Guess what? You didn't miss Thursday night's evening of films by young Boston-area directors at the Harvard Film Archive. Due to mysterious construction issues, the HFA had to scramble and reschedule the event for tonight, Friday. You know how you're always telling yourself you should buy local? It goes for the movies too. (Sorry if you're reading this on Saturday, though.)
As for the weekend's two major releases, it's a toss-up as to which feels more phony: The heaving metallic orgy of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" or the squidgy "little people" romantic comedy of "Larry Crowne." That said, there are diversions to be found in both. The third "Transformers" isn't the soul-sucking slab of anti-cinema that "Transformers 2" was -- it's more honestly disposable and so whirringly massive that it's kind of fun to watch for the first two of its two-and-a-half hours. It helps to actively not think about the plot and appreciate the movie purely as action painting. Still, bring some Advil.
"Larry Crowne" is Tom Hanks making a movie for your mother -- a sweet, clumsy fable about love and rebirth in Middle America. The script's a mess, the characters are too precious by half, and the star's direction is much wobblier than his last turn behind the camera, the charming 1996 rock comedy "That Thing You Do!" And, I hate to say it, but the statute of limitations on Hanks' romantic appeal may finally be running out. But you know what? He's still a movie star and so is Julia Roberts, and both are ridiculously enjoyable to watch even as "Larry Crowne" collapses in friendly chunks around their heads. Send your Nana to this one; she'll thank you.
Documentaries sobersided and less so roll into town. "Page One: Inside the New York Times" is a good (but not great) peek into the way the Gray Lady is trying to simultaneously charge into the future and hold on to the journalistic verities of the past. An unworkable paradox? Stay tuned. "The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls" is a frisky doc about your basic identical twin-sister lesbian country-and-yodeling comedy act from New Zealand. Both are at the Kendall Square, as is "Trollhunter," a deft, mordantly funny mockumentary from Norway about... well, check the title and the photo up top.
The Brattle brings in a brand spanking new print of Martin Scorsese's still-scarifying "Taxi Driver," just in time for film scorer Bernard Herrmann's centennial. You young'uns who think Scorsese's just the guy who made "Shutter Island" and DeNiro's another fat, lazy Hollywood actor really need to see this. Like, now. The Somerville brings in the schpritzy 80s comedy "Back to School" with Rodney Dangerfield at midnight Saturday and the Bogie/Hepburn classic "The African Queen" on Sunday and Monday.
Of course, you could just stay outside and enjoy this astonishing weather. But you didn't hear that from me.
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
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