Thursday, March 28, 2013

This Week In Tickets: 18 March 2013 - 24 March 2013

Looking at how late this one is running, and how many movies I'll be seeing at BUFF before Sunday's done, I think it's pretty safe to say that TWIT will be doing a festival skip week next week. But, as you can see, this one's late-ish because of a busy moviegoing week:

This Week in Tickets

Heh, Upside Down and Upstream Color on consecutive nights. I don't think I actually noticed that until putting the tickets side-by-side like that.

I'd hoped to keep the streak of peculiar movies going with The ABCs of Death on Wednesday, but the clock in the comic shop is off by ten minutes and for a 26-shorts-in-just-over-two-hours anthology like that, that means walking in for "C", and for all I know, "A" and "B" are the coolest parts. Anybody have an opinion on whether the Blu-ray is worth ordering sight unseen? I'm tempted, as there are a lot of people involved that I really like.

The weekend was all about the second weekend of the HFA's King Hu series, with everything else having to work around it. I must say, that was a genuinely fun binge - eight or nine hours of high-quality martial arts in one weekend, leading to me appreciating King Hu, Hsu Feng, and what almost amounted to a repertory cast. I wasn't expecting to see some of Sammo Hung's early work as a fight choreographer, either (although seeing his character get referred to as "the fat one" in A Touch of Zen made me sigh a bit; he wasn't that big yet).

I did wind up cutting it fairly close on both weekend evenings because it's a bit of a toss-up as to whether the subway or the bus gets one from Fenway to Harvard Square faster (it basically comes down to how soon long before the next 47 bus), so I wound up doing a bit of rushing after seeing The Croods on Saturday and Olympus Has Fallen on Sunday. Worth the rush on the "after" end both nights, but for "before", well...

Olympus Has Fallen

* * (out of four)
Seen 24 March 2013 in Regal Fenway #8 (first-run, DCP)

I don't know that this is something I can really recommend; it is really just chock-full of stupid, starting from North Korea being able to get the amount of manpower necessary for this operation - that's a LOT of spies who have infiltrated the south or turned traitor there put in one group which just gets improbably bigger as the movie goes on. Then there's the "why are you letting it be known that someone's been rescued when you could make the terrorists waste resources by continuing to look for him?" thing, the terrible security on a system much more important than my email account, the way it pretty much photocopies a script of Die Hard but sucks a lot of the wit and personality out. It's a pretty dumb movie.

On the other hand, it knows what it is and embraces that. Not necessarily the "stupid" part, but it's the sort of action movie that wants to reach directly into a primal part of the audience's brain where killing your enemy feels good - there's a finality to it, a sense of solving a problem for good. It feels even better if their crimes are especially heinous, so if they can be some sort of foreign boogeyman, so much the better. Thus, lots of mayhem, national landmarks destroyed, and headshots. Lots and lots of headshots. It's the sort of movie where the audience cheers at a character fulfilling a promise to put a knife in a brain, and as much as it's fairly easy to step outside of oneself and say, hey, that's not good, it works on a gut level. Even most of the women in this movie get to be pretty badass - we expect it from Angela Bassett, of course, and Malana Lea mostly has to look the part as the North Korean hacker, but who here recognizes Melissa Leo not made up like poor white trash - while Robert Forster doesn't particularly impress as an actor but growls in exactly the way you'd expect the Army General in charge of the operation to. Gerald Butler maybe overdoes it a little, but there's Morgan Freeman to counter that.

So it's a movie awash with testosterone, but director Antoine Fuqua is just good enough at channeling it that it's hard to fault the filmmakers for giving the audience what they want, at least while you're watching it. Afterward, some of its attempts to be inspirational - national unity through violence and righteous anger! - are kind of disturbing, even if you were enjoying the headshots an hour earlier.

Upside DownUpstream ColorThe Valiant OnesRaining in the MountainA Touch of ZenThe Fate of Lee KhanThe CroodsOlympus Has Fallen

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