Friday, April 12, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 12 April 2024 - 18 April 2024

Kind of wish I had a work holiday on Monday to fit an extra movie or two in, to be honest.
  • The week's big new release is Civil War, the new one from Alex Garland starring Kirsten Dunst as an American photojournalist who has covered war zones all over the world now covering the disintegration of her own country. It appears to be more about war than the actual things dividing America at the moment, but neither Garland nor Dunst often misses. It's at the Coolidge, the Somerville, Fresh Pond, Jordan's Furniture (Imax), West Newton, CinemaSalem, Boston Common (including Imax Xenon & Dolby Cinema), Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport, South Bay (including Imax Xenon & Dolby Cinema), Assembly Row (including Imax Laser & Dolby Cinema), Arsenal Yards (including CWX), and Chestnut Hill.

    The Long Game, with Jay Hernandez as the mentor to a bunch of Mexican-American caddies who create their own golf course, opens at Fresh Pond and Boston Common,

    A different "impossibly-fast-growing spider" movie than the one which played BUFF - Sting rather than Infested - plays Boston Common, South Bay, and Assembly Row. Arcadian, which stars Nicolas Cage in a Quiet Place-looking thing as a recluse sheltering from monsters who come out at night, plays Causeway Street and South Bay.

    A new version of Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, starring Simone Joy Jones and Nicole Richie, opens at South Bay.

    Shrek 2 gets an anniversary re-release at Boston Common, South Bay, and Assembly Row.

    There's an early-access show of The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare at Boston Common, the Seaport, Assembly Row, and Chestnut Hill on Saturday; a surprise AMC "Screen Unseen" preview plays Boston Common, Causeway Street, Assembly Row on Monday. Various theaters will be doing "Spider-Monday" for the next couple of months, with Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man kicking it off at the Coolidge (35mm), Boston Common (also Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday), the Seaport (also Tuesday/Wednesday), and Assembly Row (also Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday). Holocaust drama Irena's Vow plays Boston Common Monday and South Bay on Monday and Tuesday.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre is starting to look a little more like expected as they expanded, opening three new movies along with Civil War: La Chimera comes from Italy, with Josh O'Connor as a man with a near-supernatural talent for finding hidden artifacts, drawn to a mysterious new dig; it's also at Kendall Square, the Lexington Venue, Boston Common, and the Seaport. The Beast, from France, features Léa Seydoux as a woman in 2044 who has been drawn to the same man in multiple lives, via reincarnation, virtual reality, or perhaps erased memories. That also plays Kendall Square and Boston Common.

    Screen 6 looks like it's being used in large part for specialty bookings that hang around one week, with this week's selection being Remembering Gene Wilder, which is, well, that. Director Ron Frank will be on-hand for a special show on Sunday afternoon.

    The midnight zombies this weekend are a new digital restoration of Cemetery Man on Friday and a 35mm print of [REC] on Saturday; for the polar opposite, there's a Kids' Show of Mary Poppins on Sunday morning. If Civil War is not enough Kirsten Dunst, Monday offers to 35mm presentations, with a Big Screen Classic show of Marie Antoinette at 7pm and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man at 9:45pm. What's the Score presentations include Shaft on 35mm film Tuesday and Joker on film Wednesday. Thursday's Big Screen Classic is a 35mm print of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights.
  • Landmark Kendall Square opens Housekeeping for Beginners, about a woman who never aspired to motherhood finding herself forging bonds with her girlfriend's daughters.

    There's a "listening event" for Pearl Jam: Dark Matter on Tuesday, with the new album playing twice, once in the dark and once with visuals (also at Boston Common). The Tuesday New Hollywood show is William Friedkin's Sorceror.
  • The Capitol in Arlington gets Blackout, the new werewolf story from Larry Fessenden with Alex Hurt as a painter in a small town who worries the holes in his memory correspond to a number of vicious killings. They also have GoodFellas for Capitol Crimes on Friday & Monday, plus Fried Green Tomatoes for "Good For Her" on Saturday & Tuesday. They also have matinees for school vacation, with The Lego Movie from Monday to Wednesday and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Wednesday to Friday.

    In addition to Civil War and The First Omen on 35mmThe Somerville Theatre wraps their "Smooth Cinema" series on Friday with Arthur on 35mm, as well as a "Super-Smooth High Seas Party" in the Crystal Ballroom afterward, with tickets for the party including the movie. They have a 4K double feature of restored The Third Man & Coup de Torchon on Saturday & Sunday; a 35mm noir double feature of The Postman Always Rings Twice & The Bribe on Monday, a special presentation of Growing Pains featuring a Q&A with the cast and crew on Tuesday, a tale-of-two-studios pairing of The Wizard of Oz & It Happened One Night (the former on 35mm) Wednesday, and a special presentation of Indigo Girls: It's Only Life After All on Thursday.

  • More South Asian movies for Eid this weekend at Apple Fresh Pond (and elsewhere). Friday brings Telugu-language horror-comedy Geethanjali Malli Vachindi; Tamil-language drama DeAr, in which a wife's snoring is a sort of proxy for the challenges newlywed couples face; Romeo, a Tamil-language romance about a husband hoping to win the love of his wife in an arranged marriage; Aavesham, a Malayalam-language action flick with a gangster offering engineering students the chance for revenge against the upperclassmen who hazed them; Varshangalkku Shesham, a Malayalam-language comedy about two friends viewed at different points in their lives; and from Pakistan, Daghabaaz Dil, an Urdu-language romantic comedy about a couple who may ironically find love while attempting to sabotage their upcoming arranged marriage. Marathi comedy Alibaba Aani Chalishitale Chor, in which the attendees of a dinner party hear a kiss and then a slap during a brief power outage, plays Saturday and Sunday.

    Held over at Fresh Pond are Hindi-language movies Crew, Maidaan (also at Boston Common), and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (also at Boston Common). Telugu-language Family Star also stays at Boston Common.

    Korean concert film Suga - Agust D Tour 'D-Day': The Movie plays Boston Common, Causeway Street, Assembly Row, and Arsenal Yards. Also from South Korea, thriller Exhuma continues at Boston Common and Causeway Street. Vietnamese drama Mai continues at South Bay.

    Chinese romance Viva La Vida continues at Causeway Street; YOLO continues at Boston Common and returns to Causeway Street.

