Friday, September 04, 2015

Mr. Holmes

A non-zero number of folks are probably looking at this title, looking at the date, and wondering what the heck took me so long. Well, it did come out while I was in Montreal, watching a whole bunch of other movies, which meant that by the time I came home, it was kind of in an odd place - hanging around, but not necessarily at great times or great screens, but still enough that I could see it next week, until finally I was looking down the barrel of having to go to Lexington or West Newton at weird hours, so, okay, to Lexington at manageable hours on the last Thursday where that's an option it is.

Glad I finally caught it. It's amazing to me that this is probably just the third-biggest Sherlock Holmes film/TV thing this year, behind the restoration/release of the 1916 Sherlock Holmes and (perhaps) the Sherlock Christmas special, which will take place in the 19th Century and seems to borrow heavily from the Granada series. Interestingly, I felt like Carter Burwell's score for this was taking a fair amount of information from that show, which should never be surprising; it wasn't just Jeremy Brett more or less defining the role that made it great, but almost everything else.

I must admit, though, that I had the first line of this review in my head for the past couple of weeks, well before actually seeing the movie, and maybe that mindset was a part of why I put it off for a while. It took me a long time to look at the screen and see/hear Sherlock Holmes instead of Ian McKellen. Kind of unfair, I suppose, but I couldn't help it.

Another thing I couldn't help: Pulling out my copy of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes - a monster volume at 150 oversized hardcover pages, large enough to not actually be packed in boxes for the move - and checking to see whether the characters of this "last case" that Watson supposedly chronicled were part of "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" or "His Last Bow". They were not, which is a bummer, since there was clearly having a fair amount of fun in other places.

Anyway, sorry it took so long. This is still kicking around the second-run/suburban boutique house places, and comes out on video in November, and I don't think you have to be a particular Sherlock Holmes fan to enjoy this one.

Mr. Holmes

* * * (out of four)
Seen 3 September 2015 in Lexington Venue #2 (second-run, DCP)

One of the interesting things about Sherlock Holmes is that, for as much as he is one of the most iconic and well-defined characters ever created, he rarely subsumes an actor playing the role - for as fine as their performances are, the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Johnny Lee Miller, Robert Downey Junior, Jeremy Brett, Peter Cushing, Basil Rathbone, and so on back, are all distinctly themselves as well as Holmes. Now, add Ian McKellen to the list of actors who don't disappear into the role, but are nevertheless part of an intriguing Holmes story.

The main action of the story starts in 1947, decades after Holmes has retired to the south of England to raise bees. He has just returned from a trip to Japan where he and correspondent Tamiki Umezaki (Hiroyuki Sanada) have been seeking the root of the "prickly ash", which Holmes believes will help to preserve his health and faculties better than the royal jelly he currently partakes of. He is re-investigating the case that made him quit detective work, when Thomas Kelmot (Patrick Kennedy) hired him to get to the bottom of the odd behavior of his wife Ann (Hattie Morahan). He hasn't spoken to the late Doctor Watson in nearly that time, so his assistance comes from the housekeeper's bright son Roger Munro (Milo Parker), though his mother (Laura Linney) disapproves of how much time the two are spending together.

This particular mystery is not one that appears in "the canon", although it is treated as though it were published in Holmes's world, and even the Baker Street portion is in fact rather atypical of the stories Arthur Conan Doyle wrote. The case involves understanding the human psyche from the start, and some may feel that it sells the character short; for all that Holmes has always been an eccentric who solved crimes with forensics rather than by finding motive, he seldom displayed the sort of poor understanding of human behavior that is at the center of this story. Put that alongside how the screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher (and, presumably, Mitch Cullin's source novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind) seems to go out of its way to mention that certain cherished details of the stories are inaccurate, and there are moments when this starts to feel like the sort of "fan theory" that, in order to fill in a perceived gap, must invalidate some of the actual material.

Full review on EFC.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 4 September 2015 - 10 September 2015

As usual, Labor Day is not a big movie weekend, which means there's really no excuse for Dragon Blade not opening in Boston. Sure, it's probably terrible, but a movie starring Jackie Chan as an ancient Chinese general fighting Roman invader Adrien Brody with the help of a friendly Roman legion led by John Cusack... That's the sort of potential terrible that one really wants to see for oneself.

  • What do we get here instead? The Transporter Refueled, in which some guy named Ed Skrein takes over for Jason Statham (or, technically, takes over for Chris Vance, who starred in that Transporter TV series). Hopefully, the action will be good. It's at Apple Fresh Pond, Jordan's Natick (Reading is still being upgraded), Fenway (including RPX), Boston Common (including Imax), Assembly Row (including Imax), Revere (including Xplus & MX4D), and the SuperLux. There's also A Walk in the Woods, teaming Robert Redford and Nick Nolte as septuagenarians who decide to hike the Appalachian Trail despite not really being wilderness guys (Emma Thompson and Mary Steenburgen also appear). It's at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Revere, and the SuperLux.

    I'm not sure whether three years makes something a Labor Day tradition, but the past two years have seen Mexican crossover films released in the US with some success on this weekend, and this year they serve up Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos, an animated film about a chicken that must go on an adventure to save his farm. Apparently, it's a follow-up to a popular cartoon series. It plays at Boston Common and Revere. Revere also opens The Moving Creatures, a Brazilian film about three families/mothers in crisis.

    Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere also re-open Dope, a movie many felt got unfairly buried earlier in the summer. The End of the Tour also re-opens at the Somerville Theatre, and Jurassic World may only have had a one-week re-release in Imax, but continues (in 2D) at Boston Common and Assembly Row.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre is one of three screens opening Grandma, which features Lily Tomlin in the title role, as a woman who has kind of been a mess for a long time but still tries to help her equally-broke granddaughter (Julia Garner) raise $600 by sundown Nifty supporting cast, including Judy Greer, Marcia Gay Harden, Sam Elliott, and John Cho. It also plays the Kendall and West Newton.

