An Still-Entirely-Redundant (But More Useful than Expected) Viewing Log for 2006

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Worked out so well last year, I figured why not keep it crackin'...

Slashes will always indicate repeat viewings. That's just how it is.

Really? "Wing of Desire"? DNF? Did you at least make it to "The Carny" scene?

That's where I stopped it, actually. Using "The Carny" in that situation was just such an obvious move that it was the last straw for me... and I love that song, too. Maybe I'll try the film again some other day, but I knew it was time to turn it off when I realized that I was actually hoping Meg Ryan would turn up looking all dewy-eyed.

It's actually been about 15 years since I've seen it, so my memory of it is kinda hazy. Maybe I need to revisit it.

Ah, I so look forward to seeing "Havoc" tomorrow. Not really, but I must do it anyway.

No, dude, see "Brokeback Mountain". Anne shows 'em off in that too, plus that film's actually good.

You're right, "Havoc" wasn't even Larry Clark bad. It was just bad...and boring.

I'm guessing that Tsukamoto never lived up to his promise.

Naw, he's pretty much on my shit list now. All form, no function -- somehow, he's Japan's weird answer to Michael Bay.

You've got more patience than I do. I only made it through 20 minutes of Bullet Ballet.

Well, I was watching it with friends, so there's that. Believe me, if I'd been on my own, it would have been half an hour and out.

Really, you couldn't get through "Ginger Snaps Back"? I thought it mediocre, but certainly no less so than Godard's "Weekend." Sorry cinephiles.

Again, part of my bailout is attributable to the time at which I started it (1:30 AM, if I'm not mistaken). But also, I'd just suffered through "Secuestro Express" and I didn't have the fortitude to make it through a(nother) film that wasn't any good.

Secuestro Express an F?, its not that bad, i know Venezuelan films are ineptly made, but Vudu was great, and it has some very funny scenes.

"Inept" being the key word. Sorry, but I'm not convinced Jonathan J. has any business being near a camera. Plus, it looks unforgivably awful next to the '70s films it's emulating.

70's?, i thought it was trying to emulate Tarantino and Rodriguez.

There have to be something you like about it, since you saw the whole thing.

This will made you weep, but this is one of the better shot Venezuelan films i have seen, i was going to recommed Punto y Raya, but in a second tought don't bother.

Usually, when I start to suspect a film's going to get an F, I feel compelled to see it all the way through. I'd like to say it's to see if the film eventually does improve a bit, but more likely it's because I'm stupid.

was it spanish with subtitles?, i wonder how they translated the Echale mantequilla that Vudu says in the gay sex scene.

Spanish with subs. And what the heck does 'echale mantequilla' translate to, anyway? Something about butter?

Put some butter in it, or butter it up.

Was the um ... um ... few bits of goodness in "Havoc" what kept it from the "F?" ;-)

LOL... actually, no, it was Joseph Gordon-Levitt, about whom I had a revelation midfilm that I will expand upon whenever I get around to updating my languishing webiste. The Anne nudity was somewhat spoiled by the fact that a week earlier I'd seen "Brokeback Mountain", during which she also strips off.

Not a single person I know personally who has seen "Jules and Jim" likes it. One person, a college professor (Women's Studies), said she fell asleep during it the two times she tried to watch it. It's amazing, really, since I think it's one of Truffaut's more 'accessible' movies.

I realize you're numbering short films with an "s" preceding them. Does the "t" stand for "theatre"? Do you want those to count for the scoreboard?

No, "t" stands for TV. Those are episodes of the Showtime series "Masters of Horror". They're mini-films, an hour long each (long enough for feature-length), but since they're TV movies they don't count. Thus the demarcation.

Makes perfect sense. Thanks for explaining.

Finally...someone else who liked "Bubble."

I think it's amazing, honestly. I'll give it another watch in the next couple days (to see if we can't get rid of that minus)... but even if it doesn't improve significantly, I feel confident in proclaiming this one of the five best films I will see this year.

How did you see Half Nelson? Got a fest going where you are? It's playing in SF next month, so I may check it out. And the much-lauded Quinceanera is crap...interesting.

Yep - New Directors/New Films, the companion series to the New York Film Fest. Three films next Sunday too, of which I'm most excited for "13 Tzameti". ND/NF is generally a crapshoot these days, but every now and then something like "Half Nelson" (or "The Day I Became a Woman", or "Darwin's Nightmare") sneaks in.

