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Butt-Numb-a-Thon 7

Old 12-11-05, 07:01 PM
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Butt-Numb-a-Thon 7

BNAT is an annual 24-hour movie marathon thrown in Austin by Harry Knowles as a birthday bash. It's practically impossible to get advance tickets, and the stand-by line proved a lot harder this year than it was last year (48 people in line, 12 were chosen by luck of the draw...fortunately, my number was the second one called).

It's always a great time, because you're packed in a room with 200 movie lovers for 24 hours straight...and best of all, you're at Harry's mercy. He never tells you what you'll be seeing until it's time to play the film. The only information we're given is the number of classic films and the number of premiere type films (this year it was 5 classic, 7 new). The programming was as follows:

Apocalypto Teaser: Mel Gibson taped a witty little introduction for us, in which he explained that we're seeing this trailer about three weeks before it hits the internet or theaters. The introduction was about twice as long as the trailer. It was just a teaser, so there's not much to say other than it did a good job of getting me intrigued...and I can't wait for the theatrical trailer.
Vintage Trailers: The Alamo Drafthouse never fails to put it's astounding collection of vintage trailers to use...especially not at BNAT. In this block, we're shown trailers to Argoman The Fantastic Superman (1967), Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds (1977), and the infamous Stunt Rock (1978). I say infamous because this trailer has been a staple of BNAT from the start...and Harry Knowles has been trying to track down a print of the film for the past six or seven years.
The Most Dangerous Game (1932): We were treated to an absolutely astonishing print of this classic. It's not everyday that you get a chance to see this movie on the silver screen, much less via a print as gorgeous as this one. What a great feature with which to open the marathon. Plus, with Fay Wray in a starring role, it was the perfect set-up for our next feature film.
Ray Harryhausen Info: For a Harryhausen fan, this was the best ten minutes of the marathon. First, Arnold Kunert (Harryhausen friend and collaborator) showed us a teaser to The Pit and the Pendulum, the first in an upcoming series of stop-motion Edgar Allen Poe shorts, all presented by Harryhausen. Then we were given an official announcement: Ray Harryhausen will be coming out of retirement to work on an adaptation of Merian C. Cooper's long-abandoned War Eagles project. This was followed by a one or two minute sizzler reel in reference to the upcoming project.
King Kong (2005): Peter Jackson took the time to film a video introduction, expressing regret in not being able to join us this year (he came down with an advanced copy of Return of the King two years ago). This followed an amusing fake-out in which we were told that we'd be seeing a documentary on Avian Bird Flu, only to have Jackson interject and inform everybody that we'll instead be shown an early screening of Kong. The film itself, well...there are reviews everywhere, so I won't waste space. Suffice it to say that it was mind-blowing, even if it did take a while to get itself going. Simply astounding...and the best premiere film of BNAT-7.
"March of the Wooden Soldiers": Up next was a rare print of a Dave Fleischer Betty Boop short from the early 1930s titled "March of the Wooden Soldiers." Following that, we led straight into...
Footlight Parade (1933): Again, I was thrilled with this selection. It's a lot of fun to see premieres at BNAT, and they're definitely the most talked about and anticipated screenings of the marathon...since you never know what you might get. However, I have an almost deeper appreciation for screenings like these. How many chances have you been given to see this movie in a theater? My guess: none. It's not even available on DVD. However, in yet another beautiful print, there on the screen were James Cagney and Ruby Keeler, participating in some of the most outrageous and surreal Busby Berkeley musical numbers of all time.
