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Archive through September 19, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru January 2003 » Arts & Other Philosophical Sundries » FILM FORUM » DVD/VIDEO » Archive through September 19, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 8:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Koyannisqatsi and its sequel, Powqqatsi were just released on DVD. The transfer copy looks pretty good, and the sound is terrific. Not too many extras, however. Trailers, an interview, and that's about it.

I'm going to hold a viewing party in October, right before the final movie in the trilogy, Naqoyqatsi, is released in theatres.

People either love these movies or don't get the point of them. There's not much in between. If you like staring out the window of a plane or train, you'll probably like these films. If you keep busy with other activities when traveling, forget it.

The first movie is roughly translated as "Life out of balance." The second is "life in transformation." The new one is "Life as War." They all look at how modern technology keeps changing our culture.

BTW, if you are looking to buy, look for the 2 disk set of both films together. Most stores I went to in Denver didn't carry the 2 pack, but I finally found it at Barnes & Noble. It saves ya a few bucks from buying the movies individually.
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 7:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


I just got my hands on the new Criterion DVD of Man Bites Dog, a kick-ass Belgian film from 1992.

This is the film that the recent cinematic turd "15 Minutes" desparately wanted to be & I'm very excited that it's finally come to DVD.

(Perhaps next month, with the release of Peter Jackson's excellent "Heavenly Creatures" my addiction will be sated... Yeah, right.)

I also picked up the new 2-disc "True Romance," an exploitation / horror flick from the good folks at Barrel Entertainment called "The Last House on Dead End Street," and Fox's recent guilty pleasure "24."

Now, if I can find time to watch these the next couple of days in between work & taking an assload of tests, I'll post the goods.
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 6:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Glad you liked it... Needless to say, "Thesis" is a much better watch than the insipid "8MM."
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 6:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Speaking of Spanish films, I just finished watching THESIS, Alejandro Amenabar's first feature film, and one that also costars Eduardo Noriega. I rented this DVD specifically because of the conversation started here last week about violence as pornography. This film is about Angela (Ana Torrent), a film school student whose thesis project is about violence in the media. She asks her thesis advisor (played by the producer of the film, Jose Luis Cuerda) to help her get access to some material in the school's archive. He steals down to a hidden area of the archive and grabs a video from a small collection stored there. He watches it in a screening room at the school. When Angela goes in to see him, she finds him dead of an apparent asthma attack. She seems fascinated with his dead form. She pops the video he was watching out of the VCR and takes it home with her. She learns it's a snuff film, apparently of the real-victim variety. That discovery sets this suspenseful thriller in motion.

Is Angela paranoid? Amenabar's misdirection, which he used to such great effect in OPEN YOUR EYES, is on full display here as well. I had to wonder about Angela's sanity; in fact, she wonders about it herself. Are the people around her conspirators in a snuff film ring or is she letting her thesis topic prey on her, arouse her paranoia as well as her sexual desires?

I don't think this film was meant to deal with violence in the media. I think it was self-reflective. Angela is disgusted, yet attracted, to violence. We are deeply disturbed by the sounds of violence (almost nothing graphic is shown at all), but become as fascinated and entangled in the mystery of the snuff victim and killer as she. This film really doesn't help us understand our love of violent thrills in an academic way, as Angela set out to do. It demonstrates it to us, just as Angela's frightening odyssey tells her more than any research could possibly do.

Early reviews I read of the first DVD issue of this film faulted it for lack of extras and poor reproduction quality. I'm happy to say that the Special Edition I saw coproduced by Vanguard, Tenelorn Films and Sogepaq is terrific. It looks great and has a great documentary about the making of the film on it, along with film trailers (if you're into those).

Highly recommended.
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 1:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I absolutely loved the ghost's underwater-blood effects in Devil's Backbone. A small touch, but very well done.
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 12:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

If you like watery corpses, see THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, and exceedingly creepy and graphic film.
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 12:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

THE GIFT reminded me alot of NOTH (in spirit), and also included a nightmarish watery corpse scene.

but yeah, NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. It just don't get any better.
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 10:33 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

hing hang hung, see what the hangman done.
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 10:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

"Did you kids ever hear the story of Mr. Hate and Mr. Love?"

Heh, heh. I love that film.
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 10:13 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

NIGHT OF THE HUNTER is one great movie. I love the underwater shot of Winters. It's the stuff that nightmares are made of. Few people know that the LOVE and HATE tattoos on the hand, which are now a cinematic staple, originated with that film.

BTW, Kallisti, I have no idea how to put that image into photoshop and reduce it. Help a poor, ignorant webbie!
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 10:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Speaking of Lillian Gish, I bought the DVD for NIGHT OF THE HUNTER several months ago. I have sinced watched it half a dozen times. Charles Laughton's only directorial foray ... if I could tell a story, I dream of telling it like this. It is a dark and disturbing southern gothic fairy tale ... starring of course Lillian Gish in her autumn years, Robert Mitchum & Shelley Winters.
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 9:12 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I just finished watching BROKEN BLOSSOMS. I have to say that the leads--Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess (the "yellow man"), and Donald Crisp ("Battling Burrows", Gish's adoptive father) were excellent. The film would have been much better without the scarlet-prosed intertitles. The depictions of opium addiction and child abuse were quite affecting. Gish is a miracle of the screen. She plays a 15 year old (though emotionally much younger due to brutality and love deprivation) so convincingly, I kept blinking to see if I could determine how old she really was.

