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Everything posted by Overstreet

  1. The film is a good solid PG-13. Trust me on this: little kids may be troubled by it. There is a lot of running-zombies-through-with-swords action, and a good number of human "good guys" are killed onscreen. I had heard that Disney was willing to accept a PG-13 rating for the first time on this film, and it definitely deserves it. There is also a good deal of alcohol consumption, and some rather grisly stuff on par with the nasty villain meltdowns of the Indiana Jones flicks (although nothing QUITE so grisly as .
  2. Hello from Cornerstone 2003! The gang's all here, except for Leary, Prins, and Stef, who will be here soon. Yes, unfortunately this is a thread about some of the board regulars, so if you're not a regular, this may seem a bit alienating to you. Sorry. It's muggy as heck here, but we had a wonderful arrival at CStone. I've already had several It's a Small World experiences with current and former Seattlites. Also met one of the head honchos for Paste magazine... Joe Kirk, a fantastic guy who rules the coolest tent site at the fest. The fireflies are filling the trees. The tents are buzzing. Tooth and Nail bands are thundering nearby. NEWS: Over the Rhine will be releasing a double album called "Ohio" in the Fall. T-shirts are available here. Steve Taylor is going to play!! Regarding film, I've already met three promising filmmakers, a guy named Bevan Klassen and then our own legendary cinephile Mike Hertenstein and aspiring director Kevin Nikkel. What amazingly cool guys!! Tomorrow we'll be seeing some of their work for the first time in the short film showcase. Can't wait to meet Prins. (Does he SPEAK in footnotes?) Jealous of you who have seen T3... I'll probably catch that this weekend. Now to sleep.
  3. Overstreet

    Terminator 3

    Woo hoo!! I knew it! I knew that the big movies were going to disappoint, and the underdogs would take the summer. I just came back from "Pirates of the Caribbean", and it's a hoot and a holler as well.
  4. I agree with what Parks said last night after the screening: If Disney can recreate the magic that was at work in the making of Pirates of the Caribbean, they're welcome to continue making movies about amusement park rides ad nauseum. The film is delightful. It felt like an early 80s adventure film: whimsical, funny, well-acted, smartly scripted with punchlines that are genuinely funny, and when the zombie-pirate mayhem breaks out Gore Verbinski directs the action with gusto. The film manages to break the curse of bad pirate movies even as it overstuffs itself with every cliche you can think of, embracing and even flaunting lines like "Dead men tell no tales" and the famous "pirate's life" song. Johnny Depp steals the show, of coure, reveling in his role with the same cracked enthusiasm as he employed as Hunter S. Thompson. The film's biggest problem is that his brilliance nearly eclipses poor Orlando Bloom, who is stuck with the bland central role. Keira Knightly proves to be much more than just the pretty damsel-in-distress. She has one particularly memorable scene with Depp at a bonfire that makes you wish you could revise the story and let HIM get the girl. Geoffrey Rush leers and snarls in the nastiest pirate dialect he can muster. And the ILM team pulls off some really impressive stuff near the end. It's a surprisingly long film, more than two hours, but I enjoyed almost every minute of it and came away far more satisfied than I ever expected to be. There is, at last, a Gore Verbinski film that I like... and best of all, a pirate film that does everything I've wanted to see in one.
  5. Did anybody here see this flick? MLeary, J Robert Parks, and myself took a gander at it last night - - absolutely great to meet more of the folks I've only ever chatted with - - and found ourselves shrugging indifferently over it. A meandering, unfocused film with too many underdeveloped characters and lacking a moral compass. One of those "Please feel sorry for me as my girlfriend dumps me, even though I'm cheating on her" kind of things. But there were a few scenes, especially one near the end, that picked up some fun comedy-caper hysteria and got the movie's blood pumping. For the most part, though, it lacked energy, and tried to make up for it with split screen effects a la "The Rules of Attraction" (bleccch!!) I am beginning to believe that the reason Audrey Tautou smiles in that Amelie way all the time is because her beautiful teeth are so bold and big and her lips can barely contain them. There's something slightly uncomfortable about her face when her mouth is closed, as if she's struggling to contain her pixie-grin. She gorgeous, but unfortunately, that relentless smiling is making all of her performances look too similar.
