Archive for December, 2007

1964

December 8, 2007
Netflix DVD
UK
English / Latin
39 Minutes
Documentary / Short / Biography
Paul Almond

…the first in a series where the same English kids are followed and filmed every seven years…this is surely one of the best uses for the technology of film ever devised…the latest version of this series is 49 Up…This first one appears to be a British television program dealing with class differences in England…would be relatively interesting if it was a stand-alone, but functions more now as a prelude to the rest of the series…

8.3 IMDB

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1977

December 3, 2007
Netflix DVD
USA
English
83 Minutes
Drama
Charles Burnett

…the highest rated film I hadn’t seen…I dozed several times…in black and white and filmed in Watts…I was disappointed at its incredible critical acclaim, but I have to say that after four weeks, there are images from it that have stuck with me,which is more than I can say for many other things I’ve seen since this…slice-of-life more than plotted…

9.4 Metacritic
8.0 IMDB

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2007

December 2, 2007
November 20, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English / Spanish
122 Minutes
Crime / Drama / Western
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

There Are No Clean Getaways

After you’ve seen NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, listen to the MichaelVox and Tassoula K Cinebanter podcast, which is available here or at iTunes.

Second Viewing:

…it’s easier to concentrate on performances and pacing when you’re aren’t afraid that you’ll see blood every five minutes…I was amazed at how the tension still there even though I knew what was going to happen…I also liked the audience reaction to things I knew about…The performances remained impeccible…on the other hand, something was missing this second time…it didn’t hit me as hard or live up to what I’ve had in my brain for the past 12 days…the law of diminishing marginal utility? Maybe…still one of the most invigorating visits to the theater in years…

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First Viewing:

–tense action from start to finish
–MichaelVox crush Kelly MacDonald has a role
–all extra people are perfectly cast
–no bumbling cops this time

…the most masterful film in many years…every shot matters, every angle perfect, everything on and off screen is there for a reason…every word is perfect…

Oscar Nominations:
–Picture
–Supporting Actor Javier Bardem
–Director Joel and Ethan Coen
–Cinematography
–Adapted Screenplay Joel and Ethan Coen
–Editing
–Sound Mixing
–Sound Editing

9.1 Metacritic
8.8 IMDB
#18 IMDB
**** Ebert

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2006

November 26, 2007
DVD
USA
English
117 Minutes
Action / Drama / History / War
Zack Snyder

Prepare For Glory!

…ridiculous dialogue…impossible abs…but really cool fight scenes…limps chopped off in a somehow realistic, but comic-like way…music swells, background moves unnaturally, bad guys ugly, good guys look like supermodels…hot king/queen sex…bad guy played by THE WIRE’S McNulty…if this film gets teenage boys into history, it can’t be all bad, can it?…maybe the ultimate fan-boy-geek extravaganza…take a look below at what critics thought compared to what web-surfers (read: young men) thought…

5.1 Metacritic
8.0 IMDB

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2005

November 25, 2007
DVD
USA / France
English / Spanish
121 Minutes
Adventure / Crime / Drama / Western
Tommy Lee Jones

For Justice. For Loyalty. For Friendship.

A Texas ranch foreman kidnaps the Border partrolman who accidentally killed his friend, an illegal immigrant, and sets out to take them both back to Mexico for a family burial.

…much better than expected…a gruff man wants to bury his friend back in Mexico after he’s killed for questionable reasons…slowly paced…full of southwestern characters…well done…

7.7 Metacritic
7.6 IMDB
** Halliwell’s

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2007

November 20, 2007
San Jose CA — Cinearts Santana Row
USA
English / Spanish
122 Minutes
Crime / Drama / Western
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen

There Are No Clean Getaways

After you’ve seen NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, listen to the MichaelVox and Tassoula K Cinebanter podcast, which is available here or at iTunes.

–tense action from start to finish
–MichaelVox crush Kelly MacDonald has a role
–all extra people are perfectly cast
–no bumbling cops this time

…the most masterful film in many years…every shot matters, every angle perfect, everything on and off screen is there for a reason…every word is perfect…

9.1 Metacritic
8.8 IMDB
#18 IMDB
**** Ebert

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2006

November 19, 2007
DVD
USA
English
85 Minutes
Comedy / Drama
Mike Akel

Real Teaching Leaves A Mark

…sort of a mockumentary about high school teachers and how they cope…I teach high school…I’ve seen most of these characters before…but the real life day-to-day world at high school is funnier than anything that found its way into this film…

7.0 Metacritic
6.0 IMDB

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2007

November 18, 2007
Camera Cinema Club
USA
English
113 Minutes
Comedy / Drama
Tamara Jenkins

