Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This Week In Tickets: 9 July 2012 - 15 July 2012

Last TWIT before Fantasia. I'm excited!

This Week In Tickets!

At some point, I'd like somebody to explain why you don't see the so-called economies of scale at work in the movie exhibition business more. That's a $10 matinee ticket for Savages, a lousy 13% savings over an evening ticket at the same theater and more than the evening price at Somerville for the same film. That's not a strict apples-to-apples comparison - Davis Square and downtown Boston are different neighborhoods, one's an old and long-paid-off theater and the other's only been there for ten years or so, but it's still the big nationwide chain that's more expensive. A lot of the same issues come into play for To Rome with Love and Take This Waltz; while the $6 you see on the ticket to the former is artificially low (it doesn't include a 75-cent restoration fee and reflects a $3 member discount), it's still less than the $11 Landmark charges. The Coolidge is also a non-profit (as is the Brattle, where I saw Sleepless Night), so that evens the gap a little, too.

Ghosts with Shit Jobs was free, but MIT LSC usually charges $4. That was kind of fun, actually, reminding me of seeing second-run movies in a lecture hall during my college years. Except that while I'm not quite the oldest guy in the room now, I'm more likely to be mistaken for faculty than even a grad student. Thus the haircut the next day; somehow it's much less gray when it's shorter.


* ¾ (out of four)
Seen 15 July 2012 in AMC Boston Common #11 (first-run, Sony Digital 4K)

Blake Lively is kind of terrible, which isn't enough to make Savages a bad movie on its own, but having an uninteresting character played by an unimpressive actress as the narrator is not exactly a selling point. Instead, it's an indication of how dull it is possible to make a movie that should be awash with juicy pulp.

It's not, though. Instead, we get a ton of narration that describes the business model of Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Johnson), the southern California dope dealers who have risen to the top via superior product and fair dealing, and the most boringly stable love triangle in cinematic history. There are signs of life from the supporting cast - John Travolta as the DEA man working for both sides, Salma Hayek as the head of the cartel trying to take over Chon's & Ben's business, and Benicio Del Toro as her top SoCal enforcer - but, man, is this pretty dry material for the longest time, even when director Oliver Stone and his co-screenwriters (including original novelist Don Winslow) try to perk things up with some bloody violence.

Even once things start rolling, Stone and company seem determined to drain the excitment from things. Where the movie is going is obvious from pretty early on - the high-minded Ben (and the less altruistic Chon) are going to be dragged down to the same level of savagery as the cartel. But it never feels either natural or at least fierce; Ben has to be pushed down each step by Hayek's Elena without it ever feeling something like something happening inside of him. It takes the movie seemingly forever to get around to the symmetrical kidnapping that everyone in the audience can see coming from the beginning, and which never gets really mean.

Call me crazy, but I think that at some point, a movie called "Savages" should feel genuinely savage, but this one never has its claws out.

To Rome with LoveTake This WaltzSleepless NightGhosts with Shit JobsSavages

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