Monday, June 08, 2009

This Week In Tickets: 1 June 2009 to 7 June 2009

I laid out a much more ambitious schedule this week, but now that I look at it, I still think I could/should have done more: Either The Girlfriend Experience or Outrage at the Kendall, or What Goes Up at the Somerville (the rare Somerville-only opening, which is easy to miss). I saw Outrage tonight, since this week's Chlotrudis Tuesday Night at the Movies is an either/or situation, and afterward I'll be able to talk with both the Outrage and Easy Virtue people. I suppose I could have seen Easy Virtue over the weekend, too, but that would have meant sitting in the Coolidge Screening Room tomorrow night, and why do that when it could possibly be avoided?

This Week In Tickets!

I almost missed Katyn, which would have been a shame. Thursday was just one of those nights when I wanted to see the movie but didn't particularly want to go out. I'm glad I did see it, although if I were smart, I would have done the laundry before going out.

Baseball wiped out doing more on the weekend - the Lester game on Saturday night was too good to be torn away from, especially once the grill had been fired up, and Sunday... Well, look at that ticket. Go to the Fenway Park diagram and figure out where it is. There's no shade there, and I was pretty well cooked by the time the game was over. It is, apparently, not good to spend that time in one unshaded place without sunscreen or a hat during the summer.

This week is also pretty booked, although the studio summer movie offerings look even weaker than this past weekend (especially since I'm not going to see The Taking of Pellham 1-2-3 v3.0 until I've been sent the free ticket mentioned on the cover of my Air Force One blu-ray). Hopefully some of the stuff I've missed this weekend will stick around.

The Hangover

* * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 6 June 2009 at AMC Boston Common #2 (first-run)

I genuinely loved the way The Hangover started, with some choice shots that do a great job of communicating tension, despair, and resignation. Then the movie jumps back in time, spending a little too long getting us to the nifty premise that brought us in - three guys try to find a missing friend after a bachelor party in Vegas leaves them all hung over, not remember anything. If it's going to take this long to get to the good stuff, we should at least be getting more perfectly deadpan Jeffery Tambor.

Then we do get to the good stuff, and it's not really that good. None of the episodic bits are really gut-bustingly funny, and the randomness doesn't quite work. The characters aren't really interesting enough to make the particular humiliations they receive funny - one's kind of smarmy, one's insecure, one's weird and kind of creepy, and that's all they've got - and as rife with potential as the situation is, it doesn't quite build right. Each gag should be bigger and crazier than the last, but it doesn't really work that way, and the resolution/answer at the end isn't the summary of what came before. The filmmakers have presented this as a mystery, and maybe it wouldn't be the worst idea to have it play out like one.

But, really, the worst offense is that it's just not funny enough. None of its bits are nearly as funny as they could be, and although I didn't have the feeling I have with a lot of R-rated/gross-out comedies - the one where I want to find out why on Earth the idiots around me are laughing, because there's no actual joke there - I was also acutely aware that I should have been laughing more. Of course, it doesn't help that a sparsely populated 11am show is probably not the best place to see a movie like this, although a really great comedy could have overcome that.

Also, it's probably about time that I accepted that Heather Graham is just really not all that good, despite being pretty and curvy and willing to do anything for a laugh. She's like Matt Frewer in that regard - sure, they seemed fantastic in the first roles I saw them in - Swingers and Boogie Nights for her; Max Headroom and Doctor Doctor for him - but those were apparently lightning strikes, actors being cast in the perfect roles for them, and they just weren't going to be that good in the vast majority of other parts.
Pirates of PenzanceA Song of SparrowsKatynThe HangoverSox and Sunburn


Skippy Harris said...

Hello Mr. Jay. I have not seen The Hangover yet, but I will.

When I review the movie you will see why I have been called one of the best movie reviewers of my generation and even in my hometown. Thank you for your interest.

pool cue guy said...

I thought the Hangover was a great film! I laughed so hard through the entire movie I was sore. I think it portrayed very well the next morning after a hard (in this case insane) drinking night.