Monday, January 20, 2020

This Those Weeks in Tickets: 15 April 2019 - 5 May 2019

Just posted the pages for BUFF, so obviously the ones which include IFFBoston 2019 are next.

This Week in Tickets

This Week in Tickets

This Week in Tickets

This three-week period actually started off with heading out to another series, the Belmont World Film Festival, for Asako I & II on Monday, 25 April. It's a neat little movie in a neat little series (at a venue I kind of dig), although in some ways the thing I remember most is the guest talking about how it was weird, leading me to think that my idea of Japanese films being weird must be awful skewed, because this was barely odd. Or, alternately, she needed to see the anniversary screenings of Audition at the Brattle that weekend.

I didn't; instead, my next bit of Japanese film was finally making it through Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind on Saturday, as the Harvard Film Archive had a subtitled 35mm print for one of their family matinees. Good, obviously, and I just hadn't seen it at the right time before. A much better choice than the thoroughly ill-considered new version of Hellboy than I saw later that evening.

The next evening, I would head to the Kendall for a split double feature of Little Woods and Wild Nights with Emily, liking them both, although the latter is the one that probably sticks in my head more, just because it is so unrelentingly odd and peculiar even as it is kind of ruthless in getting what it was going for across.

That was a good warm-up for IFFBoston, where did a (mostly) full schedule:

Posts for those were all over the place as I tried to finish writing BUFF up first but bumped things to the front of the line as they got released. And, yes, I did kind of wind up taking a day off, mostly because I got held up on the MBTA and sometime around Charles, I knew that I would not make it to the Coolidge in time for The Sound of Silence and decided to get off, watch Avengers: Endgame in 3D, and figure that the stuff that plays the Tuesday night shows at the Coolidge usually wind up getting regular releases anyway. Sadly, this turned out not to be the case for either movie playing there that night, but I'd at least get to see The Art of Self-Defense at Fantasia.

It's enough to make you want to do something else for a few days, but there's new stuff every week, and I hit Always Miss You and Savage on the weekend, even if they weren't exactly the two Chinese films I'd been hoping would open in Boston that weekend. Neither were particularly great, but there's at least something interesting in Savage that could have been really good but for the inevitable censorship.

I wasn't going to see them on back-to-back days, but getting out to Danvers to see Bolden is a tricky four-legged process if you use public transportation, so I had to divert on Saturday before finally making it on Sunday. On the one hand, not exactly a good enough movie to be worth that sort of day-eating effort; on the other, I'd been waiting almost nine years to see the dang thing after having it teased at the Apollo Theater in 2010, so I wasn't going to miss it on the one chance I had to see it on the big screen.

As you can see, it's especially important to follow my Letterboxd page during festivals, because they will just take forever to write up.

Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 20 April 2019 in the Harvard Film Archive (Weekend Matinee, subtitled 35mm)

Does it count as a rewatch if I've put the disc in the player two or three times and then nodded off before it was done? I swear, I've chosen the worst times to try and watch this movie before jumping all over the HFA's subtitled 35mm matinee.

Obviously, I should have seen this sooner; it's a downright terrific movie which establishes its science-fiction bona fides from the opening frames and is grounded in Miyazaki's particular environmental take on the genre throughout. Miyazaki draws no line between world-building and adventure, and sketches out a larger world casually, without ever losing his focus on the title character and her village.

It's obviously an early work - the animation is a little rough at points, the villains are sometimes a little too casually sketched, and there were more than a few comments from the audience about how much of Nausicaä's bottom we were seeing. It's almost never less than intriguing, though, and I likely would have been astounded if it had played Portland, ME/been a thing my parents would have brought me to when I was 11. It still seems like an insane practically out-of-nowhere achievement, and I'm mildly curious to know whether a shot early in the movie of Nausicaä walking to the forest from her glider inspired an iconic image from Akira, vice versa, or if they were pulling from the same source.

Avengers: Endgame

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 30 April 2019 in AMC Boston Common #8 (first-run, RealD 3D DCP)

Funny how the better part of a year gives me an odd perspective on this particular movie - maybe no longer so keenly caught up in the hype to praise it as effusively as I did back in May, but also keenly aware of how Disney's Star Wars guys didn't quite stick the landing to their grand saga the way the Marvel team did. It is, as I figured after a second screening, one of the most satisfying movies of the year even if it's not the best.

I think it obviously being a piece of corporate IP hides a bit of what it does well: It's a smart story about wrestling with failure, on a super-hero-sized grand scale, and a fitting final evolution for what Robert Downey Jr. has been doing as Tony Stark for a decade. The plotting is shaggy when it can afford to be and clever when it needs to be, and for all that the grand finale is a bunch of CGI craziness, it's built and scaled to a sort of perfection, getting the audience caught up in the fight for it to actually feel desperate enough before reinforcements show up that you forget that's a possibility, even though it's been the point of much of the movie, and almost getting there again so that the audience can go "oh, right, Carol" when she shows up. The audience whooped and applauded for that, and it's tough to blame them.

I'm sure that Disney and the other studios are all trying to plan something as big and loyalty-generating as Marvel's Infinity Cycle (or whatever we wind up calling this stretch of Marvel movies when they're knee-deep into something else five years from now), but it may be a one-time thing. At least it ended as well as it could.

What I wrote back in May 2019

Asako I & II
Asako I & II
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Hellboy '19
Little Woods
Wild Nights with Emily

IFFBoston: Luce
IFFBoston: Them That Follow & The Death of Dick Long
IFFBoston: Pizza, a Love Story & Not for Resale
IFFBoston: We Are Not Princesses, Ms. Purple, When Lions Become Lambs, In Fabric
IFFBoston: One Child Nation, The Pollinators, Cold Case Hammarskjöld, For the Birds

IFFBoston: Shorts Exeter & The Rusalka
Avengers: Endgame
IFFBoston: The Farewell
Always Miss You
Savage '19

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