Thursday, March 03, 2011

This Week In Tickets: 21 February 2011 to 27 February 2011

Is this sparse grouping of tickets deceptive?

This Week In Tickets!

Well, a little - I was at the Somerville theater until roughly 11am on Monday morning for the tail end of SF/36 - and as soon as I get through writing that up sometime around the middle of the month, I'll add a link to it here; in the meantime, you can get quick impressions by going to my Twitter feed and scrolling down to 20-21 February.

That sort of thing will wipe you out for a few days, as it did with me, which made it tricky to get to all the Oscar shorts before the actual ceremony (especially if I wanted to do EFC write-ups). I wound up not making it, since I also had certificates from Groupon and LivingSocial to use up this weekend. Read the fine print on those suckers carefully; it turned out that every one I had for places near Fenway Park expired well before baseball season (and another, from a mail-order steak shop, is expiring well before grilling season). It turns out that I can eat $35 worth of food from Jerry Remy's Bar & Grill by myself, but $30 from The Lower Depths is a bit beyond my capabilities.

Then on Sunday night was the Brattle's Oscar party. I'm sure some folks I know were there (beyond Ned & Ivy), but I arrived late enough that I wound up quietly taking a seat at the back of the balcony, mostly resisting the urge to tweet sarcastically and not really feeling any desire to check out the "bons mots" in the feed. As such, I was somewhat surprised by the vitriol toward the ceremony itself; yeah, it wasn't great, but it did nothing to reduce any crush I may or may not have on Anne Hathaway (the lady is pretty, talented, and funny, and seemed genuinely pleased to be there).

Of course, my personal take on the Oscars (or any award ceremony) is that the important day is actually when the nominations come out; that's when you get a list of quality films, performances, etc., worth perusing, and reducing each category down to one isn't an improvement. Heck, for the 10-nominee Best Picture, for all we know, The King's Speech won 11%-8x10%-9%, and I doubt any victor got a majority.

It was also weird to see how upset some people in the audience got. I think it was Documentary Feature where some in the crowd were actually hissing at Inside Job winning. Big Bansky fans, I guess. That actually freaked me out, quite honestly - I can see booing, but hissing implies that you are so utterly possessed with anger that you've regressed to your reptile brain or something. Really, it says more about you than that which you dislike.

That sort of made me decide that I'm going to have to find some sort of middle ground next year - somewhere between "a bunch of angry strangers" and "alone in my living room, maybe tweeting along". I'm not much of a party thrower, but maybe I'll have to do something along those lines next year.

(Unless, of course, Matt, Morgan, and I find that eccentric millionaire who will finance our turning the empty shell of the Circle Cinema into a Keystone/Alamo-style resto-theater. Oscar night there will be awesome.)

So, the only feature I saw once I emerged from the marathon wound up not exactly being Oscar-worthy:

Drive Angry

* * ½ (out of four)
Seen 26 February 2011 in Regal Fenway #7 (first-run, 4K digital 3D)

Drive Angry is not a great movie, but you can't argue that it does anything but deliver the goods. It's got Nic Cage being quirky and unhinged, William Fichtner being cool and threatening, and Amber Heard being smokin' hot. Director Patrick Lussier shoots in 3D (along with the same cinematographer who he worked with on My Bloody Valentine), and the pair of them make it work pretty well for themselves: They enjoy throwing things at the audience, but that's not all they've got.

The movie itself, no matter what format one sees it in, is a bit of a mess. Lussier and co-writer Todd Farmer know exactly what sort of campy exploitation vibe their going for, but that vibe is a slippery thing; sometimes they hit it directly, sometimes they're obviously trying too hard. It's a demonstration of how doing camp deliberately fails more often than not; the audience often seemed to be more laughing at the movie than with it, and the best moments tend to be when Cage and Fichtner underplay rahter than chew scenery.

Aside: The credits thank "Bill Murray and Punxatawney Phil". Amusing, since (as a guy-I-sort-of-know mentioned on Twitter) I really can't remember anyone using the phrase "drive angry" before Groundhog Day.

Animated Oscar ShortsDrive Angry

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