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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: 08.26.2003 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I don't think that the average moviegoer will like it much, though. Strictly art-house.


Sounds like mighty high praise to me!

Seriously, I really loved All the Real Girls. I think it's one of the best pictures of the year so far. Other things I saw recently (second viewings indicated):

8/18 - 8/24

Amen. (Costa-Gavras, 2002)

Zatoichi Challenged (Misumi, 1967)

Head of State (Rock, 2003)

Focus (Slavin, 2001)

House of 1000 Corpses (Zombie, 2003)

The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes (Brakhage, 1971) (2)

Zatoichi and the Fugitives (Yasuda, 1968)

All the Real Girls (Green, 2003)

Kind of a slow week. (With the school year approaching, I've been preparing for teaching.) Of those, I'd highly recommend All the Real Girls, Focus, and The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes. I deeply responded to all three, for vastly different reasons. The first speaks to my interest in cinema's poetic, emotional, and lyrical qualities, the second its formal and polemical qualities, and the third its abstract, intellectual, expressionistic qualities. I suppose taken together, the three represent some kind of microcosm of why movies matter.

Besides a first initial, Head of State and House of 1000 Corpses have much in common. Both are slow-witted, tedious, tiresome, clumsily directed by clear amateurs, and--worst of all--completely defanged (Rock dulls all potential for political satire by never taking his own character seriously, while Zombie emasculates his horror show by merely pilfering the highlights from many other, better horror movies).

Amen. had some interesting things to say about our moral responsibilities--and about how there's more than one way to meet them--when surrounded by evil.

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 08.26.2003 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Eric, here's my issue with All the Real Girls. I think it's got a great concept, and a good execution. It's essentially, just like being in the company of real people, which is wondrous. But, normal peoples lives aren't always that interesting. I can complement it, for what it attempts--but I don't think its entirely succesful. While it may be a beautiful achievement, I can't say I enjoyed myself while watching it, or got tons out of it--which is the reason why I like movies, in the first place. I felt the same way about the 2002 remake of Solaris.

I think that a movie similar to it, even though it's completely different in style, that's much more successful is The Good Girl. I can see why someone would love All the Real Girls, but I could just never get into it. Perhaps I just couldn't identify with the characters enough, even though I cannot deny they are the closest to real people I've seen in a movie, in a very long time.
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Mark Dujsik
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: 08.26.2003 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh boy! Can I play?

Bully (repeat)

Dances with Wolves

Deliverance

Freddy Vs. Jason

Open Range

The Poseidon Adventure

Uptown Girls


I may have seen more, but those are all I can remember since I don't always keep track.

This was the first time I've seen Dances with Wolves, and damn, is that a great film. I saw Deliverance and The Poseidon Adventure a long time ago, and only Poseidon held up as well as I remember. Deliverance, I realized this time around, is all setup with no real payoff. Still worth a look for its suspense sequences, though.

And while it's more the start of this week, I just saw the documentary Spellbound earlier today, and it's the best film I've seen so far this year. I hope to have a review up tomorrow or definitely the day after.

And you'd better believe I'll be watching The Two Towers tomorrow and a back-to-back insane-fan viewing of Fellowship and it later in the week. Smile
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Danny Baldwin
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 08.26.2003 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark Dujsik wrote:
And you'd better believe I'll be watching The Two Towers tomorrow and a back-to-back insane-fan viewing of Fellowship and it later in the week. Smile


Me too, and even though I wouldn't die for The Fellowship of the Ring, it's pretty damn good.
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juhsstin
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Joined: 07 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: 08.26.2003 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just rented the 4 disc extended FOTR DVD set. The extended version is really good!
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matt header
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 08.26.2003 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three movies in the last week. That's it. "Le Divorce," then "Irreversible," then "I Stand Alone." I thought it went from bad to okay to excellent. Really, though, I'm disappointed that I didn't make time for more than three movies! And I call myself a film buff.....
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 08.28.2003 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I can see why someone would love All the Real Girls, but I could just never get into it.


Never say never...

