original Review] - [Still very funny the second time around, but not quite as entertaining. Definitely a good add to any DVD collection, because it's always fun to watch. A solid good time.]

August 22, 2003

No New Films Seen - :'(

August 23, 2003

Roger & Me - 2 ? Buckets - [Capsule Review]

August 24, 2003

The Medallion - 2 Buckets - [Review]

August 25, 2003

All the Real Girls - 2 ? Buckets - [Definitely very atmospheric, and respectable in that area, but the pretentiousness of it all is too great, for the giant amounts of emotion to actually touch us (aside from what's in the ending scene, which does get to us). It's hard to just "fast-forward" over the dull points in the movie though, because if you miss a speck of it, much of the meaning will be lost. Director David Gordon Green uses a very odd approach, and I'm not really sure if I like it. This one is hard to recommend; if you're a film buff, try it. I don't think that the average moviegoer will like it much, though. Strictly art-house.]

Just about to head out to see My Boss's Daughter. Wish me luck surviving.
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 832
Location: Pearland, TX

PostPosted: 08.25.2003 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't seen any movies in the past few days, but from August 10 to 20:



  • The 400 Blows (Truffaut, 1959)

  • Shoot the Piano Player (Truffaut, 1960)

  • Antoine and Colette (Truffaut, 1962)

  • Jules and Jim (Truffaut, 1962)

  • Stolen Kisses (Truffaut, 1968)

  • Bed and Board (Truffaut, 1970)

  • Love on the Run (Truffaut, 1979)



Favorites: The 400 Blows, Shoot the Piano Player, and Stolen Kisses. The others are good (so far I haven't seen a Truffaut film I didn't like), but those are the ones I responded to the most. Often hailed as his greatest film, Jules and Jim didn't do much for me, but maybe I just wasn't in the mood to engage with it; I'll revisit it in the future.

I also saw:



  • Reflections of Evil (Packard, 2002)

    Simply astounding. I haven't yet figured out a way to describe this film in a way that does it justice, but it's one of the strangest movie-watching experiences I've ever had. The writer-director, Damon Packard, might be some kind of demented genius, even if there are occasions where his self-indulgence starts to become mind-numbingly exhausting. Ruthless editing would help (the film is 140 minutes long when it should be about 100). A review is coming soon, hopefully, if I can manage to put my thoughts into words.

  • Freddy vs. Jason (Yu, 2003)

    Just posted my quickie review.

  • Wild Strawberries (Bergman, 1957)

    I adore this movie. Might be my favorite Bergman now (but I still have a lot to watch).



Another semester at University of Houston began today. Fun, fun, fun.
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