December 10, 2006

etriganEntertainmentOctoButt-Numb-Athon! (BNAT 8)

Becky and I agree that this was the most evenly programmed BNAT ever. Almost every film was fun to watch — there were several that are great — and only one “trying” film the whole night. Before the big show even started I had a soaring highlight when I got to meet and shake hands with an actress I’ve admired for a long time, Laura Harris.

Harris is probably best know for either her role as the long-dead-actress soul-retrieving-reaper on “Dead Like Me” or her Nickelodeon role on “Fifteen” in 1990. (I remember crashing in the dorm lounge watching Nickelodeon while skipping classes and seeing her way back then.) Austin movie fans may remember her surprising role in The Faculty but I think she will soon get notice for the upcoming excellent terror film, Severance. Anyway, I didn’t drool or otherwise make a nuisance of myself and I was particularly impressed that she was attending BNAT as a viewer (I assume since she didn’t seem to be involved in anything that was shown.) Then Harry had to make us all uncomfortable and I couldn’t bring myself to approach her the rest of the night…read on.

  1. El Laberinto del Fauno - The night before BNAT Harry convinced Guillermo del Toro to show his new masterpiece as a special screening. This showed previously at Fantastic Fest 2006, so I saw it and reviewed it back then.

  2. Short Film: Chirpy - Harry kicked off the night with possibly the most offensive thing he could find. Chirpy is the (poorly) animated story of a little bird who eats mushrooms he finds on a cow patty, then falls in love with a horse…and “makes love” to the horse. You think it’s bad, but it only lasted a few uncomfortable minutes, so it’s not as bad as what came later.

    1. Trailer: Stunt Rock - a BNAT staple; the trailer is much better than the movie; at YouTube
    2. Trailer: Raw Force - total 80’s martial arts cheese about a vacationing group of martial arts experts getting stranded on an island that is host to disgraced zombie martial arts masters.
    3. Trailer: Teenage Tramp (aka That Kind Of Girl) - a 1975 B&W morals movie about a girl who is easy; at YouTube preceded by The Explosive Generation trailer
    4. Trailer: The Telephone Book - another B&W 70’s film, this one about a girl who wants to date her obscene phone caller; “the world’s greatest obscene phone call”
  3. Black Snake Moan - Craig Brewer is trying to drive a movie with blues like he did with Hustle and Flow. He’s not entirely successful, but Samuel Jackson delivers his role like the consummate craftsman he is — even down to doing his own singing and guitar work, including the fingering close-ups in the film. Christina Ricci performs great…and is half-naked for the first half of the movie. Justin Timberlake doesn’t suck.
    Many thanks to Craig for bringing us his film and doing a Q&A with us. It’s not as homogeneously wonderful as H&F — it’s hard to release an Oscar winning film every time — but there are some very powerful scenes and the movie is a great success.
    (Check out the BSM Trailer contest.)

  4. Dreamgirls - Bill Condon brings the six-Tony-Award winning Broadway musical to the silver screen and if you like the Aguilera/American Idol style of diva singing then you will enjoy the film. I’m not a big fan of “the diva” but it was really nice to see Eddie Murphy deliver a nuanced dramatic role. Thanks to Bill for sticking around after the film to discuss it with us. Even though we’ve read/heard it before, it is still amazing to see Jennifer Hudson’s stunning performance and hear that it took several auditions to realize she was perfect for the role. See the trailer at YouTube.

    Harry introduced the next section by saying that some of us may hate him for it. I don’t hate him, but I saw Laura Harris again in the lobby right after these and I was too uncomfortable to strike up a conversation…and then my embarrassment carried over through the rest of the event.

