Friday, July 25, 2008

Pick of the Week

Clearly "Danger Diabolik" at the Brattle Theatre tonight and high camp euro-thriller you can see this weekend for the money.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dark Knight (2008)

A lot of sequels simply suck it up and server more of the same in larger more expensive quantities, excess of this kind has sunk the hardiest of film series, think of the "Indiana Jones" canon if you doubt me.
And then occasionally, some sequels go deeper, harder, crazier even, here "The Bride of Frankenstein" can be enrolled with honor, also "The Dark Knight".
Oh don't get me wrong, the film has it's problems, the plotlines are too numerous, the script writers all decided for some inexplicable reason that The Joker's first outing HAD to occasion the creation of Batman's other nemesis, Two Face no matter how badly this marred the storyline...and as usual the film has something akin to three very shrill climaxes.
But...the acting is uniformly excellent thru out, nobody so much as winks at the camera once...nothing is held and not one false or smug note was sounded.
Everyone out there in cyberspace is going into ecstatic convulsions about the late Heath Ledger's performance (very much a bookend to Max Shreck in "Nosferatu" or Anthony Hopkins' as Hanninbal Lector) as the Joker...but let me just note that Aaron Eckhart comes within an ace of stealing the show as Harvey Dent (The future Two Face) and Gary Oldman's Police Chief James Gordon plays it as a worn flint of man...the grand batman freakshow has only just begun and already he is overwhelmed.
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes the inevitable love interest is right in there throwing haymakers in a role previous phoned in my Katie Holmes.
The diff between the two performances is stark and simple, Gyllenhaal rides a beast called talent while Holmes has a cute show pony called "celebrity".
Alas and alack amidst all this stellar wattage, Christian Bale's Batman is merely fine in every respect, angry tough, stoical and full of coiled doubts as to the efficacy of his mission even as he goes on and on busting heads....hard to outdo the competition this time around.
It is indeed a violent and even nihilistic film DON'T bring the kids this is at last as dark and as brutal a Batman as the popular cinema can tolerate. There is no Robin, No Batgirl and only the faintest scintilla of hope.
Appropriately we saw it at the Tri Town Drive In, the biggest remaining outdoor screen in Massachusetts and for setting alone it was worth the $17 per carload price. We even managed to "part the clouds" so to speak and dodge a savage thunder storm just before the film started.
Drama indeed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pick of the Week

hands down it has to be "The Dark Knight" at the Tri Town Drive In in romantic Leominster tonight...on a strong double bill with "Get Smart".
Sure, the Mendon Twin Drive In is cozier with better amenities, but the Tri Town's HUGE outdoor screen is made for super hero actioners like "Batman the Dark Knight".
Check out the link to the left, hell gawd willin' and da creek don't rise I'll be there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"an Old Fashioned Chinese Fire Drill" (apologies to all the Chinese persons out there)

went down at the Alewife Red Line station today.
A simple disable train had as usual backed the T up to North Cambridge but just as the matter was straightened out...the starters went completely to pieces, offloaded everyone on Track B's train and put them on the Track A train, as that was "the next one out". These passengers were then packed in like sardines and thus were fuming when the train they'd just exited then blithely pulled out of the station.
The MBTA made it up to us though, we were treated to a fifteen minute delay interrupted by a bleating voice on the PA insisting this was an "Ashmont Dorchester" train.

Twice a week now it seems the Red Line treats me to a spectacles like this, either symphonies of delay and torpidity or service ineptitude to do no credit to teachables at the Fernald School.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Hancock (2008)

"Hancock" WANTS to be great movie, not just a summer blockbuster but a real film with a heart and a story. Alas the script is a clumsy somehwat underwritten mess, half comedy half superhero opera with a definite "Spiderman" motif none of which ever exceeds the sum of it's parts.
As such the movie is at best an "interesting failure" enhanced with a strong plot twist at the forty five minute mark. In fact that plot twist is too damn strong and really felt like a desperate last minute re-write of the screenplay.
Honestly, I had a flashback to "Ratfink a Boo Boo" there fore a minute.
Mind, you Will Smith as a maladriot dipsomaniacal superhero, "Hancock" is great as usual but not even his formidable charisma can deliver the film.
Jason Bateman sort of scuttles around the edges as Hancock's appallingly naive' PR guy and the plot never quite gets around to generating appropriate villainage (vitally important in today's superhero genre, it is the diff between "Superman II" and "Catwoman").
As for Charlize Theron, what can I say? She must have demanded a huge pay day for a role that any "Smallville" actress out on haitus could've execute in their sleep.
But what the hell, they tried to do something different that much is clear, and I'll give Will Smith big props for bringing back solid film acting to the sci fi film genre after nearly a generation of Arnold Schwarzenegger's graceless one dimensional performance style.