    The Coolidge also tries to stretch summer vacation out with their two main special presentations: The Goonies plays midnight on Friday and Saturday, and they get to be the last independent theater to play Jaws this summer, with it being Monday night's Big Screen Classic; both are 35mm. They also have the monthly "Open Screen" on Tuesday evening.
  • Kendall Square also opens Steve Jobs: The Man in The Machine, the latest from workhorse documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (apparently we get this, but not Going Clear). It is, apparently, pretty warts-and-all, especially since many who liked the guy apparently refused to cooperate.
  • The West Newton Cinema picks up A Borrowed Identity (aka "Dancing Arabs"), and Israeli film about a Palestinian teenager in a prestigious Jerusalem school which looks to have the same basic story as Gattaca, albeit without the science fictional aspects, as he assumes the identity of an Israeli neighbor.
  • Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond has plenty of Indian films opening on a slow weekend, with the biggest being Welcome Back, starring Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar as friends in love with the same woman, a situation that is complicated enough before the "children must marry in birth order" stuff starts. That's Hindi with English subtitles, There is also Telugu romantic comedy Bale Bale Magadivoy, Tamil action/adventure Payum Puli, and Malayyam action/comedy Double Barrell (Eratta Kuzhal), though those three do not appear to be subtitled.
  • Those of us who couldn't make The Apu Trilogy when the new digital restoration played earlier this summer are in luck as The Brattle Theatre brings it back. Pather Panachali shows Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; Aparajito plays Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday; Apur Sansar runs Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday. The weekend shows are single-admission triple features, if you want to catch these classics of world cinema in one go. On Thursday, The Baffler is throwing a party there as one of its contributors retires from his day job, with speakers, music, and a tribute film.
  • The Harvard Film Archive has their own marathon of classics - the annual Labor Day Weekend overnight theme this year is heist movies, and the all-35mm lineup is cracking: Big Deal on Madonna Street, Le Cercle Rouge, Topkapi, Once a Thief, Kansas City Confidential, and The Anderson Tapes. Films start at 7pm Saturday, end sometime Sunday morning, and the whole thing costs a mere $12.

    They also start a new set of programs for the fall season, with A Matter of Life and Death, or, The Filmmaker's Nightmare, a series of films the peek behind the scenes of filmmakers' work, kicking off Friday night with The Day of the Locust, and continuing Sunday evening with A Star Is Born. They also begin a 1970s film series, "Furious and Furiouser", on Monday, with Paul Schrader's Blue Collar
  • The Museum of Fine Arts continues with more screenings of The Great Man (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday) as part of "New French Cinema" and The New Rijksmuseum (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday). Thursday also begins a series of films from the UCLA Festival of Preservation, with 35mm presentations of Douglas Sirk's 1951 film The First Legion and Frank Tuttle's 1932 feature The Big Broadcast, Bing Crosby's first starring role that is built around a group of radio stars.
  • With school back in session, Emerson College's Bright Lights series starts back up next week with a two-part look at one of the summer's best movies: "Mad Max: Fury Road - Rated 'F' for Feminist" on Tuesday night incudes a screening of the film and post-film discussion with Associate Professor Miranda Banks, while Tuesday has a visit from the film's Assistant Camera operator Michelle Pizanis to discuss the film and her career with the Boston Creative Pro User Group. Both are free, although the Bright Screening Room at the Paramount Theater is small and an RSVP may be required for the BOSCPUG event.
  • The last free outdoor screenings on Joe's Calendar for the summer is The Quiet Man, at the Boston Harbor Hotel Friday night.


My plans involve that sweet heist marathon, baseball on Monday, possibly followed by Jaws, and tryinig to fit the Apu Trilogy in as I can. And, let's not kid ourselves, I will probably see The Transporter Refueled at some point, because I am weak.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Fantasia Catch-Up #04: Love & Peace, Shinjuku Swan, and Tag, a Sion Sono triple feature spread out over nine nights

Last year, someone at Fantasia mentioned that they had been showing two Takashi Miike movies a year for the better part of a decade, and that must have served as a jinx of some kind, because there wound up being zero from that particular Japanese workhorse on the schedule for 2015. But, as if to make up for it, they got three from Sion Sono, who is making films so quickly that this is only 75% of what he has released in 2015 so far!

The programmers spread them out a bit - one Saturday, one the next Thursday, one on Sunday - but put all three at the 9:30pm slot, which kind of seems like an odd thing to do for something that is a noteworthy chunk of the festival. Maybe if Sono were to make an appearance, but it appears he's busy making movies.

Still, it was kind of funny that, I think the day Love & Peace showed, there was a fair amount of talk among the folks I hung out with in line that it was a fun festival, but nothing had really wowed them up to that point. Then this thing hit and had the crowd roaring, and I remembered that, oh, yeah, there were three movies from this guy I really like who never delivers something that's not at least interesting on the program for the last week and a half. That changes things, even if the next day someone groans that they had felt like they could go home and get some sleep because there hadn't been a lot worth staying up for.

As soon as I realized I wasn't going to get a next-day thing up for Love & Peace, I decided that they were all going to be reviewed together, and I'm glad that's what I opted for; as much as the program pointed out how diverse the offerings were - gentle fantasy, street-level drama, bug-nuts sci-fi/horror - they fit together fairly well.

For instance, it's interesting that Tag is so flagrantly about women getting the short end of the stick in pop culture, but the female characters in Love & Peace and Shinjuku Swan are rather sidelined, especially with the latter being set in and around an industry that exploits the heck out of women. It's not as if Sono really condones it - though it can seem that way - but it still has them pushed to the side.

The other thing that really pops, though, is how well Sono keeps movies rolling. All three have moments where Sono wouldn't be blamed if he stopped, let the audience get comfortable with the new situation, and then started rolling again, but they all just keep rolling, seeming to deliberately overlap in ways to make that not an option. You're seldom going to see a "four months later" caption in a Sion Sono movie, because even when there is that kind of time-jump, Sono makes it feel like he's charging through. It reminds me of when Love Exposure played the festival, and Mitch announced before it started playing that if you're going to use the restroom, you'd better do it now, because they looked for a spot where you could insert an intermission into the four-hour film and couldn't find one.

It's funny, though - I think it was just a couple of years ago, with Why Don't You Play in Hell? and Tokyo Tribe, that I really started to like Sono in large part due to how he had really mastered action, but I think it's his zippy not-letting-up pacing that I've come to truly love, and that's always been there. It certainly makes me want to revisit a few of his movies I didn't love at the time and catch up with the ones I've missed.

