BNAT 2007
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By etrigan - Last updated: Sunday, January 20, 2008 - Save & Share - 2 Comments

…this was over a month in editing, since 12/9/2007…sorry about that…

I’m mostly recovered from BNAT 2007. This year was particularly brutal but I loved it of course. My continuing thanks to Harry Knowles for letting us celebrate his birthday in such grand style, and Tim League for hosting at the Ritz. The first 8 hours were a wonderful film experience. The second 8 hours were what I would consider appropriately educational for any film buff. The last 8 hours were unquestionable torture with one good film to wash the taste of bile from our mouths before we left. I loved it.

The evening opened with the biggest surprise of all. Every attendee received a “Toshiba HD-A3 HD-DVD”: player thanks (I assume) to the HD-DVD consortium. Admittedly I was mostly a Blu-Ray man previous to this night since the picture I’ve seen on my PS3 was superior to the HD-DVD picture from my XBOX-360, but I have always (and will continue to) maintained that the format war is all hype — there is enough expendable consumer cash to support 2 or 3 game consoles manufacturers so surely they can support 2 hi def movie players since the user base of the latter is considerably larger and buys more content. Already there are gaming consumers (like myself) with a PS3 Blu-ray and an XBOX 360 HD-DVD. Home theater buffs bought the expensive combo units that — after the price drops — will be purchased by set-top-box-minimalists. Once either units are available for ~$100 (and HD-DVD has already hit that price point at times, in places) many people will end up buying one of each flavor. The whole hub-bub is a non-issue.

Anyway, here’s a rundown of the evening:

