At The Theater #7: The Last Station

Walking into the theater at The Angelika, I didn’t know anything about The Last Station other than James McAvoy stars in it. When I sat down, and was told it was about Tolstoy, I reaction was “Really?” Inside I was thinking “How did I let this happen? Great, time to prep for something boring and pretentious.” But as it turns out I need not have worried. The Last Station is a surprisingly humorous movie, especially considering that it’s a movie about Tolstoy. The movie features what will probably be the funniest sex scene of James McAvoy’s career. I did think it was weird that my companions and I were the only ones laughing during some scenes. Maybe the other theatergoers were also prepped for something boring and pretentious, and no amount of humor was going to rob them of that.

The scene right before this picture is worth the price of admission.

Christopher Plummer plays Tolstoy. This is the second movie this year that I thought Christopher Plummer was Ian McKellen. This is also the second movie where upon finding out he wasn’t Ian McKellen, I thought he was Christopher Lee. For some reason, I forgot Chrisopher Lee’s last name and thought Christopher Lee and Christopher Plummer were the same person. “He looks so different than when he played Saruman,” I’d think. “It must be because his beard is so much scragglier here than when it was so nicely combed in Lord of The Rings.” Because I thought Christopher Lee and Christopher Plummer were the same person, I found it very funny when one of the characters with a General Zod-like beard was on screen at the same time as Tolstoy. Luckily someone that looks like General Zod is funny no matter who is starring alongside him. It turns out not only is Christopher Plummer not Ian McKellen or Christopher Lee, he hasn’t played a wizard in any of the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings movies. How is this possible?

Not Gandalf.

Helen Mirren plays Tolstoy’s wife Sofya. Helen Mirren is turning 65 this year. Is there any actress who is sexier at 65 than this woman? Good looking for her age seems like an insult. The woman is good looking.
♫Sexy and 65/My little Tolstoy queen♫

Beards play a very big role in The Last Station. If you’re wondering how important a male character is in the movie, just check the size of his beard. Tolstoy sports something that is Santa Claus meets ZZ Top, so it’s no wonder that everyone hangs on his every word. Paul Giamatti plays Vladamir Chertkov, Tolstoy’s Head Sycophant in Charge (HSIC). It’s only natural that he has the next most complicated beard, even having a line “There was a problem with the wax,” when questioned about the state of his moustache. James McAvoy’s Valentin Bulgakov is the new guy at the compound, so it makes sense that his beard is understated, about the same size as the General Zod clone who is of a similar rank as him in the Tolstoy compound.

“Son of Jor-El. Kneel before Tolstoy.”
This is not Christopher Plummer, but this beard does make an appearance in The Last Station.
I saw The Last Station at The Angelika Film Center. Like The Brooklyn Heights Cinema, The Angelika gets an A for their popcorn. Movies are $12.50 there, the same price as the Regal in Union Square. Is $12.50 the current standard price of movies in Manhattan? Have I been spoiled by Brooklyn, where $10 seemed steep just a couple of weeks ago?

The Last Station is at the bottom of my list of movies I’ve seen at the theater so far in 2010. But it’s a good movie and I recommend seeing it. I’ve just been lucky to see plenty of good movies so far this year. Hopefully this keeps up.