Films Seen: In 2004

  1. (25 December) The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004, Wes Anderson) (f) [66]
  2. (18 December) Secret Window (2004, David Koepp) (v) [42]
  3. (18 December) Sideways (2004, Alexander Payne) (f) [80]
  4. (11 December) Scary Movie 3 (2003, David Zucker) (v) [50]
  5. (9 December) Twentynine Palms (2004, Bruno Dumont) (v) [57]
  6. (8 December) Fire Sale (1977, Alan Arkin) (v) [53]
  7. (7 December) Brute Force (1947, Jules Dassin) (v) [79]
  8. (6 December) /The Dunwich Horror/ (1970, Daniel Haller) (v) [47]
  9. (4 December) Cap'n Sky vs. Tomorrowland (2004, Kerry Conran) (f) [40]
  10. (3 December) Paycheck (2003, John Woo) (v) [t/o] [It was after the completely unneccessary recap about 40 minutes in that I gave up, although I was tempted after only 5. When I saw the objects aligned on the bed in the shape of a question mark, part of my soul died. What a fantastic way to get back into the groove.]
  11. (19 November) Freaky Friday (2003, Mark Waters) (v) [35]
  12. (12 November) /Elf/ (2003, Jon Favreau) (v) [77]
  13. (12 November) Shattered Glass (2004, Billy Ray) (v) [62]
  14. (8 November) Super Size Me (2004, Morgan Spurlock) (v) [67]
  15. (6 November) The Incredibles (2004, Brad Bird) (f) [91]
  16. (4 November) Yongary, Monster from the Deep (1968, Kim Ki-Duk) (v) [61]
  17. (3 November) /Jack's Back/ (1988, Rowdy Herrington) (v) [68]
  18. (3 November) /Heavy Metal/ (1981, Gerald Potterton) (v) [62] [Kinda like Flash Gordon, in that: why hasn't the Loc-Nar popped up on an Adult Swim show? Actually, I could make the argument that, in a weird way, Aqua Teen Hunger Force carries on the Heavy Metal spirit.]
  19. (1 November) Assholetown Dogville (2004, Lars von Trier) (v) [92] [Whoops. Caught my typo.]
  20. (31 October) /The Shining/ (1980, Stanley Kubrick) (v) [89]
  21. (30 October) May (2002, Lucky McKee) (v) [1] [Now that I've seen this, can I re-name myself Unlucky McBeeson?]
  22. (30 October) /The Texas Chain Saw Massacre/ (1974, Tobe Hooper) (v) [80]
  23. (30 October) /The Exorcist/ (1973, William Friedkin) (v) [59] [Sadly, it's now as quaint as the Universal Frankenstein or Dracula.]
  24. (30 October) Primer (2004, Shane Carruth) (f) [94] [Yes, it's excellent. No, I'm not sure exactly what happens in the last part. No, that's not a contradiction. No, it's not fair, Scott. ;-) ]
  25. (29 October) Cold Mountain (2003, Anthony Minghella) (v) [22]
  26. (28 October) The Band Wagon (1953, Vincente Minnelli) (v) [45] [At least I now know where the idea for the Art of Noise's "Peter Gunn" video came from.]
  27. (28 October) The Last House on the Left (1972, Wes Craven) (v) [48]
  28. (28 October) Alone in the Dark (1982, Jack Sholder) (v) [60] [I liked it, but it's frustrating, since it clearly wants to be more than "family under siege by psychos", but it never adds up to much more than that.]
  29. (28 October) /The Devil's Rain/ (1975, Robert Fuest) (v) [28] [Memo to socialretard: the cinematography isn't really "hallucinatory", contrary to what I said before. What it has going for it is an interesting setting (a desert ghost town) and a curiously underpopulated filmic world, like a cheap cartoon. But that's all it has.]
  30. (26 October) Perfect Blue (1999, Satoshi Kon) (v) [34]
  31. (25 October) Terror Train (1980, Roger Spottiswoode) (v) [75]
  32. (25 October) /King Kong/ (1933, Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack) (v) [99]
  33. (23 October) Charlotte Sometimes (2002, Eric Byler) (v) [37]
  34. (22 October) /An American in Paris/ (1951, Vincente Minnelli) (v) [79]
  35. (22 October) Mean Girls (2004, Mark Waters) (v) [54] [Some funny stuff, sure (especially Tim Meadows), but frankly, I'd rather watch any episode of Daria.]
  36. (21 October) /Searching for Bobby Fischer/ (1993, Steven Zaillian) (v) [93] [If we don't teach our kids the facts of chess, where are they going to learn it? On the streets?]
  37. (20 October) /The Thing From Another World/ (1951, Christian Nyby) (v) [77]
  38. (20 October) The Blob (1958, Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr.) (v) [57]
  39. (17 October) Fixed Bayonets (1951, Samuel Fuller) (v) [80]
  40. (17 October) Gate of Hell (1953, Teinosuke Kinugasa) (v) [68]
  41. (16 October) Meet Me in St. Louis (1944, Vincente Minnelli) (v) [48] [That's right, I'm the guy that prefers Flash Gordon to Meet Me in St. Louis. Y'wanna fight about it?]
  42. (16 October) /Flash Gordon/ (1980, Mike Hodges) (v) [62] [I'm shocked that the tree stump game and the duel on the tilting disk with the spikes on it never found their way as a reference on Family Guy or South Park or the like. Was I the only kid who thought this stuff was hot shit 24 years ago?]
  43. (14 October) The Man With A Movie Camera (1929, Dziga Vertov) (v) [62]
  44. (14 October) /The Day The Earth Stood Still/ (1951, Robert Wise) (v) [57]
  45. (13 October) /Forbidden Planet/ (1956, Fred McLeod Wilcox) (v) [88]
  46. (12 October) Dead or Alive: Final (2002, Takashi Miike) (v) [40]
  47. (11 October) The Devil Bat (1941, Jean Yarborough) (v) [2] [Knew this would be terrible going in -- late period Lugosi, PRC, it's about a bat, for chrissakes -- but I was still surprised by the stupidity on display. Researching the World's Phoniest Bat has its price.]
  48. (10 October) Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright) (f) [78]
  49. (9 October) /The Naked Spur/ (1953, Anthony Mann) (v) [76]
  50. (9 October) A Name For Evil (1973, Bernard Girard) (v) [58]
