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What did you watch this week?
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the night watchman
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 08.30.2004 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
My emphasis on the disappointing elements was probably a retort to how so many fans are making "classic" claims for a B-movie that is merely efficient, well-paced, and occasionally has an elemental thrust that is easy to digest and identify with. I can't say I found any of it a "white-knuckle" experience, though.




Well, I thought it achieved a success greater than mere efficiency. I didn't necessarily find it "white-knuckle" in the sense of Hitchcockian or Spielbergian suspense, or something like, say, Aliens. Rather, it is one of those very rare movies that distressed me so profoundly I nearly wanted to stop watching. Admittedly, such an emotional reaction is at least half due to my bathophobia. But I'm also sensitive to unintentional artifice, and when a movie attempts a high degree of verisimilitude and fails, I often give it little ground. (And by the way, stating that the verisimilitude defense "applies better to better pictures" is begging the question, don't you think?) I had no problem with the phone scene or the bedroom scene, and thought both illustrated two people who are perhaps a bit over-familiar the each other?s quirks and idiosyncrasies. In other words, the stiffness in each scene was an example each half of a couple's attempt toward self expression without causing a fight. Anyway, while I do believe the quality and effectiveness of Open Water is high, I suppose an individual?s reaction to is necessarily subjective. This movie really pushed a lot of my buttons on an existential level, it is true, but I think it was able to do so by realizing its uncomplicated and straightforward intentions with a high degree of artistic success, and by underplaying the sensational aspects of the scenerio.
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 08.30.2004 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The past week:



  • Evil Dead Trap (Ikeda, 1988) B

  • Evil Dead Trap 2 (Hashimoto, 1991) C+

  • Millennium Mambo (Hou, 2001) A-

  • The Circus (Chaplin, 1928) A-

  • My Bloody Valentine (Mihalka, 1981) C+



The first two Evil Dead Trap movies both evoke Argento -- with the Goblin-esque soundtracks, nightmarish atmosphere, and elaborate, violent set pieces -- but they're entirely different beasts. I like the original, which takes a fairly routine horror plot -- a small group of people in a confined, creepy setting are knocked off one-by-one -- and executes it with such gusto that it's pretty exciting. The sequel begins as more of a character study/drama about an introverted female projectionist who's also a serial killer. It's pretty sloppy and dull, but the film is almost redeemed by a nightmarish, unbelievably bizarre final act. Almost.



Millenium Mambo's opening sequence is breathtaking in its delicate, lingering beauty: a single slow-motion shot of a beautiful girl walking -- no, floating -- down a long corridor, bathed in florescent blue light, smiling, smoking, looking over her shoulder, completely free and alive, as the ethereal techno music grows louder, until the camera stops as the girl vanishes down a stairway at the end of the corridor. Millennium Mambo is beautiful and evocative in a way few films can ever hope to be -- postmodern, dreamlike, and ethereal in its gritty realism. I need to catch up on the rest of Hou Hsiao-hsien's filmography.



The Circus ranks among Chaplin's best, I think. I adore it.



My Bloody Valentine is a routine slasher film distinguished by its setting. It takes place in a Canadian mining town, and the suspenseful final act takes place inside the mine. Kinda fun for a middling '80s slasher, but ultimately forgettable.
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 08.31.2004 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
(And by the way, stating that the verisimilitude defense "applies better to better pictures" is begging the question, don't you think?)


Only if we disregard my explanatory comparison to another picture. What I meant to say is that sometimes flat, cruddy compositions can indeed enhance verisimilitude (as in the accomplished Bloody Sunday), but sometimes it feels more like a mark of limited technical facility (as in Open Water). With Open Water, I found the ugly visual design distracting, to the point where it interfered with the film's overall sense of versimilitude, most acutely during the exposition scenes. Hence, while the verisimilitude defense applies to a "better" (read: more skillful prowess with digital video) work like Bloody Sunday, it does not apply to Open Water, at least not for me. (Equally useful is a comparison to 28 Days Later, which also looks cruddy but remains an artful evocation of the film's mood.)



This may account for why I did not share your experience of feeling distressed. (Any discomfort was primarily related to having to watch all those yellows bleed into the greens, or having to hear the "unintentional artifice" of some of the dialogue.) Still, my best friend reported that he too felt uncomfortable throughout, so I'm willing to concede that perhaps the effectiveness of the visual design is a matter of taste. (On the other hand, my taste typically runs towards independent, frequently digital works... this flat format irritates me only when it smells amateurish.)



the night watchman wrote:
by underplaying the sensational aspects of the scenerio.


That, I agree, is Open Water's strongest virtue.



Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 08.31.2004 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/24 - 8/30



I don't think I can stand fluff, anymore. I really don't. In preferential order:



Open Water (Kentis, 2004) - I actually agree with a lot of Beltmann's comments. The entire first act was absolutely dreadful, but it got a reaction out of me, and, I think, has all the characteristics required to be great. Ultimately, I think the conclusion is devastating, really rather effective. It's too bad that everything doesn't add up, but I can respect it, status-quo.



Dogville (Von Trier, 2004) - Parts of it are certainly great, but I thought it was utterly rediculous. Alright, I was compelled, I was exhilerated. I also wanted to slap Lars Von Trier over the head. For some reason, it reminded me of Soderberg's Solaris, a lot. I really admire chapters 2-5, if we're going to seperate them out that way, but I, unlike most, dislike the end product, in its entirety.



Wonderland (Cox, 2003) - I wanted to like it a lot, but couldn't find it in me. There's some powerful stuff here, and Val Kilmer and Kate Bosworth are absolutely and undeniably incredible. The thing that annoyed me the most about it was its logical, but dumbfounding narrative structure. It represents a cookie-cutter mold, crafted by flashback after flashback, most of which are the same, but minorly altered, based upon POV. It could've been great, but turns out only occassionally riveting.



Taking Lives (Caruso, 2004) - I absolutely loathed the thing, despite my liking for even the most generic of this genre's pieces. Predictable through and through, and holds two of the worst performances by actors I often like, Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke. I'm really, really glad I didn't rally the cause and try harder to see this in theatres on my birthday, back in March; talk about opening up a wrapped box of dogshit.



