Films Seen: In 2006

  • 140. (31 December) The Proposition (2006, John Hillcoat) (v) [52]
  • 139. (31 December) A Scanner Darkly (2006, Richard Linklater) (v) [83]
  • 138. (30 December) Point Blank (1967, John Boorman) (v) [79] [Would make a terrific double feature with Petulia.]
  • 137. (28 December) /Deep Red/ (1975, Dario Argento) (v) [98m cut] [88] [Profondo ROSS-oh! Makin' COP-ies!]
  • 136. (27 December) Pulse (2006, Jim Sonzero) (v) [18] [On the Pulse Netflix page: "Enjoyed by members who enjoyed White Noise, The Fog (remake), Silent Hill, The Cave, The Ring Two." And they say their recommendation software isn't up to snuff...]
  • 135. (26 December) Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman) (v) [83] [1966? You're shittin' me.]
  • 134. (25 December) Brewster McCloud (1970, Robert Altman) (v) [55] [Doesn't really work, but damn is it weird -- more like Soderbergh's Schizopolis than Altman, but with a bigger budget. Also: apparently Prairie Home wasn't the first time a beautiful trenchcoated angel appeared.]
  • 133. (25 December) The Good German (2006, Steven Soderbergh) (f) [41] [Congratulations, Mr. Soderbergh. You've made a remarkable approximation of a stolid TCM programmer.]
  • 132. (25 December) Children of Men (2006, Alfonso Cuarón) (f) [65]
  • 131. (24 December) /Black Christmas/ (1974, Bob Clark) (v) [80] [The last 20 minutes are some of the best in the thriller/horror genre, imo.]
  • 130. (23 December) Hand of Death (1962, Gene Nelson) (v) [49] [For fans of Bill Warren's "Keep Watching the Skies!", this is the movie where John Agar turns into the Incredible Brownie Man.]
  • DNF. (21 December) Vampyros Lesbos (1970, Jesus Franco [as "Franco Manera"]) (v) (0:28) [Jesus Franco + the tired and dull Dracula story = waste of my time.]
  • 129. (18 December) Hell and High Water (1954, Samuel Fuller) (v) [55] [Beware any Fuller movie shot in CinemaScope.]
  • 128. (12 December) The Doom Generation (1995, Gregg Araki) (v) [62] [Not nearly as bad as I'd feared. In fact, kinda charming (!)]
  • 127. (9 December) The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972, Paul Newman) (v) [59] [Hint: They don't Hulk out.]
  • 126. (30 November) Punishment Park (1971, Peter Watkins) (v) [87] [Holy shit, that's intense. Just wish I could get "Palisades Park" out of my head]
  • 125. (25 November) Casino Royale (2006, Martin Campbell) (f) [66]
  • 124. (24 November) /Written on the Wind/ (1956, Douglas Sirk) (v) [73] [Bloody as hell.]
  • 123. (24 November) Hard Candy (2006, David Slade) (v) [22] [If I'd known this was just going to be 100 minutes of revenge porn, I wouldn't have bothered.]
  • 122. (23 November) /All That Heaven Allows/ (1955, Douglas Sirk) (v) [91] [Burnt to a crisp.]
  • DNF. (23 November) The Devil Came From Akasava (1971, Jesus Franco [as "Jess Franco"]) (0:40) [Jesus, Franco.]
  • 121. (23 November) /Toy Story 2/ (1999, John Lasseter) (v) [89]
  • 120. (23 November) Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005, Steve Box & Nick Park) (v) [70]
  • 119. (22 November) Rosetta (1999, Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne) (v) [47]
  • 118. (31 October) She Killed in Ecstasy (1971, Jesus Franco [as "Frank Hollman"]) (v) [30] [This movie's stupid.]
  • 117. (31 October) /Run Stranger Run a.k.a. Happy Mother's Day, Love George/ (1973, Darren McGavin) (v) [65]
  • 116. (30 October) /The Crazies/ (1973, George A. Romero) (v) [84]
  • TV. (29 October) Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006, no credited director that I can tell) (v) [Below Average]
  • 115. (28 October) /Warning Sign/ (1985, Hal Barwood) (v) [71]
  • 114. (28 October) Men Behaving Badly (2006, Christopher Nolan) (f) [85]
  • 113. (27 October) /Dead of Winter/ (1987, Arthur Penn) (v) [53]
  • 112. (21 October) Calvaire (2006, Fabrice Du Welz) (v) [35] [That's not an ordeal. Film #110, that's an ordeal.]
  • 111. (21 October) Marie Antoinette (2006, Sofia Coppola) (f) [80] [I suspect the cheese will stand alone on this one.]
  • 110. (20 October) The Creeper a.k.a. Rituals (1977, Peter Carter) (f) [84]
  • 109. (10 October) Flags of Our Fathers (2006, Clint Eastwood) (f) [41] [Did you know that soldiers are sometimes haunted by the violence they witnessed and/or committed? It's true!]
  • 108. (7 October) /Let's Scare Jessica to Death/(1971, John Hancock) (v) [74]
  • 107. (7 October) The Departed (2006, Martin Scorsese) (f) [77]
  • 107. (3 October) Body Snatcher from Hell a.ka. Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968, Hajime Sato) (v) [58]
  • 106. (27 September) Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982, Amy Heckerling) (v) [64]
  • 105. (24 September) Zizek! (2005, Astra Taylor) (v) [55]
  • 104. (20 September) Raw Meat (1973, Gary Sherman) (v) [36] [Found this kinda pointless. Nice opening titles, though.]
  • 103. (20 September) /They Live/ (1988, John Carpenter) (v) [80]
  • DNF. (20 September) Ju-on (2000, Takashi Shimizu) (0:16) (v) [Hmmm... bad acting, looks like crap, clearly a waste of time -- it's the Japanese Saw!]