    Japanese films hanging around are Perfect Days at the Coolidge, and Kendall Square; The Boy and the Heron is still at West Newton.
  • The Alamo Seaport has Dawn of the Dead through Wednesday for its 45th anniversary. Their rep calendar has Clerks for the Time Capsule show on Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; Labyrinth on Saturday and Sunday, the latter a "movie Party"; and Blue Giant for "World of Animation" on Monday and Tuesday.
  • The Embassy continues Wicked Little Letters and Farewell Mr. Haffmann, with The Taste of Things playing Saturday.
  • The New England Aquarium adds "Ocean Paradise" to its rotation of Imax 3D films starting this weekend.
  • Wicked Queer 40 continues through Sunday at The Brattle Theatre, the Bright Screening Room at the Paramount, and The Museum of Fine Arts, plus free best-in-show presentation at BU's GSU Auditorium on Wednesday, On Monday, they shift to streaming, with many programs available to stream in Massachusetts through the 22nd or 30th.
  • After Wicked Queer, The Brattle Theatre has the annual Muppet Madness Marathon on Monday, this year featuring The Dark Crystal, Muppet Treasure Island, and The Muppet Movie, the last on 35mm. Monday is also the start of Massachusetts Space Week, with the Brattle hosting a Space Film Festival, featuring 2001: A Space Odyssey on 35mm Monday, Sunshine on 35mm Tuesday, and Gravity on Wednesday. There's also an RPM Fest Presentation of "Vitreous Chamber: Films by Malic Amalya & Nathan Hill" on Wednesday and a Grrl Haus Cinema show on Thursday.
  • The Harvard Film Archive has two programs of the short films of Margaret Tait this weekend, with Ute Aurand hosting "Films by and about Margaret Tait" on Friday while Luke Fowler presents Being in a Place: A Portrait of Margaret Tait on 35mm, plus three of her shorts, on Saturday. Sunday has the last film of their Martin Rejtman series, Silvia Pietro, on 35mm, as well as Jean-Pierre Bekolo's Midimbe's Order of Things - Part I. The Edward Yang series continues on Monday with That Day, on the Beach, including a video introduction by actor David Mao.
  • Joe's Free Films shows a free screening of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind on 35mm on Friday in room 26-100, with The MIT Lecture Series Committee also showing a presentation of Sudanese film Goodbye Julia in that room on Monday.
  • ArtsEmerson has two documentaries in the Bright Screening Room of the Paramount this Saturday, with Boston Asian-American Film Festival presenting Big Trouble in Little Chinatown, which chronicles the fight for Chinese districts to survive amid gentrification and the spike in anti-Asian racism around the Covid epidemic, while Unseen (preceded by short "Doc West Moves") follows a blind, undocumented immigrant attempting to become a social worker.
  • The Bright LIghts at the Paramount has two events this week: Fairlyland plays on Wednesday with the original book's author Alysia Abbott on-hand to discuss the adaptation of her memoir of San Francisco in the 1970s & 1980s; American Fiction plays on Thursday with Emerson professor Jerald Walker leading discussion.
  • Boston Turkish Film & Music Festival has streaming selections through Monday.
  • Belmont World Film moves to the Embassy in Waltham on Monday for Hesitation Wound, a Turkish film about a lawyer who must split her time between her criminal practice and her hospitalized mother. They also have the previous week's selection, Traces, available to stream from Tuesday to the following Sunday.
  • The final weekend of Dune: Part Two at The Museum of Science appears to be sold out, but they will be adding "Superhuman Body: World of Medical Miracles" to the Omnimax rotation starting Saturday.
  • The Lexington Venue has La Chimera and Wicked LIttle Letters (Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Wednesday/Thursday) from Friday to Sunday, and also has another weekend of indie matinees: documentary Patrick and the Whale (playing with the 30-minute local short film program "Voices of Our Youth") on Saturday and indie drama Two Lives in Pittsburgh (playing with animated short "Pete") on Sunday.

    The West Newton Cinema adds Civil War and continues Wicked Little Letters, One Life, Kung Fu Panda 4, Dune: Part Two, American Fiction, and The Boy and the Heron.

    The Luna Theater has Late Night with the Devil on Friday, The Craft on Saturday, American Psycho on Sunday, a Weirdo Wednesday show, and a free UMass Lowell Department of World Languages & Cultures presentation of Big Fight in Little Chinatown on Thursday.

    Cinema Salem has Late Night With the Devil, Civil War, Monkey Man, and, yes, Hundreds of Beavers from Friday to Monday. There's a Night Light show of Switchblade Sisters on Friday, a surprise "Whodunnit… With a Fake Boston Accent" show on Sunday afternoon (free, but registration at Race to Solve the Case encouraged), and the first night of the Seagrass 420 Film Festival, featuring Up in Smoke and The Cabin in the Woods, on Thursday.

    If you can make it out to Woburn, Sweet Dreams is playing at the Showcase there and stars Johnny Knoxville as the reluctant softball coach at a sober-living facility, with Kate Upton and Jay Mohr also in the cast. The Showcase in Dedham has an English dub of Capitán Avispa, a Dominican animated film about heroic honeybees.
Yeah, I'll do Civil War, Arcadium, The Beast, and maybe La Chimera. I'll probably choose the noir over the Kirsten Dunst double on Monday, and also hit Sunshine.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Viva La Vida

I rather liked the previous two films by writer/director Han Yan which made it to Boston without quite realizing that they were kind of unrepresentative of his work. Consider:

  • First Time (2012) - A girl with neuromuscular disease dreams of being a ballet dancer, meets a boy who wants to sing rock & roll
  • Go Away Mr. Tumor (2015) - A woman gets a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, has flights of fantasy that sometimes involve her handsome doctor
  • Animal World (2018) - Gambler gets drawn into the world of high-stakes rock-paper-scissors; producers spring for Michael Douglas as the mysterious American loan shark
  • A LIttle Red Flower (2020) - Two families each losing a member to cancer
  • Love Never Ends (2023) - Two elderly lovers at the end of their lives (played Danvers, but I couldn't make it out there)
  • Viva La Vida (2024) - Woman with kidney disease considers marrying a man with brain cancer (but healthy kidneys)
The two with review links are ones I've seen, and it's worth noting that Go Away has a bunch of big, effects-driven fantasies, and in fact the trailer/posters lead with the main character's zombie-movie fantasies but with big letters saying "THIS IS NOT A ZOMBIE MOVIE", which is kind of clever advertising and certainly leaves the impression that he's a big spectacle guy doing a mainstream comedy around cancer treatment, but apparently, he's a guy who makes movies about cancer and death who made a couple of crowd-pleasers. Animal World, obviously, is something else entirely, but there is a comatose mother and hospital bills for motivation.

That's kind of a weird specialty, although maybe not that much more than Han Han's Pegasus movies that are clearly informed by his interest in racing. What's kind of interesting is that Han Yan seems to have done enough of these or immersed himself in it that I get a feeling of confidence and authenticity that I don't necessarily see from a lot of other movie that are built around medical crises; in this case, particularly, Lin Min can rattle off a lot of symptoms and effects almost casually and it hits a good spot between "the filmmakers have done their research and kind of find all this stuff fascinating" and "people living with this sort of illness master what they need to know". It's maybe not quite George Miller making Lorenzo's Oil more engrossing than it has any right to be because he's a doctor who understands it, but it's not far off.

So, yeah, a lot of cancer and other illness in his movies. And, apparently, a lot of medical procedures costing a lot of money, and, geez, China, I thought you were communist! I mean, what's socialism even for if you're still going to have the same sort of medical bankruptcies we have in America?


Wo men yi qi yao tai yang (Viva la Vida)

* * * (out of four)
Seen 6 April 2024 in AMC Causeway #10 (first-run, DCP)

Viva la Vida makes its way to the USA at right about the same time as a film called Someone Like You is released, and they likely don't have much in common other than young people brought together through medicine in ways one might find questionable, but I find it kind of interesting that the one from the other side of the world grabbed my interest and the one closer to home seemed to icky to touch. Maybe if iI'd seen a trailer for this rather than simply buying a ticket based on some familiarity with the director, it would have pushed me away. Or maybe not - writer/director Han Yan is, if nothing else, keenly aware of how off-puttingly selfish the premise may seem and redirects it almost immediately.

Lin Min (Li Gengxi) is a couple months from turning 25 and at least a few years into dealing with the kidney condition uremia, which requires obsessive monitoring of her intake of food and water and regular dialysis, also leading her and her family to move into a Changsha neighborhood that has easy access to three hospitals in case a transplant becomes available (the waiting list is generally eight or nine years) or she needs emergency care because her precautions are not enough. One desperate night, she records a video to be sent to a cancer discussion group, saying she is willing to not just marry a terminal patient with the appropriate compatibility factors, but commit to taking care of their family after they die, in return for a donated kidney. Ashamed, she recalls the video almost immediately, but it has already been seen by Luu Tu (Peng Yuchang), an eccentric young man whose glioblastoma occasionally causes him to pass out and whose persistence can sometimes feel like stalking.