Rabu&Pisu (Love & Peace)

* * * * (out of four)
Seen 26 July 2015 in Theatre Hall Concordia (Fantasia International Film Festival: Camera Lucida, DCP)

The first of three Sion Sono films being shown at this year's festival is a joyous, crazy delight, piling whimsy ever-higher even while Sono reveals a darkness behind it. The great bit, though, is that the pieces that may make an audience uneasy never poison the joy surrounding it, even as Sono finds himself springing imagery on the audience that could horrify if handled differently.

That's doubly impressive, because the film really starts out feeling really loose, as Sono follows loser former musician Ryoichi Suzuki (Hiroki Hasegawa) through a series of embarrassments, including missing out on connecting with the girl at the office who might kind of like him (Kumiko Aso), until he buys a turtle, involves it in some weird fantasies, and then flushes him down the toilet as his co-workers continue to bully him, only for "Pikadon" to have his own adventures in the sewer. What he finds there is almost unbelievable, but amazing, and draws so much attention that it's easy to miss that there's important stuff going on topside.

The films doesn't split entirely in half once Pikadon goes down the drain, but there are two fairly distinct tracks. Topside, Sono makes a great story of ambition and desire for something out of reach corrupting pure instincts, of extreme self-confidence and self-doubt being equally destructive. Losing his turtle brings a raw, powerful anger out of Ryoichi, and that fuels him as a musician in the way that constant grinding disappointment never did, though success has a way of eating away humility. Sono presents the music industry "Wild Ryo" plunges into as a force of nature that is less cruel than something that had enough momentum to be unstoppable before he ever got near it, and Hiroki Hasegawa changes up his game to match it: Where his sad-sack nerd seemed a bit like exaggerated mugging at the start, his unelashed ego is monstrous but entertaining later. Hasegawa's Ryo becomes a broad caricature of the worst that rock stardom can bring out in a person, right down to how Kumiko Aso's Yuko gets pushed back into the corner because, as correspondingly nerdy as she is at the start, she's strong enough in her convictions not to go on that ride.

Full review on EFC.

Shinjuku Swan

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 31 July 2015 in Theatre Hall Concordia (Fantasia International Film Festival, HD)

Like a lot of movies adapted from long-running manga, Shinjuku Swan shows a lot of telltale signs of screenwriters Rikiya Mizushima and Osamu Suzuki trying to cram a lot of storylines and fan-favorite characters into a couple hours. It's a process that has torpedoed a lot of movies, but works out all right here in large part because the script is handed off to Sion Sono, who knows a little something about making dense-but-exciting movies with a fair bit of darkness.

He's got his work cut out for him telling the story of Tatsuhiko Shiratori (Gou Ayano), a frizzy-haired loser who, after getting into a brawl with six goons on the streets of Tokyo's red-light district, is recruited by Mr. Mako (Yusuke Iseya). Not to be gangster, but to be a talent scout, looking for pretty girls who can work in the neighborhood's nightclubs, massage parlors, and even more unsavory spots. Of course, even if they're not quite gangsters, the rivalry between the "Burst" agency that employs Mako and the "Harlem" agency the employs Hideyoshi Minami (Takayuki Yamada) and Yutaka Hayama (Nobuaki Kaneko) is still about to explode into a fight that often involves Tatsuhiko getting the crap kicked out of him.

By focusing on Tatsuhiko, the filmmakers often seem to be seriously downplaying the fact that he and his colleagues are in the business of exploiting women in every way possible, with Tatsuhiko being a cheerful, friendly face for the argument that prostitution and related activities aren't so bad so long as it's handled with care. That's the spoken case made, although I don't think there's any missing that a lot of these girls are not having their interests seen to, with pretty horrible results. So what to make of Tatsuhiko, who gets down about this but is always assured that he does more good than harm? That's kind of what makes the movie interesting, because Ayano does a pretty nice job of making him a guy who really needs to believe that he's doing the right thing and is probably eventually able to do a good job of convincing himself that this is the case. Ayano plays Tatsuhiko as somewhat naive, but his optimism tends to be draw smiles more than sneers, with the moments where he briefly seems to grasp that he's involved in a business that chews people up seeming genuine and appealing even if ephemeral.

Full review on EFC.

Real Oni Gokko (Tag)

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 3 August 2015 in Theatre Hall Concordia (Fantasia International Film Festival, DCP)

Tag is the most recent of three films at the festival by Sion Sono, who is having an absurdly productive year (four films total released in 2015!), and there are points where it seems like this frantic pace is overtaking him, like you can't expect him to crank this much out and still expect all of it to have some sort of plot that makes sense. He almost seems to be asking us to just take the often jaw-dropping scenes, accept that the weird ways they're being strung together have some weight, and accept that such an assembly is more entertaining than most movies. If that were the case, he wouldn't be wrong, but there's a bit more than that.

The movie starts with one of the bloodiest school outings ever, as a strange wind sheers the buses carrying an entire class of a girls' high school in half, decapitating everyone but Mitsuko (Reina Triendl) - who was bending over to pick up a pencil. She sensibly runs away, but the wind seems to chase her, until she finds her school, where best friend Aki (Yuki Sakurai) and the rest of the class mysteriously seems okay. That's not the end of it for Mitsuko, though, as she soon finds not just the world around her changing, but herself, right down to her face and name (Mariko Shinoda plays bride-to-be "Keiko" and Erina Mano distance runner "Izumi") - the only constant is that something is always trying to kill her.

Nothing seems off-limits, and the over-the-top absurdity initially seems to have no pattern other than the complete lack of men on-screen, and just as soon as that seems firmly established for the audience to start to wonder if there's something to it, it's time to change things up again. Though Sono sets the bar for creative mayhem high with that opening sequence (the festival gave it a special award), he's far from done, as all three actresses are going to spend a good chunk of their time on screen running. The stuff they're running from changes up even more often than they do, from a completely disembodied hypothetical threat a demon groom to... Well, there are certain things a horror-ish movie can't lead out. These scenes seem impossible to link up even though Sono has them run right into each other; it's a contradiction that says amazing things about what a filmmaker of Sono's innovation and energy can do.

