Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Boston film scene

I'm not sure I can describe how great the next two months are going to be for film here in Boston. Sure, there are a few upcoming releases to look forward to; Shutter Island, A Prophet, Terribly Happy, The Crazies, Alice in Wonderland, The Runaways, I Love You Philip Morris (finally), and Kick-Ass. But the real excitement is the repertory programing coming out.

Next week is the Red Riding Trilogy showcase at the Kendall. The Harvard Film archive is doing Bong Joon-ho and John Ford retrospectives. The Irish Film Fest has a preview screening of The Eclipse, followed by the actual fest in March. (They may also be the ones bringing the Secret of Kells to Boston for St. Patrick's.) The Independent Film Fest is in late April. And the Brattle has seriously outdone itself. A Merchant-Ivory fest, a restored print of The Red Shoes, A Jim Henson retrospective, Season 1 of Twin Peaks, Big Top Cinema (no really - a whole engagement for movies about circuses - I LOVE circuses), and a Kurosawa retrospective. I should mention at this point that I've never actually seen anything by Kurosawa or Ford. I am a bad film student. But now I can remedy that!

Oh, and the Oscars. ;)

How much of this will I actually get to see? Who knows?! But I'm almost caught up on my Oscar films (White Ribbon, Precious, maybe the Messenger to go). Saw 4 this weekend:

Up: really, guys? I liked Kevin... but that was about it. A solid enough Pixar film, but not their best and not as good as Coraline or Fantastic Mr. Fox. Actually, I even enjoyed Ponyo more.

Up in the Air: the jury is still out on this one. I liked the acting, although I wouldn't have nominated Clooney and Anna Kendrick's meltdown doesn't quite click at first. And while I liked that Jason Reitman resisted a completely cliche ending, it still falls into the trope of 'you aren't truly happy without a traditional nuclear home life'. Ugh.

Food, Inc.: Not a ton of new information for someone with an interest in modern agriculture, but it's a good reminder of how awful mass ag is. I definitely need to occasionally watch little chicks being mishandled to remember why I try to be conscious of my food choices. It did also include the terrifying fact that 90% of soybeans in the US are now round-up ready. Ugh. Ech. Add to that watching the production of the weird ammonia filler that goes in mass hamburgers and I will never ever want to eat fast food again.

I did wish it had more at the end in the way of solutions. There was a lovely little montage about talking to your congressman about food safety and eating less meat. But considering the number of questions it raised, I wish it had provided more in the way of; the best thing you can eat, out of these options, is x, y, and z. Best case scenario? Veggies from a farmers market. Second best case... I dunno.

In the end, though, definitely worth a watch and definitely worth the documentary nomination. A well presented, engaging, widely encompassing look at the food system today. With a lot of information Monsanto and Tyson and Purdue don't want you to know about. And I enjoy pissing off big conglomerations.

The Cove: Totally brilliant. I really hope this wins best documentary. It's about dolphin slaughter in Japan, told in a Mission Impossible or heist film style. It's an interesting portrait of an activist, a good overview of issues surrounding fishing today, and a thriller all wrapped up together. And while Food Inc. included some new hidden camera footage of slaughterhouses, the Cove is all about trying to get footage of what the dolphin slaughter is like in this one cove. Exposing something that people didn't want exposed. The payoff is astounding, for lack of a better word. Completely awful and terrible, but well worth watching. And the film ends on an upbeat note as we see some of the changes that are being affected as a result of activism.

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