Not a good time at the movies, for me. Hoffman and Linney play realistic siblings who need to put their elderly father in a nursing home. The two actors do a great job playing bright people who haven’t fulfilled their mental promise. Linney applies for grants she doesn’t deserve and Hoffman lectures on obscure depressing authors. Neither of them is the problem. And I don’t have the American issue with an aging population. It’s just that the film is dreary in tone and in photography. It’s wintertime in Buffalo, which doesn’t help. Was it trying to be a straight comedy, a black comedy, a drama about dying? It can’t figure it out. A popular clip from the film has Hoffman throwing his shoulder out playing tennis with Linney and then having to stand up in a contraption that keeps his jaw straight while he is hanging from a doorway and can’t open his mail or eat. The crowd went wild, but the scene served no purpose except to show Hoffman strung up for comedic value. There were some heartfelt scenes between Linney and the staff of the nursing home and the awkward comedy of showing THE JAZZ SINGER for movie night at the mostly African-American-staffed home, to the audience’s disgust. But it was neither an acting clinic or a brave take on how we treat our elderly. It was just a dreary story.

8.5 Metacritic
8.1 IMDB

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2007

November 14, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English
123 Minutes
Crime / Drama / Thriller
Sidney Lumet

No One Was Supposed To Get Hurt.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is amazing as we’d expect. Ethan Hawke didn’t turn my stomach like he usually does. Marisa Tomei is sexy and naked. A lot. The story was weaved very well. We open with a jewelry heist gone wrong and work our way back from character to character. Hoffman and Hawke could be brothers. They have differing relationships with their father, played by Albert Finney. If there’s a sadder sack than Hoffman, I’ve never seen him on screen. Tense and compelling.

8.8 Metacritic
7.9 IMDB

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THE ORPHANAGE
2007

November 11, 2007
Camera Cinema Club Sneak Preview
Mexico / Spain
Spanish
110 Minutes
Drama / Horror / Mystery / Thriller
Juan Antonio Bayona

A Tale Of Love. A Story Of Horror.

More psychological than gross-scary…an eerieness permeates every frame…smarter than most of this ilk…the press notes said “do not give away the ending” which makes it sound Sixth Senseish, but this one is not “solved” or “ruined” by its ending, it just makes you think more deeply. Well done. There were several screams by audience members…

7.1 Metacritic
7.5 IMDB

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2007

November 7, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English
157 Minutes
Crime / Drama
Ridley Scott

…overrated…Russell Crowe is better than Denzel Washington as he’s playing a character further away from truth…Denzel has too much charisma for the role…we love him and want to be like him, but he’s poisoning his people…Brolin plays a cartoon here…

After you’ve seen AMERICAN GANGSTER, listen to the MichaelVox and Tassoula K Cinebanter podcast, which is available here or at iTunes.

7.6 Metacritic
8.2 IMDB
#152 IMDB

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LUST, CAUTION
2007

October 31, 2007
San Jose CA — Cinearts Santana Row
USA / China / Taiwan / Hong Kong
Mandarin / Japanese / Shanghainese / English
157 Minutes
Drama / Romance / Thriller / War
Ang Lee

A lot of criticisms have been made about the slowness of this film in its pre-sex passages. The story is about an acting troupe who fancy themselves revolutionary fighters. Because it is a bunch of actors, they believe they can fool people into thinking that they’re someone else. The extension of this belief is when the character played by Tang Wei assumes the role of the wife of an importer so that she can get close to a Japanese sympathizer played by the perfect Tony Leung. It’s the story of acting and therefore the acting has to be perfect. We’re watching a young girl acting the part of an actor acting.

There has been much talk of this film’s NC-17 sex scenes and the rating is justified, but those scenes are incredibly important to the plot. We see acting during the sex, which isn’t usually the case. The success of the mission hinges on his believing her. And in turn, he is only free for the brief moments of pleasure he finds in her arms. It’s hard to explain the way that everyone on screen is “double-acting”. I didn’t find the early scenes slow because we have to watch the development of the college girl into a plausible rich young wife. There are scenes of violence that few people mention, which are as important as turning points in the story as any of the sex scenes. I need to see this one again.

6.0 Metacritic
8.1 IMDB


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2007

October 31, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English
114 Minutes
Crime / Drama / Mystery
Ben Affleck

Everyone Wants The Truth…Until They Find It

…a terrific surprise…Casey Affleck can act, Ben can direct, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris can play different roles than usual, and Boston can be accurately shown on film…Amy Ryan, who is from the Best Show That Has Ever Been On Television, THE WIRE plays the white-trash mother of a missing child…there isn’t a weak member of the cast…THE WIRE’S Omar (“Omar Back!”) Little also has a small role…the ending and plotting make you think for weeks afterwards…really impressive…

7.2 Metacritic
8.0 IMDB

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2007

October 17, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English
119 Minutes
Drama / Thriller
Tony Gilroy

The Truth Can Be Adjusted.