Full review on EFC.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Fantasia Catch-Up #03: Wonderful World End, He Never Died, Some Kind of Hate, Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen, The Interior, Robbery, Fatal Frame, Minuscule, La La La at Rock Bottom, and Big Match

Wait, have I really gotten ten reviews (plus two more that were actually in theaters last week posted in five days? That's absurd efficiency on my part, even considering that these are second-pass reviews, where I'm basically taking the two to four paragraphs I wrote during the festival and adding three or four more to fill it out. Maybe this won't stretch on forever!

Part of the thing about doing these second-pass ones, though, is that there's not a whole lot to comment on it this "experiential" part of the blog entry - that pretty much got handled at the time. But a few things did occur to me:

First: He Never Died is a better, more interesting movie about this sort of immortality than the much-praised Only Lovers Left Alive. Now, granted, a large part of this is personal preference - you show me one movie where these immortal blood-suckers are annoyed at being shot in the head because they get migraines when their skull heals around the bullet and one where they talk about their favorite music, and I will always choose the first one. Even putting that aside, I think Jason Krawczyk digs into the sense of isolation that long, parasitic life would create than Jim Jarmusch did, and creates interesting situations.

Second: Though I saw them back-to-back, I didn't really catch that both Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen and The Interior were both movies about people who chose to go out on their own terms. It's not a perfect comparison - the guy in The Interior seems to be trying to hide his decline more than affirmatively showing who he is - but it makes for an interesting double feature,in retrospect.

Third: I joked about starting a contest on eFilmCritic about who could put more swipes at Olivier Megaton into seemingly unrelated reviews, and there's one in the review for Robbery. Sometimes, it comes esy.

Fourth: In the time between writing the original capsule review for Minuscule and the full one, I went from "I'm going to give this to one of my nieces" to "I gave it to one of my nieces for her birthday." No word, yet, on whether or not she and her sister liked it, although I've yet to have Dan & Lara tell me to stop giving their daughters French animated films as presents.

Next up: The big Sion Sono triple play!

Wandafuru warudo endo (Wonderful World End)

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 26 July 2015 in the J.A. de Seve Cinema (Fantasia International Film Festival, HD)

As soon as I saw this one, I figured that it may need some mulling over, although more for its downright peculiar ending than the occasional sense that as someone who is not a teenage Japanese girl, this film is mostly - and fairly - indifferent to me. Wonderful World End gets outright weird in its last act, although I'm sure that a fair number of adults will find it difficult to relate to well before that. It's at least interesting for that and gets the bulk of its ideas across, which isn't always the case.

It is, after all, the story of two teenage girls, Shiori (Ai Hashimoto) extremely confident in her appearance and trying to be a model/actress/idol and Ayumi (Jun Aonami) a 13-year-old fan who runs away from home to meet up with the older girl. A weird sort of jealousy develops when Ayumi is taken in by Shiori's boyfriend Kohei (Yu Inaba), but as things progress, the obsessive fandom has interesting effects on the entire trio.

The phenomenon of "idol stars" is hardly unique to Japan - variations of the term have been used around the world from the earliest matinee idols to Pop Idol and its American spinoff - but that sort of obsessive fandom seems to be most codified and accepted there. Stories about would-be stars getting tangled up with individuals from their small fandoms aren't new either, but writer/director Daigo Matsui does a fine job here of taking advantage of how twenty-first century social media heightens those real and imagined bonds by encouraging interactivity where before there was a buffer, or encouraging people to think of each other as "friends" and "followers". He's not the first to do so, but he does much better than usual at examining the concept without stating this as a goal or treating it as shocking or unusual.

Full review on EFC.

He Never Died

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 26 July 2015 in Theatre Hall Concordia (Fantasia International Film Festival, DCP)

Somehow, when I was looking at this movie's description, the idea that it was a deadpan comedy (although the blackest you can imagine) never came through, which made it an extremely pleasant surprise. Or perhaps it's not "a deadpan comedy", but a supernatural noir that happens to be full of the stuff. It's the rare movie that is both what you would and would not expect.

The big draw is Henry Rollins playing Jack, a blood-drinking immortal who doesn't quite fit in with traditional v-word lore, but who has been trying to keep it on the straight and narrow, although that is accomplished in large part by doing nothing. He has one vegetarian meal at the local diner a day, kind of oblivious to how waitress Cara (Kate Greenhouse) looks at him, and gets his blood from a hospital intern (Booboo Stewart). Today, though, a former lover that he vaguely remembers hating has called to say that he has a daughter, Andrea (Jordan Todosey), and she's gone looking for him. He's not sure why this is his problem, but pulling her out of whatever trouble she's in seems like the shortest path back to being left alone.

Though there are a great many other things about this film that are nicely done, Rollins's performance as Jack is easily the best, and writer/director Jason Krawczyk seems to have caught him at just the right time: Muscular but middle-aged, Rollins gives off the impression of being world-weary despite it being impossible for him to actually be worn down, with a voice that is kind of rough but also clear and authoritative. Rollins has a great handle on how Jack has made himself passive in order to keep people safe but has lost any connection with those people in doing so. This could play as somber, but when Jack is forced to deal with the world around him because his relatively recent past catches up with him, his social atrophy and utter lack of reaction to what would be threatening situations for normal humans is terrifically funny, apparently even more so for those used to Rollins as a loud, forceful heavy metal musician. Rollins gets big laughs for not flinching, using the bare minimum number of words, or just ending a conversation when it no longer interests Jack, and when he does get stirred to action, there's danger to it both from how casual he is and how there is rage to him, both at his long life and how this violence is a natural instinct.

Full review on EFC.

Some Kind of Hate

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 26 July 2015 in Theatre Hall Concordia (Fantasia International Film Festival, DCP)

Is it wrong to kind of hope that a pretty great horror movie perhaps stalls out at cult favorite? Some Kind of Hate is a strong, smart, bloody example of what the genre can do when its aims are greater than just churning out product, and it introduces what could be an iconic horror villain as great as the ones spawned in the 1980s. That's the rub, though - I really, really don't want to see Moira Karp reduced to what the likes of Freddy Kruger, Jason Vorhees, and Michael Myers became in pop culture.