    1. Trailer: Panorama Blue - one of the first adult films on 70mm, this movie features sex on a roller coaster, orgies with string quartet accompaniment, and other fun situations that would play to the format better than the grainy adult films that were the norm in the mid-70’s.
    2. Trailer: Female Animal - most disturbing trailer for an adult film I’ve seen in that it opens with a woman discussing how her carnal needs could only be met by her cat. Nice looking cat, nice looking woman…but those things just don’t mix for me. The drug trip scenes did pique my curiosity, though.
    3. Trailer: Baby Love - continuing the inappropriate content, this trailer starts with Ann Lynn saying: (paraphrased) “I’m 15 in this movie…and I’m too young to see it in the theater.” …Uh-huh.
    4. Trailer: Girls Are For Loving - one of a line of bad mysogonistic 70’s softcore featuring Cherry Cafaro as Ginger, a hardcore softcore sleuth/sometimes CIA Agent. I love the last few words of a reviewer at IMDb: “would work better if she didn’t look like someone’s mom”
    5. Trailer: UnderAge - no links I can find for this film where the supposedly underage women all looked to be around 30.
  5. Once Upon A Girl - Harry was thrilled to find this 1976 animated adult film (on actual film, in great condition) made by the craftsmen of the Hannah-Barberra studios, and if we were in a room full of close friends where we could laugh at the incredulously bad twisted stories of Mother-Goose-in-drag I might have enjoyed it. In a room that included a talented nationally known movie star that I had just met and wanted to talk to some more…well, it was uncomfortable for me, but good on Harry for making me uncomfortable. That’s usually hard to do with a movie.

  6. Inherit The Wind - I had never seen this 1960 movie about the infamous “monkey trial” featuring the likes of Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, Dick York and Harry Morgan. It’s a powerful film and easily displays the impetus for the court-room dramas that have graced TV’s and movies since.

    Since Harry has been interviewing Sylvester Stallone for 10 days at AICN, we all knew what was coming.

    1. Trailer: Rocky
    2. Trailer: Rocky II
    3. Trailer: Rocky III
    4. Trailer: Rocky IV
    5. Trailer: Rocky V - just after this trailer started it appeared to drag and drop frames then the infamous melting film in the projector appeared. I think (hope, for the sake of the projectionist’s job) that this was rigged by a Drafthouse employee since Tim immediately announced that they had installed Dolby shit detectors in the theater and that caused the projector to reject the trailer.

      We got a nice how-ya-do from Sly and our next big screening of the night was:

  7. Rocky Balboa - Sly delivers a movie just as good as any of the others. It’s the heart-warming manly version of a chick flick with a big emphasis on family, friends, generosity and the drive to achieve your goals. See it with your family…although this is the first Rocky movie with realistic boxing. I saw Becky out of the corner of my eye cringe more than a couple times.

    1. Sneak Peek: Fanboys - the only movie that dropped out at the last minute due to its incompleteness. We got to see a few scenes, though, and this is a movie that every fanboy, relative or s.o. of a fanboy will want to see. It has a long list of great young actors (Sam Huntington, Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns; Chris Marquette, Adam from “Joan of Arcadia”; Jay Baruchel, “Undeclared”; Kristen Bell, “Veronica Mars”) and an amazing list of cameos (Carrie Fisher, Jamie King, Seth Rogen, William Shatner, Danny Trejo, Billy Dee Williams). Of the many scenes we saw, the one where the Star Wars fanboys (on their way to sneak onto Skywalker Ranch) come across Trekkies Trekkers who start a fight by challenging that Darth Vader is nothing compared to the Borg. Hilarity ensues. I can’t wait to see this.

    2. Trailer: The Mafu Cage - I have to hunt down a copy of this really bizarre-looking film where Carol Kane plays an animalistic sister to Lee Grant.
    3. Trailer: The Buttercup Chain - this 1970 R rated film about several couples that switch partners multiple times just looks awful.
    4. Trailer: PEPE - this movie was created to feed the apparent fire created by the world’s need to see Cantinflas in his own movie after Around the World in Eighty Days by making light of the Spanish accent and culture. These days this film might be the equivalent of Spanish blackface.
    5. Trailer: Matango - a Japanese film where the survivors of a shipwreck are fearful of walking mushroom creatures. Bizarre.

