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Vienna, Day 5: Bingeing on American Movies

September 19th, 2017 · No Comments · Austria, Lists, Movies, tourism, Travel, Vienna

It wasn’t only because we found meals in Vienna to be expensive, compared to nearby cut-rate European capital cities Prague and Budapest, that we avoided Vienna’s restaurants for most of our stay in the Austrian capital.

Though that was much of it.

Another major factor?

A chance to binge on American-made movies in VO (version originale) showings. No subtitles. Same as everyone back home saw them at the multiplex.

Channing Tatum doing a hillbilly accent. Kevin Spacey chewing the furniture. Samuel L. Jackson dropping Eff Bombs.

All in their own voices!

If you like movies at all, and live outside the states, A place called Artis International, in Vienna, will exert a magnetic pull on you.

And once we found the place, during a driving rainstorm a few days ago, we kept returning.

To the point of seeing four feature films in three days. Right there around the corner of an alley in Vienna’s Innere Stadt.

Sometimes, when doing a Euro tour, church- and museum-fatigue can set in. That is when you look for a park to haunt. Or a fine walk to take.

But if you get rain … you need an inside venue.

Such as the Artis International where, under a roof, you can choose from its lineup of recent Hollywood releases, unedited, uncut and unseen by most overseas Yanks.

The Artis building is fascinating in its own right, six theaters of some 70 seats each, built on three or four levels in some old building with a really strange layout. Patrons could play hide-and-seek in there.

And it would not cost much, either — as little as 6.5 euros (about $7) for any movie starting at 6 p.m. or earlier. When was the last time you saw a movie in SoCal for less than $10? The previous millennium? And each of the four we saw, at cut-rate prices, with surround-sound, were worth watching.

Ranking the four movies we saw, from worst to first.

4. The Hitman’s Bodyguard. A Ryan Reynolds/Jackson collaboration, in which a lot of ammo (and crude language) fly. If you are of the community of people who giggle every time Jackson drops an Effer … this is the movie for you. A lot of time spent in Amsterdam in a long chase sequence, racing around the canals, a lot of references to the evil ruler of Belarus which Alexander Lukashenko (the actual evil ruler of Belarus) may find a little invasive. “Hey, Hollywood! I’m sitting right here in Minsk!” A movie flawed by not knowing if it wants to be a righteous film about nailing a bad politician before his lackeys finish shooting up Amsterdam, or whether it is a sort of cold-blooded-professional-killer buddy film with Jackson and Reynolds riffing off each other. Either way, lots of nice cars are wrecked.

3. American Made. Tom Cruise doing Tom Cruise, and not sharing a movie with anyone. Check the credits — who is the second-most-famous actor in this movie? That’s why it cost “only” $80 million so far. No one but Cruise is getting paid. Loosely based on the life of Barry Seal (“based on actual events”), who flew loads of money, drugs and weapons into or out of Central and South America in the 1980s. Oliver North and Ronald Reagan appear, via 1980s videotape. I’m OK with Cruise, but this is not for you unless you like looking at that increasingly well-preserved Cruise mug, up close, for two hours.

2. Baby Driver. Didn’t like it while it was going on — some enormous believe-ability issues (20 Atlanta PD cruises can’t corner one car?), and that pervasive sound track in which drum beats punctuate the dialog. It can be cloying, but the movie is growing on me as something that really is a little different in the “heist”. genre, with the pervasive music and escapes that include parkour. The Baby Driver of the title is a kid whose parents were killed in a car crash, and he has always liked to drive fast, see, so he becomes the wheel man for Spacey (looking bloated (on purpose?), with a terrible hairpiece and his revolving bank robbers who are taking all the cash out of Atlanta, and money orders, too (haven’t credit cards made cash passe?). Baby Driver makes lots of Fast-and-Furious-type moves in various vehicles. And he does, in fact, answer to the name “Baby”. Jon Hamm as a bad guy doesn’t quite take.

  1. Logan Lucky. The hillbilly caper film. Ocean’s Eleven, West Virginia style. Former high school quarterback Channing Tatum is laid off from his low-paying construction job and decides to go all Robin Hood on the world, focusing on knocking over Charlotte Motor Speedway at the head of his posse of dimwits, nitwits and halfwits, including his one-armed brother (played by Adam Driver). Daniel Craig is great fun while going from Bond, James Bond, to Joe Bang, a renown hillbilly blower-upper of safes. The plan is ingenious, and targeting a redneck redoubt like CMS is inspired. But Things Go Wrong and the gang has to improvise … and then it becomes wheels within wheels. Great fun, especially believing I would not have been able to see it on the big screen, in English, anywhere east of Paris or south of Berlin. And that is what you do when it is raining in Vienna.


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