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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. 12 Angry Men was an Election Day choice, watched with my 14-year-old. I've seen this movie countless times, and of course it exists as a veneration of American rational justice and a warning about how that justice is alarmingly fragile. But this viewing is the first time I've felt that the movie's primary value might be in laying bare the channel that exists between white American masculinity and ingrained bigotry. There’s an unintended value, too, in Argentina, 1985, a courtroom drama about the prosecutors tasked with bringing to justice the civil and military leaders who kidnappe
  2. I can't explain why I've never seen Valley Girl until now, since it's totally the kind of thing I would have had on repeat as a teen in the mid '80s, rotating between VHS tapes of Better Off Dead and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It arrived on the scene just as the obsession with all things Valley was winding down--that national fever was grody to the max, fer shure--but it was just in time to capture the era's airy, adorkable don't-take-it-too-seriously vibe. Fittingly, Cage's character is way too earnest to really register as an outsider punk; he's basically a heartsick romantic with awesome
  3. Clerks III feels like an artist lost inside his own preoccupations; these days, the only subject that seems to interest Kevin Smith is his own past as a filmmaker. How many layers of meta can Smith stack into one movie? That’s probably a question for his therapist, especially given how Clerks III expresses how losing your edge to nostalgia, and converting your youthful cynicism into middle-aged generosity, betrays a deep-seated fear of mortality. The movie is by a wide margin the softest, most heartfelt entry in the series and perhaps the entire View Askew universe, which is not to say it’s a
  4. Rob Zombie's spin on The Munsters is far more watchable than its noxious trailer. He aims for a quirky brew of satire, cracked-mirror sitcom, and affectionate pastiche that takes a while to coagulate. I’m not sure it ever reaches “good,” but there’s no doubt it’s a personal, peculiar work that sometimes feels like the best possible movie adaptation of your neighbor's cheesiest Halloween yard decorations.
  5. This morning I revisited Halloween Kills (2021) as a refresher prior to Halloween Ends, and I responded much more favorably, largely because this time I was better able to separate the movie's minor achievements from its major ambitions. David Gordon Green's approach to the franchise has obvious merits--smart casting, superior performances, skillful mise-en-scene--that have made Michael Myers genuinely scary for the first time since 1978. (For me, Rob Zombie's Michael was interesting, but not scary.) Yet Green also asks his entries to be judged by a loftier measure than whether it
  6. And so began the Cheese Touch Frenzy. Friend turning on friend. Brother turning on sister. It was madness.
  7. Kicked off October, my usual month for nonstop horror, by watching the movie that has horrified the Twittersphere. There are deep divides inside of Andrew Dominik's Blonde, a movie that is not about Marilyn Monroe or Norma Jeane Mortenson, but rather "Marilyn," a fictional, cracked-mirror imagination of Monroe. The movie, not unlike Dominik's earlier portrait of Jesse James, uses this invented avatar to examine the duality of being both a person and a celebrity, expanding into a larger, impressionistic meditation on how the spotlight has the power to shine and to burn, whether it i
  8. Today I thought I heard a guy driving down Main Street blaring "Kamera" and singing along maniacally as if it were 2002 and he was hearing such sonic gold for the very first time. Then I glanced in the rearview mirror and realized it was me. Phone my family, tell 'em I'm lost.
  9. I've spent the last few months diving deep into Criterion's 15-disc Agnès Varda box set, rewatching many old favorites and taking in all of the bonus features and essays. There are also a handful of features that are new to me and man, I was really sleeping on Kung-Fu Master!, a knockout starring Jane Birkin that I should have seen years ago. It might be Varda's most underrated feature.
  10. My 14-year-old enjoyed See How They Run so much that I'm going to show him Knives Out soon, hopefully in time to take him to see The Glass Onion when it arrives. It's nice to see a throwback entertainment meant to be light yet still well-crafted and eager to please. Twenty years ago, this kind of original movie was a regular item on the menu; these days, it feels like welcome nourishment after weeks spent in the desert. I've also been baffled by the studio's treatment of Confess, Fletch as an afterthought. The original Chevy Chase movie was formative for both my wife and me, so we planned to s
  11. My weekend proved overstuffed, so I haven't yet had much opportunity to dive deep into the set, but just a cursory glance and listen at the contents has me over the moon. As someone who has spent decades with the YHF demos/engineer's demos, I agree with maxspr1 that there's still a treasure trove of unfamiliar material here. I'm also struck by how the tracks have been presented in a way that even the Criterion Collection might envy. Discs 2-4, especially, appear to be arranged into albums from the multiverse; these are what may have been the released versions of YHF had different decisions bee
  12. Compared to most mainstream animation designed for kids, Netflix’s "The Sea Beast" feels like a tonic, a real movie rather than a manic machine. Yes, it has expansive, exciting action scenes, but it also takes the time to earn them through solid characterization. The first half is especially strong, which allows the movie to eventually challenge viewers to consider the generational pull (and consequences) of inherited bigotry. That's big stuff for a children's movie, and once it is introduced, the movie unfortunately shifts into a less interesting didactic mode. But the characters remain compe
  13. Ti West’s “Pearl" exists in the same universe as March’s “X,” but provides a wildly different experience. This time around, the horror is built by re-shuffling colorful parts taken from Douglas Sirk, Busby Berkeley, “The Wizard of Oz,” and more. It also gives Mia Goth a ripe opportunity to expand an original character from “X” through a show-stopping performance that, if it existed in any other genre, might generate some awards buzz.
  14. Do yourself a favor: See it in a theater and go in as cold as possible. I'll just say that it applies some impeccable satirical logic, skillfully maintains its suspense and pace throughout, gleefully embraces its wildest ideas, and deploys tonal shifts to hugely entertaining effect.
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