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Screening Log 2006 - What did you watch this week?
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Jim Harper
Director


Joined: 29 Feb 2004
Posts: 226
Location: Totnes, Devon, UK

PostPosted: 09.26.2006 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

09/09/06 - 26/09/06

The Ring (dir. Gore Verbinski, 2002)

The Ring Two (dir. Hideo Nakata, 2005)

Ring 0: Birthday (dir. Norio Tsuruta, 2000)

Pulse (Dir. Jim Sonzero, 2006)*

Soldier of Orange (dir. Paul Verhoeven, 1977)*

The Innocents (dir. Jack Clayton, 1961)*

Let?s Scare Jessica to Death (dir. John Hancock, 1971)*

An American Haunting (dir. Courtney Solomon, 2005)*

The Dead Zone (dir. David Cronenberg, 1983)

Uzumaki (dir. Higuchinsky, 2000)

Hannibal (dir. Ridley Scott, 2001)

Audition (dir. Takashi Miike, 1999)

Grosse Point Blank (dir. George Armitage, 1997)

Coma (dir. Michael Crichton, 1978)

First Men in the Moon (dir. Nathan Juran, 1964)

Brother (dir. Takeshi Kitano, 2000)

Dead Waves (dir. Yoichiro Hayama, 2005)*

Night of the Comet (dir. Thom Eberhardt, 1984)

Long Dream (dir. Higuchinsky, 2000)

Black Rain (dir. Ridley Scott, 1989)

Kakashi (dir. Norio Tsuruta, 2001)

The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (dir. Jorge Grau, 1972)



Many of these (the Japanese films, with the exception of Brother) are work-related viewings, but the rest have all been take-a-break-from-work-related-viewings.



Pulse, first of all. It's barely even a remake. As a dumb horror flick I found it reasonably entertaining. I didn't feel I'd wasted my money. If you're in the mood for a loud, frenetic, heavily exaggerated US horror flim, then Pulse is your man, but there are no similarities in style or mood (and very few in plot) between this and the original.



Soldier of Orange was good, demonstrating that Verhoeven can actually make exciting films without beaver shots and death, death, death. I look for to his next WWII film.



The Innocents was well-acted and extremely well-shot, but I found it a little too composed and refined for its own good. It never gets truly scary, although it works up a decent atmosphere. Likewise with Let's Scare Jessica to Death. Very well-made and interesting, but it functions better as a fantasy than a horror film.



I had fun with An American Haunting, but I'd be the first to admit that it was entirely predictable and reminded me more of a well-done TV movie than a big-budget theatrical release, particularly with the ill-advised 'bookend' segments. Sutherland, Spacek and James Darcy are all great, but the film has a very limited idea of what is scary and never really seems to want to go for the jugular.



Dead Waves is an absolute mess. Only 74 minutes long, it's crammed with enough plot for two films, and ends up having to relegate a story about a TV program that causes mass suicides to the status of a secondary subplot! Needless to say, the main story is a hell of a lot less interesting. It's a trainwreck of a film but because of that it's actually surprisingly entertaining.



It's not a first-time viewing, but the best film recently has been Night of the Comet. I saw it for the first (and only) time about 18 years ago, the same day I watched They Live and Maniac Cop. That day introduced me to the horror film, and dictated my future tastes. It doesn't get shown on TV here very often, and hasn't been released on DVD yet, so when I saw that the Sci-Fi channel was showing Night of the Comet I was damn excited. Yes, it's cheesy, but it's also a lot of fun and I enjoyed it just as much as I did all those years ago.
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Tooky Cat
Cinematographer


Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Posts: 106
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: 09.28.2006 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's really no easy way to keep up with this forum, which is why I left it quite some time ago.



That said, I've got some time to kill.



Touch of Evil, Orson Welles, 1958

Grand Illusion, Jean Renoir, 1937

His Girl Friday, Howard Hawks, 1940



Now this isn't all I've seen recently, but these are three films I've watched in my film class so far this semester. I don't see what the big deal is about Touch of Evil. Sure, it demonstrates Welles' outstanding ability to command lights, cameras, and editing in a way few others ever have, but I thought Citizen Kane was far more interesting.



