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About Beltmann

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    More Like the Moon
  • Birthday 06/19/1974

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    Southeast Wisconsin
  • Interests
    Movies, literature, history, sports

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  1. 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!
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. Glad to see you, bleedorange!
  6. I still love this place. Thanks for being a big part of it, TCP!
  7. 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.)
  8. 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
  9. No Bears signals how some stories exist in the zone between what’s real and what’s true. In fact, the two best documentaries I saw at the festival transcended the genre’s tired sit-and-get machinery to become something more adventurous. Constructed largely out of decade-spanning home videos, Sam Now starts with Sam’s mother Jois vanishing without a trace. But the more compelling mystery lies within Sam: How will his mother’s absence affect him? In this three-paneled character study, Sam authentically moves from a carefree 11-year-old to an awkward 17-year-old searching for his mom
  10. Apprehension courses equally through No Bears, Jafar Panahi’s fifth clandestine feature since being banned from making films in 2010. It may also be his wisest. Playing a fictionalized version of himself, Panahi appears in the movie as an Iranian filmmaker remotely directing his actors, via subterfuge, while hiding in a rural village. Once again Panahi has made an allegory about imprisonment, but this time the anger and frustration have been absorbed into a larger, more philosophical quest for answers. This is a movie about confinement, both physical and psychological; borders, both real and i
  11. Charlotte Le Bon’s Falcon Lake is another Canadian triumph photographed in 4:3 on 16mm that MFF slotted into its Teen Screen division (which was surprisingly excellent this year). It shares with Riceboy Sleeps a natural feel for adolescence, but here the vibe is decidedly more ominous, even when the vacationing central characters, a 14-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl, fumble their way through summer mischief. Punctuated by shivery landscapes, creeping sounds and local rumors of a haunted lake, this coming-of-age story solves a thought experiment: What if Éric Rohmer, the French New Wave poet
  12. Cinema is at a crossroads—theaters are dying, distribution models have collapsed, digital video has dented the gatekeepers—which means the time is ripe for filmmakers to challenge traditional notions of what movies “ought” to look like. During the festival, for example, I saw nearly a dozen titles presented in the boxy 4:3 aspect ratio (think of the shape of old tube TVs), including The Eight Mountains and Godland, two epics brimming with the kind of breathtaking vistas for which widescreen was invented. As our home televisions get bigger, it’s curious that the movies are deliberately shrinkin
  13. Never read your reviews, goes the old adage. But maybe it’s not so easy for an actor to ignore a bad notice while being heckled by his own director during their movie’s hometown premiere. “Boo!,” bellowed Mike Cheslik from the right aisle of the Oriental Theatre’s main auditorium, which was packed April 28 for the Milwaukee Film Festival debut of Hundreds of Beavers, a comedy made by a team with local roots. Cheslik’s jeers were aimed at lead performer Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, and frankly, Tews had it coming. After all, in the middle of the screening the actor had cli
  14. The 15-day Milwaukee Film Film Festival ended Thursday, May 4 (although some virtual options continued through Sunday). I managed to see 58 feature films and 64 shorts, all while teaching fulltime. I'm feeling half-dead, but exhilarated, too. I'm glad it's over and sad it's over. Boss_Tweedy, you might be interested to hear that the fest's centerpiece selection was Little Richard: I Am Everything. The post-film Q&A with director Lisa Cortes was a blast. As always, I wrote about the festival for three area newspapers and over the next few days I'll probably re-post some of those t
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