Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This Week In Tickets: 21 December 2009 to 27 December 2009

How can you tell that I've been going to the cinema less than usual of late? I actually had this week's page in my calendar scanned in before I realized that I had this week's tickets taped to last week's page. I guess that much white space just looked unnatural to me, and having no overlap between the days of the week is odd, too.

The blank period was good, though. I finished up the Sherlock Holmes reviews (I think I've seen my fill for a while) and went up to Maine to see my family for Christmas. It is always nice to verify that my niece remains the most adorable little girl in the world, and so smart. Shame everybody had such a nasty cold, though; by the time Christmas was over, my brother Dan sounded like a gangster who'd been smoking two packs a day for twenty years. Or something. It wasn't a healthy sound, that's for sure.

This Week In Tickets!

Stubless: Test Screening for the Boston Sci-fi Film Festival (Tuesday, 22 December 2009, Somerville Theater Video Room, 7:30pm)

The theme for test screenings for the BSFFF this week was "feature smackdown", and unlike previous weeks, I didn't take much in the way of notes. The idea was that we'd watch the first "reel" or so and then comment, maybe a little more if we weren't sure what sort of impression it made on us. We wound up watching the second, Lunopolis, straight through. That kind of faux documentary is tough to get a handle on as just a sample; sci-fi ones, especially, have a tendency to be pretty backloaded. This one was at least interesting enough to keep us engaged and curious for its runtime, so I think it's got a pretty good chance of making it onto the schedule.

Le combat dans l'île (Fire and Ice)

* * * (out of four)
Seen 27 December 2009 at the Brattle Theatre (Special Engagement)

Le combat dans l'île starts off with a heck of a hook, showing us the strained marriage of Anne (Romy Schneider) and Clément Lesser (Jean-Louis Trintignant), which looks like relatively normal discontent until Anne finds the bazooka in the closet. From there, it's not long until an assassination attempt leads to and escape to the country, and whatever thrill was re-injected into their love life wanes as Clément goes on a mission (and on the run) to South America, but there is Paul (Henri Serre)...

Oddly, perhaps, the opening act turned out to be quite dull for me, though that may be a reaction to a travel-filled few days and needing a second wind. Being far from the politics of that time and place probably doesn't help; it's tough to connect with someone like Clément, who is all about a cause, when his ideology isn't particularly clear. He worked much better for me when he reappeared later in the movie; a fugitive staking his claim to his wife doesn't need a specific cause.

The romance between Paul and Anne works much better; it plays out believably, without too much of the sort of introspection that often sabotages this sort of film. There's a joy to it, both of them seeming to be appreciated for the first time in longer than they'd like to admit. I was surprised how quickly the second half of the movie flew by, as this is the sort of thing that I often find a bit of a mire.

It leads up to an action sequence with Paul and Clément dueling, and I don't know how well that works. It seems a bit strange for Anne to be relatively uninvolved in the climax, as she had been the film's center up until then. For all this film's rediscovered classic status, it struck me as a little scattered, though excellent when it hits its stride.
Sherlock Holmes '09Le combat dans l'île

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