Laws of Attraction (Howitt, 2004) - Peter Howitt needs to quit while he's still; he at least has one good movie under his belt. And no, I'm not bothered by the genericness of this movie, or the fact that it has great potential, but simply because it's endlessely depressing. There's nothing to like about the leads, which are played by good actors in their most unremarkable performances yet, and the story stretches on for an eternity. I'm not sure I was captivated once. I guess Julianne Moore needed to take some time off the hard work and cash a bigger paycheck, while she was at it.



Ella Enchanted (O'Haver, 2004) - Of all the crappy, stupid Cinderella wannabe's I've seen out there, Anne Hathaway is probably the worst. Is there anything I can really say about this "film" besides pointless, obscene adjectives? It's like finding dirt instead of chocolate inside the sweet coating of an M&M, not enough to make you enraged by the simple action of biting into it, but rather so annoying it becomes excruciating. (And, yes, I can use such stupid analogies whenever I wish, after being subjected to this ugliness.)



I watched The Girl Next Door another two times, too. And The Lizzie McGuire Movie craze continues. I really need to promise myself to only watch it once a month, now. Yeah, I think I'll do that. How does the first Friday of every month sound to you guys? Horrible? Yes. Well, at least I get to enjoy it again, this week. I don't care what anyone says; I'm with baaab. We should be the stars of some kind of worshipper's sitcom. Why am I saying this? Oh well. Withdrawals ensue.
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 09.05.2004 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/30 ? 9/5/04



It All Starts Today (Tavernier, France 1999)

Laws of Attraction (Howitt, USA 2004)

Shaolin Soccer (Chow, Hong Kong 2001)

Johnson Family Vacation (Erskin, USA 2004)

Millennium Mambo (Hou, Taiwan 2001)



After six movies I?m no Hou Hsiao-Hsien admirer, but Millennium Mambo is still the best picture I saw all week. Although it recycles many ideas about stasis from earlier Hou works?most notably Goodbye South, Goodbye?and indulges in certain romanticized notions about youth culture, Mambo does contain perceptions about the nature of the maturing process. I especially liked an anachronistic scene set during a film festival blanketed in snow, where a drifting young woman named Vicky leaves a faceprint in a snowbank?the temporary impression becomes a perfect metaphor for how the Vicky we see no longer exists for the narrator, who is an older, wiser Vicky looking back at a series of failed relationships from a ten-year remove.



Eric
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HoRRoRFaN
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PostPosted: 09.05.2004 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most recent viewings, including last week:



August 15th - 21st



Welcome to Spring Break (Umberto Lenzi, 1988) 19

Insanely retarded movie, but one of those movies that can be a lot of fun with friends and beer around, I guess. When I heard that it was called a PORKY'S-style giallo, I was immediately curious in checking this out; you really can't imagine how cheesy and lame of a movie it is until you see it. I don't even think I can describe it, either. The movie begins with the execution of this biker called Diablo for the murder of a local girl, and he pleads for his life, shouting that he is innocent repeated times. His last words are that he will return to seek revenge to those who framed him. And next the movie will introduce us to the characters: Diablo's gang that call themselves The Demons; the expected batch of teenagers who do nothing but party and play pranks on each other; and a corrupt police chief Striker (John Saxon) and a minister (Lance LeGault). We barely get to know any of the characters, and some vanish from the movie entirely if they are not killed and because we become so annoyed by mostly all of them, we are almost anticipating their deaths. Speaking of which, the special effects are laughable: the killer rides around with an electric chair to dispose of his victims, and not once do the poorly filmed killing sequences convince us (the aftermath shots are ridiculous). Lenzi, who used an alias for directorial credits for obvious reasons, is attempting a FRIDAY THE 13th slasher here, but cannot incorporate any type of originality in his insipid, recycled plot. I thought it was pretty funny that there are only stock shots of nudity, so not even this is worthwhile. Saxon's part as the asshole cop is enjoyable, whereas the rest of the cast are horrible every second they are on screen. Don't look for any nice cinematography (the DVD transfer is crappy anyway) or much else of interest, but like I said before, if you are the type to pop in a bad/unintentionally funny movie when you and your friends are getting drunk, add this to your list. You'll have a blast, most likely...



Hitcher in the Dark (Umberto Lenzi, 1989) 22

Nothing like a giallo that it is disguised to be on the cover, Lenzi's HITCHER IN THE DARK is more of a corny movie that desperately wants to be a pyschological study. It opens with ariel shots of an RV driving on a long highway, then the driver is revealed. He is Mark Glazer, a young man in his 20's wearing a pair of large glasses, looking cool and focused. A beautiful woman hitchhiking on the side of the road immediately gets his attention and he offers her a ride. She mentions how relieved she is that he picked her up and how no son of a bitch stopped for her, which seems to offend him. In the next scene, we see his RV parked somewhere in a woods area, and we hear sounds of struggling from inside of it. Cut to the murdered hitchhiker laying on a bed with Mark standing over her with a bloody pair of scissors, then taking pictures of the corpse. In the morning, he exposes it by throwing her into a swamp nearby, where an alligator quickly eats it. We discover that Mark has been doing this for a while now in the camper that was a gift from his father, picking up these teenager girls to dress them up as his mother, who abandoned him at a very young age. At a local camping ground, he sets his sights on a blonde haired teenage girl Danielle Foster (Josie Bissett), who breaks up with her cheating boyfriend, Kevin (Jason Saucier). Mark picks her up and refuses to let her go because she bears a close resemblance to his mother, especially when he cuts her hair short and dyes it brown to make it look exactly like his mother's. She tries to escape repeated times, and Kevin is on Mark's trail when he figures out that he had picked her up. The title misleads us because as I recall, the movie is not about a pyschotic hitchhiker, nor are there more than a couple of scenes shot at night. It's entirely predictable, not one scene is inspired or suspenseful, and the characters are difficult to believe. Joe Balogh is lifeless as Mark, who didn't convince me for a minute. We never get to see the actual murder at the beginning, and with only one example of what he is capable of, we don't believe him to be a killer, just this wimpy punk that Danielle can escape at any moment. There are Freudian overtones that make him even more ridiculous. Although I was glad that Lenzi didn't overstuff his movie with violence or gore, he makes it look PG-rated, refraining from exploring how dark or how internally innocent Mark is. One well photographed scene late in the movie shows him helping a bird, taking it into his hands. Because Lenzi misses the chance to explore in any way, the scene is random and pointless. An unnecessary, tacked-on resolution ruins this movie even further, but it is something that I can't blame Lenzi for, as I learned later from the interview on the DVD that he was against it and had no choice but to shoot the scene anyway.



