Monday, March 30, 2009

This Week In Tickets: 16 March 2009 to 29 March 2009

No TWIT last week, as I was doing more-or-less daily updates, and, besides, the purple tickets that SXSW handed out to give you a primo spot in line (you could have up to two daily) didn't quite fit in my appointment book. So, the alternative was posting this:

This Week In Tickets!

... and, let's face it, I take a lousy picture, especially when I've been flying all day. Here's a quick index to my SXSW posts. The date brings you to the blog post for the day, the title (where applicable) to the review of the movie itself on eFilmCritic (they get me my media pass badge, they get exclusives).

Quick aside - I was terribly thrown the first couple of days, since I thought I had a pass, but apparently it was a badge. A pass is like a badge, only much less expensive, and you have to wait until all badge-holders have been admitted before you see if you can get a seat. After all the pass-holders are seated, then they'll sell tickets. But, if you've got an advance ticket, you actually go in first - of course, you need a badge to get an advance ticket, and you can only get two a day, and they only give out an amount equal to 10% of the theater's capacity. What's remarkable is this makes some sense by the end of the first weekend, although you still get the odd badgeholder in the ticket line afterward.

13 March 2009 (Friday): Monsters from the Id, Ong Bak 2
14 March 2009 (Saturday): Sorry, Thanks, Bomber, Objectified, Moon, Black
15 March 2009 (Sunday): Letters to the President, Garbage Dreams, Sin Nombre, Women In Trouble, Drag Me to Hell (Work in Progress)
16 March 2009 (Monday): Blood Trail, MINE, Best Worst Movie, The 2 Bobs, Observe and Report
17 March 2009 (Tuesday): Splinterheads, Four Boxes, The Promised Land, Make-Out with Violence
18 March 2009 (Wednesday): Still Bill, Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love, The Eyes of Me, The Slammin' Salmon
19 March 2009 (Thursday): Humpday, The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, The Way We Get By, ExTerminators
20 March 2009 (Friday): The Least of These, Three Blind Mice, Number One With a Bullet, TRIMPIN: the sound of invention, A Film With Me In It
21 march 2009 (Saturday): RiP: A Remix Manifesto, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, True Adolescents, Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie, Intangible Asset Number 82

... Tuesday, I believe, also was Joe Dante's "Trailers from Hell", but the less said about that the better. I think a really fun presentation could have been made from that, maybe running the trailer, stopping, and having Joe talk for a bit, but instead it was just a selection of trailers from the website, with commentary on, for 90 minutes. I slept. Many others slept or walked out. It drained a lot of the joy out of something potentially fun.

Then I got back home, and did this:

This Week In Tickets!

... A page for Hausu and Deadgirl will be up tomorrow; after that there's just a couple things to say about the others, which have in common that I didn't like them quite so much as I wanted to (and I really wanted to like both)

Monsters vs. Aliens

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 28 March 2009 at Jordan's Furniture Reading (IMAX 3-D)

Don't get me wrong, Monsters vs. Aliens is a lot of fun, and I may decide to revise my opinion upward to that third star if I get a chance to see it again, say at a digital theater where I don't wind up off-center in the front row, which is no way to see an IMAX movie.

This is a movie that is so close to making the leap to, if not greatness, at least very-goodness. It stays within its relatively modest ambitions, has fun characters with well-used celebrity voices, and has a couple really stupendous action sequences. It looks spectacular. Unlike a lot of Dreamworks pictures, it doesn't feel like it's trying to recreate Shrek. I'll recommend it to anyone who likes sci-fi and good comedy. It just never has the moment where it outright floors me.


* ¾ (out of four)
Seen 29 March 2009 at Regal Fenway #4 (first-run)

This, though... This just made me kind of upset. It didn't help that I spent Saturday night watching the last four hours of Battlestar Galactica, which covered a fair chunk of similar themes (many of which rub me the wrong way). It was a little too much.

The thing is, I love Alex Proyas. He's made one masterpiece (Dark City), one fun comedy (Garage Days), one movie that is damn good despite being utterly fused with tragedy (The Crow)... and one movie where he wasn't able to prevent Fox from raping the source material (I, Robot). There are moments in Knowing where you see how awesome Proyas is, and someone at Summit is to be thanked for not putting all the really great visuals in the trailers. There is some high-quality eye candy awaiting at the end of the movie, and he does what he can in other places. It's just, good lord, the script sucked.

SPOILERS FOLLOW; they go right to the end of the movie

Now, I personally have no trouble when a movie is putting out an "angels are assholes" message. I liked Signs, which this movie has a fair amount in common with. But don't do it so stupidly. If these alien/angel types are going to be whispering in some poor autistic girl's ear about future events, why give her a bunch of information about disasters rather than, say, schematics for an FTL drive so that we can evacuate, or schematics for a planetary radiation field? Something useful? Because I don't think rescuing a couple dozen kids (and one bunny each) is doing humanity a lot of good.

And even when you put aside the utter stupidity of this stuff, a lot of what leads up to it is in real "who would do that?" territory. Everything is either implausible or random or too custom-fitted to make sure the audience feels exactly this.

No More Spoilers

... and now it looks like Proyas has been outbid for the rights to Asimov's Foundation novels by Roland Emmerich. I'm not absolving him of blame for this debacle, but it really seems like he can't catch a break.
HausuDeadgirlMonsters Vs AliensKnowing

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