…I saw last night that Mr. Roeper named this his number 1 of 2007…no way…My big man-crush George Clooney is spectacularly good, but the film itself is simply a legal procedural…it doesn’t add up to much…Tilda Swinton is good as always, but her character isn’t quite believable…the story about a large ADM-like food consortium is timely, but not exactly intriguing…

Oscar Nominations:
–Picture
–Actor George Clooney
–Supporting Actor Tom Wilkinson
–Supporting Actress Tilda Swinton
–Director Tony Gilroy
–Original Screenplay
–Original Score

8.2 Metacritic
7.7 IMDB

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2007

October 7, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English / Danish
140 Minutes
Adventure / Biography / Drama
Sean Penn

…this film will make your heart and soul soar…

After you’ve seen INTO THE WILD, listen to the MichaelVox and Tassoula K Cinebanter podcast, which is available here or at iTunes.

7.3 Metacritic

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2007

October 3, 2007
San Jose CA — Cinearts Santana Row
USA
English
131 Minutes
Drama / Musical / Romance
Julie Taymor

All You Need Is Love.

After you’ve seen ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, listen to the MichaelVox and Tassoula K. Cinebanter podcast, which is available here or at iTunes.

5.6 Metacritic

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EASTERN PROMISES
2007
September 26, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
UK / Canada / USA
English / Russian / Turkish
100 Minutes
Crime / Drama / Thriller
David Cronenberg

ALIVE DAY MEMORIES: HOME FROM IRAQ
2007
September 22, 2007
HBO
USA
English
Documentary
Jon Alpert & Ellen Goosenberg Kent

FREEDOM WRITERS
2007
September 5, 2007
DVD
Germany / USA
English
123 Minutes
Drama / Crime
Richard LaGravenese

LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD
2007
September 3, 2007
DVD
UK / USA
English / Italian / French
130 Minutes
Action / Adventure / Crime / Thriller
Len Wiseman

THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS
2007
September 1, 2007
DVD
USA
English
79 Minutes
Documentary
Seth Gordon
8.3 Metacritic
Cinebanter Review

MANHATTAN
1979
September 1, 2007
DVD
USA
English
96 Minutes
Comedy / Drama / Romance
Woody Allen
IMDB #244

THE ISLAND
2005
September 1, 2007
HBO
USA
English
136 Minutes
Action / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Michael Bay
…Scarlett Johannson…not nearly as bad as I’d heard…

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SUPERBAD
2007
August 23, 2007
San Jose CA — Camera 12
USA
English
114 Minutes
Comedy / Romance
Cinebanter Review

ARMAGEDDON
1998
August 21, 2007
October 6, 1999
July 15, 1998
DVD
USA
English
153 Minutes
Action / Drama / Romance / Sci-Fi / Thriller

DIE HARD
1988
August 21, 2007
DirecTV
USA
English / German / Italian
131 Minutes
Action / Crime / Thriller
IMDB #135

IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON
2007
August 19, 2007
Camera Cinema Club
UK / USA
English
100 Minutes
Documentary

THE TEN
2007
August 8, 2007
San Jose CA — Camera 12
USA
English / Spanish
93 Minutes
Comedy
Cinebanter Review

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
2007
August 8, 2007
San Jose CA — Camera 12
USA / Germany
English / French / Arabic / Russian / Spanish
115 Minutes
Action / Adventure / Mystery / Thriller
IMDB #114

THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN
2005
August 4, 2007
August 31, 2005
HBO
USA
Spanish / English
116 Minutes
Comedy / Romance

DOPE SICK LOVE
2005
August 3, 2007
HBO
USA
English
93 Minutes
Documentary

DEADWOOD SEASON I
2004
August 2, 2007
DVD
USA
English
12 Episodes, 720 Minutes
Adventure / Crime / Drama / History / Western
…Shakespeare in Montana…better dialogue than The Sopranos…genius

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DEKALOG
THE DECALOGUE III

1990
July 31, 2007
DVD
Poland
Polish
57 Minutes

THE SIMPSONS MOVIE
2007
July 30, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English
87 Minutes
Animation / Comedy
Cinebanter Review

WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?
2006
July 25, 2007
DVD
USA
English
92 Minutes
Documentary


DEKALOG
THE DECALOGUE II

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
1990
July 25, 2007
DVD
Poland
Polish
59 Minutes

DEKALOG
THE DECALOGUE I

I am the Lord thy God
1989
July 24, 2007
DVD
Poland
Polish
55 Minutes

WHEN STAND UP STOOD OUT
2003
July 23, 2007
Showtime
USA
English
87 Minutes
Documentary / Comedy

BACK TO THE FUTURE
1985
July 19, 2007
DVD
USA
English
116 Minutes

BROKEN ENGLISH
2007
July 18, 2007
Seattle WA — Varsity
USA / France / Japan
English / French
93 Minutes
Cinebanter Review