Open Water (Chris Kentis, 2004) 65

Almost completely forgot that I was watching a movie, as it was exactly what I hoped: jolting, nail-biting, tense, terrifying, and tragic. While the movie is not great and rather small in scope, the ride that we are taken on and emotional wallop that it packs at its devastating end is what counts. As it opens, we instantly understand the relationship between the workaholic couple of Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) and they are making an effort to escape their hectic lives by taking a much needed vacation in the Bahamas, where they will relax and scuba dive. Neither of them can break away from their work, not even on their vacation, as Daniel brought his laptop along and Susan brought her cell phone. When they are in their hotel room, a day away from diving, Susan is laying down on their bed completely naked, and she suggests that they should fuck. Instead, Daniel decides to go to sleep. Both of these characters are carefully handled, they are people that we can very easily relate to, and their dialogue rings true. On the tour boat, it seems as if the guide is concerned with his passenger's safety, making sure that they are with a partner when they are underwater. Because Daniel and Susan are certified divers, they choose to seperate themselves from the rest of the group, as long as they return to the boat at the set time. But when they resurface, their boat is nowhere in sight and they are left deserted in the shark-infested waters, where they can float as long as possible with their life jackets. The movie is inspired by actual events, it has gotten huge hype, it has opened wide, and many critics seem to be mixed on it. Some didn't buy the performances, but I personally believed every emotion that Travis and Ryan expressed through their desperate characters, from the utter disbelief at first to the sheer panic and horror that they is impossible for them to escape no matter what. What I didn't understand while watching the movie was how people in the theater all around me were laughing at the ironic comments that Daniel makes. He comments on how they basically paid to be discarded, deserted at sea, and this is one of the reasons why their situation is so sad. Another reason is how the film presents to us how civilized people are so naive to think that they will be unharmed (they were told earlier by the guide that no shark will attack if you see one), they will soon be saved, everything will be okay. OPEN WATER is perhaps the one film that I can think of that has effectively delineated my one and only fear (large bodies of water, not knowing what is lurking below), and it's even been criticized as sadistic. But it is more of a nightmare put on screen, where the character's dread becomes our own. Don't even expect a story of survival with this material because Daniel and Susan truly cannot save themselves. Even when they see a boat in the horizon, they can't swim because the current will only take them farther and they try to signal but the boats will not see them. So Kentis fades out to the next scene as the terror exacerbates, and there are sometimes brief shots of civilization and nature, which are the only moments where we cut away from the couple. Kentis is not mocking his characters in these moments, he is showing how insignificant the couple is to nature (birds are eating when we see them and can fly away to a better place) and how quickly forgotten they are to the island that they put their trust in (when the guide realizes that he has left them, it is obviously going to be too late). Based on the ads and trailers, people will think that it is a new shark movie going in, but it is not since Kentis (who used real sharks) is smart enough to make them appear gradually. The immersive cinematography done by Kentis and his wife, Laura Lau gave me chills, shading rich blue colors into dismal gray and the camera is always positioned in the appropriate place for the ineluctable effect. Due to how hopeless the tone grows to be, you may have an idea about what will happen to the characters, but I doubt that the daring, pessimistic, and poetic turn at the end will be anticipated. None of the dialogue repeated itself as far as I could tell, though one scene was disconcerting: Daniel makes a joke about watching Shark Week (something of this nature). Also, I thought that the galling Jamaican music should not have been inclined when the couple was in the water -- if anything, the only time that we should hear it is when the couple was still on the beach. Last scene inserted in the credits was just as unnecessary to me. This isn't a JAWS meets BLAIR WITCH or GERRY at sea, which is good because Kentis imports his own distressing vision that doesn't want us to laugh at the sorrowful dialogue, making us glad that we are nowhere near the ocean and that we can finally catch our breath walking out of the theater.



Zombi (Lucio Fulci, 1979) 76

Certainly not as intelligent as Romero's DEAD Trilogy, but Fulci's vision is more brutal and raw than those films, in my opinion, and a blast to watch simply because it doesn't pretend to be more than what it is. Unfortunately, ZOMBI is widely considered as a rip-off, and it seems as if lots of viewers either love or hate it with a passion. The film opens to a shot of a figure wrapped in a white sheet, which soon gets shot in the head by a man, seemingly the captain of the boat, who then says that the boat can leave now. Cut to a boat drifting along New York harbor that is soon investigated by two harbor patrolmen that realize that it was abandoned, as no crew member is in sight. A huge zombie appears and attacks one of them and then gets shot, plunging into the water. Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow) is questioned by police when this boat is discovered because her father owns the boat and cannot be found. She reads a letter from her father explaining how he caught some kind of rare disease on the island of Matool and how he doesn't think he can survive it. Along with a curious newsreporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch) and the vacationing couple Brian and Susan (Al Cliver and Auretta Gay), she ventures to the distant Caribbean island in hopes to find her father. Upon setting foot on the island, its desolateness is evident. A scientist Dr. David Menard (Richard Johnson) and his wife Paola (Olga Karlatos) inhabit the island, and she is angry with her husband, concerned of his recent experiments: he is in the process of studying the deceased and infected people that revive slowly, only to search for human flesh to tear apart and devour. There may be some untintentionally comical dialogue that annoys, or acting and character development that aren't as strong as I would have liked, but I was having so much fun that I didn't particularly care. Besides, there are rewarding aspects that overshadow these weak spots, such as a chilling Fabio Frizzi score, Sergio Salvati's stunning photography, and Giannetto De Rossi's impressive special effects. With ZOMBI, you are guaranteed some of the most influential and memorable scenes in all of horror cinema (the splinter-through-the-eye, the zombie vs. shark sequence), and the gore always delivers. Speaking of that imaginative battle underwater, it's interesting how the shark recognizes Susa but continues to pass her, and the moment the zombie appears, he charges towards it. Although the gore is top-notch, I loved the visuals just as much (the first zombie walks slowly towards the camera with his head partially blocking the sun; Peter firing off flares with the sun in the horizon; the bodies wrapped in white sheets in the hospital; etc). It only takes one shot like the one establishing the dirty, deserted street for Fulci to make us feel every bit of menacing doom and bleak despair that his characters feel. What surprises me is how this movie is criticized for its pace because I admired how Fulci refuses to rush directly to gore or race towards the grim last image. It ends on an epic note, and even if ZOMBI is not officially an entry into the Romero trilogy, you can say that it sets up DAWN well enough. Dunno if Blue Underground improved the transfer or not (haven't read or seen any comparisons), but Media Blasters offers a fucking great one, if ya ask me. You never see a blemish or dark spot in the beautiful frames. Couldn't have had it any other way, plus the making-of doc featured on the second disc is interesting.



