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What did you watch this week?
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Jim Harper
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Joined: 29 Feb 2004
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Location: Totnes, Devon, UK

PostPosted: 06.05.2004 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Mmmmm... Porn thrillers ....



Is the Italian horror book published yet?




Well the pinku eiga are always seen as porn films, even though some of them feature more violence that nudity and the plots can be complex and well-developed. A better translation might be 'erotic thrillers', but few of them are quite as violent as some of the pink films.



I'm very interested to see what Kurosawa makes of the genre. Apparently, his second pink film was so deeply un-erotic that the studio fired him and refused to release the movie.



The Italian horror book should be out late this year/early next year, depending on the publisher's schedule. I've finished the final draft, so I'm free to work on other things until they contact me in a few months to proofread the whole thing and prepare an index.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.05.2004 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stefanieduckwitz wrote:


I just got home from Harry Potter Prisoner Of Azkaban. It was... meh.







I thought Prisoner was the best one yet. The aesthetics appealed to me, Cuaron is a much better director than Columbus (whom I've always regarded as something of a hack), it boasts a lot of really neat ideas, and, unlike the first two entries, this one didn't drag at all. I've always sort of resisted the Harry Potter phenomenon, but Prisoner pulled me right in.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.05.2004 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:


The Italian horror book should be out late this year/early next year, depending on the publisher's schedule.




Well, congraduations on that. Is it you first book?



I've heard of pinku eiga, and I suppose I always assumed they were the equivelent of erotic thrillers in the US, which are less erotic and thrilling than the name might suggest. I might check out some of Kurosawa?s if they turn up on eBay.
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 06.05.2004 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Well, congraduations on that. Is it you first book?




Thanks! It's the second. The first, a study of slasher movies, is being released in July.



Quote:
I've heard of pinku eiga, and I suppose I always assumed they were the equivelent of erotic thrillers in the US, which are less erotic and thrilling than the name might suggest. I might check out some of Kurosawa?s if they turn up on eBay.




Unsurprisingly his are difficult to get hold of. I'm guessing that only one is available, if the studio wouldn't release the second. As with his other early films, the only way to get hold of them is through tape-traders and gray-market vendors. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up the first (Kandagawa Lewdness Wars) fairly soon.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.05.2004 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:
The first, a study of slasher movies, is being released in July.




What are the titles, so I can look for them?



jim Harper wrote:
Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up the first (Kandagawa Lewdness Wars) fairly soon.




Laughing "Lewdness Wars." See, that's why I love the Japanese. Anywho, is there any pinku eiga, beside Kurosawa's worth checking out?
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 06.05.2004 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
What are the titles, so I can look for them?




The first is called Legacy of Blood, while the second is as yet untitled. The publishers have the say on that one, so I'm not sure what they'll go for.



Quote:
Laughing "Lewdness Wars." See, that's why I love the Japanese. Anywho, is there any pinku eiga, beside Kurosawa's worth checking out?




I would say so, but the vast majority of them are released without subtitles. Some of them, such as Naked Blood have gone so far into horror territory they're best known in the west as splatter movies. Toshiharu Ikeda, the director of Evil Dead Trap, has done several that are apparently excellent twisted thrillers, but only XX: Beautiful Prey and XX: Beautiful Beast have been released in the west with subtitles. I plan on picking both of those up at some point, so I'll let you know how they are.



Meanwhile, this guy's website is an excellent place to browse through video covers and titles. Where else could you find films called Grotesque Perverse Slaughter and Lady Poison: Beasts from the Underground?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.05.2004 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Jim Harper"]

Meanwhile, this guy's website is an excellent place to browse through video covers and titles. quote]



Thanks for the link. Some great poster art he's got there.
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 06.06.2004 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


I was reading about Napolean last month in a film publication--I forget which--and it sounded quite amusing. I'm glad to hear you confirm its potential. Its arrival in Milwaukee may be a few months off, but I wait in eager anticipation.


Calling all Beltmanns! I just checked the website and they're having some screeners at the Downer and another theatre which I presume is close to you, for free.



Here's the schedule:



Wednesday, Jun 23 7:30 PM Landmark Downer, Milwaukee RSVP

Wednesday, Jun 23 7:30 PM Landmark Downer, Milwaukee RSVP

Tuesday, Jun 29 7:30 PM Marcus Northtown, Milwaukee RSVP

Tuesday, Jun 29 7:30 PM Marcus Northtown Cinemas, Milwaukee RSVP

Thursday, Jul 08 7:30 PM Marcus Westown, Milwaukee RSVP

Thursday, Jul 08 7:30 PM Marcus Westown Cinemas, Waukesha RSVP





All you need to do is click "RSVP" on the screenings page of the official website.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.06.2004 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Danny!! I live relatively close to all of those theatres; I'll definitely try to catch a screening. Thanks for the tip!



Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.07.2004 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

5/31 ? 6/6/04



New this week:



The Day After Tomorrow (Emmerich 2004).