There's a certain sort of relief when a romance with a premise that would raise red flags not only acknowledges but straight-up waves them, as happens here: Not only does Lin Min realize just how messed-up what she is doing right away, but Han Yan also makes sure to point out that this whole scheme wouldn't actually work, that there are laws and regulations in place to prevent this sort of manipulation of the transplant process. Han takes the potential for stalking fairly seriously, as well, although he shows a pretty deft hand for when it's time to move past that as the main thing driving the story. He also seems to have a solid handle on the medical issues and how to integrate them into the story (he has done a surprising number of films built around people being sick or dying in his career, so it figures); all in all, it's good work at showing you can tell a story with some drama without exaggerating unduly.

It does turn rather quickly, but, hey, Luu Tu doesn't just help Lin Min move, but does it for her, and, yeah, that would change my outlook in a pretty big hurry! Han is frequently not particularly subtle; and while in some cases it's because frustration is not a subtle emotion, sometimes you can see the hammer, as with a scene where Lin Min is riding a bus and hearing some kid doing English lessons that includes how they live in a perfect city as she's dealing with a gentrification eviction on top of her health issues. And yet, there's a surprisingly good romantic comedy underneath all that, with Luu Tu's casual weirdness a good complement to Lin Min's determination, and the characters around them filling useful niches in the story. It's heightened and higher-stakes than is typical, but the requisite jokes and chemistry are there.

A lot hinges on Li Gengxi being a solid young actress to build the movie around; she spends much of the film frustrated and annoyed but still vital, able to sell the audience on her being an ordinary young woman in a lot of ways even after being introduced with a lot of heavy material. She, perhaps unusually, spends enough of the movie without apparent makeup to make scenes like her friend's wedding a bit jarring, and there's something similarly grounded about the way she shows Lin Min as used to all this without a lot of chatter. Peng Yuchang gives Luu Tu a certain scrappy dumb-guy charm without making him pitiful or naive.

Amusingly, when the film closes with videos of the real Lin Min and Luu Tu (the opening titles refer to a short documentary as the basis, though I can't find a trace of it on the English-language web), they seem a bit more upbeat and uncomplicated than the characters in the movie, though those images are probably catching them at their best. As funny a film as it frequently is, the last poke to remind the audience that this is not just about desperation is appreciated.

Friday, April 05, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 5 April 2024 - 11 April 2024

Marvel and DC basically taking the year off, but somehow two superhero-esque things (or at least titles) this week!
  • Is Universal releasing Monkey Man this weekend to have it in theaters for Eid? It's Mumbai-set but English-language, with writer/director Dev Patel as an anonymous vigilante looking to clean up the underworld. It's at Fresh Pond, CinemaSalem, Boston Common (including Dolby Cinema), Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport, South Bay (including Dolby Cinema), Assembly Row, Arsenal Yards (including CWX), Chestnut Hill. Dogman, on the other hand, is the latest from Luc Besson, has Caleb Landry Jones as a homeless man who has formed a bond with a pack of stray dogs. It's at Boston Common, Kendall Square, and the Seaport.

    Also opening is The First Omen, with Nell Tiger Free as a young nun at an orphanage in Italy and a seemingly immaculate conception with a conspiracy behind it (although, given that this is a prequel to The Omen, it's almost certainly Antichrist-related). It's at the Somerville (35mm), Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport, South Bay (including Dolby Cinema), Arsenal Yards, and Assembly Row (including Dolby Cinema).

    The Greatest Hits, starring Lucy Boynton as a woman who discovers that music can literally transport her in time, plays at Causeway Street. BUFF selection Femme, in which a drag queen attempts to seduce the man who gay-bashed him, is at Boston Common.

    Fresh Pond has Epic Tails, an English-dubbed release of a French animated film about a brave mouse in Ancient Greece.

    Someone Like You, previously just a Fathom special, has a full week of shows at Boston Common, South Bay, Assembly Row. Boston Common, South Bay have An Officer and a Gentleman to pay tribute to the late Lou Gossett Jr.

    Gone with the Wind has 85th anniversary shows at Boston Common, South Bay, Arsenal Yards on Sunday/Monday/Wednesday. There's a preview of The Long Game at Boston Common Sunday, an early access presentation of Civil War at Boston Common (Imax Xenon) on Monday, and an AMC Screen Unseen preview on Monday at Boston Common, Assembly Row. Indie musical comedy Intermedium, in which a teenager deals with an irritating ghost, plays Causeway Street on Tuesday. K-Pop concert film Suga: August D Tour "D-Day" The Movie plays Wednesday & Thursday at Boston Common (including Imax Xenon Wednesday), Causeway Street, Assembly Row (Wednesday only including Imax laser), Arsenal Yards (Wednesday only).
  • Sleeper hit possibility for Wicked Little Letters, though, which has Olivia Colman as a woman receiving vulgar notes in the mail, Jessie Buckley as the uncouth Irish gal she thinks is sending them, and Anjana Vasan as the Desi policewoman who takes it on herself to do a proper investigation. It's at The Coolidge Corner Theatre, the Kendall, the Embassy, the Lexington Venue, West Newton, and Boston Common.

    Though Easter has passed, the Coolidge is doing zombies for the April midnights, with a digital restoration of Return of the LIving Dead on Friday and a 35mm print of Night of the Comet on Saturday. For kids, there are matinees of FernGully: The Last Rainforest on Saturday & Sunday. The April "What's the Score" series includes CInema Paradiso on Sunday, Ryuichi Sakamoto: Opus on Monday, Rocky on Wednesday. There's also Open Screen on Tuesday and a "Science on Screen" presentation of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, with science journalist Seth Mnookin discussing trauma. They appear to be closed on Thursday
  • Woody Allen's first movie in three years, Coup de Chance, plays at The Capitol in Arlington; it's also likely his last (the man is almost 90), a French-language crime comedy about a young couple whose lives are thrown for a loop by the return of a former lover. They also have "Capitol Crimes" screenings of Fargo on Friday & Monday and "Good for Her!" shows of A League of Their Own on Saturday & Tuesday. Documentary Indigo Girls: It's Only Life After All, plays Wednesday.

    In addition to screening The First Omen in 35mm (I think it's the first time they've used the projector in theater #3 since they redid it), The Somerville Theatre has a new 4K restoration of Peeping Tom on the main screen Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening also features a team-up with Pennsylvania's Mahoning Drive-In for a 35mm double feature of Drive-In Massacre & Bay of Blood. Monday's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid show is a 35mm double feature of Humoresque & The Big Sleep. The Tale of Two Studios on Wednesday is The Thin Man & Ladies of Leisure, also both on film, as is Thursday's Smooth Cinema show of One Crazy Summer..
  • The Embassy is the first place in the area to open Farewell Mr. Haffmann, about a Jewish man fleeing Paris ahead of the Nazis who leaves his business and home in the hands of an employee, but must ask that employee to hide him when he is unable to leave.
  • With Eid coming up, a lot of movies from India open at Apple Fresh Pond (and elsewhere). Opening Friday, Hindi film Dukaan stars Monika Panwar as a surrogate mother for a difficult couple. Telugu-langage comedy The Family Star (also at Boston Common) follows a family man with big dreams. Telugu thriller Bahumukham looks like an unusually tight production, with HarShiv Karthik starring, writing, directing, editing, producing, and doing a lot of other behind-the-scenes work in a thriller about an up-and-coming actor hiding his past in a detention center. Kalvan is a Tamil-language comedy about a thief trying to get the bribe needed to get an anti-poaching job Manjummel Boys returns in a Telugu dub, plus holdovers Crew, The Goat Life, and Tillu Squared. Hindi-language action movie Mahadev Ka Gorakhpur opens Saturday, while two more in Hindi - Maidaan, starring Ajay Devgn as a legendary soccer coach in the 1950s, and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (which I'm guessing is Hindi for "Good Cop, Bad Cop") stars Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff as two officers transporting a dangerous criminal - open Wednesday, both also playing Boston Common.

