|Butt-Numb-A-Thon 9 (12.08.07 - 12.09.07, 11 movies)|
|12.08.07||The Great McGinty||Preston Sturges||oooooooooook BNAT9 notes. Let's see if I can get through this without dying.|
My buddy Jim left 10 minutes before I Carpooled with Tiffany. VERY tired from a week-long visit. Got good parking. There early. Hot in the theater. Tons of DVDs in the swagbags. I got a good seat sitting next to Jack and Bernie, Tiffany's up in the balcony (turns out, that's the semi-equivalent of the side chairs. A row of standard chairs with a row of barstools behind) with Jette.
Harry intro'd from the back of the theater via video feed. Seeing his face big on screen is... unsettling. He said something about the writers stike and how the writer of this movie only got paid ten bucks for the scipt. BUT he also made a deal to direct the picture and... it's Preston Sturges. This isn't Harry's favorite Sturges movie but it's the first one. Personally, I think the difference between the best PS comedy of the early 40s and the worst PS comedy of the early 40s is nil. They're all great and this is no exception. I'm happy for everyone getting to see it for the first time and happy that I get to see it theatrically.
-Hobo with a Shotgun (the guys are in attendance but dont get up or anything)
-some weird Pinnochio kids movie
-Happy Birthday to Me
As Stunt Rock ends, a wizard with gray beard and staff gets up on stage and whacks his staff down. A harsh pink light erupts and confetti shoots from stage right (Henri) and above (guessing Justin?). The wizard takes his beard/hat off and it's Tim! He apologizes to the costume shop for breaking the staff and gives a short BNAT welcome. Then the movie:
fake title: All the President's Men
I dozed a bit during some of this. Truth be told I dozed a bit during every movie but one, so from now on when I don't mention whether or not I slept at all, assume I did. It wasn't always that I didn't like the movies, it's just the sheer mathematics of it. tired person + slow/quiet movie + hot theater = sleep. Nothing I can do about it. Today really stress-tested the new theater's features. At first it was apparently freezing in the first 4 or 5 rows, alternating between comfortable and sticky hot in the back where I was, and even noreso up on the balcony where they're right under the vents. For a while it felt like they were turning off the AC while the movies played because everyone would cool down in between movies but get hot again once they started. This was one factor that made for a pretty brutal second half but more on that later.
I love the movie. Love Brian Donlevy and he's usually more of a support player for Sturges. Love all the other Sturges players making appearances and think the plot is surprisingly subversive for 1940. Great movie.
|12.08.07||Charlie Wilson's War||Mike Nichols||Fake title: Dune|
Harry said the connection was helping people in the desert. At this point I stopped even thinking about what the fake titles mean.
-The Burbs (looks good, doesn't it, Lars?)
-Amin: The Rise and Fall (hah hah hah hah)
I liked it! I'm not traditionally a huge Mike Nichols fan so no one was more surprised than me. OK I liked Angels in America too but whatever. Hanks was good, Roberts was OK, Hoffman steals the movie. Every scene, especially the first. It's very Sorkin-esque with the fast quips and repartae and whatnot but whatever. It keeps this movie which should be boring as sin moving. I don't know how long it is but it felt short. That may have to do with the ending (read: it's abrupt). It's good though, solid. Not the best movie of the year but good. Didn't sleep at all in this one.
|12.08.07||Pickup on South Street||Sam Fuller||fake title: Kiss Me Deadly|
Harry continues with his political theming. OK by me because it means I get to see this in a theater. YAY! People around me didn't like it but screw them. this shit is good. They still winced during the fight scenes, which I think are really great and, one beat where Widmark waits to get punched aside, a nice example of how to stage fighting realistically and effectively.
-A Bomb for a Dictator
-some weird Will Rogers Institute Child Immunization thing
-Mr. No Legs
Probably one of my favorite noirs. I love Widmark in this and Jean Peters is tre sexy in a trashy way. Of course it's known for Thelma Ritter's performance which is also great. I basically love how lean it is and tough. Widmark's seductive way of playing Peters is great and everybody's specific criminal code is awesome. Great to see it in a theater, just wish some of these great old movies were new to me. (i know, whaa whaa not obscure enough for ya)
|12.08.07||Mongol||Sergei Bodrov||fake title: War and Peace|
Next up, a Russian-made biopic on the early days of Genghis Khan. But first:
I forget when exactly it happened, but at the front Harry told everyone that we'd be getting Toshiba HD-DVD players at the end. Crazy. Some dude was on hand to give like a 15-minute presentation of how cool HD-DVD was by using some of the special features on the 300 disc and showing us how good the new German Terminator 2 disc looked. Pretty huge promo giveaway! i bet a lot of fanboys are taking back everything they said about Harry's HD-centric dvd picks column. hah!