Sick Girl (2005): Lucky McKee and Angela Bettis, who teamed up in the surprising 2002 film May, were on hand to introduce their latest collaboration (and follow it with a Q&A)...an as yet unaired episode from Showtime's "Masters of Horror" anthology. Bettis gives a solid, unique performance in an ultimately underwhelming film. I don't follow the "Masters of Horror" series, but from what others had to say, this was one of the better products thus far. I think that says more about the quality of the series than it does about the quality of this particular work, however.
Vintage Trailers: First was a preview to a particularly odd looking martial arts film called Lucky Seven (1970). That was followed by a damn entertaining trailer for the 1977 Sonny Chiba film, Soul of Bruce Lee. These trailers were definitely hinting at what was coming up next...
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005): Wow, what can I say about this film? For starters, Chan-wook Park is fucking genius, plain and simple. A fundamental observation that backs up this notion: this film shares numerous themes with Oldboy...but they're so different from one another that if I didn't know any better, I'd say they were tackled by two different, but equally tallented directors. Simply put, one of the best movies I've seen this year.
Vintage Trailers: Up first was a trailer for El Desperado (1967), a surprisingly great movie that Tarantino brought into town for QT Fest earlier this year. This movie was the inspiration for Robert Rodriguez's film of the same name, and it completely caught me off guard...but I digress. That trailer was followed by one for In The West There Was A Man Named Invincible (1973). And finally, this block of previews was rounded out with a really out of place trailer: the recently-released Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest teaser.
The Professionals (1966): Very rarely does a vintage film that's available on DVD get screened at BNAT. There were two exceptions this year: the gorgeous Most Dangerous Game print (in an effort to show a little Fay Wray to get us in the mood for the Kong remake), and this movie. Harry's reason for screening it, even though it can be seen elsewhere? Just because it can be seen, doesn't mean that it has been seen. This was evidenced by the minimal show of hands when the question was popped, "who has seen The Professionals?" Written and directed by Richard Brooks. Starring Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, and Jack Palance, among others. Cinematography by the great Conrad Hall. Three Oscar nominations. And even with all of that, I still doubt you've seen it. A damn shame, if I do say so myself.
Vintage Trailers: What an odd grouping of trailers we had here. First was the trailer for Mini-Skirt Lynchers (1969). Next was Girls Marked for Danger (1953). And finally, a trailer for a movie titled Seven Golden Women Against Two 07s, which I can't even find a listing for on the IMDB. Where and how these guys manage to dig up trailers like that is beyond me.
District 13 (2004): Up next was a French action film titled Banlieue 13, a.k.a. District 13. Matt Dentler, the programmer for the South by Southwest Film Festival, introduced this movie (fitting, since he was the only one in the room who had seen it). When introducing it, he started out with, "who was here last year?" Numerous people raise their hands. Follow-up question, "who remembers Ong-Bak?" Audience goes wild. "Well, this movie has action scenes comparable to those, and like Ong-Bak, there's no wire-fu in this movie." He wasn't lying, and I was blown away. Oh how I love great action films.
2gether 4ever Teaser: This is Harry Knowles' impending horror project, so it's only fitting that he debut it's teaser trailer at his own birthday film marathon. It was stylish, but ultimately uninformative.
Cigarette Burns (2005): Another film from Showtime's "Masters of Horror" anthology. This one is directed by John Carpenter, and stars Norman Reedus alongside Udo Kier. Writers Scott Swan and Drew McWeeny are on hand to introduce the film...and deservingly so. They wrote a really fucking intriguing screenplay (revolving around a film print that may or may not still exist, which Kier has hired Reedus to track down). On top of the great screenplay, the piece was well acted by all parties. The only downside, something that plagued Sick Girl as well, was the obviously low production values (and the choice of digital over film). For lack of a better phrase, the whole film has a cheap, "made for TV" feel to it. And yes, I am aware that it was, in fact, made for TV.
