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Ty's movie picks for Friday, May 15

Posted by Ty Burr  May 15, 2009 09:17 AM

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(Two of the supporting players in "Tulpan")

Sorry, I've been taking a mental health break from the blog for a bit. Workplace issues, lots of new movies to review, spring fever, things like that. Coffee break's over -- everyone back on their heads!

Wesley's currently at Cannes, as you can read in his excellent posts below, but before he left he took time to stomp on "Angels and Demons," the latest Ron Howard/Tom Hanks/Dan Brown confabulation to get the Vatican's knickers in a twist. Call me a heretic, but I actually enjoyed this more than "The Da Vinci Code," probably because I haven't read the book. Which is to say that where "Da Vinci Code" was lousy and dull, "Demons" is at least entertainingly awful . How can you resist Ewan McGregor parachuting into St. Peter's Square in full priestly regalia? Or Ayelet Zurer's hubba-hubba come-on to Tom Hanks: "Do you need help with that Latin?" (Oh, baby, conjugate my verbs.) Maybe it's best to approach this movie as a drinking game and take a shot every time someone mentions Bernini. "Angels and Demons" is nonsense, but it's ripe nonsense, and if anyone's in on the joke it's probably screenwriters Akiva Goldsman and David Koepp -- not exactly altar boys, I'm guessing -- who at one point paraphrase the famous line from "Tea and Sympathy" to campy effect. Ron Howard? Sorry, not in on the joke.

For an actual good time at the movies, your better bets (other than seeing "Star Trek" if you haven't already) are "Tulpan" and "Rudo y Cursi," both at the Kendall Square ("Rudo" is at the Waltham Embassy, too). The former is a visually amazing, dramatically primal story set on the steppes of Kazakhstan (no Borat jokes, please), with the 21st century hovering just out of frame -- see it on the biggest screen possible. The latter is a rudely funny Mexican comedy-drama about two boneheads (Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, reunited for the first time since "Y Tu Mama Tambien") who become soccer stars and end up regretting it. Worth it if only for the Spanish-language version of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me."

Canada's Atom Egoyan bites off more than he can chew in "Adoration" but does it handsomely. Ever since his 1997 art-house hit "The Sweet Hereafter," this filmmaker's works have become more and more like earnest games of three-dimensional chess, and here he tackles terrorism, adolescence, anti-Arab racism, mixed marriages, online communities, teacher-student relations, the sins of fathers, the anger of children, the Nativity, and the ethics of tow-truck drivers. Phew! Interesting to see Scott Speedman, onetime "Felicity" dreamboat, as a brooding backwoodsman type, though.

"Management"? Eh. It stars Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn and Woody Harrelson, and it's about a nerdy guy (Zahn) who follows his dream girl (Aniston) across the country. Sound like the sort of wan "indie" comedy that's killing Sundance? It is, even if it debuted at last year's Toronto festival. The low-budget sci-fi drama "Sleep Dealer" did debut at Sundance (in 2008), and Wesley's review makes me sorry I missed it. You don't have to -- it opens today at the Brattle.

George Romero's 1979 zombie classic "Dawn of the Dead" comes to the Harvard Film Archive tonight, with not a whit of its bloody satire of consumerism dulled by time. (The undead-assaulting-a-shopping-mall equation stings harder, if anything.) Tomorrow at the HFA, things get even weirder when the legendary docu-essayist/multimedia pioneer/giant throbbing brain Chris Marker stops by -- sort of. Apparently the director of films like the hugely influential "La Jetee" has been spending a lot of time in the virtual world Second Life, and this evening his avatar will be giving a tour of his online installations.

Oh, and the Boston LGBT Film Festival winds down this weekend at the Museum of Fine Arts. Sunday offers a chance to see the groundbreaking 1984 documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk" on a big screen. Yes, it's worth catching even if you've seen "Milk" -- Sean Penn captured the charisma perhaps better than any other actor could, but only Harvey was Harvey.

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1 comments so far...
  1. Hey Ty - have a good weekend
    1. Broken (and confusing) link in the 3rd paragraph - oh, well
    2. If the Globe is now linking to the A.O.Scott's reviews for "Another View"....I just want to be the first to say that I'm very worried for what's about to take place.

    Good Luck to you (plural)

    Posted by flightjkt May 16, 09 01:42 AM

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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.

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