Guest post by Ian Lueck, a good friend of Movie Matrimony and a regular patron of the Trylon Microcinema, the best little theater that could in the Twin Cities.
Hi, Ian Lueck again! Dave and Chelsea have graciously allowed me to use this lonely blog space once again for another review round-up of movies I’ve watched at The Trylon and The Heights theaters. This post will consist of roughly the first half of 2014. There was a period when I wasn’t going to either theater very much, but lately I’ve been making up for that (“Just when I think I’m out, they PULL ME BACK IN!”). There was a lot of great programming and interesting viewing to be had, so without further ado, here are my thoughts on what I’ve watched so far:
|A stronger, non-singing musical moment.|
devised during February and March 2014 was showing pre-code films at The Heights. For those that don’t know, this is referring to the Hays Code, a pre-cursor to the MPAA, which prevented films from getting TOO racy or violent. So this run of films was meant to show what Hollywood films were like before its widespread adoption in 1934. Of course, it goes without saying that the execution of the subject matter in these films is positively tame compared to today, but if you watch these movies in the context of when they were made, it’s fascinating what the Hays Code cracked down on. For instance, the topic of sex outside of marriage was frowned upon, which is pretty much the entire plot point to “Baby Face”. A young woman, Lily, played by Barbara Stanwyck, is stuck in a dead-end job for her father until he’s killed in an explosion. She decides to use this opportunity to move to the city and make a name for herself, and she finds that the easiest way to climb the corporate ladder is to, um, be easy. It’s difficult to make this subject matter funny, but somehow they found a way. Speaking of funny: When I saw this in theater, a few in the audience cheered when Stanwyck’s name first appeared in the opening credits, and hissed when one of the antagonist’s names appeared. It felt like what I assume seeing a movie in the ‘30s was, when hissing was more common.
|Also features an all-time movie hairdo.|
audience members were audibly surprised how abrupt the ending was, and one was even dissatisfied. For those who haven’t seen it: The movie ends right in the middle of Popeye searching for a drug dealer in an abandoned building, a gunshot goes off, and suddenly we get “where are they now?” info on the criminals, most of whom got off scot-free or had their sentences reduced. Now I’d be lying if I said the ending wasn’t unsatisfying from the perspective of “the good guy catches the crooks”. But I think a nice neat little ending where Popeye succeeds would undermine the gritty realism that the movie presents. In real life, criminals DO get away with things (sad, but true), whether it be legal loopholes or plea bargains or insufficient evidence or easily-swayed juries. It’s a downer, but it’s honest.
|Alec Guiness, in all eight of his roles. Respect.|
|Pretty much sums up the movie.|
|So much running.|
Run Lola Run (1998): An exciting, fast-paced vehicle where the titular character desperately tries to get enough money for her boyfriend to pay back his boss, in less than half an hour. Talk about pressure. What separates this movie from a standard “race against time” plot is how the movie “resets” twice, to show how differently the same scenario went if Lola made other choices. We even see how inconsequential background characters’ lives are altered by the slightest changes in execution of this twenty minutes, shown in rapid-fire, “blink and you’ll miss it” fashion. So which “version” is the real one? More importantly, does it really matter? If you’re going into this expecting to see one true ending, you’re missing the point. This isn’t really a movie in the traditional sense, but a narrative experiment to show how slight variances can produce vastly different results. Some have even likened the movie to a video game, since Lola has three lives and each scenario gets a little better as the player learns more each time, and I can definitely agree with that.
|Now, grab some friends and head over to the Trylon!|