  6. Overstreet

    2003 Film Journals

    21 Films I Love Most (for whatever reasons) I've seen many films that are arguably greater works of art than these--Ordet, Andrei Rublev, The Mirror, The Godfather series... but as much as I admire them, they have not had a profound effect on me personally. I don't find myself wanting to watch them over and over. This list contains some that are artful masterpieces, but also many that I cherish for the part they played in certain chapters of my life. So I really don't know what to call this list... Wings of Desire Three Colors: Blue The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Raiders of the Lost Ark Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Apocalypse Now (I prefer Redux) The Fisher King Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail Blade Runner Midnight Run A Room With a View Chariots of Fire Raising Arizona Watership Down Down By Law Stevie The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King The Double Life of Veronique The Decalogue Secrets and Lies Yi-Yi (A One and a Two) Code Unknown - - - - RECENT VIEWINGS 8/2/03 - Wings of Desire extras =D> 8/4/03 - Pather Panchali* - A- 8/5/03 - Le Divorce* - C+ :-s 8/11/03 - Lost in Translation - A :thumb: 8/16/03 - Six Feet Under* - :-s ............ - Stevie* - A+ :fivestars: 8/17/03 - Capturing the Friedmans* - B- :| ............ - Six Feet Under, ep. 2 :-s 8/18/03 - Open Range* - B- :| 8/21/03 - American Splendor* - A- 8/22/03 - Fighting Temptations* - C- :x 8/26/03 - The Legend of Johnny Lingo* 8/27/03 - Bonhoeffer* - B 8/28/03 - Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - extras 8/29/03 - Mad Max* :-s 9/4/03 - Once Upon a Waste of Time in Mexico* - D 9/6/03 - Seabiscuit* (finally!!) - B+ 9/7/03 - Hangman's Curse* - D :x 9/10/03 - Matchstick Men* - B 9/12/03 - 21 Grams* - C :-({|= 9/14/03 - Stevie (2nd viewing) Now on DVD. A+ :cry: 9/15/03 - Lawless Heart* - C - 9/16/03 - In This World* - A 8O J. Robert's review says it all. 9/20/03 - Lost in Translation - A - The Shipping News* - B 9/24/03 - Indentity* :roll: - C- - Comedian* (excerpts) 9/28 - The Animation Show - C+ - :? 9/30 - Mystic River* - C+ Raising Victor Vargas - B+/A- =D> 10/4 - Blow Out* - C+ 10/6 - Kill Bill-Vol. 1 - :? B- 10/7 - Intolerable Cruelty - A-/B+ 10/14 - Happy Accidents - C 10/15 - The Human Stain - A- 10/21 - Ikiru* - A - Masterfully made. 10/22 - The Good Thief* - B 10/23 - Radio* - :-& C- 10/24 - Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World* - A- While it suffers a bit from being another Men Being Manly and Teaching Boys and Men How to Be Manly 10/29 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (on DVD) - B+ The film just seems more and more trivial every time I see it. Fun, nicely done, and if it fit in tone with the other films I probably would like it better. But there is such an obvious void at the heart of the film, a lack of the profound weight that Raiders carried. Still, I hope Ford can be as good as he is in Crusade when #4 rolls around. 10/30 - Elf* - B- The first half is a laugh riot that plays to Ferrell's strengths. But as the formulaic and yet profoundly empty PLOT begins to come together, it's like watching a flooded basement worsen until the whole house is swamped. 10/31 - Gumnaam* (on DVD) - Billed as the first Indian thriller, this is a great party movie, full of nonsense, hilarious music-video interruptions, zany dances, and funny botched subtitles. Almost as entertaining as Kill Bill Vol. 1, this is a great flick to watch with a group and talk to Mystery Science Theater-style. 11/2 - The Princess and the Warrior* (on DVD) - C+ Some spectacular cinematography makes this film worth seeing, but the characters are impenetrable due to the bizarre circumstances that have left them emotionally and psychologically fractured, and as they interact in one surreal and implausible scene after another, I become further detached and increasingly bewildered by the whole affair. Overly ponderous, humorless, and ultimately frustrating. 11/4 - The Matrix Revolutions* - 8O B - Wow. It doesn't ultimately redeem the trilogy for me. (I've been a nay-sayer from the beginning because I like my science fiction epics with CHARACTERS, not mannequins.) But it sure works overtime mustering up the qualities that have been lacking in the series for this viewer. Real emotion. The sense that something important is at stake. Action that's exhilarating instead of footage from a tedious video game. And Hugo Weaving steals the show (again) with his funniest, most enjoyable performance to date. I went in expecting boredom and frustration, and I was quite captivated. For sheer spectacle, I can't think of a sci-fi film that beats it. Okay, if you challenge me on what it means, I'll probably keep my thoughts to myself (after the pounding I've taken on the board already.) I don't think the Wachowski's have a clue where to go with the film's "message," and the conclusion feels like emptiness wrapped up in religious iconography. And yet they do seem to discover that the resonance of a Christ story is unshakeable. As twisted and problematic as their Christ epic is, it is still an echo of the truth they seem so determined to avoid. 