by HELEN GEIB
A monthly series in which I relate my reflections on life as an independent-minded moviegoer in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I made a decision this month. I won’t call it monumental, that’s much too grandiose, but it’s a big deal for me and consequential for this blog. I decided to stop pushing myself to see movies where the main reason to see them is to pick off a new Hollywood release to review this or that weekend. I’ve seen too many bad movies this year following on a couple of other not so great years, and it’s worn me down. Looking on the bright side, some of those recovered hours can be allocated to other writing and some to seeing interesting-looking here today, gone tomorrow limited release titles.
Funny enough, although the new policy went into effect this month, it didn’t translate into seeing fewer movies than normal. Anything but as I took in eight new releases in the theater. No great classics in the making in the mix, but all but one was worth the trip. There’s also a pleasing cosmopolitanism to the score: four from Hollywood, with one of those centered on Israeli characters, and one each from South Africa, England, France, and Hong Kong.
I’m good at picking out the new releases that I’ll like and/or will be good (not always the same thing, even if maybe it should be?). I ought to be, as many as I’ve seen over as many years as I’ve been watching movies. However, my predictive power is not infallible, as evidenced by the fact I had expectations on both scores from George Clooney’s lame political drama The Ides of March. Much, much better was baseball movie Moneyball; earning a solid three star review, it was the best new movie I saw in October. Rowan Atkinson’s silly 007 parody Johnny English Reborn was also a lot of fun.
The rest earned qualified recommendations. Follow the links for my reviews of Real Steel, Life, Above All, and My Afternoons with Margueritte. The Debt lost momentum but had a compelling scenario and excellent performances, especially from Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson. Early on in The Legend Is Born: Ip Man, it seemed like the movie was going to take the story seriously and maybe even develop the characters. Once I realized that wasn’t the case I was able to sit back and enjoy the splendid old-school kung fu that was the main order of business.
Last but anything but least, October also brought one repertory screening. Given that the film was Sunrise with live piano accompaniment, it could hardly help but be the cinematic highlight of my month. TOTM in IN readers will not be surprised to learn that I had to make the drive to Bloomington’s IU Cinema for the experience. An hour and 20 minutes each way and more than worth it.
How was your month at the movies?