Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2007

The Halloween Horror Movie Challenge is Done

Well, I'm a failure. I didn't manage to watch 31 horror movies.

I saw 28 movies in 31 days, 21 new to me. Too bad I didn't have a copy of Horror 101 at the beginning of the month. Picking movies would have been much easier as I've hardly seen any of the movies in it, because of my long history of avoiding horror movies because they are scary. I was so silly, cuz being a little scared is FUN.

Hard Candy (2005)
This might have been the most uncomfortable movies I've watched during the horror movie challenge and I've been trying to put my finger on just what makes the viewer so uneasy. The sound design always impacts my mood while watching a movie. One thing I noticed was a distinct lack of music. Seems to me that Haneke's films have also lacked a traditional movie score and I experienced a similar unsettling quality to Cache. So it could be simple manipulation via the sound design.

But I suspect it has more to do with the subject matter. Hard C…

I smell smoke

Halloween is quickly approaching. No dressing up this year as I just cannot think of anything that would go right with my wheels. Originally, I figured that I would go as a pirate as I could paint a peg leg onto my cast. The problem would be the rest of the ensemble. I am stuck wearing sweat pants, because the couple of times I did get jeans over my cast, they got stuck. So I figure I should stick to athletic wear this winter instead of a more piratey ensemble.

Speaking of that, I'm pissed. This is my favorite time of year. The weather is nice and cool meaning that it is time to put away the capris and shorts and dust off the boots, jeans, and sweaters. And it is jacket weather. I love jackets. Riding the bus with so many students every day, there is a constant parade of young women wearing good boots and nice jackets. And then there is me, in my cut off pants and sweatshirt. I am so jealous. I'd shrug it off and say I'll get around to that once my cast is…

Ride the Snake

I went back to work this week. Though with how much I've had to do, I wonder why I bothered. Just ordering and making sure things are in place so that I might be able to do some science in the near future. I'm planning to try to do actual experiments next week and hope for the best. Maybe eventually, I'll even get a lab aide to help me. This would be great even once I have two working legs because it would allow me to focus on experiments if I don't have to worry about the dishes, tips and reagents. I should know something soon as to whether I can afford a helper. Plus, it would be nice not to be in this basement lab totally alone everyday too, but that argument for a coworker has failed thus far, so I'm trying the gimp routine now. :)

On Wednesday, I saw my doctor and got to see pictures of the hardware in my ankle. Its pretty cool to see a big metal plate and a handful of screws in an x-ray of my leg. Hopefully, my doctor will send me a picture so I can …

Brand Upon the Brain! And more horror...

Brand Upon the Brain (2007) - I'm on so much crack! I'm a huge fan of horror. Guy Maddin! I love his movies and he was just in Seattle to perform Brand Upon the Brain! I'm certain I've written about Guy Maddin's films in the past, because he has been in Seattle several times for screenings and discussions of his work, especially since he spent quite a bit of time here casting, filming and scoring Brand Upon the Brain! with all local talent.


What is so unique about Guy Maddin is that he creates modern, silent expressionist horror movies. His other films have been scored and therefore have the look and feel of a 1920s era silent picture without being silent. Brand Upon the Brain! is a silent movie and his best feature thus far.

Like much of Maddin's previous work, this is totally autobiographical, or to quote Guy, "The thing is literally a true story - only much, much better." The main character is the prepubescent, Guy Maddin (Sullivan Brown).…

October Horror Movie Challenge

As many of you already know, I'm not a fan of the horror genre. I think this is solely due to the fact that I acquired my total movie addiction in the 1990s, and except for the duration of a high school, football-playing boyfriend who drug me to every horror movie playing, I avoided them. Wouldn't you after enduring The Lawnmower Man, Sleepwalkers, and The Hand that Rocks the Cradle with someone who thought they were good?

