Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Life Among Whales

Today I saw the documentary A Life Among Whales, which is part of the Planet Cinema series at SIFF.

To read my written review on Cinebanter.com, click here.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Black Irish

Tonight I screened Black Irish, starring Michael Angarano and Brendan Gleeson.

Listen to Cinebanter #31: WAITRESS for my capsule review.

Red Without Blue

This afternoon I screened the documentary Red Without Blue.

To read my written review on Cinebanter.com, click here.

Outsourced

This morning I screened the film Outsourced, starring Josh Hamilton and Ayesha Dharker.

Stay tuned to Cinebanter for my full review—coming soon.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

American Shopper

Today I saw a press screening of American Shopper, a documentary about the first National Aisling Championship.

Visit this Cinebanter page to read my capsule review.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Zoo

Tonight I saw Zoo, a disturbing docudrama about a community of people who have sexual relationships with horses and other farm animals.

What possessed me to sit through this?

Well—the fact that the story it's based on made major headlines in my state, and that horrible curiosity I'm plagued with because I'm human. Thankfully, I had a friend who was just as curious as me, so we went to the film together (as this was not a flick I wanted to show up for alone).

Anyway, the movie details the events of the summer of 2005 as told by some of the members of the 'zoo' community who were present and the horse 'rescuer' who took possession of the animal after the incident.

What happened was, a group of men would meet at an Enumclaw, Washington ranch (after making initial contact through a zoo chat room), have drinks, watch movies and take the party outside. I don't need to be more graphic than that.

And what transpired one July night is what the entire film focuses on—one man—a divorced, father of one and engineer for Boeing, bled to death after intercourse with one of the horses.

Horrific, eh?

Yes. And what's more horrific is that by all accounts (save for the zoo habit), this guy was a productive, taxpaying member of society who boasted a promising career, loved his kid and had a great friendship with his ex-wife.

So how did he get there?

That's the problem with this movie. We have no idea.

Although the interviews are honest and meditative, they don't really offer any insight into why these individuals don't seek partnership with members of their own species. If I went into the theater wanting to learn anything tonight, it's how the hell some people find themselves so mentally messed up that they prefer the stimulation of an animal to a human.

But nothing about the film answered that question—and it's not exactly something you want to have in your browsing history should you decide to investigate for yourself.

If anything good came of the incident, it's that beastiality is now illegal in Washington state (it wasn't at the gentleman's time of death) and perhaps the awareness the movie will bring will make ranch owners check up on their livestock more often.

And I thought I'd seen it all...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Waitress

Today I saw Waitress, starring Keri Russell and Adrienne Shelly.

It is the topic of Cinebanter #31, click here to download the show.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Spider-Man 3

Tonight I saw Spider-Man 3, starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.

It was the topic of Cinebanter 30, which is available for download here.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Hot Fuzz

Tonight I saw Hot Fuzz, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

This film is the topic of Cinebanter 29, which you can download free of charge by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dirty Dancing

Tonight I saw Dirty Dancing, starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. And yes, it still holds up.

Why am I writing a review of it now, 20 years after its release? Well, that's why. Tonight (and last night) all over the country, there were limited screenings of the film in honor of its 20th Anniversary. And to be honest, I'm the type of geek these 'fan events' are made for. The minute I saw the trailer for it months ago, my nostalgia antennae went up and I knew I couldn't miss it.

I'm so glad I didn't.

For a Seattle crowd, the group was loud—but in a good way. The energy was high, the giggles were frequent and the men were, well, scarce.

It had a crowd-participation vibe from the moment the black and white screen flashed with "Be My Baby" playing in the background. Everyone whistled when Patrick Swayze first appeared and clapped at the end of the first (awkward) dance between Johnny and Baby.

No one talked during the dialogue; everyone bopped in their seats when a great dance number took place.

This is the kind of cinema camaraderie I live for.

But getting back to the movie—yes, it's cheesy, campy and all of the other anti-snobby words you could call it, but it's also a movie about Social Class. And Abortion. And True Love. And Creative Expression.

The characters are drawn with very bold strokes, but in this case, it's a welcome blatancy.

And although the movie takes place in the 60s, it's got a definite 80s vibe with tunes from Eric Carmen and the like, providing the romantic backdrop.

A few of the scenes (Johnny and Baby crawling toward one another lip syncing; Baby practicing her dance moves on the steps) really took me back to the age I was when this came out—12.

I distinctly remember knowing every important line, singing songs from the soundtrack at slumber parties, and having a serious crush on Mr. Swayze.

Good times.

And after 20 years, since I still feel like getting up in the aisle and dancing along with the characters throughout, it must be a good film.