Tuesday, March 03, 2020

This Week in Tickets: 24 February 2020 - 1 March 2020

Huh. See if you can spot the weird thing on the tickets below.

This Week in Tickets

Because the printed tickets at Boston Common now appear to lack certain bits of useful information after they've been torn (which makes how they've stopped updating the signs for which movie is on which screen at the theater even more screwy), it may not be obvious that Call of the Wild on Tuesday and The Invisible Man on Saturday were on the same screen, but the price apparently went down $1.50 in between. For what it's worth, I was in seat B10 both times, so that's not a factor, and I wouldn't think the difference between a 7:00pm and a 7:15pm show is either. Is it just a quirk inside the AMC Stubs app, does Disney/Fox insist on more money from premium screens leading to higher prices (something I would think we would have heard people freaking out about before now), or did they actually cut prices? I've seen cases of theaters charging more on the weekends, but this just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

(Both movies - pretty decent, although I was probably never going to really like the CGI dogs in Call.)

Not much in between, in part because the internet access crapped out at work on Thursday and Friday, so I killed a lot of time coming home at hours when they don't run a lot of buses between Burlington and civilization, which I had to make up later, and then on Saturday I miscalculated how much time a lot of work being done on the MBTA would add to me getting places before falling back to The Invisible Man. I was a bit more prepared on Sunday, although when I got to Baghdad Thief at Fenway, I was the only person who didn't speak Arabic which meant nobody else was bothered by the lack of English subtitles, which is always an interesting experience. After that, it was down the C Line to the Coolidge, to catch the pretty darn delightful EMMA. on their big screen.

I'm heading off on vacation in a few days, so I don't know how much chance I'll have to update my Letterboxd page with new stuff, although it's quite possible I'll have enough time to kill in airports to finally catch up on a lot of reviews from last July.


* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 1 March 2020 in Coolidge Corner Theatre #1 (first-run, DCP)

There's an impressive sharpness to this version of Emma that I don't recall from other adaptations, like director Autumn de Wilde and screenwriter Eleanor Catton want to make sure that all of the class-conscious material gets in rather than softening it to make the title character more sympathetic or the whole situation more relatable to an audience where those barriers have subsided (though not completely fallen). It sometimes makes the audience work a little harder than they might have expected for what seems like such a simple story. But the rewards aren't inconsiderate.

Consider, more than anything, how well Anna Taylor-Joy comports herself as the title character. There's a harsh arrogance to her that she can't ever let be completely subsumed beneath smiling, genuine good intentions, but can't ever let those look false either. There's genuine horror every time she recognizes the worst in herself, but it's elastic enough that she can backslide a bit, having to see the same thing from other angles before really learning, until she finally collapses upon realizing just how awful she has been. She comes of age by fits and starts and without a defining tragedy, and never quite loses the audience despite how often she has to screw up badly and hurt people to do it.

There are similar performances all around her striking a lot of the same notes or complementary ones - Callum Turner making the absent young man she's had a crush on feel like a male version of her worst qualities dialed up just enough to wrangle but not enough to repulse, for instance, while Johnny Flynn plays Mr. Knightley as someone who has already shaken off a lot of the same bad habits. I wondered, afterward, if Bill Nighy was supposed to play her father as sundowning; he's humorously energetic in his first appearance but seems to grow more fragile over the days and year. Mia Goth's Harriet is appropriately guileless and admiring without ever quite seeming foolish, and I like how the hair and makeup people emphasize how she's not adorning herself the way Emma is. The plainness of her bedroom is an obvious contrast to the Woodhouse and Knightley homes, but just homey enough to not make her an object of pity.

De Wilde is a photographer when not shooting films and music videos, and she delivers impressive attention to detail without ever getting too showy. It's a nice looking movie that is happy to let its design get weird on occasion while still being beautiful, and that makes it a delight to look at even when it's not featuring Taylor-Joy being fantastic.

Call of the Wild
The Invisible Man
Baghdad Thief

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