Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston (and elsewhere) 27 August - 2 September

Let's start (and end) with something actually kicking off before most movies open on Friday, with time spent on stuff that played Fantasia, because (as usual) I won't be free of that until well into September:

  • Films at the Gate comes a little earlier than usual this year, but with one of its most interesting line-ups. After a curiously Donnie Yen-free line-up last year, the martial arts superstar we can claim as our own returns as part of the ensemble in the pretty terrific Bodyguards and Assassins on Thursday. Friday night's show is the original 1978 Drunken Master, with Jackie Chan as Wong Fei-hung under the direction and choreography of Yeun Woo-ping. Saturday night's show is a 1961 animated Monkey King feature from the Wan brothers (according to the site, China's Disney), Havoc In Heaven. And Sunday is Children of Invention, a pretty darn good indie shot in Boston's Chinatown, Somerville, and elsewhere around town. It played IFFBoston last year.

    Thursday and Friday night's movies are in the vacant lot next to the Chinatown gate; Saturday and Sunday moves to the Rose Kennedy Greenway just on the other side. Take-out from local restaurants is welcome and encouraged, all shows start at 8pm, with demonstrations of lion dancing, kung fu, and/or Tai Chi during the 7pm hour. And, hopefully, the rain that has soaked Boston all week will clear up.

  • The one-week warning at Kendall Square is for Centurion, Neil Marshall's Roman-era action thriller that I badly wanted to see at Fantasia but passed on in order to see the much less likely to screen theatrically Sawako Decides, Rinco's Restaurant, and Boys on the Run. Marshall has yet to make a bad movie. Also popping up from Fantasia is the first half of the Mesrine duology, Mesrine: Killer Instinct, with Vincent Cassel as one of France's most notorious outlaws and Gerard Depardieu as his mentor. Folks who have seen both (the second, Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One, opens next week) tell me that this is the big action movie of the pair.

    Also opening at Kendall Square are Flipped, Rob Reiner's pre-teen romance that could be either a return to form or a treacly mess, and Soul Kitchen, a German comedy about a German-Greek family restaurant.

  • Another Fantasia feature is opening on mainstream screens, and despite a final scene that I kind of have trouble with, The Last Exorcism is excellent; I'm already anticipating Patrick Fabian getting screwed during awards season because many voters wouldn't even think of looking for a Best Actor nominee in a horror movie. I can't offer quite the same level of excitement for Takers, which seems to have been trailered forever and has a decent but nondescript cast.

    Also opening is an "extended cut" of Avatar, although in the Boston area it will only be playing on digital screens (including the IMAX-branded screen at Boston Common); the genuine IMAX screens continue to show Inception (in Natick and Reading) and a mix of documentaries and Twilight: Eclipse (Aquarium). Last chance to see that in IMAX, kiddies, as it ends Sunday.

  • The Regent Theater in Arlington has a potentially nifty event for those who like music movies: The Isle of Wight 40th Anniversary Film Festival will be screening all eight documentary/concert films Murray Lerner shot during the Isle of Wight music festival in late August, 1970, with subjects from Miles Davis to Jethro Tull to the Who to Jimi Hendrix. The Regent's website doesn't say whether these will be screening on film or video, which could be a big deal if you're only seeing one film (a single film is $10, but the prices go down until 5 or more is $30).

  • The Brattle winds down their summer schedule with Cabaret-inspired films on Friday (double feature of Chicago and All That Jazz), Saturday (a 1931 3 Penny Opera matinee and double feature of New York, New York and Liza with a Z), and Sunday (matinee of The Loved One and double feature of A Single Man and Chris & Don: A Love Story). Monday's DocYard screening is The Philosopher Kings, a documentary about university custodians with director Q&A afterward. The Tuesday Noir 100 double feature is scheduled to be The Big Combo and The Sleeping City, both featuring Richard Conte, but who knows what the distributors will actually send? They also play Monday afternoon.

    Wednesday's Best of the Aughts double bill is animated(*), featuring Selick's Coraline and Miyazaki's Spirited Away. The latter also plays Thursday afternoon, with There Will Be Blood playing Thursday evening. Milkshakes, I'm told, will be available at the concession stand. Sadly, this is only the case on Thursday.

  • It's also fairly quiet at the Coolidge - the digital rooms are swapping Life During Wartime out for Farewell, the "Cops in Heat" midnight on Friday and Saturday is Beverly Hills Cop, and they've got the Grease sing-along Friday at midnight and Monday at 7pm, complete with costume contest. Wednesday, The American gets a head start on the weekend.

  • The Harvard Film Archive has more of The Human Comedies of Eric Rohmer Friday, Saturday, and Monday; Hou Hsia-hsien's A City of Sadness plays Sunday night. The MFA spends the weekend on the last of their Restored Prints, Odd Man Out by Carol Reed, and more Charlie Chaplin. Wednesday starts short, scattered runs of two documentaries: IFFBoston selection Kimjongilia, for those like me who are endlessly fascinated with North Korea, and Nobody's Perfect, about those born deformed due to the effects of thalidomide.

  • And, finally, it's not reaching Boston, but new silent film Louis (yes, that's what I said - "new silent film") is playing five cities in seven days, starting tonight in Chicago (continuing to Detroit, North Bethesda, MD, NYC, and Philly). For these five shows, there will be live musical accompaniment by Wynton Marsalis, Cecile Licad, and an all-star jazz ensemble. I'll be bailing on work Monday so that I can see it in the Apollo Theater. I'm kind of happy to be ending two months in a row with cool silent screenings (and it looks like the Coolidge is angling to make it three in a row).

(*) Though the Brattle's animated selections for best of the 2000s are both fine films which complement each other, it's worth digging into the DVD/Blu-ray pile this week to remember Satoshi Kon, who died earlier this week after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Kon made animated movies for grown-ups, and all four of his features - Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, and Paprika - are well worth your time; the first and last are particularly brilliant. Sadly, both Millennium Actress and his television series Paranoia Agent appear to be out of print in the US, and there has yet been no word on how or if his last project, The Dreaming Machine, will be finished.

Paprika is on Blu-ray. It's gorgeous. Enjoy it and weep that we will get no more.

1 comment:

John said...

I just wanted to say that i definitely agree with your excitement with the last exorcism. I am a big fan of that type of horror and have actually done a ton of research on the subject since i find it very fascinating. I really hope it turn out well because im looking forward to it even though im not a huge horror buff