- The best-looking wide release is probably Black or White starring Kevin Costner as a grandfather who has lost both his daughter and wife, winding up battling for custody of his granddaughter with the girl's other surviving grandparent, played by Octavia Spencer. It's at Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Square, Revere, and the SuperLux. That is, unless you count A Most Violent Year, which expands to the Somerville, Embassy, Fenway, and Revere, already playing the Coolidge, Kendall Square, and Boston Common.
Less promising-looking is Project Almanac, a youth-oriented time-travel story produced by Michael Bay's company. It's at the Capitol, Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere. And, man, The Loft has been sitting on the shelf for three years despite a pretty decent cast for this mystery about five married men who rent a loft to carry on their affairs, only to find a girl dead there one morning. That plays Apple Fresh Pond, Fenway, Boston Common, Assembly Row, and Revere.
Black Sea will be playing on relatively few screens - the Embassy, Fenway, and Revere - but it looks pretty good, with Jude Law as a submarine captain searching for Nazi gold underwater, but apparently having to watch his back with both backers and crew.
- The Brattle opens The Duke of Burgundy, which is a pretty fantastic weird romance from Peter Strickland, who did the utterly different but similarly brilliant Berberian Sound Studio, in which their mutual interest in entomology is hardly the strangest part of the relationship between a noblewoman and her servant.
They've got more "Mad Romance" as part of the Saturday late-night Reel Weird Brattle series, with this weekend's entry a 35mm print of The Abominable Dr. Phibes, featuring Vincent Price as a scientist who gets gruesome revenge on those whom he blames for killing his wife. It is visually over-the-top and should look great on actual film.
- Kendall Square splits one theater between two programs of Oscar-Nominated Shorts, one animated and one live-action. The Coolidge Corner Theatre has the five nominated documentary shorts, splitting them between two programs, mostly in the GoldScreen, so get tickets early.
The Coolidge also kicks off a month of midnight screenings of David Cronenberg films with a 35mm print of eXistenZ. He'll be paying a visit at the end of the month, although that sold out in an afternoon.
- Apple Cinemas Fresh Pond/iMovieCafe has two subtitled Hindi movies this week. Baby stars Akshay Kumar as a counter-intelligence officer hunting down a gang of international terrorists, while Hawaizaada stars Ayushmann Khurrana as a Mumbai man working on powered flight in 1895, well before the Wright Brothers.
Over at Fenway, the week's day-and-date Chinese release is Running Man, which is apparently a spin-off of a reality show (also popular in Korea) with bigger celebrities, including Wang Boaqiang and Angelababy. Apparently, its formula is akin to The Amazing Race, although it has special movie-like episodes, so who knows what this will be like.
- The Harvard Film Archive begins a month-plus-long retrospective of "The Lost Worlds of Robert Flaherty", one of the originators of documentary filmmaking, starting with perhaps his most famous work, 1922's Nanook of the North. It screens Friday at 7pm on 35mm film with Jeff Rapsis on the organ. It will be followed by the next film in their Orson Welles retrospective, Macbeth, also on 35mm. The "Furious Cinema '70 - '77" series continues on Wednesday with a 35mm screening of Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller.
Much of the rest of the weekend will be spent welcoming a special guest, presenting The Visions of Luther Price in three programs on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights, with Price on hand to introduce a group of short films on various film formats each evening at 7pm.
- The Museum of Fine Arts continues In Case of No Emergency: The Films of Ruben Östlund with Force Majeure on DCP Friday and then 35mm prints of Play (Friday), The Involuntary, and The Guitar Mongoloid (both Saturday). On Wednesday, the February calendar starts with The Films of Stanley Kubrick, roughly chronological with Killer's Kiss (Wednesday & Thursday), Fear and Desire (Wednesday), and Paths of Glory (Thursday).
- There's film at the ICA this weekend, with a 74-minute program of selections from the Ottawa International Animation Festival at 7pm Saturday and noon Sunday.
- The Bright Lights series has two free films this week in the Paramount Theater's Bright Screening Room. On Tuesday, they screen documentary Schooling the World (a look at the effects of modern schooling on indigenous cultures) with discussion from VMA professor Claire Andrade Watkins; Thursday they have social psychologist Dr. Lindsay Beck discussing Boyhood
I do not know how I will fit all I want to see in before the sci-fi festival, but I'm prioritizing Black Sea, as many Oscar short programs as I can get into, Nanook, Still Alice, A Most Violent Year, and Dr. Phibes. The rest of you, go see The Duke of Burgundy.