Nice. If and when Metal: A Headbanger's Journey makes it your way, don't miss it.

I actually had a crack at getting a screener of that through my association with Blogcritics, but someone else beat me to it. Damn.

Regarding this April 2nd of yours ... I can only hope your home was hit by a freak snow storm or something because six feature films in one day ... yowza. ;-)

The most I ever watched in one day was three. I had the flu.

Naw, fest day! "Kirikou" and "Crimes" were watched on the train (it's an hour-twenty ride); the other four were seen in a theater. Which still isn't as impressive as last August 17, when I shoehorned six theatricals into one day... but it's still not bad. :-)

And I think I managed to watch three films in a day once during a bout of strep throat. That was fun. :-P

"Point Blank" a lesser grade than "Ronald Reagan is a Killer"? Shocking!

At least you were right about "The Driver" and "David Holzman's Diary." ;-)

'Cause two outta threeeee, ain't baaaad... :-)

So, "Silent Hill" is as bad as they say in your opinion, eh?

It's like the world's longest Aphex Twin video. Except retarded.

Still, I can't wait to see it. Call me crazy.

God, I'll probably end up in front of it too. Heaven help us.

I won't pay for it, though, that's for sure. ;-)

EDIT: First, though, I need to watch that "Dragonfly"/"White Noise" double feature. Just kidding.

Ha! Awesome. Wish I could say the same :-)

So Cos, where did you see Dumplings: Full Order Version?

And when I see the director's name, why do I always imagine a rainbow-colored pack of gum with a giraffe on it?

Lion's Gate put out a two-disc version of "Three... Extremes." The second disc has the full-length "(Chicken &) Dumplings." It's almost exactly like the "Extremes" version, except that it's longer. Ooh boy.

Also... wow, Nostalgia Kza bringin' back the Fruit Stripe! Haven't thought about that stuff in forever and a goddamn day.

Have you seen many "Masters of Horror" episodes? I have a few, but wondered which ones were actually worth watching.

I've seen all of 'em, save for Miike's still-unreleased "Imprint." "Cigarette Burns" is the best of the lot, though "Dreams in the Witch-House" and "Sick Girl" are also solid. The rest range from decent to mediocre, with the exceptions of "The Fair-Haired Child" (really stupid) and "Dance of the Dead" (unspeakable).

Speaking of John Carpenter, have you heard of this and, god forbid, this?

Yes and, unfortunately, yes.

Regarding the latter: Remember the big to-do when "H20" came out, about how Kevin Williamson was throwing out all the ridiculous backstory that had accumulated over the course of the previous three sequels and getting the series back to its basics? Everything comes full circle when you're talking sequels, I guess -- now they've thrown out Williamson's take and getting back to the convoluted backstory. (Wait... does that mean that "Resurrection" never happened? AWESOME!)

Well, at least you didn't walk out of THE PROPOSITION like MD'A.

Two more things
1) Are you saving CONTAINER for a special time and place? ;-)
2) Are you planning to see UNITED 93? (You should.)

I don't quite get the hostile reviews "The Proposition" has been picking up -- it's good. (Not as good as "Down in the Valley," though -- holy shit.)


1) Heh... nah, just digging out from underneath some other stuff that needed my attention first.

2) I wasn't planning on seeing it at all... right up until you gave it that 84. Now I have to.

I liked NICK CAVE'S THE PROPOSITION a little more than VALLEY. I thought the latter meandered a little too much during its third act. Great performance by Norton, though, and those widescreen compositions were quite spectacular, even when projected onto my wall. Have you seen DAHMER? It's not-so-bad in my opinion.

Also, no way is UNITED 93 five points worse than FAILURE TO LAUNCH(?!) as MD'A seems to think.

Maybe that's why I was so blown away by "Valley" -- I did see "Dahmer" back in '02 and wasn't terribly impressed. I though Jacobson showed confidence but little feel for the material, and the time-tripping structure wounded the story. Apparently he's improved a bit in the years between making those two. It's second only to "Bubble" in the films of the year 2006 right now in my opinion.