I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE
2007
July 4, 2007
DVD
USA / India
English
90 Minutes

BLACK SNAKE MOAN
2006
July 3, 2007
DVD
USA
English
116 Minutes

RATATOUILLE
2007
July 3, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English / French
111 Minutes

SICKO
2007
July 3, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English / French / Spanish / Russian
123 Minutes
Cinebanter Review

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L’ EMPLOI DU TEMPS
(TIME OUT)

2001
June 30, 2007
DVD
France
French
134 Minutes

PARIS, JE T’AIME
2006
June 23, 2007
San Jose CA — Cinearts Santana Row
France / Liechtenstein
English / French / Spanish / Arabic / Mandarin
120 Minutes
6.5 Metacritic
Cinebanter Review

APOCALYPTO
2006
June 23, 2007
DVD
USA
Maya
139 Minutes

BEER LEAGUE
2006
June 23, 2007
DVD
USA
English
86 Minutes

SAVING FACE
2004
June 22, 2006
DVD
USA
English / Mandarin / Shanghainese
91 Minutes

DOWN IN THE VALLEY
2005
June 20, 2006
Showtime
USA
English
114 Minutes


KNOCKED UP

2007
June 14, 2007
June 6, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English
129 Minutes
Cinebanter Review

OCEANS 13
2007
June 14, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English / French
122 Minutes

SUNRISE
1927
June 10, 2007
Camera Cinema Club
USA
Silent
95 Minutes

FIGHT CLUB
1999
June 7, 2007
DVD
USA / Germany
English
139 Minutes

KNOCKED-UP
2007
June 6, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English
129 Minutes
Cinebanter Review

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DOLPHINS
1999
May 31, 2007
June 20, 2003
May 27, 2001
October 18, 2000
June 12, 2000
DVD
Germany
No Dialogue
45 Minutes
…still holds up…showed it to students…the deep ones got it, the others, not so much…

ROKUGATSU NO HEBI
A SNAKE OF JUNE

2002
May 30, 2007
Sundance
Japan
Japanese
77 Minutes

THE BREAK-UP
2006
May 30, 2007
July 10, 2006
HBO
USA
English
105 Minutes
Cinebanter Review

WAITRESS
2007
May 23, 2007
San Jose CA — Cinearts Santana Row
USA
English
107 Minutes
7.4 Metacritic
Cinebanter Review

ONCE
2006
May 20, 2007
Camera Cinema Club
Ireland
English
85 Minutes
The best movie about music, I’ve ever seen. Spectacular. Just go see it.

PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE
2002
May 17, 2007
November 9, 2002
October 24, 2002
DVD
USA
English
95 Minutes
I have a love in my heart that makes more powerful than you can ever imagine.

STOMP THE YARD
2007
May 16, 2007
DVD
USA
English
109 Minutes

ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM
2006
May 11, 2007
PBS
English

THE BRIDGE
2006
May 11, 2007
IFC
UK / USA
English
93 Minutes
…documentary about people who’ve jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge…not as eerie or depressing as you’d think…hard to look away…

SHAUN OF THE DEAD
2004
May 10, 2007
DVD
UK / France
English
99 Minutes

SPIDER-MAN 3
2007
May 9, 2007
San Jose CA — Century 21
USA
English / French
140 Minutes
6.0 Metacritic
Cinebanter Review

HOT FUZZ
2007
May 2, 2007
San Jose CA — Camera 12
UK
English
121 Minutes
8.1 Metacritic
Cinebanter Review

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Special Note:

To my embarrassment, I got way further behind in my postings than I can recover from. It is almost the end of 2007 and I haven’t updated since early April. So instead, I’ll make a posting for an entire month, beginning this time with April, 2007. I am mortified to have let things go this long. I will try to do better. So without further ado, and in reverse order in keeping with the official blogging rules, I now list films I saw in April 2007.

ZWARTBOEK
BLACK BOOK
2006
April 25, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
Netherlands / Belgium / UK / Germany
Dutch / English / German / Hebrew
145 Minutes
Cinebanter Review

WAL-MART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICES
2005
April 19, 2007
DVD
USA
English
95 Minutes

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S
1961
April 19, 2007
DVD
USA
English
115 Minutes
…pretty dated…racist Asian landlord…scandalous himbo…

GRINDHOUSE
2007
April 10, 2007
Campbell CA — Camera 7
USA
English / Spanish
191 Minutes
Cinebanter Review

CRACKER: A NEW TERROR
2006
April 9, 2007
BBC
UK
English
109 Minutes

THE UCLA DYNASTY
2007
April 9, 2007
HBO
English
60 Minutes

GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB
2007
April 9, 2007
HBO
USA
English
78 Minutes

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Written by Michael W. Cummins