* HD-DVD demo of “+300+”:, “+Miami Vice+”: and “+T2+”: – as part of the deal for the free HD-DVD players we had to watch their spokesman shill the product’s superiority…which was actually more of a bonus for the BNAT crowd. We were shown how to make custom chapters of our favorite movies so that we could create our own highlight reel or trailer. Thanks to the network connectivity of HD-DVD we were shown how we could share our custom chapters with friends, and more importantly that trailers will no longer be forced onto the intros of HD-DVD, instead they will be pulled dynamically from the world wide tubes. On the +300+ HD-DVD there is a feature that shows you an overlay of the orginal shoot on blue-screen over the real scene — very very cool. On the +Miami Vice+ HD-DVD there is a kind-of next-gen “pop-ups” feature that shows things like the model of the plane that the scene is using to run drugs from South America, or a Google map of the flying path to Florida — both excellent tools if you want to smuggle heroin. We were also given a preview of the +T2+ HD-DVD which looks stunning.
* (trailer) “Hobo with a Shotgun” – one of the favorite trailers from “+Grindhouse+”:, it looks totally authentic to the crappy shock horror movies of the 70s.
* (trailer) “+Popcorn+”: – a popcorn horror movie…of course
* (trailer) “+Pinocchio’s Birthday Party+”: – somehow Pinocchio made it to 6 years old without becoming a real boy…which totally blows away my Disney-set timeline.
* (trailer) “+Happy Birthday To Me+”: – more birthday candles to blow out, but this time instead of ridiculous marionettes there is “a murderous 18 year old girl”:
* (trailer) “+The Party Animal+”: – somehow this moderately attractive outgoing college guy is a virgin despite all attempts otherwise, but an aphrodisiac makes him an animal.
* (trailer) “+Stunt Rock+”: – the classic “_awesome_ BNAT trailer”: for the boredom inducing movie, this time capped off by Tim League in a wizard costume busting a rented staff and setting off pyrotechnics — the best way to kick off BNAT in the new theater!
* (classic feature) “+The Great McGinty+”: – Harry really nailed the classic film features this year and he started with a great Preston Sturges story of a man who rises to the top in crooked politics where he decides to try to do good when he falls in love with his “arranged” wife.
* (trailer) “+The ‘burbs+”: – the classic Tom Hanks film about paranoia in the suburbs. …”+Disturbia+”: was better… ;-)
* (trailer) “Bachelor Party”: – the classic Tom Hanks film that teaches us all that our wives are better for us than our friends. :-))
* (trailer) “+Amin: The Rise and Fall+”: – until Forest Whitaker took a stab at it, this was the best fictionalized account of Idi Amin’s regime.
* (premiere feature) “+Charlie Wilson’s War+”: – this is undoubtedly an instant classic with top-notch performances from top-notch actors: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Shiri Appleby and more; plus it teaches an apropos lesson, driving home the idea that abandoning a country you’ve propped up will bite you in the ass. I’m no supporter of the invasion of Iraq but there is no question that if we abandon people in the Middle East…again…then we will pay for it later…again.
* (trailer) “+A Bomb for a Dictator+”: – assassination never looked so low budget
* (psa) “Kids!” – an immunization PSA from the Will Rogers Institute. Maybe kMc remembers it from his popcorn scooping days.
* (trailer) “+Mr No Legs+”: – a silly looking late-70s creation about a double-amputee mob enforcer with martial arts skills.
* (classic feature) “+Pickup On South Street+”: – another great classic that shows even common street criminals would help in the fight against communists, including Thelma Ritter’s performance immediately preceding her turn as the nurse in “+Rear Window+”:
* (clips/Q&A) “+The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian+”: – producer Mark Johnson brought us some early clips from +Prince Caspian+ — some that still had wireframe animation and green bodysuits. When we got to see early clips of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”: a few years ago I was correctly apprehensive as the film wasn’t as good as it c/should have been. These clips of the new film, though, lead me to believe +Caspian+ will be better.
* (clips) “+Rambo+”: – Sly and Harry have become buddies since they started promoting “+Rocky Balboa+”: last year. This year Sly sent us a pretty cool looking clip from the second return to his big franchises. I expect this one to do even better than +Rocky Balboa+ and the new clip is action-eriffic.
* (trailer) “+The Secret of Magic Island+”: – Becky always thinks this trailer for an all-animal movie would be the best ever. I think if one animal co-star ups the odds that a movie will suck, then 100 of them guarantees it…and I’m pretty sure this is the first obviously pre-PETA celluloid we saw over BNAT.
* (trailer) “+Big Trouble in Little China+”: – this year’s BNAT theme and one of Kurt Russel’s funnest cheese balls.
* (trailer) “+Thunder Cops+”: – I’m not sure if I’ve seen this astonishing film with flying heads and remote control helicopters, but I’ve seen the trailer so often I think I have.
* (premiere feature) “+Mongol+”: – this epic Russian film (in Mongol and a little Mandarin Chinese) about the events that inspired Genghis Khan to unite the Mongol horde attempts to embrace a wide expanse of geography, personality and motivation. It is generally successful and most people will find beauty in it. It had that “historical-drag” in places, but I’m looking forward to the remaining pieces of the planned trilogy.
* (clips) “+WALL-E+”: – Producers Jim Morris and Lindsey Collins brought 4 clips from Pixar’s next movie showing once again their amazing ability to make humanity from something inhuman. In this case the story of a waste collecting robot left on the earth to clean up after mankind filled it with trash and went off into space. With no dialog we were all completely enamored with the little robot, laughing and even tearing up at the brief scenes we got to see.
* (trailer) “+The Exterminator+”: – a man on a mission and the detective who can stop him; standard early-80s action schlock
* (classic advertisement) “Theater Pizza Ad”: as film ages it loses color correctness and makes this ad look particularly unappetizing
* (trailer) “+Sorceress+”: – two hotties battling in medieval times; “this”: is what +Beastmaster+ was missing
* (classic feature) “+The Abominable. Dr Phibes+”: – you would be hard pressed to find a movie that holds the essence of Vincent Price more than this psychedelic pre-cursor to +Seven+ and +Hostel+
* (clip) Harry Knowles in +Big Trouble in Little China+ – the “Horseback Salad”: guys put together a little present for Harry, superimposing a CGI version of the birthday boy over Kurt Russell in the opening scenes from the theme movie of the birthday event — high-larious.
* (trailer) “+Voyage of the Rock Aliens+”: – this farce about punk rockers and the aliens who love them, starring Pia Zadora and Ruth Gordon, needs to hit DVD so I can see every bad moment.
* (trailer) “+Get Crazy+”: – Malcolm McDowell in an 80’s action comedy about sex, drugs and rock-and-roll? I want this on DVD, too.
