For the uninformed, BNAT stands for Butt Numb a Thon, and it's a yearly 24-hour film festival hosted by Harry Knowles of Aintitcoolnews.com to celebrate his birthday. Over the years, the applications have gotten more expansive and the ability to get in has slimmed. Frankly, I'm surprised I get in, but here I am telling the tale of the classics, teases, and premieres I saw this past weekend all within the glorious 24 hour period known as BNAT. I'm going to run down the list and give impressions, but stick around as I'll be putting up some full reviews for you guys in the coming days.
Here we go:
Wallace Beery and Fay Wray star in this tale based on the legend of Pancho Villa. It was fun, it was sometimes offensive, and it was a worthwhile watch if you are interested in watching Mexicans be played by white people who all decide to play them in different stereotypical offensive ways.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This was the second time I saw this David Fincher directed epic, and it was even better the second time. We also were treated to caviar and chilled vodka while watching, and it made the experience all the more fun. Brad Pitt is excellent, Cate Blanchett is fantastic, and David Fincher has crafted a heartbreaking tale of love, life, and what it means to grow old. It's best picture material.
I felt like a fool for never having seen this Humphrey Bogart flick. It takes place in norther Africa during WWII, and Bogie is a tank commander who bands together with nine men to hold off an army of hundreds of Nazi soldiers. It's quickly paced, action packed, and a really fun propaganda-packed ride.
Guess what? Tom Cruise doesn't have a German accent! And neither does anyone else? And guess what else? It doesn't matter. So many films do this, but, for some reason, people are going at the jugular of this flick and for no reason at all. Bryan Singer's take on the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler won't win any awards, but it has an excellent cast, is expertly directed, and is spectacularly paced. Check out this suspense packed ride on Christmas, it's totally worth it.
Yes, this is the Fritz Lang sci-fi epic everyone watched in film class, but this one was re-scored in the '80s and had lost footage put back in it. So totally wicked Lang images coupled with Pat Benatar and Freddie Mercury in the background equate to a pretty wicked film experience. I'd seen it before, but when owner of the Drafthouse, Tim League, cranked the volume on this one to 11, he made it seem like we were having a party.
My Bloody Valentine 3D
Extended scenes of vaginas and breasts in 3D. Now that's what modern technology is created for. There's also lots of gimmicky fun gore and violence going on this is ridiculously silly horror flick. The acting is eh...passable...the violence is way over the top and fun...and the story is about as generic as it comes. You will laugh out loud, and it was a relatively enjoyable breeze for 90 minutes.
I Love You, Man
This is your SXSW 2009 premiere film starring the likes of the lovable Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. It's got a pretty great supporting cast too, but the problem with the film lies with the fact that the dude who wrote and directed Along Came Polly did it. There's little plot outside of that Paul Rudd is getting married, has no male friends, and his wife to be is uncomfortable with that so he desperately searches to find his Mr. Right. (in a totally hetero way that is handled in a totally homo way, which makes it funny right?) Segel and Rudd are hilarious in most scenes, and there are enough side gags to keep your interest. The film lacks heart, but is by no means bad.
A young actress becomes the new owner of a dog who is hell bent on attacking black people. It's a race thriller/horror/drama, and I was getting uncomfortable in my seat so I took this time to do a walk about. What I saw seemed entertaining enough, and I was told it recently came out on Criterion, so it can't be all that bad right?
Hardest to watch last movie ever after being up for 30 hours. The four plus hour cut of Steve Soderberg's Che isn't a bad, it just overly ambitious and indulgent. The first half of the film, before the intermission, is sometimes repetitive, but always interesting and expertly acted. The problem just seems that was probably Soderberg telling Benicio Del Toro all the research he did, and the two just goaded each other into creating a longer more, comprehensive film, and by the end of it, you're ready for Che to die. Benicio is amazing, and the direction for the most part is good, but the film just has a problem with pacing and needs to have some editing work done. I don't really need to see that many shots of anonymous soldiers, guns on a table, or random rain forest. With that said, I was very attentive throughout the whole film and found it informative and attention grabbing, but I didn't seem to be in the majority there. It's got good in it, it's just severely flawed.
Extended clips and such:
Henry Selick made the creepy cool Nightmare Before Christmas and is back with an even creepier film about a girl who falls asleep to dream of a dream world she wants to run away to. When she can't wake herself up and finds herself trapped, she realizes her dream world isn't as pleasant as the previously thought. This thing seems like it may be too creepy for kids, and it's spectacularly wacky. I'll be sure and check it out upon release.
I wasn't really excited about this one. I saw the trailers, read the synopsis, and I started to think maybe Pixar was going to let me down. But then I saw this. Man! UP is going to be fantastic, the story seems heartbreaking and hilarious all in one roll. It's sweet, clever, and everything you've come to expect from a Pixar film. Color me excited for this summer.
Monsters vs. Aliens
Dreamworks latest animated film, about a group of aliens who attack the earth, and the human response is to unleash secret government monsters upon them. It's a little too dick and fart humor-y for me and has a couple too many pop culture references for my taste, but the action seemed pretty cool, and the characters seemed funny and well crafted. I'll check it out and hope it's more Kung Fu Panda than Shrek The Third.
Chris Evans can move things with his mind. Dakota Fanning can see the future. They both live in a world where people with special abilities is relatively common place, and we glimpsed a couple of cool action sequences from the upcoming action film. I saw the trailer a while ago and was pretty sold, and nothing I saw deterred me from my curiosities.
Alex Proyas made The Crow, I, Robot, and Dark City. He makes cool movies, so despite the fact that this film stars a cheesy looking Nicolas Cage (not to be confused with bad ass Nicolas Cage, whom we see far too little of these days) I am still excited. A long time ago, a time capsule was buried and when it was unearthed, Nic Cage finds a sheet full of numbers and maps them to a history of natural disasters. The paper also contains future disasters and Nic goes around trying to stop them. Eh? Interesting enough.
Observe and Report
Seth Rogen stars as a mall cop who is trying to solve a flasher crime. It seems darker than previous Rogen fare, and it seems like the first miss he might have. I could be totally wrong, but with what I saw, I was left severely underwhelmed. It didn't seem funny, action packed, or anything. It just seemed flat.
We saw the first 25 minutes or so of Watchmen, and it was exceptional. I'm not a hardcore graphic novel fan, and I'm not super familiar with these guys, but from what I've seen of Zack Snyder's latest, I am starting to get as excited as the devout. I'm not going to spoil anything, I'll only say that the film seems like something truly unique and special and it's release is way too far away.
McG showed up to show what a douche he was, by talking down and referencing cool shit in hopes we buy into his particular brand of bullshit. He claimed to have the finished film, but said studios wouldn't let him show it. So he showed us some extended clips before he, no doubt, hopped into a limo and did a line off of a stripper's asshole. The movie? Well the clips showed more promise than the recent trailers, and if nothing else we seem to have a totally worthwhile action film on the horizon. Here's to hoping it has some substance to it too.