  51. (8 October) The Tall T (1957, Budd Boetticher) (v) [79]
  52. (7 October) Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973, Bob Kelljan) (v) [43]
  53. (7 October) The Big Red One (1980, Samuel Fuller) (v) [65]
  54. (4 October) Buchanan Rides Alone (1958, Budd Boetticher) (v) [61]
  55. (4 October) /Notorious/ (1946, Alfred Hitchcock) (v) [83]
  56. (3 October) The Fly (1958, Kurt Neumann) (v) [57] [One of the most depressing SF movies I've ever seen.]
  57. (3 October) Saboteur (1942, Alfred Hitchcock) (v) [62]
  58. (3 October) /Ride the High Country/ (1962, Sam Peckinpah) (v) [70]
  59. (2 October) Guy Maddin: Waiting For Twilight (1997, Noam Gonick) (v) [n/r] [Never really sure how to rate ho-hum documentaries that function as in-depth magazine articles. Barely interesting (visually) if you really like Guy Maddin, but the info's nice; also, since this was done in 1997, you get an idea of where some of the germinal ideas for Cowards Bend The Knee came from, i.e. hockey homoeroticism and the hair salon.]
  60. (1 October) Two for the Road (1967, Stanley Donen) (v) [79]
  61. (1 October) The Norliss Tapes (1973, Dan Curtis) (v) [38]
  62. (1 October) On Dangerous Ground (1951, Nicholas Ray) (v) [69]
  63. (30 September) Sleuth (1972, Joseph L. Mankiewicz) (v) [60]
  64. (29 September) The Bad Sleep Well (1960, Akira Kurosawa) (v) [65]
  65. (29 September) /Ministry of Fear/ (1944, Fritz Lang) (v) [51]
  66. (29 September) /Rope/ (1948, Alfred Hitchcock) (v) [63]
  67. (28 September) The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967, Roger Corman) (v) [70]
  68. (27 September) /The Best Years of Our Lives/ (1946, William Wyler) (v) [90]
  69. (27 September) /No Highway in the Sky/ (1951, Henry Koster) (v) [79]
  70. (26 September) /Kill Bill Vol. 1/ (2003, Quentin Tarantino) (v) [93]
  71. (26 September) /The Girl Can't Help It/ (1956, Frank Tashlin) (v) [67]
  72. (26 September) The Last Frontier (1956, Anthony Mann) (v) [45]
  73. (25 September) Run of the Arrow (1957, Samuel Fuller) (v) [82]
  74. (24 September) Squirm (1976, Jeff Lieberman) (v) [68]
  75. (22 September) Forbidden Zone (1980, Richard Elfman) (v) [52]
  76. (22 September) /Out of the Past/ (1947, Jacques Tourneur) (v) [92]
  77. (21 September) The Ox-Bow Incident (1943, William A. Wellman) (v) [93]
  78. (21 September) Desperate (1947, Anthony Mann) (v) [61]
  79. (21 September) Two Rode Together (1961, John Ford) (v) [54]
  80. (21 September) Leave Her To Heaven (1945, John M. Stahl) (v) [78]
  81. (21 September) Cuba (1979, Richard Lester) (v) [74]
  82. (20 September) /Strange Illusion/ (1945, Edgar G. Ulmer) (v) [49]
  83. (20 September) Japón (2002, Carlos Reygadas) (v) [10]
  84. (20 September) Tender Mercies (1983, Bruce Beresford) (v) [57]
  85. (20 September) /Last Year at Marienbad/ (1961, Alain Resnais) (v) [91]
  86. (19 September) /Phantom of the Paradise/ (1974, Brian DePalma) (v) [89]
  87. (19 September) The Last Broadcast (1998, Stefan Avalo & Lance Weiler) (v) [32]
  88. (19 September) /Foul Play/ (1978, Colin Higgins) (v) [38]
  89. (19 September) Shenandoah (1965, Andrew V. McLaglen) (v) [57]
  90. (18 September) /Detour/ (1945, Edgar G. Ulmer) (v) [83]
  91. (18 September) /The Tomb of Ligeia/ (1965, Roger Corman) (v) [56]
  92. (18 September) /The Far Country/ (1955, Anthony Mann) (v) [75]
  93. (18 September) /The Black Cat/ (1934, Edgar G. Ulmer) (v) [56]
  94. (18 September) The Mountain Road (1960, Daniel Mann) (v) [39]
  95. (17 September) The Crimson Pirate (1952, Robert Siodmak) (v) [70]
  96. (17 September) Spartan (2004, David Mamet) (v) [85]
  97. (17 September) Bluebeard (1944, Edgar G. Ulmer) (v) [60]
  98. (17 September) /The War of the Worlds/ (1953, Byron Haskin) (v) [84]
  99. (15 September) /Manhattan/ (1979, Woody Allen) (v) [69]
  100. (8 September) The Late Show (1976, Robert Benton) (v) [21]
  101. (7 September) 8 1/2 (1963, Federico Fellini) (v) [90]
  102. (6 September) /Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban/ (2004, Alfonso Cuarón) (f) [79, up from 71. After devouring the books, my wife wanted to see it again. What I thought was a slower pace was actually the director giving the audience time to look beyond the point of interest to all the different things happening at the edges of the frame. It's not Tati by any means, but it sure is a breath of fresh air.]
  103. (1 September) The Women (1939, George Cukor) (v) [65]
  104. (31 August) The House By The Cemetery (1981, Lucio Fulci) (v) [28]
  105. (30 August) Love Me Tonight (1932, Rouben Mamoulian) (v) [89]
  106. (27 August) /Hero/ (2004, Zhang Yimou) (f) [97; up from 95]
  107. (24 August) One Hour Photo (2002, Mark Romanek) (v) [77]
  108. (22 August) Garden State (2004, Zach Braff) (f) [64]
  109. (19 August) Alice Adams (1935, George Stevens) (v) [32]
  110. (17 August) Kramer vs. Kramer (1979, Robert Benton) (v) [70]
  111. (11 August) The Big Country (1958, William Wyler) (v) [55]
  112. (10 August) Irma La Douce (1963, Billy Wilder) (v) [34]
  113. (8 August) Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933, Michael Curtiz) (v) [58]
  114. (7 August) Hellboy (2004, Guillermo Del Toro) (v) [73]
  115. (6 August) Two Evil Eyes (1990, Dario Argento & George Romero) (v) [52; The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar (Romero, 42), The Black Cat (Argento, 62)]
  116. (5 August) Just A Clown (2003, Andrew Jarecki) (v) [no rating, as it's a short; not a whole lot of insight, but good as an appendix to CtF]
  117. (4 August) Capturing the Friedmans (2003, Andrew Jarecki) (v) [82]