She's not the focus of the prologue - that's Lincoln Taggert (Ronen Rubinstein), bullied at home and school, and finally snapping in a way that leaves his tormentor maimed. That's why he's the one who gets shipped to a camp in the middle of the desert where troubled kids can work out their issues. His roommate Isaac (Spencer Breslin) lashed out via hacking, while former cheerleader Kaitlin (Grace Phipps) attempted suicide. Of course, there are a fair number of bullies at the camp not about to let Lincoln get too comfortable, no matter what leader Jack Iverson (Michael Polish) and graduate-cum-staffer Christine (Lexi Atkins) say, most notably Willie (Maestro Harrell). Oh, and there's Moira (Sierra McCormick), killed at the camp a few years back but still haunting the place. She wants to help Lincoln with his problems.

Moira is the best supernatural slasher to come around in years, in part because she is brilliantly conceived visually - pink kitty t-shirt combined with a necklace of razor blades, inflicting damage by cutting herself and making others feel her own pain. You could see that popping up again and again in a number of sequels. Of course, for that to happen, they'd have to recast, because part of what makes Moira so great is that she is very clearly a teenager who doesn't wear a mask or (often) speak with a distorted voice, and Sierra McCormick is going to grow out of this role, so good luck matching that. She is fantastic, tinging Moira's madness with something deserving of empathy. She and filmmaker Adam Egypt Mortimer make Moira a monster whose motivation is all too easy to understand - that is to say, the best kind.

Full review on EFC.

Ryûzô to 7 nin no kobun tachi (Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen)

* * * (out of four)
Seen 27 July 2015 in Theatre Hall Concordia (Fantasia International Film Festival, DCP)

Takeshi Kitano's name is well-enough known in American boutique-house circles for certain things - mournful cop movies, violent yakuza fare, self-referential and deconstructive comedies - that Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen almost throws one for a loop. It's a small, silly comedy that in some ways plays as a mixture of those things by puncturing yakuza film stereotypes and pushing them into the past, but it's also very mainstream, positioned less as artistic satire than a movie about goofy old people.

The goofy old person of the title used to be known as "Ryuzo the Demon" (Tatsuya Fuji), though he's a senior citizen now, reduced to housesitting for his son Ryuhei (Masanobu Katsumura), a salaryman who insists his father wear long-sleeved shirts even in the warmest weather so that he won't embarrass them in front of the neighbors with his gang tattoos. Bored, he and his longtime friend Masa (Masaomi Kondo), a gambler, decide to get into contact with other old compatriots - con artist mokichi (Akira Nakao), gunslinger "Mac" (Toru Shinagawa), Taka "The Razor Slasher" (Ken Yoshizawa), Hide "The 6-Inch Nail" (Kojun Ito), swordsman Ichizio (Ben Hiura), and later Yasu "The Kamikaze" (Akira Onodera), now an activist - to form a new gang. Not that anyone, from the city's other criminal organizations to the businesses they're trying to shake down for protection money.

Kitano is getting up there himself, so while this is not exactly the inward-looking satire of Takeshis' and Glory to the Filmmaker!, there is probably more of this movie than he'd like to admit that comes from his own experience of growing older and no longer being cool and dangerous like you used to be. He and his elderly cast (including himself as a detective who maybe harbors a certain fondness for these old-school retirees) happily dive into the indignities of aging and trying to be both intimidating and honorable as life removes them as options; the jokes about the elderly are not exactly new material, but Kitano still has a few surprises in store, and is good at minding the line between being amused by an elderly person's foibles and outright mocking them - Kitano is mostly making a movie about yakuza who have become old men rather than old men trying to be yakuza, so when the jokes feel natural rather than like broad satire.

Full review on EFC.

The Interior

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 27 July 2015 in the J.A. de Seve Cinema (Fantasia International Film Festival: Camera Lucida, DCP)

The Interior seemingly starts as an one thing and stays that way for roughly the first third, when the title comes up, the scene shifts, and the main character re-appears with a new look and direction, as if to say that now the movie begins after the backstory. It is, really, a clever way to split the film up, even if it's going to be a bit of time before the film gets where it's going.

As it starts, James (Patrick McFadden) is an office drone and hates it. It's funny at first - he responds to the idiotic situations with the kind of sarcasm that is career-limiting in real life, and when he eventually moves to something a little more honest and less soul-destroying, the audience is inclined to root for him a bit even if it's also alarming. Eventually, though, he finds out just how much worse it can be, and that's when opts to leave Toronto behind and go for an extended camping trip in British Columbia, even if he's never been one for nature before.

And so The Interior becomes a middle-of-the-woods horror movie, with the twist being that James is apparently craving isolation in this phase of his life, and it's the possibility of human contact that has him jumpy, and not necessarily because it's dangerous. It's not quite an inversion of the usual set-up, but the difference in motivation and a set-up that doesn't leave much room for the supernatural gets the audience to react a bit differently to scenes which offer jumps or mysteries differently, making things both more engrossing and uneasy. Writer/director Trevor Juras seems more determined than usual to earn a viewer's reaction, so that even the moments where he's pushing buttons aren't just getting programmed responses.

Full review on EFC.

Robbery

* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 28 July 2015 in Theatre Hall Concordia (Fantasia International Film Festival, DCP)

Robbery is one of several movies in the festival that I didn't expect to be nearly as funny as it wound up being, and unlike He Never Died, this is full-out anything goes material, going for the big laugh at every opportunity and mostly getting them, even if this is a very crude, violent Hong Kong comedy and some bits are in questionable taste. Well, actually, no, not questionable - this film is tacky through and through.

The place being robbed is a convenience store where lifelong loser Lau Kin-ping (Derek Tsang Kwok-cheung) has just started working, though neither he nor his co-worker Mabel (J. Arie) is exactly a model employee - though to be fair, their boss (Lam Suet) is more than a bit of a tool. It's the latter's crappy service that leads to a cranky, homeless-seeming old guy (Stanley Fung Sui-fan) holding up the store, leading to a hostage situation that is only exacerbated by the arrival of a corrupt cop and his team, a nervous woman who looks like she just ended a shift at the strip club (Anita Cui Pik-ka), her gangster boyfriend, and more, with the whole situation becoming even more absurd and explosive as the night goes on.