At Five in the Afternoon (Makhmalbaf, Iran 2003)

The Mirror (Panahi, Iran 1997)

Safe Conduct (Tavernier, France 2002)

Cheaper by the Dozen (Levy 2003)

Mr. Klein (Losey, France 1976)

Super Size Me (Spurlock 2004)

Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (Broomfield and Churchill, UK 2004)



Roland Emmerich is now 0 for his last 5, but the real disappointment is Samira Makhmalbaf?s At Five in the Afternoon, a desert drama about Afghan life under US occupation set and filmed in the ruins of Kabul. Where Samira?s Blackboards was angry and astute, At Five in the Afternoon is opaque and politically simplistic?it feels like an art movie made by a child.



Fortunately, for me Jafar Panahi is still batting one thousand: The Mirror was the best film I saw all week, and one of the finest Iranian pictures I?ve seen. Once again he uses a young girl as our guide through Tehran, a teeming city of busy yet friendly strangers. This time, though, the movie acquires meta-dimensions that border on genius. Without revealing too much, I?ll just say that at the midpoint a twist occurs that clearly and poetically interprets how cinema and reality are mirror reflections of one another. I was sitting bolt upright for the duration.



Super Size Me didn?t teach me a thing?it plays more like a wagging finger reminder than a clarion call?but as far as doomsday propaganda goes, I approve of the agenda and it certainly qualifies as terrific, ghoulish fun. I didn?t mind the insistent harping on McDonald?s (certainly viewers understand the company merely stands as a recognizable symbol for the entire fast food industry?), but I was more provoked by the movie?s condemnation of how the nation?s school lunches are held hostage by special interests. There?s a subject worth sacrificing your own health to expose.



Aileen is Nick Broomfield?s follow-up to his 1992 documentary The Selling of a Serial Killer. Eleven years after first investigating the case of Aileen Wuornos, Broomfield is called to testify at her last appeal prior to lethal injection. His original film, as well as his recollections of its making, are used in court as evidence that Wuornos did not receive a fair and impartial trial. This new movie is fascinating on three counts: First, as an object lesson in how documentary often merges with life (and how chroniclers have certain ethical obligations); second, as a more inquisitive examination?here, Broomfield is less certain of what really transpired?than the first picture; and third, as a probing look into the mind of an angry, slippery, clearly disturbed woman.



I thought Cheaper by the Dozen was simply atrocious. It?s a bad sign when the most remarkable thing in a movie is a self-satirizing cameo by Ashton Kutcher.



Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.07.2004 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
And I think camels might be my new favorite animals.


So it's safe to presume you're totally psyched for The Story of the Weeping Camel? Between that and The Big Animal, my wife has dubbed 2004 The Year of the Camel.



Eric
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stefanieduckwitz
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PostPosted: 06.07.2004 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I was a camel. Confused
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 06.07.2004 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (Broomfield and Churchill, UK 2004)





I haven't seen Selling of a Serial Killer, but I thought this one was fascinating, and not a little depressing. I like how Broomfield never allows us to forget that Wuornos killed several men (six, seven, or eight; notice how the numbers keep changing?), yet questions the state's right to take her life in the face of such civil and legal incompetence and corruption. I'm not against the death penalty, per se, but I kept recalling Franz Beckert's condemnation of his criminal captors in M.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.08.2004 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

6/1 - 6/7



I like the idea Beltmann had to rank them from best to worst awhile ago.



Monster (Jenkins, 2003)

Repeat | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Columbus, 2002)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Cuar?n, 2004)

Bridget Jones's Diary (Maguire, 2001)

Coyote Ugly (McNally, 2000)

Swordfish (Sena, 2001)

Love Don't Cost A Thing (Beyer, 2003)



I would recommend the top four, and I think just by looking at the titles of the rest, you can tell what my thoughts were. My response to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was an interesting one. I felt that it was a better movie than the other two, but wasn't able to enjoy it nearly as much as them because it felt so different from them. We have to relearn the series in this episode: the setting and supporting characters feel entirely different. It was a shaky experience, because I had become so accustomed to (and loving) of its predecessors. Nevertheless, quite an achievement, and shows growth in several aspects of the franchise. However, the first still remains my favorite, by a long-shot, even though it may technically be a weaker picture than this third installment.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 06.22.2004 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re-posting:



6/7 ? 6/13/04



The Projectionist (Bates, Australia 2002). This entire short consists of an elderly projectionist walking home from work, observing his evening urban neighborhood as if it were a series of projected images?every window and every wall is a potential silver screen. Stylized images surround him, and we're never sure whether they are idealized versions of the reality he sees, or memories of movie scenes coming from within his own psyche. It?s certainly beautiful, but is it anything else?



Jungle Emperor Leo (Takao, Japan 1997). Modern revising of one of Tezuka Osamu?s famous ?Kimba the White Lion? stories, crippled by a choppy narrative flow and jarring shifts in tone.