Sleepaway Camp (Robert Hiltzik, 1983) 72

One of the more notorious slasher flicks from the 80's, Robert Hiltzik's SLEEPAWAY CAMP is as bizarre and twisted as it is entertaining fun. Opening with a tragic boating accident where a father and one of his two children die, the movie then cuts to eight or so years later where we see the child that has survived. She is Angela (Felissa Rose), suffering greatly from emotional and social problems that cause her to be a mute and is constantly teased. Her strange Aunt Martha (Desiree Gould) has been taking care of her, and she sends her along with her son Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) to Camp Arawak for the summer. As soon as they arrive, Ricky and Angela are seperated and assigned to their cabins. The quiet Angela sits on her bed, staring at all of the other girls in the cabin, and after the girls notice that she is looking strange at them, they begin to make fun of her and from this point on, she is always being laughed at and ridiculed by them, even by her own counsellor Meg (Katherine Kemhi). This usually sets her cousin off, so Ricky tries to stick up for her and gets himself in trouble when he curses at her tormentors. The first few murders appear to be nothing more than accidents, so the camp owner Mel (Mike Kellin) does not want to alarm the parents of the kids because he will go out of business. But the murders increase, and everyone that remains in the camp seems to be a target, killed in various ways. Chances are, you will guess who the killer is instantly, but Hiltzik's murder sequences do not show who it is, and they are unique and surprisingly restrained, though the aftermath shots show the gore. Relationships in the movie are naturally developed, dialogue is funny, acting is sufficient, and the characters cannot be more peculiar. Artie is a pedophile cook, Mel is involved with one of the camp counsellors, etc. Glad that no one told me beforehand how the film was going to end because the audacious ending honestly floored me, as the revelation actually made what we saw previously more subtle. I will not reveal it, but you are shown clues that hint at the end, but because nothing like it has been revealed before at the end of a rather ordinary slasher movie, we don't expect taboos to be broken. Although nudity is familiar territory for these type of movies, Hiltzik renounces it here because of how his young characters are at the verge of puberty, living in the society where sexuality hasn't manifested, they're still innocent. Notice how sexuality is utilized by the camp's authority figures, or how it is misunderstood by the young characters, they tease and show it off like Judy (Karen Fields) does, who is around the same age as Angela. The boys, who look to be older than the girls, show their true colors when they are alone with the girls and not with their friends: one boy is alone with Judy when the rest of the camp are at a party, but he leaves her, afraid to be caught by Mel. By the end, all of these characters (even the youngest ones) are implicated because of their surroundings -- although they are not corrupted to the point where they are pyschotic and warped as their killer, we get the idea that this camp is where their parents sent them, not because they want to make their kids happy, but because they can easily get rid of them. For a fun and unassuming slasher flick, it is brimming with social commentary (don't think I overanalyzed at all) and a truly scary proclamation as soon as the camp breaks down completely, resorting to a primitive nature (i.e., last frame of the killer).



Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (Michael A. Simpson, 1988) 43

With a new director's vision, sequels to SLEEPAWAY CAMP take a different route: there is no air of mystery on the killer's identity, the killing sequences are more graphic instead of being implied, and above all, it wants to have fun with silly material that is never taken too seriously. The movie opens at night with teenagers gathered around a campfire, one of them telling the story about a person that went on a killing spree at their camp a few years ago. The killer from the first movie is now a camp counsellor (played by Pamela Springsteen) at Camp Rolling Hills, where she attempts to get rid of all of the naughty kids that aren't good campers: mostly all of them get high, curse, show off their bodies, and have sex. Although as disturbed as she was as a child, the killer talks more than she used to, and she never shuts up. With some of these murders (namely, the one with the drill), the look on her face suggests that she doesn't want to do it but has to, no matter what. There are times when she tries to give the teenager's another chance to be good before she kills them. She always says a witty comment after a killing. You will have fun with Springsteen's performance if you don't think it's too annoying or over-the-top. I didn't, so I managed to actually enjoy some of these little but smart touches by the director, and the funny dialogue spoken. In one scene, Angela searches all around a cabib for a proper murder weapon, picking up a boombox and a lamp until she finds the effective one. Relationship between Molly (Renee Estevez) and the killer is fleshed out fine, the killer's victims haunt her, the movie even recognizes when it is ridiculous at times -- these are more reasons why I don't think UNHAPPY CAMPERS is awful. Since I was in the mood for something like this, I was entertained.



Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (Michael A. Simpson, 1989) 37

Seems like one big movie with UNHAPPY CAMPERS -- it is the worst in the trilogy, offering only a few funny moments that aren't even worthwhile. This time around, Camp New Horizons opens to experiment in sharing between privilege kids and less fortunate kids. In the beginning, we see the series pyschotic killer (Pamela Springsteen, reprising her role) take the identity of a teenager off to camp. She arrives to the camp with new hair, then joins the inner-city group of kids. Before, the director named all of his characters after the Hollywood "Brat Pack" and now, he names rich kids after the Brady Bunch, and the poor group of kids are named after West Side Story characters. Named after the Munsters, owners Herman (Michael J. Pollard) and Lily (Sandra Dorsey) are really eccentric and incompetant. All of the movie's characters are one-dimensional stereotypes, which is probably intentional on Simpson's part, but I didn't think it worked. Aside from the two clever murder sequences, there is zero energy or momentum. Even Springsteen's fun, wacky performance is old after awhile, causing the dialogue to be repetitive and not as humorous as before. Shot back to back with UNHAPPY CAMPERS, TEENAGE WASTELAND also feels way too rushed. Should not have been made: one sequel was enough.



