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BP’s Top 100 Challenge #35: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, by Sarah Brinks

19 Aug

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list provided such a challenge.

I grew up watching Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. In fact, it is one of the first movies I remember watching that wasn’t a cartoon or a children’s film. I grew up in a very sci-fi friendly house where Star Wars or Star Trek could often be found on the TV or in our VHS collection. As a child, I wanted to learn the force, have an Ewok for a pet, and fly around space in the Millennium Falcon. As a result, the original Star Wars trilogy is so much a part of who I am as a person and a film fan that I don’t think I can separate them for this article. Instead I’ll examine why the film works for me and how I feel about it now.

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Criterion Prediction #102: Night of the Living Dead, by Alexander Miller

18 Aug

Title: Night of the Living Dead

Year: 1968

Director: George Romero

Cast: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne.=

Synopsis: A group of disparate people must work together and put their differences aside to survive while a marauding herd of the undead walk the earth, devouring other humans.

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BP Movie Journal 8/17/17

18 Aug

Tyler and David discuss the movies and TV shows they’ve been watching, including:

Movies
THE EMPTY HOURS
THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD
THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH
THE FOUNDER
THE COLD LANDS
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BEACH RATS
HEAT AND DUST
MARGIN CALL
THE SAPPHIRES
THE LESSER EVIL
GOOK
BARRACUDA
PERSON TO PERSON
LOGAN LUCKY
MARJORIE PRIME
I DO… UNTIL I DON’T
LION
SECRET HONOR

TV
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW
OZARK

The Chicago Rep-port 8/18-8/24, by Aaron Pinkston

17 Aug

Repertory screenings may not be as abundant in Chicago as they are in LA/NY but when you look around, there are many theatergoing delights. The Chicago Rep-port is a weekly(ish) series highlighting the best and most compelling repertory screenings in the Second City.

Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St

The Siskel continues to honor Italian horror auteur Mario Bava with its series The Baroque Beauties of Italian Horror with two more classics of pure giallo. First is Blood and Black Lace (Mario Bava, 1964, DCP), a perfectly staged, beautifully shot tale of murder and fetishism. Shown on a digitally restored copy of the camera negative, it is playing Saturday and Tuesday. It is paired with the fantastically titled Kill, Baby…Kill! (Mario Bava, 1966, DCP), a different murder mystery with supernatural underpinnings and a kaleidoscopic visual sense. Kill, Baby…Kill! plays Saturday and Monday.

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Marjorie Prime: Who Were You?, by David Bax

17 Aug

Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie Prime takes place almost entirely in one room. In an ordinary case, that might be a demerit, chalked up to an inability to transfer the story from its original form as a play (by Jordan Harrison) into a more cinematic form. Here, though, Almereyda makes this one room the nexus around which the rest of the movie’s reality revolves. Beyond this room, the characters and the world change drastically as time pushes forward, as evidenced by having one scene take place with a growing snowstorm raging outside the window. The past recedes and mutates even as the characters try their best to hold onto it. It’s dizzying to contemplate but, thankfully, we can ground ourselves in this space, the way a drunk might fall asleep with one foot on the floor to stop the room from spinning.

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Patti Cake$: Dare Ya to Do What You Want, by David Bax

16 Aug

It may not be immediately clear to you, when watching Geremy Jasper’s Patti Cake$, that the movie is set in Northern New Jersey (it may take you as long as until the first Bruce Springsteen song shows up on the soundtrack to figure it out). But, thanks to Jasper’s firm command of tone and atmosphere, you’ll understand that you’ve set down in a place of scrappy strivers and bitter burnouts who are both inspired and intimidated by the shadow they live in. For what it’s worth, it takes place in Bayonne.

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Lemon: Curb Your Enthusiasm, by David Bax

16 Aug

“It’s time for a new you. The old you doesn’t work anymore.” This specific sentence is spoken by Isaac (Brett Gelman) a struggling actor, as a part of commercial in which he isn’t wearing any pants. The line is not just a summation of the entire mission statement of advertising; it’s clearly about Isaac as well, in a bitterly funny way. That sardonic tone is the essence of Janicza Bravo’s Lemon. The accepted portmanteau for this type of story is tragicomic. But Lemon, Bravo’s first feature film, can’t seem to get the tragedy/comedy balance right.

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Logan Lucky: The Doldrums, by Josh Long

16 Aug

Jimmy Logan, the protagonist of Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, lives in south-eastern West Virginia, close to his daughter and ex-wife. The action of the film begins when he’s fired from his job at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Somehow, the film doesn’t mention (or doesn’t realize?) that his daily routine includes a 3 hour, 200 mile drive from home to work, and then the same drive again at the end of each work day. Does this matter? Let me put it this way – should audiences be incredulous if a film suggests to us that our protagonist lives in Baltimore, and commutes via car across three states to New York City every day? They would, and should. But because Logan Lucky is set in flyover country, no one seems to care. It’s this kind of unawareness about the film’s setting and the people that live there that really holds the film back.

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BP’s Top 100 Challenge #36: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, by Sarah Brinks

15 Aug

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list provided such a challenge.

I have a feeling that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is going to be a difficult movie to talk about but I’ll do my best. I remember going to see it in the theaters because the trailer looked compelling. It was the first Michel Gondry film I saw so I didn’t know what to expect. I think that was the best way to see this film, I went in with no expectations and was absolutely delighted.

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Rohmerathon: Full Moon in Paris, by Scott Nye

14 Aug

After the rigorously-structured Pauline at the Beach, Éric Rohmer could be forgiven for indulging in a breezy film about Parisian night life, which by all appearances seems to describe Full Moon in Paris. Whether one looks at modern, release, or Blu-ray poster art, the image of the film is that of a seductive jaunt filled with music, dancing, sex, and cloudy nights. That last element is not to be overlooked, however. Rohmer’s 1984 nightlife film takes place not in the heat of the summer, but the gloom of French winter, starting in November and concluding in February, which seems to cast a pall over any potential carefree excursion. In each month, Rohmer takes a couple of nights surrounding the full moon (the original French title more accurately translates to “Nights of a Full Moon”), which seems to unlock pent-up passions and confessions within a small group of yuppies.

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