* (trailer) “+Freckles+”: – a western about a man with no hand becoming a hero…odd.
* (premiere feature) “+Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street+”: – despite taking out the title track, which I consider to be the best song in the stage production, every one in +Sweeney Todd+ fires on all cylinders. Burton does what Burton does, Depp does what Depp does, as can be said for Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, and Sacha Baron Cohen.
* (trailer) “+Blind Fury+”: – I remember this Rutger Hauer vehicle all too well. It has all my favorite elements – revenge, mysticism, fight for justice, villains underestimating a blind Vietnam vet swordfighter…
* (trailer) “+First Blood+”: – this was the first rated R film I saw; sitting on the couch with my dad seeing it from the satellite dish. It still holds a strong power over me, and I can’t wait to watch it again in anticipation of +Rambo+.
* (trailer) “+Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot+”: – kids, this is what happens when you get a big head and figure large sums of money will make up for a bad script.
* (classic feature) “+Lonely Are The Brave+”: – I can’t believe I was ignorant of this amazing film with Kirk Douglas — touted as his best film. It so perfectly defines the point in American history when fences closed the open range and changed the spirit of the American *MAN* that it deserves to be heralded with the best historical fiction films. Harry- this is the best classic film you have ever shown us.
* (trailer) “+Man Beast+”: – a B movie — B for bad _and_ budget — about the Yeti
* (trailer) “+W+”: – suspense/thriller starring the original starving model, Twiggy
* (trailer) “+Three in the Cellar+”: – Joan Collins in a campy movie?
* (trailer) “+The Evictors+”: – a couple rents a house it Louisiana where bad things happened
* (premiere feature) “+The Poughkeepsie Tapes+”: – you’ll find plenty of bad things about this film in review sites all over the web. I hate to pile on, but it was trite and unbelievable. Even worse is the attempted marketing scheme to sell this as a “true story”. It is obvious from early on that it’s fake. My biggest complaint is the post-production work to make the “found footage” look like it was recorded on crappy VHS. Why, oh why, would you go to all that trouble when you should have just shot the footage on a crappy VHS camcorder at the outset? Even the filmmaker was afraid to commit to the believability of the film.
* (clips) “+Fanboys+”: – dig around on the gossip sites and you’ll find a lot of talk about the studio trying to remove the heart from this film and make it into “National Lampoon’s Judd Apatow Movie”. It’s a shame they are holding onto this so long. This kind of anticipation can only serve to disappoint the core audience when we finally get to see the whole thing. Still, I heart Kristen Bell, and a movie about “my people” is something I’ll have to see.
* (classic feature) “+Teen Lust+”: – this was Tim’s torture film…which sounds odd since it’s a sex comedy, but it’s a really bad sex comedy where the lead actress never actually reveals any nudity but all the other actress get down and dirty. wtf?
* (classic feature) “Star Trek: City on the Edge of Forever”: – beautifully restored and presented on HD-DVD from the upcoming box set, this is the episode that supposedly inspired “J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek movie”:
* I shudder to begin to describe what we watched next. As if +Poughkeepsie+ and +Teen Lust weren’t torture enough, someone thought it would be funny to show a medical film clearing a blocked urethra dubbed over with Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good”. If you want me to gross you out someday, ask me about this film. When I’m in the nursing home and Alzheimer’s has taken most of my life from me, I will still remember this film.
* (trailer) “+Call Me Bwana+”: – Bob Hope stars in this oddly racist trailer about a white astronaut who accidentally lands in Africa.
* (trailer) “+J.D’s Revenge+”: – the tagline for this classic Blacksploitation film is perfect: ??He came back from the dead to possess a man’s soul, make love to his woman, and get the Vengeance he craved!??
* (trailer) “+Golden Needles+”: – we are all loopy at this time of the night/morning and showing us a trailer with Jim Kelly (classic blacksploitation star) about magical acupuncture needles…well, that’s just messed up.
* (trailer) “+Black Samurai+”: – another Jim Kelly trailer with him playing an agent of D.R.A.G.O.N. (Defense Reserve Agency Guardian Of Nations)…just more craziness that should set the mood for what followed:
* (classic feature) “+Farewell, Uncle Tom+”: – wow, the hits keep on coming. “Rodney Perkins”: introduced this film from Jacopetti and Prosperi, an Italian exploitation film making duo from the 70’s, that is supposed to be a balanced look at pre-Civil War era slavery in the USA — and it is so far off the mark as to defy explanation. It is without a doubt the most racist ignorant film I have ever seen, yet it seems so benign without context. Ugh. At some level I am glad to have seen this since I can discuss it somewhat objectively, but I almost wish I could erase it from my memory.
* (trailer) “+Halloween III: Season of the Witch+”: – the first sign that the Halloween franchise was being sold down the river
* (trailer) “+Nightmares+”: – one of the classic “multi-pack” horror movies — four stories for the price of one!
* (trailer) “+Trick or Treat+”: – another trailer for a film that looks so awful I just have to see it. A hard rock star comes back from the dead for a satanic rock and roll rampage! with a guest spot from Gene Simmons!
* (premiere feature) “+Trick ‘r Treat+”: – between now and next Halloween you may forget this review but hopefully you will take the opportunity for the guilty pleasure of this multi-story Halloween treat featuring my secret girlfriend, Anna Paquin. This movie is a return to the joy of your childhood scary movies. I guaranty that this film will be franchised and eventually ruined, so see this before that happens.

There was a lot of talk in the “forums”: “of the”: “BNAT 9”: “posts”: that this was the worst BNAT and I feel the need to counter that. Yes, I’ll admit that this was my least favorite year for premiere films as the only brag-worthy films were +Mongol+ and +Trick ‘r Treat+, but it was by far my favorite year for classic films and the sneak peeks at upcoming films was wonderful. (I am totally disappointed in the studio execs who yanked +Fanboys+ since this was the perfect audience and “their histrionic concerns about the story”: are not warranted.) Again, big butt-kiss to Harry for letting us enjoy his birthday party and to Tim for being the perfect host. (Karrie- shame on you for sneaking off for a nap…wimp.)

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2 Responses to “BNAT 2007”

Pingback from Backporch Beer » Congrats, Penny-Arcade
Time January 24, 2008 at 1:54 pm

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Time April 27, 2009 at 2:28 pm

[…] after seeing how amazingly beautiful the remastered episode City on the Edge of Forever looked at BNAT 2007 I am sorely tempted to buy this. I think I’m too late to catch the birthday net — that […]

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