  • 102. (20 September) The Deer Hunter (1978, Michael Cimino) (v) [83]
  • 101. (19 September) /The Seventh Victim/ (1943, Mark Robson) (v) [69]
  • 100. (19 September) /Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind/ (2004, Michel Gondry) (v) [98]
  • 99. (19 September) Hatari! (1962, Howard Hawks) (v) [45] [So that's where "Baby Elephant Walk" comes from.]
  • 98. (19 September) The Black Windmill (1974, Don Siegel) (v) [58]
  • 97. (17 September) I Am The Cheese (1983, Robert Jiras) (v) [48]
  • 96. (17 September) The Black Dahlia (2006, Brian De Palma) (f) [22] [I haven't seen a noir whodunnit this bad since Mulholland Falls.]
  • 95. (14 September) This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006, Kirby Dick) (f) [71]
  • 94. (2 September) The Equinox... A Journey into the Supernatural (1967, Mark Thomas McGee & Dennis Muren) (v) [40]
  • 93. (30 August) Equinox (1970, Jack Woods) (v) [23]
  • 92. (28 August) On The Waterfront (1954, Elia Kazan) (v) [52]
  • 91. (27 August) The Squid and the Whale (2005, Noah Baumbach) (v) [72]
  • 90. (27 August) Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006, Adam McKay) (f) [60] [I prefer Gary Cole to Paul Newman, apparently.]
  • 89. (18 August) /Paratrooper a.k.a. Scarecrows/ (1988, William Wesley) (v) [43] [thx, sb!]
  • 88. (12 August) Fiend Without A Face (1958, Arthur Crabtree) (v) [42] [thx, sb!]
  • 87. (11 August) /Gloria/ (1980, John Cassavetes) (v) [40]
  • 86. (7 August) The Devil Wears Prada (2006, David Frankel) (f) [37] [I want to punch Adrian Grenier. Is that okay?]
  • 85. (23 July) Monster House (2006, Gil Kenan) (f) [60]
  • 84. (23 July) Lady in the Water (2006, M. Night Shyamalan) (f) [82] [Hey, I'm just as shocked as you. Sorry haters.]
  • 83. (22 July) /Gorilla at Large/ (1954, Harmon Jones) (v) [61]
  • 82. (21 July) The Prefab People (1982, Bela Tarr) (v) [39]
  • 81. (9 July) Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest (2006, Gore Verbinski) (f) [50]
  • 80. (30 June) A Prairie Home Companion (2006, Robert Altman) (f) [72]
  • 79. (28 June) Superman Returns (2006, Bryan Singer) (f) [48] [Down from 53; changed my mind.]
  • 78. (27 June) They Came Back (2004, Robin Campillo) (v) [64]
  • 77. (18 June) Rumor Has It... (2005, Rob Reiner) (v) [46]
  • 76. (17 June) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005, Shane Black) (v) [60] [Not bad, but probably the most overrated flick of '05.]
  • 75. (16 June) 16 Blocks (2006, Richard Donner) (v) [44]
  • 74. (15 June) Match Point (2005, Woody Allen) (v) [83]
  • 73. (13 June) X-Men: The Last Stand (2006, Brett Ratner) (f) [54]
  • 72. (13 June) Cars (2006, John Lasseter) (f) [59]
  • 71. (11 June) The Window (1949, Ted Tetzlaff) (f) [93] [Holy crap. Put this out on DVD now.]
  • 70. (11 June) The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950, Felix E. Fiest) (f) [53]
  • 69. (8 June) The Producers (2005, Susan Stroman) (v) [45] [Which is actually a pretty high rating, in context.]
  • 68. (2 June) Kings & Queen (2005, Arnaud Desplechin) (v) [55]
  • 67. (30 May) /A Woman Under the Influence/ (1974, John Cassavetes) (v) [82]
  • 66. (29 May) La Casa sperduta nel parco a.k.a. The House on the Edge of the Park (1980, Ruggero Deodato) (v) [61]
  • 65. (29 May) /Dead Again/ (1991, Kenneth Branagh) (v) [51]
  • 64. (23 May) /Love Streams/ (1984, John Cassavetes) (f) [84]
  • 63. (14 May) Bambi (1942, David D. Hand) (v) [22] [They play this on a continuous loop in Hell.]
  • 62. (12 May) /Cat People/ (1942, Jacques Tourneur) (v) [85]
  • 61. (11 May) /The Ghost Ship/ (1943, Mark Robson) (v) [62]
  • 60. (11 May) /The Leopard Man/ (1943, Jacques Tourneur) (v) [87; up from 68 (!)]
  • 59. (9 May) /A History of Violence/ (2005, David Cronenberg) (v) [88; up from 84]
  • 58. (7 May) /Fight Club/ (1999, David Fincher) (v) [93]
  • 57. (7 May) Ethan Hunt v. D&D Mattress Man (2006, J.J. Abrams) (f) [75]
  • 56. (5 May) /Adaptation./ (2002, Spike Jonze) (v) [91]
  • 55. (3 May) /Annie Hall/ (1977, Woody Allen) (v) [96]
  • 54. (3 May) /Punch-Drunk Love/ (2002, Paul Thomas Anderson) (v) [81]
  • 53. (2 May) Wolf Creek (2005, Greg McLean) (v) [69] [Real shame about that last half hour.]
  • 52. (2 May) /Panic Room/ (2002, David Fincher) (v) [80]
  • 51. (1 May) Six-String Samurai (1998, Lance Mungia) (v) [13] [Thanks, Support Ninja Manager (scroll down). Oh, and while we're at it: Go Ninja! Go Ninja!]
  • 50. (30 April) Cathy's Curse (1977, Eddy Matalon) (v) [44] [Probably the highest rating you'll find for this movie.]
  • 49. (29 April) /Rebel Without a Cause/ (1955, Nicholas Ray) [89] [The last act always drags for me -- Just shoot Sal Mineo already.]
  • 48. (29 April) Mirrormask (2005, Dave McKean) (v) [62]
  • s01. (27 April) C'etait un rendez-vous (1976, Claude Lelouch) (v) [Above Average.]
  • 47. (27 April) The Last American Virgin (1982, Boaz Davidson) (v) [58]
