Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...


Pusher (Refn, 1996)

Nicholas Winding Refn's 1996 feature Pusher plays like A Bout De Souffle post-Scorsese. That may be high praise, but the film is worth it. A brilliant examination of the relationships that one small time dealer has in the Copenhagen underground, the film pulses with the vitality of the recent Mann films while adding a perverse sense of humor.

Teen Gore.

Cabin Fever (Roth, 2002)

Better than Hostel because it is more inventive, Roth's first feature is a fun turn in the teens in the woods genre. Rider Strong is a solid central character, but Giuseppe Andrews steals the show.

Ladies, Vampires and Men.

Flags of Our Fathers (Eastwood, 2006)

An interesting conception and take on war, completely ruined by Ryan Phillipe and Adam Beach.

Nosferatu the Vampire (Herzog, 1978)

More a supernatural drama than a horror film, this is a breathtakingly beautiful visual poem. Herzog's images haunt my dreams.

The Queen (Frears, 2006)

This film is the epitome of the concept of the "well made play". Well acted, written, and directed it is a reserved yet powerful experience. Mirren and Sheen are brilliant.

Current 2006 Top Ten:
1. The Departed
2. Miami Vice
3. The Queen
4. United 93
5. A Prairie Home Companion
6. Borat
7. The Descent
Dave Chapelle's Block Party
9. Inside Man
10. The Science of Sleep

Rhapsody in Blue.

Meetin' WA (Godard, 1986)

Godard interview/investigation into New York and Woody Allen is a fun and beautiful short video. The use of jazz, Hopper paintings and the cinematic image of Allen himself are all juxtaposed to say something deeply sad about a lost cinema.


The Prestige (Nolan, 2006)

The Prestige might have worked for me if I felt for one second that Hugh Jackman was obsessed with anything. His calm rationality prevents the film from it's attempt to crescendo in the last act with Jackman finally "getting his hands dirty".

If Nolan had an eye for performances he might have caught on and saved his movie. But his actors always vary wildly in their performances so that is really no surprise. Still it is great to see Andy Serkis in anything.

Modern Romance.

Borat (Charles and Cohen, 2006) This isn't the funniest movie ever made, just the funniest of the year. Cohen may literally be a genius of a performer, but this should be the end of the Ali G films. Borat was the best character, and has turned into a hilarious film, but that should be all. Please no Bruno.

Marie Antoinette (Coppola, 2006)

I try not to blame Coppola for my problems with this beautiful yet over indulgent film (two shopping montages?), but I still must fault her for the performance of the dead space that exists whenever Kirsten Dunst is on the screen. Schwartzman, Torn and Argento? Brilliant. But Coppola is unable to get Dunst to understand the things she does. It is a playing that is far to straight to work. There are now levels, no remove that it is necessary to have for the character. Another problem is with the film is the score. The New Wave works so well that it is a shame that Coppola uses scoring. It works against the film. Still it is rapsidous and engrossing, if misguided.

Population 436 (MacLaren, 2006)

Shirley Jackson's The Lottery + The Wicker Man= Population 436.

Aguirre, The Wrath of God (Herzog, 1971)

I saw this film as a freshman in college and hated it. I see it now as genius. Herzog's combination of documentary style with epic story and stylized acting with natural setting is evocative and haunting. The last images are startling and dreamy. Breathtaking.

Current 2006 Top Ten:
1. The Departed
2. Miami Vice

3. United 93
4. A Prairie Home Companion
5. Borat
6. The Descent
Dave Chapelle's Block Party
8. Inside Man
9. The Science of Sleep
10. Marie Antoinette

Post Festival.

Austin Film Festival comes around and I don't get to watch a movie for three weeks. Then it ends and what do I watch? Three movies about summer camp.

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (Simpson, 1988)

Totally plot and character-less, but some good kills and never boring.

Wet Hot American Summer (Wain, 2002)

David Wain and Michael Showalter's near brilliant camp comedy has a great ensemble and script. This is a performer's piece, and it is a testament to Wain that there are so many hilarious moments and turns in the film.
Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (Simpson, 1989)

Still plotless, still silly. Some damn creepy kills though, especially the lawnmower.