Clip from Hostel: Eli Roth was in the audience for the entire marathon...not surprising since he's a regular at BNAT, among other Austin film events. He had a short, maybe 45-second clip from his upcoming film Hostel with him, which he introduced. Not too exciting, for me at least, since I saw a rough cut of the entire film back in August or so...so this was nothing new.
The Descent (2005): This is a solid horror film, written and directed by Neil Marshall, and starring nobody special. The editing is weak, but the performances are convincing. This is another case where film would have been superior to the chosen digital medium. At the very least, it would have helped the lighting reach a point where the audience could actually follow the story. I'm being harsh, though. Honestly, this movie holds some fantastic elements of suspense. I just wish it would have lived up to it's full potential. As it stands, it's comparable (in many ways, actually) to Creep. It's a far superior film, but I couldn't help but notice numerous similarities.
Stunt Rock (1978): If you'll think way back to the beginning of this long-winded post, you'll recall my mentioning the infamous trailer for this film...and the fact that Harry has been attempting to track down a print for the better part of a decade. Well, he finally succeeded. Unfortunately, it screened at 6:45am, and with on-stage music sequences that seem to last upwards of 10 minutes paired with the fact that the film has no discernable plot to speak of...you can understand why the inital excitement wore off after 15 minutes or so, and people used this opportunity to take a bit of a nap. Me, I tried my best to work through it, but I eventually had to step outside for some fresh air. The film was driving me crazy.
Vintage Trailers: First was Eunuch of the Western Palace (1979). That was followed by a trailer for Thunder Cops (1987), which had my sides splitting with laughter as I watched a chase sequence featuring a middle-aged man and a group of remote-control helicopters. Classic.
Drum (1976): Every year at BNAT, there is one "torture film." It usually plays when the audience is at their most vulnerable point (around 4:00 to 6:00 am, give or take), and is more commonly known as "Family Fun Hour." Torture films are always some form of exploitation. In this particular case, it was a classic case of Blaxpoitation. I'll agree with a sentiment raised as the film was introduced to the audience, "this is the most racist thing to ever be put on this earth, ever." Indeed it was...and that made for good times with Ken Norton, Pam Grier, Warren Oates and company.
Breakfast/Security: We were led out of the theater, to be run back in one by one, each of us wanded by a security guard. Silly studios and their non-trusting ways. In the meantime, we all dug in on some mean all you can eat breakfast food.
Der Fuehrer's Face: For some reason, somebody involved with the marathon had in their possession a film print of this Donald Duck cartoon. Prior to watching the 8-minute short, we were all given plastic duck call toys. Duck calls or not, this was by far the funniest thing I've ever seen. Oh my, how the times have changed. This is one time in this long post where I'll actually go out of my way to post a link, because I think this Donald Duck short should be required viewing.
Trailers of all shapes and sizes: First was a trailer for The Return of Captain Invincible (1983). Next was a vintage commercial for the Atari game "Starmaster." Following that was the X-Men 3 teaser, and then the premiere of the Mission Impossible III teaser (which looked a little bit promising).
V for Vendetta (2006): This was the closing film for the marathon. At the time of the screening this morning, there was exactly one print of this film on the planet. That print was shipped here from Australia, a 25 hour trip. This was the first screening of the film (Warner actually had to call the folks that run the Berlin Film Festival to see if it would be alright for Vendetta to play at BNAT, since Berlin was the scheduled world premiere). Enough with all of that, though...you want to know how the movie was, right? Right? Well, too bad.

