Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This Week In Tickets: 1 February 2010 to 7 February 2010

Quiet week, for the most part. I checked one item off my "things I'd like to see before the Oscars" list, and probably could have gone for two except that I wound up with too much time on Sunday between that too-early screening of Frozen and when The Last Station would start at the Coolidge. It was also just too long to catch Fish Tank at Kendall, though, so I'll have to try and grab its last screening after the Sci-Fi Festival screening on Thursday, because that looks really good.

This Week In Tickets!

Stubless: The 2010 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival screenings - Sleep Dealer, Mutant Swinger from Mars, and Caller ID

I talk about SF/35 on the page with those reviews and will over the next week or so as the shorts programs, second block of features, and marathon play out. Hopefully it can grow into something big, taking over a couple of large screens at the Somerville Theater Fantasia-style. The first few days have been well-attended in the video screening room, so it's not out of the question that good word of mouth can get out, leading to higher-profile bookings, and so on until SF/35 kicks off the genre festival year in North America. It's already got a signature event in the Marathon, and cold be well-positioned to land sf-y things from Sundance and play nice with Arisia and Boskone.

Here's hoping.

44-Inch Chest

* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 6 February 2010 at Landmark Kendall Square #9 (first-run)

If nothing else, 44-Inch Chest makes a great first impression, as the camera shows a house that looks like a tornado ran throuh it. Was this a fight? A tantrum? Both? The last shot is of Ray Winstone's Colin Diamond, lying on the floor, too heartbroken to get up. Harry Nilsson is on the soundtrack, and it's a great way to open things up.

The story soon becomes clear - Colin's wife Liz (Joanne Whalley) has left him for another man, and while Colin may be a fat and prosperous auto dealer now, he and his friends have a dark side to them. I don't think we ever hear directly that they were gangsters in their youth, but Archie (Tom Wilkinson), Meredith (Ian McShane), Mal (Stephen Dillane), and Old Man Peanut (John Hurt) don't just try and cheer Colin up - they kidnap Liz's lover and lock him in a wardrobe, so that he'll be ready when Colin pulls himself together long enough to beat the man to death.

As much as that opening scene was pure film, most of 44-Inch Chest feels like a play. Maybe something by Mamet, with lots of testosterone in a small room, dropping more f-words and c-words than can be counted. (Notes: Not based on a play, not from Mamet, 162). It's a blast watching all those English pros at work.

It kind of fizzles toward the end, as it starts to spend time inside Colin's head, but it's certainly fun to watch up til then.

Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte (The White Ribbon)

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 6 February 2010 at Landmark Kendall Square #3 (first-run)

Michael Haneke's new movie is quite good, filled with dread and dark secrets captured in stark black-and-white cinematography. There are times when it seems to be a little too on-the-nose about how, in the months leading up to World War I, it wasn't just the people in government who were heading down a dangerous course, but there was an environment of malaise, anger, and violence even in small, bucolic villages.

Intriguing, beautiful, and more than a little horrifying.
Mystery Team44-Inch ChestThe White RibbonFrozen

No comments: