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Friday, July 25, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on July 25 at 16:45 PM

Opening this week:

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

I write about The X-Files: I Want to Believe at a length that probably is not justified. I loved the shit out of that show, so don’t get in the comments and start doubting my geek. Among other qualifications: I wrote a fan letter to Gillian Anderson in approximately 1995 (I was 14 or 15) and received a personalized signed photograph in return, attended not one but two X-Files conventions, and scored an invitation to the set in Vancouver from Sheila Larkin, who played Scully’s mother on the show but was actually the mother of a kid young enough to be in a Centrum theater camp with me. Unfortunately, her son saw through my greedy opportunism and quashed my fondest dreams. Oh, and I wrote some fan fiction once and posted it on ye olde Usenet newsgroup I think I was 16 at the time. It’s probably still floating around the internet somewhere. How embarrassing.

On a more serious note (no, actually, my discussion of The X-Files is quite serious), Sean Nelson grapples with another fan relationship in an essay about Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (“For this antisentimentalist, in film as in life, ‘acceptable behavior’ is something for other people to worry about. Which is, of course, the whole dilemma of being an ardent fan of Polanski’s movies. Because of what we know and think we know, it’s never easy to find the line between the artist and his work. Because there is no such line. Because the Polanski who made so many titanic works of cinema is the same Polanski who escaped from the Nazis is the same Polanski who not only lost his wife and unborn child to the Mansons but was initially accused of the murders in the press is the same Polanski who gave a 13-year-old girl champagne and a quaalude fragment then had sex with her on the floor of Jack Nicholson’s living room. If the 20th century happened to anyone, it happened to Roman Polanski”).

I review the first feature film adaptation of Brideshead Revisted (“This film, like the book, is told from the perspective of Charles Ryder [slightly-too-old Matthew Goode], an upper-middle-class striver completely out of his depth—but the filmmakers don’t do enough to remind us that Charles is our narrator. The voice-overs are scarce, the cinematography [by Jess Hall] is square and pompous when it should be dazzling, and the score [by Adrian Johnston] thunders when it should be stricken with awe. Still, the acting is more nuanced than the screenplay for director Julian Jarrold’s Becoming Jane ever allowed”).

Water Lilies

Former synchro swimmer Jen Graves writes about Water Lilies (“Water Lilies, the ambitious first film from 27-year-old French director Céline Sciamma, is about synchronized swimming. It is also the first film ever to use synchronized swimming intelligently, as the powerful metaphor that it is, representing the fascism and subterranean maneuvering of female adolescence. Above water, or walking down the hallways of high schools, we have only one goal as girls newly confronted with the real possibility of sex: look good, and make it look easy. Underwater we’re working like hell”).

Lindy West has to deal with Step Brothers (“The story of two curly-headed men-children, John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell, forced to live together when their aging parents get married, Step Brothers is dull, ineptly paced, and lazy”).

I write about an adaptation of a book I’d never heard of but which all of Canada is apparently devoted to: The Stone Angel (“Tragedy arrives in fits and starts, and it’s strangely difficult to get invested in Hagar’s emotional life. [Come to think of it, the name “Hagar” might have something to do with it.] Still, there’s always something (or someone) attractive to look at: Watching The Stone Angel is not a chore”).

And Andrew Wright assesses the concert film/documentary hybrid CSNY: Déjà Vu (“Longtime Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fans may still find things to savor [the sequence where the quartet performs “Let’s Impeach the President” in front of a stadium full of booing red-staters is one for the time capsule], but as a whole, this falls somewhere between warts-and-all documentary and glad-handing publicity piece”).

There’s a lot of good stuff in Limited Runs this week. Charles Mudede went nuts over the Nikkatsu Action Cinema series at Northwest Film Forum: Titles include A Colt Is My Passport, The Warped Ones, and Velvet Hustler. A mysterious David Lynch-related movie with a mysterious David Lynch-related guest is playing tonight at Seattle Art Museum as part of the Twin Peaks Festival in North Bend. Grand Illusion has The Omega Man for those of you who weren’t impressed by the Will Smith version of I Am Legend. Northwest Film Forum is playing an irritating documentary called Operation Filmmaker, about do-gooder Hollywood liberals who decide to give the gift of coffee-fetching to a film student in Baghdad; the Hal Ashby series at NWFF is continuing Tuesday with Shampoo. David Schmader already pointed you to Raising Arizona (on DVD) at Central Cinema, which is also hosting a screening of a new marriage equality doc called For My Wife, about the partner of Kate Fleming, the audio book actor who died in her Madison Valley basement during a flood. I must mention tonight’s South Lake Union outdoor movie, because it’s Bring It On; Fremont Outdoor Movies is doing An Inconvenient Truth tomorrow. And Landmark is reviving the delightful Metro Classics with a series about World War II—sort of. The next three weeks are themed “Axis,” so this Wednesday’s program is a double bill of the German Expressionist classics The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Last Laugh. Finally, The Last Mistress is holding over at the Metro, if you’re still curious about Catherine Breillat’s period piece.

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Kelly O and Ari Spool give Incredible Hulk can of Rize, Incredible Hulk drink Rize, freak out, get bummed out, INCREDIBLE HULK BECOME DESPONDENT HULK!


And no, I don't feel like letting it go.

Posted by The Insatiable Sulk | July 25, 2008 5:45 PM

Oh, it's all there on Google Groups, Annie. What email address were you using in 1996? That group was BUSY then. There's no way I'll find it without your address.

Posted by Fnarf | July 25, 2008 5:49 PM

I was a huge xf geek back in the day and I was SO looking forward to this movie. Went to the first Friday show, left a bit disappointed. :\ I thought the first film was a lot better, even though I'm not a bomb & explosions action film fan.

"I Want to Believe" just reminded me of an old throw-away monster of the week episode. There are some classic xf episodes that could have easily been made into a fantastic feature film, I wish they'd written one of those instead.

Did you wait until the very end of the credits? Spoiler: In case you didn't see it, there's a heli shot that pans over Mulder and Scully in a rowboat. (They look like they're on a vacation together, Scully is lounging in a bikini, Mulder's rowing the boat.) Then they look up and wave at the camera. Sounds really dumb but it's cute.

Posted by Kristi in Kitsap | July 25, 2008 8:05 PM

It doesn't excuse such banal sniffling (and reaching) such as :

"It is also the first film ever to use synchronized swimming intelligently, as the powerful metaphor that it is, representing the fascism and subterranean maneuvering of female adolescence."

And we wonder why she's an "art critic"...

Posted by Sorry you were molested, Jen - that really sucks...but.... | July 26, 2008 8:56 AM

Say "YES" to War on Iraq

by Dan Savage
October 2002

"War may be bad for children and other living things, but there are times when peace is worse for children and other living things, and this is one of those times."

"In the meantime, invading and rebuilding Iraq will not only free the Iraqi people, it will also make the Saudis aware of the consequences they face if they continue to oppress their own people while exporting terrorism and terrorists. The War on Iraq will make it clear to our friends and enemies in the Middle East (and elsewhere) that we mean business: Free your people, reform your societies, liberalize, and democratize... or we're going to come over there, remove you from power, free your people, and reform your societies for ourselves."

Posted by Kill 'em all and let Goawd sort 'em out! | July 26, 2008 4:32 PM

@2: Not telling. It was a local ISP and I used something close to my real name.

@3: I did wait, yes. Those waves were going somewhere. I thought it was cute.

Posted by annie | July 27, 2008 6:38 PM

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