grey marble

February 14, 2009

Three movies and a play

I haven't been seeing movies in the theater. It seems more and more difficult to arrange oneself around the scheduled times, and the price of admission is inching towards that of the opera. Instead I've been staying home with films from the internet and the library. But this past week was different. I had gone to three movies and a play.

Monday night, Ann asked if I wanted to see The Wrestler. I had asked her a week or two ago if she had wanted to see Let the Right One in, a Swedish vampire movie. She said she already had, adn then asked if I had seen the Aronofsky film. I hadn't, and we made tentative plans to see it later that week. I got sick, and so we postponed it to Monday.

We agreed on a late show, and after a poor bowl of chirashi with another friend, I took the train back downtown to the theater.

The film was well-rendered, if the plot was familiar. Rourke was amazing for how he embodied the role, and for how the role seemed a reflection of his own battered years. The parts that seemed most alive were those that showed the character in his millieu, the easy backroom banter and the quick planning that goes into each performance.

Wednesday night I met up with Lynda. She had an extra ticket to Mike Birbiglia's one-man show Sleepwalk with Me. I wasn't sure what to expect, but Lynda assured me that friends of hers had gone and enjoyed it. She pointed to positive reviews in various papers. The last bit of theater she had invited me to proved to be of questionable quality, but I was free that night; I said yes.

The show was fun but could have been tightened. At first, I was uncertain whether it was a play or a stand-up routine, and I kept waiting for the play to begin. In the back of my mind, I remembered a performance by Spaulding Gray. I remembered his perfect pacing and sense of structure. His command of his material seemed absolute.

My mind drifted back towards the performance and I enjoyed it for what it was. Afterwards, he invited Lisa Loeb onstage for a few minutes to chat. Lynda was beside herself when she saw her name in the program. She told me that "Stay" was one of her go-to karaoke songs.

Karen had asked me on Tuesday whether I wanted to see Let the Right One in the next night. I told her I was booked, but could see it Thursday. She was free and we set a time to meet. The movie was playing at the Angelika and I realized I hadn't been in some time.

We met up for dinner and I enjoyed a far superior bowl of chirashi to the one I had had earlier in the week (it turns out that I had sushi three times this week as well). We caught each other up about work and mutual friends and then walked over to the theater. As we waited for the film to start, we played games on each other's iPhones. Trains rumbled beneath our seats.

The film was beautifully shot, and I enjoyed the deliberate pacing. Afterwards, however, I wasn't sure what I thought. I felt there was a very good film to be had, but that the different strands didn't all quite hang together as well as they could. Some themes could have been better developed.

The lead actress reminded me of what a former co-worker could have looked like when she was twelve, and I mentioned it to Karen. We had both worked with her, and she told me I should tell her. I felt like I had a devlish grin on my face when I told her.

Friday, I im'd Karen to ask if she wanted to see Coraline in 3D that evening. She said she was thinking of going home and being healthy, but the movie sounded more fun. Plus it was in 3D! While I had some work to take care of, I didn't feel like going home to do it. I was tired from the past week and felt like taking my mind off of things. And the movie was in 3D!

We ate at a diner around the corner from the theater then rushed back for the screening. An usher took our tickets and handed us our glasses. I put them on and asked Karen if I looked like Kool Keith. She said they were kind of cool, but huge. Later I would look at myself in the mirror; I felt they made me look more Urkel than cool.

The film was beautifully wrought, but the story wasn't so engaging. The effects were mesmerizing until they my mind got used to them, but throughout, I would stop myself and think, "Wow! This is three D!".

Before the film began, we watched a number of trailers for upcoming animated films to be released in three D. Most of the trailers were flat until one suddenly split its image. The audience put on their glasses and a collective "Whoa!" erupted from the seats. For the first few minutes of the film everyone was just stunned by the 3D effects.

After the film we wound our way back down to the streets, past the various theater levels and then the Dave and Busters and then the Applebees to the streets. Karen wondered aloud if they were clubs. Lines had formed to get in.

Karen said that it would be amazing if all the signs in Times Square were done in 3D. We could put on our glasses and it would be like something out of Back to the Future. I mimed a reaction to a 3D shark jumping out from Madame Toussauds, and was thankful I hadn't fallen into someone.

The world seemed flatter after the hyper-detailed film. I was tired. My senses had been overloaded. I wandered with Karen through the crowded streets to the subway. We descended into the muted tones of the underground and boarded a train. We sat down. The train lurched ahead. I was thankful to be able to rest.
Posted by eugene at


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