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Archive through October 06, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru January 2003 » Arts & Other Philosophical Sundries » FILM FORUM » DVD/VIDEO » Archive through October 06, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Posted on Sunday, October 6, 2002 - 7:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Joalco, I think you'll like Anne Perrys' story, Heavenly Creatures it ran my blood cold and did quite a good job of it too.
Posted on Sunday, October 6, 2002 - 3:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'd heard that DD had been chopped down by the studio. Isn't there a deleted scene where Donnie's English class is all watching Watership Down? Which might shed some light on his hearing the big telepath rabbit.
Posted on Sunday, October 6, 2002 - 3:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Watching the movie with the running commentary by Jake Gyllenhaal and Richard Kelly sheds some light on some of the film's ambiguities. Check it out -- it just added to my appreciation for this already-impressive film.

There's also a slew of deleted scenes that flesh out the story quite a bit which you can watch with Kelly's commentary as well.

This weekends viewing:

Ring 2
Ring 0
Heavenly Creatures
Brotherhood of the Wolf (Canadian release)

The 3-disc Canadian BOTW is vastly superior to the meager American version. The French DTS track is absolutely amazing.
Posted on Sunday, October 6, 2002 - 10:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

MULHOLLAND DRIVE was all right. Seems better in retrospect than when I actually sat watching it.
Posted on Sunday, October 6, 2002 - 10:32 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Poker, you didn't like Mulholland Drive, did you?

Nilson, I'm in total agreement on your interpretation of Donnie Darko via the twisted It's A Wonderful Life scenario. I just bought the DVD and will hopefully get a chance for a second viewing this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Salon has a Table Talk discussion about it if you're interested. Tons o' spoilers there.^0@.3b9ede30/0
Posted on Sunday, October 6, 2002 - 6:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Nilson - That is certainly possible. Donnie may be looking at the reality of his life, not what he perceived when he was alive--that "whole life passing before you" moment before death. The movie's lengthy pretense that Donnie can control the course of events, or create alternate realities, however, takes this film into ambiguous territory. The final decision to die to save all those he loves is Donnie's last, and purest, act. So, a guy whom we would have looked at as a curious news story in the morning paper (freak accident victim) is brought to life for us.

Arthur Miller said it in DEATH OF A SALESMAN--"Attention must be paid." Unfortunately, DONNIE DARKO does more than pay attention, it bows down in fealty to a semi-god. This is my problem with the film.

Marc, it was a well-wrought film, and I appreciate that you like the care with which it was made. I just wish it had had a less messianic and deliberately confusing tone.
Posted on Sunday, October 6, 2002 - 6:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sometime after seeing DD, I played it in my head as a "moment of death" story, where Donnie can see how he might have impacted the lives of others. He wanders a sort of shadow duplicate of the world and sees his own potentials, good and bad. (I need to re-view this one, fershur)
Posted on Sunday, October 6, 2002 - 2:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post


I'm not sure what power Donnie is supposed to possess. He just seems like a fucked up kid who has visions. I like the movie, not so much for its metaphysical pretensions, but for its fine acting, cinematography and soundtrack. The movie is a "head" film and I enjoy the different ways it can be read. I'm not sure I take it too seriously though. The ending is lovely. The use of the song "Mad World" is brilliant.
Posted on Sunday, October 6, 2002 - 2:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I don't know, Marc. I think DONNIE DARKO gives food for thought that ultimately contains empty calories. Does Donnie really have the power that he thinks he does, or is he the world's biggest narcissist?
Posted on Saturday, October 5, 2002 - 11:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just watched DONNIE DARKO for the second time. It really is a terrific film. I highly recommend it.
Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2002 - 3:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I finally got my hands on a DVD of Vidocq, a French occult thriller that recently played here in Amsterdam. I'm really sorry I missed it on the big screen, but it's still pretty good on my cheapo 21" TV.

The story is set in Paris, in the summer of 1830.
Vidocq, a real-life bandit turned cop turned private investigator, falls to his death while chasing a cloaked figure wearing a glass mask. Etienne, a young writer who'd signed on to be Vidocq's biographer, wants to solve the mystery. Also on the case are Nimier, Vidocq's partner and Lautrienne, the police prefect who'd fired Vidocq.
Flashbacks tell of three vain aristos with dark secrets, and two of them have been struck down by lightning. A brewing revolt, thanks to King Charles X's dissatisfaction with the political process, lends an urgency to the investigation. (Sorry, Kallisti, no guillotinings).