  • 46. (22 April) Hostel (2006, Eli Roth) (v) [66] [Am I overrating this cuz it's better than Cabin Fever? Maybe. But I got a right to like Hostel, man -- my genre bein' persecuted!]
  • 45. (20 April) Innocence (2006, Lucile Hadzihalilovic) (f) [70]
  • 44. (20 April) Abominable (2006, Ryan Schifrin) (f) [30] [Filmmakers: Don't waste Lance Henriksen. That's a... oh fuck it.]
  • [4/22/06: Rating is null and void, after discovering that this wasn't shot on DV -- I saw possibly the shittiest digital projection ever shittily projected. If I could see a version that doesn't look like used toilet paper, rating could go up 10 or more points. It's really not that bad.]
  • 43. (19 April) Hustle & Flow (2005, Craig Brewer) (v) [23] [You know it's hard out here for the patriarchy...]
  • 42. (17 April) Friends With Money (2006, Nicole Holofcener) (f) [64] [Filmmakers: Don't waste Mitch Rouse. That's a valuable resource.]
  • 41. (13 April) Mysterious Skin (2005, Gregg Araki) (v) [81]
  • 40. (11 April) L'Intrus (2006, Claire Denis) (f) [73] [Rating somewhat provisional due to projector problems.]
  • 39. (11 April) Brick (2006, Rian Johnson) (f) [59]
  • 38. (4 April) The Hills Have Eyes (2006, Alexandre Aja) (f) [43] [Filmmakers: Don't waste Billy Drago. That's a valuable resource.]
  • 37. (27 March) Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005, Mike Johnson & Tim Burton) (v) [38]
  • 36. (25 March) Inside Man (2006, Spike Lee) (f) [78]
  • 35. (22 March) Ultimate Avengers (2006, Curt Geda & Steven E. Gordon) (v) [55]
  • 34. (22 March) The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005, Tommy Lee Jones) (f) [38]
  • 33. (20 March) Porco Rosso (1992, Hayao Miyazaki) (v) [83]
  • 32. (20 March) Hi, Mom! (1970, Brian DePalma) (v) [64] ["Be Black, Baby": 88; everything else: 40.]
  • 31. (19 March) Jarhead (2005, Sam Mendes) (v) [51]
  • 30. (16 March) Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005, George Clooney) (f) [85]
  • 29. (15 March) Caché (2005, Michael Haneke) (f) [69] [Good, but ultimately didn't find it as compelling as some of his previous films.]
  • 28. (11 March) /The Bellboy/ (1960, Jerry Lewis) (v) [50] [Despite the rating, everyone should see the proto-Jackass belly flop before they die.]
  • 27. (11 March) The Weather Man (2005, Gore Verbinski) (v) [80]
  • 26. (11 March) Doom (2005, Andrzej Bartkowiak) (v) [23] [Probably worse than Elizabethtown, but in this house, if you pick 'em, you sit through 'em.]
  • DNF. (11 March) Elizabethtown (2005, Cameron Crowe) (v) [Orlndblmplzstpactngkthx. Krstndnstplzstpactngkthx. Cmrncrwplzstpwstngmytmkthx.]
  • 25. (9 March) Bubble (2006, Steven Soderbergh) (v) [71] [Kinda like Humanité acted out by the characters from Mike Judge's "King of the Hill".]
  • 24. (8 March) Lucky Number Slevin (2006, Paul McGuigan) (f) [33] [Imagine the bastard child of Quentin Tarantino and David E. Kelley.]
  • 23. (3 March) Capote (2005, Bennett Miller) (f) [53]
  • 22. (2 March) Lenny (1974, Bob Fosse) (v) [55]
  • 21. (2 March) Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979, Jeff Margolis) (v) [82]
  • 20. (26 February) Kingdom of Heaven (2005, Ridley Scott) (v) [63]
  • 19. (25 February) Crash (2005, Paul Haggis) (v) [14] [BWAH-HA-ha-ha-ha! Oh, stop it, Paul, you're killin' me.]
  • 18. (25 February) Red Eye (2005, Wes Craven) (v) [57]
  • 17. (9 February) /Masque of the Red Death/ (1964, Roger Corman) (v) [57]
  • 16. (8 February) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984, Hayao Miyazaki) (v) (sub) [73]
  • 15. (4 February) No Down Payment (1957, Martin Ritt) (v) [69]
  • 14. (4 February) /My Neighbor Totoro/ (1988, Hayao Miyazaki) (v) (sub) [100]
  • DNF. (1 February) House of Usher (1960, Roger Corman) (v) [Good god was that dull.]
  • 13. (25 January) /The White Buffalo/ (1977, J. Lee Thompson) (v) [21]
  • 12. (25 January) The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971, Robert Fuest) (v) [72]
  • 11. (20 January) The Island (2005, Michael Bay) (v) [41]
  • 10. (18 January) Emperor of the North (1973, Robert Aldrich) (v) [52]
  • 9. (17 January) Funny Ha Ha (2005, Andrew Bujalski) (v) [86]
  • TV. (16 January) Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That (2005, Bruce Ricker) (v) [Above Average]
  • 8. (16 January) /The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T/ (1953, Roy Rowland) (v) [85]
  • 7. (12 January) The Quatermass Xperiment a.k.a. The Creeping Unknown (1955, Val Guest) (v) [42]
  • 6. (8 January) /Princess Mononoke/ (1999, Hayao Miyazaki) (v) (sub) [79]
  • 5. (8 January) Great Day in the Morning (1956, Jacques Tourneur) (v) [78]
  • 4. (8 January) Strange Invaders (1983, Michael Laughlin) (v) [46]
  • 3. (7 January) Dark Water (2005, Walter Salles) (v) [59]
  • 2. (7 January) The Cave (2005, Bruce Hunt) (v) [53]
  • DNF. (3 January) Into The Blue (2005, John Stockwell) (v)
  • 1. (3 January) Grizzly Man (2005, Werner Herzog) (v) [90] {"This film has been modified from its theatrical version." And that's it. How? Music rights? Otherwise, wow.}
Author Comments: 

