Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This Week Month In Tickets: 16 July 2012 - 12 August 2012

Been a while since I did one of these, but 21 daily posts from Fantasia count for something, no? It'll be a while before I've written up everything I saw there, but in the meantime, a quick table of contents:

16 July - 22 July
23 July - 29 July
30 July - 5 August
6 August - 12 August

This Week In Tickets!

There were a couple late nights at work to start the week so that everything would be in place before heading to vacation on Thursday, and then a rather ill-advised "stay up all night Wednesday getting the house in shape to be empty for a while" plan. It did get me to the bus station on time, though, which was useful, because arriving late might have been all sorts of issues. My sublet was settled much later than usual, so information on handing keys and such over wasn't quite so hashed out as you might like.

It worked out, though, and I was able to pick up my press pass, note that it did not include the Opening/Closing Night films (basically, For Love's Sake and ParaNorman), and purchase a ticket for the opener with plenty of time to spare.

Links for those who can't use the image: 19 July, 20 July, 21 July, and 22 July.

This Week In Tickets!

The insanely busy week, when I tell myself I'm going to make an effort to get out and see the city, especially on the weekdays when i've already seen what's playing at 1pm, but the lure of not setting an alarm and wanting to post something to justify my press pass ate mornings and afternoons but good. Plus, the schedule this year was so packed - where previous years might leave holes, it was tough finding one before the last few days.

I did manage a short day Thursday, with a French-only program at the start of the day and something I didn't think I'd mind missing at 3, so I went to Pointe-a-Calliere, the very cool archaeological museum in the Vieux-Port. Admittedly, I've seen the excavation area enough by now that I wasn't going "this is really cool" throughout, despite it being really cool, but they've now got space for two temporary exhibitions, and both the Samurai exhibit and the Etruscan one were nifty. Then, instead of doing the DJ XL5 Zappin' Party Happening, I went to Place des Arts for Just For Laughs, because how many chances does one get to see the Muppet Show live? Few, and it is cool; the performers are so good that one's brain sort of edits them out.

Around that, seven more days of Fantasia: 23 July, 24 July, 25 July, 26 July, 27 July, 28 July, and 29 July.

This Week In Tickets!

Here's the work week, where I would boot up my work laptop at 9am, spend four hours trying to get work done in a tricky environment and run up my cell phone bill by calling into the US, and then generally keep writing until it was time for the 3pm pictures. I tried to see the Star Wars exhibit at the Museum of Science on tuesday only to find it sold out, but did get to see the neat stuff at the Cinematheque Quebecoise on Friday.

In all, another seven days in Montreal: 30 July, 31 July, 1 August, 2 August, 3 August, 4 August, and 5 August.

This Week In Tickets!

And the wind-down, with a fair amount of repeats and such, allowing me to see a little more of the city. This Tuesday, I did get into the Star Wars exhibit, and, yeah, it was pretty cool and fun for the kids who got to create their own Jedi Knights as well at look at props. Wednesday was spent at Parc Drapeau, mostly in the Stewart Museum, which had a neat display of kitchen equipment over time alongside the more typical stuff. Then it was onto the late bus and home to finally see Batman, as I couldn't expect to remain unspoiled forever now that I was reading the internet as well as pushing content.

And while I'd like to do full reviews for some of these, the only one I actually went full-EFC for is Girlfriend Boyfriend, just because it's the one where the site didn't have one already, and that gets you pushed to the front of the line. The last three days I was at the festival - 6 August, 7 August, and 8 August - do as well.

Get Carter

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 10 August 2012 in the Brattle Theatre (Classic Tough Guys, 35mm)

It's easy to forget (or never realize, depending on one's youth), after seeing his face softened by middle age and his career shift toward mentor roles, but Michael Caine was a genuine force of nature as a younger man, and few movies illustrated and exemplified that as much as Get Carter. The great thing about Caine in this movie, though, isn't so much that he's ferocious, but that the ferocity is always lurking just underneath. We know Jack Carter is a gangster from the start, and not even necessarily one of the honorable variety, but it's nifty to see just how much Caine lets out. He and screenwriter/director Mike Hodges are deceptively precise there; Jack is cooler and funnier in some situations than one might expect, which makes his later explosions even more fierce in comparison. He's a psychopath with a noble cause, which makes for an compelling anti-hero.

The movie itself is a good time, beautifully shot grime where even the beautiful and/or supposedly-sophisticated things have a kind of crude edge to them. The story is compact but not perfect; it often seems like Jack is wandering in and out of scenes Hodges would like to shoot for pretty flimsy reasons. There's not a lot one would want to change or streamline, though, especially if it would mean less of one of Caine's best performances.

Point Blank (1967)

* * * * (out of four)
Seen 10 August 2012 in the Brattle Theatre (Classic Tough Guys, 35mm)

Warner - get on putting this out on Blu-ray so that I can watch it any time I want. It's a full-stop great movie, anchored by a terrific Lee Marvin performance that (like the movie) is surprisingly emotional when you see it, even if the criminal cool and harsh, pitch-black comedy and violence are what sticks out. John Boorman makes the movie feel both garish and stripped-down, a pretty neat trick.