  118. (4 August) Through A Glass Darkly (1961, Ingmar Bergman) (v) [89]
  119. (4 August) Father Goose (1964, Ralph Nelson) (v) [60]
  120. (31 July) The Village (2004, M. Night Shyamalan) (f) [17]
  121. (30 July) /House of Wax/ (1953, Andre De Toth) (v) [41]
  122. (29 July) Monster (2003, Patty Jenkins) (v) [40]
  123. (13 July) Mrs. Miniver (1942, William Wyler) (v) [39]
  124. (12 July) The Rundown (2003, Peter Berg) (v) [59]
  125. (7 July) Phenomena (1984, Dario Argento) (v) [65]
  126. (6 July) The Thief of Bagdad (1940, Ludwig Berger & Tim Whelan & Michael Powell) (v) [76]
  127. (5 July) The Terminal (2004, Steven Spielberg) (f) [30]
  128. (5 July) The Day After Tomorrow (2004, Roland Emmerich) (f) [58]
  129. (4 July) Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004, Quentin Tarantino) (f) [80]
  130. (3 July) Spider-Man 2 (2004, Sam Raimi) (f) [79]
  131. (30 June) Cries and Whispers (1972, Ingmar Bergman) (v) [63]
  132. (29 June) /Shadow of a Doubt/ (1943, Alfred Hitchcock) (v) [81]
  133. (25 June) Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003, Jonathan Mostow) (v) [35]
  134. (25 June) /A Chinese Ghost Story/ (1987, Sui-Tung Ching) (v) [51]
  135. (25 June) To Have and Have Not (1944, Howard Hawks) (v) [55]
  136. (23 June) /The Lady Eve/ (1941, Preston Sturges) (v) [89]
  137. (19 June) /The Saddest Music in the World/ (2004, Guy Maddin) (f) [80; downgraded from 81]
  138. (18 June) /Blow-Up/ (1966, Michelangelo Antonioni) (v) [66]
  139. (17 June) The Fury (1978, Brian DePalma) (v) [19]
  140. (16 June) The Beyond (1981, Lucio Fulci) (v) [58]
  141. (14 June) Knife in the Water (1962, Roman Polanski) (v) [50]
  142. (13 June) Mean Creek (2004, Jacob Aaron Estes) (f) [80]
  143. (12 June) Atlantic City (1980, Louis Malle) (v) [78]
  144. (12 June) Badlands (1973, Terrence Malick) (v) [78]
  145. (11 June) The Dirty Dozen (1967, Robert Aldrich) (v) [65]
  146. (11 June) Marathon Man (1976, John Schlesinger) (v) [72]
  147. (11 June) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004, Alfonso Cuarón) (f) [71]
  148. (7 June) /Playtime/ (1967, Jacques Tati) (f) [99]
  149. (7 June) Hero (2004, Zhang Yimou) (f) [95]
  150. (6 June) The Best of Youth (2004, Marco Tullio Giordana) (f) [75]
  151. (6 June) She Hate Me (2004, Spike Lee) (f) [46]
  152. (1 June) They Drive By Night (1946, Raoul Walsh) (v) [16]
  153. (1 June) Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson (1976, Robert Altman) (v) [89]
  154. (31 May) Stagecoach (1939, John Ford) (v) [93]
  155. (30 May) The Woodsman (2004, Nicole Kassel) (f) [47]
  156. (29 May) Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring (2004, Kim Ki-Duk) (f) [86]
  157. (28 May) All About My Mother (1999, Pedro Almodóvar) (v) [58]
  158. (27 May) /High Anxiety/ (1977, Mel Brooks) (v) [39]
  159. (25 May) Eyes of Laura Mars (1978, Irvin Kershner) (v) [45]
  160. (24 May) Five Deadly Venoms (1978, Chang Cheh) (v) [63]
  161. (25 May) Great Expectations (1946, David Lean) (v) [77]
  162. (25 May) /The Last Picture Show/ (1971, Peter Bogdanovich) (v) [97]
  163. (24 May) Dressed to Kill (1980, Brian DePalma) (v) [80]
  164. (24 May) All The President’s Men (1976, Alan J. Pakula) (v) [65]
  165. (23 May) Cowards Bend The Knee (2003, Guy Maddin) (f) [83]
  166. (23 May) The Saddest Music in the World (2004, Guy Maddin) (f) [81]
  167. (23 May) Head-On (2004, Fatih Akin) (f) [59]
  168. Nattevagten (1994, Ole Bornedal) (v) [33]
  169. Opera (1987, Dario Argento) (v) [49]
  170. Holes (2003, Andrew Davis) (v) [92]
  171. Dementia 13 (Francis Coppola) (v) [46]
  172. The Stranger (1946, Orson Welles) (v) [69]
  173. Hatchet For The Honeymoon (1969, Mario Bava) (v) [69]
  174. Anatomy of a Psycho (1961, Brooke L. Peters) (v) [23]
  175. The River (1997, Tsai Ming-liang) (v) [63]
  176. Pit & The Pendulum (1961, Roger Corman) (v) [25]
  177. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976, John Carpenter) (v) [69]
  178. Images (1972, Robert Altman) (v) [68]
  179. Elephant (2003, Gus Van Sant) (v) [40]
  180. Stolen Summer (2002, Pete Jones) (v) [41]
  181. The Battle of Shaker Heights (Kyle Rankin & Efrem Potelle) (v) [47]
  182. Death Hunt (1981, Peter Hunt) (v) [57]
  183. Night Tide (1963, Curtis Harrington) (v) [73]
  184. All The Real Girls (2003, David Gordon Green) (v) [67]
  185. Along Came A Spider (2001, Lee Tamahori) (v) [50]
  186. Blade II (2002, Guillermo Del Toro) (v) [72]
  187. Thieves Like Us (1974, Robert Altman) (v) [90]
  188. Dawn of the Dead (2004, Zack Snyder) (f) [89]
  189. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, Michel Gondry) (f) [97]
  190. demonlover (2003, Olivier Assayas) (v) [64]
  191. The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957, David Lean) (v) [63]
  192. Roman Holiday (1953, William Wyler) (v) [48]
  193. Abandon (2002, Stephen Gaghan) (v) [17]
  194. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, George Roy Hill) (v) [69]
  195. The Company (2003, Robert Altman) (f) [63]
  196. Japanese Story (2003, Sue Brooks) (f) [15]
  197. The Barbarian Invasions (2003, Denys Arcand) (f) [75]
  198. City of God (2003, Fernando Meirelles) (f) [30]
  199. The Butterfly Effect (2004, Eric Bress & J. Mackye Gruber) (f) [66]
  200. Tokyo Godfathers (2004, Satoshi Kon) (f) [60]
  201. The Station Agent (2003, Tom McCarthy) (f) [60]
  202. Seabiscuit (2003, Gary Ross) (v) [25]
  203. From Hell (2001, The Hughes Brothers) (v) [8]
  204. The Winslow Boy (1999, David Mamet) (v) [72]
Author Comments: 

