About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boston and the movies

One other thing about my trip to Boston. In his review of Edge of Darkness, Boston-born NY Times critic A.O. Scott thinks the Boston accents were overdone. Well, maybe Tony Scott needs to go back to his old home-town. The accents in the real Boston are every bit as abundant as they are in the movie.

There are no Boston accents to be found in The Last Station.

I saw this at the Landmark Kendall Square, Aud. #1, a movie theatre which clearly has no desire to be found. It's around two-thirds of a mile from the Kendall stop on the Red Line. The newspaper ads give its location as 1 Kendall Square, but 1 Kendall Square turns out to be a complex with Building 200 and 300 and 400 and 800 and 1400, and the movie theatre is kind of way in the back hidden away in a dark dusty corner. Not a bad place to see a movie, kind of '80s sloped-floor multiplex but the rake is OK, and the screens are at least decent even in the smaller theatres.

I'm talking about the theatre because I'm not excited to talk about the movie. I'd resisted seeing it because it seemed like the reviews like something that really wasn't all that good, but since it did get those two Oscar nominations...

And I was right. It's not all that good. It's about a battle between Leo Tolstoy's wife and his followers for control of the copyright to his books like War and Peace and Anne Karenina. The movie takes a stab right at the start to provide some historical context, but its heart isn't in it, so there isn't much historical context to provide any real stakes to the goings-on. In my opinion, there wasn't anything all that special about Christopher Plummer's performance or Helen Mirren. That being said, it's rather amazing that this is Plummer's first Oscar nomination. He should probably have been nominated for Ararat from 2002 or for The Sound of Music from 40-some years ago, but he gets one now. He is 70, after all, so how long can you go.

Like one of those sports movies that shows the photos of the real people over the end credits, this movie shows some archival footage of the actual events taken on some of those earliest of moving picture cameras. I doubt I'd find a documentary on this subject any more unquenchably interesting than the fictional version, but I found more to like in those fleeting glimpses of archival footage than I did in the film that proceeded them.

After doing my duty with this, I did decide that I had done enough dutiful moviegoing. I just don't think I'm going to be delighted by Precious, I'm not going to see it, and I'll just have to miserably underprepared to comment on whatever it wins or loses on March 7. My early warning system for the movies I'm likely to like or not like is, on balance, reliable.

SF Signal actually linked me for Viewer Mail. Jim Hines, too. Not that I'm starved for attention or notice these things. Nosirree.

1 comment:

Rochelle Spencer said...

I have to admit the premise of The Last Station sounds good. I don't know if it would be easy to dramatize, or if film would be the best medium to tell this story, but I'm curious to read the book--sounds like there could be some good internal conflict there.