Friday, October 21, 2011

This Week In Tickets: 10 October 2011 to 16 October 2011

A busy moviegoing week:

This Week In Tickets!

Did I deliberately miss the bus last Thursday because it's much easier to make it downtown for screenings of Margaret and Love Crime (on their last day in town) when working from home in Cambridge than it is from the office in Burlington? No. But seeing as Thursday has been the usual day on which folks at my company are encouraged to telecommute, it's not a bad idea.


* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 13 October 2011 in AMC Boston Common #3 (first-run)

The easy comment to make about Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret is that it drags terribly at 149 minutes, so it's kind of amazing that the thing that kept it from release for over five years was the director's inability or unwillingness to budge from the three-hour cut to get it down to the two-and-a-half that the studio demanded. The last thing this movie needs, perhaps, is to be longer. Of course, one must then think of all the directors' cuts where some extra length has helped. After all, "boring" isn't just a matter of something taking a long time; it's taking a long time without seeming to accomplish anything.

So maybe this movie actually would play better with Lonergan's cut... but I kind of doubt it. Margaret doesn't feel like a group of interconnected stories that each needed to be given room to breathe; it feels like Lonergan started from one reasonably simple, interesting story (Anna Paquin as a teenage girl who struggles with the repercussions of a traumatic experience) and got distracted, following every subplot he could think of. These side-trips don't enhance or reinforce the central story, though, at least as the movie is constructed - it just dilutes it.

And that is really too bad, because Anna Paquin is kind of great in this. Her character can be pretty darn difficult to like at times, but it's a believable sort of teenage snottiness. Two and a half hours is a lot of time to spend with this character, though, and none of the others make for an especially interesting contrast, though they're all played well.

So, a disappointment. Hopefully Lonergan at least has this out of his system now, and can move on to hopefully make another movie as good as You Can Count on Me

Crime d'Amour (Love Crime)

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 13 October 2011 in Landmark Kendall Square #5 (first-run)

I think I read something about how the filmmakers opted to make Ludivine Sagnier sort of frumpy in this movie, as opposed to the usual sex-kitten image. This means messy hair, glasses, and a pimple on her forehead. Oh, and she's only ever naked from behind.

I kid. This is actually a deliciously fun little movie in which Sagnier plays Isabel, a loyal and admiring junior executive who routinely has her work appropriated by boss Kristin Scott Thomas. When each makes an attempt to move up in the company - and a man comes between them - Thomas's Christine opts to humiliate Isabelle. What she doesn't realize is that even though Isabelle seems meek, she has the potential to be just as ruthless as Christine, and is probably smarter.

There's a couple of things I really like about this movie. It's structured like the best kind of magic trick, with practically every bit of deception done in plain sight, with it up to the audience to figure out just where filmmaker Alain Corneau (with co-writer Nathalie Carter) is going with everything. We're given an unusual rooting interest, and the movie at times seems to stake out an interesting moral position - that it's not necessarily ruthlessness and ambition that are most evil, but arrogance. as SPOILER: the lynchpin to Isabelle's plan is that she's willing to act without ego, something that Christine just couldn't do. :RELIOPS


* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 15 October 2011 in Somerville Theatre #5 (first-run)

There are many, many things about 50/50 that are kind of terrific, but something I always appreciate is when a movie or TV show finds good use for Matt Frewer. He and Philip Baker Hall have small parts as fellow cancer patients that share chemo times with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character. It's a little thing to notice, but it's the sign of of a movie that that sweats the details.

You'd expect those details to be sweated, as it's based on writer/producer Will Reiser's actual life, and funny, because his buddy when going through this was Seth Rogen, who co-stars as, well, basically Seth Rogen. Someday Rogen is going to win an Oscar for playing a sad or tragic variation on his jovial stoner persona, despite it being arguable that his ability to get the audience attached to these guys who make the audience laugh is the greater achievement. Here, he's really giving a great supporting performance, funny as usual but also displaying strength in just how he doesn't change as a friend.

Everyone's pretty good, especially Gordon-Levitt, who does a good job playing Adam as just a little tightly wound, which makes him at least a little funny even when the jokes come from how the people around him are reacting. Mostly, though, he's likable and able to let us see how afraid he is without it being overwhelming for the audience.

Silent SoulsPeter PanMargaretLove Crime50/50The DeadBringing Up Baby

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