(f) film/projected in a theater
(v) DVD, VHS, TV
[xx] rating
[t/o] Turned it off
/seen before/

Your rating of 67 for ALL THE REAL GIRLS is much too generous. I'd give it a 35.

I wouldn't begrudge anyone not liking All The Real Girls. There were a number of things that either didn't work (the various kid characters) or were just stupid (the bowling lane But I ultimately liked the two main characters and watching their relationship unfold. Also, I reeely like Zoey Deschanel.

Zooey *is* pretty sweet; she's definitely the best thing in ALL THE REAL GIRLS.

What's wrong with the bowling alley scene? It's got Paul Schneider's hilarious happy dance!

Nice to see three favorites, Hero, Stagecoach, and The Last Picture Show, score in the 90s. I'll have to check out your other 90+ entries. Despite being slightly underwhelmed by Kaufman's other stuff, I can't wait for Eternal Sunshine to hit DVD.

If you can, you gotta give me a rating for The Five Deadly Venoms, a childhood favorite that I'm eager to see again when a good DVD becomes available. Revisiting childhood favorites can be ugly though, so don't be shy with that rating; I can take it. :-)

Thanks for catching the missing rating for Five Deadly Venoms. I gave it a 63, which is generally good (60+), but not an unqualified thumbs-up (70+). It's a bit slow, I thought, but it ends up being a lot of fun. Also, I was a bit distracted by the Wu-Tang samples :-)

I can live with a 63. :-) And I know what you mean about the Wu-Tang samples. Actually, I just saw The Bride with White Hair for for the first time, and was quite distracted by our hero being a member of the "Wu-Tang Clan".

A 19 for THE FURY, eh? What's your take on other De Palma from that period? DRESSED TO KILL? BLOW OUT? Frankly, those two are near-masterpieces in my opinion.

I wrote a short blurb about DRESSED TO KILL here, but the short version is: frickin' awesome. I really enjoyed BLOW OUT when I saw it...what, 13 years ago? I plan to revisit it soon. But THE FURY...badly paced, terrible attempts at humor, a few good cinematic moments but nothing that great (THE DEAD ZONE did it better). If it was anyone less than DePalma, I probably would've turned it off.

DRESSED and BLOW OUT are two movies that I would love to see on film in a movie theatre. I did see BODY DOUBLE when it was originally released, but that was lesser De Palma-does-Hitchcock in my opinion, despite what Matt thinks.

I finally saw City of God last night, and 30 is a pretty shockingly low rating. What didn't you like?

Ooh, Jim! Good for you! Did you find anything to like in City of God?

Plenty to like, although I think perhaps my expectations were a bit high. Still very good though. Review to follow in the usual place...

I'm sure making it my Número Um film of 2002 didn't help matters any.

:-) Well, a lot of other people raved about it too.

My original entry is here, but here's a summation, maybe some other thoughts:

It just seems like a lot of style with no thought about the content whatsoever. Just a bunch of killings, one after the other, without any kind of character interest to hold it together. All the split-screens and "bravura" camera moves and etc. don't mean a whole lot to me unless there's a strong narrative, or an interesting theme, or it seems like the work of a single vision, none of which City has, imo. Is the point that the slums are violent and life is cheap? Got that after ten minutes. It only really gets interesting when Rocket becomes the personal photographer for Lil Zé, but by that point the movie's pretty much over. All the acclaim it received reminds me of The Fast Runner, another movie I think is overrated (although ultimately I liked it more than City), in that it seems like people are impressed that people from a "third world" country can make a slick Hollywood entertainment.

I'll admit, the above is being pretty rough on the picture, but I really didn't feel there was anything to hold onto; it just kind of slid through me.

Interesting. I do think it's the story of a location and the people that live there in general more than a story about particular people with typical hero/villain arcs and plotlines, so I think it succeeds in what it's trying to do, but I can see where that might reduce the emotional involvement. Here's my review, if you're curious.

Oh, I just read the comments on your blog post. Interesting note about Lund allegedly having the movie stolen from her by Meirelles. I remember some furor over that come Oscar time, but still don't know the full story. Interestingly, her documentary is included on the City of God DVD, although I didn't realize what it was before I sent it back to Netflix. Sigh.

Double darn--I would like to have heard your comments on the documentary!

Have you seen it? I assume not, since I don't see it on this list, but thought I'd double-check. How 'bout you, dgeiser13? If you're reading this, have you seen the documentary in question?

Unfortunately, no. But I plan to when I buy or rent the DVD.

No, but it could potentially lure me into watching the movie again.

I don't know about "no content whatsoever," but I agree with you that City of God was so slick that I quickly became numb to the on-screen violence. You're supposed to feel something when so many people are being shot and killed, right? Especially where they're children. City of God is a lot like a video game, in my opinion, and not one that I particularly want to play again. Don't care one whit who really came up with the film's story ideas, however. Just care about what ended up on the screen.

Remember when The Governator said "I'll be back" in the original Terminator? That was awesome.

So, what made The Terminal 50 points worse than Kill Bill Part Deux in your opinion? Frankly, I can't imagine anything being 50 points worse than the Tarantino, except maybe Steven Carlson's favorite, Baby Geniuses.

Do you remember when you wrote, somewhere on Listology I think, that you were going to skip The Terminal, because you weren't in the mood for heartwarming Spielberg, or words to that effect?

It's everything you feared, and worse. I'm probably overrating it by your standards. Annoying, cloying, offensive, and a godawful performance from a wax dummy in lieu of Tom Hanks. Avoid.

Addendum: Maybe if Hanks plucked out Catherine Zeta-Jones' eye, it'd be a contender.

Yes, I was afraid of that. Remember when Richard Dreyfuss found the Louisiana license plate inside the tiger shark? That was awesome.


Eh, what do you know... :-)

(And if my site should undergo a long hiatus sometime in September, don't worry -- I'll just be in the hospital recovering from the suicide I'm going to attempt upon the release of "Superbabies".)

Where is your site? I'd like to check it out.

I'll answer for the modest Mr. Cosgrove: here it is.