Paycheck (Woo, USA 2003). If you aren?t distracted by Ben Affleck?s robotic hair, you too will notice that everyone fails to deliver, especially Woo: Some of P. K. Dick?s ideas are interesting, but what lingers are the director?s utterly routine action flourishes. I fear the maker of The Killer, A Better Tomorrow, and Bullet in the Head no longer exists.



The Rundown (Berg, USA 2003). Far better is this airy actioner, which features a commanding performance by The Rock?screen presence doesn?t always require acting chops?and plenty of funny, inventive wirework.



Reeseville (Otjen, USA 2003). Set in a small, rural Midwestern town, the story examines the sordid underbelly of quiet Americana. The movie is loaded with buried ugliness?including a family feud, unwanted pregnancy, murder, voyeurism, beatings, adultery?but for the most part Otjen aims for a tone that belies the nasty subject matter. At times, the movie feels like a miniature domestic drama, although the threat of violence always seems to be running in the background.



?The Lie Chair? (Cronenberg, Canada 1975) / ?The Italian Machine? (Cronenberg, Canada 1976). Two early Cronenberg ?shorts? made for Canadian TV. The first is an episode of ?Peep Show,? an amateurish ghost story that reminded me of The Others as produced by Masterpiece Theatre. The second, an episode of ?Teleplay,? is much better. Here, a group of motorcycle aficionados learn that an art collector has acquired a vintage Italian bike, and they conspire to obtain it for themselves. There are some witty ideas, including a scene in which an outraged enthusiast is calmed only by headphones pumping the sound of a motor revving.



The Legend of Zu (Tsui, Hong Kong 2001). With the help of Yuen Woo-ping, Sammo Hung, and Zhang Ziyi, Tsui Hark remade his popular 1983 adventure Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain. Although that film is a touchstone in Hong Kong cinema, I?ve always considered it an exasperating orgy of nonsense effects. This new incarnation boasts the most expensive, elaborate, and ingenious CGI I?ve seen from Hong Kong, but it?s still imagination run amok. The story?magical mountain ?teachers? defend against a wicked invasion?exists as a nearly abstract representation of the battle between good and evil. Trouncing internal logic, Tsui grooves exclusively on his eye candy, which for me tastes rather stale.



Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Cuar?n, USA 2004). Here?s a fantasy epic that at least plays by its own rules. From the first frame, Cuar?n?s positive impact can be felt. This new entry is far more naturalistic?in terms of set design, visual style, camerawork, editing, even the acting?and that helps ground the story in more credible emotional territory. This is also the first Potter movie that seems awed by its own wizardry, rather than merely enamored with the capabilities of computers. That said, I never felt completely under its spell. (Side question: Anyone else agree that Gambon, as Dumbledore, improves upon Harris?)



Three Best Of the Week:



Japanese Story (Brooks, Australia 2003). A killer twist shifts this into emotional territory that I?ve never quite experienced at the movies before. Without saying too much, I?d describe it as the catastrophic version of Lost In Translation. The range of emotional complexity in Toni Collette?s performance is astonishing.



The Company (Altman, USA 2004). What?s engrossing is how Altman has applied the artistic virtues of cinematic montage to a separate art form?ballet?in order to deliver something completely new. I've never seen anything quite like it. Altman follows Chicago's Joffey Ballet Company for a year, seamlessly merging fictional characters and near-documentary footage into a rhythmic piece that never quite stars the human performers. Instead, the subject here truly is the company itself (those who complain about the "thin" plot or weak characterization have missed the point by a wide, wide margin). The film is elegant, graceful, and beautiful. There are several sequences that are impressive both as ballet?much of the film is made up of performances?but also as cinematic lyricism.



Saved! (Dannelly, USA 2004). As a practicing Christian, I was offended only by the story?s deterioration into a watery embrace of vague ?tolerance.? While many fundamentalist stereotypes are skewered, left unscathed is the sanctity of religious conviction. Faith?and by extension, true Christianity?is never targeted, in my opinion. Dannelly?s real subject is the way many Christians define their "salvation" by positioning themselves as superior to those around them, and what the movie nails is the way religious rhetoric and propaganda often replaces true faith?as if Christianity is a trendy commercial brand meant to be worn on the sleeve, or emblazoned across the chest. (Much is made of how these young people find their identity in religion, securing a sense of belonging that resembles clique safety rather than true spirituality.) Best of all, this sweet comedy is brimming with examples of true Christian compassion?especially in the way Dannelly questions certain behaviors of his characters yet still treats them with respect. If I have a reservation, it?s that certain audiences might leave assuming that these ?Christians? accurately describe the majority of Christians?my recommendation comes with a cautionary caveat similar to that expressed by Jewish groups at the time of The Passion?s release: Could this ode to tolerance actually incite hatred for Christians? Those already pre-disposed will certainly find the ammunition they seek.



Eric
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