Archive for February, 2003

2002

February 27, 2003

San Jose Cinequest

USA

English

98 minutes

Your Audience Is Watching. Be The Hero — THE MOVIE HERO.

The Cinequest opening night tradition continues with another not unwatchable, but not good either offering. A comedy about a movie-loving guy. We could all see things in his world that we responded to as movie geeks ourselves. Notes:. . . Jeremy Sisto plays a guy who believes he is always playing to an “audience”. . . He talks to the camera and speaks in filmmaker’s language. . . He gets himself a ‘side-kick’, finds a ‘love-interest’, and follows a ‘suspicious character’. . . Parts of it were shockingly honest, but most of it was a bit too clever for its own good. . . The suspicious guy part had no meaning. . .Funny third wall stuff like “here’s where my audience gets the backstory” or “If we kiss on the roof, the backdrop will be more romantic for my audience.”

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2002

February 19, 2003

Camera 7

USA / Germany / Australia

English / French / Vietnamese

118 minutes

In War, The Most Popular Weapon Is Seduction — THE QUIET AMERICAN.

Very good story about the dawning of the Vietnam War and the interaction between an English journalist, and American Doctor, and the beautiful Vietnamese girl they both love. Caine has been nominated for an Oscar and he is very good as a polite-as-can-be reporter who enjoys opium and the company of “the most beautiful girl in Saigon”. I’m a fan of Brendan Frasier, who would get more critical acclaim if he weren’t built like a building. He is good here as a man who claims to be in the country to help villagers with an eyesight problem. Allegiances change and partnerships arise, and Frasier falls in love with Caine’s girlfriend and she becomes the embodiment of the entire country of Vietnam. That portion of the story, that what happens to her happens to her country, is a bit overplayed and simplistic, but on the whole the film is well done and beautifully shot. Frasier wearing thick framed eyeglasses is a bit too Clark Kentish for my tastes. Well done by all.

8.7 Critical Consensus

7.5 IMDb

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2002

February 16, 2003

Camera Cinema Club

USA

English

92 minutes

Documentary about the Weathermen, a group of radical early 70s young people who claimed responsibility for a host of bombings around the US to protest the Vietnam War specifically and the capitalist form of government in general. Although I’m too young to remember the actual events, I knew about their existence, but not the extent of their bombing targets. This film has archival footage and recent interviews with the subjects. A fascinating look at how a youthful movement can take people in directions they didn’t plan on. The filmmaker was a guy named Sam Green who was probably the best guest the Camera Cinema Club has ever had. Young and thoughtful and even-tempered, he makes me optimistic about the future of the genre.

There was a bit too much harsh war footage, but I suppose that was to get us in the right frame of mind to see why these people went to such extremes to try and halt the war. A lot of blood. They also captured pretty well the free love society that The Weathermen wanted to live. It was very well done and can be seen this year at the upcoming Cinequest 2003. I highly recommend it.

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2002

January 22, 2003

Camera 7

USA / Canada

English / Hungarian

113 minutes

With The Right Song And Dance, You Can Get Away With Murder — CHICAGO.

Not good at all. I’m upset at its Best Picture Oscar nomination. I have seen the stage play and maybe knowing every line and every song takes away from the film, but I don’t think that’s the reason. It is a filmed stage play that doesn’t rise above being a filmed stage play. The songs are set pieces shot from one direction as if they set up a camera in the audience and filmed it. This didn’t need to be a movie and they made no effort to make it more ‘cinematic’. The fact that this is being mentioned in the same breath as the almighty MOULIN ROUGE is a travesty. Everyone but Richard Gere did a good job of singing and dancing, but still it was boring with no story to speak of. Some songs were hummable, but I just don’t get the fuss.

7.3 Critical Consensus

8.0 IMDb

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Written by Michael W. Cummins