/title/ seen before
(f) seen on film/in a theater
(v) seen on TV (DVD, VHS, TiVo, etc.)
[xx] rating
DNF - Did not finish
TV - made for TV, and thus does not count towards the Listology Scoreboard
[Above Average, Average, Below Average] Talking-head documentaries and shorts are rated using the Leonard Maltin Made-For-TV rating system.

Rating system adapted from the one used by SteveR:
100-97 = Masterpiece (A)
96-90 = Fantastic; best of the year (A-)
89-80 = Remarkable (B+)
79-70 = Very Good (B)
69-60 = Good (B-)
59-50 = Okay (C+)
49-40 = Mediocre (C)
39-30 = Bad (C-)
29-20 = Horrible (D+)
19-10 = Torture (D)
9-1 = Would end a war if dropped on opposing country (D-)
0 = Uwe Boll (F)

Cloned From: 

I think they edited out Treadwell's appearance on Letterman's late night show, during which he jokes about being eaten by a bear. I think.

That appears to be it. You're my fact-checking cuz.

Wow, you actually tried to watch "Into the Blue"?!

Yes, and it was still playing in the living room when I posted my "DNF".

I hate hate hate Paul Walker.

James Berardinelli said: "Eye candy that could threaten brain damage."

Well at least you have some balance between Grizzly Man (which you apparently liked very much) and this one then.
Great start into 2006. Second movie and already a DNF! :)

How many times did James watch it?

....sorry i'll go away now....

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs


Look here. Wouldn't that be the right gift for you? Berardinelli says that "It's the perfect holiday gift."

And for those who can't get enough of him, here is an online novel he has written.

BTW will you look at me with eternal disdain if I tell you that Berardinelli's site is saved on my computer under "favorites", right under and listology?

OK, I'll stop now before stretching it too much... :)

Just because I look upon James' critiquing 'skills' with disdain does not mean I look down upon his fans.

From where I sit, I can't really look down on anyone!

You cool. : )

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Thanks for the flowers. :)

But I'm not really a fan of Berardinelli. I just regularly check out his well-written reviews.

Wow, "The Cave"? 53? Really? I'm intrigued.

Weeeelllll.... don't get your hopes up. A lot of the points come from the premise, which is hard for me to turn down, and the ending is interesting for the genre. But it's Cameron-lite-lite, and doesn't ebb and flow like you want a good story to do. Estimated dayfornight rating: no higher than a 42.

The premise makes it sound like one of those movies the SciFi Channel shows on Saturday afternoons...which means I'm all over it. It'll be interesting to see how good of a prognasticator you are.

I'm also a fan of underground-monster-movies, but I thought "The Cave" was downright awful. Dayfornight's assessment that it seems like a daytime Sci-Fi Channel flick is pretty accurate -- only difference is that it doesn't star Lorenzo Lamas (maybe he was already committed!). As far as these types of things go, another movie from last year called "The Descent" is much better. If this one got a 53, that one should be through the effin' roof.

I've heard of "The Descent." That's the one by the "Dog Soldiers" guy, right? If my multi-region player hadn't been swallowed by Hurricane Katrina's flood waters, I might have been interested in getting the region 2 DVD. As for "The Cave," well, I've been known to spend my Saturday mornings infront of the SciFi Channel, so awful or not I'll probably still watch it.

Awful? Really? I mean it isn't technically good, but I thought it was far from awful. I guess what I most appreciated about it was that it played it straight with a minimum of pretension, and didn't Gen-Y it into stupidity -- like, say, Into the Blue.

Half-watched most of this today. Seemed straightfoward and, like you wrote, unpretentious. Not sure if it's any good or not. Maybe I'll try it again when I get the video projector hooked up tomorrow.

Good god was that dull.

That's how I felt about "Masque of the Red Death". Are all the Corman/Price/Poe films dull or something?

Funny, last time I saw Masque, I kinda liked it. But that was years ago -- I'll be watching it again soon. Also, years ago, I saw The Haunted Palace, which was the best of the lot, but maybe cuz it was Lovecraft and not Poe. Ligeia has its moments.

But yeah, they do tends towards dullness. I don't even want to go near The Terror. (Or did I see it and wipe it from my mind?)

Today I saw my first movie by Uwe Boll (House of the Dead), and now I understand why you say "0 = Uwe Boll".

Pff, I disagree about Crash. So far, the best of all the "Best Picture"-nominees.

Dammit. I pretty much have to see "Lucky Number Slevin", too, just because I like making fun of Paul McGuigan. :-)

Yes, you must! Trilogy! Trilogy! I think you'll have a lot of fun with it ;-)

Hey, wouldja look at this... you know you want to see it.


I knew about this one, but decided to shield you from it. Blame any psychological problems on Steve-O. ;-)

Very impressive double feature of terribleness. Does anyone still think Crowe is a quality filmmaker? IMHO, the "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" screenplay is the only decent thing he's ever produced.

Next up: The Weather Man!

Matt hated that one and I can sorta see why but I didn't think it was so awful.

Thing is, I'm a genuine Gore Verbinski fan, which I suspect puts me, evolutionarily-speaking, just above the flatworm.

Well, I liked "The Mexican" so I'm probably right there with ya.

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. I couldn't get into the pity-party of "The Weather Man," but figured some might: as Cage said somewhere in an interview, it's going to be a cult fav. years down the line (the sense of humor is very off-beat).

It took me a good 30 seconds to figure out your vowel-less review of "Elizabethtown" but once I got it ... lol. ;-) And hey, I had to watch the damn thing in the theatre, so at least you could just hit a button to make it stop.

