Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This Week In Tickets: 10 September 2012 - 16 September 2012

Busy week! Again! And, honestly, it could have been more so, except that I was still operating under the peculiar idea that Yankee-Red Sox games are worth watching.

This Week In Tickets!

Actually went to one of those games. The Red Sox lost, of course (it feels like they're even worse than their record when I attend), and, man, Sox-Yankees games are just not fun when the two teams aren't particularly close in the standings. There's more booing, and tension, the sort that makes sports not fun.

The moviegoing, at least, was interesting: Samsara is utterly and completely worth seeing on 35mm film while you can, and it's a shame this shot-on-65mm documentary doesn't have large-format prints playing. Bangkok Revenge wasn't very good, but, amusingly enough, my two-star review was quoted in an email the publicity company sent out earlier today. Yay, out-of-context quotes! The next day, I opted for the RPX screen for Resident Evil: Retribution, because director Paul W.S. Anderson shoots 3D pretty well and it was only playing in 2D in Somerville. Not the greatest entry in the series - it sort of peaked with 2010's Afterlife - but darn if this thing didn't find another way to grow on me.

The rest of the weekend was spent on a couple of short-film festivals - Etheria at the Somerville Theatre and Boston Action at the Regent. That's six hours of 30 short films which is... a lot. It's also a lot of fun, though; a few good shorts make up for the bad ones in a way that a bright spot in in a feature doesn't quite make up for its slow spots. It's also great to see up-and-coming filmmakers showing what they're capable of.

Resident Evil: Retribution

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 15 September 2012 in Regal Fenway #13 (first-run, Sony digital/RPX 3D)

As I mentioned when the last one came out, this silly series grows on you, and in this case it actually happens within the movie. The first half, after a nifty opening that plays in slow-motion reverse before reaching the end of the last movie, is kind of a drag at times, rehashing bits from previous movies and kind of archly playing on how directly the series is descended from video games, though not as well as Extinction did (this lays the limited environments Alice must clear and pass out flatly). As much as Anderson and cinematographer glen MacPherson make good use of 3D - the white room toward the start is especially spiffy - things just feel limp. The new characters aren't memorable, the returning ones aren't much better (honestly, did anyone miss the computer from the first movie?), and a franchise whose charm was how anything goes seemed conservative.

Things pick up pretty well, though. Li Bingbing showing up in a Chinese take on the dress Jovovich wore in the first movie? Made me smile. Anderson has fun with the cloning introduced in an earlier movie, giving the audience two Michelle Rodriguezes despite her character being killed off in the first film (and Colin Salmon, whom I hope got paid nicely for what is barely a cameo here). The "Moscow" car chase is delightfully insane and destructive, and despite the presence of zombies and monsters, Anderson continues to move the series more toward science-fiction action than horror. It's got a terrific sci-fi moment when the little girl they pick up along the way realizes what's going on and is just paralyzed in shock and horror. And, yes, it ends on another big (but satisfying) cliffhanger that promises a last stand.

Retribution could, I think, be a lot better if it got crazier earlier. That's kind of hard when a series is at this point, but if the finale is serious about the whole "last stand" thing, this one has a chance to go super-nuts in part six.

SamsaraSox Lose AgainBangkok RevengeResident Evil: RetributionEtheria Film FestivalBoston Action Film Festival

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