January 8, 2006

Five Movies in Six Days

rentTuesday January 3 • Rent • Arlington Capitol Theater • The music is fantastic, and the performances by (mostly) the original Broadway cast are wonderful. I think the pacing was very poor in places, which is cinematic poison in a movie with no real plot. Chris Columbus, who is allegedly a Steven Spielberg protoge, has none of Spielberg's talent for cinematic shorthand. When Roger decides to return to New York, Columbus shows Roger with the bus ticket, getting on the bus, and a long, lingering shot of the BUS DEPOT sign. Gee, I wonder what this is supposed to mean?

producers2006Wednesday January 4 • The Producers (2005) • Loews Church St, Cambridge • Who can you blame for this painfully faithful filming of the Broadway show The Producers? Tony-award-winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman, making her motion picture debut? Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, who play each gag and facial mug as if they're playing to the second balcony? Perhaps both. Perhaps if I saw the movie in a 1,000 seat sold-out theater on opening night, it would have fared better, but with half a dozen folks on a Wednesday afternoon, the gags all fall flat.

capoteThursday January 5 • Capote • Landmark Embassy Theater, Waltham • Wonderful performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote, and Clifton Collins Jr. as "In Cold Blood" killer Perry Smith. The screenplay (by actor-turned-writer Dan Futterman) is right on target. Director Bennett Miller, making his feature-film debut, seems to be in over his head. The music by Mychael Danna (The Ice Storm, Shattered Glass, Being Julia) is terminally cliched.

Saturday January 7 • King Kong (2005) • AMC Fenway • See my entry on December 16, 2005. The only difference is, this time, I left the theater for a bathroom break during the totally gross bug-fight sequence.

chroniclesSunday January 8 • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe • AMC Burlington • A delightful adaptation of C.S. Lewis's 100-page novel. The children playing Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter, are excellent, especially 9-year-old Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie. Tilda Swinton is perfect as Jadis the White Witch. James McAvoy is right on target as Mr. Tumnus.