Since I believe that the most noble function of art is to approximate reality, I must admit a certain bias for realist cinema; one of the principles that most interests me about cinema is its potential for looking at the world and interpreting it. Most of my favorite movies tend to be those that replicate actual human life with some level of verisimilitude and insight. (I can't agree that normal lives aren't interesting. In fact, I much, much prefer works like You Can Count On Me, Tully, or Raising Victor Vargas to action, fantasy, horror, comic book, or otherwise "escapist" fare. For example, I admire Lord of the Rings a heck of a lot more than I actually enjoy it.)

Certainly All the Real Girls works for me on "realistic" terms, but I am also quite taken with Green's lyrical, majestic, unreal style. It's difficult to explain why I respond to it, but I feel hypnotized by his poetic rhythms, fumbling dialogue, and impressionistic visuals. The plot itself is fairly routine; instead Green focuses on its emotional rivers and moods. Like an abstract expressionist, he virtually eliminates "story" as an entry point for appreciation--he wants us to leap directly onto the characters' wavelengths. For me, his languorous, deliberate pacing is just about perfect.

I also admit a bias for movies that celebrate the maturation process. All the Real Girls is a wonderfully grown-up retort to all the endless movies that celebrate obnoxious behavior.

Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 08.28.2003 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just received All the Real Girls from Netflix and I'm off to watch it right now. Smile
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 08.28.2003 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Never say never...

Since I believe that the most noble function of art is to approximate reality, I must admit a certain bias for realist cinema; one of the principles that most interests me about cinema is its potential for looking at the world and interpreting it. Most of my favorite movies tend to be those that replicate actual human life with some level of verisimilitude and insight. (I can't agree that normal lives aren't interesting. In fact, I much, much prefer works like You Can Count On Me, Tully, or Raising Victor Vargas to action, fantasy, horror, comic book, or otherwise "escapist" fare. For example, I admire Lord of the Rings a heck of a lot more than I actually enjoy it.)


Well, though I really enjoy Lord of the Rings, I'm not talking comic-book movies here...though I'm not exactly saying I love "completely realistic," either. Although, I can't say I was intrigued by All The Real Girls, getting into it. The trailers for Raising Victor Vargas and Tully look far better than that of All The Real Girls, though promotion can be quite manipulative of the actual content of a film. Victor Vargas shipped today from Netflix, I'll report back soon.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 08.28.2003 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watched All the Real Girls last night. It's been a long time since I've fallen deeply in love with a film, but this one's the real deal. Words fail me. It's just... um... wow. Like I said, words fail me.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 08.29.2003 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm clearly not seeing the magic in it that you guys are. I think Rob Blackwelder of Splicedonline.com really hit the nail on the 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: 08.31.2003 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Since I believe that the most noble function of art is to approximate reality, I must admit a certain bias for realist cinema; one of the principles that most interests me about cinema is its potential for looking at the world and interpreting it.


That's interesting. My signature below expresses my general thoughts about realist fiction/film. That's not to say I don't like movies that are realistic, or strive to present life convincingly and accurately, but I've never felt they better represent life than those than incoporate the fantastic. Personally, I get more insight out of something like "Eraserhead" or "Fellini's 8 1/2," or "Blade Runner," or even "Videodrome" and "Raising Arizona" than most realistic fiction. I think one of the main reasons I connect so strongly with "Ghost World," for instance -- which remains realistic throughout the bulk of its running time -- is it's final images, involving the mysterious bus. To me, a moment like that is far more poignent -- and poetic -- than a "straight" ending could manage.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 08.31.2003 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obviously, my claim that cinema?s noblest function is to approximate reality is completely subjective. I would never argue that ?straight? realism better represents life than those that ?incorporate the fantastic,? but in my personal hierarchy of why cinema matters as an art form, I rank realism at the top, for several reasons.

First, one of my main interests in art lies in its potential to edify, especially in social terms (that?s the Horace, Plato, Ruskin and Marx in me). A second main interest, especially for cinema, lies in its ability to convincingly replicate the human experience ? by portraying life as it is, we can approximate and honor the divine power; the force of art is found in its ability to capture and express humanity, offering insights into what it means to be human (that?s the Bazin and Mill in me). I know this is entirely subjective, but I feel that those traits rank as the most important purposes of art, and can best be accomplished through realism. This helps explain why I am drawn to the documentary form, and also why many of my favorite recent narrative films are ?realistic?: The Circle, Bloody Sunday, Rabbit-Proof Fence, You Can Count on Me, The Ice Storm, Tully, Faithless, The Road Home, Amores Perros, Bread and Roses, The Apostle, Xiu Xiu the Sent-down Girl, The Children of Heaven, The Color of Paradise, The King of Masks, Atanarjuat, The Cat?s Meow, Secret Ballot, Ulee?s Gold?