It's very entertaining, complex and action-packed, and sumptuously shot on digital video (sometimes the shots are a little too pretty; director Pitof had worked on "City of Lost Children").

I don't know whether the movie has been shown in the U.S. It probably has been shown in Canada (or at least Quebec). I understand there was a DVD released in the US, but without subtitles. My copy is Dutch, and fortunately I can read Dutch subtitles well enough to follow the story. As with "Brotherhood of the Wolf," you can probably figure things out even if you don't know any French.

I recommend it.
Posted on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 11:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

NEAR DARK on dvd.

This release contains a 47 minute documentary on the making of NEAR DARK. Includes interviews with director Kathryn Bigelow and actors Bill Paxton
and Lance Henriksen. Great stuff.

The bar/slaughter scene in NEAR DARK is one of the best directed action sequences ever put on film. Everything about it is perfect.
Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 3:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

One other thing to consider when shopping for high-def:

There is a feature on DVD players being pushed which is called "Progressive Scan." If you are a movie purist, and would have a film projector in your house if you could, it may be worth shelling out the extra bucks for the WEGA XBR (or similar hi-def model) series TV, if your DVD player offers a 3:2 pulldown "progressive scan" output.

What all this techno mumbo-jumbo means has to do with the difference between video and film, but I'll try to explain it as simply as I can.

Film is made up of a bunch of snapshots that are run together really really fast. In fact, 24 pictures, or FRAMES, make up a single second of a movie.

Video works similarly, except there are 30 frames each second of video.

To make things more complicated, video only shows half of a picture at a time. It draws every other line of the picture on the screen in the first 1/60th of a second, and then it goes back and draws the other lines. This is called INTERLACING, and it means that video is actually made up of 60 half-pictures, or FIELDS, every second.

Now, if a movie is made up of 24 frames per second, and video requires 60 interlaced "fields" per second, how do you convert from one to the other? The answer is, well, complicated. It involves a process called 3:2 pulldown, and a special machine, and it can cause weird artifacts in the way motion is portrayed on your TV screen.

One of the advantages of the new hi-def televisions is they aren't locked into the 60 fields-per-second format. They can display a completely different frame rate, similar to the computer monitor you are reading this off of.

Some sophisticated DVD players can take the converted, 60 fields-per-second picture information, and convert it back to a 30-FRAME-per-second movie. This is called a "progressive Scan" output. It won't work with a regular TV, but will with a hi-def one.

Others can even reduce the frame rate back to the original 24 frame-per-second image you watched in the movie theatre. This is called "Reverse Pulldown," or (incorrectly) "3:2 pulldown" on some systems.

Now, what does all this get you? Not a whole lot. You will see a difference in motion on the screen, and you will be viewing the movie in a closer format to what the maker intended. The question you need to ask yourself is whether this is worth the added cost. If you haven't bought a DVD player yet, the cost of a progressive scan player has come down dramatically, and you can get one for under $200 nowadays. The TV is still gonna cost you, however. There is still about a $1000 difference between a standard def and a high def TV.

I think that standard def (interlaced) looks great on my WEGA, and I'm not gonna shell out the cash for progressive scan just yet. If I hit the lottery, I may change my mind, but for now, it's just not worth it.

My $.02
Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 10:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for all the advice, guys.

I agree, Raschied: I ain't proud about where I shop. I do my homework and decide what I'm getting in advance and I buy wherever it's cheapest. Then I just walk in and say "Give me that one." And I never talk to salesmen.
Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 9:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm a video technician/engineer by trade, and if you have the money, go Sony WEGA. The 4:3 televisions have a special mode that will go into a true 16:9 mode, so all those anamorphic widescreen DVD's look terrific. I have a 36" WEGA and I love it.

Some cost saving features:

Look for the models with the tiny speakers under the picture tube. Sony upsells the more expensive models with large speakers on the sides of the screen, but if you are using a surround sound system, the speakers on the TV are useless. Save a few bucks and look for the cheaper model.