...I kid, I kid. It was a hell of a lot better than I thought it would be, actually. For some reason, I just didn't expect much out of this movie. I was wrong. There, I said it. I was wrong. It wasn't the best of the twelve movies I saw. That nod goes to King Kong...but Lady Vengeance, V for Vendetta, and District 13 were all extremely impressive in their own way. I'd recommend any of the three to the right audience. For Vendetta specifically...I'd say be sure to give it a shot if you're a fan of comic adaptations, Natalie Portman, the Wachowski brothers, or movies that make strong political statements.

I guess that's that, except for my goodies. Among the freebies given out at the event, which cost $60 admission, were...
"Matrix: Path of Neo" for PS2
Atari Flashback2 (console, 2 controllers, 40 installed games)
(3) T-Shirts
(2) Baseball caps
A dozen or so posters, and plenty of little trinkets, like bumper stickers, popcorn, and even some Hostel toenail clippers.

-JP

Last edited by NatrlBornThrllr; 12-11-05 at 07:19 PM.
Old 12-11-05, 07:23 PM
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pretty badass, makes me wish i lived in Texas or at least had the expendable income to blow off a weekend and fly to texas. Maybe next year.
Old 12-11-05, 09:25 PM
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That sounds awesome.
Old 12-11-05, 10:18 PM
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Sounds like a great time. I'm not sure about 24 hrs in a theater, but this would be the way to do it.
Old 12-12-05, 12:31 AM
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Lucky, actually I don't know, there is no way my ass would last that long.
Old 12-12-05, 12:57 AM
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Hey, I was there. Year number seven for me....I'm not good at these reports...but...

I loved Kong and V for Vendetta. I was terrorfied of seeing V before this, I'm a huge fan of the book and Alan Moore and I was just worried. But it's great, it really is, I may like it more than Kong, but I have to sit on that one for awhile. This was a great year...

Oh, and The Descent scared the shit out of me.
Old 12-12-05, 03:11 AM
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you guys make me miss texas....
Old 12-12-05, 05:49 AM
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Wish I was there... Thanks for the report, NBT!
Old 12-12-05, 10:39 AM
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If you tip the usher, will he seat you as far away from Harry Knowles as possible?
Old 12-12-05, 10:48 AM
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I always hear about BNAT, but not exactly how it works. I mean, what time of day does it start? How do they handle bathroom breaks, with the security and all? Is breakfast the only meal provided?
Old 12-12-05, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dhmac
I always hear about BNAT, but not exactly how it works. I mean, what time of day does it start? How do they handle bathroom breaks, with the security and all? Is breakfast the only meal provided?
Starts at noon on a Saturday, ends sometime around noon on Sunday. There are 10-15 minute breaks after every second or third film (or you can head out during the trailers between movies if you really need to). This is the first year for this approach...in years past, there has been a 5 minute break after every film. They just decided to offer longer breaks, fewer times, in an effort to keep the pace of the event up-tempo.

For security...it's all held at the Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Austin. There's only one screen, and it's on the second floor of the building (along with the lobby and bathrooms). So there are guards placed at the front door (downstairs) to make sure nobody leaves, gets a recording device, and returns. A trip to the bathroom won't result in any security hassle, though, since there's no way of leaving the complex without going downstairs, and that wouldn't be necessary. Even if you need to run out to your car, or you need to go outside to make a phone call...the security is pretty laid back for the most part. There's a sort of understanding between audience and programmers.

For larger premiere type releases (like V for Vendetta this year), security hired by the studio will roam around the theater during the screening, just to make sure nothing shady is going on. Like I said, though, we all have an understanding. Nobody has recorded any part of a premiere yet. Most people who frequent events that go down at the Alamo Drafthouse have a lot of respect for owner Tim League and everybody involved. It's great that they bring these types of things to town for us, and it just wouldn't be worth the risk of losing these events in the future.

As far as food: the Drafthouse is a regular theater, except there are tables set up between the rows of chairs. These tables have menus, sheets of paper, and pencils. You write down your order, fold the piece of paper and stick it in a holder. The server sees it, comes and grabs it, and returns shortly thereafter with your whatever food items you'd written on it (pizza, burgers, salads, chicken fingers, and so forth). At a single screening, the server will come about 4/5 of the way through, asking if you need anything for last call. If you say no, they drop off your check, and pick it up a few minutes later. At this event, checks seemed to go around at various intervals (my guess: whenever server shift changes occurred). So you can order food anytime during the event, up until 2:00am I believe, when the servers and chefs go home. Then breakfast is around 8:00 or 9:00, and you're out by 12.

It's pretty well organized, and lots of fun.

-JP
Old 12-12-05, 09:51 PM
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Sounds pretty cool. I loved Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, and would kill to see it on the big screen.