You really shoulda had an "Intruder" triple feature. ;-)

Oddly enough, that was my intention, sort of. I was gonna do a whole "Intruder" week, what with the two I had from Netflix, the two from Greencine and the one that's been stuck in my backlog for two years or so. But it ended up being more of an "Intruder" every-couple-of-days thing... :-)

Is L'Intrus on deck?

Sure is. That was the impetus for the whole thing -- when I did a search for "The Intruder," I was amused at how many titles came up.

Yeah, on another day I could almost see myself not being as impressed with Maniac as I'd like to be, though that day hasn't come yet.

But, man, is there ever nothing at all to I Spit On Your Grave.

But, man, is there ever nothing at all to I Spit On Your Grave.

I do, obviously, disagree. I think of the film as a proto-Haneke sort of thing - "Funny Games" without the overt hectoring.

Then again, you didn't much care for "Funny Games," if I'm not mistaken...

Yeah, I think summer must be in the air, 'cause I'm finding myself reacting rather strongly against sadism, both measured (i.e. Haneke, Dumont) and undisciplined (i.e. Hostel). Usually that sort of thing is very much to my taste.

The scene in The 39 Steps in which Hannay hides out at the farmhouse, ends up being given away by the farmer, and is finally helped by the farmer's wife is one of my favourite moments in any Hitchcock film. Not only is it suspenseful, but the care taken to flesh out both the young, city-dreaming wife and her older, religious husband is incredible. I admire it more every subsequent time I see it.

Steinbeck may have helped write Hitchcock's Lifeboat, but that scene stands out as the most Steinbeck-like one Hitchcock ever directed.

Well said. I don't know about "Steinbeck-like"... mostly because I don't know about Steinbeck.

The silent communication between Hannay and the farmer's wife is marvelous. It might be (probably is, I guess) because he started working in silent pictures but Hitchcock's silent set pieces are fantastic.

Glad you finally got the chance to see "Kiss Kiss." Two very entertaining performances. Kilmer's last scene was especially amusing.

I'm shocked (SHOCKED, I tells ya!) at how purely entertaining "I Kiss You Then I Shoot You" was. Maybe the best example of Hollywood pop-trash since... well, hell I dunno. I'd say "Kill Bill, Vol. 1," but I don't wanna see you go apoplectic... ;-)

I never listen to commentary tracks, but if Black, Downey, Jr. and Kilmer did one together for "Kiss Kiss," I might be tempted...

Your wish was granted, dude. It's a great, irreverent track, too -- almost as entertaining as the film. (Funny thing is, I don't usually bother with most commentaries, but when you're asked to write a DVD review, the special features can't be ignored.)

The scariest thing about "The Omen 2006" is Julia 'I Learned Everything I Know About Acting From Beverly Hills 90210' Stiles' performance.

I thought what was really scary was director John Moore's conviction that adding footage of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina would lend weight and gravity to his retarded oogy-boogy devil movie.

You and Matt can have your little "Container." ;-)

I thought it was great for about forty minutes. Then it kept going. Still, I'm not sorry I saw it, and Jena Malone's voice makes me wanna go take a cold shower.

Yes, Jena's voice made it bearable for me. How old is she now? 21? Geez.

I've added Container to my to-see list mostly for Jena Malone's voice. She was smokin' in Saved!, even without breasts. Does she get much screen time in Pride & Prejudice?

Dunno, haven't seen it. Costume dramas give me hives. I do know her brief turn as a lascivious underage ferrygirl was the best thing about "Cold Mountain."

Does she get much screen time in Pride & Prejudice?

About 10-15 minutes, if that. They marry her character off quickly.

I've had "Cannibal Holocaust" in my DVD binder for a few months now and I just can't find the courage to watch it. I'm afraid that the animal mutilations would do me in.

Yeah, you might wanna give that a pass -- the turtle flaying is an abhorrent stretch of celluloid.

I think I have to agree with Messr. Henderson when he calls "Holocaust" 'artful enough to demand serious critical consideration, yet foul enough to christen you a pervert for even bothering.' must've been drinking heavily during Izo to make it through all 2 hrs of it. I love Miike and I bailed after the first hour.

I did have some red wine I was sipping, but I think a heavy cloud of intoxication may have made "Izo" even more difficult to complete. I was torn between wanting to see it again so that maybe I could understand what the hell Miike was getting at and never ever wanting to see it again ever.

How many times have you seen The 400 Blows?