11/06/03 - House of Sand and Fog* - B+ What is it with long, heavy, burdensome, mournful dramas this year? This one is superior to Mystic River and 21 Grams in that things play out in a way that seems dreadfully believable and natural. Nothing feels contrived. Every character is a fully-developed character, and thus, there are no good guys and no bad guys, only errors in judgment, moments when emotion overcomes rationality, and the heartbreaking consequences of sin. Ben Kingsley is a master, and this is one of his greatest performances. Jennifer Connelly, who seems to make a living at breakdowns and crying for the camera, gives her finest performance as well. But in the world we live in, it's the heavy-handed, contrived Mystic River and the angst-overload of 21 Grams that will probably win Oscars. 11/08/03 - Pieces of April* - A- - A small but wonderful film. There's a moment in this film that moved me to tears more unexpectedly and abruptly than any film in recent years. A perfect cast. Great supporting characters. Peter Hedges (who wrote What's Eating Gilbert Grape?) makes his directorial debut here and gives us his second great film about family dynamics. - Winged Migration* - A- - Breathtaking footage that has you open-mouthed in awe and wonder at God's wild creativity and at the genius of the filmmakers, who do things with cameras in this film that seem physically impossible. 11/11/03 - The Matrix Revolutions (second viewing) B- Fights became more tedious, dialogue seemed more tedious, but I stand by my argument that this film does NOT throw the film's feeble logic out the window but actually makes the series' metaphors more poignant. In the end, it is not about how evil human institutions and systems are, but about how corrupt they have become, and how we should be seeking to redeem our systems of control rather than to overthrow them. 11/14/03 - Invincible* (on DVD) - A- A gorgeous, poetic film that tells the true story of a Polish Jew who was employed by the Nazis as a strongman entertainer until he could no longer hide from his audiences the fact that he was indeed a Jew. Highly recommended. 11/15/03 - Heat (on DVD) - B+ For the glory of Spinotti's cinematography and this combination of actors playing to their strengths. This movie has what remains my favorite movie shootout. And I love the moment when Ashley Judd makes her decision whether to betray or save her man. What a loaded silence. 11/18/03 - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Extended Edition - A- Much improved, but still rather flawed. The new scenes are hit-and-miss. Gimli gets the worst line he's had in the whole series so far, but the presence of Treebeard, Gandalf, Faramir, and Eowyn are greatly enhanced by the new material. There's also a much better sense of THE JOURNEY, giving us a sense of time and space that keeps Middle Earth from being reduced to an amusement park. 11/19/03 - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Extended Edition (second viewing) I'm really appreciating the re-edited and enhanced battle scenes. The order of events and choreography of the battle of Helm's Deep are much clearer. It doesn't feel so much like battle chaos, but more like an examination of how a battle played out, the steps that were taken, and the moves made by the orcs to slowly break the defense. The "turning of the tide" of the battle still feels abrupt and a bit unexplained to me, but it's definitely clearer now what happened to the enemy at the end. 11/24 - The Missing* - :? - C+ Strong performances, some gorgeous scenery, and one of James Horner's more restrained soundtracks elevate an unremarkable script. But this Western is too high in recycled content, and the conclusion lacks resonance. 11/24 - Whale Rider (second viewing, DVD) - B+ The second time through, this really grabbed my heart and squeezed it. Even if its paces are rather measured, and I still want to know more about the culture Koro is so passionate to preserve, Castle-Hughes' performance is a knockout. It makes me believe. 