Sunday, June 09, 2019

This Weeks in Tickets: 27 May 2019 - 2 June 2019

Difficult conditions at Fenway this week.

This Week in Tickets

On Tuesday, for instance, it was chilly and rainy and windy. I got there late enough to miss the start but early enough for a long rain delay. The game seemed to be going well enough, though, and then in the eighth inning the Red Sox pitchers absolutely forgot how to throw strikes and it just got miserable. No respect for how some of us weren't dressed properly or that the MBTA stops running sometime around 12:30am!

Although, I suppose, Fenway was worse off in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, where Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra converge on the park and then stomp around for a while. Did this at the furniture store, because giant monsters destroying your city should be seen in as close to actual size as possible. Shame no place had it in Imax 3D, though; there's some shots that look like they might be cool in third divisions.

The next afternoon was spent in the Somerville Theatre's main room. First up was Zaza, a rare DCP presentation in "Silents, Please" because the one print that exists in the Library of Congress is nitrate, and they not only don't let it out, but David doesn't sound eager to risk a fire in his booth, either. After that, a brief stop at Redbones and then back for Rocketman, which is pretty darn good, and I say that as a fan.

.. and that brings me up to what's on my Letterboxd page after a delay because my old computer finally gave up.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

* * * (out of four)
Seen 1 June 2019 in Jordan's Furniture Reading (first-run, Imax laser 4K)

Think my apartment is still standing? I mean, it does take me an hour to get to Fenway on the T, so Somerville may be okay.

"Dumb" is kinds of a relative term in giant monster movies, and this one moves fast enough to get past that most of the time, although the result is that it feels really thin, and you can see the filmmakers hitting their targets. You need something human-scale, so there's a dysfunctional family in the middle of the action that we never really quite grow to like, while on the other end characters are killed off because the template calls for a noble sacrifice at this point, or they could only get a certain actress for a few days. The writers seem to have learned what radiation does from the same teacher as Stan Lee (radiation = energy = life!). The Monarch Group (which I remember more from Kong than the 2014 film) is way too pervasive and vaguely defined.

The action isn't bad, though, especially when the effects guys figure out how to get the giant monsters to feel like guys in suits, which is something that a lot of other CGI-intensive movies sometimes seem to actively avoid, which is a shame, because it feels right, if only because there's sixty-odd years of history there (shame they likely didn't make a miniature fenway to crush). The classic Godzilla music kicks in at just the right time - right at the tail end of a sequence that is one of the times you can feel the movie going "hey, why the hell not?" rather than trying to make this all serious or consciously funny.

It fills an IMAX screen pretty well, and I might watch it one moe time on the big screen to see how well the stereo guys did (there's some stuff that looks like it would be fun this way). It's missing the bits that would make it a great giant monster movie, but not the ones that make it a good one.


* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 2 June 2019 in Somerville Theatre #1 (Silents Please!, DCP)

Would I have noticed that the song in this movie (which an accompanist can't really ignore, as its name and sheet music are displayed on-screen) was adapted into one of Elvis's greatest hits if I hadn't been told? No, but it probably would have eaten at me.

It's a fun footnote to a romantic melodrama that probably seemed familiar a hundred years ago, with an entertainer falling for a rich patron only to run afoul of rivals and discover secrets. It deserves the bit of eye-rolling it gets at the end when someone gets an extremely unfair ending so others can get a nice one tacked on, a scene that ties things up too conspicuously neatly. You've seen this movie a lot and it seems too early to subvert. Gloria Swanson is having a ball, though, playing big and at her best when she gets to do some physical comedy. It's not a funny movie all around, but she and the filmmakers know how to make some of the sillier bits work.

Cleveland 7, Red Sox 5 Godzilla: King of the Monsters Zaza Rocketman

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