So Drew got up on stage and they showed the new trailer for Narnia 2. Havin't not seen Narnia 1 I didn't care at all. It looked OK. The producer got up and introduced another 5-minute segment showing some new stuff. He also stressed that the new movie was darker and had more practical effects, basically apologized for the first one blah blah blah. So more Narnia 2 footage, then they showed a clip from Rambo with a text message from sly beforehand. The footage was basically two scenes: one where he's steering a boat and tells the girl from Dexter that he respects her, then another where they encounter pirates who want to rape the girl so he kills like 49 of them in 2 seconds. I really hope this is as good as the last Rocky was. Wish we saw the whole thing today. sigh.
-Secret of Magic Island (yay! evil space-age monkey!)
-Big Trouble in Little China
OK. Long. The battle scenes had blood which was nice, but otherwise kinda slow for me. I'm mildly curious about Ghenghis Khan but probably would've been more fulfilled reading a wiki entry. Too long and drawn out for my tastes. Liked the blood, the rest was pretty ugh. Someone near me said afterward: "If there's one movie that's gonna break big this year, THIS IS IT!" Whatever. Harry said afterward that this is the first in a trilogy. Can't wait.
That was a joke. I CAN wait.
Maybe I'm being too harsh on this. I was awake for most of it. The slow parts were kind of interesting. Just not great. Like Aplocalypto-esque in a way. Plus its a biopic so that's more points against it for me. So many scenes of people saying to kid version of Genghis Khan: "I will kill you!" but then they either let him go or he escapes. I feel learned on the guy's early life now but not really entertained. next.
|12.08.07||The Abominable Dr. Phibes||Robert Fuest||fake title: The Story of Dr. Wassell|
2 Pixar producers got up, explained that director Andrew Stanton was supposed to be here but got sick, and intro'd a handful of scenes from WALL-E. These were great and probably the best things I saw at this year's fest but it irked me that they didn't show the whole movie since I KNOW they tested it in Portland a few weeks back. Guess they don't want the public writing about it before it's done but whatever. I wanted more! The producers took 2 questions afterward (thanks Satterwait, I don't care about the friggin score) then trailers:
-The Exterminator (trailer played two nights ago, the film's playing Terror Thursday in a week or two)
-some weird pizza ad
I kinda like this movie. I guess I should be glad to get to see it in a theater. The print was good. Vincent Price talking through his neck is good. This is the fifth slow movie in a row though. Give me something with source music and MTV editing to wake me up, please! The mod-y psychedelic effects worked on me (in that I was put in a trance) but... this feels like a set-up for Sweeney Todd much like last year's idea-better-than-execution animated porn/inherit the wind double feature. There's probably people here who haven't seen this so... good for them. What's next.
|12.08.07||Sweeney Todd||Tim Burton||fake title: Dr. Phibes Rises Again|
-Big Trouble in Little China clip with Kurt Russell swapped out with a bad CG rendition of Harry. mildly chuckle-worthy.
-Voyage of the Rock Aliens (we miss you, Kier-La)
-Freckles (how did he lose his hand!?)
Exactly how I thought it would be. Burtony goth, musical numbers, Bonham Carter in a corset. The throat-cutting is fun at first, old by the end. I enjoyed Baron Cohen's small role. The songs seemed redundant (maybe they were just reprises) and the movie seemed too long but overall you shouldn't believe me because this isn't my kind of movie and I didn't really expect to like it and I didn't. I didn't really like Chicago either, so go ahead and dismiss me. At least Burton wasn't there for the crickets Q&A like last year with Dream Girls.
