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Screening Log 2006 - What did you watch this week?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.10.2006 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:


Have you seen Paranoia Agent? Watched the first four episodes a few days ago, and it's very interesting indeed. Definitely one of the best anime TV series I've seen, and another impressive feather in Kon's cap.





I watched Paranoia Agent when it aired on the Cartoon Network. It is singularly the most unpredictable show I have ever seen. Some episodes are weaker than others, naturally, but as a whole it's a work of jaw-dropping originality. I'm still stunned by it, and I'm jealous of some of its ideas. I think I even understand it.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.10.2006 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:


I watched Paranoia Agent when it aired on the Cartoon Network. It is singularly the most unpredictable show I have ever seen. Some episodes are weaker than others, naturally, but as a whole it's a work of jaw-dropping originality. I'm still stunned by it, and I'm jealous of some of its ideas. I think I even understand it.


Man, I need to track this down. Sounds unmissable.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.10.2006 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd hate to oversell it, but I thought it was tremendous. It's like when great weird fiction is so precisely-realized it becomes allegory.
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 02.10.2006 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It really is very, very good indeed. I've only seen the first 7 (out of 13) episodes so far, but twice now I've found myself thinking, "Ah, so that's where it's going!" only to be proven completely wrong as Kon pulls something unexpected out the hat. It's rare for an OVA (original video animation) to push the boundaries of anime, but Paranoia Agent is a landmark series.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.11.2006 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, added to my queue.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.13.2006 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1/30 ? 2/12/05



In preferential order:



The New World / Terrence Malick / USA / 2005

Forty Shades of Blue / Ira Sachs / USA 2005

Green Day: Bullet In a Bible / Samuel Bayer / USA / 2005

Dreaming In America: A Film About Lucero / Aaron Goldman / USA / 2005

Memoirs of a Geisha / Rob Marshall / USA / 2005



Walking out of The New World, I overheard an elderly couple complaining about Malick?s use of music: ?It was the same thing over and over.? I guess they neglected to notice that the movie is closer in spirit to poetry than narrative fiction?complaints about Malick?s storytelling languor miss the mark by a wide margin?and that its musical motifs help signal that desired tone. In fact, the willowy arrangement of images, color, sounds, and music kept my sensors buzzing throughout the entire movie?and today I bought Horner?s score on CD.



Memoirs of a Geisha relies heavily on vivid imagery and appealing faces?has an American movie ever had such a beautiful Asian cast??and many individual shots have an isolated power. Yet those shots never add up to fully realized scenes, and the scenes never add up to sequences, and the sequences never add up to a narrative. It?s a deeply hollow experience. Gong Li, though, as the devious, deceitful, envious rival geisha, gives diva sabotage a credible undercurrent of melancholy.



Dreaming In America tags along with the working band Lucero as they tour small dives across America. As music, there's plenty to recommend to fans of, say, Uncle Tupelo or My Morning Jacket, but as documentary, this is pretty standard-issue stuff.



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.13.2006 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to see you back on track, Eric



The Aristocrats (Paul Provensa, 2005) - This movie does not, as claimed, feature one hundred comedians telling the same joke. Rather, it features one hundred comedians (I didn?t count, I?m going by the press release) talking about comedy. The (in)famous ?Aristocrats? joke is simply used as a focal point to narrow the conversation. I appreciate the idea, and I think the mechanics of comedy is a wonderful subject for a documentary. The Aristocrats, however, is not that documentary. While many of the comedians on display here offer interesting insight or are just generally fun to watch, an equal amount are painfully unfunny and dull. That adds up to a running time loaded with dead spots. Worse, the hyperactive editing effectively destroys the pacing and rhythm of the onscreen speaker. Sarah Silverman?s appearance certainly isn?t helped by the disruption, but her bit is so ghastly I wonder if anything besides the editing room floor could have saved her. There are bright moments to be sure, and I?m not sorry I watched it, but I wouldn?t recommend it to anyone without an initial interest in it.



Clearwater (Adrian Kays, 2005) - This low-budget effort is strongly reminiscent of Spider or Clean, Shaven, which may sound like I?m giving too much away, but if you make anything of those references then you will hit upon the central issue of this film within the first fifteen minutes anyway. It?s not bad, but the limitations of the cast and musical score, and the banality of the dialogue weaken its overall impact. The pacing, it must be said, is far too languid for its own good. Furthermore, some scenes that are presented outside the main narrative don?t seem to fit sensibly anywhere within it. I understood what was implied, but I?m even unclear of their significance. Kays does establish a very nice sense of grim stagnation, however, and he strikes me as an earnest filmmaker interested in exploring the human condition. I look forward to his next piece.



Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky, 1948) - Solid noir with nicely stylized dialogue and some wonderful black-and-white photography. The frenzied action during a double-cross at a restaurant is as brutal and shocking as a Scorsese movie.
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 02.13.2006 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:
It's rare for an OVA (original video animation) to push the boundaries of anime




And of course Paranoia Agent is not an OVA. Bastard brain.
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Mark Dujsik
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PostPosted: 02.14.2006 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2/6 - 2/12



The Aristocrats (Provenza, 2005)

Downfall (Hirschbiegel, 2005)

Firewall (Loncraine, 2006)

King Kong (Jackson, 2005)

The Mighty Peking Man (Meng-Hwa, 1977)

Minority Report (Spielberg, 2002)

Murderball (Rubin & Shapiro, 2005)

Sin City (Miller, Rodriguez, & Tarantino, 2005)



Way too many, so I'll talk really quickly.



Downfall is downright brilliant. Seriously.



Murderball is really quite good. I liked how its structure is almost like a formula sports flick in terms of accessibility, but it also somewhat lessens the material. Just a bit.



Firewall is solid entertainment. Nice recognition of Ford's aging.