August 22nd - 28th



Who's That Knocking at My Door? (Martin Scorsese, 1967) 63



/Mean Streets/ (Martin Scorsese, 1973) 92



/Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore/ (Martin Scorsese, 1974) 58



/After Hours/ (Martin Scorsese, 1986) 61



/Goodfellas/ (Martin Scorsese, 1990) 95



Garden State (Zach Braff, 2004) 42

Didn't win me over like everyone else; individual scenes are more pleasing than the movie itself. The movie is somewhat of a coming-of-age tale involving Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff), an actor currently playing a mentally challenged football player on a TV show, has no choice but to return home when he is told that his paraplegic mother passed away. He has been away from home for at least ten years now, and he leaves behind his anti-depression meds that he was prescribed to at a young age in order to cope with the accident that caused his mother to be handicapped. Nicknamed "Large" by his friends, he meets up with his closest friend, Mark (Peter Sarsgaard), who is a gravedigger that robs coffins. Painful headaches soon start to bother Large, which brings him to meet Sam (Natalie Portman), an uncanny woman attracted to Sam. Main problem with GARDEN STATE: screenplay is weak, lacking the coherent direction and power. Attempting to be too many movies at once, I wanted Braff to take a more emotional tone, but the most important thing to him seemed to be ending his scenes with an obvious gag, most of them are forced. Maybe that it was intentional for the excessive peculiarity, but Braff's didn't always have to make us laugh. I mean, dramatic moments are honest enough that they should matter more than the humor... Though Portman's work is enjoyable, the character is strained to a point where it simply got to be too much (i.e., her seizure). With the smart choices for music and an eye for visuals, Braff shows promise in his debut. On the other hand, there isn't much about the film that is fresh and inspired... We've seen this story done plenty of times before after all.



Exorcist: The Beginning (Renny Harlin, 2004) 31

As a prequel to William Friedkin's 1973 horror classic, the movie is about Lancaster Merrin (Stellan Skarsg?rd), who used to be a devoted priest before WWII, has been pursuing archeology. He learns of a current excavation process in Kenya, where a small church constructed a thousand years before Africa was introduced to Christianity is discovered. Through flashbacks, we are shown how Merrin suffers from troubling nightmares of the day that he lost his faith: in the town where he practiced, Nazi's executed citizens right in front of him, and in order to spare the children, Merrin had to point to the elders, then the Nazi's shot them dead. After a decent opening, the movie begins to crumble more and more. Skarsg?rd's performance is the only one that isn't weak, and I am looking forward to seeing Scharder's vision of the character, which is supposed to be subtle. Harlin relies heavily on petty jump scenes with pointless build-up towards them. He also uses awful CGI for all of the effects, and there are many examples that I can give that present just how unnecessary its use was at times. The screenplay by Alexi Hawley either fails to explain things or doesn't take advantage of the ideas brought up throughout he movie. For instance, a small boy Joseph (Remy Sweeney) acts a certain way that doesn't make sense, only to throw viewers off track, as it was just a silly red herring that lots of us will be able to call. The gore is fairly well done, the atmospheric shots inside of the church were cool, Skarsg?rd is good as usual, but these are the only things that I enjoyed.



In a Glass Cage (Agust?n Villaronga, 1986) 96

The moment that the film opens, we are plunged directly into an inescapable alcove of monstrosity: an image of a young boy in an abandoned, squalid building of some kind, battered and completely nude, hanging helplessly with both of his wrists securely chained above him. He has been raped and tortured by Klaus (Gunter Meisner), a middle-aged man using his camera to take pictures of him at a distance. When he closely approaches him, pressed against the suspended body, he slowly brings himself to kiss him. The boy's eyes open weakly, as Klaus moves behind him, considering his next move. Picking up a dense block of wood, he swings it as hard as he can, striking and killing the boy. From a reasonable remoteness, someone is spying on Klaus through a window, witnessing the murder. We never see whoever he/she looks like, but the person snatches a diary that Klaus carelessly discarded. Before the opening credits roll, we observe Klaus in an extreme close-up: he is bewildered and shocked, perhaps with what he has become, his reason for living; his eyes are haunted from the atrocities that he has witnessed, caused by him. Guilt takes hold of his insuppressible desires, which results in him attempting suicide, plummeting from the building. The attempt was unsuccessful, as he is now confined to an iron lung, the only way that he can breathe since his lungs were horribly destroyed from the fall. He was a Nazi doctor, who did experiments on young children during the war, and his job turned into a chore: he began to enjoy the pain that he inflicted upon innocent children, while he loathed himself more and more. Living in Catalonia with his wife Griselda (Marisa Paredes) and daughter Rena (Gisela Echevarria), he is seriously in need of an efficient, experienced nurse that can attend to him. Enter a furtive, mysterious young man, Angelo (David Sust). He has no nursing skills whatsoever, but after meeting with Klaus, he is hired by him. Griselda, who believes that it would have been better off if Klaus had died from the fall, discommends of the boy; he seems too weird to her. Him and Klaus develop an implicated, malignant relationship that involves pyschological mind games, sexual and physical violence: Angelo recites lines from the journal (he was the unseen spectator in the beginning), cuts off the oxygen pumping inside of Klaus' chamber, brings back clueless young boys to the house, etc. Angelo, who was one of Klaus' past victims, takes off where Klaus left off. For a film that is clausterphobic, shot predominantly in the confines of the house with only a few exteriors, the filmmaking is superb. You wouldn't expect much style to be exercised, but Villaronga distinctively refuses many bright colors in the process of the film, until the end, where the striking blue lighting is significant. Once you see color in the film, you can bet that it is for a reason. At the end, a shadow of a figure moves toward the camera, methodically until its face is revealed. When we see the person up close, we then realize how Villaronga brought his vision in full circle, emphasizing and returning to the work's previous themes. Without spoon-feeding us in any way, victims of the Holocaust can be glimpsed at merely by this innocent, solemn face, followed by how humans can be monsters, as well as their victims. Since none of us will relate to these afflicted, unhinged characters, I think it is fascinating the most when we can't understand them. Performances are meritorious for their cogent nuances, playing characters that are just as perplexed and petrified as they are aroused with death because it is the one thing that they both know so well. They were taught violence and after they have made their marks, with their power drained from them, the cycle will sadly persist, which is what I gathered from the ending. No rushing needs to be done with this story, and Villaronga allows the characters to develop fully so we can rightfully see them as human beings -- piercing intensity and a chilling atmosphere is built in the process, and the camera moves as if it would in an Argento giallo. Considered to be a horror film, it's on another level that hasn't been attained by another director in its vision of hell. While reading the plot, it sounds like it can be nothing more than disgusting exploitation, but controversial issues (child abuse, fascism) are handled with care. Violence is mostly off-screen, so the most shocking part about about the film is its complex psychology. Digesting IN A GLASS CAGE is difficult because I was challenged, provoked in thought with its repellent subject matter so much that, even though I want to further study the film, I dunno if I can revisit it so soon because of the effect it had on me.



