Saturday, February 06, 2016

This Week In Tickets: 25 January 2016 - 31 January 2016

This week, right here? This is the last time I was caught up last year, and I don't see how I avoid the same sort of falling behind like crazy in 2016.

This Week in Tickets

That's because it's the last week before a festival, and I hit those hard. This week was almost calm in comparison, although seeing all six movies at different venues was a neat trick.

First up was the Somerville Theatre for The Revenant, a case where hearing too much about it beforehand may have skewed my reaction a little more toward the negative than the film deserved, but that happens sometimes. Impressive as heck in some ways, though.

A couple days off, then to the Bright Screening Room in the Paramount Theater for The Final Girls, which zipped through theaters and VOD so fast that it barely had any chance for me to be aware of what turns out to be a fun little movie before the Emerson alum who directed it came back to his alma mater for a screening. Compared to that quick entry and exit, Mojave, in its own way a sort of genre movie about movies, had a long, luxurious four-day stay at the Bratte.

Saturday was spent trying to get caught up on other things, and I almost didn't make it to Appropriate Behavior at Uforge in Jamaica Plain. That was a Chlotrudis screening to showcase a Buried Treasure nominee, although it fit pretty well into the "shouldn't be buried, not quite a treasure" category.

Then, on Sunday, I planned on a pretty quick double feature, which would have worked if I'd just stayed in one place, but I misread times and thought I could leave the Boston Common screening of Jane Got a Gun and use my Christmas gift card for Kung Fu Panda 3 at Fenway, but they didn't line up and I wound up going home and back again for the latter. Didn't mind - it was enjoyable - but I've got to plan that sort of thing better.

The lesson I learn looking at this page? Always get two programs when you go to an unticketed film series, one to keep and one to cut up. Doesn't The Final Girls look cooler than Appropriate Behavior?

The Revenant

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 25 January 2016 in Somerville Theatre #5 (first-run, DCP)

It can be surprisingly easy to hear too much about a movie, absorb that, and basically have the actual experience of watching it be confirmation bias. I heard a lot about how The Revenant was a lot of beautiful but empty tragedy, to the point where that's what I was looking for and inevitably found. I think I would have found it to be such anyway, especially at this length.

Don't misunderstand; there's a lot that is just stunning about this movie; the opening attack sequence, with so much happening while the camera moves about, is one of the most amazing things of its sort that you'll ever see. It also helps that is at the beginning, so that when director Alejandro González Iñárritu does that one more thing a few times within it, the bit of suffering or mutilation that goes beyond what's necessary to communicate the level of danger and violence always present on the frontier, it's still shocking, where later on Iñárritu has repeated the technique so much that is hard to see it as anything other than a blunt instrument on his part.

He uses a lot of blunt instruments, making Leonardo DiCaprio's Hugh Glad very verbal for much of the movie and having Tom Hardy grunt for less obvious reasons (I wonder if Hardy is drawn to thick-accented, nearly-inarticulate characters, or if that's just how the industry has seen him since Bronson). The film is filed with beautiful but stark landscapes, and it sometimes seems like the only character who is more than a wind-up toy walking in a straight line is Will Poulter's Bridger, a young trapper who winds up attached to Hardy's John Fitzgerald and seems to struggle with his basic decency because he knows that he will likely die if left behind, and thus must be somewhat willfully ignorant of the ruthless measures Fitzgerald is taking.

One other thing that seems a bit off is how Native Americans are used in the film, particularly the one character who is there just to help the white guy and then get killed one he's no longer useful. Taken in aggregate, it's better than most movies do, but these guys especially seem to be fairly extreme stereotypes as individuals. In another movie, it might not be so frustrating, but Iñárritu is so obvious in his simple focus on noble suffering that nothing and nobody gets a chance to become more than a means toward that, even if the cast and crew is doing great work to support it.

The RevenantThe Final GirlsMojaveAppropriate BehaviorJane Got a GunKung Fu Panda 3

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