= J
Old 12-12-05, 10:45 PM
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pardon my ignorance but who is harry knowles?
Old 12-12-05, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by atari2600
pardon my ignorance but who is harry knowles?
I wish there were more of you.
Old 12-12-05, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by atari2600
pardon my ignorance but who is harry knowles?
www.aintitcool.com

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002406/

A film fan turned online critic, whose site happened to catch on. He's hated by many, loved by few. I fall into the second group. I don't particularly like his reviews, but I think it's really cool that he goes out of his way to set up numerous kickass film experiences for his community. If I'd never lived in or around Austin, I'd probably fall closer in line with the first group...but I do, so I don't.

-JP
Old 12-12-05, 10:57 PM
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Here's a good snapshot of Harry. This e-mail was posted online. It's his response to a person who cracked him over his bizarre AEON FLUX review...



"I guarantee you that "the vast majority of 'educated film critics'" you're talking about couldn't last 30 minutes in a film history, science fiction or film making conversaton with me. I'm one of the most educated film commentators in the world.


It's why I'm friends with folks like Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino, Leonard Maltin, Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael (before she passed on), Paul Thomas Anderson, Cameron Crowe, Mark Romanek and tons of others.


The fact is - I'm the lead film critic for SKY TELEVISION which is broadcast in every country outside of the United States, with a higher worldwide audience than ANY AMERICAN FILM CRITIC. I'm the lead film critic for the #1 Adult Magazine in the country PENTHOUSE (beginning in May). Oh - and then there's AICN - the number one independently owned and operated film website online. And I'm producing 3 major feature films and 1 independent.


My science fiction friends are folks like Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Chad Oliver among others. I teach masters classes at Universities around the country as a paid expert.


I obviously don't know what I'm talking about.


H"
Old 12-12-05, 11:00 PM
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Pauline Kael (before she passed on)
heh
Old 12-12-05, 11:07 PM
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I don't like Harry's reviews normally, but damn if he doesn't get me excited about films. He can't write for crap, but he does have a good knowledge of film. He should have gone into PR. I'm really just glad he lives in Austin because I sometimes reap the benefits.

I wish I could have gone this year. Money was kind of tight this year and I e-mailed Harry asking what the cost would be. He never e-mailed me back and I missed the entry deadline. After seeing the lineup and shwag I'm really pissed that I let a little something like cost hold me off.
Old 12-12-05, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Mordred
I wish I could have gone this year. Money was kind of tight this year and I e-mailed Harry asking what the cost would be. He never e-mailed me back and I missed the entry deadline. After seeing the lineup and shwag I'm really pissed that I let a little something like cost hold me off.
Oy, you should've known better. After all, he hyped it up as being a better line-up than BNAT-5. Also, I believe the cost was posted on his site at some point (but perhaps after the deadline for entries). I'm a dead broke college kid, and I couldn't have been any happier as left that stand-by line to go fork over my $60.

-JP
Old 12-13-05, 12:52 AM
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Is there anyway to find out what was shown at the other BNAT's. I've heard so much about them like Return of the King being shown before it came out, but i've never seen another lineup from previous years. If anyone happens to know them, a link or list would be most appreciated. thanks.

EDIT:

I explained to my wife about this event and how i wanted to try going to next years show. She looked at me like i just farted in church. So i guess she won't be going with me.

Last edited by Kocheese99; 12-13-05 at 12:54 AM.
Old 12-13-05, 01:44 AM
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I've been super lucky to have gone every year...here's a rundown for you.

BNAT 1: 1999
  • Plan 9 From Outer Space
  • Magnolia
  • Song of the South
  • Fritz the Cat
  • Fade to Black
  • Phantom of the Paradise (Guerllmo Del Toro introduces)
  • Calling All Girls
  • Giant Gila Monster
  • Pitch Black (with Vin Diesel and David Twohy)
  • Daughters of Dracula
  • Tron
  • Six String Samurai

BNAT 2: 2000
  • Destination Mars
  • The Hobbit
  • The Gift
  • The Sea Wolf
  • Wonderbar
  • Snatch
  • Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (Uncut)
  • Robocop
  • Shogun Assassin
  • Monkey Mountain
  • Ed Gein

