Looking at this set of pages, I'm really curious just what I was doing during that first week. Not "go check Facebook/Twitter" curious, though.
Was it snowing like crazy in the middle of March, or was I just staying in, watching TV, and trying to catch up on sci-fi film festival write-ups? Or, perhaps, I lost a bunch of ticket stubs when moving? Whatever happened, it looks like I just got to one movie that week, Lost and Love from China. It's funny to be pointed back at that one this week, though, because I just saw co-star Jing Boran in Monster Hunt, and someone nominated this movie as a buried treasure at the Chlotrudis awards meeting, surprising me a bit as I often feel like the only person catching these Chinese releases. Amusingly, he described Andy Lau in terms of being an action movie star, when other movies I saw this year point out that he is thought of as a pop singer more than anything else.
And, speaking of the Chlotrudis Awards, this was apparently the week they took place last year. I remember almost nothing about that. I also, sadly, have little specific memory of seeing It Follows at the Coolidge the next evening, other than it being very cool to see a great genre film in their largest auditorium as well as feeling that the curse as punishment for having sex was perhaps a bigger part of the film than I gave it credit for before, when I reviewed the Fantastic Fest screening.
The next day, it was basically cramming in some docs I wanted to see before a festival started, so I did a double feature at Kendall Square of An Honest Liar & The Wrecking Crew. They both turned out to be pretty entertaining, not surprising given that they're about entertainers.
After that, I was basically living at the Brattle for the Boston Underground Film Festival:
Wedneday: The Editor
Thursday: "Hoping for Something Better" shorts, The World of Kanako, and Excess Flesh
Friday: "Homegrown Horror" shorts, I Am a Knife with Legs, and Bloody Knuckles
Saturday: "Two-Way Mirror" shorts, We Are Still Here, and Bag Boy Lover Boy
Sunday: Magnetic, "Laugh Track" shorts, 20 Years of Madness, Der Samurai, and Goodnight Mommy
You want a good idea of how far off-track I got with this blog last year? That last one was just posted a week ago, about nine months after seeing the movies. It's not any great loss, I suppose - a couple got bigger releases than you might expect from underground fest films, one was something I didn't like where I didn't also want to discourage the filmmakers, but film festivals tend to be where I'm trying to get the most writing done quickly without having the time, and they just stacked up on me something fierce last year.
Especially since there was no just going off movies after that, since I caught Merchants of Doubt the Monday evening that followed that Sunday marathon. It's a decent documentary, although, ironically for a film about how lobbyists obfuscate by playing into what people want to believe, I kind of wondered if my personal brand of skepticism made me more receptive than most. Irony, that.
The next day, I went for a double feature, though somewhat out of necessity - I could probably see Home in 3D at any point, but likely nowhere as cheaply as at Apple on Tuesday, but it was the movie after that, Apartment Troubles, that had me curious; I like one of the two writer/director/stars a fair amount but it was only playing at 9:30pm, and I wasn't heading back out to Fresh Pond that late. Surprisingly, I liked Home more than Apartment Troubles, but it was an interesting night, if nothing else.
I'm not sure how I wound up being able to get to a 5pm screening of Furious Seven on a Friday afternoon - I'm guessing it was raining hard enough for me to work from home with a very thin queue. Fun anyway, though I don't recall feeling like I was getting away with anything.
Then, Saturday, it was a long, unexpectedly-themed day: Taking the bus out to West Newton for Effie Gray & Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, and then heading back into Boston for Let's Get Married, which was a big public transportation loop - the 70 from the house to Watertown, the 553 from there to West Newton, movies, the 553 to Newton Corner, the 57 to Kenmore, movie, the 47 to Central Square, and then the 70 back to the house. Truth be told, I haven't tried getting out there since moving; I kind of suspect that adding the Red Line to that loop might mean it has to be a little more urgent.
Next up (aside from recent stuff): The IFFBoston weeks.
* * * (out of four)
Seen 3 April 2015 in Somerville Theatre #1 (first-run, DCP)
Is there any franchise that has had a more curious life than The Fast & the Furious? Even noting that I've managed to skip the second through fourth entries and it doesn't much matter because it evolved into something completely different during that time, the continuity is kind of screwy because the director who made four decided he wanted to keep a character he killed off in his first around, making three films essentially flashbacks, and then this one has to dance around the fact that one of its stars was killed midway through shooting, and because he was killed in an automobile accident, the most logical way to write him out would have been in terrible taste. How the heck is it even vaguely coherent?
And yet, it is. This movie is still kind of a mess - it combines a revenge storyline with a spy one and the parts really fit together all that well - but this basically gives them two hooks to build nutty action scenes around. The opening is probably one of my favorite bits of the series, though, and it's not even action; it's new director James Wan snaking a camera through a hospital, showing the carnage that Jason Statham's villain has left in his wake. It's a signal that Wan's take on the franchise is potentially going to be even nuttier than that of the folks who have come before him.
Eventually, though, it gets to the enjoyable vehicular mayhem, along with other action scenes of similar absurdity, like Paul Walker not being completely destroyed by Tony Jaa. They're fun action bits, and even though the series is clearly having trouble juggling all of its characters by now, there's something for everyone to enjoy in it. The other half, the emphasis on how much these characters mean to each other, actually almost benefits from Paul Walker's untimely demise; writing him out gives it a little more heft than just saying they're family.
Am I down for another? Heck, yes. As this has become a series of heist adventures rather than drag-racing stories, it's become a lot more fun, even if the big impossible stunts are kind of a lateral move away from the great vehicular action the series started out featuring