However, to me ?realism? comes in many forms; I would expand its definition beyond ?straight accuracy? to include emotional and psychological insights that reflect actual human experience in all its complexity, which can be arrived at through multiple avenues. This helps explain why many of my recent favorites are realistic only marginally: Ghost World, The Truman Show, Rushmore, Ponette, Kandahar, Far From Heaven, Requiem for a Dream, The Sweet Hereafter, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, American Beauty, Three Kings, The Virgin Suicides, A Simple Plan?

Personally, merely ?looking? at the world and replicating it is often enough, although I much prefer films that do more, and prefer filmmakers that offer ?interpretations? of what they see in order to shift our conceptions about the world.

I think it?s important to develop a personal belief inventory, as a means of better understanding your own responses to art (isn?t that the ultimate goal of criticism?), and after many years I?ve come to the conclusion that what matters most to me is realism. However, this is not to demean other functions of art. Of course I believe that other purposes are nearly as significant, and certainly equally valid. (For example, I would never argue that films that ?incorporate the fantastic? are incapable of representing life and offering insights into the human experience.) Next to realism, I am also deeply interested in the impressionistic, surreal, and abstract possibilities of cinema, and that helps explain why some of my recent favorites include Punch-Drunk Love, The Lady and the Duke, Hero, Being John Malkovich, Dark City, The Vertical Ray of the Sun, Waking Life, Mulholland Dr., Spirited Away?

Incidentally, I agree about the ending of Ghost World. I wouldn?t change a thing.

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 08.31.2003 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just watched Raising Victor Vargas last night, and for me, that is the movie with all of the traits that you guys have been praising All the Real Girls for. I do think it's more intriguing movie-wise as well, perhaps because I spent a little less time warming up to the characters. I could relate to them, to a small extend, whereas in All the Real Girls I had to really warm up to them. I will have to watch more movies of this nature to come to a conclusion, but I think that I am able to respect this type of picture much more, when i like and am interested by the setting and place
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 08.31.2003 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


First, one of my main interests in art lies in its potential to edify, especially in social terms (that?s the Horace, Plato, Ruskin and Marx in me). A second main interest, especially for cinema, lies in its ability to convincingly replicate the human experience ? by portraying life as it is, we can approximate and honor the divine power; the force of art is found in its ability to capture and express humanity, offering insights into what it means to be human (that?s the Bazin and Mill in me). I know this is entirely subjective, but I feel that those traits rank as the most important purposes of art, and can best be accomplished through realism.


I also think that the best art reveals or illustrates aspects of the human condition. But I guess that since we as a species think abstractly and symbolically, movies that utilize the surreal, the absurd, the abstract, the expressionistic, like you mentioned above, or simply fantastic imagery in an otherwise realistic narrative, better represents our experiences of the world. Maybe that says more about me than realistic vs fantastic narratives, but even a narrative that strives for realism is still, to an extent, fantasy, since narrative itself is created by an individual who perceives the world through limited senses and perspectives and filters. Maybe I trust unrealistic movies better? We live physically in an objective, concrete world, but we live mentally and emotionally in our own individual subjective worlds. Society and culture are just overlaps of a group's individual perceptions. The reason I'm so drawn to horror is its ability to tear down the facade of society and reveal humans at their purest state. That's not to say I don't like society and culture, or that I'm an anarchist. But I think many people, far too many people, equate society and culture -- specifically their society and culture, or the one they choose to accept -- with objective Truth. Such a perception is the root of social conflict, and encourages one group -- one tribe -- tries to demonize, suppress, or eradicate another group. I feel we are a lot better off when we recognize that society is just a flexible and tenuous construx, based specifically on our abstract and symbolic perception of the world. Again, that?s not to say society should be torn down -- it is certainly an effective survival mechanism for our species -- but I think we would more readily accept ?outside? cultures, and change within our own, if we understand it for the construction it is. And I think the fantastic, and specifically surrealism and aburdism, is a perfect mechanism to allow us to step outside our system of belief and see ourselves.
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