    Viva La Vida, the latest from director Han Yan (Go Away Mr. Tumor & Animal World), has a woman who needs a kidney transplant meeting a young man with a fatal brain disease (but healthy kidneys); it's at Causeway Street. Mainland Chinese film YOLO continues at Boston Common.

    Korean thriller Exhuma continues at Boston Common and Causeway Street. Vietnamese drama Mai continues at South Bay.

    Japanese films hanging around are Perfect Days at the Coolidge, Kendall Square, and Luna Lowell (plus one show at the MFA); with The Boy and the Heron still at Fresh Pond and West Newton.
  • Wicked Queer 40 sets up shop at The Brattle Theatre, the bright Screening Room at the Paramount, The ICA, and the Coolidge, plus free shows at BU's GSU Auditorium on Tuesday, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design on Wednesday, and Queendom as part of Bright LIghts at the Paramount on Thursday. There will be a number of filmmakers present, and a number of retrospective screenings as well as new discoveries.
  • The Alamo Seaport rep calendar has time capsule screenings of Dumb and Dumber (Friday/Saturday), Interview with the Vampire (Friday/Saturday/Tuesday), a movie party for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Sunday, a Graveyard Shift show of The House of the Devil Monday, and a benefit screening of The Greasy Strangler to help with star Michael St. Michaels's hospital bills on Tuesday.
  • The Harvard Film Archive welcomes Martín Rejtman for screenings of both his latest film The Practice (Friday) and a presentation of the recently-restored Silvio Prieto They also have two more from Taiwan's Edward Yang - Mahjong on Sunday afternoon and The Terrorizers on Monday evening - and Jean-Pierre Bekolo's Afrofuturist story Naked Reality on Sunday evening.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts plays host to the Boston Turkish Film & Music Festival this weekend: Director Zeki Demirkubuz will be on-hand Friday for Life, his epic about a man seeking the woman who fled rather than be pushed into an arranged marriage with him; Saturday's Suddenly, about a woman seeking her lost sense of smell, also has a post-film Q&A with director Melisa Önel; while Sunday's Neandria, about a village filled with strange events, is preceded by the narrative and documentary winners of the short film competition. A selection of other are also available to stream through the 15th.
  • The Regent Theatre has a remastered version of Fantastic Fungi playing on Friday for its fifth anniversary; most of us probably saw it at home as it was one of the first things playing "virtual theaters" during the pandemic. Wednesday, they have "Mountains on Stage", a selection of four adventure documentary shorts.
  • Belmont World Film is at Fresh Pond Monday with Traces, a Croatian film about an anthropologist whose work with grave markers has a parallel in how she is the last member of her family after her father's death. Translator/author Ellen Elias-Bursać will speak, and there will be Croatian wine and snacks before the film.
  • Landmark Kendall Square has documentary Food, Inc. 2 on Tuesday night, and it's seldom good news when a documentary has a sequel 15 years later. Also playing Tuesday night is Taxi Driver, with the New Hollywood entry $5 for loyalty members.
  • Dune: Part Two at The Museum of Science is sold out this weekend, and next Friday and Saturday are like the last two shows there.
  • The Lexington Venue has One Life (Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Wednesday/Thursday), Wicked LIttle Letters (Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Wednesday/Thursday), and Problemista (Friday/Saturday/Sunday). They also have special documentary matinees on the weekend: Against All Enemies on Saturday looks at the radicalization of military veterans and plays with short "Dreaming of a Free Press"; The Palmnicken Tragedy on Sunday examines a Nazi war crime, as 3,000 prisoners were shot before the advancing Russian army arrived, and plays with short "Am I Not My Brother's Keeper?"

    The West Newton Cinema picks up Wicked Little Letters, continuing One Life, Problemista, Kung Fu Panda 4, Dune: Part Two, American Fiction, Wonka (Saturday/Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday), and The Boy and the Heron (no show Thursday). Closed Monday. Poor one out for The Holdovers, maybe not there continuously since November, but a darn good run nonetheless!

    The Luna Theater has Late Night with the Devil on Friday and Saturday, Nobuhiko Obayashi's House on Saturday, The Exorcist on Sunday, a Weirdo Wednesday show, and a free UMass Lowell Philosophy & Film show of Legally Blonde on Thursday.

    Cinema Salem has Late Night With the Devil, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Godzilla X Kong, and Monkey Man from Friday to Monday.
Looking at the Monkey and Dog Men, Naked Reality, two doubles at the Somerville, Wicked Little Letters, Viva La Vida, and maybe heading out to the Embassy for Haffmann.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Back Home

Just me for Back Home last night, which isn't necessarily surprising, as it came out in Hong Kong last September, and even if you presume that streaming services and people no longer having machines to play bootleg DVDs has diminished piracy to the point where it's not a major concern, this is way past the point where you'll be seeing much about it in any media you follow. Presuming that exists; I don't know where people get that sort of movie news from any more. It seems to be how distributor Illume works, and I'm kind of lcurious if it's working out for them.

As for the movie itself, it's apparently part of a new-filmmakers initiative in Hong Kong, and I think we've had a few more come over. It's no longer quite so much the case as it was a few years back that Hong Kong filmmakers don't work in Cantonese unless they have something Hong Kong-specific to say, I was actually kind of surprised by the number of comments on Letterboxd about it having a lot of pointed commentary! I suppose I've been trying to impose that sort of take on movies a bit likely - sometimes, to paraphrase Freud, an umbrella is just an umbrella - because it can be kind of too-easy for me as an outsider to try and force a movie into the one frame of reference I have about What's Going On There Now and sound like a fool. But, I suppose, even if there wasn't an umbrella that shows up, there people cutting out tongues and looking to leave town probably adds up to something!

On the other hand, it works pretty well as a horror movie even if you don't entirely get that particular bit of context, not a bad appetizer for Exhuma if you'd like a warm-up in terms of things starting just kind of weird before getting wild.

Back Home

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 20 March 2024 in AMC Causeway #3 (first-run, DCP)

The basic idea behind Back Home is a pretty basic hook for a horror movie - traumatized person returns to where the thing he repressed happens and soon finds it overwhelming him - but it is, of course, what you do with this material that matters. For quite some time, it looks like writer/director Tse Ka-Ki (credited in English as "Nate Ki") isn't doing enough, and I'm not entirely sure whether the last act is making up for lost time or everything clicking into place.