Jim, do check out the site; he's got a huge archive of reviews and capsules, of mainstream stuff and reeeely obscure stuff. That's what two years of consistent work will create for ya.

I've been reading it - great stuff! I can't find an RSS feed though, otherwise I'd subscribe in a heartbeat.

Damn, two weeks without a movie. I'd be jonesing after two or three days. :-)

Yeah, the last couple weeks have been pretty intense with the Yellow rewrite. I thought I'd be able to work on it during the day and watch a movie at night, but no doin'. And when my computer went down, you'd think I'd take that opportunity to catch-up; but no, instead I mostly moped.

Anyway, the computer's back, so I should be able to slip back into the old routine. Until the next crash.

Wow, you really liked HELLBOY, eh?

I'm a surprised as anyone, actually. It certainly has problems, but they never became overwhelming. I appreciated the longer takes, which is ultimately why I gave it a point more than BLADE II.

What did you think of The Devil's Backbone? I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere, but thought the story was the same old, same old.

I think that's the last Del Toro I haven't seen. I would say that I plan to catch up with it in the next few weeks, but I think I say that all the time and never follow through. Anyway, it looks like it's more restrained than his usual stuff, and I'm curious to see it.

The story definitely has some pacing problems (doesn't just about everything del Toro does suffer from that?)... but it's also got a climax that would never ever show up in a Hollywood feature. You decide.

I thought Blade II bipped along quite nicely. But Cronos, Mimic, and Hellboy were a bit slow. I wish Del Toro could find the sweet spot between Blade II's pace, Cronos's art-film qualities, and the kind of love and affection for the material he displayed in Hellboy.

That's all I ask ;-)

Speaking of points and number ratings, do you look at a list of films seen in 2004 before assigning a newly watched movie a 0-100 rating or do you just wing it?

I usually start with a number as a guideline, then look at my list of already-rated movies (133 and counting) and figure out which movie (and rating) best approximates my "strength of feeling" for that particular film.

The interesting thing about that (to me, at least), is that numbers start to take on certain meanings: 97+ is an achievement I don't think I'll ever match if'n'when my film career starts; 69 means it has some flaw that keeps it from being recommended without reservations; 58 is a movie that, if you're in tune with the genre, you could add up to about 5 points to it.

The bad thing is that it seems like a lot of numbers get used a lot. I currently have 6 60s and 5 89s.

How are you doing it?

I'm still using Mark Pittillo's 0-100 ratings guide, which is the same scale that MD'A uses on his site. I decide on a letter grade first and then assign a rating based on how strongly I feel about the film. So far this year I have only given three movies a 90 rating or more; hopefully there will be more where they came from, especially since I'm now focusing on catching up with cinema history.

Wow, I haven't looked at Mark Pitillo's site in years -- looks like he changed his site a little bit. Looks good. Also looks like he had comments at one point, but took it down because of the spam. That's a shame.

I was going to use that same MD'A/MP ratings guide, but since I don't use the letter grade, the weird breakdowns threw me, so I evened it out (80+, 60+, etc.)

By focusing on the classics, you seem to be hitting on some goodies; I still haven't seen I WAS A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG, but now, I really really want to.

I'll ask you the same question that I asked Chris (aka MovieRetard): Is Garden State as annoying as the trailer makes it look? I'm guessing that your answer will be no, as you rated it a sturdy 64.

(Movie Pedant Strikes Again!)

I don't consider anything in the 60s range to be sturdy, really; it's a thumbs-up, for sure, but with a number of reservations. 70+ would be sturdy to me.


If you think the trailer is annoying, I'm willing to bet money you'd think the movie was annoying. In fact, I'd be willing to call it (guaranteeing you'll never see it) a more mainstream, Hollywoodized version of All The Real Girls. It ping-pongs between honestly charming and cloyingly cute; honestly charming wins by a nose. But, fwiw, my wife said she was on the verge of tears by the end, so (shrug). As a director, wouldn't mind seeing Braff take a bite of something weightier.

Actually, my wife will probably make me rent Garden State from Netflix when it's released on DVD. At least little Natalie is in it. Have you seen the trailer for Closer, in which she apparently plays a stripper?!

Ah, good ol' Natalie Portman. A few things re: her in this movie:

1. Her role is a bit similar to Kate Winslet's in Eternal Sunshine, but I don't feel she quite pulls it off. (Probably because Winslet's role is darker and better written.)

2. One scene has her swimming in a pool in her underwear.

Funny you should mention Closer--that was one of our trailers. It didn't look too bad -- I'd probably see it just for Jude Law and Clive Owen -- and apparently Natalie gives Owen a lap dance at some point. Also saw two other trailers: the new Alexander Payne with Paul Giamatti (a personal hero) and Thomas Haden Church (!) that looks good, and the new David O. Russell, I (love? heart?) Huckabees, which looks potentially hilarous but has a definite Alan Rudolph "weird shit" vibe to it.

Not sure how Natalie will pull off being playing a stripper. She's a beautiful girl, but she still looks about 16-years-old.
Payne's Sideways sounds interesting, as does the new O. Russell. Not sure if "interesting" will equal "good," but with all the crap that's hit the cinemas this year it might be enough to keep me happy.

There's a lot of weird visuals in Garden State -- a boat at the bottom of quarry, a knight holding a gallon of milk, a dog playing with itself -- but the weirdest is seeing Natalie Portman, who indeed still looks 16, drink a beer.

I was lucky enough to catch "Closer" during its Broadway run. If Portman's playing the role I think she plays, her youthful look is spot-on -- I remember seeing Anna Friel onstage and thinking, "What is she, like 12?"

I will see Hero in a theatre, I will see Hero in a theatre, I will see Hero in a theatre, I will see Hero in a theatre, I will see Hero in a theatre, I will see Hero in a theatre, I will see Hero in a theatre,I will see Hero in a theatre...I hope.

Wow, so you REALLY hated From Hell, eh?

I thought it was garbage, too, but 8/100? :-)

Part of the problem was that I had just finished the graphic novel. And while I knew that the film could never come close to that work of art, I got the feeling that they didn't even try. The movie is about what Jack the Ripper does, but the book was about why he's significant in the first place.

So, yeah, I was feeling a bit nasty after watching it :-)

Woah, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind = 97!!! Is that one of the best films of all time in your opinion, then, or are there hundreds of films that would score 98-100, on your scale?

Same goes for Hero, I guess.

