Thursday, October 06, 2011

This Week In Tickets: 26 September 2011 to 2 October 2011

Ah, a busy weekend of seeing movies. The week was mostly consumed with watching the end of the Red Sox' kind-of-amazing collapse. Exhausting sports fandom, but I recovered enough to treat myself a little on my birthday weekend:

This Week In Tickets!

Let me tell you, I did not eat well those days - lots from the concession stand, and the snacks for the 2pm show on Sunday were too filling for me to have much room for anything other than a cupcake between movies (hey, birthday!). I did use the time between shows to head down to the Newbury Comics in Quincy Market and finally pick up a copy of Batman: Gates of Gotham #3 and Ultimate Comics X-Men #1 I'd been looking for. Good thing I read them while eating my snacks, because I forgot them in the theater. --sigh-- Second time I'd done so that day, although I remembered the paperback in Theater #15 relatively quickly, as opposed to the comics in screen #2.

Overall, pretty decent week(end) of movies, though.


* * * (out of four)
Seen 1 October 2011 in AMC Boston Common #1 (first-run)

I heard a lot of good things about this one, and most of them were pretty accurate: There's a trio of impressive performances at the center, especially Nick Nolte as the recovering-alcoholic father of the two fighters who wind up vying for a five million dollar prize in a mixed martial arts tournament. The whole family is believably torn apart, and all three lead actors - Nolte, Tom Hardy (as the drifting ex-marine), and Joel Edgerton (as the high-school teacher and family man) all create believable characters, and co-writer/director Gavin O'Connor does a very nice job of not playing favorites as the story goes on. It's emotional, but enjoyably low-key.

This does become a bit of a problem once the movie actually gets to the tournament, though; we're inevitably heading toward a showdown between brothers, and it's honestly never as intriguing a proposition as it should be. O'Connor and company set the brothers' styles up as opposites - Hardy's Tommy is the brute-force, one-punch-knockout type, while Edgertron's Brendon uses leverage and submission holds as befits an aging physics teacher - and the plot doesn't paint either as a monster, which seems like it would make for a tense last act. But O'Connor is not great at using action as storytelling; the final fight should be the brothers' conflict in microcosm, but that never really happens, so when one brother finally wins, it's just the end of a fight, as opposed to the story's climax - a bit of a fizzle.

Warrior is pretty good, but I must say, Brawler, which played Fantasia this summer, is better, even if a bit more familiar.

Bad Teacher

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 1 October 2011 in AMC Boston Common #3 (midnight movies)

Weird release schedule on this - it had its usual run starting in late June, and then reappeared in September, mostly playing weekend midnights, either as a back-to-school thing or just as promotion for its video release. For this last weekend of midnights, Sony was giving tickets away, apparently with the thought that folks who saw it would like it enough to buy the Blu-ray a few days later.

Well, at the very least, it's worth a fair amount more than the nothing I paid to see it. As I expected from the trailers, how funny it is tends to be directly proportional to how awful the characters are. Well, within reason; Jason Segel's character is more snarky than outright mean, sort of establishing a middle ground between the self-centered witch Cameron Diaz plays, Lucy Punch's sanctimonious snot, and the clueless trust fund sub of Justin Timberlake. It's a great deal of fun to let one's meaner side out, and the movie seldom deviates from that.

Now, director Jake Kasdan and company seldom really manage the huge laughs, but it manages a pretty steady stream of medium-sized ones. Can't complain much about that.

Star Trek

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 2 October 2011 in AMC Boston Common #2 (digital IMAX return engagement)

Hey, if IMAX and AMC want to have this playing in faux-IMAX on my birthday for only $7, I'm there.

After seeing it in theaters four times over the past couple of years - original love here - I still love it. It's a reboot that feels modern while respecting the original, and also does a very impressive job of letting the audience see right away that this is not their father's Star Trek. I kind of love the little dialogue the filmmakers have with fans in the middle, from Chekov's comments that Vulcan likely has only minutes to the explanation that this doesn't invalidate the Trek we love.

Martha Marcy May MarleneA Bill of DivorcementWarriorBad TeacherBunrakuStar Trek

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