Tuesday, January 24, 2023

This Week in Tickets: 16 January 2023 - 22 January 2023 (Happy Lunar New Year!)

I'll be much less wordy this week, since I think we got the whole mission statement out of the way and it was a relatively quiet, though not uneven, couple pages:
This Week in Tickets It was mostly quiet nights in, between work running late enough that I wasn't getting to 6:30pm movie times (that's what happens when you've got a bunch of 150-minute-plus movies for awards season), me wanting to write some, and having a big crossword backlog. The writing entailed a little be of rewatching, in this case refamiliarizing myself with The Dragon Chronicles: Maidens of Heavenly Mountains before writing it and Mr. & Mrs. Gambler up for Film Rolls Round Nine. Only halfway to updating those in something close to real time!

Indeed, not getting out of the home office early enough through Friday off, as I'd planned to rewatch Decision to Leave at the Brattle before sticking around for the late show of Something in the Dirt, but no. Still, I am very glad they selected that as part of "(Some of) The Best of 2022"; it's one that seemed to make a real effort to stay away from me!

A day of errand-running on Saturday left little time for movies, but I did keep the Film Rolls stuff moving with Husband Killers, not exactly the greatest girls & guns movie Hong Kong has ever put out, but not bad for that night.

Then on Sunday, I swung a double feature at Boston Common, going for the not-likely-to-hang-around-long Alice, Darling for the afternoon show, which let out just in time for The Wandering Earth II, the big blockbuster hitting Chinese screens for the Lunar New Year and one that, for a few days at least, is quite able to sell out an Imax auditorium here, and I wouldn't be shocked if I was the only one who needed subtitles.

So, anyway, enjoy The Year of the Rabbit, where I'll hopefully continue updating this on the regular! As always, you can follow me on Letterboxd for first drafts, though don't count on them looking good!

Alice, Darling

* * * (out of four)
Seen 22 January 2023 in AMC Boston Common #11 (first-run, DCP)

Maybe Husband Killers would be remembered a little better if I didn't see Alice, Darling the next day; this one, which is mostly women in front of and behind the camera, is certainly paying much more attention to how women, specifically, process this sort of thing. Director Mary Nighy and Alanna Francis zero in on how something meant to be presented as sexy are instead gross, and the way Alice pulls her hair out in frustration reminded me of someone I follow on Twitter who, when she encountered it elsewhere in pop culture, felt relief that it wasn't just her. It knows these details.

It is, as such, very much in the category of films that I recognize as being pretty good but where I lack the sort of experience that tells me just how good it might actually be. Nighy et al certainly make it ring true enough that I don't doubt the details but luckily can't feel it resonate as it would with its target audience. That can be seen a couple ways, like it should have illustrated itself in more obvious fashion, but I suspect that wouldn't have ring true to the women whose experience it does reflect.

Nighy and Francis do a good job of finding ways to spend the bulk of the film so that it doesn't feel like too much like it's killing 75 minutes to get to the last 15, as well; for all that it can kind of dip into bits that feel like they come more from movies than life, that's rare; more often, the audience gets to observe without the everyday events being shown not feeling like they've been rearranged to fit into a movie better. They resist the temptation to let the parallel storyline of the teenage girl who is literally missing take too much focus from the main story as it serves its purposes of highlighting how early girls get blamed for their own issues, even by other women, and demonstrating how empathetic Alice is, rather than being completely in-looking and concerned for herself.

At any rate, it's built around a nice performance by Anna Kendrick, who also produces. She's both restrained and nerve-wracking as Alice, doing very well to present her as smart enough to see the horror show that her relationship is but not quite able to step outside of herself to do it. There's good chemistry between her and the women playing Alice's longtime friends, Wunmi Mosaku and Kaniehtiio Horn, with easy familiarity and tension at the current state of things. Charlie Carrick leans into the snide monstrosity of boyfriend Simon, and while he's not going for subtle, there's something right about how Kendrick doesn't entirely make Alice become small around him. She's cowed, but in such a way that one believes she would be seen as herself.

The Dragon Chronicles: Maidens of Heavenly Mountains Something in the Dirt Husband Killers Alice, Darling The Wandering Earth II

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