Well, I'm certainly an easier grader than Mr. Dayfornight, that's for sure, so that should be taken into account. But, yeah, I do consider Eternal Sunshine and Hero to be two of the best films of all time. Now, are there hundreds of movies in that 98-100 range? I don't think so. I'd be surpised if there are more than 50 movies that qualify. But I guess that's part of my 1-100 project -- to find out!

But Manhattan is only worthy of a measly 69? What up wit dat?

Yeah, I knew the moment I put that number up, there'd be little red laser dots buzzing around my head.

To boil it down to something quick and glib, I found it too... easy, I guess. If ever there was a movie that needed some rough edges so it didn't go down so smoothly, it's this one. Or, to put it another way, it's no Annie Hall, which isn't Last Year at Marienbad or anything, but all its pomo funkiness gives it at least the air of difficulty. Also, Annie Hall is funnier.

If it's any consolation, if I was giving out numbers when I first saw it, it would've rated about a 49. I reeeelly didn't like it then.

It has been a while since I last saw Manhattan, but I remember it being one of my top ten Allens at the time. Have you heard that he apparently can't even find a distributor for his new one?

No, I hadn't heard that. What was it that Mike D'Angelo said? Something like, these years are going to look ugly in the final biography.

Have you seen Day of the Outlaw?

No! I've been meaning to ask you about it since you listed it (and gave it such a high score). I honestly didn't think De Toth directed anything of interest other than House of Wax. :-)

Where'd you get it from? (I have a TiVo now, which might be apparent from the number of movies I've seen recently, so I can have it look for it.)

I TiVO'd it from Turner. It's showing again on November 1st. You should definitely check it out. Here's a pretty good review from the All Movie Guide.

Oh yeah, also: isn't TiVo great?

Oh My God. It's crazy. It does everything I expected it to, and more. I've stopped going to the library for movies, and I've given control of the Netflix to my wife so she can get stuff like Radio :-).

Of course, after programming in way too many movies for the month of September, coupled with all the TV shows I like to watch, even in repeats (Teen Titans, Justice League, Aqua Teen, Venture Bros., I'm always playing "watch the program before it gets deleted" game.

We got ours thru DirecTV, so we only had the choice of the 35 hour box. I'd certainly take more.

What size is yours?

Radio? Really? I feel your pain. Thank goodness my wife doesn't go for that kinda stuff. Sex and the City is about as bad as it gets in our house. :-)
Our TiVO is through DirecTV, too, so we only have 35 hours of recording time. I'm seriously considering getting a stand-alone DVD burner, though, just so I can burn movies to watch later.

Well, my wife is kinda odd in that, for her, Netflix is primarily to be used to watch stuff she's loathe to pay money to see in a theater. Some of these -- Radio may or may not be one of them -- she not only knows are going to be awful, but she seems to welcome their awfulness, like it justifies having Netflix -- "see what we avoided in the theater!". But I sat here surfing the Net while she watched it. It looked exactly as bad as it seemed.

Luckily, she likes Jimmy Stewart, so that's good. Unfortunately, we have the DVR to auto record any of his movies, and I think it's Alfred Hitchcock day tommorrow on TCM, and the DVR's gonna get slammed. I already had to delete a few, like Vertigo and Rear Window just to make sure nothing gets taped over. I guess there are worse problems to have, but that damn TiVo is gonna kill me.

The DVD burner is a good idea; I'll probably end up doing the same with VHS tapes... so I can put them on the shelf with Point Blank and The Possession of Joel Delaney, never to be seen.

You really should watch Point Blank.

I know --especially since it's the only movie in recent memory you've given 90+. Since my ratings are about 10 points higher, I'm almost scared to find out what it's like!

Also, with TiVO and the new Netflix distribution center, I may never leave the house on my days off! As much as I'd like to see Shaun of the Dead and Sky Captain on the big screen, it's a hell of a lot easier for a carless person like myself to sit at home and watch stuff on my poor man's home theatre system, especially when I know that the aforementioned movies (and much, much more) will be out on DVD within 3 to 6 months.

Gotta love that TiVo! I watched a slew of Turner Classics when I first got hooked up, but haven't had the time to do so recently. Looks like you're having fun, though...well, maybe not, as you apparently aren't a big fan of ROPE or MINISTRY OF FEAR.

It's funny -- I originally saw both Rope and Ministry of Fear around the same time, about 8+ years ago, and if were using a point scale back then, the numbers would've been switched. Now that I know a little more about movie-making, I can see what a great technical achievement Rope is (although the story itself is still a bit blah), and while I used to admire Ministry of Fear for its vision of a crazy, noir-inflected world where nothing is what it seems (and still do, to a degree), it now feels like it barely holds together as story, just kind of floating from scene to scene. That's probably half the point, but it just isn't satisfying anymore.

Tell me I didn't miss The Tall T on Turner.

You didn't miss it on Turner.

You missed it on the Western Channel.


Do you get the Western/Mystery/Action/etc. series of channels? If so, looks like The Tall T is on again on the 19th.

No, I don't get that. Isn't it part of the Starz! Super Pack or whatever? It likes like DirecTV is having showing all their pay channels for free next weekend, so maybe I can catch it then.

Let me know if you'd like me to make a VHS dub of it when it comes on again. Should be known, however, that the Western channel (all the Starz channels, actually) never show anything widescreen. (Unsure if The Tall T is widescreen, though.)

American Movie Classics, where you can see Halloween 4 and Halloween 5. Ugh. I remember when they were actually quality competition for Turner.

I'm starting to wonder if I should bother taping anything on AMC after the A Name For Evil situation; P&S is one thing, but editing for content is quite another. It would certainly drop my queue of movies to something manageable.

This week I TiVo'd Bad Dreams on Fox Movie Channel and ended up with André De Toth's Slatterly's Hurricane. I love me some Veronica Lake and Day of the Outlaw, but was in the mood for a cheesy 80s horror flick, damnit!

Oh shit, really? Cuz I TiVo'd it as well, but haven't looked at it yet. In some ways, I'm not surprised -- FMC has screwed me twice (twice!) with Terror Train, which is supposed to be one of the better slasher flicks from the 80s.

Terror Train is mediocre at best in my opinion. The third act twist is amusing, if completely implausible. It's availabe on DVD now, if you're determined to see it.

Is it? I thought I couldn't find it on Netflix. (Of course, that in no way means it's not on DVD.) Maybe I should check again.

Whoomp, there it is!

Any comments on Shaun of the Dead? I'm expecting the DVD this week.