Our homecomer is Lai Heung-Wing (Anson Kong Ip-Sang), "Wing" for short, who went to live with his uncle in Canada as a child and is still there, twenty years later, until he gets a call saying that mother Tang Wai-Lan (Bai Ling) is hospitalized after an apparent suicide attempt - the doctor says her comatose state is like her soul has already left her body, and, also, her tongue is gone. Not knowing how long he'll be there, he settles into his mother's grimy apartment - the same one she lived in when he left, with the elderly couple who run a stall selling items for burnt offerings (Tai Bo & Helen Tam Yuk-Ying) recognizing him. He soon discovers that the little kid who lives next door, Yu (Wesley Wong) is seeing ghosts the way he used to when he lived there, that the entire seventh floor is unoccupied and has been for years (a rarity in crowded Hong Kong), and that his mother's attempted suicide was neither the first. It also won't be the last.

If nothing else, Back Home is dripping with good scary-movie atmosphere, in pretty much every way that it can be: It's got phantoms that manifest as shadows so dark as to seem two-dimensional (other than solid-white eyes) on the one hand, and colorful paper constructs whose design is just abstracted enough to make a mockery of reality on the other, even before getting to the little paper people inside something you know exists to be set on fire. That bit sticks in one's head just enough that Tse circling back around later is surprisingly effective, and he also makes use of the mother's apartment and the building around it being just the right state of run-down to create an appropriate sense of desperation but also left enough room for both the seventh floor and what's going on in broad daylight to be creepy in other ways.

There's also a nice performance from Anson Kong, another member of the Canto-pop group from which The Moon Thieves drew much of its cast; he manages to make Wing seem shrunken and timid as a result of what's happened to him without being pushed to the side by the bigger performances from Bai Ling and others. I'm curious as to how Canadian he reads to Hong Kong audiences here, especially since part of what I liked about Wind, from an American point of view, is that he also frequently doesn't seem sure if something's weird or he just no longer fits in.

I suspect that this movie's biggest problem is that it counts down from seven days but does not have seven days' worth of stuff to do - it had me cranky and impatient and wondering why this guy doesn't just check into a nice, non-haunted hotel for roughly half its length. Once it gets down to two or three days left, though, I found myself squirming and saying stuff was fucked up in a good way, seeing how it fit together just well enough to see the shape of what's going on, at least enough to be creeped out

Maybe it makes more (or less) sense to folks from Hong Kong. For me, it kind of lands in the gap between where I enjoy the clever and meaningful construction and where the assorted scary stuff gets my skin crawling such that it doesn't matter why or how, but I kind of like what it's going for regardless.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 29 March 2024 - 4 April 2024

If you don't have plans for Easter, the local independent theaters are each offering a lot of movie for just one ticket. But if you want a more conventional sort of big…
  • ... there's Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire, with Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Godzilla, and King Kong reuniting with Godzilla vs Kong director Adam Wingard (whose longtime collaborator Simon Barrett co-writes) to apparently spend more time exploring the Hollow Earth and face a new monstrous threat. It's at the Capitol, Fresh Pond, Jordan's (Imax 2D0, CinemaSalem, Boston Common (including Dolby Cinema 2D & RealD 3D), Causeway Street (including RealD 3D), Kendall Square, the seaport (including Dolby Atmos), South Bay (including Imax Xenon 2D/3D, Dolby Cinema 2D & RealD 3D), Assembly Row (including Imax Laser 2D/3D, Dolby Cinema 2D & RealD 3D), Arsenal Yards (including CWX), and Chestnut Hill.

    In the Land of Saints and Sinners features Liam Neeson as a former gangster whose past has come home to roost in the form of a revenge-seeking Kerry Condon, with Ciaràn Hinds as the cop trying to keep the small town in which he lives from exploding. It's at Boston Common and Causeway Street. Asphalt City features Tye Sheridan as a New York City paramedic being mentored by grizzled partner Sean Penn (with Mike Tyson as their boss?); it's at Boston Common.

    Late Night With the Devil , gets a full slate of shows at Boston Common and Causeway Street and expands to the Seaport, South Bay, and CinemaSalem.

    A number of Blumhouse films return to Boston Common, Assembly Row for the weekend, with Sinister Friday, The Purge on Saturday, Ouija: Origin of Evil on Sunday, Insidious on Monday, The Invisible Man '20 on Tuesday.

    Hate to Love: Nickelback, has an encore Saturday afternoon at Kendall Square, Boston Common, and Assembly Row. They Shot the Piano Player plays Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evening at Boston Common. Someone Like You, in which a man seeks out a woman who came from the same IVF batch as his best friend and falls in love (romantic or icky depending on your temperament) plays Boston Common, South Bay, and Assembly Row from Tuesday to Thursday<./LI>

  • Landmark Kendall Square also has three boutique-house openings this week. Carol Doda Topless at the Condor gets the most showtimes, looking at how in 1964, Ms. Doda became America's first topless dancer and didn't hide that her breasts were augmented. About Dry Grasses, a movie from Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylon about an art teacher apparently stuck in Anatolia, has fewer times in part because it's epic-length. It shares a screen with High & Low: John Galliano, a documentary about a notable and volatile fashion designer.

    Tuesday's New Hollywood presentation is Serpico.
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre is officially a six-plex now! Screens 1 & 2 are the ones that have been there for decades, 3 & 4 are the tiny rooms added in the last decade or so, and 5 & 6 are the new rooms somewhere in between. They bring in One Life and Immaculate to fill things in, and also open Ennio, a documentary on film composer Ennio Morricone, for one show a day on screen #6 (it's also at the Lexington Venue).

    March's video game midnights wrap up with 35mm prints Lara Croft: Tomb Raider on Friday and Silent Hill on Saturday. Sunday offers another chance at the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy on 35mm in their extended versions, while Monday has a print of Duck Soup for the Big Screen Classic. On Tuesday, they start the April "What's the Score" series with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - one of Morricone's most famous, appropriately enough - with optional seminar beforehand with musician James Heazlewood-Dale, continuing Wednesday with a 35mm print of the original 1933 King Kong. On Thursday, they wrap the Debra Granik retrospective with her documentary Stray Dog.
  • Indian movies turn over almost completely at Apple Fresh Pond this week! Hindi movie Crew stars Kareena Kapoor, Tabu, and Kriti Sanon as an airline flight crew involved in a caper/heist thing. The Goat Life is the first Malayalam-language movie I can recall getting to the mainstream multiplexes, starring Prithviraj Sukumaran as a "guest worker" who winds up in the middle of Saudi Arabia herding goats; it also stars Jimmy Jean-Louis, whom you may remember as "The Haitian" on Heroes and other Western productions, and also plays Boston Common (with both Malayalam & Telugu screenings). Telugu-language comedy Tillu Squared features Sidhu "Starboy" Jonnalagadda as a guy who lands in the middle of a murder mystery, while Yuva is a Kannada-language action movie about a gang war at an engineering school (which seems unlikely, but maybe they're different in India). Also, Swatantrya Veer Savarkar plays Friday to Monday after one show last week; Telugu action movie Legend has a tenth-anniversary show on Saturday.

    Hong Kong horror movie Back Home stars Anson Kong Ip-Sang as a man returning to his childhood home after having grown up in Canada and once again finding that he can see ghosts; it's at Causeway Street. Mainland Chinese film YOLO continues at Causeway Street and Boston Common.

    Musical drama A Fragile Flower opens at South Bay, with Vietnamese pop star Maya as a singer who faces challenges during her rapid ascent to the top of the charts. Vietnamese romance Mai continues at Causeway Street and South Bay.

    Korean thriller Exhuma continues at Boston Common and Causeway Street.

