Monday, April 20, 2009

This Week In Tickets: 13 April 2009 to 19 April 2009

The week nearly had a "name of the city in the title" thing going on, but the film in the BIFF session did not actually include "Boston" or "Southie" in the name.

This Week In Tickets!

More SXSW reviews:

* The Promised Land: A Swamp Pop Journey
* Make-Out with Violence
* Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love
* The Eyes of Me

With luck, I should have the last of them finished up just in time for the whole process to start up again with The Independent Film Festival of Boston on Wednesday. It's looking like a pretty good line-up (including the above-linked Make-Out With Violence, which I liked rather a lot). My ridiculously overbooked schedule can be seen there, but I'm not sure how to share it properly. Everybody's using B-Side for these things nowadays, so I'm going to have to wrap my brain around it eventually.

Between IFFB and a cluster of Red Sox games, I'm going to wind up not seeing more than the opening night selection at the Boston International Film Festival, which is more than I've done in the past. BIFF seems to fly completely under the radar; the only sort of advertising I've ever seen for them is one poster at the Boston Common theater each year. This year, they pushed it up to April so that it overlaps with IFFB, which just strikes me as dumb - they started at about the same time, but IFFB has done a much better job of growing into something very good, while BIFF...

In a Herald article, they said they didn't bother to check for competing festivals when moving to April, which can be taken a bunch of ways, none good. They could be foolhardy - yes, there is something every week, as the organizers said, but some weeks are obviously less competitive than others. Or they could be trying to compete, but I don't think it'll do much good.

Anyway, saw one movie there. Won't see another this year, as IFFB starts in two days.

Faubourg 36 (aka Paris 36)

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 14 April 2009 at Landmark Kendall Square #8 (first-run)

Not really my sort of movie, in general - I tend to get my back up at these sort of movies that basically point one's head at some sort of nostalgic art form and basically say "love musical theater! LOVE IT!!!" Fortunately, this one doesn't get quite so heavy-handed with that. It's got a nice enough cast, especially Gerard Jugnot and Nora Arnezeder, and the musical numbers aren't bad.

It may have played better in France; there's a lot of detail that seems like it would play out better for those familiar with it. At any rate, it's a pleasant enough two hours at the theater.

What Doesn't Kill You

* * * (out of four)
Seen 17 April 2009 at AMC Boston Common #2 (Boston International Film Festival)

Though this movie takes place in Southie, at least parts of it were filmed in Brighton - the armored car robbery shown in the opening is being perpetrated at a building that was a K-Mart up until a year or two ago, part of a shopping plaza owned (I believe) by Harvard University that has been steadily emptying out with no new tenants appearing - all that's left is a supermarket that I stop at once a week or so because it's on the 70A route between my work and home. I think some of the interiors may have been shot there, too, as the closed-up Fashion Warehouse next door had what looked like a house and other sets built inside. It was neat to see what had been shooting there.

The movie itself isn't bad; it's a well-acted bit of true crime. It's tough to go far wrong with Ethan Hawke and Mark Ruffalo in the lead roles as lifelong friends who graduate from petty to organized crime, and there's good supporting work from Amanda Peet, Donnie Wahlberg, and others.

La Frontière de l'aube (aka Frontier of Dawn)

* * * (out of four)
Seen 19 April 2009 at the Brattle Theatre (Sunday Eye-Opener)

Yet another precisely-crafted film that is, at times, a bit of a tough slog to get through. On the whole, I like it more than I don't; the things that seem contrived and fake at least seem to feel that way for a reason. The way Laura Smet always seems to be posing looks like bad acting, but it's also kind of amusing. Maybe not quite enough to offset how dour the rest of the movie is - it is one of those extremely French movies where people sit around, talking about pretentious intellectual foofery, and it really skates the line between self-parody and being an occasionally painful example of what it's parodying.
Paris 36Tokyo!What Doesn't Kill YouFrontier of DawnSaturday's Game

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