84 may be overrating it a bit, I'm starting to feel. The first 1/2 hour is brilliant; the last 1/2 hour is where the choice to make it a comedy about zombies (as opposed to a zombie movie with comedy) bites them in the ass. But it is funny, lots of great bits, and it's more accomplished, visually, then the new Dawn of the Dead. I'm thinking it might play better on TV, actually; there's a running montage gag that apes the famous "shooting up" montage from Requiem for a Dream that might be less annoying on TV.

I think that the Devil Bat needs to be interviewed, ASAP. ;-)

Yeah, I think so too :-) In fact, I've been thinking of updating the blog (remember that, Kent? The blog?) and devoting this month to capsule reviews of horror movies. Yeah, I think I'll get to it.

It would be swell if ya did in my opinion.

Me, I'm debating whether or not to add graphical images to my blog, like movie poster thumbnails. Hmmm. Have to think about that one.

I'd like to see that, if it isn't too much trouble.

Also, liking the new look of the blog! Haven't seen that style before.

I tried it and it didn't look so hot. I might just add a series of random photos to the sidebar instead.

P.S.: I get to see SHAUN OF THE DEAD *and* OLDBOY today. I'm psyched. Then there's, er, THE BROWN BUNNY this weekend. Yeah.

You get to see Oldboy? Damn you, Black, daaaaaammmmn yoooouuuuuu!

You want a VHS dub of OLDBOY? I can make a copy of it for ya if you want.

Mmmmmmaybe. Is it supposed to be released here pretty soon? Or is this another Hero situation? That'll be the deciding factor.

Did you want a copy of The Tall T, speaking of which?

Quentin says it's gonna get released in 2005 theatrically and on video. I didn't think it was all that, but the Asian Film Geeks say otherwise.

Hmmmm. Let me think about it. Maybe.

How's the "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em" scene I've heard about?

It's fun. Ummm, maybe that's not the right choice of words.

Don't worry about The Tall T. I already have too much to watch on video and too much to see at the theatre. Tomorrow: a double feature of Napoleon Dynamite and The Day After Tomorrow. Sweet....

Oh, I hear that. I finally broke the TiVo hypnosis (TiVosis?) and now I just let it delete stuff instead of trying to keep up. I figure there'll always be about 15 movies to choose from, and if I really want to see something (like Meet Me in St. Louis, recording now), I'll find time to see it before it's gone.

Ah, The Day After Tomorrow... it's like a big dumb blanket, cozy and stupid. I wouldn't mind watching it again.

Yeah, same here. Now I mostly record movies that aren't available on Netflix, or movies that the wife will enjoy. There's so much crap (and I do mean crap, we're talking Legally Blonde 2) that I have to record this weekend during DirecTV's completely free weekend preview, during which all their pay channels will be shown at no charge.

Is that a free weekend for Starz, or all the pay channels? (I'm surfing around for info as I type this.) IME, they usually play decent stuff on these freebie days.

All their pay channels are supposed to free Oct 15-17. I can't find anything on the DirecTV site about the preview, but the wife and I definitely have seen a handful of commercials for it this week.

Found it. They sure are hiding it well:

Holy crap, you're tellin' me. I looked all over the place.

Coolio, thanks a bunch. I have my DVR set to not search listings on channels I don't get, so I would've totally missed this.

Cinemax or Showtime (can't remember which one) is showing Return of the Living Dead. I'll have to TiVO it for Halloween viewing. Haven't seen it since, what, 1985?

Awesome! Maybe that'll force me to get around to my long-threatened ROTLD essay.

I remember being mixed on it back in the day. But I was 17 and can't exactly trust my teen-self's opinion. I've seen the two sequels, too, and the only thing I remember about them is the hot dead redhead from Part III.

Mmmm... Mindy Clarke... *drool* (Whatever became of her, anyway?)

She's right here. Damn, she's in THE O.C. and she's almost as old as me.

Didn't make it to Napoleon Dynamite and it looks like TDAT was stolen on its way from the Baton Rouge Netflix distribution center. No great loss, I guess.

Re: Flash Gordon. The answer to your question is a resounding NO. I remember seeing it at the dollar theatre as a 12-year-old and absolutely loving it. Did you see it on VHS yesterday? I know that the DVD is OOP.

No! It was on Showtime 2 during the free weekend. You didn't see it in the listings? (I knew I shoulda checked with you before I erased it, in case you wanted a copy.)

Did you see that Stephen "Van Helsing" Sommers is remaking Flash Gordon? Or, maybe he's "re-imagining" it like Burton did with his godawful Planet of the Apes.

Is there any licensed property they won't let that man destroy?

And to think that I half-liked his version of The Mummy. That may have had more to do with the Brendan Fraser Likeability Factor, though.

I second the resounding "no". I don't know how many times I saw that movie on HBO between the ages of 10 and 14 or so. Loved it. Had occasion to rewatch it a few months ago with my wife, and it was a bit of a cringe-fest though. :-)

It's not a great movie, by any means; in fact, a lot of it is incredibly bad and silly. But it's so... guileless (I think is the best word) about its ridiculousness that I found it charming and fun, instead of stupid and annoying. I imagine most people's MMV.

And it's directed by Mike (Morons From Outer Space) Hodges. Can't wait to see I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, though.

Wow! A 93 for FISCHER. I don't remember liking it nearly that much, but, then again, I don't like many movies that much. Are you going to see HUCKABEES?

Shockingly, it was just as good as I remember; I reeeely liked it when I first saw it on video in, uh, '94, I believe. It has the most thrilling climax of any non-action movie I know.

It's also very much a "writer's movie", in that Zaillian doesn't do a whole lot with the camera (except for one scene), but it's all about a super-tight structure and telling the story through actions as much as possible. In other words, when I watch the movie, I admire more of the writing choices than I do the directorial ones. When I grow up, I would like to be Zaillian.

And not only are we slated to see Huckabees this weekend, but we're supposed to go see Primer as well. My head very well may explode.

(I also had a dream in which I watched most of Huckabees. And yet, I somehow doubt what I dreamt will be as weird as the real thing...)

but we're supposed to go see Primer as well.

Not fair. Let me know what you think of it.

I'm thrilled to see such a high rating for Fischer. I remember loving that movie when it first came out, but I haven't seen it since, and I'm always suspicious of my own historical taste. Nice to see I might be remembering correctly in this case.

Yeah, being suspicious of your own historical taste is a good trait, I think. I wasn't sure if Fischer was going to hold up, but I think it's a sturdy, well-crafted piece of oak furniture.

