Thursday, April 16, 2020

This Week in Tickets: 6 April 2020 - 12 April 2020

I really miss movie theaters, guys.

This Week in Tickets

Pretty decent run in my living room, though. I mentioned last week that I seemed to have trouble breaking the habit of scrolling through my Twitter feed or whatever during the evening hours, and managed to consciously break the habit this week. Not on Monday, apparently, but I pulled the genuinely weird The Bubble off the shelf on Tuesday, following it up with the gallery of 3D Kodachrome slides on the disc. Wednesday night, I hit the Virtual Coolidge for Saint Frances, and it was pretty decent.

On Thursday, I started in on a project to get all the comics that have built up in the couple years since I've moved here sorted and bagged and stored in an easily accessible way, although I think I may have out-clevered myself by ordering a bunch of legal-size Bankers Box drawers. Sure, it seems like the drawers will be better than wrestling long boxes in the future, but each drawer is the size of two long boxes, and that's pretty heavy when filled with comics. Plus, it's not like these corrugated cabinets have casters or anything to make them slide easy.

Friday, I started a weekend of double features with Supernatural & I Married a Witch, the former newly-arrived and the latter having been on the shelf for a while. Both are fun, and always make me wish that there were more fantastical films with major stars in them from this era. Saturday, I paired Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 4K with sequel Sword of Destiny in 3D. Even without the weird bumps in the road I had watching the second, it's pretty clear that one is a masterpiece and the other is, well, not. Then on Sunday, I got the "3-D Rarities Volume II" disc and watched all of that. I came away intensely jealous of the decent flash and Kodachrome film the people with "Stereo-Realist" cameras had compared to my RETO.

Nothing on my Letterboxd page this week yet, but I'll probably change that later. I'm guessing the theaters won't open until Tenet in July at best, but there's still lots of the shelf

The Bubble

* ¾ (out of four)
Seen 6 April 2020 in Jay's Living Room (off the shelf, 3D Blu-ray)

The Bubble is a bad movie that almost manages a bit of camouflage; it's a disjointed mess that leaves important things out and never explains anything right up until the very end, but you can almost convince yourself that this is, if not deliberate, then at least a good way to show just how its characters are confused and frightened and maybe not processing the lack of information well. I think that's giving it a bit too much credit; there's absolutely some withholding to create unease but it seems likely that much of it is just doing whatever seemed like a good idea in the moment or with the resources available whether or not it comes together or contradicts itself.

Filmmaker Arch Oboler does deserve credit for some ambition; whether doing something specific or just slapping incongruous things together, the world under the bubble of the title is genuinely strange and gets more so as the couple stranded there explore it, with the carnival music pushed onto the soundtrack by the one ride in the middle of the town square only enhancing that for how it points out just how artificial and stitched-together the place is. Oboler doesn't exactly bury any subtext about contemplating man's place in the universe or feeling like everyday life is just a less-extreme version of these people who behave like tape recordings; it's right in the dialogue even if it's not something the characters really grapple with in action. He just doesn't show any particular willingness to react to it or follow things through.

The film maybe would have been able to escape its B-movie limits if Oboler gave signs of being a really good filmmaker, but the film is still burdened with a weak cast, or at least one Oboler can't get much from, and not much creativity in making the limited effects budget stretch. It has a tremendously weak ending and while the 3-D camera work is decent (the restoration looks nice), the filmmakers don't do much other than push things at the audience's face or do a couple other trick shots. As someone who likes both 3D and weird sci-fi, I found myself wanting to like this a lot more than I actually did.

The Bubble
Saint Frances
Supernatural & I Married a Witch
Crouching Tiger(s), Hidden Dragon(s)
3-D Rarities Volume II

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