Monday, May 26, 2014

This That Week In Tickets: 24 March 2014 - 30 March 2014

I don't think I'll wait to get one big post done like I have often done when festivals cause me to fall behind, but instead just post them as they get finished. Otherwise, there's a very good chance that I wouldn't just stretch from BUFF to IFFBoston, but all the way to NYAFF or Fantasia. It has been a busy period of moviegoing!

This Week in Tickets

The Boston Underground Film Festival dominated the week - that's what all those (mostly) blue Brattle tickets are for and there's probably a better joke to be made about me being a Blue Ruin by the end of the festival but it's just not coming to me a month and a half later. Besides, the "fun" story involves a different sort of underground.

I hadn't been planning to see a movie on Monday evening, but when I got home, the city of Cambridge was cleaning the sewers on Western Avenue with something called "Insitufoam", which as near as I can tell involves pouring enough industrial-strength Drano Foaming Cleaner down the street's manholes for an entire street. There had been a note posted on my door, so the tubes going down into every access point and gushing white vapor into the air weren't a total surprise, but the powerful smell inside my house was. Apparently, there are no traps on it, which means that this gas was coming straight up through my plumbing with no better option for relief than opening windows on an unseasonably cold night. The funny thing was, it wasn't a particularly bad smell, kind of sweet and clean, but I figured that will still kill me just as dead as it asphyxiated me. The logical thing, then, was to turn right around and head back down the Red Line to see Muppets Most Wanted - which turned out to be a fine idea on its own merits, even if there was some buzz about it not being up to The Muppets. There was still some work going on when I got back, so I went straight to the bedroom, closed the door, opened the windows, and hoped for the best.

Clearly, I did not die! The next day, having no food in the house and wanting an excuse to see my brother Matt and his wife Morgan one more time before they moved to Chicago, I asked if they still wanted to check out the SuperLux before they left. Considering they'd had some rough luck with their car that day - as in, it died too completely for repair to be worth it - so they could use an evening of watching a dumb movie and having the ushers bring steak. It was a negotiation - I proposed Need for Speed, they mentioned Divergent, I said I could watch Non-Stop again.

After that, the rest of the week was BUFF time:

26 March 2014: All Cheerleaders Die, School of the Holy Beast
27 March 2014: "Animation for Adults", My Name Is Jonah, Why Don't You Go Play in Hell?
28 March 2014: Kept, "Homegrown Horror", Doomsdays, The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears
29 March 2014: Crimes Against Humanity, American Jesus, Starry Eyes, EDSA XXX
30 March 2014: Ten, "Emotional Incontinence", Love Eternal, The Congress,Blue Ruin

... and that was the end of a vey busy week!

Muppets Most Wanted

* * * (out of four)
Seen 24 Match 2014 in AMC Boston Common #9 (first-run, DCP)

There's something kind of weird about the Muppets note existing in a world that has continuity. Not bad, just different from the way things were for thirty years where Jim Henson and company would just drop familiar characters in any situation and let it work. That's not so much the case now, but it means that you get this movie's pretty great opening number about making a sequel and a moment in the middle where Rizzo the Rat points out that something is completely counter to what the last movie spent a lot of time accomplishing. That's good, cutting commentary on the bad habits of serial storytelling in a movie aimed at eight-year-olds, and it's good to see that the folks making Muppet stuff haven't lost their whimsical, genial edge.

In fact, they've managed to make a fun movie that finds space and jokes for a lot of characters, even if they do sometimes have to look dumb rather than goofy to buy into what Constantine, The World's Most Dangerous Frog (and a dead ringer for Kermit) and Dominic Bad guy (Ricky Gervais) are cooking up. They're fun new characters, though; Constantine's body language and accent (courtesy of Matt Vogel; Steve Whitmire performs Kermit) are completely different from Kermit's in a way that's almost always hilarious, while Gervais's assured but obvious insincerity plays well off everyone. The other human characters are pretty weak - Tina Ferry and Ty Burrell should be a lot funnier - but the Muppets are on their game.

It's a solid Muppet movie, which may not sound like a lot considering that the granduncles has presented brilliance on several occasions, and that its natural home really does seem to be the TV variety show where the people involved can do whatever meets they anarchic fancy. But movies that are legitimately fun for all ages are always in short supply and even when they're of their game, these guys are never unwelcome.


* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 25 March 2014 in Showcase SuperLux #2 (first-run, 4K DCP)

If I do some sort of year-in-review in January 2015, I'm sure that Non-Stop being a movie that I saw twice in theaters, including once in the premium seats of the area's most expensive cinema, will look really weird even knowing the context.

I wouldn't necessarily say it was better the second time around, per se, but it's certainly a pleasantly inoffensive choice if the main goal is to hang out with one's departing brother and sister-in-law for a while and help them cross a place they wanted to check out before leaving the area. Truth be told, it's probably a decent accomplishment that the locked-room mystery that could easily be second to the action didn't fall apart on a second viewing. That's a thing that audiences and filmmakers might not really care about, but it is appreciated.

Review from the fist time around

Muppets Most WantedNon-StopAll Cheerleaders DieSchool of the Holy BeastAnimation for AdultsMy Name is JonahWhy Don't You Go Play in Hell?KeptHomegrown HorrorDoomsdaysThe Strange Color of Your Body's TearsCrimes Against HumanityAmerican JesusStarry EyesEDSA XXXTenEmotional IncontinenceLove EternalThe CongressBlue Ruin

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