Little Otik (Jan Svankmajer, 2000) 79

One seriously fucked up movie, lemme tell ya; I haven't seen anything quite like it before. Based on a popular Czech fairytale, Svankmajer's LITTLE OTIK takes the real dilemma of infertility and its results, and he observes the concept through warped perspectives. So the film works on many levels: as a deadpan satire, a horror film, or grotesque fantasy that takes surrealism to the beyond. Jan Hartl and Veronika Zilkova play Karel and Bozena Horak, a couple that wants a child very badly, but Bozena cannot bear a child. One day, Karel uncovers a tree stump in their garden, one that he makes resemble a baby boy. He gives it to Bozena as a gift to cheer up, and she takes it much too seriously when she gives him all of the necessary foods that a mother would give to her new born infant. Named Otik, the stump comes to life, and his hunger grows more and more. Growing into a large tree eventually, his appetite becomes destructive, setting his sights on animals and people mainly. These are not the only characters in the course of the movie. A lot of interesting people live in the couple's apartment complex, such as a dysfunctional family living across from them, and old Mr. Zlabek (Zdenek Kozak) lives on the floor above them; he is a pedophile that often stares at the family's young daughter, Alzbetka (Kristina Adamcova). There is a lot of insight into the Czech culture and world that these people live in, which is detailed naturally, instead of in a surreal way. Said to be about maternal instincts redolent of Lynch's ERASERHEAD at times, the film also comments on society in the way that it look at young couples as important only if they have a baby and how the pressures and responsibilities cause the parents to ignore or neglect their kids, or go to greath lengths to protect them. Svankmajer's camera is frantic and involved with details, such as the food seen in odd close-ups. Dark humor is a real treat because the funniest bits are loony and unpredictable. When we see Zlabek behind Alzbetka in one scene or when Karel witnesses a street vendor sell babies, you don't expect to get a kick out of these moments, but you do anyways because of their sheer originality. Animation isn't out of place for a vision like this. When it is sporadically put effectively to use, it creeps us out, molded with the overall deranged atmosphere. One complaint, though: the movie runs a bit too long.



Madman (Joe Giannone, 1981) 32



Deranged (Jeff Gillen, 1974) 48



Motel Hell (Kevin Connor, 1980) 40



/Glengarry Glen Ross/ (James Foley, 1992) 62



Mad Monster (Sam Newfield, 1942) 40



Last Woman On Earth (Roger Corman, 1960) 40



The Brain That Wouldn't Die (Joseph Green, 1962) 33



King of the Ants (Stuart Gordon, 2003) 35

After its promising opening, the movie directed by RE-ANIMATOR director Stuart Gordon falls apart in telling the story of Sean Crawley (Chris Mckenna), a young man that is painting a suburban house white when we first see him. Leading a rather dull life in Los Angeles, he dreams of becoming an important person depended upon, a spy, getting into adventures. When he meets an electrician Duke (George Wendt), his wish is granted. Duke brings Sean to Ray Matthews (Daniel Baldwin), and is assigned to a job: he has to follow a local accountant (Ron Livingston), take notes on his daily routine, taking photographs of him, and never be seen. Sean doesn't ask any questions, he just immediately takes the job, and although the accountant never sees him obviously following him around, Sean is still conspicuous. One night, Ray asks Sean about what he has uncovered about the man and if he would kill him. Sean agrees, after the acceptable price is offered. After he kills the man, Duke and the rest of Ray's crew take Sean to a shack in the middle of the desert and beat Sean until he tells them where the folder is that contains the important information that can incriminate Ray. Since Sean will not break and tell them where it is, Ray decides to swing a golfclub as hard as he possibly can at his head so that he forgets where it is. If Sean does not know where it is, then there is no problem. After Sean escapes this torture, he visits the wife of the man that he has killed (Kari Wuhrer) and falls in love with her. Though well made, the movie is stupid, and when I was watching, I could not get some things past me. For instance, why don't the gang just kill Sean? If they are capable of torturing him in cold blood (these scenes are executed fine, along with the hallucinations that Sean has), then they are capable of murder. If Sean is dead, then they don't have to worry about the file. First of all, why would Sean want to be beaten like that? That was an impression that I got, anyway. It's kinda like he was asking for it, and did absolutely nothing to fight back or get away from them originally. Not once did I care about Sean or take him seriously, who murders a man for no reason at all, and he becomes laughable when he embraces the killer in him. So, the whole character transformation never worked because I didn't believe him right off the bat.



Living Hell (Shugo Fujii, 2000) 28

Silly, stupid movie that is ruined even more in its twist at the end, where the movie makes a complete 360. The movie opens to a husband and his wife sleeping in their bedroom; the wife hears strange noises in their home, but her husband does not seem to hear the noises. This is a prologue, where we see a thin, young woman, Mami (Rumi) and her grandmother, Chiyo (Yoshiko Shiraishi) slaughter them, even eating their dog. Years later, Chiyo escapes from the mental institution that she was sent to after being suspected. She and Mami move into a relative's house, and the youngest in the family, wheelchair-bound Yasu (Hirohito Honda) notices that something is wrong with the both of them when he hears the mute Mami speak. But not one member in his family believes him. With the rest of his family out of his house, he is tortured by the houseguests: a bowl full of beetles are fed to him, his tooth is removed with pliers, he is shocked repeated amount of times with a stungun, etc. We aren't told why, but it doesn't take a long time for us not to care at all -- the character of Yasu has no dimension, not even with the twist, and for me anyway, it takes more than random, pointless torture for me to care about a boring character. Just because he is innocent and in a wheelchair means nothing to me because he is poorly written. Considered to be a black comedy, LIVING HELL failed to strike me on that level because it's contrived and too stupid. You won't be able to believe some of the things that characters do in scenes, such as the one where Yasu's sister has to find her cellphone in another room. As the torment progresses, we cut to a determined reporter, Mitsu (Shugo Fujii) investigating the murder of the couple years earlier, and he uncovers the dark family secret. Fujii's camerawork supports the rest of the tone in the way that it is over-the-top, but I admired the original shots and effects that evoke spooky atmosphere. Actually, I think that these elements deserve a better movie with a stronger story. Even the duo of Mami and Chiyo do. The movie's climax, which echoes the classic dinner table sequence in TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, is when we really don't care and just give up with the foolishness of it all.



