by HELEN GEIB
A monthly series in which I relate my reflections on life as an independent-minded moviegoer in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I’m not confident enough in my definitions to say if indie comedy-dramas about misfit high-schoolers are a genre, a category, or a trend, but whatever they are Terri fits the bill. The bill includes a cast of (mostly) unknowns, natural lighting, unobtrusive camerawork, and on the story front, an open-ended ending after piling on (the difficult home life, the bullying at school, the weirdo best friend, the physical differentness, the etc., etc.). I enjoyed it even though that’s not really my cup of tea; you’ll definitely want to catch it on DVD if it’s yours. Jacob Wysocki, the young actor who plays the title character, is natural and appealing, but the main attraction is the unusual, truthful, and delicately handled friendship between Terri and his principal, played wonderfully by headliner John C. Reilly.
Last month I took a leap of faith and scheduled an Indy Film Buffs gathering for To Catch a Thief in the IMA’s “Summer Nights” outdoor movie series. Two years ago, the last time we went to a Summer Nights movie, it was hideously hot and as a natural consequence, almost no one came. This year the heat wave broke just in time. You could not have asked for a more perfect evening to see a movie under the stars, and of course, the movie’s awfully fun, a trifle but a delightful trifle where Grace Kelly looks stunning in every shot and a debonair Cary Grant makes it all look so effortless.
The August highlight was another movie at the IMA, this one screened in the Toby: Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice. Talk about a daring programming choice! A difficult film and fascinating; complex in theme and meaning and lushly textured in its visuals. Nearly everything, incident through significance, is conveyed through shot composition, music, the movement of the camera, and Dirk Bogarde’s astonishing performance. The museum managed to get hold of a 35 mm print and while it was noticeably scratched in places (it was original to the UK release, judging by the film board certificate appended to the front), the lush, muted colors, punctuated by splashes of vivid reds, shone through beautifully. There’s so much information within the frame- and in every frame- that I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to see this for the first time on a screen big enough to do the widescreen compositions justice.
Hollywood isn’t entirely to blame for the fact I only saw two multiplex movies. Work, yard work, vacation, and suchlike kept me busy and away from a couple of titles I thought I’d see; with luck they’ll make it into next month’s recap. Nevertheless, there was undeniably not much to draw me to the theater. One of the movies I did make it to was the thoroughly awful The Change-Up; at least I saw it for free at a preview screening. The other was the not-enough-better 30 Minutes or Less.
Finishing on a high note: Attack the Block (Nir’s review). I enjoyed it much more than I expected- and I thought I would like it. It’s lively and clever. I cared about the characters (the ones I was supposed to care about, that is). There are stylish touches in the visuals and good creature effects. There’s even some good, lightly worn social commentary.
How was your month at the movies?