Sunday, July 08, 2018

This Week in Tickets: 2 July 2018 - 8 July 2018

Would have seen more, but it is really difficult to convince myself I was in the mood for certain movies. I mean, Hereditary is a 127-minute horror movie, and it is difficult to get up for that.

This Week in Tickets

On top of that, it was a week of trying to get ahead of stuff at work and not really finding myself leaving at a time that aligns with seeing a movie. Heck, I wound up staying a couple hours late on Thursday to make it easier to get to a 9pm show of Ant-Man and the Wasp so that I could fit it in around other things. It was pretty darn good, despite me being a dumbass jerk about getting the right 3D glasses. Also, according to Google Maps, it is often shorter for me to just walk home from Assembly Row than take transit, especially late at night, when the first bus is just late enough to make the transfer if Medford go awry.

Friday, I went to Boston Common for Brother of the Year, a so-so comedy notable for being the first Thai movie I can remember having this sort of quick release in North America. I would not mind if some of their horror movies, action, and things like Bad Genius followed in its footsteps.

Then it was time for a trip to Maine to exchange presents for cake with a couple of nieces. Amusingly, a couple of people there were surprised that they made comic books for kids, which suggests that someone in that industry has messed up big-time. They also got Paddington and its sequel, Early Man, and Steamboat Bill, Jr., because someone needs to introduce kids to the great silent comedians.

That was also something that ran at the Somerville's "Silents, Please" series a couple of months ago, and this Sunday also featured the latest installment of that series, Docks of New York, an fair drama that was impressively mounted, as you might expect coming from the end of the silent age.

No more of these for another month, since I'll be in Montreal for the Fantasia International Film Festival, trying to post daily updates but almost certainly falling behind. I'll be trying to get something onto my Letterboxd account in as close to real-time as possible, though.

Docks of New York

* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 8 July 2018 in Somerville Theatre #1 (Silents Please!, 35mm)

This kind of goes on for a 76-minute movie, although I suspect that what plays as kind of circular and indecisive 90 years later felt more like a familiar pattern to a working-class audience in 1928. It's a thin, simple story that probably plays a little better if you already know the general rhythm.

Even if that's the case, it's still gorgeous; there's not a shot in the film that doesn't look like a great still from the period, and some of the moving images are just as incredible, complex, dynamic stuff - there's an amazing shot from a scene that seemed to settle into two characters chatting but becomes a stunning look at the busy bar they're in. And there's little denying that when von Sternberg wants to hit you in the gut, he's good at it, more so because, even when he's going to show a light at the end of the tunnel, he never makes it feel like crass manipulation.

Plus, there are a couple of really nifty performances from Betty Compson as a suicidal woman finding cautious hope in the man who rescued her and Olga Baclanova as a harder-edged woman seeing her sailor husband for the first time in three years and rather ambivalent about it. They're a darn sight more entertaining than George Bancroft and Clyde Cook as their opposite numbers - they handle their roles well enough, but aren't given quite the multifaceted characterization needed to drive the movie, though Bancroft finds an interesting gear later on that makes a lot more click into place.

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Brother of the Year
Docks of New York

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