Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Week In Tickets: 14 March 2011 to 20 March 2011

I would just like to say, to all those reading who may have attended the Chlotrudis awards or found the musical number on YouTube, that I did not attempt to nominate The Human Centipede: First Sequence for "Best Ensemble Cast". I haven't even seen the thing!

This Week In Tickets!

(As always, click on the tickets to jump to that film's write-up)

As always, the Chlotrudis awards were good fun, although it's always amusing how the guests never seem to know what they're getting into. Here's the list of winners; it's not a bad group.

Barney's Version

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 15 March 2011 in Arlington Capitol #6 (second-run)

Looking at the IMDB page for Barney's Version, I find myself much more interested in the little, trivial bits than the movie itself. For instance, ubiquitous Canadian actor Maury Chaykin shows up in a tiny role, presumably just to keep busy for a couple of days. Barney works on the set of a Canadian TV show which stars Paul Gross as an RCMP constable, amusing for those who will always remember him from Due South, and the on-screen directors are played by Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg. The director of the film itself, Richard J. Lewis (no, not the self-pitying stand-up comic), shows up in a late scene as a pathologist, there to figure out the circumstances of the title character's life.

Clever bits all, and Barney's Version is, by and large, a movie made up of clever bits and pieces that doesn't quite add up to a whole. Part of that's by design; one of the main threads in the present day is how the title character (Paul Giamatti) is losing his memory, which means that there's a very real possibility that the mystery that occasionally pops up is one that can never be solved (only Barney knew, and now that's going). Nifty idea, almost no execution. And then there's the set-up in the past, which interestingly does interesting things with Barney's first two wives - a wonderfully acted of betrayal and guilt in Rome, and a perfectly stifling picture of Barney retreating into conformity in Montreal - which gets us to the meet-cute with Rosamund Pike's Miriam and the possible murder. That's a nifty way to get the movie to a very conventional place.

The conventional place is where the movie spends most of its time - Barney becomes a blandly jealous and inattentive husband, Miriam is better than he deserves, and neither their courtship nor the eventual collapse of their marriage is nearly as interesting as what got the movie there.


* * * (out of four)
Seen 19 March 2011 in AMC Boston Common #13 (second-run)

One thing Paul has going for it: It's back-loaded. The end of the movie features a bunch of snappy gags leavened with a little bit of earned sentiment, pop culture gags that actually work, and generally snappy back-and-forth that almost feels like the movie was shot in sequence and the cast and crew have finally clicked. That more likely means that I as an audience member have just gotten used to director Greg Mottola's and co-writers/co-stars Nick Frost's and Simon Pegg's rhythms. Well, that and the start of the movie being a bunch of tired "look at the nerds" bits.

The end winds up being impressive enough to more than make up for the start, and it's a pretty slickly-produced movie to boot. The gray alien of the title looks pretty good for a mid-tier comedy, and Mottola and company come up witha good look for the movie that gives an idea of the grandeur of the American west but also feels like a movie as opposed to the real thing, a nice compromise for a film that is in many ways a love letter to genre flicks.

Barney's VersionPaulThe Butcher, the Chef, and the SwordsmanI Saw the DevilI Will FollowChlotrudis Awards

1 comment:

biplob said...

I have to watch the movie and i will buy it .