What I hadn't really considered was that many of the themes that bring me out to the theaters are horrific. Just considering some of my favorite films that I've seen this year: Eastern Promises, The Brave One, Sunshine, Sex and Death 101, Four Minutes, The Devil Came on Horseback, Red Road, Zodiac, Perfume... I haven't seen these movies called "horror movies" but an argument could be made for most of them. These are dark movies, and while it is often a dark or edgy sexuality component that makes a movie a must see for me, the edge…

SIFF 2007, day 8

Tell No One - France, Thriller

In Tell No One, Dr Alexandre Beck's (Fran├žois Cluzet) wife was murdered as he lay unconscious, unable to save her. Eight years later, two bodies are discovered on Dr. Beck's property and the authorities begin to ask questions about his wife's death, since things just don't add up. Then some photos of Alex's wife appear showing her badly beaten. While Beck is getting all of this attention from authorities, he starts receiving anonymous messages that suggest that his wife may be alive. Tell No One is a wonderfully gripping thriller for the majority of the film and I was completely drawn in and enjoying the mystery as it unfolded. It also made some rather progressive choices. There is a small band of thugish assassin-types, with a very thin and incredible striking woman with a talent for retrieving information from the unwilling or uncooperative. I thought she was incredibly cool and couldn't believe the torture that she was in…

SIFF 2007, day 7 (5/31)

I've made it to the end of week 1 of the film festival and this is a record year. We have already been out to 10 full length feature films and there were only 2 films that I wouldn't recommend. One of those I cannot blog about and the other was merely a very average documentary. While Monter Camp wasn't terrible it was very mediocre.

But there are already two stand out films and both are documentaries: King of Kong and The Devil Came on Horseback.

Also of note is that I have lost 1.4 kg/ 3 lbs in one week since the festival started. At work, we have had the fitness challenge going since the beginning of the year with Hieu tracking our progress. I'm not allowed to play, since according to Hieu, I am already at my ideal BMI (which I told him is meaningless for many reasons, but he wants to run the contest based on BMI, so whatever) so I'm stepping on the lab scale once a month with everyone else as a "control". My weight has stayed firmly at 59 kg …

SIFF 2007, day 3

King of Kong- USA, Documentary

This was way more fun to watch than you'd expect from a documentary. Somehow, a movie about Donkey Kong, you know the 1980s classic arcade game, managed to make a movie about an epic struggle between good and evil. The good guy, Steve Wiebe of Redmond, WA decides to attempt to beat the legendary high score set by Billy Mitchell back in 1982. No one had come even close to that score since, until Steve submitted his video. The battle begins when the authenticity of the tape is questioned, then the questions of whether Steve's Donkey Kong arcade game was somehow tampered with, and his struggles continue, but by the half-way point, you really want Steve to be the Donkey Kong victor. He just comes across as a really awesome guy who wants to play fair with the record holder.

And this is where the movie gets really fun. Billy Mitchell, the original holder of the record Donkey Kong high score is the perfect movie villain. He wears black and has…

SIFF 2007, day 4

The Devil Came on Horseback- USA, Documentary

Another excellent documentary. Every morning I listen to the news on NPR, but while I think I am relatively well informed on what is going on in the world, I know that my knowledge doesn't have any real depth. I know of the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, but I knew little about the animosities and politics that fuel it. So I took in a documentary on the subject.

The Devil Came on Horseback is a call to action to the world to aid the people in Darfur to stop the killing from Brian Steidle. He is an American, ex-marine who was in the region as a monitor, but his job that kept him in Darfur for 6 months only involved the recording of instances of violence in the region and he was not permitted to interfere or try to stop the murders, only photograph and write reports on the aftermath of the attacks on villiages by the Janjaweed or the devils on horseback. After 6 months of recording these attacks daily, he came back to the US …

SIFF 2007, day 5

This Is England- UK, Drama

At SIFF 2004, we went to a screening of Dead Man's Shoes directed by Shane Meadows which was a well made and very memorable thriller starring Paddy Considine. As I had such fond recollections of that film, I was quick to agree to see another film by Shane Meadows.