(Didn't have the time to comment on THE NEW YORK RIPPER and THE BROWN BUNNY since I have been away with no computer access, but I will write about the both of them soon enough, and my new site will be up today or tomorrow.)
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HoRRoRFaN
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PostPosted: 09.05.2004 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I recently watched IN MY SKIN, which I gave a 73:



Deeply unnerving, IN MY SKIN is as important as it is shocking because instead of offering easy explanations to its viewers, it realizes how serious of a matter that self-mutilation is, which is why Marina de Van's vision studies all possible connections and motivations that a person would have. A person that inflicts pain upon themselves, digging deeper into cuts they make may not have a reason for doing so. If we were given a solitary reason for why the person is obsessed with her own body, complexities of the terrifying reality would have been undermined. As her feature film debut, the director even stars as the focal point, in the startling exploration of the many things that surround our daily lives: the need for power, envy, sex, depression, addiction, and pain. She plays Esther, a businesswoman in her early thirties that generally works hard, planning to move in with her boyfriend, Vincent (Laurent Lucas). One night, her closest friend, Sandrine (Lea Drucker) drags her along to a party. Bored, she leaves the house and walks around, soon tripping over metal objects, falling and cutting her leg severely. But the strangest thing is that she does not feel anything at all, or even notice it until the blood starts dripping down her leg. After discovering this horrid gash, she gets it properly bandaged at the hospital. Later at home, however, she removes the bandages and begins to experiment by carefully taking a razor to it. This is only the beginning of her descent into mutilation, which is sexual for her to the point where she eats pieces of herself. Her boyfriend finds out that she cannot feel pain while doing it and that she enjoys it, but when he is compelled to ask her why she does so, she simply says that she does not know. Neither do we, not even after the uncovering subtleties within the atmosphere. By playing this character, de Van is perhaps making a statement that knowing is not the point, but the journey is, where every detail functioning in Esther's life culminates. Her job, for example, is based on supplying specific data for her bosses, and none of the info that she spends so much time on matters to her. Her body is her personal document that allows her to figure out more and more about. When she feels her left arm is asleep and motionless, she is so fascinated by it that she cuts it at a dinner in one of the film's best scenes. At the hotel room that she checks into to be alone, we understand how she takes constraint upon herself because of the control that she has had throughout her life, losing it by the lack of feeling pain. Remember how she had no control over the wound, which was an accident that she didn't understand. So she explores, taking pictures of the fresh inflicted wounds, recording how the savagery actually happened and will develop. Here is a person who is always on a process of thought, contemplating. We see this when she is cutting herself, she is quiet and persistent. She is cerebral in so many of these scenes, where she expresses how little pleasure she gets from her body, feeling isolated from it, possibly envying Sandrine. Once she devotes herself to her body completely, she doesn't have any longer use for her normal dull life -- the fascinating thing about this is how exciting her life becomes, but she is unable to notice and embrace the turn her life took. As her addiction grows, she is promoted in her job and Vincent is happy to be with her, more than ever, because of their new plans. On a few occasions, I was reminded of Cronenberg in the challenging study of relationships with the body. A statement is being made with the visuals, I think. Because of calm and cool colors, de Van is commenting on the pyschological disorder under the surface. In the conclusion, Esther checks into a hotel to go to the most extreme lengths of mutilation that she has ever gone to, and the camera reflects her mindstate effectively. Camera movements are slow and patient, which makes the images more difficult to watch, and after a devastating close-up of her, the camera deliberately pulls back, zooming out only to expose her disfigured, once beautiful body. This effect is repeated a couple of times, highlighting the rest of the movie: it started as curiosity, but her personal mystery intensated so it is now impossible for her to touch another person's body. Allowing us to observe her throughout the movie, de Van was observing herself more than anything, especially in the concluding shots, where we see the artist and director pinpoint the scarred and ugliness past the beauty on the surface level. The movie is an audacious, personal statement that viewers will be affected just as much as they are frustrated.
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matt header
Studio Exec


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PostPosted: 09.05.2004 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over the last couple of weeks, from best to worst:



A Hard Day's Night (Lester, 1964) A

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
(Berlinger & Sinofsky, 2004) A

Belle du Jour
(Bunuel, 1967) A-

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
(Wallsley, 1923) A-

The Phantom of the Opera
(Julian, 1925) B+

Badlands
(Malick, 1973) B+

The Twilight Samurai
(Yamada, 2004) B+

The Sugarland Express
(Spielberg, 1974) B

Collateral
(Mann, 2004) B

Maria Full of Grace
(Marston, 2004) B-

Purple Rain
(Magnoli, 1984) C+

Open Water
(Kentis, 2004) C

Never Die Alone
(Dickerson, 2004) C

Garden State
(Braff, 2004) C



A Hard Day's Night is delirious, insane, absurd magic the whole time; the scene where Ringo stumbles into an office where executives are trying to determine the next big fad is brilliant in itself. Some Kind of Monster is one of the best movies of 2004, and Belle du Jour is a dreamlike progression from tedium to sexual liberation to an absurd web of violence.



The Twilight Samurai has a completely unnecessary epilogue that leaves a bad aftertaste, but mostly it's a gorgeuous and intense tale of a poverty-stricken family man suddenly catapulted into prominence by his swordfighting skills. It has a remarkable verisimilitude. Sugarland Express is a rollicking, entertaining ride, though not especially memorable.



The third act of Maria Full of Grace is extremely disappointing, especially compared to the intense character study that preceded it; the film takes us out of Maria's combustible, insecure mind (an exhilarating place to be) and simply proceeds to its conclusion, with a seemingly rushed obligation to tie up loose ends. Nonetheless, it's a very impressive debut.



Open Water has two or three scary moments, all of which last about three minutes or less; I was impressed by its minimal and suggestive portrayal of these horrific events, but I can't say I was clutching my seat in terror, or in sympathizing with these characters. The digital photography makes the ocean muddy and enigmatic, but when the main characters aren't in the water the visuals look amateurish and only serve to reveal the inconsistencies in screenwriting and realism (of which there are many). Never Die Alone is excellently shot, but it's amazingly mean-spirited (despite a hopeful ending) and relies too heavily on hip-looking cliches (slow-motion, tilted frame, every trick in the lazy filmmaker's handbook).