Writer/director Lee Ka-wing is credited as "Fire" Lee, and he does more to earn that kind of appellation than, say, Olivier Megaton. He is not the kind of filmmaker who believes in standing quietly back so that the audience can view the film like a real thing unfolding before their eyes, but one who is going to take detours into fantasy, flashbacks, and fourth-wall breaking. From the opening credits forward, he's making sure that if, for some reason, the actual events of the film aren't grabbing the audience's attention, the style will, from how lighting a cigarette will take a scene from noir to garish neon to hitting rewind.

Full review on EFC.

Gekijô-ban: Zero (Fatal Frame)

* * (out of four)
Seen 28 July 2015 in Theatre Hall Concordia (Fantasia International Film Festival, HD)

The festival program indicates that this film and the game Fatal Frame were based upon the same book, although the credits indicate that the book was based upon the game before being adapted into this film, but those specifics don't really matter. What's important is that screenwriter/director Mari Asato doesn't really make a good film, but does make something that's a little more striking than the usual product getting churned out.

I kind of suspect that a lot of the film's problems could be fixed by ripping about a half hour out to get it down to 75-80 minutes, and you could do it right up front, as there's a merry-go-round where it seems like three girls at a convent school who will never actually be important declare their love for classmate Aya Tsukimori (Ayami Nakajo), kiss her photograph at midnight, and vanish. Aya has been hiding in her dorm room since having a prophetic dream of her own death, though she eventually comes out to help Michi Kazato (Aoi Morikawa) investigate the curse that only affects girls. This school seems to have a lot of secrets, both spooky and conventional.

Aside from the opening sequence, there are also a pair of psychic investigators that could go later on, they're the sort of characters that appear in films that have been translated from other media, especially games, that have strong followings willing to make noise if something has been left out. If that's the case, it at least works in a way once things have started moving; Asato builds her film as a supernatural mystery, and these extraneous elements serve tolerably as red herrings. It's far from a perfect compromise - indeed, the script often seems to go in completely random, laughable directions.

Full review on EFC.

Minuscule - La vallée des fourmis perdues

* * * * (out of four)
Seen 29 July 2015 in the J.A. de Seve Cinema (Fantasia International Film Festival: AXIS, DCP with Xpand 3D)

One of the most enjoyable parts of this festival (and movie-going in general) over the past few years has been finding kid-friendly movies that brothers and sisters-in-law would deem okay for their girls despite never having heard of the things. Minuscule was, hopefully, a big success on that account - I just gave one niece a copy for her fifth birthday, and I can't see how the whole group of cousins don't love it.

It's apparently a spin-off of a set of shorts by Hélène Giraud (who dedicates the film to her late father Jean aka Moebius) & Thomas Szabo, although it is very easy to go in cold - the hero is actually a newborn at the start of the film, a just-hatched ladybug that gets left behind, unable to fly as fast as his/her siblings(*). Speaking of birth, a pair of humans leave an entire picnic behind as the pregnant wife goes into labor, and among the insects that quickly come to scavenge it are a troop of black ants who find a whole basket full of sugar that they mean to take back to their formicary. The ladybug tags along, but it's a long way over uneven terrain and a stream, with a group of red ants determined to to take the prize for themselves.

(*) It's worth noting that none of the characters in this movie are specifically gendered beyond the egg-laying ant queens, so if you tell kids that their favorite character is a boy or girl, they'd have to do some research on insect behavior to tell you otherwise.

Full review on EFC.

Misono Universe (La La La at Rock Bottom)

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 29 July 2015 in the J.A. de Seve Cinema (Fantasia International Film Festival, DCP)

The latest from the director of Linda Linda Linda is another charmer about someone finding friends and himself (this time) through music, although its appeal won't be limited to the too-small audiences who have seen the former. It's a different sort of movie, after all, more focused upon redemption than coming of age, but still a very appealing comedy.

"Pooch" (Subaru Shibutani) starts off close to a blank slate, bursting into a wedding with retrograde amnesia and grabbing the mike to sing a song before his concussion makes him lose consciousness again. The band's manager and mixer Kasumi Sato (Fumi Nikaido) winds up taking him in, although she'll later learn that this stray isn't necessarily entirely tame - his current state is the result of the folks who picked him up upon his release from jail knocking him out and tossing him out of the car.

Director Nobuhiro Yamashita and writer Tomoe Kanno have fun with the amnesia trope - none of the characters seem to believe that it's a thing that actually happens in real life, and are actually excited to see it. Little things like that make it seem like the filmmakers are well aware that their story is more than a bit unlikely, both in the broad strokes and the details, and they have a very firm handle on that - there's room for some very goofy material, but there's always a sense that this situation weighs heavily on Pooch. The movie is funny throughout, but doesn't trivialize anything.

Full review on EFC.

Bigmaechi (Big Match)

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 29 July 2015 in Theatre Hall Concordia (Fantasia International Film Festival: Action!, DCP)

Big Match is really a mess, the sort of movie which starts from a decent action-movie premise and sort of has the right idea about what to do with it, but could use a lot more commitment. Yes, this is mainly a way to get the hero from one action scene to another without a lot of fuss, but imagine how much more exciting it could be if it was tightened up and really thrilling?

It starts out by introducing Choi Iko (Lee Jung-jae), who started his athletic career as a soccer player but wound up becoming a mixed-martial arts fighter known as "zombie" for after being booted from the league, trained by his big brother Yeong-ho (Lee Sung-min). Iko's next match is postponed when his opponent tests positive for drugs, but he's going to be busy: His promoter is killed with Yeong-ho the prime suspect, although there's enough suggesting Iko's involvement for the police to bring him in. That's where he's given a headset and told to escape by "Ace" (Sin Ha-kyun), who operates a top-secret gambling cartel where the elite can bet on how well folks like Iko can evade capture.

