Monday, February 23, 2009

This Week In Tickets: 16 February 2009 to 22 February 2009

Tired from the Oscars. Shocked how disappointed I found myself feeling, considering how evenly matched I felt most of the categories were.

This Week In Tickets!

First 11 hours of SF/34
Final 13 hours of SF/34

Seriously, best adapted screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire? I loved quite a bit about that movie, but decide on one framing device and stick to it!

And Penelope Cruz? I love her, but the award is for Best Acting, not Most acting!

9th Annual Chlotrudis Short Film Festival

N/A (out of four)
Seen 17 February 2009 at the Boston Public Library (special engagement)

A fun event; if you're reading this within a couple of days and would like to see this year's program, it's playing 24 February 2009 at Screening Room #2 at the Massachusetts College of Art. In brief:

"Lucky Numbers" - The first of the festival is probably the weakest, a cute enough idea but it's basically a single joke, with the setup extended well past the length of time that the punchline can justify.

"Parallel Adele" - Nice little documentary piece about "hapas", mixed-race people, generally used by those of asian descent. Not a huge amount of information here, but glimpses at what it's like to be neither one thing nor the other.

"Mind the Gap" - Nice locally-produced story of how there is more than one victim when someone commits suicide on the train tracks. I particularly love the angry way the conductor's daughter describes the person who committed suicide.

"Victoria" - One of the movies I voted as award-worthy, this is a nifty little documentary piece about a piano located in a homeless shelter that shows us how such a thing restores dignity to both those who play it and those who listen to it.

"Gaining Ground" - A nice story of Ukranian illegals living in Germany. Well-told for the most part, although some of the moments ring a bit false.

"Well-Founded Concerns" - My favorite of the program, a delightfully pitch-black comedy about germaphobes who find love and vindication.

"Entropy and Me" - Looking around my living room, I fear I am closer to the subject of this unnerving piece about a student with a frighteningly messy room than I would like to be.

"Space" - The third one I voted for. Quite honestly, this vote maybe should have gone to "Mind the Gap", but this colorful, bouncy take on "The Gift of the Magi" set on earth and an orbiting space station could be made just for me.

It Happened One Night

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 20 February 2009 at the Brattle Theater (Special Engagement)

It actually happens over three nights, but who's counting? Effortlessly charming, one of the few movies that can convince us that two people can fall in love in such a short time, especially when they start off so much at odds. A thorough delight.


* * * (out of four)
Seen 21 February 2009 at Landmark Kendall Square #9 (first-run)

That this film had such a fight to get released in its intended form seems crazy: It's neither a great film nor a poor one; I honestly don't see how any changes the Weinstein Company could have made would have changed it from an also-ran to a hit.

It's a funny movie, funnier still if you get the jokes, but they're not exactly obscure ones; for all that Star Wars fans may argue over minutia, Star Wars is pretty darn universal. Granted, some of the best jokes are kind of inside - they lean on THX 1138 a lot more than one might expect, and the Kevin Smith bit, which was maybe the funniest in the movie, nearly caught me by surprise because I didn't recognize the other guy.


* * * * (out of four)
Seen 21 February 2009 at the Harvard Film Archive (the Uncanny Cinema of William Friedkin)

Definitely a movie you watch, as it contains very little dialogue but plenty of "holy crap, did you just see that?" It's not often that traveling 218 miles at 15 mph can be this tense.

Mr. Friedkin was there, and had a number of amusing stories. I was kind of surprised to hear just how much he liked digital distribution; I kind of expect to hear people of his generation talk about how much they love film, but Friedkin not only loves digital, but he had the archive project The French Connection off Blu-ray rather than 35mm.

Azur & Asmar

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 22 February 2009 at the Museum of Fine Arts (Film for the Family)

There's a bit in the credits of Azur & Asmar that says the film was made in Paris by people of many different cultures who all got along well. It's the obvious moral of the story, but Michel Ocelot tells it with such sincerity that it's hard to feel patronized. It's just a sweet, sweet movie.

It's also beautiful; Ocelot had designed an absolutely beautiful world for his characters to inhabit, with beautiful Arabic designs, palm trees, and colorful, intricate backgrounds. Just a delight to look at.

The Brink's Job

* * * (out of four)
Seen 22 February 2009 at the Harvard Film Archive (the Uncanny Cinema of William Friedkin)

A nifty little movie about a 1950 robbery called the crime of the century. It's a charming and funny little film, kind of not what one might expect from the man who wrote The Wild Bunch and Sorcerer and Friedkin. My only real complaint is that Peter Falk, while turning in an amusing performance, sometimes seems to be in a completely different movie from the rest of the cast; he plays it much broader, almost clownishly, and I don't know that it exactly works.
SF/34Chlotrudis Short Film FestivalIt Happened One NightFanboysSorcererAzur & AsmarThe Brink's Job

1 comment:

Michael C. said...

Hey Jay,

Great wrap-up of the Chlotrudis Short Film Festival. Thanks for including it!