|12.09.07||Lonely are the Brave||David Miller||fake title: Rambo|
-Stop or My Mom Will Shoot
Harry said that this is the movie Sly cribbed from when he made the original Rambo. I can kind of see that. Kirk Douglas plays a cowboy who gets himself put in jail to help bust his friend out who then becomes the subject of a manhunt by sheriff Walter Matthau (who's quirk is to chew gum just like Charley Varrick), crazy prison guard George Kennedy and truck driver Carroll O'Connor. Again, it's deliberately paced and rather sedate but I liked it a lot. Probably my favorite full movie of the fest this year. Everybody's good in it and I liked following Douglas on his escape route, especially since he's having trouble with his horse. There's a few tense scenes having to do with the horse making it up rough terrain that are pretty intense. And having the ending telescoped so early on gave the whole thing a fatalistic noir undertone. Good stuff to be sure.
|12.09.07||The Poughkeepsie Tapes||John Erick Dowdle||fake title: M|
-Three in the Cellar
Drew got up and tried to sell this as a straight documentary. It works for like half a scene until you see how bad the actors are and how stilted and unrealistic the dialogue is. From then on, it's a conscious decision whether to take this as an incredibly unfunny comedic look at the wacky world of serial killers or a badly-made Blair Withch-esque thriller using the documentary form to tell another familiar serial killer story. Except once or twice, I didn't really get any vibe that this was "supposed" to be funny at all. The guys next to me were damning it for making fun of such horrible subject matter but there's way too much straight brutality footage and interview stuff to think that the occasional absurd comment is funny.
I hate to say this but it was really terrible. Unwatchably bad. It just didn't work. If it was trying to be serious, everything lacked the authenticity needed to sell it. And should it really be a question of whether or not it's supposed to be funny? Shouldn't we just KNOW if it's supposed to be funny? If it was supposed to be funny, these guys need to watch more Howie Mandel or something.
So... afterward Tim said the filmmakers were supposed to be here but got caught up in travel. I heard though... that they were here and chickened out on their Q&A. Probably wise for them although I would've been curious to hear them defend their film. As for the audience, this was the first in an increasingly brutal run of films that I believe left no one unaffected.
|12.09.07||Teen Lust||James Hong||fake title: The Phantom Creeps|
So OK. Ernie Cline takes the stage. He explains that he WANTED this to be the year that he plays Fanboys but The Weinstein Company disagreed and besides, he's shooting re-shoots like this week (again). So instead, he has a scene from the re-shoots that wont make it into the film and will probably wind up as a DVD extra feature (assuming of course that the movie ever comes out and DVD is still the popular medium when it does). It's basically a scene where Danny McBride is a Lucas security guard and gives each of the 5 kids a test to see if their worthy. What starts out as Star Wars trivia quickly becomes him asking about obscure sexual practices with clever names.
BUT, In his application, Harry said Cline's ideal BNAT double feature would be Fanboys then Episode 1. So We'd be watching Episode 1.
hahaha, right? Yeah... Tim comes out and says he won't do that to us. Instead, he's been feeling bad that last year he promised Jeff Mahler that we'd watch Teen Wolf but he burned it and we saw another movie instead. So this year we'd actually watch Teen Wolf to make up for it.
Teen Wolf starts up, plays for about a minute, then burns again.
hahaha, right? Now they put on Teen Lust.
I bet most people were wishing that this would be a big joke and burn and they'd show something else instead. That didn't happen.
I kind of feel that Teen Lust was the most cheated due BNAT fatigue. It's just that it had its own weird world of logic and story and was probably pretty enjoyable... but at this point, I was in and out, the movie was in and out, everyone around me was in and out. It reached a point where I had no clue what was going on, who anyone in the movie was, or where it was going. It ended just as abruptly as it started for me. A nearly-random set of sounds and images.
And it's a shame too. I bet if I see that as a Weird Wednesday, it's probably pretty good. Thomas and the Hobo with a Shotgun guys gave it a standing ovation. Kayla loved it. I'm pretty sure I missed its charm. I'll need to revisit it sometime without the weight of 7 slow movies and a musical on its back.
|12.09.07||Farewell Uncle Tom||Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi||Fake title: Demon with a Glass Hand|
Harry pops up on-screen again and says that he's showing a HD version of the classic Star Trek episode: The City on the Edge of Forever. He gasps when he asks who hasn't seen this before and so many hands come up. Like it's that big a surprise that we're not ALL Star Trek nerds. Whatever. Anyway, I saw the beginning of this (Bones takes too much of that stuff, gets all loopy, hops through time, they have to follow him) but This was probably the thing I was most asleep for. I don't remember much at all of this except that there's new CG for the Enterprise and the planets and that it looks really weird and sticks out like a sore thumb.