Here's a funny thing about action movies that aren't actually built around their stars' screen-fighting capabilities: The quality of the action can often drop off over the course of the movie as it ramps up in scale. For instance, the early bits of Iko trying to escape from rooms full of cops without actually hurting anyone not only have a sort of Jackie Chan feeling to how nimble and whimsical they are, but they're shot clearly and cleverly and give Lee a chance to display a lot of personality in the middle of a fight. What comes after gets bigger but is seldom as well-shot as those - the bigger action scenes have more moving parts, whether it be waves of goons or special effects, and the bigger set-pieces threaten to swallow Iko. They're still plenty fun - director Choi Ho and his co-writers do escalate well and come up with some creative ideas - but each one is a little less exciting than the last, making them feel a little bit more disappointing than they are.

Full review on EFC.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sinister 2

Sinister had a generic name, especially since there was already something called "Insidious" out there, and I've probably been making comments about how I'm not sure which series I've seen ever since there was just one of each. When I saw that both had an entry scheduled for this summer, I was legitimately confused.

I suspect that even if it were the other way around - if I'd seen the previous Insidious movies but missed Sinister - I might have gone for this anyway, because it always tickles me to see someone whose work I'd seen at genre festivals like Ciarán Foy get a chance to do something bigger. this one doesn't seem to have been much of a hit - it got steamrolled by Straight Outta Compton like everything else and was one of three disappointing premieres last week - but it seems like Foy already has a new job lined up, one which will take him back to doing something distinctly Irish. Who knows, maybe being able to put "from the director of Sinister 2" on that, what with it being a known studio product, will help it get an audience faster that one might expect.

One other kind of funny thing: Universal released this under the Gramercy label, which I can't remember them using for years, complete with a new logo and everything. I haven't seen any indication that they're going to use it as a more indie label or anything going forward, and I kind of wonder if it's something the Blumhouse production company is doing to keep their name the one people remember when they partner with larger studios. Heck, they're releasing a movie with Orion soon, and I don't think that's been a going concern for decades.

I wound up seeing this after Drunken Master at Films at the Gate, but went up the orange line to see it at Assembly Row because it started fifteen minutes earlier, and thus would likely end fifteen minutes earlier, getting me home and in bed early enough not to be totally sleep deprived the next morning when I had stuff to do on the way to my niece's birthday party. I should have timed the distance from Downtown Crossing to Assembly Row so that I can make that decision with data in the future.

Sinister 2

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 29 August 2015 in AMC Assembly Row #9 (first-run, DCP)

I wonder if, when building horror movies like Sinister, the writers ever stop and think that a premise would be easy to reuse, so that if a film is even a modest success, sequels could be made without being tied to the original cast and a steady stream of royalty income will come their way even if whatever they do after moving on tanks and they can't get hired. That may not necessarily be what led to Sinister 2, but it might have been - same basic idea, new family to prey upon. It's not quite so exciting as a result, but there are things to recommend it.

The new family is named Collins, with mother Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) and sons Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) and Zachary (Dartanian Sloan) trying to keep a low profile as her abusive ex-husband Clint (Lea Coco) is doing all he can to reclaim custody of the boys. That's why she's staying in a vacant farmhouse which nobody wants any part of due to the ritualistic murder that happened in the church that's also on the property. The latest private detective to show up (James Ransone) wasn't hired by Clint, though - he was the deputy who helped Ellison Oswalt with his research in the previous film, and he's been driven to investigate that sort of killing ever since that case left him shaken. Courtney and her kids being in the house throws a monkey wrench into his plans, and he doesn't even know about the ghost children that Dylan has been seeing.

Those ghosts are the ones introducing Dylan to a cache of home movies that end in grisly family annihilations, and there's a sense that returning writers Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill recognize that this is a bit old-hat the second time around, with the home movies getting name-checked asbeing a thing associated with evil entity Bughuul by a scientist (Tate Ellington) who bristles at being called "the new Jonas", referencing the previous movie's expert on the paranormal. It's not close to full-on winking at the camera, but between it and a bit where "Deputy So-and-So" seeks advice from a priest, there's an odd sort of taking the supernatural premise for granted.

Full review on EFC.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Memories of the Sword

I mentioned it in the preview post, but the scheduling for this at Boston Common really ticks me off. You're either coming in very early or staying up very late for this one, and as you can see from the 2am posting time here, I'm staying up very late.

Not a bad movie at all, though Well Go sliding it into the slot where the Weinstein Company and Netflix were previously going to release Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 really does highlight how similar this seems to the first Crouching Tiger on a superficial level. It's an odd coincidence, but the story thankfully goes to its own place.

Impressive cast on it, too. I was kind of amused by how the previews I saw in theaters highlighted Lee Byung-hun's English-language work, especially with Terminator Genisys given prominent space. Man, was he wasted in that. On the other hand, Kim Go-eun had Coin Locker Girl specified, and it doesn't look like that's available in the US yet, nor is anything else she's done. Crying shame, that, because she's kind of great here, and her other movies at the very least look interesting. I also remember quite liking Jeon Do-yeon in The Housemaid.

Based on previews, it looks like a relatively quiet few weeks for Asian films coming up, so yo might as well catch this. It's not perfect, but it's not bad either, and the quick import (it started playing Korea just a couple of weeks ago) is appreciated.

Hyubnyeo: Kalui Kieok (Memories of the Sword)

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 28 August 2015 in AMC Boston Common #4 (first-run, DCP)

A sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was supposed to open on Imax screens this weekend, but that seems to have fallen into some bizarre limbo. As South Korea's Memories of the Sword begins, one might naturally think that this Korean film fills the gap rather precisely. Despite the strong surface resemblance, it's not the modern classic that Crouching Tiger is, but it knits its melodramatic pieces into something quite enjoyable by the end.

It starts off by introducing the audience to Hong-yi (Kim Go-eun), an exuberant peasant girl with gravity-defying swordfighting skills, who upon leaping over the garden's highest sunflower races into town to challenge Yool (Lee Jun-ho), the local champion in the combat games presided over by General Yu-baek (Lee Byung-hun), capturing a bit more attention than she probably should. That's why when she returns home, her blind foster mother Wol-su (Jeon Do-yeon) gives her a dressing down - she has not raised and trained Hong-yi since infancy just for fun, but so that she can, upon turning twenty, kill two people, traitors from the day when "The Three Great Swords" - her father Pung-chun and lovers Sul-rang and Duk-gi, fought their last battle.

