Tuesday, August 21, 2018

This Week in Tickets: 13 August 2018 - 19 August 2018

One of the awesome nieces had a birthday this week, which is the best way to have one's moviegoing time limited, what with the shopping, traveling, and exchanging presents for a slice of cake.

This Week in Tickets

The week was actually hot enough that I kind of found myself staying in once I'd made it back to the apartment after work, because am I going to walk back to Davis and into that very warm T station in this heat? No. I actually stayed a couple extra hours after work so that I could see Her Sister from Paris at 8pm in Arlington with Jeff Rapsis on the organ. It was, no surprise, a lot of fun, the sort of less slapstick-based silent comedy that doesn't necessarily play very often. It's delightfully different, a comedy almost entirely built around people's facial expressions rather than line delivery or pratfalls.

Didn't quite stay late on Friday, but went to Henry Bear's Park and the Museum of Science gift shop to find birthday presents and, folks, do not try and wrangle a Pinbox 3000 box from the MOS to Boylston station and then through the theater. It is unwieldy and the little handle they taped on didn't even last until I'd left the sidewalk in front of the MOS. Still, it wasn't particularly crowded for The Spy Gone North, so I wasn't putting anyone out. The long Korean spy movie can be a tough sell, but it's pretty decent. Good enough to remember the parts that work rather than the rest.

The other Asian movie at Boston Common for the weekend was only playing matinees, and it was the third of the series, so I dutifully crammed for that on Saturday, tracking down Tokyo Raiders & Seoul Raiders on the streaming services around heading up to Maine to see my nieces, one of whom was turning eight. It made for kind of a long day - long enough that I conked out during the second movie and had to restart again Sunday morning, before heading out to Boston Common for Europe Raiders. The serie weakens as it goes on, which is a shame, because they always put together some great casts and enjoyably odd images.

Not so much on my Letterboxd since, but more coming..

Her Sister from Paris

* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 16 August 2018 in Capitol Theatre #1 (Throwback Thursday, digital)

Not all silent comedies were built on slapstick, but movies like this one still went for big, unmistakable gags, benefiting from playing in huge movie houses where even if someone wasn't in close-up, there's still the equivalent of a good, close look at what's playing across their faces. They don't get that so much any more - the screen is smaller in the Arlington Capitol's third house, and the DVD projected can't match an old nitrate print - but it still works despite that.

Take Constance Talmadge in this - her early scenes as a wife losing self-confidence don't really hint at what a delight she'll be as that same woman impersonates her twin sister to force her husband into an uncomfortable position. It's a joy to watch her change nervousness into delightful mischief, conveying the delight and dismay at her husband's flirtation, on top of her second role as the more worldly, composed "La Terry", who still shares her sister's sense of humor, though it manifests differently. It's a fun contrast to how Ronald Colman shows that husband going from skeevy to panicked as the film goes on, a comic performance that makes his Joseph Weyringer a hissable villain and just maybe worth Helen's affection.

It's with noting how well the filmmakers handle the twin thing with 1925 technology, because the fact that it is darn near invisible highlights how well they do everything else. They disguise the seam between Talmadges with simple but striking set design, and the way they cut around her acting with a body double shows just how crisply edited this is in general. It's fast-paced but not frantic, and while the instant delight every woman Helen meets shows in her plan is entertaining men-are-dogs material, the bond between the sisters reinforces how there's less distance between that which one considers plain and unattainable than one might think.

Her Sister from Paris
The Spy Gone North
Tokyo/Seoul Raiders
Europe Raiders

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