When it ended, I went down and got a sugarfree Redbull. When I came back, Dentler was interviewing Gary Huggins about his new short. Now, Gary's a good friend to the Alamo. I got to talk to him one time in one of those rambling cinematic excursions that film geeks communicate in. He has a trailer compilation that's really great. So I KNEW what he was gonna show would wake us all up in some way. He called it "Feels So Good." and considered it his cinematic birth.
What follows... I'm not sure I should even commit to words. To those that saw Teenage Mother, you get an idea. Although picture the shock in that movie longer and more prolonged and set to upbeat quirky jazz funk. I will say this. The thing that grossed me out the most was not that he was getting a rubber tube pushed through his pee-hole out through a ripped-open hole in his perineum, but that he had OTHER completely separate issues going on with his asshole. Dude had PROBLEMS. and for all the work they were doing down there, it didn't look like they were fixing all of what needed fixing.
Anyway, apparently the view from the balcony was that pretty much every guy was hiding their eyes and yelling out of empathetic agony. Thanks, Gary!
Next, Tim came up and introduced Rodney! I've never seen Rodney intro a movie. He said it was rare that he got up there and those that knew him should take that as a warning. He was there to talk about the next movie: Farewell, Uncle Tom.
fake title: Le Fin Absolue du Monde
-Call me Bwana
I'd read about this movie in Sleazoid Express where they basically call it the most racist film ever made. I know that means different things to different people. If you take someone who considers Birth of a Nation bad and show him Wonder Bar, or then show him Fight for your Life or Drum or Mandingo, you see different levels of ultimate. That said... I'm pretty sure the Sleazoid Express guys are right. This is one ultimate racist movie. And it's racist in that you have to believe they didn't intend to make it racist at first - like their original intent was to make a comment ON racism - but along the way they crossed their beams and ended up with something so completely bad that it's hard to watch.
It's also hard to watch because it's a mondo movie and you have no clue how long it is or where it's going or when it'll end; just vignette after vignette of rotten racist shock. I think this is the film that the most people either slept through or went outside (or to the second theater, which I heard was quite populated with napping wimps). I dozed on and off for it, always coming back to something equally bad as before. Slave owners, breeders, pedophiles, naked black extras sweating in metal cages out in the sun. And there's no story per se, no characters. Just premise after premise of slavery.
What was great about this was that Tim said they had a "condensed American print" of the film so they would switch over to video for the ending to give us the complete experience. So after what seemed like years of torture, we finally got the switch to video... just to have to endure like 20 more minutes! That's no ending, that's a whole last act!
So it's shocking at first, then grating, then torturous, ultimately boring (which is probably even worse considering the subject matter). What a second-to-last film to throw at us! These people sure do want their HD-DVD players!
Actually though, I've been curious to watch this for some time now. I was grateful for the chance to see it and see what the Sleazoid guys were talking about.
|12.09.07||Trick 'r Treat||Michael Dougherty||fake title: Freeway|
-Trick or Treat
Allllright. So the last movie and it's time for the costume contest. They also handed out bags of candy to everyone to fully get in "the mood." It's a whole Halloween thing because the last movie is Trick 'r Treat.
I guess it makes sense, seeing as it was supposed to play FantasticFest this year and all. But that's the last movie? Huh. Oh well.
It's a halloween anthology. Dylan Baker and Brian Cox are in it. I liked how the little spooky kid that looked just like the spooky kid from The Orphanage was made up of pumpkin guts. Otherwise it was a fine movie along the lines of Creepshow or whatever. I didn't dislike it.
After it was all over Harry announced the Monday screening to be Son of Rambow: a movie I liked a lot when I saw it at FantasticFest. Eric called out the drawings and we all took HD-DVD players off the back of a truck (I saw a few hobos hanging around. I wonder if they got a few as well). BNAT's over.
All in all, pretty subdued year. If the talkbacks are right and Rambo and Cloverfield dropped out at the last minutes... eh, that makes sense I guess. I would've liked to see Rambo. I'm really surprise Cloverfield didn't play so maybe there was a shipping snafu (or maybe Paramount's finally learning what all the other studios already know)... either case a pretty subdued year. I could've used a lot more variation in pacing and genre. That said, it was nice to see some movies that I like at an Alamo and Lonely are the Brave was good. I want to think maybe the low key nature of this year will make getting in easier next year but I bet everyone will just expect BNAT 10 to be that much bigger. Who knows.