    Japanese films hanging around are Perfect Days at the Coolidge, Kendall Square, and Luna Lowell (plus one show at the MFA), with The Boy and the Heron still at Fresh Pond and West Newton - apparently it's had a "re-release" but just never left those places.
  • We sort of need a portmanteau word for these bookings where The Alamo Seaport in particular shows a movie a couple times on its opening weekend but not for more enough to really call it a run. Rungagemtns? Or just old-fashioned playdates? Anyway, this week, it's Lousy Carter, with David Krumholtz as a not-particularly-popular university professor told he has months to live, playing Sunday evening and late Monday afternoon.

    Elsewhere on the rep calendar, there are Time Capsule shows of Clifford (Saturday/Monday/Tuesday) and Forrest Gump (Sunday/Monday), plus preview shows of Dogman (Wednesday for Victory Members), The First Omen (Wednesday), and Sasquatch Sunset (Thursday).

    Man, imagine being told your new movie was booked in a theater but they'd be playing it fewer times than revival showings of Clifford.
  • The Brattle Theatre has more of Cinema Ritrovato On Tour this week, with the famed repertory festival from Bologna bringing a number of highlights of the 2023 edition stateside, many recent 4K restorations that show off the Brattle's new projector. Entries include Fists in the Pocket (Friday), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Friday), A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (Saturday), a "Cinema's First Nasty Women" program (Saturday), Caught (Saturday), Fear and Desire (Saturday), Joe Dante's The Movie Orgy (Sunday), Hyenas (Sunday), and Memories of Underdevelopment (Sunday). Note that The Movie Orgy is free - first-come-first-serve with no advance tickets - but it's also a five-hour mashup, so maybe you've got to be as obsessive as Joe Dante for it! Not part of the festival, but still a recently-restored classic, is the monthly Stop Making Sense show Saturday night.

    Midweek, they have a tribute to recently-deceased character actor M. Emmet Walsh, featuring Straight Time (35mm Tuesday/Wednesday), Blood Simple (Wednesday/Thursday), Blade Runner (Final Cut Wednesday/Thursday), and Calvary (Thursday). Double features of the non-Blade Runner movies Wednesday & Thursday.
  • The Somerville Theatre and IFFBoston present Menus-Plaisirs Les Troisgros for two shows on the main screen Sunday, which takes up the day because it's a four-hour Frederick Wiseman deep dive into a great French restaurant (hopefully whatever folks get from the concession stand won't feel too disrespectful). Monday's "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" double feature is The Killers & Deception (the former in 4K and the latter on 35mm film), while Tuesday features the rescheduled double feature meant to open the series, a 35mm Veronica Lake twin bill of This Gun for Hire & The Glass Key. Wednesday's MGM/Columbia pairing is the 1925 Ben-Hur & Desert Bride, the former on 35mm film and both (I believe) with Jeff Rapsis on the organ. Thursday's Smooth Cinema show is a 35mm print of Running Scared

    The Capitol has Scarlet Street for Capitol Crimes on Friday & Monday and Thelma & Louise for "Good for Her!" Saturday & Tuesday.
  • The Harvard Film Archive begins "Chronicles of Changing Times: The Cinema of Edward Yang", a retrospective of one of Taiwan's most notable directors, with two shows that are already sold out - Yi Yi on 35mm Friday and A Brighter Summer Day on Saturday, as well as A Confucian Confusion on Sunday. The former two will screen again the first weekend of May.

    Also on the schedule are a second screening of Jean-Pierre Bekolo's Aristotle's Plot (35mm Sunday) and their new 35mm print of The Conversation (introduced by Steven Biel) on Monday.

    Joe's Free Films also shows a half-dozen other free specialty film screenings at various locations on the Harvard campus between Tuesday and Wednesday; RSVP required in most cases (information on the calendar).
  • The Museum of Fine Arts has two films from their "Festival of Films from Japan" this week, with Blue Giant (also part of "Created Worlds: Animation from Around the Globe") on Friday evening and Perfect Days on Thursday (though it's marked as sold out).
  • This Monday's Belmont World Film presentation at Fresh Pond is The Old Oak, director Ken Loach's final film, which centers around the titular pub in a decaying mining town where Syrian refugees are being settled. Jeff Thielman of the International Institute of New England is the guest speaker.
  • The Midweek Music Movies and More show at The Regent Theatre this Wednesday is The Arc of Oblivion, with a pair of local archivists on hand to introduce & discuss this film about how records are kept and the filmmaker's attempt to build an ark in Maine. They also have an outdoor short film program, The Kendall Mountain Film Tour 2024, on Thursday.
  • Stopmotion is this week's Thursday Bright LIghts in the Bright Screening Room of the Paramount Theater, with director Robert Morgan visiting for a Q&A.
  • Dune: Part Two in The Museum of Science is sold out on Saturday, but there are seats for Friday and the next two weekends.
  • The Lexington Venue has One Life (Friday/Saturday/Sunday), Ennio (Friday/Saturday/Tuesday/Thursday), and Problemista (Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Thursday).

    The West Newton Cinema picks up One Life and Problemista, continuing Cabrini, The Zone of Interest (Saturday/Sunday), Kung Fu Panda 4, Dune: Part Two, American Fiction (no show Thursday), Wonka (Saturday/Sunday), The Boy and the Heron (no show Thursday), and The Holdovers (no show Thursday). Closed Monday and Tuesday this week. They also host Boston Jewish Film's presentation of Between the Stone and the Flower, with documentary subject Genie Milgrom present to talk more about embracing her Jewish heritage on top of her Cuban/Catholic one.

    The Luna Theater has Perfect Days Friday and Saturday, Metropolis on Sunday, a Weirdo Wednesday show, and Late Night with the Devil on Thursday.

    Cinema Salem has Late Night With the Devil, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Godzilla X Kong, and Glitter & Doom from Friday to Monday, apparently the only local(ish) theater where the "fantastical romance" built around the music of the Indigo Girls is playing.
Already reserved tickets for GxK (and, honestly, kind of wish I had time to re-watch the MonsterVerse beforehand), will probably hit Back Home and In the Land of Saints and Sinners, plus a couple at the Brattle, maybe figure out how to catch up on some other stuff (Love Lies Bleeding, Mai, Ghostbusters) around hitting Somerville double features all week WIsh I could trust Fresh Pond to have English subtitles on Crew, because that looks fun.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Exhuma

Like I said in this week's Next Week, the Underground Film Festival was this weekend, and would normally eat all of my time - well, not all my time; I'll usually skip the music video package and sleep in during the Saturday Morning cartoons when that was a thing (I guess Ms. Janisse is busy with other things these days), scaping back a little time to write or do the weekend grocery shopping or other errands, but Exhuma dropped in the Boston area this week, and who ever knows if it will last until Thursday night, the next potentially free date what with all the good rep stuff?

So, early day, and worth it - this isn't quite The Wailing, but it's got a lot of the same vibe of the haunting being way more than anyone expected, even if it's not quite so chilling. It's also a really fun cultural change of pace when you've got Immaculate this week and The First Omen in early April, on top of what really feels like a lot of Catholic-themed horror of late.


Pamyo (Exhuma)

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 23 March 2024 in AMC Boston Common #11 (first-run, DCP)

I think it was Grady Hendrix who wrote that Korean films seldom clock in under two hours even when 95 minutes would be the most appropriate length, but sometimes, as with Exhuma, that can work to the movie's advantage. Once you've been in a theater for around an hour or so, you lose track of time, so a movie could be right about to end or have another hour to go, and that's why writer/director Jang Jae-hyeon can effectively show you one pretty good horror movie and then after wrapping it up, reveal that there's a bigger, weirder movie buried underneath it, appropriately enough.

