- It's actually sort of an open question which sequel is the weekend's biggest opening - is it The Hangover Part III, in which Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis get into more trouble and inevitably run into Ken Jeong? Oh, hey, Heather Graham's back, along with John Goodman and some other new characters. Or is it Fast & Furious 6, which follows up the set-up from the middle of #5's credits, which says that a character killed in #4 is still alive (note: this is completely different from the character killed in #3 who is still alive because Tokyo Drift apparently takes place after... well, next year's planned #7, at least). Luke Evans plays the villain, and Gina Carano is added to a cast that has accumulated Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Dwayne Johnson, and Chris Bridges over the course of the series. Both play at the Arlington Capitol, Apple Cinemas, Fenway (including RPX for Fast, and Boston Common).
The same theaters also have Epic, the newest 3D animated film from Blue Sky and its top director Chris Wedge, a large-scale adventure that comes about from a teenage girl being shrunk to the size of an insect and discovering there's a whole different world down there.
- Another animated movie opens at Kendall Square with the one-week booking: The Painting is a French film that posits the world inside a painting being alive, only with there being a rigid class system based on how "finished" each person is. And, rejoice, while the afternoon and evening shows are dubbed, the 9:35pm show each night is in the original French with English subtitles!
There's a lot more opening there, too. Frances Ha is the new film from Noah Baumbach that played IFFBoston; it's in black and white and features Greta Gerwig as the title character, who is suddenly cast out on her own after having been extremely close with her former roommate. What Maisie Knew played a preview series just a few days ago (I saw and quite liked it there); it features Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan as the divorcing parents of the child from whose perspective the audience is told the story.
There's also a pair from interesting directors: At Any Price comes from Ramin Bahrani, who is best known for micro-budget features featuring amateur actors, but who here has Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron as father and son with different ideas on where to take the family farming business. Deepa Metha adapts a Salman Rushdie novel for Midnight's Children, where two children switched at birth on the day of India's declaration of independence follow parallel/intersecting paths.
- the Brattle Theatre tests out their new DCP system this week, running Leviathan straight through from Friday to Thursday. It's a documentary from Verena Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor that follows the voyage of a New England commercial fishing boat, apparently in ways nobody has done before.
- After a few weeks of somewhat confusing schedules, the Coolidge Corner Theatre keeps things relatively simple, with Mud and Stories We Tell staying on the big screens and two other films opening in the smaller rooms: No is in the Goldscreen after stops in Cambridge, Somerville, and Arlington, while Venus and Serena follows the tennis-playing Williams sisters during 2011, when in addition to their sporting challenges, each battled a dangerous illness.
The midnight show this weekend is the "Cult Cut" Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, a rare 35mm print of a movie featuring Diane Lane and Laura Dern as punk rock girls in the title band, opening for a band that contains members of the Clash and the Sex Pistols. Another cult classic screens Monday as part of "Big Screen Classics", Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused
- The New England Aquarium hasn't booked Star Trek on its genuine IMAX screen (yet), but they are opening a new marine-life documentary: "Penguins 3D" will be playing every other hour (with other movies as double-feature fodder in between). It's... well, it's penguins in IMAX 3D. It looks to be a cut-down version of a longer feature, but I suspect it gets its point across.
- Because horror fans hate real-life horror, Adam Green will be hosting a Hatchet marathon on Thursday the 30th, which not only features uncensored prints of Hatchet and Hatchet II, but is the first chance to see the new Hatchet III. It's at Theater One in the Revere Hotel (formerly the Stuart Street Playhouse), runs 7pm to 1am, and requires a minimum $25 donation to the One Fund
- It's the last weekend of Samurai Cinema at the MFA (although the samurai armors will be on exhibition through the beginning of August). It's good stuff, though, with Throne of Blood and Kill! on Friday and Sunday, and Seven Samurai Saturday afternoon. After that, they bring in a pair of documentaries on musicians, although they are very different: Becoming Traviata focuses on the preparations for an upcoming opera, while One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das features a rock & roll singer who gave it up to seek enlightenment in the Himalayas. Both play Wednesday the 29th and Thursday the 30th (and through the first week of June); director Jeremy Frindel and Lama Surya Das will be on hand after the Wednesday 5:30pm screening of One Track Heart for a discussion.
- I believe the Harvard Film Archive had to cancel some of their Raoul Walsh screenings due to weather a few months ago, so they have a sort of encore this weekend, with Band of Angels Friday evening, Northern Pursuit Sunday afternoon, and What Price Glory? Monday night, with the series continuing next weekend. One last Arturo Ripstein film is squeezed into Friday night (Such Is Life rather than the previously scheduled Woman of the Port). They will also have Portugese documentarian Susana de Sousa Dias visiting with two of her films which twist archival footage into a new context: 48 Saturday evening, and Still Life Sunday evening.
- The Regent Theatre is mostly film this week, with 100 Bloody Acres as the Gathr sneak preview on Tuesday (a horror comedy where the secret ingredient in organic compost is exactly what you think it is). Then from Wednesday to next Friday, they have a three day "Boston Surfs!" Film & Music Festival, which includes shorts, features, and live performances.
- The ICA has The Alloy Orchestra in town on Saturday the 25th, accompanying two screenings of the rarely-seen (and long considered lost) German Expressionist film From Morning to Midnight.
My plans? Fast & Furious 6 (how did I wind up looking forward to that without seeing any between 1 & 5?), Epic, The Painting en français, Alloy, 100 Bloody Acres, and whatever else I can fit in.