11/29 - The Two Towers, EE (third viewing) Having re-read the Denethor chapters last night, I'm less bothered by this portrayal. He really is a class-A jerk. 12/03 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King* - A+ I'm tempted to knock off the "+" because of some serious flaws in the film. Those flaws are not entirely the filmmakers' fault. I've come to believe that this book cannot be translated very smoothly into a film, partly because of the awkwardness of filming so many conclusions to so many storylines. Further, the film needs to give the audience more opportunity to "breathe"... it feels something like an assault on the senses, and I staggered out a bit bruised by it all. Nevertheless, while it may not be the most artful piece of fantasy storytelling ever filmed, it is indeed the most awe-inspiring fantasy spectacle ever filmed. And compared to other films released this year, it is indeed the highest achievement in almost every filmmaking discipline. So I'll grant it a rare A+. 12/10/03 - Cold Mountain - B/B+ Good story, gorgeous lighting and cinematography, some unforgettable images, and some memorable performances (especially Zellweger, Gleeson, and Jack White from the White Stripes)... but the final film must have been thrown into a blender by a Miramax exec, because it feels more like a rushed presentation of "highlights from the epic motion picture" rather than the meditative, evenly-paced journey it should have been. Too bad. Last time they did this to a movie was "All the Pretty Horses", another Nearly-Was and Also-Ran of the Great Films list. 12/11/03 - Big Fish - B Charming, occasionally powerful, Finney is amazing, but it's all ultimately a bit unsatisfying. 12/16/03 - Girl with the Pearl Earring - B+ Gorgeous light, color, sets, and cinematography, a strong performance by Johansson, and my favorite performance of Colin Firth's career. 12/17/03 - The Triplets of Belleville - B+ Outrageous, hilarious, at times really grotesque, and boundlessly inventive. The animation is spectacular. It's one of the year's must-sees. But it is also frivolous: it makes Amelie look like a profound work of deeply meaningful art. 12/18 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - A The good things get better, the bad things become more evident and wince-worthy. 12/20/03 - Pieces of April (2nd viewing, DVD) - A Again, this movie had me laughing and crying. A small wonder, one of my top 10 for the year. 12/21/03 - The Gospel of John (DVD) - B+ It was an interesting experiment. Most of the film's power actually comes from the text itself, so it is difficult to rate the "movie." The entire book of John is read aloud, and much of the style of the text works against the filmmakers in their efforts to make for a compelling viewing experience. After all, while there are some miracles in John's gospel, there is a whole lot more of Jesus walking around saying "I tell you the truth" and explaining who he is and why people should believe in him. I was put off by the deep-pore-cleansing Jesus they portrayed. Henry Ian Cusick does a good job with the dialogue, but he was too clean, too iconic, not rough and realistic enough for me. Similarly, one of the Pharisees was made into a sort of Pharisee Darth Vader, which sent the movie into the direction of a cliche "showdown." But the cinematography was attractive, the soundtrack understated, and the film did not dwell unnecessarily on details extraneous to John's focus. An admirably restrained effort. 12/28/03 - The Barbarian Invastions - :? - B- Solid performances and some sobering portrayals of health care in Montreal, but the family at the center of this drama is an unpleasant, amoral sort that I found to be miserable company. As the film does not seem to be interested in the foolishness and consequences of their actions, I just found myself sinking deeper and deeper into frustration and apathy toward them. Technically, a well-made film, but not at all deserving of the acclaim it's been receiving. Also: The most irresponsible use of September 11th footage in a film yet. It comes like a blow to the gut, and I feel the use of the shot was entirely unjustified and gratuitous. 12/29/03 - To Be and to Have - - B+ Beautiful, inspiring, and yet the filmmakers seem to rely too much on the entertainment value of the kids, catching cute moments, without crafting enough of a focus or developing themes like they might have. It felt a little meandering and haphazard to me. 12/31/03 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Cinerama) - A Has their ever been a greater film to see at the Cinerama? Whoah. Third time's a charm they say, and I'm more in love with this film than ever. But the flaws still make me wince... especially Aragorn's abrupt arrival at the Black Gate and his sudden charge. We really really needed his face-off with the Mouth of Sauron. Why in the world did they cut that out? To see the Mouth of Sauron throw down Frodo's vest and ruin the hope of the heroes, that would have made Aragorn's teary-eyed "For Frodo" really resonate. The DVD for this film will be an A+, I'm fairly certain.
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