Archive for the ‘Regent Square’ Category

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Tiny Furniture

January 5, 2011

Tiny Furniture

The worst thing that can happen to a person after graduating college is to have to enter the adult world. Luckily, this is not always necessary. One can always move back in with her mother, provided that her mother is really cool, lives in New York City, and is rarely home. It also helps when mom has a stocked wine cabinet and a freezer full of frozen appetizers.

Tiny Furniture stars Lena Dunham as Aura, a young woman who has just graduated college in Ohio and has returned to New York with no idea what she is going to do with her future. She stays with her mother for a few weeks as a stop-gap measure before her friend moves to town and they can get an apartment. But living with her mother is the perfect opportunity for her to “figure things out,” meaning hang out with fascinating yet unsavory people. Her best friend from when she was a young child, Charlotte, lives in the neighborhood, and they quickly develop the sort of obsessive friendship that causes Charlotte to be jealous of all Aura’s other friends. Aura also falls in with the two types of men all women should avoid, egoists and men who quote Nietzsche.

Wrong guy type 1

Wrong guy type 1

Charlotte helps Aura get a job as a day hostess at a restaurant, a job that entails taking reservations and flirting with the chef. This chef is the sort of guy that high school girls fall in love with. He is intense and interesting when you’re around, but he doesn’t actually care about you. He is likely using you for your drug connections, as a back-up if his girlfriend dumps him, or just someone to kill time with at work. He makes plans and breaks them. Instead of seeing him as the egoist he is, Aura spends her time analyzing and justifying his every word and action.

The wrong guy type 2

Wrong guy type 2

Meanwhile, a young video maker she met at a party is staying with her. He has a hit youtube channel, where he stars in videos in which he rides a toy horse and quotes Nietzsche. She met him at a party, invited him to see a movie, and found out that he was broke. So of course she invited him to stay in her mom’s house with her while her mom was away. He, too, is using her for her hospitality. And he’s the sort of bad guest who complains and makes suggestions. When the cool mom returns home, her greatest gripe is that this man who is staying in her house is not even sleeping with Aura.

Throughout the movie, Aura seems to become more childish, and relies more and more on her mother. She convinces herself that her mother needs her, so she decides to stay in her mom’s home rather than get her own place. Meanwhile, her sister writes bad poetry that wins awards, and makes cutting yet true observations about Aura’s lifestyle. Aura doesn’t seem to find herself like she had wanted, but to lose herself in a sea of people who have conflicting expectations of her. She makes poor decisions about who to please and how to please them. She tells Charlotte how everyone in Ohio was so sweet and serene, how they baked for fun, but how they didn’t ‘get it.’ It seems that her years away from cruel, self-absorbed people has caused her to remain naïve and easily manipulated. Yet, she is funny, observant and lovable, and ultimately relatable.

Tiny Furniture is playing at the Regent Square Theater through January 13th.

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Micmacs

July 12, 2010

Who manufactures the weapons used in Darfur? Who makes the bullets?

According to Amnesty International, the majority of weapons flowing into Darfur come from China and Russia. Data from 2005 show that Sudan imported $83 million worth of arms, ammunition, aircraft, helicopters, and parts from China. AviChina, a corporation tat specializes in aircraft, has provided Sudan with aircraft and helicopters. China Aviation Industry Corporation I’s subsidiary Beijing Aviation Science and Technology Co. (BASC) sends flight simulators for K-8S jets to Sudan.

In 2005, Sudan imported $33 million worth of aircraft equipment and helicopters from Russia. Belarus signed a military cooperation protocol with Sudan in 2006 and has continued to send armored personnel carriers, 122mm guns, and howitzers. Sudan does have a domestic arms production industry, but much of their arms are made from parts imported from abroad.

One vehicle of war in Sudan is the Land Rover, a vehicle made by the UK company called Land Rover, which is a subsidiary of Ford Motors. Executives at Ford Motors claim that, upon becoming aware of the uses for which their rovers are being used, they have stopped exporting them.

