13 August 2008


A confession: I haven't seen a movie in a theater for two-and-a-half weeks.

(Pause for collective gasp from the blogosphere)

For most people, that revelation would not seem abnormal, but when it comes to movies, I'm not exactly normal. I usually catch something on the big screen at least once a week if not twice. And I work at a theatre, for christ sakes. So why has my movie-going dropped off so dramatically?

It's not as if I don't want to go to the movies- there's always something to see. In fact, my "films to see" spreadsheet currently has at least four or five titles on it. However, I can think of a good excuse for not making the effort to see each one: THE DARK KNIGHT and MAMMA MIA! require a trip to the multiplex, which, like a good film snob I tend to avoid as much as possible (although the latter is playing at the Kendall Square, go figure); BEFORE I FORGET is at the MFA, so the showtimes are few and far between; TELL NO ONE is playing where I work, but lately the last thing I want to do is stay there an extra three hours at the end of the day.

Actually, the real problem may be that I'm not dying to see any of these films, much less other titles I have some interest in (THE LAST MISTRESS, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS). Late summer tends to be a fallow period for moviegoing in general, but this year seems especially slim. Fortunately, there's great stuff (that I've already seen, natch) currently playing at both the multiplex (WALL-E, which begs for a big screen) and art house (MAN ON WIRE, not only the best documentary of the year thus far, but one that could've easily made this list). A few promising things are also on the horizon, like Woody Allen's VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA (which opens at the Coolidge this Friday), Isabel Coixet's ELEGY (which, like the Allen film, also stars Penelope Cruz), and Sundance winner FROZEN RIVER.

I doubt I'll ever get sick of or - god forbid - stop going to the movies. If this downtime has one advantage, it's that I have more time to make a few extra dents in my Netflix queue. I've spent the last few weekends getting caught up on the slightly overhyped but quite enthralling TV series MAD MEN, and am about to watch the final season of THE WIRE. Also saw Wong Kar Wai's much maligned MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS, which was okay despite a shallow screenplay and Norah Jones' flat performance. Much better was Martin Scorsese's AFTER HOURS, a surreal, economical caper of the sort I wish he'd return to... plus, it has a inimitable, delightfully deranged, ice cream truck-driving Catherine O'Hara in it.

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