Friday, August 13, 2010

This Week In Tickets: 2 August 2010 to 8 August 2010

It's almost late enough to go back to including the preview here, but there's logic to it - I wanted to get the Metropolis review done, as well as make as much progress on the Fantasia stuff as I could before it fell out the back of my head. Now comes the hard part - going back to the 9th of July and writing something on The Clash! Still, I haven't quite been chaining myself to the shiny new laptop they gave me at work:

This Week In Tickets!

Look at the fees Ticketmaster is charging on that concert ticket. $42.50 is not an unfair price, but, honestly, what do those $12.85 and $5.00 fees (applied to each ticket in the order, not just the one) buy you? To be fair, Live Nation has been experimenting with waiving or consolidating them at various points this summer, figuring that the audience might be okay with a slightly higher ticket price if they don't get whacked with a 38% mark-up on the last screen of the check-out process.

It was, at least, a fun concert, the first I'd seen with BNL in their current 4-person configuration; Stephen Page's voice and antics are missed, although Tyler Stewart taking over for him on "Alcohol" during the encore was an... energetic substitution. I also dug the stripped-down, almost a capella "Sound of Your Voice" that Kevin Hearn did. I will readily admit, though, that I can't hear "Four Seconds" without thinking of my niece singing it any more. She's going to love that clip when she's a teenager, I'm sure.

It was also cool to hang out with Matt, Morgan, Dan, and Lara while the opening acts were playing. Lara is clearly someone who believes that "pregnant" does not mean "disabled", as this was her second BNL concert in two days, the previous one being at Foxwoods in Connecticut, despite the fact that her due date was about a week and a half away when I saw her. I do sort of wish everyone could have arrived earlier, as I didn't quite figure the times right for getting the bus back from Reading after seeing Inception, and I was some kind of hungry.

Born to Kill

* * * (out of four)
Seen 3 August 2010 at the Brattle Theatre (Noir Centennials)

Hopefully I'll get a chance to go back and revisit these noir series in more detail, as the Brattle's series of films noir featuring cast members born in 1910 has had some fun, rarely-seen entries. Like this one, where Claire Trevor's Helen Brent discovers a murder victim on her way out of Reno (where she'd been living for a month so that she could get a divorce), only to meet and spark to the murderer, Sam Wild (Lawrence Tierney) on the train back to San Francisco. He doesn't think much of her finacé, but once he meets her wealthy foster sister (Helen is adopted)...

Born to Kill isn't a perfect movie. It lacks a really great moment of Helen realizing that Sam is a killer and having to figure out how she feels about that. But it generally does a good job of mixing its soapy elements with its crime, and tends to have good forward momentum, with more fun twists and turns than usual. It's got a nice cast, too, although I tended to find the supporting cast growing on me more than the leads.

Johnny Angel

* * ½ (out of four)
Seen 3 August 2010 at the Brattle Theatre (Noir Centennials)

Another one with Ms. Trevor, this time playing the femme fatale who has a history with George Raft's title character but is married to her boss. It's certainly got a nifty hook, with Johnny finding the ship his father skippered abandoned at sea and then tailing a mysterious French girl who emerges from it.

There's a few too many characters for its short runtime, though - Signe Hasso doesn't get to do much as the damsel in distress, and Hoagy Carmichael's helpful cabbie is just sort of wedged in there as well. It makes good use of its intriguing initial mystery, though, and looks pretty slick, both in terms of faking New Orleans and creating nifty locations for the action to take place; many of them don't look like they've just been thrown together on the lot as a generic apartment, but made to look like specific, individual settings.


* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 7 August 2010 at Jordan's Furniture Reading (The IMAX Experience)

I feel like the last sci-fi fan to see Inception - especially considering the relatively empty theater I saw it in (as well as they've been doing, I suspect the IMAX guys are ready for Resident Evil: Afterlife). It is, as befits its reputation, pretty sweet. It's got a ridiculously good cast, does a pretty good job of introducing new ideas and then playing with the implications, and some last-act action sequences that are legitimately amazing. I had an absolutely blast watching it.

However, since I am a hard-sf-loving guy who notices details... <SPOILERS>

... that whole exciting last act seems to be predicated on a false premise, to wit, that the dream state is a perfect simulation of reality, just at high speed. In fact, it's a simulation so perfect as to be imperceptible. Myself, though, I'm not sure the whole sped-up time thing should work more than one layer down. Okay, a dream can run 20x fast than reality - but that's taxing the extent of one's brain, right? Go down a layer deeper, and your brain just isn't powerful enough - you've already gone from using 10% to 100% in order to do this, and there's no 1,000% level (let alone 10,000%) to get to.


I suppose that's less egregious than what some sci-fi movies do, but I couldn't help but notice it.

Born to Kill / Johnny AngelInceptionBNL 7 August 2010Metropolis at the Brattle

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