Aaaand let's slow it down from last week:
The Red Sox have started playing! This cuts into my movie-watching a little, but theoretically increases writing time (it's great background). They're going to win eventually.
I'm sure of it. (written at 8pm)
EDIT: Yaaayyyy!!!! (written at 10:30pm)
An Evening with Don Hertzfeldt featuring "It's Such a Beautiful Day"
Seen 2 April 2012 in Coolidge Corner Theatre #1 (Special Presentation, 35mm!)
Yes, I managed to get a ticket to this, which made me very happy and simplifies my planning for IFFBoston a little bit. The new Hertzfeldt makes me pencil a shorts program in, which I don't mind at all, but getting to see Hertzfeldt's stuff on 35mm film is a great treat. Sure, Hertzfeldt's style of animation isn't usually the sort of thing that most people would think digital hurts, but when you think of how he makes his movies (old-style, with an animation bed) and how susceptible his style is to jaggies, it actually makes a huge difference.
This program had the new short, "It's Such a Beautiful Day", and the two other films in the trilogy that led to it "Everything Will Be OK" and "I Am So Proud of You", along with "Wisdom Teeth", "Billy's Ballon", and "Intermission in the Third Dimension". It's kind of amazing how the man's more recent shorts have expanded in both size and ambition over the past decade, to the point where he can present a fair-sized program without either "Rejected" or "The Meaning of Life" and it doesn't feel as though there are gaping holes in the presentation.
"It's Such a Beautiful Day" is pretty amazing. Hertzfeldt expands his toolbox here - there's a little more live action footage that seems purpose-made rather than found and used for background, and some elements where computers have to be involved. It's pretty stunning visually and emotionally - the trilogy has really done an amazing job of getting the audience into the head of someone whose brain is no longer reliable. It's genuinely unsettling, and the finale is tragic and fantastic and almost sarcastic at times while still being grandiose.
Serbuanmaut (The Raid: Redemption)
* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 3 April 2012 in Coolidge Corner Theatre #1 (first-run, 35mm)
Yes, what pretty much everyone else has said - this is an amazingly well-executed action movie, the sort that doesn't so much have amazing action scenes as it has scattered moments where people are not beating each other to a pulp. It's a pretty amazing job of keeping the action coming without wearing the audience out, and Gareth Evans,along with fight choreographers Yayan Ruhian and Iko Uwais (who are also two of the stars) make the fights well-choreographed and clear.
At times, the plot does seem a little too perfunctory and coincidence-laden, and I've got to admit, I couldn't wait for the cops to run out of ammunition so that the hand-to-hand combat could start (it's awfully polite of the gangsters to run out at roughly the same time). As much as Evans and Uwais have raised their game in some ways after Merantau, The Raid isn't quite as much sheer fun. Still, if you feel like an evening of all-out action, you're not going to find better right now.