Shortly after getting into a fight at school, Shaun meets a group of friendly skin heads who adopt him, shave his head, and teach him how to dress. While Shaun's mother is a little distressed that her child is spending his time out of school with a bunch of adult punks, she does nothing to interfere since they have helped him stay out of fights and they do take care of him. But the group becomes less friendly when Combo returns after doing his time. Soon Shaun is indoctrinated into racism and violence.

This Is England didn't cover as much new territory as I had hoped. I know a bit about skin head culture and England's skin heads are nearly identical to those in the US. They wea…

SIFF 2007, day 2

Red Road- United Kingdom, Thriller

I learned at this screening that Red Road is the first of a trilogy of Advance Party films. This is a project in which films from different filmmakers will follow characters originated by Scherfig and Jensen. It sounds like a great project just to see how different filmmakers re-imagine these same characters in two more films. But anyway... onto the first of the trilogy, Red Road.

Red Road is a debut feature from director, Andrea Arnold. It is set in Scotland and follows Jackie (Kate Dickie). Jackie spends her days watching the CCTV monitors, watching for signs of trouble or illegal activity. I had to look up the use of CCTV in the UK to determine how widespread it really is, because I was wondering whether Jackie's job was a bit of paranoid, big brother science fiction, but it turns out that it is estimated that there are around 4,000,000 CCTV cameras all over the UK and that people, like Jackie, watch for suspicious activity 24 hours a da…

SIFF 2007, day 1

The Aerial- Argentina, SciFi

I have a history of seeing memorable silent films at the northwest film forum, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the first movie attended at SIFF 2007 would be a silent film at the northwest film forum. As with all of the other silent films, I was charmed. There is something inherently appealing in silent films that modern movies don't contain. There is a special aesthetic appeal of old black+white film and a simplicity to the story telling necessitated by the pause in action cut with the titles. Guy Maddin is known for making very quirky, modern silent films and The Aerial is another, modern silent film, although there is sound in the film, it is the story that keeps the characters silent.

The setting is a place where Mr. TV is in control and the people have lost their voices. There is one woman, The Voice, who has a voice, but otherwise, all inhabitants of the city communicate through reading lips and the view is given subtitles for all o…

Now in theaters...

I've been meaning to post about some excellent movies, but between work, gym visits, and running off to see and yet, more movies, I haven't had the time to sit and write. But before these leave the theaters, I wanted to say something.



The Lookout

"Whoever has the money has the power"

Joseph Gorden-Levitt is hot and his last few staring roles have insured that I'll be paying attention anytime I see that he is involved in a project. From Mysterious Skin where he portrayed a young, emotionally scared hustler to Brick which he remained grounded in a high school film noir where he uttered dialog like "The ape blows or I clam" while sounding totally believable as a high school student involved in a murder plot. So it didn't take much to get my interest in seeing The Lookout besides knowing that Joseph Gorden-Levitt is in the lead. Often I wait for reviews to come out or at least see who is directing (Scott Frank), but there was no need. I would be buy…

First movie post of 2007

I'm still seeing movies, it just doesn't seem like it because I fail to write about them these days. I blame 2006 movies for this lapse. It is very difficult to convince myself to sit down and write about movies when I haven't been excited about anything I've seen. This last year was such a disappointment that I often skipped going out to the theater for weeks at a time. I have been getting out to at least one movie a week for years... until last year.

And last summer, when I did muster up the ambition to leave my cozy apartment, I was often totally unimpressed by the movie. Unfortunately, in general 2006 was a very unsatisfying year at the movies. But despite this, apparently this wasn't reflected in ticket sales.

But I'm happy to report an upturn in the movie trends. The late 2006/early 2007 films have been very good. In fact, most of the movies I've seen in the last month have been excellent. Among those were Volver, Children of Men, Blood Dia…