Monday, April 13, 2009

This Week In Tickets: 6 April 2009 to 12 April 2009

Not a lot of movies seen this week, as baseball started, and that's been getting a lot of my attention. Not that it's been a particularly great week to be a Red Sox fan - opening day rained out, the game I went to cold and miserable, neither pitchers nor hitters (not named Kevin Youkilis) looking very good.

On a baseball & movies note, Sugar is really good. The post may have been buried under this one, so it's worth noting. In the Boston, it's playing at the two Landmark Theaters and the Regal Fenway (given their location, they may as well fill screens with something baseball-related until the big guns start hitting in May (even if it does have subtitles).

This Week In Tickets!

Not a lot to talk about here, but I can direct you to a few more of my SXSW reviews on EFC:

* Sin Nombre
* Women in Trouble
* The 2 Bobs
* Observe and Report

That last one just in time for its regular release. Out of five reviews on EFC, I'm the only guy who doesn't like it. One thing I do find myself noticing, reading all the positive reviews: None of them make any sort of case that the movie is actually funny. It's daring and dark and edgy and uncompromising, but not much said about why it will make people laugh or entertain them. Humor's a subjective thing, I know, but was everybody just so stunned by what Jody Hill got Warner Brothers to pay him to do that whether or not it was actually funny was beside the point?


* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 12 April 2009 at the Brattle Theater (Sunday Eye-Opener)

I didn't realize, going into the Eye Opener this week, that Sauna was made by the same team that had done Jade Warrior a couple years earlier. I don't know if that would have affected what I thought about Sauna, but I might have had something to add to the conversation afterward. It's an interesting body of work director Antti-Jussi Annila and writer Iiro Kuttner are putting together, as both movies take relatively obscure bits of Finnish culture and history (at least, obscure to us non-Finns!) and build perhaps unexpected genre films around them.

I don't know if it fully works with Sauna, although I certainly would be interested in watching it again with both a previous viewing under my belt and Jade Warrior in the back of my mind. It's a pretty darn engrossing film, if only for the relationship between the two brothers - one a warrior, one a scholar - as well as how they deal with the Russian team that they must work with in order to chart a border after a long war between Russia and Sweden (Finland being a part of Sweden at the time). Things start to get strange once they arrive at a village in the middle of a swamp, populated by the exact number of innocent souls warrior brother Erik (Ville Virtanen) has on his conscience, and academic Knut (Tommi Eronen, who starred in Jade Warrior) becomes obsessed with a sauna there which pre-dates any other settlement.

Annila seems to have cut his movie to the bone (it's 85 minutes including credits), and he maybe could have left a little more flesh on there. It's the sort of movie where the metaphor is fairly clear, but not as specific as it could be, and the mechanics are vague even beyond the point where being inexplicable adds to it being scary.

That said, there is a flat-out awesome make-up effect at the end, the sort of think Clive Barker would look at and nod approval of in terms of being messed up (but unlike his Cenobites, it's a pretty simple, straightforward design).
One ugly gameSugarSauna

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