Actually, my wife continued to watch it while I got on the computer in the same room. Nothing I heard or saw from the corner of my eye convinced me my decision was wrong :-) But, it also explains the comment for Doom.

I would like to join the rest of y'all by extending one middle digit at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the other middle digit at Paul Haggis.

On another note, why no love for Lenny? I seriously adore that movie.

Well, I liked Lenny, but like auto_matt, I was a little disappointed that the change from bad vaudeville act to trailblazing 1st Amendment warrior wasn't really dramatized, and I'm not sure that Fosse's approach (what with the editing and the faux-interviews) worked that well. Hoffman's great and Perrine's fucking awesome -- I didn't know she had that kind of talent once upon a time.

I really hope you do a blog post on "Caché" 'cuz I'm not quite sure what the hell to write about it. :-)

Challenge accepted! And I do mean challenge :)

Are you familiar with the oov-ruh of Mr. Haneke?

I've seen all his recent stuff. And I pretty much feel the same way about all of 'em...except "The Piano Teacher," I guess; Isabelle Huppert is outstanding in that one.

Where is "Hidden Not Starring Kyle McLachlan" in my opinion. ;-)

Well, it's being held up because I'm busy dealing with this. Maybe you could help us out? :-)

Brick (2006, Rian Johnson) (f) [59]

'splain, please.

Well, you might like it more than me, since you're That Noir Kid (or is that socialretard?), but I find that Dashiell Hammett crap annoying and impossible to follow. (Have you ever read Red Harvest? Lots of similarities.) I actually stopped listening to the dialogue about 2/3s of the way through when I realized it wasn't going to help me and it was distracting me from the visuals (which are nice -- this Johnson character has real talent.) When the climactic "what exactly happened?" speech is full of "I went over there and she told me this cuz she didn't want to do this or that cuz of something else someone said"... you know, either show it or shut the fuck up. So yeah, I tuned out of the story and away from the characters, and that seems, to me, to be the atithesis of moviegoing.

How about that Gordon-Levitt?

Also... yeah. I see what you mean about Alexandre Aja and "Rubber Johnny". Pretty blatant, that.

G to the L is great, and major props to Bill Sage and Mary Lynn Rajskub as well. It's a well-acted movie all around.

Have you given any thought to watching "Wolf Creek"? I'm thinking that maybe my "53" was a little low.

That one is on it's way!

I'm somewhat surprised by your high rating on L'Intrus. Yes Denis composes some amazing images and Agnes Godard is one of the best cinematographers working today, but WTF.

Why the "Bambi" hate, dude?

Y'know, I was thinking of posting to the blog about this, but I haven't had time to do much of anything lately. But primarily, it's boring as fuck. Second, it's annoying as fuck. Third (and this is where I'll lose a lot of people), it came across as proto-fascistic to me, like Triumph of the Will for tots.

Third (and this is where I'll lose a lot of people), it came across as proto-fascistic to me, like Triumph of the Will for tots.


Lost you! Told ya! :-)

But basically, it's like this: Bambi conflates human values and the values of nature, because it can't decide whether it's telling a story (narrative, human values) or whether it's more like a documentary (an objective demonstration of nature's values). It wants to show us "how nature is", with its Spring, Summer, Fall, Etc. structure, and its dispassionate portrayal of death. (I was shocked not so much by Bambi's mom's death, but how it doesn't have any narrative or emotional resonance -- she's dead, kid, move on.)

But it also wants to anthropomorphize the characters, make them "relatable" and with human emotions. And I find this negligent at best, dangerous at worst. I can accept that in nature, male deer don't have anything to do with raising their offspring, and that the males have to enter combat for the right to mate... and I can accept it because nature isn't an ideology. But when the film conflates nature's values with human values, then it becomes ideology, and a dangerous and, as I said, proto-fascistic one.

(Compare this with Grizzly Man, which to me is the opposite -- it's interested in not conflating the two, but how these two sets of values rub against each other and create sparks.)

I mean, Bambi could have been complicated in a number of ways to protect against this. Mom's death could have haunted the rest of the picture. They could've set up a male friend for Bambi that he'd have to fight against to mate with that chick. Or they could've went the opposite way, and made a nature documentary that happened to be animated. But they ended up with a mixture that doesn't work -- or it works against itself. The very last shot, panning from Bambi's new kids to the adult Bambi and his dad on the cliff -- I guess I was supposed to have my heart warmed or some shit, but I was genuinely frightened by the image -- to my eyes an unadorned, unhidden statement of power and sexism. (And even scarier because I'm sure that wasn't intended.)

Also, Bambi's legs are disturbing in an Alien-esque way.

Hey, there's my blog post!


Hey man, what happened to your original post?

I was gonna say "I'm glad I don't live in that world. Although I'll be the first to admit that three uses of the word "conflate" was a little excessive. That's why I don't get paid for this, etc."

I meant it to be funny, but when I read it, I feared it might sound mean. I can be oversensitive about silly matters when I am sleep-deprived, and I never wish to tick somebody off over a silly jest...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Aw, it aint no thang... :-)

Damn, dude... look at you bringin' the rigor! I'm impressed at that breakdown - never quite thought of it that way. (Then again, I haven't seen the film since I was dick high...)

Just tryin' to keep it real, mang. ;-)

Should I assume that you saw Over the Hedge this past (opening) weekend and are applying the same critical standards?

No, haven't seen Over the Hedge (and not sure I will), but at the same time, I sincerely doubt that OTE is working the same mytho-epic (if I may make up a word) alley that Bambi is.

(If it does, though, I'd certainly like to hear about it!)

I dunno... I can picture a case being made that Over the Hedge conflates human and natural value systems. From what I've seen the creatures are highly anthropomorphized. I doubt that anyone would mistake it for a documentary but then again I don't think that Bambi is often mistaken for March of the Penguins.