A friend and I like to describe a certain class of action movie as "Just Give Parker His Money" movies. They don't have to be adapted from Richard Stark's The Hunter (though many are), they just need a capable man cutting a swatch through the underworld until those stubborn people see sense. The best recent one is probably The Man From Nowhere, but Point Blank is pretty close to definitive.

I reviewed it on EFC seven years ago; my opinion hasn't changed. Give it to me in HD.

The Bourne Legacy

* ½ (out of four)
Seen 11 August 2012 in Somerville Theatre #5 (first-run, digital)

I think I started wondering how many "The Boring Legacy" jokes were going to be made online roughly a half-hour into the movie, and let's just say that it won't be doing anything to mess up the uniformity on my "B" shelf, where I'm amused by how the three previous Bourne movies (which I've got on HD-DVD) sit in the same order alphabetically and chronologically. It is a phenomenally unnecessary sequel, not just in the sense that the term is usually used, but in just how bland it seems without considering that there were three other movies that came before.

For a movie about genetically-engineered super-soldiers, there's shockingly little action, and it really completes this series' disappearance up its own behind. From Identity, it's always been about conspiracies and cover-ups, but now it's so concerned with its own continuity, code-words, and agency acronyms that the idea of what's being covered up is made uninteresting while the conspiracy itself lacks even an interesting villain.

It is kind of impressive how Stacy Keach has turned into Brian Cox as he ages, though.

The Dark Knight Rises

* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 12 August 2012 in Jordan's Furniture Reading (first-run, IMAX)

There's a lot to like about The Dark Knight Rises, and I readily admit that some of what rubs me the wrong way is not necessarily flaws but a fundamental difference of opinion between me and Christopher Nolan on what is important about Batman. And, sure, he's the one getting millions of dollars to put his vision of the Caped Crusader on-screen, but I do worry that his version has been so good and successful as to choke others out.

There's a lot of good stuff in this movie; there's not a bad performance in the large cast, for instance. The scenes where Batman re-emerges from his exile are pretty terrific, and not just the big chase scene with the Batcycle; I loved Bruce's curiosity being engaged at Selina breaking into his safe not so much for the pearls but to dust for prints. Every scene with Morgan Freeman is beautiful. They took a surprising amount of material from (relatively) recent Batman comics - I'm half-certain that "John Blake" was "Tim Drake" at some point in the scripting process, "Jen" was clearly Holly Robinson, and it seems to be pretty clear now why DC has been getting "No Man's Land" (the year-long line-spanning crossover that got me reading Batcomics)back into print. Some of the action scenes are amazing.

But... You know, this script has some real problems. It depends on a lot of people being willing to die for a pretty nebulous combination of cause and leader. The Batman suit often looks like a Halloween costume, and Christian Bale's Batvoice is joined by Anne Hathaway draining every bit of inflection from her voice once she's in "Catwoman" mode. The bit with the rope is really obvious, but does it really fit in with the rest of the movie? There is also a lot of time spent on John Blake that maybe could be given to other characters. I kept waiting for someone to slap Bruce Wayne as he griped about his clean energy project potentially being weaponized to remind him that anything worth doing can be used as a weapon. There's a real streak of authoritarianism and privilege running through the entire series, this time personified by the Dent Act.

And then there's the ending.


Overlook how quickly Bruce seems to get from Kazakstan to Gotham with zero resources and a ticking clock, or how we're suddenly supposed to care about Miranda at all, let alone find her a compelling villain. Or how he sure seems to hatch that disappearing act contingency plan really quickly. I just really can't get over how the Nolans seem to miss fundamental things about Batman. He doesn't use guns. He doesn't kill. And he doesn't quit. But there are lots of guns used in the end, Batman pretty clearly kills people, and Bruce heading off into the sunset with Selina seems to contradict both their characterizations. He internalizes Gotham's well-being as his own; she gets off on adventure too much. And, let's face it, "just wanting normal lives" (if comfortable ones) stinks; who wants to watch a movie about Batman not wanting to be Batman?


It's a good movie, and a nice capper to the series. But you know what? I'm glad Warner plans to make new Batman movies sooner than later, and while I'm not necessarily hoping they go the full Schumacher, it might be a nice change of pace to have the next one helmed by a guy who embraces the fun parts of the franchise.

Fantasia Day 1 (19 July)Fantasia Day 1 (19 July)Fantasia Day 2 (20 July)Fantasia Day 3 (21 July)Fantasia Day 4 (22 July)
Fantasia Day 5 (23 July)Fantasia Day 6 (24 July)Fantasia Day 7 (25 July)Fantasia Day 8 (26 July)Fantasia Day 9 (27 July)Fantasia Day 10 (28 July)Fantasia Day 11 (29 July)Pointe-à-CallièreJust for Laughs
Fantasia Day 12 (30 July)Fantasia Day 13 (31 July)Fantasia Day 14 (1 August)Fantasia Day 15 (2 August)Fantasia Day 16 (3 August)Fantasia Day 17 (4 August)Fantasia Day 18 (5 August)
Fantasia Day 19 (6 August)Fantasia Day 20 (7 August)Fantasia Day 21 (8 August)Get Carter & Point BlankGirlfriend BoyfriendThe Bourne LegacyThe Dark Knight Rises

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