Believe it or not, this was only the second time and the first in roughly ten years.

That's a bit like my experience with it! I saw it when I was a kid, and then again when I was a bigger kid, and recently, as a big kid still, I saw it a third time.

Has your opinion of it changed, or stayed the same?

Stayed roughly the same -- I remember loving it as a kid, though not quite understanding why. Now I know why I love it: Because it feels so true and beautifully detailed, and it manages to pull off the difficult feat of empathizing with Doinel while not downplaying the fact that he isn't necessarily right.

LitW link goes to your Blood Bath Blogcritics review.

Oops. Thanks for the heads-up.

Good job with that LitW review. Funny thing -- I don't really disagree with anything you wrote. But what makes me give it a B+ to your C+ is that I think Signs and Unbreakable are infinitely sillier, and thus more patience-trying. The whole-cloth fairy tale MNS invents here works a lot better, because, imo, a lot of the questions it brings up (who are these monkey people? why an eagle?) don't really matter.

How about that stairwell/trashcan montage, eh?

I think that's where the difference lies -- I can excuse the rampant silliness of "Signs" and "Unbreakable" because Night starts out by grounding the silliness within a concrete reality. Indeed, that seems to be the entire point of the former: what would superheroes and supervillains be like if they existed in the modern-day blue-collar world, if there was nothing outsize about them? (Also, I'm perfectly willing to give "Signs" an enthusiastic recommendation despite idiocy like "Swing away" because it works so perfectly on the visceral level to which it aspires.)

Also, I doubt I could give any film with the Balaban character a passing grade. I don't take it as an offense, as way too many thin-skinned critics have -- I just think it's really bad writing, that's all. I will give it credit, though -- for a film with so many flaws, it's definitely stuck in my head. Especially that last shot, which is nothing short of pure poetry. Compare that to something like "Superman Returns," which I remember almost nothing about already except the best laugh line of the year and Kate Bosworth taking an inhuman amount of abuse.

OMG I first saw this

216. (15 Aug) Manderlay (2006, Lars Von Trier) [B]

and started to sweat and tremble but then I saw this

218. (16 Aug) Shame (1968, Ingmar Bergman) [C]

and had the second fit.

I actually don't blame you - I struggle to think of anyone aside from Ebert, John Simon and David Thomson that thinks highly of Bergman any more. It's a little sad, but I think his devotion to the spiritual plays a little heavy in these jaded times. I'm sorry, I'm ranting. But before I stop and get back to my SoCo & Cranberry, what do you think of Tarkovsky, then?

That's the thing. I actually really like Bergman. I like him a whole hell of a lot. But I'm singularly unimpressed by "Shame" -- as the society in the film falls apart, so does the film. I don't think it has anything to do with the spiritual content or lack thereof... I just think Bergman's retreading material he covered about as well as anyone could with "The Silence." I had a similar reaction to "Through a Glass Darkly."

"Manderlay," on the other hand, is a strange and flawed film, and the subplot with Bryce's erotic fantasies was ill-advised. But I think there's enough there that I can recommend it -- it's still a troubling and thought-provoking film.

And I know it's not something I should admit to, but I've not yet seen any Tarkovsky. I have "The Mirror" coming up on my Greencine queue, so we'll see.

Dude, you're gonna start with "The Mirror"? That's ballsy.

By reader request, actually. Gotta please the fans... ;-)

How do I get in on this reader request action? Send an email to you, post it here, special post on your blog for these things?

Cuz, like, I got one for ya.

E to the mizzail, dude.

Or you could pull a Scott and send a Netflix Friends recommendation of, say, the latest Uwe Boll masterpiece...

Wow, you did the "Bloodrayne" thing, eh? I hope a full review is forthcoming.

I wouldn't suffer through it if I couldn't bitch about it... :-)

B+ for Beerfest? I can't wait to see your review. The preview I saw made it look like a lame National Lampoon movie, so I had no plans to check it out even though I love beer almost as much as life itself.

Yes, I can only surmise that the Dread Pirate was appropriately drunk when he saw this. It's the only thing that could possibly explain his high grade.

If you liked "Super Troopers," you'll like this. Apparently, the Broken Lizard guys learned their lesson from the "Club Dread" debacle -- this is a return to the cheerfully lowbrow, casually askew humor that got them noticed in the first place.

