Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Trim Bin #27

- I find that in choosing which films to write about, a great deal falls through the cracks. This is often because I can find little to say about a film that hasn't been said or, in some cases, that the prospect of tackling a film can be extremely daunting (I'm still working my way up to United 93 and the work of Terrence Malick, for instance). So remembered when I was just learning to write, when it was simply enough to make lists of the movies I'd watch. Each Sunday, you can find a list here of the films I've watched during the previous week, along with a rating on a scale of 0-10. Feel free to share your own cinemagoing exploits, and if you wish for me to elaborate upon or justify a particular rating, that might me just the thing to get my tuchus in gear.

- The new issue of Samurai Dreams is out, and it's a pleasure. Its writers sometimes tread into misguided cynicism, such as perceived correlation between popularity and marketability - isn't it possible that E.T. was more successful than Nukie because it's just plain better?. But then, these rough edges are what make Samurai Dreams so valuable; that it provokes such strong responses speaks to its sharp wit and enthusiasm, all too rare qualities in contemporary film writing. Along with a probing write-up on Slacker by Max Clark, Greg's persuasive four-star take on Brainscan, the snazzy new design, and the work of James (aka Joly), who elevates reviews of films like Malone to pure poetry, this one is well worth seeking out.

- Ebert's "Great Movies" review of The Shining is a pleasant surprise - I'd only ever found passing mentions of the film in his other reviews before, and they generally seemed dismissive. The Rog offers a refreshing take on the film, bringing it one step closer to general recognition as the masterpiece it is. It almost makes up for this.

- The Brattle's summer schedule contains gems like a zombie weekend (July 21-24), a "Hitchcock and Friends" weekend (28-31), and The Goonies (August 2). Along with Terminator 2 in South Hadley, my wedding, and Jaws in Shelburne Falls, it looks to be one fine July.

Movies watched this week:

Wonder Boys 10
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 8
Dazed and Confused 10
Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetery Man) 8
The Notorious Bettie Page 6
Batman Begins 9
The Devil's Rejects 9
After Hours 10
Nashville 10
The Terminator 10
Alien 3 9
Rebel Without a Cause 10
Three Kings 9
The Proposition 10


Gregory Joseph said...

yeah andy claims in this issue that nukie is better than et and that 2019 is better than escape from new york. i disagree on both counts (nukie is less a film than a mind-rape), but andy's distaste for the mainstream is less rooted in cynicism than it is in a kind of scrappy enthusiasm for discovering lost treasure, and highlighting the losers and underdogs of the film world. andy's long running cracks in the wall zine (which he has distro'd over 2000 copies of) isn't about film, but reads as a kind of perzine/ open socio-political discourse, mostly focused on technology, advertising, and commodification. i asked andy to write for SD because i'm
interested in his perspective; film is something andy has only recently become interested in, and i knew that his unique vierpoint would be an asset to the zine. if you'll notice he doesn't focus so much on
technique- the kinds of things that make a film a film- than the thematic content of a film and the overall "feel" of a flick (for lack of a better term). this results in some rather bizarre reviews; max pointed out that nukie and me and you and everyone we know get the same three star score in andy's universe. my friend zach and i had a conversation about how different the approach is for each of the four main writers, and i think that's actually the draw of the zine.

the zine is growing as a slow but steady pace, which is exactly what i wanted. my first zine, everything is obvious, which i put together a few years ago with my friend rob donovan, a clumsy relic from my more overtly punk-rock days, didn't stir up much interest, so i just quit after one and a half issues. i made some friends in the process (fellow w.mass zinesters), but it was overall a disappointing experience. with SD, i decided to let it grow organically, not worry too much about print run. every issue has seen a double in demand. i've sent out every issue i've printed up, and i need to get some soon. i'm sending out a half dozen issues to bigger cult film mags and zines that review other zines, as well as some of the bigger b-movie web sites. even if the zine didn't grow, i'd keep putting them out even if only a few people dug 'em. so in other words, i'm glad you enjoyed it. james and i discussed a new concept for the next issue: fake reviews of "lost" films (i would reveal the phonies on the last page).

the proposition was great. i'm suprised the reviews have been so mixed and not on the predominantly positive side.

Andrew Bemis said...

Yeah, I can side with the "rooting for the losers" argument. I guess for me, there are shades of mainstream and shades of fringe. It's the difference between Spielberg doing E.T. (made on a relatively small budget, stars the lead from The Howling and The Hills Have Eyes, was expected to do less business than Poltergeist and Rocky III) and Spielberg doing Indiana Jones 4. Or, on the other side of the spectrum, a low-budget but really imaginative movie like The Peanut Butter Solution and Nukie, which to me is as parasitic and crass as Mac and Me with the added offense of being unwatchable. It makes me miss when I was a kid and had no concept of A-movie/B-movie distinctions, and the only thing that mattered was whether something captured my imagination, whether it was Batman or The Monster Squad. Glad to hear that SD is finding its audience.

I'll probably write more on The Proposition soon, after it sinks in a bit. I knew about the Nick Drake screenplay and the cast beforehand, but it still really took me by surprise - it's the first great movie I've seen this year.

Dr. Criddle said...

Glad to hear that The Proposition was great - I'll definately be seeing it soon. Although it was Nick Cave, not Nick Drake, who wrote the screenplay.

I also have a lot of movies slip through the cracks and not get reviewed. Usually I either feel either guilty about not knowing about not knowing quite what to say about a really complex film (The New World comes to mind) or embarassed to admit that I only very recently got around to finally seeing, say, Ghostbusters.

Dr. Criddle said...

And yeah, Ebert's Garfield ATOTK review.... yipes. Either Fox is now in the habit of releasing mind-altering hallucinogens into the air during press screenings, or...I don't quite know what.

Andrew Bemis said...

My mistake...I have an unfortunate tendency to confuse similar names if the two people are similar (see also Kim Deal/Gordon and Joseph Campbell/Conrad). Incidentally, L.M. Carson didn't write Paris Texas - Sam Shepard did, Carson wrote the adaptation. And TCM2 cannot be parodying Blue Velvet as it was released before Blue Velvet.