Grand Illusion was somewhat of a new experience for me, but it is delightful to see a war movie that focuses on characters rather than war (even though there has been some headway made in this area in the recent past). For 1937, it was especially great. I thought the definite strength of this movie was in the dialogue, in both its humor and commentary on class and race.



His Girl Friday instantly became one of my favorite movies. If only we could keep up that witty, snappy dialogue in real life, everyone would be a little happier. I absolutely loved both the characters of Hildy and Walter. I need to see more Cary Grant films.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 09.28.2006 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tooky Cat wrote:
There's really no easy way to keep up with this forum, which is why I left it quite some time ago.


Actually, the traffic is so low these days, I think you can keep up easily. Glad to see you around, Tooky. (And I did get your email... reply is forthcoming.)



Tooky Cat wrote:


Touch of Evil, Orson Welles, 1958

Grand Illusion, Jean Renoir, 1937

His Girl Friday, Howard Hawks, 1940


Three of my all-time faves, by three of my all-time favorite directors. I'll try to elaborate when I have more time.
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Tooky Cat
Cinematographer


Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Posts: 106
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: 09.29.2006 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also watched two other fantastic films in the past week that are definitely worth a mention.



A Touch of Spice, Turkey, 2003

8 femmes, France, 2002

The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari, Germany, 1920





The former was very charming and humorous, and a great delight to watch with a relatively large audience, though I must admit I feel a lot of its symbolism went over my head. It's the kind of movie that's good as just another viewing, and probably superb if you can understand everything onscreen. I fear my analytical abilities aren't what they ought to be.



8 femmes was as fun as it was ridiculous, though I don't think it "worked" as well as the director believes it did from time to time, it was still enjoyable, especially with an audience. It was like a sassy version of Clue with musical numbers thrown in for good measure.



Calagari we just finished today in my German class, and I loved it. But then, I'm a sucker for these abstract expressionistic styles, which is one of the main reasons why I love Tim Burton so much. Parts of this movie were still authentically chilling, despite its age.



beltmann wrote:
(And I did get your email... reply is forthcoming.)


It best be!
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 09.29.2006 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tooky Cat wrote:
Calagari we just finished today in my German class, and I loved it. But then, I'm a sucker for these abstract expressionistic styles, which is one of the main reasons why I love Tim Burton so much. Parts of this movie were still authentically chilling, despite its age.


Caligari is great fun; I use clips from it in Humanities, mostly as an example of how expressionism relies on stylized sets and exaggerated melodrama. My favorite German Expressionist film is The Passion of Joan of Arc. Didn't you see that with me?
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 09.29.2006 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tooky Cat wrote:
I need to see more Cary Grant films.


Cary Grant is huge in my household. In fact, years ago we used to have "Cary Grant Fridays," with friends coming over for dinner and a Grant flick, usually one of the comedies. Along with all the usual suspects, I remember I Was a Male War Bride went over particularly well.
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 143
Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 10.01.2006 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have managed to only catch one movie this month, and I have to admit it wasn't a very good one.



Hollywoodland (Coulter, 2006) - The movie managed to keep my interest throughout, but never really seemed to take off and get going. Adrien Brody as a Chinatown-esque LA private eye never seem to really work or develop a sense of believability. Also, hiis half of the story really just stumbled along and never really came together or complimented the George Reeve / Ben Affleck story.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 10.02.2006 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

9/25 ? 10/1/06



In preferential order:



The Proposition / Hillcoat / Australia / 2005

Banlieue 13 (District B13) / Morel / France / 2004

Hard Candy / Slade / USA / 2006

Brick / Johnson / USA / 2006

V for Vendetta / McTeigue / USA / 2006



The Proposition is not easy, likable viewing, but it is brimming with glaring Outback skies, surprising intelligence, committed performances, and complex moral turnabouts.



Set in a bombed-out Parisian barrio of the near future, the swift, hyperactive actioner Banlieue 13 sparks to life in the weird juxtaposition of greasy urban rubble and some of the most graceful stunt choreography of recent memory. The plot?which concerns a cop and local guide negotiating with a drug kingpin to save the barrio from government-sponsored extermination?hints at the kind of lower-class frustrations plaguing modern France, but such topicality doesn?t stand in the way of admiring all the fluid jumping, vaulting, and climbing going on. At times I was reminded of Escape From New York, the low-budget economy of El Mariachi, the agility of early Jackie Chan, and even the throwaway cleverness of The Transporter, but the movie?s efficient forward motion mostly reminded me of Run Lola Run. I had a good time.