The Aristocrats--well the night watchman got a lot of why it doesn't work. I found it a little funnier the first time I saw it.



Peking Man is really weird. It starts off really (unintentionally) funny and just turns really bland both as unintentional comedy and King Kong rip-off.



The others, I watched 'cause I just love 'em. Minority Report still holds up just as well as it did when it first came out.
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10 Best Films of 2006



Mark Reviews Movies
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xAndyx
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PostPosted: 02.16.2006 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haven't posted in here for a while...here?s what I have seen...



Batman Begins B

Best Batman movie for sure. Christian Bale is an amazing choice, some dialogue issues, but overall a good movie.



Fun With Dick and Jane C

A few funny scenes, but overall a disappointment. Jim Carrey is getting old! (physically)



The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe B+

Great movie visually and in relation to its story. Fantasy is however one of my favorite genres, but I felt captivated by this movie.



Walk The Line A-

Johnny Cash is my idol and this movie displays his life wonderfully. It may have similarities to Ray, but who really cares. If its something that works and still provides an accurate depiction, what are you supposed to do? I suppose you could like and say he didn't have a drug problem.



The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy C+

Fairly good movie, but I was bored with it at times and overall it is very childish. That is however the way it's supposed to be. Couldn't help but enjoy it.



The Fantastic 4 C+

I felt the movie was decent. It is funny at times, and typical at others, which gave me a mixed reaction. I did like it however.



The Village C-

I held off seeing this movie for a long time because I was told it was horrible. I wanted to see it and eventually gave in...sadly it is true. As everyone says the opening has promise and it just throws it all away in the end.



Mel Brooks: History of the World B

Great old movie. Sad that Mel Brooks has stopped making films.



Clue C

Meh...girlfriend had me watch it, it was okay.



War of The Worlds A-

Best alien invasion movie I have ever seen. The only movie I have felt the fear involked in a long time. It really drags your spirits right down with the characters and leaves you feeling hapless.



Mr. and Mrs. Smith B

Funny movie. I love Brad Pitt in any movie where he isn't asked to keep his shirt off and lay around for 16 year old girls to google. Vince Vaughn, no matter how small a role, makes movies great.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.18.2006 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie (Bob Richardson, 2006) - This ain?t the Super Friends. Pretty good animated movie that manages to give each character his or her own quirks and foibles, and convincingly portrays the wonky physics when superpowers are at play. Highly enjoyable.



Mirrormask (Dave McKean, 2005) - The visuals are wonderful and there are some neat ideas at work here, but the story and characterization are a little weak, and the theme of regret only seems to pop up every now and then without ever really developing into anything interesting. Also, I would of liked to have known more about some of the entities encountered along the journey. For instance, what?s the story behind the two linked giants who seem to keep each other afloat yet anchored? The way the opposing nature of one stabilizes the other is a nice metaphor for marriage or companionship, but nothing ever really comes of it. At worst, the movie?s a bit of a missed opportunity, at best, it?s a completely enthralling visual feast. The performances are very good, as well. I actually watched it two times, back-to-back.
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 02.18.2006 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

09/02/06 - 18/02/06

Heaven (dir. Tom Tykver, 2004)*

Appleseed (dir. Shinji Aramaki, 2004)*

Shark Tale (dir. various, 2004)*

The Oblong Box (dir. Gordon Hessler, 1968)*

Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (dir. Brian Clemens, 1973)

Lovers of the Arctic Circle (dir. Julio Medem, 1998)*

The Nameless (dir. Jaume Balaguero, 1999)

Darkness (dir. Jaume Balaguero, 2002)

Good Bye Lenin! (dir. Wolfgang Becker, 2003)*

Goke, Bodysnatcher from Hell (dir. Hajime Sato, 1968)*



I enjoyed Heaven, although not as much as Tykwer's other works. I'm also not entirely comfortable with the lack of punishment involved; I'm not talking righteous indignation here, but I don't think it would have been out of keeping with the rest of the movie.



Appleseed sucks. It's boring throughout the majority of the running time, and the allegedly 'cutting edge' 3D rendering looks terrible. In terms of appearance it's not a patch on Ghost in the Shell 2.



Lovers of the Arctic Circle was very, very good, but I was horrified at the ending. It's a testament to the director's skill that I became so emotionally invested in the characters, but I really wasn't up for being quite so devastated and infuriated by the ending.



Good Bye Lenin! is very good indeed, although it's not the comedy some have made it out to be. It's very touching in places and entertaining throughout, and a great commentary on pre- and post-reunification Germany. Recommended.



Goke is an excellent slice of 60s Japanese sci-fi. Great atmosphere and decent special effects, with solid acting and political subtexts.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.18.2006 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:


The Nameless (dir. Jaume Balaguero, 1999)





Did you like this better the second time, or are you still ambivalent about it?
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Jim Harper
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PostPosted: 02.19.2006 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Jim Harper wrote:


The Nameless (dir. Jaume Balaguero, 1999)





Did you like this better the second time, or are you still ambivalent about it?




This is now the fourth or fifth time, and I definitely like it more. It's still a flawed film, but not a bad one, and parts of it are very, very good indeed. I stand by my C+ grade, but it's worthy enough to receive several replays. I haven't seen Second Name yet- I'll pick it up soon- but I'm not optimistic.



Lookign forward to Fragile though. As long as Dimension don't get their hands on it...
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.19.2006 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Harper wrote:
It's still a flawed film, but not a bad one, and parts of it are very, very good indeed.




Agreed. The ending is a stunner, and it actually improves upon the ending of Campbell's novel (although, overall, I far prefer the novel).



Jim Harper wrote:
Lookign forward to Fragile though. As long as Dimension don't get their hands on it...




Haven't heard of that one. What's the lowdown on it?
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