Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This Week Month In Tickets: 23 April 2012 - 20 May 2012

I honestly thought I was only going to be skipping this for one week, but once you've slipped that second time, it's hard not to say "well, I stand a pretty good chance of catching up by the next one". And then... Well, it doesn't happen nearly as quickly as it should, and considering "have a regular schedule" has been a goal, I hate it.

So, let's get it started!

23 April 2012 - 29 April 2012
30 April 2012 - 6 May 2012
7 May 2012 - 13 May 2012
14 May 2012 - 20 May 2012

This Week In Tickets!

Independent Film Festival Boston! If you're in Boston, like movies, and have never been... Well, what's wrong with you? It's great movies at great venues with lots of special guests. I'd go a lot even if they didn't think eFilmCritic was worth a pass, and have put my money where my mouth is with a membership. You should too!

I said a lot about the festival in the individual pages, so here's the links to get to them:

Honestly, I'm more shocked at the quick turnaround between certain days as I am by the delays between others!

This Week In Tickets!

For the index for the last three days of IFFBoston, well, scroll up to above the page.

After that, you'd usually see me wanting to take a break from the movies and all, just retreating to the house for a relaxing writing coma, but the Somerville Theatre decides it's time to show the next four James Bond movies in 35mm, and I already had tickets for the Talk Cinema series purchased back in September, and 2 Days in New York wasn't one I was going to miss, especially since I couldn't fit it into my IFFBoston schedule.

And that wasn't even a planned bit of flexibility in the schedule; I don't think which movie was playing that day was announced until after I'd decided to go another direction at the festival.

So, I get out of that, and hop on the Green Line to Fenway to meet my brother, his wife, and their girls for the ballgame. They almost didn't come, as it would be the third weekend in a row that they came down to the city. That the girls (5-and-a-half and almost-2) made it through seven and a half innings was pretty impressive, but they got antsy, and as my brother said, it had the look of something that could go fifteen.

He underestimated.

Basically, the two teams played another whole game after my brother left. It got pretty bizarre by the end, with both teams emptying the bullpen and sending a position player to the mound (and, since they'd been playing the field, losing the DH). This was the first time I've ever seen a game have a 14th Inning Stretch. PA announcer Carl Beane had fun with that and some of the odd substitutions at the end, which is nice, since it wound up being his last; he would have a fatal heart attack while driving four days later. The next game I went to was really peculiar without his voice; he'll be missed.

This Week In Tickets!

The game went on so long that my initial plan to see The Avengers afterward was pretty much completely shot - heck, when I got to Boston Common, the next three or four shows were sold out on Sunday night. That's just some ridiculous success. I wound up going to the Capitol the next day, and going back a few days later for The Pirates! and Nesting.

That next game I went to was completely different, and not just because it was a win; it was crisply played and gorgeous out. More like that, please!

The Avengers

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 7 May 2012 in Arlington Capitol #1 (first-run, Real-D 3D)

As much as The Avengers deserves every bit of praise it gets for being both the culmination of an ambitious plan and an impressive ensemble action movie in its own right (a form that Hollywood really hasn't had much luck with since the likes of The Magnificent Seven and The Dirty Dozen), it's not exactly deep; the likes of The Dark Knight and Ang Lee's Hulk are, in their way, much more ambitious than it is. But in a way, that's fitting; as much as comic book fans will often defend their favorite medium by pointing out the emotional storytelling and formal invention that goes on there, 90% of what we buy is people in brightly-colored costumes beating each other up.

Which is fine - that stuff is fun! And The Avengers is the first movie, I think, that really gives an audience that has never read comics an idea of just how much fun it is. It follows the rules of the superhero crossover almost without deviation - something bad happens, the heroes come together to investigate but wind up fighting each other over a misunderstanding, the villain reveals himself, and the good guys then band together before the massive, splash-page-and-property-damage-filled final battle. Heck, at some point, the comic fans in the audience will see that writer/director Joss Whedon is, in a roundabout way, sort of doing Avengers #1, where Loki pit the Hulk against Iron Man and Thor (among others) before everything got sorted.

But the other thing to recognize is that Whedon pulls off the "crossover" element much better than most comic writers have recently - The Avengers picks up on threads from the Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America movies and has them legitimately intersect. The "shared universe" element of comics often gets a bad rap for making the medium "inaccessible" (sometimes you just want to read Superman without needing a primer on the WildStorm Universe!), but when it works it's exciting in a way no other medium has ever really captured before now.

It works here because Whedon does a lot of things right - as much as I like what Ang Lee did, he and Mark Ruffalo really nail Bruce Banner and "the other guy"; we also get a great Black Widow and a pretty terrific take on Captain America assimilating to the modern world. The action is well-done, and the filmmakers are able to go big without ever quite hitting the brain's reality filter.

Marvel pulled it off. I'm impressed.

Damsels in Distress

* * * (out of four)
Seen 8 May 2012 in Somerville Theatre #2 (second-run, 35mm)

Boy, this would have been fun to see a couple of months ago with Whit Stillman in person doing Q&A. I was at the front of the line when they ran out of seats during his visit to the HFA! But, hey, there will inevitably be a Criterion Blu-ray with tons of good stuff.

And I'll want it; even though this is Stillman's first movie since The Last Days of Disco almost a decade and a half ago, his cinematic world is relatively unchanged, full of articulate but oblivious people who somehow overcome an utterly ridiculous amount of self-awareness by meaning well and somehow having a youthful innocence despite it. By all accounts, the long gap is because Stillman had actually wanted to do something different - he spent a lot of time developing movies set during the Revolutionary War and in Jamaica that never got funded - but there's not a whole lot of rust on him.

I do wonder if he's somewhat bitter about retreating back into this box, though. As much as the characters from Metropolitan, Barcelona, and Last Days of Disco were sometimes naive to a fault, they were seldom stupid. He's likely not really saying "you wanted more of these young twerps, well, have them!", but it is a slightly different take. As dopey comedies go, though, it's a lot of fun.

Here's hoping the next comes about much quicker.

This Week In Tickets!

And after that, we've got a couple in the "well, no-one else at EFC is going to review them" file. I hoped for a little more out of both Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale and Sound of My Voice for various reasons, but sometimes it's just not meant to be.

Whew. So this is what being caught up on ones writing feels like!

(Heads to Brattle)

IFFBoston Opening NightIFFBoston Day 2IFFBoston Day 3IFFBoston Day 4IFFBoston Day 5
IFFBoston Day 6IFFBoston Day 7IFFBoston Closing NightJames Bond Weekend II2 Days in New York17 Innings in Fenway
The AvengersDamsels in DistressThe Pirates!NestingA Quick Win!
Seediq BaleSound of My Voice

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