Thursday, February 10, 2011

This Week In Tickets: 31 January 2011 to 6 February 2011

Not a great week for moviegoing; if I'd realized that the bad weather and late hours at work were going to tag-team me like this, I might have used what slots I have differently:

This Week In Tickets!

Certainly, it's sometimes nifty to have a theater to yourself, but Zenith is no necessarily the one you'd want to see under any circumstances. And while I don't exactly regret seeing the Chinese version of What Women Want, it's more because I want to encourage foreign movies coming to the USA (and Boston in particular) while they're still "fresh", so to speak. Fortunately, The Illusionist is good enough to make up for a fair amount of bad movie at the other end of the day.

As for The Mechanic... Well, I have reward tickets I need to use up, this one wasn't under any restrictions at Fenway, and the time fit well enough around getting a much-needed haircut and stopping at the Yawkey Way store for a new fitted cap (because, iwth all that hair gone, my head is suddenly feeling a chill). Sometimes, it's enough to be playing at the right time.

The Mechanic

* * ½ (out of four)
Seen 5 February 2010 at Regal Fenway #1 (second-run)

The Mechanic isn't a particularly bad movie; it's just one where you might wonder why director Simon West and writers Lewis John Carlino & Richard Wenk felt the need to remake another movie. That's not because the original with Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent is some sort of untouchable classic (I wouldn't know), but because stories of hitmen with their codes of honor are such an action-movie staple that specific lineage isn't that important.

It's fairly well-done, as these things go, with a few decent action bits. West's tendencies seem to be toward more destruction rather than less; it's not enough for a car to burn when there can be a massive fireball, for instance. The bad guys are rather generic, and while that may be deliberate and a good idea with the shadowy organization, it would be nice if Tony Goldwyn's alpha villain were a littl emore memorable than just being kind of oily.

When it works, it works because of the two guys at the top. Jason Statham is the big name, and he's well-practiced in throwing a punch, looking like a cool professional, dispensing tough love, and wishing he had the humanity he's lost back. He's better than this, but there doesn't seem to be another The Bank Job coming his way. Ben Foster, though, is a guy who merits attention. The troubled loose-cannon of the pair is highly watchable, with his rage always just about to explode. When it does, the movie makes great use of it; his first "assignment" is an impressive emotional action scene, as he takes on a guy much larger than he is whom the plan had been to poison just because he really needs a fight right then.

I'm not sure I'd recommend The Mechanic, but it's the slow period of the year, and if you're looking for action, it may be your best choice.

ZenithWhat Women WantThe MechanicThe Illusionist

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