There's something attractive (to me) about the concept of the competing ideologies of humans and nature, suburbs and wilderness, Ayn Rand and Karl Marx. Throw in the voice of Bruce Willis and you've got some popcorn-munching philosophical indoctrination.

It might not be up the same "mthyo-poetic" alley (works for me) but this conflict is probably in the same cul-de-sac. Again I'm assuming, but there probably is some sort of allegorical multi-cultural message of the co-existence of human society and nature by the end of the movie. I truly doubt that pollution, habitat loss, the commodification of resources and species extinction would make it in a DreamWorks movie for children... although Madagascar 2 would provide the perfect environment.

It is the relentless destruction wrought by capitalism (and targetted specifically to children) that frightens me as much as sexism. And I don't think that these power relationships are unrelated. Much like you I'd certainly like to hear about it... and, (probably) much like you, I dread the answer.

Well, dammit, I may have to see it now -- you've intrigued me. I assumed that OTH was like any other narrative fiction film, animated or otherwise, where, regardless if the characters were human, animal, alien, whatever, it was about human values -- but I can see how maybe there might be more to it than that. If it shows up at the local, I just may walk down and check it out for myself (even though I hate Dreamworks animation).

Why the big ratings leap for The Leopard Man? I've only seen it once, but wouldn't give it a point more than your original rating of 68 -- and that only if I was feeling generous!

Well, short version: I forgive all its flaws. We can talk about The Leopard Man's flaws until the cats come home, but after watching the DVD (which has the best video & sound I've seen, and I've seen this movie like four times), I just really fell in love with it.

The "little girl goes to the grocery" scene is one of the best sequences in horror movie history, imo, and in some ways that would be enough. But what really gets me is that it's like a proto-Altman/proto-giallo mashup, and those are two of my all-time favorite...uh, genres. (Not the right word, but you know what I mean.) There's no real protagonist, but the community itself is the protagonist, and there's a real fluidity to the presentation, the way the camera crosses race and class boundaries to paint a portrait of this little New Mexico community. (Where Cat People is primarily psychological, this is primarily social in focus.) There's also a "sins of the fathers" subtext going on -- something about oppression begetting oppression -- but I haven't really looked into it. Oh, and the woman who plays the dancer with the clicky-clack things -- great performance.

Sorry-- I wrote this very quickly because I don't have a lot of time. Hopefully there's something up there that makes some kind of sense :-)

Have either of you guys seen "The Seventh Victim"? Again, flawed, but there's an interesting subtext running through it.

Oooh, I love The Seventh Victim, but I haven't seen it in years -- and I would've seen it last week, but I forgot to enter the right numbers into the computer in 108 minutes.

76. (17 June) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005, Shane Black) (v) [60] [Not bad, but probably the most overrated flick of '05.]

I say, hush hush... :-)

(Will there be a blog post on this?)

I say, hush hush... :-)

I really shouldn't troll... ;-P

(Will there be a blog post on this?)

Dunno. Considering I had a whole lot to say about The Window and there's still no entry, chances are slim.

If I had to sum it up quickly, I guess it'd be something like: I can't fully endorse a movie that has a sequence like the death of the lookalike, immediately followed by a dog-eating-finger scene.

Obviously, everyone else's M most definitely Vs.

See, I dunno -- I think that's why it's superior to most products of its genre. It's willing to scramble the serious with the silly. I'll admit the shifts can be jarring, but IMO Black pulls it off with no problems.

Now that I think about it, you're not too keen on Korean cinema, either...

Also, I would like to know why "The Window" is so awesome.

Now that I think about it, you're not too keen on Korean cinema, either...

Generally speaking, it's true, I'm not. It's one of my blindspots. I think there's a kind of writerly bias going on with me that says, If it looks like you're just throwing whatever at the wall and seeing what sticks, then you're not doing your job.

At the same time, that doesn't really explain the Black movie, since it does feel of a piece. So maybe that's what it is w/r/t Kiss Kiss -- the two scenes feel like they have equal weight, and it just rubs me the wrong way.

Also, I would like to know why "The Window" is so awesome.

Maybe I should just buckle down and write the entry...

What about "Supes"?

Kinda dull and two-dimensional, just like its hero. Nice SFX work, tho. But lemme say this: why the hell do you cast Kal Penn in a non-speaking role?

What about "Pirates"?

Downgrading "The Return the Super-Man" was the right move to make.

PIRATES: It's like that overlong, overkinetic last 30 minutes of the previous movie, only for the entire running time. No rhythm, no interesting twists on the characters, Depp actually verges on annoying. Only worth it for Davy Jones and his crew, and a few set pieces. Probably overrating this like I did SUPERMAN: THE COFFEE-TABLE BOOK MOVIE.

SUPERMAN: Yeah, nothing really there, is there?

Oh, and if someone told me that the best summer blockbuster would be BRETT'S RAT-MEN 3, I woulda laughed. Or shot myself.

84. (23 July) Lady in the Water (2006, M. Night Shyamalan) (f) [82] [Hey, I'm just as shocked as you. Sorry haters.]

Whoa! I know the blog is retired and you don't have a lot of spare time, but what did ya think?

Also, you don't know what hot is! ;-)

Oh, I can't even imagine being someplace other than the Pacific Northwest right now, and it's pretty bad here.

I'm awfully tempted to write up a blog entry, for this and Monster House, probably just from a perverse desire to do it, now that I said I wasn't anymore.

But here's the quickie version:

1. Best Giamatti perf ever? Quite possibly. First lead performance filled by an actor and not a movie star. Whenever it starts to float away into airy-fairy shit, Giamatti tugs it back down like a kid with a balloon.

2. Shyamalan finally gets all his obsessions together in one place without one of them going overboard and messing the whole thing up: doctors, regret/survivor's guilt, storytelling, art house camera moves, oddball characters, off the wall humor, suspense (admittedly, not as good as in The Village), pop-culture refs.