  8. Knocked Up - Big thanks to Seth Rogen for bringing us this film he wrote with Judd Apatow (who also directed it). Knocked Up will surely be measured against 40 Year-Old Virgin (also a team effort from Apatow and Rogen) and it won’t come up short. It is another movie that is funny so often that you’ll have to buy the DVD to catch all the lines you missed while everyone was laughing in the theater. The usual suspects showed up (Seth Rogen in the lead role, Jay Baruchel from “Undeclared”, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel from “Freaks and Geeks” and “How I Met Your Mother”) and it includes great performances from Katherine Heigl (“Grey’s Anatomy), Alan Tudyk (“Firefly”) and Kristen Wiig (SNL’s last couple of season’s).

  9. Teen Wolf - this celluloid also appeared to be baked by the projector after a few minutes, saving us from this travesty of a film. Thanks for the save, Harry and Tim.

  10. Black Book - the latest offering from director “Paul Verhoeven” (+Robocop+, Hollow Man, Total Recall, Starship Troopers) is actually his second film set during WW2, shown from a Dutch perspective and I expect this one to be just as critically well received as Soldier of Orange if not better. The story follows a Jew in hiding who falls in with the Dutch resistance and through her undercover work falls for a German SS officer. This movie is thick with drama and intrigue that I won’t spoil for you. Since it’s official US release is in March I don’t know which year it will be eligible for an Oscar but it will assuredly be nominated for Best Foreign Film.

  11. The Informer - this 1934 John Ford film was my only true low point for all of BNAT. I can see why a film student would find value in this film. It’s chock full of innovation, i.e. the film is almost entirely incidental music for the first ten to fifteen minutes. Ultimately, though, it is a heavy handed melodrama with weak political convictions.

    1. Trailer: The Challenge Of The Lady Ninja - classic early-80’s chock socky ninja fun.
    2. Trailer: The Legend of Hillbilly John - a folk fantasy about a guitar playing folk hero wannabe who fights ancient bird creatures and evil-doers with his songs…really.
    3. Trailer: It Came Without Warning - B movie (as in B for Bad) about a pre-Predator hunting alien featuring Jack Palance, Martin Landau and David Caruso.
    4. Trailer: Cannibal Girls - Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin star in what is considered a very not funny movie about girls who eat human flesh.
    5. Trailer: Curse - a fantastical Chinese film combining magic and martial arts…and cannibal midgets.

  12. Raw Force - Little did we know when we saw the trailer earlier at BNAT that we’d get to see the film, too. Drafthouse’s newest programmer brought us this laughable yet watchable story of a budget cruise line that gets stranded on an island where disgraced dead martial arts masters are brought to life by cannibal monks who feed on the flesh of nubile naked women. It is a booby-ful movie.

  13. Smoking Aces - I’ve been anticipating this action movie since I first saw the trailer and I was a little disappointed, but it’s still a lot of fun. This movie continues the vein of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Lucky Number Slevin in the new multi-star, fast and shiny but sarcastic action genre. The big difference between those films and Aces is (a) Aces has almost zero mysterious plot twists, and (b) its violence is a stronger homage to Tarantino. So: fun gun fights to watch but not challenging at all.

  14. 300 - truly the highlight of BNAT, this film will be a huge hit. It is gorgeous, well acted and directed. The fight scenes are stylistically unique and the visuals will inspire film makers as much as bullet time did. Director Zack Snyder (who impressed previously with his Dawn of the Dead remake) was there for a Q&A after the movie and while he was hesitant to talk about his forthcoming work on Watchmen I finally have hope for that project based on his work with 300.

  15. Children of Men - The night after the festival Harry brought in Alfonso CuarĂ³n’s new movie about a world gone mad when the entire human race has become infertile. It is a beautiful film with a great performance from Clive Owen and a powerful story. Oscar noms will abound for CoM.

As usual, big thanks to the AICN and Drafthouse folks and particularly Harry for throwing the most coveted birthday party I know of. I never think it can get better and it always does.

Posted by etrigan at December 10, 2006 1:55 PM
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