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About Beltmann

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    More Like the Moon
  • Birthday 06/19/1974

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    Southeast Wisconsin
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    Movies, literature, history, sports

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  1. I pretty much never stopped laughing, because there's a peculiar tension between this movie's efforts to impeccably and affectionately revive the '90s teen movie and its simultaneous interrogation of those tropes. Do Revenge doesn't stick the landing, but otherwise I kind of had a blast. Kudos to the music department. Gen Z, thank your forebears.
  2. The documentary Aftershock addresses an important subject--the maternal health crisis affecting Black and Brown pregnancies--and it contains compelling portraits of lived experiences. Still, it spends nearly 90 minutes to deliver stories and data that could have been learned in five minutes were this instead a well-researched and well-written article published in, say, The Atlantic. The topic deserves a deeper, less boilerplate exploration, or at least a more cinematic approach. I don't want to gripe too much, because Aftershock is a worthwhile movie, in its relentlessly conventional way. But
  3. Is it hyperbole to compare to Buster Keaton the celebrated scene in Yes, Madam! where goofy criminal Tsui Hark evades an assassin within the confines of his tiny, jerry-rigged apartment? Well, the scene is fast enough and clever enough that I insisted my son Keaton take a look. (Then I watched it a third time, with my wife.) I watched both Royal Warriors (1986) and Yes Madam! (1985), along with The Stunt Woman (1996), on the Criterion Channel, as part of an eight-film curated collection called "Michelle Yeoh Kicks Ass." (I had previously seen the other five titles, and those are worth che
  4. Royal Warriors is the kind of '80s Hong Kong actioner where somebody said, "Hey, let's jump this car over two cars for real!" and then somebody said, "Yeah, and then let's do it again, but with a bus!"
  5. Netflix's The Good Nurse offers proof that sometimes good performances aren't enough. There's nothing wrong with the way Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne bring to life the true crime story of a night nurse who suspects that her new coworker has poisoned a patient. But we all know from the headlines that serial killer Charles Cullen confessed to dozens of murders at several hospitals and most likely killed hundreds more, which renders inert the movie's main dramatic gear: Will Chastain elicit a confession from Redmayne? There is no edginess, no suspense as the answer evolves. I was intereste
  6. Slacker always peters out for me, but I've seen it countless times and keep going back to it. It's one of those early '90s movies that proved extremely formative and inspiring for this burgeoning cinephile, pushing me deeper into movie love.
  7. So true. Singles hasn't dated well, and Empire Records has always been total cringe. I rewatched the latter not too long ago just to see if I had been unfair way back when. Nah.
  8. I enjoyed Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes, which opens with a couple arriving at a mysterious German castle. What begins as a funny pastiche of '60s Eurohorror splinters into something entirely different, and the result becomes a meta experiment that blurs the line between reality, make-believe, the supernatural and movies. The introduction of a second couple creates thematic ripples between the various layers. All that doubling plays simultaneously as a parody of European art cinema and a sincere replica. There's also a practical gore effect that memorably exists, um, in the realm of the senses.
  9. It’s been nearly 30 years since I last watched Ace in the Hole, which stars Kirk Douglas as Chuck Tatum, an unprincipled journalist who exploits Leo, a local man stuck in a collapsed cave, for self-serving headlines. It's no surprise to see that Billy Wilder's 1951 film noir has lost none of its cynicism, savagery, and relevance. This time around I was especially struck by how the pocket-sized hole that traps Leo is used in relation to other locations in the film. The movie opens by placing Tatum in his own parallel series of claustrophobic spaces, including a broken convertible, a modest news
  10. Listen, at one point while watching Plane I shouted "Holy BALLS!" with a big smile on my face except it wasn't "balls" it was something else and I don't know what more we need from a January action movie but now I'm mad that I didn't get more popcorn.
  11. Today I saw Knock at the Cabin Door. There's pleasure to be had in watching M. Night Shyamalan direct the heck out of this genre exercise--look at that rack focus!--but all that technical mastery is at the service of something both phony and overly simplistic. The changes made to the ending of the source novel signal just how far Shyamalan was willing to go to remove any kind of ambiguity, moral inquiry or philosophical wrangling. But it's worse than that. To keep this spoiler-free, I'll merely add that on an allegorical level, what this reactionary movie says about marginalized folks, obedien
  12. After revisiting Everything Everywhere All at Once, I remain impressed, exhausted, and little unsure. It would be glib to say the movie heralds a new kind of leading-edge cinema, one that reflects the age of inexpensive technology, digital ingenuity, multitasking, gaming, the Internet, and short-burst content like TikTok videos liberated from the usual constraints of composition and narrative. After all, we’ve been headed down this path for 25 years; the forward march contains works as disparate as Run Lola Run, Jackass, Requiem for a Dream, Tarnation, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Unfriended,
  13. At the risk of recency bias, I’m going to declare Mohammad Reza Aslani’s Chess of the Wind one of the greatest movies ever made. Too bold? Maybe. Might the latest Sight & Sound poll have me overthinking what it means to belong to the canon? Perhaps. But my mind can’t stop replaying this forgotten Iranian marvel that now has an epic reclamation story to join its towering artistic ambition. Brazenly sabotaged by rivals upon its 1976 release, and then banned after the ‘79 Islamic revolution, the movie was believed lost forever. Then, in an impossibly Hollywood-like twist, Aslani’s son chanced
  14. Here's my problem with the ending of Emily the Criminal: It's the ending of a much dumber movie than the one it purports to be, and a much dumber movie than the one we've been watching. Let me dive into the weeds simply by asking some questions. Spoilers ahead. Why does Emily not at least tie up Khalil before leaving the premises? Why does she simply leave Youcef to die in the car? Just moments earlier, she chose to leave a phone for her injured enemy Khalil to call for help, so why doesn't she also give the same grace to her beloved partner? The scene doesn't work as a wrenching e
  15. Happy New Year, everyone! What are your most anticipated movies for 2023? Me, I'm eager for the new Scorsese.
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