Thursday, July 03, 2014

This Week In Tickets: 23 June 2014 - 29 June 2014

Late June is a weirdly quiet part of the summer movie season, right? It's between holidays, so the studios are putting out things that are less completely sure, and... Actually, I've got no explanation.

This Week in Tickets

Subless: Sleeping Beauty, in the living room Sunday morning.

But, still, it's not just me that sees something like 22 Jump Street on the schedule and says, yeah, I'll get to that eventually, and is kind of surprised when "eventually" doesn't take too long to come, right? It's an entertaining enough movie, at least, and I got home after it just in time to watch the Red Sox on the west coast. Kind of a bummer it didn't work out like that more - the only good thing about west coast road trips for fans of east-coast teams is being able to see a movie and then watch the whole ballgame, even if it does make extra caffeine a necessity at work the next. But, not many movies, and the best part of the baseball was that NESN had Dennis Eckersley on play-by-play

Similarly, I'm conditioned to watch Red Sox-Yankees series eagerly so I built my moviegoing weekend around those: Nothing Friday, and then Bollywood thriller Ek Villain Saturday afternoon. Not bad, although it being an uncredited remake of I Saw the Devil took me a bit by surprise (although I wasn't necessarily always sure of its provenence; kind of a weird thing).

Sunday, I got up relatively early and watched Sleeping Beauty before Maleficent got taken in downtown - and, yes, it's kind of shocking that it's still playing a fair number of 3D shows a month after its initial release. After that, it was an afternoon getting groceries and making a dent in the pile-o-graphic-novels on the deck before catching the last show of Je t'aime, je t'aime at the Harvard Film Archive. Pretty darn fine film, good enough to wish I'd arranged my moviegoing schedule in such a way to see more of their Alain Resnais series.

And then? Just enough time to grill a steak before the ESPN game at 8pm, a fine way to end the weekend.

22 Jump Street

* * * (out of four)
Seen 24 June 2014 in Somerville Theatre #1 (first-run, DCP)

Biggest disappointment of this film: No Stephen J. Cannell logo anywhere in this film, which was one of the things that made me smile in the previous movie. To be fair, the end credits position where it had been before is occupied by what turns out to be a sustained comic blitz which is actually impressive in how it could be considered self-sabotaging: I have no idea what Sony will do with 23 Jump Street if they decide to go for it, because... well, you'll see.

It is kind of an example of why the sequel isn't quite at the level of the previous movie, though; where that one was "self-referential right up to the point where it would stop being funny", this one pushes it a little harder, winding up making jokes about sequels and doing the same thing that keep actually doing the same thing, and aside from that sort of repetition wearing thin, it's a little more accusatory. In 21 Jump Street, you're making jokes about a goofy but unique premise, but also enjoying the inherent fun in it; for 22, it's cynical and covers well-worn ground.

Still, there's enough talent involved to make it work. Channing Tatum remains sneaky in how funny he is, especially when his just being disarmingly dumb or matter-of-fact in his responses compared to how Jonah Hill's tendency to show he is a professional comedic actor. Ice Cube gets so much mileage out of being Ice Cube that a scene of him having actual crazy stuff to do can't quite measure up to him just giving Hill the stinkeye for ten minutes. The rest of the cast is paper-thin characters, but Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, Wyatt Russell, and Peter Stormare make sure they hit their targets. Returning directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller are amazingly sure-handed; there aren't many people out there with their ability to extract what's fun about a silly idea, get the pace right, and almost always pull back when they see a problem area.

Hopefully the series is done, because one more would definitely be pushing it too far. But, hey, everyone involved got one and a half more good movies out of this thing than I expected. and that's an accomplisment to be proud of.

22 Jump Street
Ek Villain
Je t'aime, je t'aime

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