There is some confusion of the Japanese custom of hari kiri with Chinese culture, and I was disappointed that Barthelmess's character is never shown trying to spread the message of peace of Buddha. This is a common problem in films that show a world apart. They introduce us to the customs of another culture and then focus on the rulig culture for the majority of the film. THE GOVERNESS is another example of this, a film that explores 19th century Jewish culture in London and then forgets about it to concentrate on a love affair in Victorian England. Very disappointing.

I understand that DW Griffith made this film to show that he wasn't a racist. But to be frank, the Yellow Man seems like a pervert. The video box refers to a "love affair" between Gish and Barthlemess, but she's a child and not in love with him, just soothed by his momentary (2 days) kindness to her.

I'd call this a triumph of acting over material. And I don't credit Griffith with much of that triumph, frankly.
Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 2:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

THE ROOKIE is corny beyond belief, but I loved it.
Its the best thing Dennis Quaid has done since
Posted on Wednesday, September 18, 2002 - 8:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm about halfway through BROKEN BLOSSOMS. Ms. Gish is mesmerizing to watch, but the melodrama has a heavier hand than Gulliver. I'm still confirmed in my general dislike of grandstander D.W. Griffith. He's like the PT Barnum of film.
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 7:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Frailty -- *** SPOILERS ***

(Originally published in NYT Film Forum)

One of the better movies I've seen this year. Overall, I liked the script, but I have a few quibbles:

I've known a few southern-fried religious nuts in my time, but I guarantee you none of them got religion from a bowling trophy glowing brightly in the night. They got it burned into them from an early age, sweating through their Sunday finery in un-air-conditioned churches for hours on end listening to half-crazed preachers damning them to hell. They got it from listening to their relatives sitting around the supper table discussing Armageddon and the Rapture matter-of-factly.

In other words, I could have used a few more props scattered here and there evidencing Bill Paxton's religious roots, like a big ol' cross hanging somewhere in the living room, or even better, one of those posters my aunt showed me a long time ago of an artist's rendition of Tribulation, when Jesus calls all good souls to heaven, leaving chaos on Earth, like pilots being taken away and planes crashing and lots of stuff being blowed up real good. (Man, I gotta find me one of them.)

Then there's the fact no one in town ever noticed the freshly turned earth closely resembling graves in the public rose garden.

And how about the fact neither the small-town sheriff nor the big-city G-man tell anybody where they're going so late at night?

There's lots to like in Paxton's directorial debut -- ominous dark blue color schemes; shrieking B-movie music during the laying-on of hands; great acting from the kid playing the older brother, Matthew O'Leary; and especially Powers Boothe. I love the fact that all the demons seem to be concentrated in northeast Texas. That's a good place for 'em.

I give it a solid B.
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 7:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The Royal Tennenbaums was pretty good. If prompted, I might even venture to say that it was great.
That's the last good flick I have seen in quite some time.
The Lord of the Rings was good, but thats....different.
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 5:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm another very satisfied Netflix customer.
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 4:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

oh, and they generally only take a couple days to arrive. and once when I didn't receive disk they said they shipped, they just logged it as lost with no hastle to me.
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 4:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

and I just came back in here to post:

if you don't know about it, it's great! super, even! invaluable ...

they ship dvd's to your house in a re-sealable envelope, you can keep them as long as you want, and pay a flat monthly fee. standard is $19.95 for 3 discs at a time. but we just found out they have a lite version of 2 discs out at a time for $13.95. good deal.

and they have DON'T LOOK NOW
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 3:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Living in Taos is wonderful, but there's nowhere to get offbeat DVDs. The only place that sells DVDs is Wal-Mart. Ugh. So, I've been buying off the internet, but it takes forever. I ordered DON'T LOOK NOW and TABU 3 weeks ago and they still hasn't arrived. Its worse than getting absinthe.
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 3:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My home viewing has been limited to a Sopranos binge, Near Dark, and Frailty.

I missed Frailty in the theatre, and really enjoyed it. Along the same lines as some of Sam Raimi's more recent work like A Simple Plan (also with Bill Paxton) and The Gift.
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 3:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

ha! they showed The Rookie on the train on my way to Michigan.

I mostly only heard the musical score as I snarfed down my hotdog, trying desperately to escape. Let me know if the rest of it improves.

Iris is on my list ...
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 3:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My homeviewing of late has been:

The Ratcatcher.
Baise Moi.
Salton Sea.

The RATCATCHER was far and away the best of the lot. BAISE MOI was some kind of feminist splatter porn that had me entertained for reasons that I'm not sure the director intended. I liked the fuck scenes. The rest was Tarantino for lesbos.
IRIS was well-acted but underwritten. SALTON SEA
has a wonderfully warped performance by Vincent D'Onofrio, but, otherwise, was another Tarantino rip-off. Tonight I'm going to watch THE ROOKIE.
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 3:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well ... that would be me.

I actually had a little film fest this weekend (it's still going actually), as I've been a woman of the world the past two months and haven't had time to see alot of new stuff.

So, this is what I had:


I haven't watched Pigkeeper's Daughter yet ... but the cover is stunning. I'll post later from home.

But both Cat's Meow & Birthday Girl were good surprises. I didn't realize that Peter Bogdonovich had directed Paper Moon etc ... it makes sense now. It was a lovely little whodunit, without the mystery. It helped that Birthday Girl was not "a nicole kidman film" in any sense. And it tickled me to see the LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN fellas pop up in cameos.

The TWO TOWERS preview is what I really rented the Lord of the Rings disk for, and it had me all squirmy and excited.
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 3:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

This is the place for couch potatos.

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