You know what was almost as exhausting as watching (and then having to think about) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Reading all the Fans v Critics: Dust of Cheetos thinkpieces and rage-comments in the week that followed the film’s huge opening weekend.
The more I read, the more I became convinced that it was Star Wars: The Force Awakens all over again. When it came to the facts of the case, people on both sides generally agreed: The Force Awakens was very nearly a remake of A New Hope, and Batman v Superman was a gigantic sensual assault where story and character played second and third fiddle to spectacle. The disagreement was largely over whether those things were problematic. In other words: whether or not you liked it seemed to depend largely on why you were there and what you were looking for. I’m only sorry that in all the chaos, I forgot to post Scott’s review of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the long-awaited (?) follow-up to the biggest romantic comedy of all time. (Spoiler: he didn’t much care for it.)
Now, while all the world holds its breath and waits to see if BvS manages to maintain its monetary momentum, Mr. Marks has the temerity to send up a five-star shout on behalf of Remember, a film that magically combines several things he generally hates in movies — the Holocaust, seniors, dementia — into a single thing he loves, thanks in large part to director Atom Egoyan and star Christopher Plummer. (Check out his interview with the former from last week.)
Otherwise, it’s pretty quiet on the new-release front this week, save for a couple of disappointing warblers — though they’re disappointing in different ways. The first is Marguerite, which features a lousy singer in a decent comedy. The second is I Saw the Light, which mires a great singer — Hank Williams, winningly portrayed by Tom Hiddleston — in a middling drama.
The real action is on the revival/re-release front, most thrillingly provided by a cleaned-up print of Orson Welles’s ode to plump Jack Falstaff (and by extension, all humanity), Chimes at Midnight. It’s part of a solid week of classics at the Ken: films that outlasted the boring buzz about box office and reviews and found a foothold in the cultural imagination. Fancy that.
Possibly the best thing about the new release of Chimes at Midnight is the improved sound: this is Shakespeare we’re hearing here (well, mostly), and it’s grand to be able to decipher the dialogue. But over at the Angelika, they’re reaching back to a time before talk to the biggest box office hit of 1925: The Big Parade. Apparently, people have been forgetting that war is hell for a long time now.
Next week there’s a whole bunch of new stuff, including an offering from the director of Uncle Boonmee, Who Can Recall His Past Lives, a film that left a certain newish critic fairly flummoxed. Amazingly, the fanboys left me alone on that one. Cheers!