3. In some ways, this is a remake of Signs, only instead of using an ill-advised SF setup (aliens who are allergic to water!), he can use a made-up mythology that doesn't have to make a lick of sense. Also, in a brilliant move, there's no scene where Giamatti or anyone else has to be convinced of what's going on. You don't miss it, and it works perfectly. Also also, while the plot of Signs is basically "Aint That A Kawinkydink?", this one is "What's My Archetype?", and I like it a lot better.

4. Only bad part: Bob Balaban's big scene.

5. Genuinely surprising without a big twist (but there are many smaller twists -- you know, like in a regular movie.)

It's probably going to get torn up critically, and that's a real shame -- all that bile should've been directed at Signs, which I remember getting (inexplicably) a pass. I was prepared to write MNS off, but now I think he's levelled up.

I'm awfully tempted to write up a blog entry, for this and Monster House, probably just from a perverse desire to do it, now that I said I wasn't anymore.

I'd like you to do it, but if you have more important things to do with your time, I'd certainly understand.

But your brief comments here at least give me some hope for "LitW," despite the fact that I disliked both "The Village" and "Signs." I also want to see "Monster House."

Monster House was a real heartbreaker -- everything is in the right place, but it just doesn't take off. And I think one of the reasons it doesn't is, paradoxically, the same reason it got made: it's computer animated. It really should've been live action.

One last thing, what sold it, ultimately: it ends fucking perfectly. Don't remember the last movie I saw that really stuck the landing.

4. Only bad part: Bob Balaban's big scene.

Oh, how I disagree...but my wife liked it almost as much as you did.

What would your off-the-cuff ratings be for the rest of the Night oov-ruh?

The Sixth Sense: 44
Unbreakable: 70
Signs: 40
The Village: 25

Haven't seen "Wide Awake With Rosie O'Donnell" or "Praying With Anger."

For the life of me, I just don't get the Unbreakable love. There's more awfulness per minute there than Signs -- it should say something that I consider the "kid with gun" scene to be one of the better parts. Signs is ultimately much worse, though.

Oh, it should be noted, by being exposed to toxic levels of both Signs and The Village thanks to Starz, I've flip-flopped -- Signs would get a 20-25, and The Village would jump up to the high 30s, low 40s. Three words: Roger Fuckin' Deakins.

And "LitW" would be your number one M. Night by a mile?

I'd have to watch "Sixth Sense" again, especially since that was the last time it seemed like MNS really sweated over a script, but right now, I'd say , yeah, number one.

I'd like to see M.N.S. direct someone else's script. Maybe that will happen now that "LitW" is a critical and financial disaster.

I've been waiting for that since Signs. We can dream.

I will say that Chris Doyle is a god among cinematographers. Based on what I've read, I wouldn't want to be his boss, though.

Forgive me for being late to the party, but I'm shocked to see the rating, and I'm not a hater (more of an ignorer).

So, maybe I'll have to check this one out after all. Perhaps I should fill in the MNS blanks first though, which would consist of every single film after The Sixth Sense.

...maybe I'll have to check this one out after all.

Do not do this in my opinion. If you have the desire to see another MNS movie, make it "Unbreakable." Despite Kza's claims, it is a solid effort. Sort of Superman by way of Ingmar Bergman.

"Unbreakable" has one of the worst endings ev--



Good one, bud. In fact, your comment was twice as entertaining as all of "Lady in the Water." ;-)

Oh, SHNAP! :-p

I'm guessing that "Prada" was not your pick. :-)

Ha! I have a friend in town, and since my wife was at work, I had to find something that wasn't on the NO SEE list -- "Miami Vice", "The Descent", "Little Miss Sunshine" -- you know, anything worth watching.

But actually, I have no real hate for "chick flicks" or whatever you want to call them, but "Prada" as a screenplay was, IMO, ill-conceived. A number of what I call "False Drama" scenes -- scenes that seem like they're providing dramatic conflict, but only on a superficial level. You think about them and realize that characters are overreacting just to make the plot move, or worse, that you're blatantly being manipulated so that certain character actions can be justified later. Bleah.

Streep's great, though.

[thx, sb!]

I have a bunch more I'm gonna unload on you guys soon. :-)

Woo hoo!

I'm just gonna send out some random crap and if you're not interested in it you can just pass it on to someone else.

I'm down with random crap. That sounds like a lot of fun, actually.

Good. I'm gonna send you about 30 discs to have fun with.

Still working on this, BTW. Maybe some time before I start looking for a job again in September.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby [60]
On The Waterfront (1954, Elia Kazan) (v) [52]

Do you also prefer Gary Cole to Lee J. Cobb?

Lee J. Cobb is all kinds of awesome, but not enough to give "Waterfront" a pass. It was in the low 60s/high 50s untl the disappointingly de rigueur mano-a-mano at the end. The whole film is so Oscar Bait, 50s style, if you know what I mean.

Btw, I got to see "The Man Who Cheated Himself", featuring Cobb not only in the lead, but also as a romantic interest. It's a noir, so the romance leads to tragedy, but it was still refreshing to see someone like Cobb in the role.

Fair enough, heh. I always like a little backstory on the ratings.

re: Cobb. Hmm, IMDB says it's on DVD. Wonder if I could pick that one up. Thanks for the tip.

Wow, is The Black Dahlia really THAT bad?

Let's put it this way: if it was a DVD, I woulda turned it off after a 1/2 hour. You know how sometimes in movies they have a fake Oscar show with fake nominated films, like in In and Out? That's what the whole thing looked like: fake Oscar bait. Surprisingly, the Million Dollar Baby comes out okay, but the rest of the leads -- especially Aaron Eckhart -- look foolish.

