Friday, April 06, 2018

This Week In Tickets: 26 March 2018 - 1 April 2018

Skipping over a post for now, because BUFF takes much more than a week to properly write up and falling behind kind of stinks.

This Week in Tickets

After mainlining 13 features and two short programs in five days at the Boston Underground Film Festival, it would make sense to just not do movies for a bit, but Pacific Rim: Uprising was only going to be on the area's biggest sreensfor a little lessthan a week. The smart move probably would have been Tuesday, with the cheaper tickets at AMC on Tuesdays, but work's been unpreditable, so it made sense to take the night I have. Fun movie, although not really as good as the first.

So, on Tuesday, I went to Best Buy to pick up Star Wars: The Last Jedi on disc, winding up coming away with more because they had a 3/$50 UHD sale, and seemed to be liquidating the last of their 3D Blu-rays for $10. Like I mention in the write-up for the next film, the 3D stuff is getting tougher to find these days, and I was kind of disappointed not to have a 3D version of The Last Jedi - it worked quite well in that format - but I'll probably watch the UHD version more anyway.

heck, I opted to watch the next movie in multiple theatrical formats, catching Ready Player One on 70mm film at the Somerville Theatre on Thursday, and 4K digital 3D "Icon-X" at the Seaport on Thursday. Different but both pretty entertaining experiences, and I think I'm liking the movie more as I think about it more. It's going to be a fun one to freeze-frame on disc.

And that was it. There was baseball to watch, after all, and the Red Sox have been looking pretty good.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen on 26 March 2018 in AMC Boston Common #2 (first-run, 3D digital Imax)

It's a bit of a fool's errand to try and do a sequel to Pacific Rim; not only are the filmmakers who pick it up almost certainly not going to be on the same level as Guillermo del Toro, but he and Travis Beacham went straight for the last stand last time - a follow-up to something basically finished is even more redundant than usual. You can see it in how this plays out, not just with a bunch of characters absent without explanation, but a story that often feels like it followed the budget sequel template carefully: Careful universe extension that rolls back triumphant bits of the first, a shift from embracing the grandiosity of the genre to "not taking itself so seriously", a young and cheap cast, and even seeming to use Ramin Djawardi's awesome theme sparingly, like they'd have to pay Warner Brothers royalties or something.

But, you know what? It's still giant robots battling giant monsters, and the people creating the CGI mayhem know how to stage things just so in order to get a great big smile on my face. The movie is bookended with a couple of really fun sequences, and a script that could have had all of its eccentricity sanded off to try and make it easy to feed to a global audience still manages to not just be genuinely odd at points, but occasionally relies on its oddness to work.

Dropping John Boyega into the middle of it doesn't hurt. You've seen this sort of charming but not really dangerous "rogue" a lot, but Boyega brings a lot of the same charm to it that he brought to Star Wars, and he both recalls Iris Elba and plays off Rinko Kikuchi and Scott Eastwood well enough to get the audience to buy him in this spot. The rest of the new cast isn't quite so great (and Max Zhang seems badly underused), but they generally do their job well enough to make their goofy robot-monster movie work.

Pacific Rim: Uprising
Ready Player One (70mm)
Ready Player One (digital)

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