This one, for instance, begins with shaman Lee Hwa-rim (Kim Go-eun) and her partner Yoon Bong-gil (Lee Do-hyun) hired to come from Seoul to Los Angeles to examine a baby who has not been able to stop crying since he was born. She soon deduces that the same malady is also plaguing the father, Park Ji-yong (Kim Jae-chul) and grandfather Park Jong-soon (Jeong Sang-cheol) - a "Grave's Calling", which she describes as an ancestor having a tantrum such that their cries reverberate down the family line. The solution is to return to Korea and relocate the body to a more auspicious resting place or cremate it, for which she will need the help of geomancer Ki Sang-duk (Choi Min-sik), who specializes in finding gravesites, and Ko Yeong-geun (Yu Hae-jin), an undertaker once trusted to shroud the President. This is, of course, somewhat unusual; it only gets more so when Ji-yong requests they cremate the entire coffin without opening, contrary to accepted practices, Sang-duk declares the gravesite a poor location for what turns out to be an unusually ornate casket, and a freak rainstorm (or is it?) requires them to postpone the final cremation.

Part of what makes movies like Exhuma fun in a way that a lot of religious-horror movies aren't is that they, at least initially, start out in this supernatural-but-grounded place, where things like Hwa-rim's explanation of a Grave's Calling both has this sort of spiritual resonance but also a sort of unstated practicality to it, because of course an adult like Ji-yong is going to try and explain it away while a baby just cries. Sang-duk and Yeong-geun idly talk about how South Korea's growing population and small size is making it harder to find good gravesites, and how maybe Hwa-rim adding a mark-up to the consulting fee between them and the Parks. Like a number of folks who have recently made great horror films in this part of Asia - stuff like Na Hong-jin's The Wailing, Tetsuya Nakashima's It Comes, Cheang Pou-soi's Mad Fate - Jang Jae-hyeon finds a way to take things that are somewhere between amusing superstition and sincere belief and work in two directions, making both the potential victims and the defenders easy enough to relate to that the audience has a foot in their world but also going big, because there's no reason an angry ghost cannot move from South Korea to California in an instant.

And then things get nuts.

As mentioned, there's more going on than just this ghost, and it's not entirely what's been implied earlier, although Jang has built his movie so that you can flow from one piece of the film to another even as things reconfigure enough to be something else altogether, to the point where one is almost surprised that the film didn't end earlier with the inflection point being a mid-credits sequel tease. The back half of the movie is wild, taking a big leap after being relatively grounded to start, but Jang has brought the audience along and has a solid enough core, augmented by a few other colleagues and allies, that the audience is ready to take that extra step with them. The grander scale, however, still has a similar aesthetic, as opposed to bringing in a bunch of obvious CGI monsters or visions of hell: The evils this group faces are still of this world, and perhaps even humanity, just writ larger.

Choi Min-sik and Kim Go-eun are not quite an odd couple, since they wind up part of a larger team and often working separately, but they're entertaining in how the represent opposite poles here: Choi's Sang-duk is not quite laid-back, but there's a comfort to his expertise, a grandfather-to-be who is probably close to the end of his career except that geomancy hasn't necessarily let him build up a retirement fund, and an easy banter with Yoo Hae-in as Yeong-geun; Kim Go-eun's up-and-comer has more attitude to her, a prickly certainty that pairs with Lee Do-hyun's quieter Bong-gil that suggests a close bond there. Early on, they can come off like competing con artists who have different ways to approach the marks, but also play matter-of-fact believers as the film evolves in that direction.

Ehuma is not quite two movies in one, but it's close, and an especially impressive value for the folks who go in not aware of just how much weird haunting they're going to get.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 22 March 2024 - 28 March 2024

Not only is it BUFF weekend, but there's some good BUFF-adjacent
  • The Boston Underground Film Festival continues through Sunday at The Brattle Theatre, with local film package "The Dunwich Horrors", Off Ramp, Sleep, and the "Trigger Warning" shorts on Friday; music video package "Sound + Vision", Tiger Stripes, "Friendship Is Magic" shorts, The Becomers, In a Violent Nature, and Infested on Saturday; wrapping with shorts blocks "How You Living?" and "Sometimes Always", With Love and a Major Organ, Omen, and Boy Kills World on Sunday.

    After that, from Monday to Wednesday, is Polish animated film The Peasants. It's from the makers of Loving Vincent, a rotoscoped adaptation of a thousand-page novel about an independent-minded girl in a small village (it also plays Boston Common Sunday afternoon/Wednesday evening, and all week at the Dedham Community Theatre). There's also a free "Elements of Cinema" show of Ratcatcher on Tuesday, while Thursday is the first night of "Cinema Ritrovato On Tour", with a new 4K restoration (for its 100th anniversary!) of Charlie Chaplin-directed drama A Woman of Paris and Thelma & Louise.
  • Having played BUFF on Wednesday, Immaculate opens at the Capitol, Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport, South Bay, and Assembly Row. It's a nicely-mounted "virgin American nun in a foreign land is somehow pregnant" movie starring Sydney Sweeney that some folks in the preview audience liked a lot more than I did. The Sunday evening show in the Seaport has a live Q&A with director Michael Mohan.

    Late Night With the Devil probably would have played BUFF with a different release schedule, but it's a pretty terrific little horror movie presented as the special Halloween episode of a 1970s talk show including what happened behind the scenes during ad breaks, with David Dastmalchian as the host trying to compete with Carson by bringing a possessed child and her caretaker on. It's at Boston Common and Causeway Street.

    The big opening, though, is Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, the latest legacyquel brings Egon Spengler's daughter and grandkids back to New York where they must come together with the original team and some new folks to fight a monster who can make one's blood run so cold you freeze to death, further sliding it toward an "adventure with jokes" franchise versus "comedy with effects". It's at the Capitol, Fresh Pond, the Embassy, Jordan's Furniture (Imax), CinemaSalem, Boston Common (including Dolby Cinema), Causeway Street, Kendall Square, the Seaport (including Atmos), South Bay (including Dolby Cinema), Assembly Row (including Imax Laser & Dolby Cinema), Arsenal Yards (including CWX), and Chestnut Hill.

    The third Pixar film which went straight to Disney+ during the pandemic, Luca, plays Boston Common. Love Lies Bleeding, already playing the Coolidge, the Somerville, Kendall Square, CinemaSalem, Boston Common, Causeway Street, the Seaport, and Assembly Row, expands to Fresh Pond, the Lexington Venue, and South Bay.

    There's an AMC Scream Unseen preview on Monday at Boston Common, Causeway Street, Assembly Row. Public domain cash-in Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 plays South Bay, Assembly Row Tuesday to Thursday and Boston Common (Wednesday/Thursday). The weekly A24 return to screen is Ex Machina, playing Wednesday in Imax at Jordan's, Boston Common, South Bay, and Assembly Row.
  • Exhuma has been a big hit in South Korea, featuring Choi Min-Sik in a story of strange things happening around a grave being excavated. It's at Boston Common and Causeway Street.

    Vietnamese romance Mai, featuring Phuong Anh Dao as a woman looking for a new start, plays Causeway Street, South Bay; it is, apparently, the biggest box-office hit of all time in its native country.

    It's mostly very short runs for the Indian films opening at Apple Fresh Pond this week. Telugu-language fantasy comedy Om Bheem Bush is booked through Thursday, while Hindi-language biographical drama Swatantrya Veer Savarkar plays Friday night, Malayalam-language thriller Anchakkallakokkan plays Saturday and Sunday, and Marathi-language family film Amaltash plays Saturday only. Shaitaan is held over at Fresh Pond and Boston Common, with Yodha also continuing on the Common.

