Friday, April 16, 2010

This Week In Tickets: 5 April 2010 to 11 April 2010

Not a bad weekend coming up, truth be told. I don't know how much moviegoing I'll get in, as there are a few actual flesh-and-blood folks coming in to town to hang out - a friend I don't get to see often enough (hopefully), my brother's family for a ballgame, and probably my other brother (who lives here anyway) so that he can swipe a ticket for another ballgame that I won't be able to use because...

* Independent Film Festival Boston 2010 starts on Wednesday! The Other Man is the opening night show, and co-star Kevin Kline will be on hand to accept an award and hopefully engage in a highly entertaining Q&A. That's the only thing going Wednesday (21 April 2010), but starting Thursday, all five screens at the Somerville Theater will be in on the action through Monday. The Brattle adds one more screen Friday to Sunday, before the party moves to the ICA next Tuesday night (27 April 2010), and the Coolidge for the Closing Night on the 28th. I don't think I'll quite be managing the 17-ish shows that it's possible to string together, but I'll be there whether the send me a press pass or not. It's Boston's best film festival, a day longer than it was before, and filled with a pretty nice combination of documentaries, independent American films, shorts, and potentially-overlooked foreign films.

* Not Boston's best film festival, and one which I tend to grumble about a bit because they made the deliberate decision to counter-program IFFB last year (which continues this year), is the Boston International Film Festival. It opens tonight (16 April 2010), and all takes place on one screen at AMC Boston Common. The opening night film, Michael Caine in Harry Brown, is potentially worth a look, but it will run you $15 and I don't know if any filmmakers are there, and it would surprise me roughly zero if it were playing in the exact same theater two weeks later for the merely high prices charged there.

(In fairness, that sort of thing is impacting my decisions at IFFB, too. I've been anxiously awaiting The Good, the Bad, the Weird for what seems like two years, and it's the highlight of the IFFB genre schedule, but it's opening at Kendall Square on the 30th. Unless Kim Ji-woon or Lee Byung-hun is in town, I'll likely wait a week and see something whose distribution isn't assured)

* Speaking of future one-week-wonders at Kendall Square, The Square opens today, and the preview I saw the other day seems to deliver on the promise of the praise that the film has received on the festival circuit. Also opening there are The Secret in Their Eyes (looks good!), The Joneses (also opening at Boston Common), and The Eclipse, which I reviewed at EFC after a Fantasia screening last year; I can guardedly recommend it as a nicely-acted drama that is occasionally interrupted by a decent ghost story, although the two don't always mix as well as one might like.

* The Brattle has Jim Henson's Fantastic World over the weekend. Note that some of the times have changed since the calendar was printed. They've also added a special presentation of Cheech & Chong's Hey Watch This on Saturday night, and a couple showings of An American in Paris on Wednesday and Thursday as the start of a "Musical Mind of Vincente Minnelli" series.

* Call me a bad lover of independent film, because the very existence of the remake of Death at a Funeral is just ridiculous: It comes a mere three years after the release of the original English version (which was directed by Frank Oz and featured Alan Tudyk), and the only difference in some cases appears to be that most of the cast is now black.

But, I have to confess - the preview made me laugh more than the original did. And more than the preview for Kick-ass does (does anybody not at that preview without thinking that a movie about Hit-Girl and Big Daddy would be much funnier than the one with the teenagers?).

* The Harvard Film Archive offers a weekend of Sternberg Before Dietrich. The silents playing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday have live piano accompaniment; Friday and Monday have introductions by film scholars.

* The MFA offers scattered showings of Home starring Isabelle Huppert, and a South Asian Film Festival.

* A likable-looking baseball movie by the name of The Perfect Game opens, if you're up for a trip to Revere.

* The Coolidge has cult phenomenon The Room as the late show all weekend, with writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau in attendance. Friday and Saturday at midnight are sold out, but there may still be tickets for Sunday at 9:30pm.

This Week In Tickets!

I was going to do a second non-TWIT post this week, about Sunday's trip to Entertainment Cinemas Fresh Pond, but the day job was crazy and... well, I wasn't particularly keen on spending hours on stuff like the movies I saw there, which were just not good. I came out cursing that I'd spent a gorgeous Sunday inside watching that stuff rather than sitting on my deck, reading with my Droid pumping the game into my ears.

Of course, the other regrettable thing is that I could occasionally check the score when the movies got dead-dull because I was the only person in the theater for either. Sure, that sounds like a "the food is terrible... and such small portions!" complaint, but even a bad movie should get a little audience out of curiosity or "hey, it's the next thing playing", especially something with a potentially cool name like The Black Waters of Echo's Pond. But a place like Fresh Pond - and I will do an entry on it later, because despite not being there for a while, I have a weird fondness for it - is one I would think could benefit by giving one or two screens over to old-school grindhousery, some maybe less visible but potentially crowd-pleasing genre films.

But, if you want to see a movie in digital 3-D, the price is right - $9 matinees, $12 evenings (versus $6.75 and $9.25 for 2-D). I haven't seen which screens those play on, though, and whether they're better than the pair I sat in Sunday, which are too narrow with the screen placed uncomfortably high and an aisle down the middle

The Black Waters of Echo's Pond

* ¼ (out of four)
Seen 11 April 2010 at Entertainment Cinemas Fresh Pond #8 (first-run)

The Black Waters of Echo's Pond is just sad. The opening is bad, but in kind of a goofy pulp manner; it flashes back to the 1920s with silly accents and sets dimly lit so as to disguise that there's not much actual scenery there. I was kind of hoping it would end up like The Gravedancers, but that wasn't to be. It seems like it wants to go in that direction, especially with its "evil board game" plot, but...

... well, it just takes too long for anything to happen. There's ten characters, and it takes forever to get to winnowing the number down. Most are pretty terrible actors, with Robert Patrick popping up on occasion on autopilot. He's also credited as an executive producer, which means that he must have felt strongly about it for some reason, and I've got no idea why.


* * (out of four)
Seen 11 April 2010 at Entertainment Cinemas Fresh Pond #7 (first-run)

Ca$h!, meanwhile, is just mediocre. It's got a lot of the same problems as Echo's Pond - it spins its wheels for a long time before getting down to business. It's better in large part because the cast is pretty good. Sean Bean is all calm menace, in a dual role that is thoroughly unnecessary, but sets up a sequel (and you've got to admire the chutzpah of a guy who, directing his first movie in 13 years, makes sure there's room for a follow-up to his likely direct-to-video production). Chris Hemsworth is a decent-enough good guy, but it's Victoria Profeta who is the most fun to watch, jumping into the amorality of the situation with abandon and bringing a lot of energy to a movie that just sort of plods along until suddenly realizing it needs a good caper bit at the end.

Now, if writer/director Stephen Milburn Anderson had realized that the entire movie should have been a fun caper, he would really have had something,despite the fact that the bit that kicks all the action off is one of the most downright stupid plot devices I can recall. Unfortunately, it's not, and instead it just creaks forward.

Yankees 6, Red Sox 4Dodes'ka-den / The Lower DepthsThe Black Water of Echo's PondCa$h!The Hidden Fortress

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's going to be a "kickass" weekend at the movies. has a preview: