2003 log (8)

(1 Aug) American Wedding (2003, Jesse Dylan) [ review ] 57

(2 Aug) Vincent (1982, Tim Burton) 65
(2 Aug) Frankenweenie (1984, Tim Burton) 62
(3 Aug) Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985, Tim Burton) 27
(4 Aug) Beetlejuice (1988, Tim Burton) 76
(5 Aug) Batman (1989, Tim Burton) 24
(9 Aug) Batman Returns (1992, Tim Burton) 68
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(10 Aug) Edward Scissorhands (1990, Tim Burton) [ review ] 93

(11 Aug) Johnstown Flood (2003, Mark Bussler) [ review ] 61

(12 Aug) The Wild Dogs (2003, Thom Fitzerald) [ review ] 34

(13 Aug) Gigli (2003, Martin Brest) [ review ] 49

(13 Aug) Un Homme et son péché (2002, Charles Binamé) 11
[ This purely French Canadian story has been adapted for radio, TV and film before, and now it’s been reinvented for a new generation with staggering success, becoming the biggest box office hit in Quebec history. Now how do I say this gently… THIS IS CRAP! Shallow, sappy, heavy-handed, badly paced, manipulative, clumsily directed… The romance is uninvolving, the melodrama is contrived, the performances (by a who’s who of local actors) are uneven… Crap, I tell you. This makes “Les Dangereux” look like “Mon Oncle Antoine”. ]

(14 Aug) American Splendor (2003, Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini) [ review ] 63

(16 Aug) Mars Attacks! (1996, Tim Burton) [ review ] 65

(16 Aug) Ed Wood (1994, Tim Burton) [ review ] 94

(17 Aug) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, Tobe Hooper) 64
[ In his current EW column, Stephen King calls this “the all-time champeen (sic) when it comes to pure fright.” Um, no. But it IS funny as hell! Here’s a film that doesn’t even pretend to hold a plot. It’s just these dumb hippies and hysterical bimbos who run across a family of batshit insane rednecks who go at them with knives, hammers and a chainsaw, natch. Highlights include the revelation of how wacked out hitchhikers can be, a surreal dinner scene where everyone yells like the lunatics that they are and every single moment involving Franklin, the hippies’ hilariously whiney wheelchair-bound sidekick. “If I have any more fun today I don’t think I can take it!” ]

(18 Aug) Sleepy Hollow (1999, Tim Burton) [ review ] 58

(18 Aug) Planet of the Apes (2001, Tim Burton) [ review ] 65

(19 Aug) Glen or Glenda (1952, Edward D. Wood Jr.) 13
[ I love Burton’s “Ed Wood” but until tonight I hadn’t actually seen any film from the alleged “worst director of all time”. Having just survived his transsexploitation lesson in tolerance, I’m stunned. I knew it would be bad, but damn! Heavy-handed yet naïve narration, hammy dialogue and hammier acting, clumsy direction, botched editing, inappropriate use of stock footage (buffalos?), the inexplicable inclusion of Bela Lugosi as the puppet master, not to mention a cameo by the Devil himself! No wonder this is considered one of the worst films ever made, yet it’s too amusingly inept to simply dismiss. “Beware! Beware of the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep. He eats little boys… Puppy dog tails, and BIG FAT SNAILS… Beware… Take care… Beware!” ]

(20 Aug) La vie nouvelle (2003, Philippe Grandrieux) 16
[ This latest provocateur French film is like the rape scene in “Irréversible” stretched to feature length. Director Philippe Grandrieux isn’t concerned with bourgeois details like storytelling, dialogue or characters – that would just get in the way of all the misogyny, sexual violence, brutal haircuts and raging dogs. There is a certain oppressive flair to the often dimly lit or out of focus visuals, but in the end it’s mostly tiresome. ]

(20 Aug) Dark Star (1974, John Carpenter) 21
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(22 Aug) Assault on Precinct 13 (1976, John Carpenter) [ review ] 75

(24 Aug) I Capture the Castle (2003, Tim Fywell) 48
[ Set in 1930s England, this is the story of a girl who lives in a decrepit castle with her eccentric family. She pines for their American landlord, but her gold-digger sister has already enraptured him. Handsomely shot romantic melodrama moonlighting as cutesy family comedy, this inconsequential adaptation of the Dodie Smith novel is drenched in flowery narration and would-be poetic clichés, but it has a certain “consciously naïve” feel that’s not unpleasant. ]

(24 Aug) Green Card Fever (2003, Bala Rajasekharuni) 20
[ Murali is an Indian illegally working in New York, desperate for a green card and lost between second-generation Indians who’ve dismissed their culture, corrupted immigration lawyers and rude people who wonder where he parked his elephant. This is a well-meaning attempt to convey how immigrants with American Dreams struggle with the harsher American reality, but it’s undermined by clumsy direction, corny humor and cornier sentimentality. ]

(24 Aug) Fanfan la Tulipe (2003, Gérard Krawczyk) 45
[ This remake of the 1952 Christian-Jaque classic puts Vincent Perez in the boots of the dashing Fanfan, a notorious skirt-chaser who joins the Louis XV’s army after a beautiful gipsy (Penelope Cruz, acting in French) predicts him fortune and glory. This modern take on the swashbuckling epic is no “Adventures of Robin Hood”, but the irreverent tone and high-spirited action scenes are winning. ]

(25 Aug) C’est le bouquet! (2003, Jeanne Labrune) 42
[ After “Ça ira mieux demain”, Jeanne Labrune is back with another fantasy that juggles Kant, Lafontaine, an elusive flower bouquet, the search for an actor who doesn’t act, clueless stockbrokers and the women who love them. Invoking Buster Keaton, borrowing Philip Glass music then filling your film with the endless chatter you expect from French comedies might sound like a disaster, but here it results in a rather original, amusing if inconsistent movie. ]

(25 Aug) Karmina (1996, Gabriel Pelletier) 64
[ A lady vampire about to be married off by her parents flees Transylvania and ends up in Montreal, where she falls in love with a human keyboard player. This horror-laced “Coming to America” rip-off is messy, campy and cheapy, but its absurd humor and the cast’s over the top performances are sorta enjoyable. ]

(26 Aug) Halloween (1978, John Carpenter) [ review ] ???

(26 Aug) Man with a Movie Camera (1929, Dziga Vertov) [ review ] 95

(27 Aug) Man with a Movie Camera (1929, Dziga Vertov) [ review ] 95

(27 Aug) Escape from New York (1981, John Carpenter) 57
(27 Aug) The Fog (1980, John Carpenter) 62
(29 Aug) The Thing (1982, John Carpenter) 70
(29 Aug) Christine (1983, John Carpenter) 23
(29 Aug) Big Trouble in Little China (1986, John Carpenter) 66
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(30 Aug) All the Real Girls (2003, David Gordon Green) [ review ] 93

(30 Aug) The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003, Jim Fall) [ review ] 64

(31 Aug) El Mariachi (1992, Robert Rodriguez) 69
[ Part of the Directors Series ]

(31 Aug) Desperado (1995, Robert Rodriguez) [ review ] 67

(31 Aug) The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003, Jim Fall) [ review ] 64

July / September