Same with Picture-in-picture. If you have cable/satellite reception, most P-I-P systems require two boxes to operate. If you don't plan on hooking it up, don't pay for it.

If you have the money, go high-def, but don't think that a standard def TV is a bad purchase. All cable, DVD, and satellite broadcasting is standard definition, and you can save about $1000 by NOT paying for the high-def model. If you are serious about high-def, then realize that you'll have to shell out more money to get a high-def reciever for either terrestrial broadcasts (watch ER and Leno in High-def. Ooooh.) or pay a premium for DirectTV-HD. Or, you'll be stuck buying a D-Theatre VCR and paying $40 a pop for a handful of movies on tape.

One more item of note, and this may sound strange, but I did a lot of comparision shopping for my 36" WEGA before I bought it, and I still look at pricing options. If Sears has the model you want, get it there. No bullshit. I got my WEGA almost 2 years ago, and the SAME model is STILL more expensive as a "close out" at Good Guys or Circuit City. I don't know why, but Sears still has the best pricing. Check there first.
Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 11:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

has just been re-released in an immaculate new DVD transfer featuring 5.1 sound and a shitload
of bells and whistles. It sounds and looks great. Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 6:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

You can't go wrong with a Sony. I got one 15 years ago that still works great, and I bought a 32" Sony Trinitron two years ago that I love.
Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 6:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My 32 inch Sony WEGA is a terrific tv set.
Its a flat screen. I also have a 36 inch JVC thats pretty good.
Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 1:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


I've had the same TV for 10 years and it still works, but it's time to update to something that will display DVDs properly. I'm thinking 27" to 32", standard tube (not flat), component input. Any suggestions?
Posted on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 9:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Moulin Rouge? For me it was fun. Not great, not bad. The flaming absinthe scene (ala Czech)really was a pain though..... Over all it was a fun romp in escapism.
Posted on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 7:35 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Both. Neither. Great cinematography. Worth watching once in any event.
Posted on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 6:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Posted on Sunday, September 22, 2002 - 9:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Baz Luhrmann's MOULIN ROUGE. Pop masterpiece or MTV crap?
Posted on Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 10:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I saw a real gem of a movie this evening, MAD LOVE (1935). Peter Lorre plays Dr. Gogol, a genius surgeon working in Paris who is obsessed with death and with Yvonne (Frances Drake), an actress appearing in a chamber of horrors theatrical amusement. She is married to Stephen Orlac (Colin Clive), a concert pianist whose hands are damaged beyond hope in a train wreck. Yvonne appeals to Lorre to save her husband's hands. He does so by replacing them with the hands of a recently executed murderer. Do Orlac's new hands have a life of their own? Will Yvonne fall into the clutches of the increasingly deranged Gogol?

This film has an incredible cast, with special kudos to Gogol's alcoholic maid (Sara Haden) and Ted Healy, as a reporter covering the murderer's execution by guillotine.

The dialog is sharp and funny. The cinematography was brilliant (natch, since Karl Freund directed the film, and Gregg Toland worked on it as well), German expressionist but a little more open and energetic. The story was told briskly (70 minutes) but completely. And Lorre with a totally shaved head was as repulsive as he was obsessed.

Also on the bill were two short films, MARBLE COMES TO LIFE and THREE PARTY GIRLS. Both were silent, precode films and could be considered somewhat equivalent to stag films, with full frontal nudity (female) and striptease-type thrills (one of the party girls burns her costume and is clothed in newspaper by her clever friends. She, of course, must disrobe to put on the newspaper, and then her neighbor, angry that her newspaper has been stolen, rips the paper off her. Very peek-a-boo.) MARBLE's theme of an artist who falls in love with the image he sculpts reflects the Pygmalion/Galatia references in MAD LOVE (Lorre acquires a wax image of Drake, which he later thinks has come to life, though it is the real Yvonne come to him when her husband is in trouble.)
Posted on Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 12:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

CROUPIER. Finally saw it. A terrific flick from GET CARTER director Mike Hodges. Guy Ritchie ain't got shit on Hodges.
CROUPIER is elegant existential art sleaze with a swanky lead performance by Clive Owen. I really liked it. Plus, its got a very cool sex vibe.

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