Saturday, August 05, 2006

One chance: Talladega Nights, Nobody Lives Forever, Russian Dolls

A few one-night stands this week. Well, just one, really - Talladega Nights was a preview, and Russian Dolls was on its last night. But since I wouldn't be able to see Talladega free the next night or Russian Dolls at all, so I'll count that.

I also saw A Scanner Darkly on its last night at the Coolidge, but that thing knocked me out. I don't know if it's just an example of how incredibly hit-and-miss Linklater can be for me, or something about that movie that night. I'd found the style torturous during Waking Life, too, and while it had not bee a particularly hard or long day at work, Russian Dolls had sort of softened me up. Man, that movie needled me.

I am liking the Coolidge's new arrangement, with handicapped folks able to get upstairs and a larger concession stand and ticket bureau. I do kind of wonder how it works on nights when it's a busy show in the main theater - it seems like you'll have people trying to buy tickets and going in and out crowding past each other. There's a little more room in the lobby, but I I don't know if it's come at the expense of seats in the main theater.

More Fantasia is up: God's Left Hand, Devil's Right Hand; Meatball Machine; 3 Mighty Men; All-Out Nine

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 31 July 2006 at AMC Fenway #7 (Preview)

I'm still not sure about Will Ferrell. Matt suggests that Ferrell isn't really funny, but is good at surrounding himself with funny people. I don't think that's quite it. I think he's just not terribly good at playing a character who is simply stupid, and when the joke is that Ricky is a moron, the movie feels generic. When he does something weird, crazy, or surreal, the movie is about twice as good.

Nobody Lives Forever

* * * (out of four)
Seen 1 July 2006 at the Brattle Theater (Rare Film Noir)

I honestly thought this was going to hit Dirty Rotten Scoundrels territory at one point. It kind of lives in the area between film noir and a caper film. It's a nifty combination, with the romantic fun of a con job along with a dark reminder that the characters aren't getting any younger. It's got a nice cast, with John Garfield, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Waltern Brennan, and Faye Emerson. Hopefully, Warner Brothers pulls it out of the vaults for their next film noir box set.

Russian Dolls

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 3 July 2006 at the Coolidge Corner Theater #2 (First-run)

Honestly, I'm not sure why I was interested in seeing this - I remember not being particularly fond of L'Auberge Espagnole, so why did I feel some sort of need to catch the follow-up. Maybe it's just the more indie than you thing: Sure, you may have seen that when it was being pushed as a big thing in the boutique houses, but have you seen the sequel? No? Well, then you're just a poser.

It's not a bad movie, but it could have about forty-five minutes cut out of it. Like, everything with Audrey Tautou, who had a miniscule role in the first one, but sucks up a whole bunch of the movie's first act only to disappear once the main story starts. Then comes another episode with Xavier's lesbian friend Isabelle pretending to be his fiancée. And then, just as in the first movie, things kick into gear when Kevin Bishop shows up as the boorish William, only here he's very likable as he romances a Russian ballet dancer, which kicks an actual story into gear. And from there forward, it's a pretty enjoyable movie. But, lord, you've got to wade through an awful lot of unnecessary stuff to get there.

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