The pattern to Garden State is to watch two extremely attractive people say extremely cute and artificial dialogue to each other as extremely trendy music plays in the background. I didn't buy a second of it, and although Braff's "message" that we have to take life's rotten moments and learn and grow from them is inspiring, he seems more worried about creating a pretty image. There are many pretty images - the cinematography is the only good part of the movie, I think - but Braff's sincerity is obliterated by his obviousness and desire to appear profound.
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HoRRoRFaN
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PostPosted: 09.05.2004 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Belle du Jour[/b] (Bunuel, 1967)




One of Bunuel's many great films. Smile
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Erickson
Camera Operator


Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Posts: 81

PostPosted: 09.06.2004 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Napoleon Dynamite

-I didn't think anything could top Zoolander, but this movie did it. A well deserved A+...or as this new system seems to be merging in...100/100
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


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

PostPosted: 09.07.2004 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The past week:



  • Tokyo Godfathers (Kon, 2003) B-

  • Tomie (Oikawa, 1999) C

  • The Man with the Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929) A-

  • Tell Me Something (Chang, 1999) B

  • The Ghosts of Edendale (Avalos, 2003) C+



Satoshi Kon's Tokyo Godfathers isn't quite as good as Millennium Actress, but it's beautifully animated and engaging. I'm not sure what to make of Tomie, but I was alternately bored and curiously disturbed while watching it (where have I heard that creepy-ass score before?). Vertov's The Man with the Movie Camera has an amazing rhythm -- it's thrilling, dazzling, wonderful. Tell Me Something, a slick Korean detective-hunts-a-serial-killer flick, might owe a small debt to David Fincher's Seven, but it's a wicked good time all the same. The Ghosts of Edendale is a micro-budget Hollywood ghost story that's not bad -- it at least serves up a few effective jolts and a clever, ironic ending. Since I received a screener of that one, I'll be posting a review on the site sometime closer to its DVD release in October.
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matt header
Studio Exec


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Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 09.07.2004 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man with a Movie Camera would probably be in my Top 20 favorite movies; the curiosity, energy, and artistic vitality to be found in that movie is invigorating. Glad to see you enjoyed it!
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the night watchman
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 09.07.2004 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HoRRoRFaN wrote:


Garden State (Zach Braff, 2004) 42

Main problem with GARDEN STATE: screenplay is weak, lacking the coherent direction and power. Attempting to be too many movies at once, I wanted Braff to take a more emotional tone, but the most important thing to him seemed to be ending his scenes with an obvious gag, most of them are forced. Maybe that it was intentional for the excessive peculiarity, but Braff's didn't always have to make us laugh. I mean, dramatic moments are honest enough that they should matter more than the humor... Though Portman's work is enjoyable, the character is strained to a point where it simply got to be too much (i.e., her seizure). With the smart choices for music and an eye for visuals, Braff shows promise in his debut. On the other hand, there isn't much about the film that is fresh and inspired... We've seen this story done plenty of times before after all.





matt header wrote:
The pattern to Garden State is to watch two extremely attractive people say extremely cute and artificial dialogue to each other as extremely trendy music plays in the background. Braff's sincerity is obliterated by his obviousness and desire to appear profound.




I enjoyed Garden State a lot and was quite moved by it. The only criticism I really agree with is HoRRoRFaN's comment that it wanted "to be too many movies at once." Indeed, Andrew's conflict with his father is ultimately underplayed a bit too much and nudged into the corner too far (although, if it had to be flawed toward one extreme or the other, I suppose this is the direction I prefer, but Ian Holm makes it work, nonetheless) and there are certain scenes (the early ecstasy party, especially) that don't quite seem to add up to the story as a whole. I?d even allow that Braff does occasionally let the music do more work than it ought to be required to do. But I didn?t find anything artificial about Andrew and Sam?s burgeoning relationship, and, anyway, what?s wrong with smart and funny dialogue, even if it isn?t in the realist mode? Furthermore, the ?gags? seemed to appear more often in the center of a scene than at the end, contrary to HF?s observation, (Jelly?s funeral ends on an sharply emotionally exposed turn, for instance) and I like how he sets many of the jokes up for delayed payoffs. I also liked how Braff allowed these odd people be who they were, without trying to excuse them or pretty them up, and how he moves them through this absurd world of theirs. I appreciated how, in this era of canned spirituality that's currently upon us, this movie is, if you pay attention, unapologetically secular and humanist. Finally, I don?t think Braff is trying to be profound. I think he likes these people, and wants them to be happy. Those sentiments, at least to me, he conveyed quite well.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 09.07.2004 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forgot to post this yesterday, but:



8/31 - 9/6



Vanity Fair (Nair, 2004) - Far better than the average period piece, ranking right up there with Gosford Park. It's quite literate, comical, and even, at times, poignant, with the entire cast accelling; Reese Witherspoon is surprisingly terrific. The only problem I really have is the violent chopiness of the pacing, which leaves some scenes appearing borderlinely masturbatory.



We Don't Live Here Anymore (Curran, 2004) - Fitfully reliant upon its four leads, and three of them deliver. Peter Krause, in particular is terrific, and sort of wryly funny. Mark Ruffalo and Naomi Watts are also quite good, while Laura Dern's superficial, laughable emotion is one of the few flaws of the movie. I was fascinated by Curran's depiction of sex and its influence on the rest of the film. I'm 3/3 with Andre Dubus adaptations, which, as far as my father is concerned, is my biggest character flaw.
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the night watchman
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Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 09.08.2004 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:


We Don't Live Here Anymore (Curran, 2004) - Fitfully reliant upon its four leads, and three of them deliver. Peter Krause, in particular is terrific, and sort of wryly funny. Mark Ruffalo and Naomi Watts are also quite good, while Laura Dern's superficial, laughable emotion is one of the few flaws of the movie. I was fascinated by Curran's depiction of sex and its influence on the rest of the film. I'm 3/3 with Andre Dubus adaptations, which, as far as my father is concerned, is my biggest character flaw.




I didn't even know this had been released yet. I just saw the trailer for the first time Sunday. It caught my attention. Did you see at festival, Danny?
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