Should I even bother with the Albert Brooks or should I just file it away for a rainy day sometime in the next decade?

It's not just unfunny -- it's deliberately unfunny. I have to wonder what the point of making a comedy and intentionally not putting any laughs in it is.

Wow, you actually paid to see Crank. Guess the TV spots are a whole lot better than the movie.

The TV spots are better simply because they're shorter. Take the trailer, and imagine that caffinated-ferret approach stretched to eighty minutes. It's all a bit much.

Jackass: Number Two (2006, Jeff Tremaine) [A]

For a while, I was thinking "A." Ended up giving it a very flexible (very very flexible) "B." This ... this is the most amazing piece of homoerotic filmmaking I've ever seen in the theater. This is "Brokeback Mountain" (John Waters! lol).

Funny thing is, I was sitting at about a B myself (which, if I understand our grading systems correctly, is somewhat less satisfied than your B) until the last sequence. Then it all clicked: Oh my God. These guys have been in on the joke the whole time. Fucking brilliant, man.

Also, including John Waters was great. Having him show up five minutes after Danger Ehren eats cow poop was even greater. Knoxville and Co. are definitely cannier than anyone's giving them credit for.

If the first Jackass was according to me better than the hours, then the second one is better than All the king's men.

Apparently, everything is better than All the King's Men... :-)

FYI: You appear to be reliving October.

Also, I would give your rating of Killer's Kiss a D-.


Bugger! I do that sometimes. I have this condition, you see...

And sorry -- Killer's Kiss is obsessively detailed and rich but dull as ass.

Do dooo, da doo doo!
Do doo da doo doo!

So Hard Candy is the emo revenge movie.

That's a pretty sharp way to sum it up -- if you took Lady Vengeance and replaced the main character with a logic-breakingly intelligent and cunning androgynous 14-year-old girl, you'd get Hard Candy.

So put Lady V on the skip pile then. Gotcha.

Yeah, that's a must to avoid. Objectively, Lady V is not worse than Date Movie, but I think I still hated it a bit more.

Out 1 (1971, Jacques Rivette) [A] {Jesus God.}

That's a lot of film.

Is it ever. It ate up my entire weekend, cost me a day of work, gave me food poisoning and kept me from seeing Inland Empire... but it was so totally worth it. I think sitting through this makes up for the fact that it's the first film I've seen this month.

From what I'm hearing, Inland Empire gives food poisoning (it's not prime Lynch, etc.). Get better, man (if you're still under-the-weather).

Thanks, man. Fortunately, it was a one-day thing, but that one day sucked ass. At least it didn't happen mid-Out 1.

Now that you're better -- Out with it!

It's coming, it's coming... (Short version: Wow. A massive work about finding out you're unmoored in something vast and incomprehensible. Awesome.)

I admit that I kinda enjoyed Feast. Honestly, I was expecting it to be HORRIBLE after the Project Greenlight episodes. How is that Kza has not seen this yet?

I thought it was generally pretty crummy, but every now and then it would do something so awesome (i.e. the little kid gettin' et whole right in front of his screaming mom, or the chick getting to the truck safely, only to abandon the others and drive away) that I had to give it respect.

I REALLY liked how the Kurt Russell-like hero gets killed off immediately. It was the best bit in the movie in my opinion.

I kinda expected that to happen -- it smacked of the build on a certain notorious scene from a Big Dumb/Fun Blockbuster from the late '90s -- but it was still cool. What was more surprising was seeing it happen a second time.

Too busy getting high off this rock.

File Under: Standard-Issue Films from Well-Regarded Auteurs Whose Appeal Eludes Me

Agreed. Have you seen his Matador? Very dark...and very funny.

I've only seen his newer films, no Volver yet, but i like them all, but from what i heard La Mala Educacion is a rehash of La Ley del Deseo, and he has been repeating himself for a while.

I've not yet seen Matador, but I want to. Thing is, though, I've seen four of his films thus far and the only one I've liked has been Live Flesh, which crucially was an adapted work instead of an original. I'll see a couple more before I decide, but I'm not sure Pedro's sensibilities are compatible with mine.

I love Live flesh, funny thing i couldn't sleep one night, and i was watching tv with my mom, it was 1 AM or so, and the movie came on and we both watch it all the way through, funny and thrilling, even if its an adapted work it feels almodovar.