Sunday, August 22, 2010

This Week In Tickets: 16 August 2010 to 23 August 2010

A "This Week" post going up as early as it used to when I would back when I would stay up until 1:30am banging it out and being useless at work the next day? What can it mean? Well, two things:

  • I want to remind the good people of Boston that Films at the Gate starts Thursday, and I missed it when writing "Next Week". Specifically, Thursday night's opening film, Bodyguards and Assassins, which I saw at the New York Asian Film Festival and loved. Fun movie, fun event.

  • I didn't see much in the way of movies at all, but want to remind folks to see the one I did see while they still can do so on the big screen, as it closes at the Brattle Monday night.

This Week In Tickets!

Part of the not seeing much in the way of movies is because I had two Red Sox tickets. Usually having two five days apart is a bit of a bummer, just from a "lack-of-variety" standpoint, as that's the time between the starts of a given member of the rotation. But, when that member of the rotaiton is Clay Buchholz on the sort of roll he's on now, it's a distinct pleasure. When you see cool stuff like Ryan Kalish's first MLB grand slam or David Ortiz hitting a triple, and both games have Buchholz going seven innings before handing the ball off to Felix Doubront. I was actually at Buchholz's first game, so I'm kind of fond of seeing him do well above and beyond him being a pitcher for the Sox.

Kind of a tiring weekend, though - my brother Travis had a cookout on Saturday, which meant getting to the pie shop at 9am, getting to South Station for the bus by ten, a full day of hanging with the family and a whole bunch of Travis's friends. I got to see my nieces, though, including eight-day-old Maisy, who did a lot of sleeping. Her big sister Dagny checked on her every few minutes, just making sure she was OK. Of course, since I wanted to get that review for Vengeance up, I wound up writing half of it in a text editor on my Droid while riding the bus. I don't recommend writing that way, although I do recommend the movie. It ran late, I got up early so I could catch the 9:30am bus back to Boston, as that gave me the best chance of making it to the 1:35pm game start. Of course, the rains came, and the game didn't wind up starting until 3:15, and then there was another delay...

But, hey, they won, and I did really like the one movie I saw this week:

Fuk sau (Vengeance)

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 10 July 2010 in Theatre Hall (Fantasia 2010)

If you know world genre cinema, you know director Johnnie To - and if you don't, this isn't a bad place to start; much of the dialog is even in English if subtitles are an issue. He's one of the best and most prolific directors working in Hong Kong right now, a man makes criminals compelling and can stage a gunfight as well as anybody. There's a good chance you don't know Johnny Hallyday, though; a popular singer and actor in France, his films have not frequently traveled to America. Whether the audience is familiar with Johnnie or Johnny, they'll likely find the pair a potent combination.

After a brutal attack on her family leaves Irene Thompson (Sylvie Testud) gravely wounded, her father Francis Costello (Hallyday) comes to Macau, where Irene had been living. Though Costello introduces himself as a restauranteur, few chefs have his imposing presence, or have their daughters silently demand vengeance. He's out of his element in Macau, so when the police bring him in as an eyewitness to a separate crime, he doesn't finger the man he saw but instead hires the crew - Kwai (Anthony Wong Chau-sang), Chu (Lam Ka-tung), and Lok (Lam Suet) - to help him track down his quarry. Quickly, he hopes, because he is facing some rather urgent time constraints.

Johnnie To directs from a screenplay by frequent collaborator Wai Ka-fai, and while not everything they do is a polished crime picture, that's what pays the bills at their Milkyway production company, and they've gotten rather good at them. Not just in the staging of an action set piece, but in creating a feeling of camaraderie and danger; the story offers opportunities for loyalty and betrayal, with opportunities to have its gangsters display a code of honor (of sorts) without getting terribly sentimental about it or pretending that these are especially noble people. Indeed, the last half of the movie is spent wondering whether or not there is a point to this revenge, and whether characters are hunters or merely weapons. Wai Ka-fai makes sure that what we're seeing is not just a vanilla crime flick, either. It takes an unusual turn in that second half, one that is somewhat derivative but unusual enough to keep the audience thinking a bit.

Full review at EFC.

Kalish Grand SlamVengeanceRain Delays

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