Sudan is not the only place where weapons are deadly. Indeed, there is no place where there are casualty-free weapons. The nature and purpose of a weapon are to quickly and messily dispossess a person of his existence. Apparently, existence dispossession is a growing market. Hundreds of companies manufacture firearms, ammunition, powder, and accessories for weapons.

The question remains: how can weapons manufacturing be stopped without violence? This question is addressed by the surreal artistic genius Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the maker of Amelie and City of Lost Children, in his film Micmacs. He takes on the horror of weapons manufacturers with beauty, humor, and imagination.

Micmacs is about Bazil, a man whose father was killed by a land-mine and whose livelihood was lost after being shot in the head. He is kindly adopted by a band of salvagers with circus talents who help in his quest to take down the manufacturers of the weapons that destroyed his life. By setting two executives against each other, and by playing off their fears, paranoia, and own evil behaviors, Bazil and his friends are able to destroy them without violence of malice.

Micmacs is playing through Thursday the 22nd at the Regent Square Theater.

References: Sudan: arms continuing to fuel serious human rights violations in Darfur; Amnesty International; http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGAFR540192007&lang=e

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Secret of Kells

May 28, 2010

SeSecret of Kellscret of Kells, playing now at the Regent Square Theater, is the story of Brendan, a boy who lives with an order of monks and learns the art of illumination, the decorating of manuscripts, from a master illuminator who has come to Kells after his monastery in Iona was destroyed. The Abbott of Kells has decided to devote his monks’ lives to building a defensive wall and thus protecting the village from Viking invaders. Fearing the dangers that exist in the forest beyond the wall, the Abbott forbids Brendan ever to leave. However, when the master illuminator comes to the village bearing the unfinished book of Iona, he takes Brendan on as an apprentice, having him venture into the woods to find berries that can be made into ink. In the forest, Brendan meets mythical creatures, such as a forest nymph and a snake-god. He finds himself on a quest to save the Book of Iona, later to become the Book of Kells, from the Barbarians.

Religion is a kludge, a combination of myths and gods and stories that have melded together as people have intermarried, conquered one another, and read each other’s books. Secret of Kells takes place in old Ireland at a time when the myths and styles of Paganism were thinly overlaid by Christianity. It was a time of uncertainty and cultural upheaval in which religion and myth formed the backbone of thought. People attempted to make sense of the world, but were limited in their access to knowledge. As one character laments, “There’s nothing in this life but mist, and we’re only here for a short time.”

Through visuals and symbolism, the film explores the merging of two religions. The Abbott admonishes against all things Pagan, but Brendan finds himself facing the old gods, working at times with them and at times against them. He then incorporates their likenesses into his art, further fusing the old religion with the new one.

syncretismThe Book of Kells itself was created around the year 800 by monks. The text of the book is the Bible, but the images are Celtic designs imbued with Christian symbols. The movie accurately portrays what is known of the book’s creation and near destruction by Vikings. Much of the history of the book is unknown, with a variety of theories existing about it origins and makers. It seems to have originated in Iona and been brought to Kells after Iona was devastated.

The book, and thus the movie, contains images of snakes knotted around themselves. The snake is an old Celtic image, a symbol of a god. When St. Patrick rid Ireland of snakes, he was actually ridding it of Pagans. Now, the Pagans did not leave the island, but rather converted to Christianity. However, in the process of conversion, they took with them into Christianity their stories, myths, celebrations, and images. The Book of Kells contains snakes for the same reason that Christmas involves Christmas trees and Easter involves an Easter bunny. Religions accumulate images and tales and weave them into a coherent narrative. Secret of Kells is a visualization of this process of syncretism. This is most notable in the scene where Brendan must steal the eye of a serpent to use as a lens to properly visualize and produce his art in fine detail. Taking the eye of the snake symbolizes hemming in and destroying the old god but retaining its perspective. Only through the eye of the old religion could he make his art.

The film contains the Old English ethos of good versus evil embodied as light versus darkness. The Celtic aesthetic of bright greens and florid loops, the soft colors and fractal swirls surrounding Brendan and his ilk, are set against the harsh hues and solid lines of the Vikings. It is a visually striking film showing a quest for enlightenment amidst the threat of barbarism.


serpent god

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5 Easy Pieces

May 17, 2010

Five Easy Pieces, which will be playing at the Regent Square Theater from Monday, May 17th through Thursday May 20th, is a film in which a young Jack Nicholson, in his typical fashion, plays a character who is miserable and takes his angst out on other people, somehow convincing them to accept it. He is just Ok enough of a guy to get away with it.

The movie takes place in the 1970’s, a time where the world is predominantly shades of orange and brown, and everything looks as though it tastes like Lipton Tea.  People have names like Elton, Twinky, Rayette, and Spicer. Waitresses wear cute one-piece peach colored collared dresses. The classier girls wear crocheted dresses.

Waitress car ride

Bobby (Jack Nicholson) is a musical prodigy who has given up the piano in favor of working on an oil rig and hanging around the sort of women who numbly chew gum with open mouths.  The point his girlfriend rightly makes about him is that he is “never satisfied.’ The movie starts by showing scenes form Bobby’s life, including drinking whiskey on the commute to work, overreacting to his girlfriend’s lack of bowling skills, and fraternization with a dipsy, curly-haired, squealy woman.  He is unhappy, yet reveling in his unhappiness.

About halfway through the movie, Bobby goes to his family’s home on a Puget Sound island to see his ailing father. There he falls in love with a woman who is more sophisticated than he is accustomed to. However, he is still able to win her over by knocking all the perfumes off her dresser, screaming at her, and slamming her door. Apparently, violent behavior was considered seductive in the 1970’s.

Jack Nicholson Pugent Sound Young Jack Nicholson

The most striking moment in the film is at a dinner party at his family’s house. An obnoxious, cold, pedantic woman is talking about aggression. She treats Bobby’s girlfriend not as a person, but as an example that typifies a class. Bobby gets upset and defends his girlfriend’s honor (for once). It is only at this scene that we can understand why he left his family and a life of social preeminence. It is because he would have to be pleasant to such bombastic egotists. He prefers the directness, sincerity, and humility of people who don’t think that they know everything.

One of the most important aspects of intelligence is the ability to recognize bullshit. This is an aspect that Bobby has in abundance. It causes him to suffer, to alienate people, and it thwarts his ambitions, but it also allows him to do and say whatever he wants, regardless of the repercussions.

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February happenings…

February 2, 2009

Film Kitchen is coming up in a week-ish. Tuesday night (Feb. 10) marks the monthly screening-with-food even, which will happen at the Melwood screening room here at the PF facility. This month’s Film Kitchen will feature Shelter: a Squatumentary (Hannah Dobbz), Gone, and Son of Richard (both by Eddie Bursch). Admission is $5, with the reception (and food!) at 7 pm and the films starting at 8.

The film schedule for February for all three theaters, including the more romantic Sunday night series can be found here along with a brief synopsis of all movies being shown.

Other than that, class is in session and we’re hard at work up at Filmmakers, bringing in the best of independent and well-loved classics for your viewing pleasure. Hope to see you at one of the shows!

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Extreme exhaustion.

November 25, 2008

I have checked with the bosses and was given the OK to post the Repo! vid that I took, so I will as soon as I can get it uploaded. Meanwhile, the festival is over and it’s time to relax and deal with the aftermath. Nothing is slated for this week since everyone’s looking forward to overeating, overdrinking, and oversleeping.

Starting this weekend (on Friday) is A Girl Cut in Two at the Regent, and Patti Smith: Dream of Life at the Harris. Since we’re no longer running advance purchasing like we did at the festival, be prepared to show up 30 minutes before the show to get tickets at the box office.