In Hard Candy, a sharp 14-year-old girl agrees to meet her chat room pal, an older man, but the story reverses our expectations: She drugs him, ties him up, and plans an awful torture regime to punish him for being a potential pedophile. (I know what you're thinking... does it involve castration? Why, yes, yes it does.) That makes it sound like a teen-movie version of Death and the Maiden or Takashi Miike's Audition, and it does contain a similar vein of sadism, but it also contains a surprising sense of humor: [highlight to read spoiler] When the dude's family jewels go crunching down the garbage disposal, it's both cringe-worthy and funny. That tense mix of horror and wit reminded me more of the Australian Alexandra's Project, another clever revenge drama about sexual politics and games.



There?s something gripping about watching a big-budget Hollywood flick condone large-scale carnage as an answer to fascism, but such provocations can?t mask how V for Vendetta is a choppy, tedious, frequently silly mess. Still, at least it attempts to explore how we go about defining the difference between terrorism and revolution, and for that it deserves to be seen.
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


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

PostPosted: 10.02.2006 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This week, from the San Diego Film Festival, in preferential order:



The Queen (Frears, 2006) A

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (Montiel, 2006) A-

Ten Canoes (Heer, Djigirr; 2006) B+

Cronica de una Fuga (Caetano, 2006) B

Neo Ned (Fischer, 2006) B

Americanizing Shelley (Senna, 2006) B-

Intellectual Property (Peterson, 2006) C+

Danika (Vromen, 2006) C

Say I Do (Vignone, 2006) C-

Chasing the Horizon (Canter, 2006) C-

Dirt Nap (Sweeney, 2006) D

G.I. Jesus (Colpaert, 2006) F



Toronto it ain't, but I had fun.



And, when no promising-looking movies were showing, we ran three blocks over to the other multiplex in town and saw:



Jackass: Number Two (Tremaine, 2006)



I didn't think it was possible to hate a movie and its cultural implications more than the first one, but this is just something that every American should be ashamed of. It's downright cinematic pornography.
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Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


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

PostPosted: 10.02.2006 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Jackass: Number Two (Tremaine, 2006)



I didn't think it was possible to hate a movie and its cultural implications more than the first one, but this is just something that every American should be ashamed of. It's downright cinematic pornography.




I was surprised that it scored something like 60% on the Tomatometer. I haven't seen either movie, mainly because idiots hurting themselves isn't exactly my idea of entertainment. What's next? Bumfights: The Movie?
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 10.02.2006 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Scrutchin wrote:
I was surprised that it scored something like 60% on the Tomatometer. I haven't seen either movie, mainly because idiots hurting themselves isn't exactly my idea of entertainment. What's next? Bumfights: The Movie?


Hurting themselves is tame compared to drinking horse semen, eating horse shit, concocting a rectal beer-bong, or playing fairground games with dildos directed towards you-know-where.



In any other context with any other group of "celebrities" participating, the movie would be condemned as one of the most nihilistic of all-time.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 10.02.2006 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elitists.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 10.02.2006 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing
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Tooky Cat
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Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: 10.05.2006 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
There?s something gripping about watching a big-budget Hollywood flick condone large-scale carnage as an answer to fascism, but such provocations can?t mask how V for Vendetta is a choppy, tedious, frequently silly mess. Still, at least it attempts to explore how we go about defining the difference between terrorism and revolution, and for that it deserves to be seen.




I may be an idealist or a teenager susceptible to trendy reactions and pop culture, but I thought V for Vendetta was fantastic, and generally underrated. It's criticism seemed to stem primarily from its heavy-handedness, but I fail to see why that's necessarily a bad thing. I think, with a theme like this, in times like these, it seems only proper to give the audience a good slap in the face.



Additionally, having been obsessed with the 1812 Overture for some time now [before the movie's release], I'd say the final sequence in Vendetta rivals any single scene from The Matrix, if it isn't significantly better.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.10.2006 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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