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About Beltmann

  • Rank
    More Like the Moon
  • Birthday 06/19/1974

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    Southeast Wisconsin
  • Interests
    Movies, literature, history, sports

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  1. Tonight my 16-year-old son and I paired David Lowery's The Old Man & the Gun (2018) with Michael Mann's Heat (1995) to create an idiosyncratic double feature about career American thieves. It's both bonkers and edifying to perceive Lowery's microscopic rural charmer--a personal favorite--as a bizarro version of Mann's large-canvas urban thriller. For starters, there's a common theme of how this line of work impacts someone's private life. To imagine further, there's Robert Redford as De Niro, Casey Affleck as Pacino, and Sissy Spacek as Ashley Judd; there's the restroom meeting that echoes
  2. Some viewers will find İlker Çatak's The Teachers' Lounge too far-fetched, too gripping to be believable. After all, this idealistic teacher will navigate an ordinary situation that spirals, with domino logic, into the interrogation of critical pedagogy, deep-seated workplace tension, toxic office politics, weaponized parent groups, accusations of xenophobia and privacy violations, student civil disobedience, physical altercations, district staffing and legal woes, the censorship of student journalism and even a broken copy machine. But as a teacher who has been in the public school trenches--
  3. Matthew Vaughn's Argylle starts with a ridiculous sequence that's excusable because it's pitched as an easy yet winking satire of clunky spy movie cliches ("We're not so different, you and I"). The idea, seemingly, is that Elly Conway is a very bad writer with a devoted following of very bad readers. But then the movie switches to a "real" story that becomes precisely the thing that Vaughn opened by mocking, and it disorients the entire enterprise. Is he taunting his own viewers? Is he interrogating his own showmanship instincts? There's nothing in the movie, however, that suggests any level o
  4. Throughout The Zone of Interest a woman sitting near me eagerly chomped through a bucket of popcorn, and I wanted to lean over and ask, "You were making out during Schindler's List?" My 15-year-old son came along, and our subsequent conversation during the 35-minute car ride home was one of our best movie conversations ever. (And he had the moral wherewithal to intentionally finish his nachos during the trailers!)
  5. Okay, I saw this intensely moving, elegantly crafted movie in the final days of 2023, but I have bonus thoughts about The Iron Claw right now. There's a surface layer about family, masculinity, bodies, and sports that is rather obvious, but then there's the deeper layer that finds much more eloquent things to say about those same things, often expressed solely through meticulous cinematography and resourceful editing. There's something Shakespearean in this telling, which might explain why, two hours after leaving the theater, I was still feeling wrecked. Semi-spoiler: There seems to be g
  6. Same to you, Tweedling! Wonderful to see you popping in.
  7. Caught up with The Exorcist: Believer (2023). Perhaps the point is to make us despair. David Gordon Green has now hollowed out two major franchises, this time especially doing Ellen Burstyn dirty. We cast you out, Mr. Green. The power of Chris (MacNeil) compels you!
  8. My last viewing of The Exorcist was in 2000, when I went to a theater to see the recut "Version You've Never Seen," which means I last saw Friedkin's masterpiece right as I was beginning to rearrange my own religious convictions and several years before becoming a father. These days, I'm much more agonized about my children's well-being than about the devil; our family demons are more concrete, related to physical and mental health rather than the imagined perils of the incorporeal world. But confronting those demons can feel just as mysterious and confounding as trying to decode the so-called
  9. After only two fiction features (Adam and now The Blue Caftan), former journalist Maryam Touzani has proven to be a tender observer of how the personal becomes political, so much so that the social themes appear to evaporate before our eyes, leaving behind characters that are simply living their lives in ways that overpower any urge to see them as avatars rather than unique people. In both stories, what matters most is the filigree, the heartrending intimacy between individuals at a specific moment in time.
  10. I put this on Facebook after seeing the movie on Saturday, but I'll put it here, too, since it's a topic of conversation: I've seen Stop Making Sense too many times to count--David Byrne is one of those artists that make me eternally grateful that my brief time on this planet has coincided with their lifespans--but this 40th anniversary restoration, in IMAX and 4K, has made the movie feel bold and fresh all over again. For my money, it's the most intensely pleasurable movie experience of the year. Of course the Talking Heads songs are genius--and there's automatic exhilaration in he
  11. I still love this place. Thanks for being a big part of it, TCP!
  12. When I saw it, there were only two other people, a couple presumably on a date, in the theater. At the end the guy turned to me and sincerely asked, "What the hell was that?" We laughed, I stayed for the credits, and then ran into the same guy in the bathroom. Upon seeing me, he said, "Seriously, what the HELL was that?!?" (I liked it a lot.)
  13. The term “documentary” may be insufficient to describe Alison O’Daniel’s The Tuba Thieves, a listening experiment that incorporates elements of nonfiction, narrative, video art and the kind of essay film for which Chris Marker was known. Most of all, it is an experiential work about sound and the loss of sound. As with Duchamp’s conceptual art, the object we see is rarely the point; for O’Daniel, the sounds embedded inside the images are her main subject. The movie teaches you how to watch and listen as it goes, which is endlessly exciting. Boundaries are also obliterated, including the distin
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