There are lies in that description. There have to be, as the screenplay by director Park Heung-sik and co-writer Choi Ah-reum is built on deception, secret identities, and other things that would genuinely qualify as spoilers if the early scenes of this movie were described honestly. Piling deception and revelation on top of one another like that has brought many, many films to the brink of collapse, but Memories of the Sword seems to tacitly acknowledge that this setup is the work of people not in their right minds, so warped by greed, guilt, and rage that their true selves are hidden not just as a practical thing but as an almost natural response to their corruption. By the end, it makes an odd kind of sense, and the operatic sweep of the story has a very appealing grandeur.

Full review on EFC.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 28 August 2015 - 3 September 2015

End of summer, another quiet week, with Fenway still at half-strength, Jordan's Reading closed, not much of interest opening... And the thing I want to see is still playing at crappy times.

  • Well, one of the things I want to see, because the Asian Community Development Center's Films at the Gate returns to the Rose Kennedy Greenway with a greatest hits sort of lineup - Shaolin Soccer on Friday, Drunken Master on Saturday, and Iron Monkey (starring local hero Donnie Yen) on Sunday. Movies are at 8pm, with lion dancing, martial arts demonstrations, and other cultural presentations at seven.
  • There's a fair amount of turnover at Kendall Square this week, with Isabel Coixet's Learning to Drive the most prominent - it stars Patricia Clarkson as a suddenly-single writer who takes driving lessons from an Indian emigre (Ben Kingsley) as a way to assert her freedom; it also plays Boston Common. The other fiction film opening there is the latest from Joe Swanberg, Digging for Fire, with Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt as a couple who discover a human bone and a gun at the house where they are staying.

    Both documentaries opening will have guests in attendance: Director Aviva Kempner will visit on Friday (and Saturday morning) to introduce Rosenwald, which looks at the legacy of one of the founders of Sears-Roebuck, who did an immense deal to help create schools for African-Americans in the South in the early parts of the twentieth century. Saturday, filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi & Renan Ozturk will be there to discus Meru, they're on-the-spot look at attempts to scale one of the world's most hazardous cliff faces.
  • The West Newton Cinema also opens Meru, along with Z for Zachariah, a last-woman-on-earth scenario with Margot Robbie as a survivor who discovers two other men (Chiwetel Ejiofor & Chris Pine).
  • Otherwise, it's quiet enough that We Are Your Friends is one of the bigger openings, playing at Apple Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Revere, and the SuperLux. It stars Zac Efron as an up-and-coming DJ in Hollywood, getting tangled with an older mentor (Wes Bentley) and his younger girlfriend (Emily Ratajkowski). No Escape arrived on Wednesday in most places, and has Owen Wilson and Lake Bell as new arrivals to an Asian country where a coup is about to occur. Good thing we're getting the white-guy perspective on that story! It's at the Somerville, Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, Revere, and the Superlux. Boston Common and Revere also open War Room which seems to suggest that precisely planned prayer is better than actually doing something.

    Boston Common aso splits a screen between a couple more smaller films. Going to America (aka "Last Supper") gets the better time slots for its story of two escaped mental patients (Eddie Griffin & Josh Meyers) trying to make a movie. Early and late, there are screenings of Memories of the Sword featuring Lee Byun-hun as as a medieve swordfighter who can hold one heck of a grudge. They also keep Go Away Mr. Tumor around for one nightly show. They and Assembly Row also bring Jurassic World back to their Imax screens.
  • Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond also has an indie film at crappy times, theirs being Zipper, with Patrick Wilson as a guy who can't keep his closed and thus risks losing his family. They also open a big, subtitled Bollywood political thriller, Phantom featuring Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif, along with unsubtitled Tamil action movie Thani Oruvan and Kannada thriller Uppi 2
  • No new releases at The Coolidge Corner Theatre this week, but a fair number of special presentations. Start with the Friday & Saturday midnights, which includes a 35mm print of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior downstairs and the "Twillerama" animation festival upstairs. Then on Monday, "Big Screen Classics" continues with a 35mm print of The Last Picture Show. On Thursday, they present Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night as part of "Stage & Screen" with the Huntington Theater Company, which is mounting A Little Night Music.
  • The Brattle Theatre plays host to the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival for much of Friday and Saturday. That doesn't last quite all day, though, so there will be a double feature of Alien & Aliens on Saturday evening and all day Sunday, with the latter playing the late show Friday.

    After that, the "vertical" summer rep programs wrap up, with 35mm prints of The Philadelphia Story & Holiday wrapping up Screwball Summer in fine style, while Wednesday's Recent Rave is A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence and Thursday's Nuri Bilge Ceylan presentation is Winter Sleep.
  • The Harvard Film Archive finishes their summer rep series, too: The last two Titanus Studios films are Family Diary (Friday 7pm) and Who Is Without Sin (Saturday 9:15pm); the Robert Altman pictures are Dr. T and the Women (Friday 9:15pm, with 1966 short "Girl Talk"), Nightmare in Chicago (Sunday 5pm on 16mm), and Come back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (Monday 7pm); and Samuel Fuller is represented by Shock Corridor (Saturday 7pm) and Tigero: A Film That Was Never Made (Sunday 7pm), in which Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismaki has Fuller revisit a project that fell through despite a great deal of early development. All are 35mm unless otherwise indicated.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts has the back half of their run of We Come as Friends, Hubert Sauper's documentary on present-day Sudan, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Alongside, the September schedule starts with The Great Man (Wednesday & Thursday) kicking off a series of New French Cinema, while The New Rijksmuseum plays the same days and examines the long renovation of one of the Netherlands' most prominent museums.
  • Free outdoor screenings on Joe's Calendar are winding down, with multiple screenings of Maleficent, the Boston Harbor Hotel showing The Apartment on Friday, and Bloc 11 running Space Jam on Monday.


Got a little girl's birthday to hit on Sunday, but around that, I'm going to try for Memories of the Sword, Z for Zachariah, and Sinister 2, along with hitting up Drunken Master for Films at the Gate. Then I've really got to get to Mr. Holmes and Straight Outta Compton at the very least.