So, how was your weekend? Nice weather?
I managed to keep busy for the start of the week, trying to get stuff in before the festival, which became trying to get stuff in before the storm. The storm itself played a little havoc with my plans, naturally - I'd hoped to see the Oscar nominated documentary shorts on Thursday (instead, I made a grocery run) and Lost in Thailand sometime over the weekend (no getting out of the house to AMC Boston Common for the first two days, Sunday at the fest starting earlier). It could have been even busier - I opted to only see half of two double features, seeing Reservoir Dogs without Pulp Fiction, and Oslo, August 1938 without The Day He Arrives.
I between, I did a separate-admission double feature of The Oscar-Nominated Shorts (Animation & Live Action), which was kind of funny because I used the last of my Landmark discount tickets for the first, and they were out of ticket books to sell me for the second, so I wound up paying (gasp!) full price. The funny bit is that every time I've gone to Kendall Square for the last two months, they've tried to sell me another ticket book, but, noooo, I could wait until the next one ran out.
Finally, after the snow, I got to The Sci-Fi Festival. I actually tried to get there on Saturday, since there had been no announcement about cancellations, but when I got there at 5:10 for a 5pm show (a short program, so I figured being late wouldn't be terrible), I was told that it had been cancelled, so the first show would be at 7pm. So, I hung around Davis Square for a while, which wasn't as much fun as it sounds - the places where I might have bought a hot chocolate were shut down (yes, even Dunkin Donuts), and while the bars were open, I don't drink. I was also too full from a late mid-day meal eaten when I thought I'd be in a theater for six hours to plop down in a restaurant. I wound up killing a little time in CVS, looking for replacement laces for my boots and other supplies. I kid you not, the big display in the middle of the floor post-blizzard was for sunblock. In Boston, in February.
The notice that the rest of the day's screenings were cancelled came at around 6:15, so I headed back home with a stop in Finale. It was at least good to learn that it takes me roughly an hour to walk from my house to Davis in the snow for Sunday, as I got to the first show (only one there!) before the T started running. After that, the screening schedule got weird, to the point where those of us in the theater considered holding up signs with what we'd like Dave to play next because it seemed so random. Afterward, though, the Red Line was running, and things seemed to get back to normal very quickly.
* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 4 February 2013 in Capitol Theatre #1 (Capitol Classics, digital)
Somehow, despite eventually becoming a fan of Quentin Tarantino, I avoided seeing Reservoir Dogs for a long time. It wasn't deliberate; I've got a DVD on the shelf that I meant to watch but just never got around to, and it always seemed to play on the big screen at bad times for me. It worked out pretty nicely for me that I saw it soon after The Killing, as I think Kubrick's film, with its fractured timeline and black comedy, is a sort of ancestor to Dogs - the point where a certain style of crime thriller branched off and started to evolve into its own thing.
As a result, I wasn't quite so gob-smacked as I might have been had I seen it when it first came out during my college years, although it may be to my benefit to have waited so long. My tastes were just starting to evolve back then, as evidenced that I wasn't particularly fond of Pulp Fiction the first time through. I've seen how Tarantino has grown, how he has harnessed his distinctive dialogue to bolder, more exciting action, learned how to write salty without using the f-word as a crutch or dipping so much into casual racism, and otherwise just become a better filmmaker. There's a point where I would have absolutely loved this, but I'm not quite sure when it would have been.
It's still a pretty darn good movie - Tarantino really excels at getting a few people in a room and examining how they play off each other, especially as he plays with different combinations and circumstances. Harvey Keitel was the most solidly-established actor in the main ensemble, and he winds up being pretty generous, starting out as the focus of the picture and eventually ceding the limelight to the rest of the cast. It's kind of a shame that Tim Roth seemed to age out of roles like this fairly quickly, as he makes a fantastic Mr. Orange, and this seems to be where Steve Buscemi really started to break out.
For all the potential and raw talent Tarantino shows here, I think it's still sort of an immature movie, using a lot of shock tactics and scenes which looked good in his head but seem more singular than part of the story. But a lot of directors probably wish they could start out with something this good, and it sure as heck made a solid foundation for Pulp Fiction and what came after.