Thursday, February 05, 2015

This Week In Tickets: 25 January 2015 - 31 January 2015

Blizzard week means a lot of white.

This Week in Tickets

Kind of sad that the first movie of the week was just me at Strange Magic - it's not a terrible movie, and there's a good chance it's the last one George Lucas will have any sort of direct involvement in, although the Lucasfilm logo and perhaps a "based upon Star Wars created by George Lucas" will likely be gracing movies for years to come. Speaking of, I'll bet that even if I wasn't the only one in the theater, I would have been the only one to laugh at Marianne blindfolded and swatting at even smaller faeries (like, faery-sized for faeries) with her sword because it was Luke Skywaker practicing with his lightsaber in the Millennnium Falcon and this is a movie made for eight-year-old girls like my niece.

After that, it was a pretty quiet week, because on Monday night we got hit with a snowstorm that kept up a steady pace through Tuesday and wound up dumping two feet of the white stuff on the ground when all was said and done. Everything was closed Monday night and Tuesday, and only a few of us were in the office on Wednesday. This is the point where I'd usually mock the folks who didn't come in because when I was younger we expected a lot of snow in New England and blah blah blah, but let's face it - I closed my door Monday night, turned on the heat, and then didn't even venture outside until Wednesday morning, where my commute was walking to the subway, transferring to a bus, and just burying my head in comics until it was time for me to get off and walk up a street where the sidewalks weren't cleared but there was no traffic, either.

It kept me out of theaters until Thursday, when Song One was having its last day at Fresh Pond. Normally, I'd feel bad about not getting a review up in time for people to see it - I just finished writing it up almost a week later - but it's available on the various On-Demand/Amazon-type services, so you can just watch it that way.

Friday night... Well, it's becoming clear that my phone is on its last legs, because I had a heck of a time trying to use MoviePass, eventually giving up and seeing Black Sea on Saturday. The movie was pretty good, although it has a few things that kind of gnaw at me. Gonna miss the unlimited data plan if I have to upgrade that phone, too.

Later that evening, I headed out to the Brattle Theatre for their 35mm Late Show presentation of The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Terrible hot chocolate - although it did do the job of keeping my hands warm after I came in from the cold - but a pretty fun movie.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

* * * (out of four)
Seen 31 January 2015 in the Brattle Theatre (Reel Weird Brattle: Mad Love, 35mm)

Confession, of sorts: Without having seen more than a few minutes of any of them, I used to get Vincent Price's Dr. Phibes and Dr. Goldfoot movies mixed up. That's a mistake I'm unlikely to make again; while the makers of The Abonimable Dr. Phibes to tend to move their tongue cheekward on occasion, they tend to play it just straight enough and fancy enough to make for a nifty little horror movie.

Who is Dr. Phibes (Vincent Price)? A musician, an engineer, and a scholar who, with the help of his lovely assistant Vulnavia (Virginia North), is committing a series of bizarre murders in 1920s London. Even with all of them being physicians, it seems as though he may get away with it, except that Scotland Yard Inspector Trout (Peter Jeffrey) begins to piece together a pattern, and with the help of potential target Dr. Vesalius (Joseph Cotton), begins to track Phibes down. The only trouble with this theory and course of action is that Phibes has been dead for four years.

At its heart, The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a simple revenge story; Anton Phibes believes that these nine men are responsible for killing his wife, and will thus pay them back in kind, the sort that one would often see in a grindhouse movie with little to make it noteworthy but its level of gore and viciousness. This one certainly does well on those counts, but stands out because everything about it is knowingly grandiose: We first see Phibes maniacally playing an organ in a mansion filled with things that have little practical purpose beyond looking fantastic, and even if the rationale for his murders to be based upon the nine Biblical plagues of Egypt is thin, but it makes nasty little murders a little bigger. On top of that, the world created by art director Bernard Reeves is equal parts 1920s art deco and 1970s garishness, the sort of situations where all of the insanity feels almost reasonable.

Full review on EFC.

Strange Magic
Song One
Black Sea
The Abominable Dr. Phibes

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