BNAT 3: 2001
  • Fiend Without a Face
  • The Majestic (video intro from Frank Darabont)
  • Rock All Night
  • King Kong (1933)
  • Vanilla Sky
  • Cabin in the Sky
  • Blood Feast 2
  • Stunt Rock Trailer Debuts
  • Terror of Tiny Town (all midget western)
  • Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

BNAT 4: 2002
  • The Mask of Fu Manchu
  • Chicago
  • Machine Gun Kelly
  • Odds Against Tomorrow
  • Crippled Avengers
  • Butcher Baker, Nightmare Maker
  • May
  • House of 1000 Corpses
  • Tiptoes
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark remake - partial
  • Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

BNAT 5: 2003
  • Haunted Gold
  • Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillapa Boyens)
  • The General (with live band)
  • Oldboy
  • Nid de guÍpes (The Wasps Nest)
  • Blind (short film)
  • Ginger Snaps 2
  • Haute Tension
  • Teenage Mother
  • Undead
  • The Passion of the Christ (with Mel Gibson)

BNAT 6: 2004
  • Willy McBean and the Magic Machine
  • Lemony Snickett and a Series of Unfortunate Events (with Liam Aiken and Emily Browning)
  • The Black Swan
  • Blonde Venus
  • Miss Sadie Thompson
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Mutations
  • Toys Are Not For Children
  • Layer Cake
  • Ong Bak
  • Kung Fu Hustle

BNAT 7: 2005
  • The Most Dangerous Game
  • King Kong
  • Footlight Parade
  • Masters of Horror: Sick Girl (with Lucky Mckee and Angela Bettis)
  • Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
  • The Professionals
  • District 13
  • Masters of Horror: Cigarette Burns
  • The Descent
  • Stunt Rock
  • Drum
  • V for Vendetta

Other things show in between the movies at times. We have seen trailer premieres, producers showing pictures of movies in production, and actors coming to speak, but I was too lazy to write them all down.

Last edited by Miyazaki; 12-13-05 at 01:47 AM.
Old 12-13-05, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Kocheese99
Is there anyway to find out what was shown at the other BNAT's. I've heard so much about them like Return of the King being shown before it came out, but i've never seen another lineup from previous years. If anyone happens to know them, a link or list would be most appreciated. thanks.

EDIT:

I explained to my wife about this event and how i wanted to try going to next years show. She looked at me like i just farted in church. So i guess she won't be going with me.
Ha! I spent three hours (no, really) of internet research in an attempt to put together those lists. I could've had it done a bit quicker, but I spent a bit of time trying to uncover various mystery films. The majority of the time, though, was spent reading the reviews of every film to have been screened at a BNAT (multiple reviews for some), adding a lot of them to my wishlist, and hopping from one IMDB page to another.

Funny how one task can evolve into a massive online search, and yeild numerous new "to-see" movies. Anyway, edited to remove my (still incomplete, so thanks for clearing up a mystery or two for me) lists.

Oh, and I also wanted to expand on the numerous little goodies mixed in between the films. In my two years, I've seen: trailers (both vintage and premieres), clips from as yet incomplete movies, in-person (or video) greetings and Q&As from the stars, behind the scenes diaries, slide show presentations regarding upcoming features, short films, cartoons, and quite a bit more. I think these things are almost as important as the films themselves in making the event what it is (especially at BNAT 6).

-JP

Last edited by NatrlBornThrllr; 12-13-05 at 05:11 AM.
Old 12-13-05, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by NatrlBornThrllr
Oy, you should've known better. After all, he hyped it up as being a better line-up than BNAT-5. Also, I believe the cost was posted on his site at some point (but perhaps after the deadline for entries). I'm a dead broke college kid, and I couldn't have been any happier as left that stand-by line to go fork over my $60.

-JP
Yeah, it wasn't posted by the time the deadline had passed. If it had been in the $100 range (and I had no idea) I would have had to pass. Of course our financial situation has changed reasonably in the past month so $60 would have been nothing. I feel like an idiot.

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