We’ll be back next week, setting up Film Kitchen for December and preparing our holiday film series. Stay tuned!

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Repo! The Genetic Opera

November 20, 2008

I realize this entry is almost a week in the making, and my apologies for running so behind on the updates.

I went to see Repo! The Genetic Opera on Friday, and was not greatly surprised to see the line stretched around the block. I was, however, astonished to see that the line curved around the block in BOTH directions. TWO. Count ’em.

One line was for people holding guaranteed seats (aka will call), and the other was for people hoping to get in after the will call people got in. I don’t even really need to state it, but the show was definitely a sell-out, as predicted. People started lining up for the show starting at 7 pm, from what the theater staff tells me, and it was slated to start at 10 pm.

It was pure luck that I even managed to get in (despite the fact that, hey, I WORK here!). I imagine half the people waiting to get in after will call were turned away because we were at capacity. Almost the entire staff was outside, doing crowd control. I definitely appreciated the effort they had taken. Dealing with a crowd that large with that much efficiency is no easy task!

The show was delayed by about 45 minutes. The staff wanted to ensure that every seat had a behind in it, and the director (Darren Lynn Bousman of Saw II fame) and screenwriter (Terrance Zdunich, who also played Graverobber in the movie) were present. They gave a speech beforehand, which definitely had the crowd engaged.

I have to admit that a few weeks ago when I started researching this movie, I had a moment of horror when I was sent a link to reviews from GreenCine, most of which stated how absolutely terrible the movie was. When I received the link, I opted to find more neutral and/or positive reviews of the movie so that I could promote it effectively. However, after having seen Darren Lynn Bousman get up on his proverbial soapbox and praise the negative criticism as well as the positive reviews, I couldn’t help myself: I joined in the with the crowd in having a “let’s stick it to the man!” moment.

I actually took a video of the speech beforehand, but as it’s not exactly kid-friendly, I’d need to check with my bosses before actually posting it here. Of course, I’ll be glad to send it to anyone interested. As Bousman and Zdunich said, anyone talking at all helps the movie out promotion-wise.

And as if being present weren’t enough….the terrible two stayed until after 2 am to talk with everyone who wanted to ask questions/get things autographed. Check me out in all my blogging glory!

Bousman, blogging enthusiast, Zdunich

L to R: Bousman, blogging enthusiast, Zdunich

Comparison-wise, it really was like my first night at Rocky Horror Picture Show. I had seen RHPS on late-night cable once upon a time, and was wondering to myself how the hell it was as popular as it was. Realization came the night I stepped into a theater with people in full costume and became part of the interactive show…it’s about the audience experience. And I have to say, Repo! is much the same. It was definitely all about the audience experience. There was a goth fabulous mood to the theater Friday night, complete with people who had traveled 14 hours, people in costume, roller derby girls, and a plethora of goth-chic girls in corsets and 6-inch heels.

Now, I’m completely anti-gore. Ask anyone that knows me. I cringe as if I were the one being hurt. There were definitely points in the movie where my hands flew to cover my eyes so fast that I wound up nearly punching myself out…yet, I was drawn to watch. The story itself was fascinating and reminiscent of Shakespearean tragedy meets Greek tragedy (hopefully I didn’t give TOO much away with that analysis) with random comedic points (and an even more random cameo by Joan Jett). I really enjoyed the graphics and visuals used in the movie. I was also astonished to see a GOOD performance by Paris Hilton (she played a spoiled brat…imagine that!), and that the singing was spectacular. As far as the rest of the movie goes, it’s definitely something I’d see again (with an audience) so that I can pick up on the nuances I missed last time around.

I have to say that I’m in agreement with Bousman about the movie being something different from what you’re used to seeing, which is what they struggled to bring to the table…something different from typical Hollywood fare; something that would be appealing to movie-goers who are hungry for variety. I enjoyed it, but it definitely seems to have a polarizing effect. Have you seen it? What are your thoughts?