I liked the first 30-40 minutes and then it went downhill. Even though her acting was okay, I didn't buy Swank in that role. She just doesn't look right. I thought Hartnett was surprisingly okay for the most part, which kind of shocked me. De Palma seemed to recycle a lot of his old tricks. The scene where Hartnett's running up the stairs trying to get to Eckhart sort of played like a really weak version of the baby cart scene in Untouchables.

You actually liked that opening riot? I expected the sailors and cops to start doing pirouettes and shit.

Okay, not the riot so much...but the establishment of the relationship with the two cops and the woman. Shortly after the Dahlia turned up, it just started to get progressively worse. So from the looks of your movie-watching, I'm guessing the temp job ended?

Yeah, it's done -- it ended the day after I saw you, actually. I thought this week was going to be "all writing, all the time", but my computer died on me Monday morning. So this week I'm watching as many movies as I can stand to watch.

Hooray for the DNF on Jew On in my opinion. If there is any film I am looking forward to less than The Grudge Again, then that is one sad film.

"I have come here to kick ass and chew bubblegum...and I'm all out of bubblegum."

Good to see that Jessica lived up to your memory of it. I'll have to watch it soon...

Yeah, I'm curious what you and socialretard will think of it. It's not really scary -- creepy, maybe -- but it's part of that "horror drama" genre I like. The two lead female performances are quite good, and the ending is haunting, even if I'm not quite sure what happened, exactly.

I had some problems with Flags too (the long as hell narration at the end explaining everything we're supposed to get from the movie almost completely ruined it for me), but 41? Ouch!

Directed by Clint?
Screenplay by Haggis?

Might as well give Flags the Best Picture Oscar now and be done with it.

dayfornight: At the risk of being proved a complete idiot come Feb, I really don't see it happening. I'm sure the Academy of Arts N Scienzs will like it, just not that much. It's really not *that* distinctive. (Not saying it won't be nominated, however, especially for technical stuff)

socialretard: Yeah. It was in the high 50s for the first 30-40 min, then it got real, real repetitive to me. The "Chocolate or strawberry?" scene was the nadir.

I don't know.

I haven't seen Flags, but it certainly seems like the kind of thing that will at the very least get a HUGE push for Best Picture.

Also, Ridley Scott's A Good Year with Russell Crowe and (maybe) Todd Field's Little Children.

What else? Maybe The Departed will get nominated, but it certainly won't win.

I have high hopes Scorsese will get a Best Director Oscar. High, high hopes.

Also, Kza, I laughed at loud when I saw the movie title Let's Scare Jessica to Death. I never heard of that one, believe it or not. ;-)
(My long time personal favorite: My Friends Need Killing)

Whoa, dude... Rituals is really that good? I've owned it for a long while now (the Canadian cut, no less!), but I didn't actually expect it to be good, just violent. Do tell, dude.

I thought it was pretty damn good, but I was lucky enough to see it in a theater (a tiny theater, but a theater nonetheless). It's nothing new, mind you; it doesn't reinvent the form or anything. But there's good writing, good performances, and what really set it over the top was how the visuals change about halfway through (nothing subtle -- you'll know what I mean when you see it). It's not really that violent or gory, either, but it is brutal -- at times, it looks like it was about as tough on the actors as is it on the characters. I do have a few quibbles -- the climax at the end isn't as exciting to me as the sequence right before, and there's one fistfight between two characters that made me roll my eyes -- but otherwise, this is a pretty topnotch survival horror flick. (I consciously gave it the same grade as the Dawn of the Dead remake)

I haven't seen a noir whodunnit this bad since Mulholland Falls.

I prefer Falls, frankly.

(12 December) The Doom Generation (1995, Gregg Araki) (v) [62]


Heeeeere come the pretzels!

Like it says up top, I found it charming, and funny at times. The tv newscast bit made me laugh out loud, especially when Peter Brady beamed in. (This is probably where I started to get on the film's wavelength, since I was a little suspicious up until that point.)

I suspect there's 3 concurrent factors for my response: 1) I was prepared for something really bad by you and Matt; 2) I've been reading Robin Wood's book, and although I haven't read the "Doom Generation" chapter yet (that's for tomorrow's bus), I'm sure I've been "buttered up" by Wood to see it the way he sees it -- I mean, I could write the précis for that chapter right now. 3) Rose McGowan's rack.

I also think, between this and "Mysterious Skin", that Araki has a hell of an eye, and I'm impressed by what he does with an obviously small budget. I mean, I'm sure there are better transgressive movies out there, and I'm sure Araki cops a lot of stuff from older, underground filmmakers, but simply put, I haven't seen that stuff yet, so I'm impressed with what I got.

Factor Four: I enjoyed the theatricality of it as well -- the stylized performances, the increasingly cheap looking locales (until it ends on what appears to be an empty stage)... just the whole artificiality of the thing. Reminded me of Craig Lucas's play "Reckless", actually.

Yes, I fear for Kza's sanity. Perhaps he was rating the movie's soundtrack, which is awesome.

It did reignite an interest in Skinny Puppy, an itch I haven't scratched in nearly 17 years.

We need to charter a plane to Seattle, stat!

Did you theater-hop at Pacific Place? We almost did Good Shepherd after Children of Men today, but didn't have the endurance to go through with it.

As tempting as it is to do the hop at the PP, we actually paid for both movies (and $20 of crap food for "lunch" in between). Luckily, $30 of that was offset by a gift card we got that morning.

If I was by myself, I might've snuck into Dreamgirls -- it was playing at the "pillar" auditorium.

Children of Men is playing this week at the Scott Black Home Theatre. Looking forward to it. Cuarón's A Little Princess is probably my favorite children's movie of the last twenty years.

Curious to see what you think of it. I couldn't fully get behind like a lot of other people; unlike Rosenbaum, I thought the first 1/2 hour or so was the worst, and it got better once it got more action-oriented.

Pretty sure the car attack wins the Best Scene award, tho.

"Enjoyed by members who enjoyed White Noise..."

Well, we know how much you enjoyed White Noise. ;-)