movies this week: let’s escape

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I sure could use some good old-fashioned escapism and entertainment. I’m in dire need of wit and humor and action and adventure and really wild things. And I notice that the ideal movie for these things is playing next week.
No, I didn’t mean The Incredibles. I am too annoyed by noisy crowds to brave a Pixar movie on opening weekend. Maybe in a couple of weeks.
I was thinking more of The Lady Eve, that delightful Preston Sturges comedy with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda and Charles Coburn, which is being shown in Austin next week. Aren’t we lucky?
You know what kind of movie you want. Maybe you’re fortunate enough to find it in a theater this weekend. Maybe you have to go to Vulcan Video (or your local video store of choice) and dig around in the VHS section. But my advice to you is to find your favorite brand of escapism and indulge like mad.
(A special edition of Dr. Strangelove was released on DVD this week. That might be a particularly apt choice. On the other hand, it might seem a little too apt.)

New movies in Austin this week:
Alfie—I don’t find Jude Law particularly attractive, I do find Marisa Tomei irritating, and I no longer see movies just because they have Susan Sarandon in them. However, the hype on this movie is reminding me that I would like to see the original, with the young Michael Caine, whom I do find attractive.
Fay Weldon wrote a very good article for the Guardian comparing the two versions and the eras in which they were filmed. I haven’t been a fan of Weldon’s since college but I do recommend this particular article.
The Incredibles—Do I need to tell you anything about this movie? It’s Pixar, it’s allegedly wonderful, it has the voices of Holly Hunter and Wallace Shawn and Samuel L. Jackson and lots of other cool people. Some of the ads looked a bit sexist to me but I am confident that this was just some marketing demographics thing and not actually part of the movie itself.
Sideways—The latest film from Alexander Payne, who wrote and directed Citizen Ruth, Election, and About Schmidt. The plot sounds road-trip-ish: two guys heading for the wine country in California as a last blast before one of them marries. I’ve read plenty of glowing reviews and a few disappointed ones too.
Stage Beauty—Okay, this sounds fascinating to me: Billy Crudup plays a 17th century actor whose specialty is female roles, before women were allowed to perform onstage. Claire Danes plays his dresser, who wants to be an actress. I know, I’m weird—I don’t think Jude Law is hot, but I would love to see Billy Crudup as Desdemona. Ben Chaplin (The Truth About Cats and Dogs) is also easy on the eyes. Directed by Richard Eyre, whose most recent movie was the good but depressing Iris. I hope this sticks around long enough for me to see it.
Zelary—This movie from the Czech Republic is about a nurse involved in the resistance during World War II, who has to hide in a small town, disguised as a former patient’s wife. Nominated for an Oscar in 2003. Not quite the kind of movie I had in mind for escapism, but your tastes may vary.
Notable events/revivals in Austin:
Fanny and Alexander—Playing at Paramount on Saturday 10/13. This is a restored print. I haven’t ever seen this movie so I ought to go, but I have to be in a certain kind of mood to watch and appreciate a Bergman film.
Fast Times at Ridgement High—Playing at Alamo Village on Tuesday 11/9. Free screening to promote the movie’s recent release on DVD. You have to pick up tickets at the Village box office in advance, and the tickets don’t guarantee a seat that night. But they’re giving away DVDs and other stuff. (We just rented the DVD for this weekend. Darn.)
Frida—Playing at Alamo Downtown on Monday 11/8. This is one of the Alamo’s “Eat Drink Watch Movies” events where you pay $50 but get a lavish theme dinner, somehow related to the movie, to enjoy with the film. The event is also a fundraiser for the Capital Area Food Bank.
Heaven’s Gate—Playing at the Paramount on Sunday 11/7 and Tuesday 11/9. This is the original four-hour version, recently restored. Overlooked masterpiece or endless, expensive bore? Now’s the time to find out.
The Lady Eve—Playing at the Texas Union Theater (UT campus) on Wed. 11/10 at 6 pm. Free screening followed by a discussion with Anthony Lane, film critic for The New Yorker. I have hesitated to mention this event, because I am dying to go and I don’t want y’all to get there and grab all the seats first. This is a gorgeously wonderful movie and even though I own the videotape, seeing it in a theater full of people is worth finding parking on the UT campus.
On the Waterfront—Playing at Paramount on Sun. 11/7 and Wed. 11/10. The Paramount has a newly restored print. I have to say I don’t particularly like this movie. It may have been radical and different when released, but I found it overwrought and melodramatic.
Talk of the Town/The More the Merrier—Playing at Alamo Downtown on Tuesday 11/9 as part of the Jean Arthur retrospective from Austin Film Society. Two comedies directed by George Stevens and starring Jean Arthur. I have seen Talk of the Town, which also stars Cary Grant and Ronald Colman, and wasn’t that impressed. It seemed fairly routine and not all that funny. The More the Merrier was just released on DVD this week and I have it in my rental queue; I am a sucker for any movie with Charles Coburn.
At home, I’m planning to watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which we had to rent the day it was released on DVD because my boyfriend was so shocked and appalled that I have never seen it. He then told me I would probably enjoy it about as much as I enjoyed Caddyshack, which is not exactly making me look forward to seeing the film.
It looks like we will also get The Philadelphia Story this weekend, which I adore. My excuse for renting it is that I want to see the DVD quality to determine if I should buy it for myself (I already have the videotape). But really, I am looking forward to seeing it again and showing it to my boyfriend for the first time. He liked Holiday (same director/writers/actors).
I still have to write reviews for the movies I’ve seen in the past week: If You Could Only Cook, The Getaway (1972, natch), Muriel’s Wedding, and Quills. Hey, I’m nothing if not eclectic. And very fond of escapist fare of any kind.

One thought on “movies this week: let’s escape”

  1. Well, I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one who thought that the previews for the “Incredibles” was a little sexist. I was beginning to think that maybe I was being overly sensitive.

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