Tuesday, January 16, 2018

This Week In Tickets: 8 January 2018 - 1 January 2018

Not quite doing a movie every day, but keeping up a pretty good pace - and saw movies in seven different places!

This Week in Tickets

This time, it meant starting at home, finishing up the second half of a pair of Japanese films with The Bullet Train, which was not quite so good as Confessions or Speed, the movie it inspired, but its still an interesting one. Tuesday, meanwhile, had me finding the last place in the area to be showing Downsizing in the early evening in the Boston area. Not necessarily worth prioritizing, really.

Thursday had me planning to see one movie and check out a new theater, but the T dragged me down. Fortunately, it got me to Paddington 2 at Boston Common, and that would wind up being the best movie of the weekend.

Friday was a break from new releases, catching a double feature of two from last year (Good Time & The Florida Project) at the Brattle. I'd enjoyed Good Time at Fantasia, but wanted to see it both from a better spot and on film, and had heard a lot of good things about The Florida Project, even if it somehow hadn't really penetrated that it was in large part a movie about kids.

Saturday, I finally got down to the Seaport to check out the new Showplace Icon theater there, with my first show there All the Money in the World, which isn't the greatest. A bit of a missed opportunity in not opening Proud Mary at that theater, as much of it takes place in the Seaport area. Instead, I had to catch it at Fenway.

I did laundry and lazed around the apartment on Sunday, although I walked out in the cold to The Commuter. Not good at all, but when I got home, I figured I might as well check out my UltraHD Blu-ray of Blade Runner before letting a friend borrow it and, guys, that's both a great movie and a fantastic-looking disc.

Not a bad way to end the week. As always, quicker updates on my Letterboxd page, though this week may be a bit slower..


* ¾ (out of four)
Seen on 9 January 2018 in AMC Assembly Row #10 (first-run, DCP)

Alexander Payne has a neat sci-fi idea in Downsizing, and a mind to use it both as a metaphor for the difficulties of changing one's habits to make the world a better place and as one for starting anew. He does not, however, really have a story, filling time with lots of set-up but not really putting anything in it that matters. Someone really good at creating a fantasy world could build it on the fly and not fiddle around with stuff that really will not wind up mattering. And, man, for everything he seems to get right about small-city/town people, he seems to stumble hard when he tries to widen his view.

You can see the clumsiness here, with every "XX years later", the way a possible environmental message always seems just out of the filmmakers' grasp, like it's an idea meant to push people into something but not something to really examine, the way the last act seems like just every random idea Payne had left glued together because he knew he wouldn't get another shot. It's a mess that leaves Matt Damon and Hong Chau kind of stranded - Damon's kind of great at being this whitebread guy searching for something more and it can kind of look hollow rather than sincere (he's at his best when he gets to be a guy who is able to offer something concrete but overlooked), and Chau's character often feels like she's right on the line of stereotype and authenticity.

And while in many ways this isn't quite so important as the other character/storytelling flaws, it seems tremendously disappointing to me that the filmmakers seldom really have fun with the scale changes that are the whole visual hook. There are long periods when you would never know these characters are just inches tall, and while that's in many ways the point (getting small hasn't really changed their thinking that much), it often seems like the filmmakers have been very careful in calculating cube roots but never figured that the physics of this world might be different - no example of the square-cube law in action, no consideration of how liquids behave differently at that scale, no idea of how if the small folks can have fingernail-sized cell phones, things must be different on the macro scale (just think of how much thicker fabrics should look, too). Even when the characters are getting into the outside world, it seldom looks enormous.

There's just damn little to fire the imagination in Downsizing, and its metaphors and satire are not nearly clever enough to fail on what should be it's most enjoyable high concepts.

Blade Runner (The Final Cut)

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen on 14 January 2018 in AMC Assembly Row #10 (first-run, DCP)

The UltraHD disc I ordered because I was getting the sequel in that format and, hey, might as well get the original in 4K resolution, even if I don't necessarily watch it often enough to make it worth having another copy. Heck, I may not have ever actually watched the HD-DVD version I'm upgrading because this shows up at local theaters relatively often, and, yeah, that's "HD-DVD", so it's been a while.

I have seen it fairly often, because I do try and catch it when it plays, what with it being kind of terrific. Which cut doesn't really matter - it's fantastic all the way around. the revelation this time around was just how amazing the transfer on this disc is - it looks like it came straight from a pristine film print, and shows how it's a crying shame that most of the 4K discs that come out are recent films which have probably been through a 2K digital intermediate at some point, because this higher resolution is really going to look its best on something like this, where you can see every detail of the miniatures and the fine-grained film used to shoot the thirty-five years ago.

More classic movies on this format, please!

The Bullet Train
Paddington 2
Good Time & The Florida Project
All the Money in the world
Proud Mary
The Commuter
Blade Runner

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