    Chinese film YOLO continues at Causeway Street and Boston Common.

    There's a Rascal Does not Dream double feature at South Bay, Assembly Row on Sunday (subbed) & Monday (dubbed), with two short features (Rascal Does Not Dream of a Sister Venturing Out & Rascal Does Not Dream of a Knapsack Kid) playing back to back. Also playing from Japan are Perfect Days at the Coolidge, Kendall Square, and Luna Lowell; and The Boy and the Heron still at Fresh Pond and West Newton.
  • The Alamo Seaport has one show a day of Riddle of Fire (two on Wednesday), a throwback to 1980s movies set in the present day where three kids set out on adventures that range from getting the newest gaming console to finding special eggs for a secret formula. The rep calendar has the re-release of Kumiko The Treasure Hunter on Sunday and Thursday, Only Lovers Left Alive on Sunday/Tuesday/Wednesday, and The Crow on Monday & Tuesday.
  • The Embassy in Waltham is the easiest place to see documentary William Shatner: You Can Call Me Bill, a documentary looking at Shatner's eventful career and life, right up to traveling to low earth orbit (and apparently being less awed than most) in his 90s, playing Friday, Saturday, and Tuesday. It's got more extensive bookings at some of the more far-flung multiplexes, but those are some hikes on the bus.
  • The Somerville Theatre has multiple double features this week! "Attack of the B-Movies" is on Sunday afternoon this time around, with Beyond the Time Barrier & Not of This Earth. The Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid series has a second chance to start on Monday (there were apparently print issues last week) with two from Billy Wilder on 35mm film, Double Indemnity & The Lost Weekend. They also kick off "A Tale of Two Studios" saluting MGM & Columbia's 100th anniversaries, starting in the silent era with HE Who Gets Slapped & The Blood Ship, the latter on 35mm film, and both accompanied by Jeff Rapsis. Just one Yacht Rock movie on Thursday, with FM on the main screen.

    The Capitol picks up Italian Oscar nominee Io Capitano, and also continues their rep series: The Friday/Monday Capitol Crimes show is David Mamet's Heist (with a heck of a cast including Gene Hackman, Danny Devito, Delroy Lindo, Ricky Jay, and Rebecca Pidgeon, with The Long Kiss Goodnight doing "Good for Her!" on Saturday & Tuesday, plus the monthly Disasterpiece Theater VHS-fest on Monday..
  • The Coolidge Corner Theatre mostly keeps the same line-up as last week, though it's worth noting that Dune 2 is no longer playing on 70mm film there. Repertory programs include a couple midnight movies inspired by video game aesthetics, with Sucker Punch playing Friday and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on Saturday, both on 35mm. For kids, The Mitchells vs the Machines plays Saturday morning Sunday's marathon presentation of The Lord of the Rings extended editions on 35mm is sold out, but they'll be doing it again on the 31st. Monday's Big Screen Debut is The Virgin Suicides on 35mm, with Lesley University professor Ingrid Stobbe offering a pre-film seminar; there's a National Night of Science on Screen presentaiton of Werner Herzog's Theater of Thought, with neural engineer Polina Anikeeva (interviewed in the film) there to introduce it; Nobuhiko Obayashi's House on 35mm Wednesday, and a Big Screen Classic show of The Third Man on Thursday. Also on Thursday is Leave No Trace, with director Debra Granik in person.

    And, at some point during this week, you're going to have to start lining up and getting your tickets in the back, because the new expansion is opening! Wednesday has the first listings of "MH5" and "MH6" on the website, with screenings of 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Wizard of Oz in the new rooms (though they appear to be sold out except for the 4pm Oz). It's going to be very exciting seeing what a couple more screens at the Coolidge will mean for the moviegoing options here!
  • Landmark Kendall Square is mostly opening the mainstream releases this week (part of why we need those two new screens at the Coolidge), but has a "New Hollywood" presentation of Nashville on Tuesday and music doc Hate to Love: Nickelback on Wednesday (also at Boston Common, Assembly Row).
  • The Harvard Film Archive welcomes 2024 McMillan-Stewart Fellow Jean-PIerre Bekolo' this weekend; he will be present in person for Q&As after Aristotle's Plot (on 35mm) Friday and Miraculous Weapons on Saturday, also introducing Le Président on Sunday. On Monday, they begin their Martin Rejtman series with a 35mm print of Rapado, preceded by his short film "Shakti".

    Joe's Free Films also shows The Last Human, a documentary about the discovery of some of the earliest traces of life on Earth in Greenland as well as contemporary life there, playing the school's Geological Lecture Hall with director Ivato Frank on Saturday, Soup & Ideology with director Yang Yonghi at the Tsai Auditorium Tuesday & Wednesday, Rock Paper Grenade with director Iryna Tsilyk at the Tsai Auditorium Tuesday, and Two Poets and a River at the Harvard Art Museum on Wednesday. RSVP required in most cases (information on the calendar).
  • Immersive Documentary 32 Sounds plays the The ICA on Friday and Saturday evenings in its "live cinema" form, with director Sam Green providing live narration and JD Samson performing live music.

  • Belmont World Film begins their annual International Film Series on Monday with The Queen of My Dreams, a coming of age film split between two time periods, finding parallels between the youths of a Canadian girl and her Pakistan-born mother. Writer/director Fawzia Mirza will Zoom in for a Q&A after the film
  • The Midweek Music Movies and More show at The Regent Theatre this Wednesday is A Table of Our Own, a documentary on the intersection of the Black community and psychedelia.
  • Bright LIghts has King Coal in the Bright Screening Room of the Paramount Theater on Thursday, with director/Emerson grad Elaine McMillion Sheldon on-hand for a Q&A. I quite liked this look at how coal mining is so central to life in Appalachia as to almost be a religion when I saw it at IFFBoston last year.
  • The Museum of Science has Mad Max: Fury Road on the Omnimax dome as part of its Woman's History Month celebrations on Friday & Saturday nights, with Dune: Part Two extended a few weekends after that (the last weekend of March is sold out, but there are seats for April 5th/6th/12th/13th).
  • The Lexington Venue is open Friday to Sunday and Thursday with One Life, The Taste of Things and Love Lies Bleeding..

    The West Newton Cinema has one last presentation of the Oscar Live-Action Shorts on Sunday and also picks up Cabrini. Poor Things, The Zone of Interest (Saturday/Sunday), Kung Fu Panda 4, Dune: Part Two, American Fiction, Wonka (Saturday/Sunday), The Boy and the Heron (no show Thursday), and The Holdovers are, as they say, held over. Closed Monday.

    The Luna Theater has Perfect Days Friday and Saturday, Little Shop of Horrors on Saturday, Charade on Sunday, and a Weirdo Wednesday show.

    Cinema Salem has Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Dune: Part Two, and Love Lies Bleeding from Friday to Monday. There's a Night LIght show of Bruce Lee's The Way of the Dragon on Friday, and they are also one of the venues for the Salem Film Festival, running through Sunday with films and events at CinemaSalem, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the National Park Service.
I am obviously living at the Brattle through Sunday, although it seems like I'll have to make a side trip to see Exhuma because I'm not sure I can count on it being around next weekend and I want to do Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, The Peasants, HE Who Gets Slapped, The Blood Ship, and A Woman of Paris. I guess it's a good thing I saw two of them in Montreal and have an early opening on Saturday!