Re: Mean Girls
None of the girls in this movie were very mean in my opinion. If giving weight gain snack bars to your enemy is the best that you can do, well, you're not very mean. Jawbreaker was an even worse movie, but the girls in it were hot *and* really mean. Hell, they kill somebody (I think, it's been a while), that's pretty mean.

Did ya get a chance to see Primer this weekend? I had planned to see Huckabees today, but for some reason my ass did not move from in front of the computer. I swear, as much as I enjoy the experience of going to the cinema, I dream about the day when DVDs are released day-and-date with their theatrical opening so I never have to leave the house.

That's right, I meant to say something about this earlier. We get in the car on Saturday morning... and the battery dies. Well, we were pretty sure it was the battery, but not completely sure, so we called AAA, got a jump, and went over to Sears to get a new battery. Anyway, we got it all fixed, but since we had other errands to do, we did those and just came back home. Sunday... getting my ass out of the house on Sunday is next to impossible, despite intentions. We might get around to Huckabees this week, since we have AMC passes, but Primer is at a Landmark, so we will hopefully get there this weekend.

Speaking of DVDs released day-and-date... you heard about TiVo and Netflix getting together? Maybe that'll lead to the dream coming true.

What up with the 75 for Terror Train? What was so pretty good about it in your opinion?


Good script, what Kim Newman calls "a genuinely surprising surprise ending", decent acting, great use of the location, good pacing, some great gimmicks (the use of magic, the halloween masks), well-shot, well-done suspense. Oh, and Ben Johnson, who gives the whole escapade a bit of class.

Is the ending a bit of a cheat? Probably. But I didn't mind, since I probably came up with every other possible solution while watching it, so it was nice to be surprised. (Generally, I'm pretty good at figuring out twist and surprise endings, so when one catches me off-guard, I'm pleased.)

To be fair, here's what Kim Newman says about pretty good slashers like Terror Train:

"Any film which is nicely acted, moderately restrained in its throat-slashing, and keeps the boom microphone out of the frame looks like a classic. Even so, by the time competent pictures... came along, the whole genre was so predictable, boring and irritating that these well-made, well-acted, decently characterised films seemed overwhelmingly pointless."

It's not fair...oh, wait, yeah, well I'm happy you had the chance to see Primer Maybe I'll get lucky and the local film society will have a one-off showing; otherwise I'll have to wait for the Digital Versatile Disc.
I have to choose between Saw or Team America or New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. For some reason, I'm just not overly excited about paying to see a puppet show, however saucy. ;-)

Actually, you're in a pretty good position if you wait for said Versatile Disc, since if you're anything like me, you'll probably want to watch it again within 24 hours.

How are the Steelers doing? If they have a chance against the Patriots, I say go with that. Otherwise, I'd say Team America over Saw. Isn't Steve supposed to see that? I wanna hear what he thinks.

Yeah, Steve is gonna see it, but apparently his sister is still beating him up whenever he tries to use the internet. ;-) His cinematic education has been on hiatus for almost two months.

Against your advice, I think I'll be seeing Saw. Kim Newman liked it.

Holy crap, Kim Newman liked it?

Holy crap, Kim Newman has contemporary reviews online?

Anyway, now I might reconsider...

As you probably read, it's not much of a review. Wonder if he's given more space in the print edition.

Didn't you mean to put a 5 before the 1 in your rating of May?

Oh hell no. I probably would've turned it off, but I needed something to slot between The Devil Bat and The House of the Dead.

Did you know that Roger "Easily Amused" Ebert gave May 4 stars? Not that he doesn't give every fifth movie he sees that rating these days.

Yeah, I noticed that, but I just. Don't. Understand.

Finally you get a rating right with Dogville. ;-)

Heh! Yeah, this is definitely LvT's best movie. It's paced extremely well (everyone sez the 180 minutes feels like 90, but it's true), and it gives him the room to let the story breathe and develop naturally. And the abstract set and calm editing style kept the story front and center. One of my biggest beefs with Dancer was the: She's a single mother! She's an immigrant! She's going blind! She's wrongly accused of murder! It got ridiculous. But here, while the crap that gets piled on Grace is almost as ridiculous, we're given the opportunity to see how it gets to that point.

But most of all: I knew ahead of time that the villagers get killed, and as it went along, I was looking forward to their comeuppance. But when it finally arrived, I got scared and a bit sick to my stomach and didn't want it to happen. (That last scene with Kidman & Caan is what put it in the 90+) And I had no idea how, uh, active Grace would be in their demise. That was genuinely shocking.

I didn't think so. I thought it was an allegory about God. You have The Big Boss, which represents His "Power and Responsibility", and a dog named Moses, who announces the coming of Grace, which represents God's merciful side. She "comes to earth" in human form, to test the people, to see if they are "good enough". When they are found wanting, Grace leaves, and the Big Boss's wrath is poured out on the people. What do you think of that idea?

Oh, I think that works quite well! Didn't mean to insinuate that mine was the only metaphor available. That's part of the movie's power, of course -- the possibility of so many different readings.

Yes. The spareness of the sets, dialog, etc, the use of lighting and music, all seemed fraught with overt symbolism.

I found this article interesting . It goes into great detail about the possible religious meaning of Dogville:

I guess I can skip Devil's Rain unless I want to be a 70's horror completist (which I'm a long way away from being). Of the ones I saw over the weekend that I hadn't seen before, I think I liked Black Christmas the most. Bava's Bay of Blood was good too. I still have The Sentinel, The Night Stalker and Phantasm to watch. I've gorged myself on horror yet I'm still not full.

Glad you liked Black Christmas; I meant to watch it again this Halloween (along with some other essentials), but it didn't happen, like a lot of things this week. Oh, well, to paraphrase Ministry, everyday can be Halloween.

I got all the Bava on my Tivo. Hopefully I'll see them before I leave the country.

What what WHAT??? A friggin' 1 for "May"? Do tell....

I really can't think of a recent movie that both bored and irritated me as much as May. I could talk about the forced quirkiness, the smug humor, the "get on with it!" pacing, the doomed-to-failure idea of making a psychological portrait of a barely two-dimensional character, the high school-level symbolism, and the general lack of horror in Mr. McKee's horror film, but it's easier to let Bryant Frazer do the talking.

As I said above, I woulda turned it off sooner (right after the laundromat scene, post-dump by Argento Fan), but I wanted something that I could say was better than The House of the Dead, (i.e., there's no May videogame for McKee to cut to) but lacked the cool rationality of The Devil Bat. Had McKee made the cannibal lovers film-within-a-film, I might've upped the rating to, oh, I don't know, 8 or something. But he imported that from somewhere else and got totally upstaged.