Friday, February 19, 2010

This Week In Tickets: 8 February 2010 to 14 February 2010

Late. What can I say, the sci-fi marathon ate Sunday and Monday, then my company laptop started acting bizarre, in a way that made me glad I'm not prone to seizures or prone to believing in things like machines being demonically possessed. Between the flickering and shutting down and restarting on its own, that freaked me out.

I may have to finally buy myself a new machine of my own. My desktop is ten years old, at least (it runs Windows 95), and I never use it any more. But I'm starting to think that getting one with a Blu-ray drive and HDMI port would allow me to kill a few birds with one stone: My Blu-ray player kind of stinks, I don't have a region-free DVD player, and my SlingCatcher is unreliable.

Plus, I love the springiness of the keyboard of the loaner I'm using. I got so used to mushy.

This Week In Tickets!

Stubless (individually): The 2010 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival screenings - Little Space Oddities shorts, Extra-Terrestrial Extravaganza shorts, Planetary Paranoia shorts, Famous Monster and other shorts, Lunopolis, and Ink (all in the Somerville Theater video room)

Run-down of the marathon will come after this and be included in next week's This Week, because this thing is running late enough as it is and, hey, I think I technically watched more of it on Monday than I did Sunday.

Fish Tank

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 11 February 2010 at Landmark Kendall Square #4 (first-run)

Mia (Katie Jervis) is one angry young lady. She's got a mother (Kierston Wareing) who doesn't seem interested in acting her age, an obnoxious sister (Rebecca Griffiths), and is on the outs with her best friend. The closest thing she's got to an outlet is practicing hip-hop dance in an empty flat, at least until her mother's new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender), shows up.

Yes, this is absolutely a movie about how a girl who has never known much besides aggravation is likely to read a lot into someone being nice or encouraging to her. It's a good one, though, because Katie Jervis is fantastic. She's got to be, because she's in just about every scene, playing a character who could easily get on the audience's nerves because anger is potentially pretty monotonous. She and Andrea Arnold come up with ways to make her more, hints that she doesn't want to be angry, even if she sometimes can't help giving in to her worst impulses.

And I suspect she'll find some way past it; even if she does do something terrible at one point, there's also the dance audition scene to counter it. I didn't realize while watching it, but it's instructive in that a lot of girls like Mia would probably do something different; their anger and frustration metastasizing into self-loathing. For all her faults, we see her as a little stronger than that, even if we don't immediately recognize what that scene means.

The Wolfman

* * (out of four)
Seen 13 February 2010 at AMC Boston Common #10 (first-run)

My internet (and occasional film festival) friend Scott reacted to The Wolfman with a piece on why werewolves are inherently lame. I'm not exactly in his corner on this one; I think that there's good stories to be told about submerged and released fury and lust in werewolf stories, and a potentially great gang metaphor, though it's not always done particularly well.

Take this movie as an example. Director Joe Johnston does just about everything he can to make a movie that is both a slick product of the twenty-first century and a loving throwback to the Universal Monsters classics, but he's hobbled by his main character. Somewhere, between the script (by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self) and Benicio Del Toro's sleepwalking performance, we miss any hint that there's anger or passion in Lawrence Talbot, ready to burst out. When the curse does fall on him, it's just random outbursts of bloody violence. At least Anthony Hopkins gets a chance to convince us that the beast is a part of his character. He's chewing scenery, but at least he doesn't stop the movie dead like Del Toro does.

And it's not his fault that the movie ends on a terrible anti-climax. The big brawl between the Talbots is over before it starts, and what goes on after that with Lawrence, the Scotland Yard man set to figure out what's going on (Hugo Weaving), and the love interest (Emily Blunt)... Well, it's not just that it doesn't mean anything compared to the previous scene, but it doesn't make any sense. One minute we're hearing about how there may be a way out (which seems to be what's driving Blunt's character), the next there's none, and it's silver bullet time.

(And, let's be honest - are silver bullets that much more exciting than regular bullets in a movie? It's not like you can tell the difference!)

Disappointing; with all this movie had going into it, something much better should have come out.
Monday: Little Space OdditiesTuesday: Extra-Terrestrial ExtravaganzaWednesday: Planetary ParanoiaThursday: Famous Monster and ConlangFriday: LunopolisFish TankThe Wolfman

No comments: