Thursday, November 04, 2010

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 5 November - 11 November

It's November, which is sort of like May in that studios tend to wake up and stop screwing around, both with award-worthy films and blockbusters, as folks are either making best-of lists (for the high-class stuff) or finding more excuses to go to the movies (days off, holidays, it's too chilly and miserable to do warm-weather activities but not yet worth barricading oneself in the house and hibernating).

  • Before getting to the blockbusters, let's start with the Brattle, which has a tribute close to my heart on Wednesday and Thursday (10-11 November) with Paprika. It's what looks to be the last film by Satoshi Kon, who lost a battle with pancreatic cancer earlier this year. It's a devastating loss, as Kon made animated films for adults in a way that few others did, even in his native Japan; his films are mature, rather than just filled with R-rated content (although, interestingly, the one he was working on at the time of his death was family-friendly). Paprika is a great movie, well worth seeing on a big screen even if you've got it on Blu-ray.

    Before that, they'll be spending the weekend alternating shows of the documentary Gerrymandering (which, I remember from junior-high social studies, is the practice of assigning voting districts to achieve a political end) and Edgar Wright's extremely fun Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It's a worthy adaptation of source material I loved, and Mr. Wright will be at the theater Saturday night to introduce the film, maybe take a few questions afterward, and then present a screening of Flash Gordon afterward. Monday is the next entry in the CineCaché series, which has not been nailed down yet, but the folks I talked to the other night seem to feel that they've got winners on their hands for the rest of the year.

  • A few big movies open up on Friday. The most screens seem to be going to Due Date, the big Robert Downey Jr./Zack Galifianakis comedy that looks a lot like a riff on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. I feel somewhat sad that the previews seem to have mostly obscured Michelle Monaghan being in the movie, although it's probably representative of her actual screen time. This makes me sad, because I wouldn't even be thinking of whether or not I could fit it in if it was sold to me as a Kiss Kiss Bang Bang reunion.

    Also opening on a ton of screens, including most of the 3-D ones, is Megamind, which looks like it'll be in the Monsters Vs. Aliens category of DreamWorks Animation pictures: Fun, well-rendered, with a voice cast that has stars who are noteworthy in live action but really don't have distinctive voices. Also, if you're particular on the format you see it in, choose your theater accordingly: It's playing in 2-D at Fresh Pond and Fenway; Real-D digital 3-D at Fresh Pond, Fenway, Harvard Square, and Boston Common; IMAX-branded digital 3-D at Boston Common; and genuine on-giant-film IMAX at Jordan's Furniture. It'll likely only last a couple of weeks on the IMAX screens, what with Harry Potter 7 due for release on the 19th.

    Huh - this is the first time I can remember the same movie opening at both Harvard Square and Fresh Pond. That explains why it didn't show up at the Arlington Capitol despite being in their "coming soon" email last week; even if regional exclusives aren't being enforced, that would be a lot of screens within a couple miles or so.

  • You can tell it's getting close to Oscar time when the openings at mainstream and boutique houses start to overlap. Take Fair Game, a movie directed by Doug Liman with a pretty A-list cast; it's opening at Boston Common, the Coolidge, and the Kendall this week, although I suspect it may move to more mainstream theaters in the coming weeks - indeed, it wasn't on the Kendall's "coming soon" list earlier in the week, suggesting that they only picked it up when neither Harvard Square nor Fresh Pond booked it (Conviction is also sticking around despite being labeled "Must End Thursday!" on their site earlier this week, knocking Hornet's Nest down to one theater rather than two and Welcome to the Rileys down to one matinee per day). For Colored Girls (aw, why not stick with "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf" as the title?) is only playing at more mainstream plexes (Fresh Pond, Boston Common, Fenway), but it's getting much better buzz than Tyler Perry films usually get.

    Also worth mentioning: Despite my pessimism at only seeing four other people in the theater when I went to see Aftershock last weekend, it's sticking around with an early matinee and a late show for a few more days, at least, though I suspect it's just occupying space until Morning Glories opens Wednesday.

  • Even aside from Fair Game, there's a fairly mainstream vibe to the Kendall this week - two of the movies they're opening seem like they certainly could play the multiplexes. Four Lions is a hilarious slob comedy, albeit one in which the comedic morons happen to be prospective suicide bombers. I saw it at a preview Tuesday night, and it is well worth dropping cash on. Also opening is Monsters, a sci-fi movie notable for apparently being fairly polished on a low budget and being as much a romance as a post-apocalyptic thriller. The one-week warning is attached to a more conventional boutique film, Vision, a German film about a nun who was also a scholar and healer even before she started believing that God spoke with her directly.

  • The Indian movies at Fresh Pond turn over this weekend. I've got no idea what Golmaal 3 is, but that the series has made it to a third entry probably means it's got some fans and is doing something right. The other Bollywood screen will be used for Action Replayy, which looks like a Hindi riff on Back to the Future with a man using a time machine to make sure that his folks get together in the flashy, colorful 1970s. I'll probably check it out, because it's sci-fi-ish and co-stars Aishwarya Rai. Plus, if you think I either didn't notice the boost in hits I got from that review of Endhiran or don't want another, you are sadly mistaken.

  • I'd like to apologize to the Boston Jewish Film Festival for only noting their first screening at the MFA last week. They opened at other locations a day or two before that, including at the Coolidge, where they will take up residence in the main auditorium for most of this week. In addition to the MFA and Coolidge, the festival is having screenings at a couple other venues that us T-bound folks have trouble reaching (such as West Newton and Danvers), so when you plug titles into Festival Genius, make sure you can get there.

    The MFA also continues screening Hyman Bloom: The Beauty of All Things and Johnny Mad Dog at odd intervals.

    In addition to the BJFF, the Coolidge has a few other activities going on this weekend: The 5+ hour cut of Assayas's Carlos has been extended through Saturday, there will be a Talk Cinema preview of Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer on Sunday morning, and the night-owls can go to midnight showings of Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation on Friday and Saturday. It does not appear to be the same program I saw back in February at the Regent; the Coolidge lists their line-up here.

  • And speaking of the Regent, they've got a couple screenings this week: Please Remove Your Shoes, a documentary on airport security (and secuirty theater) that played the Boston Film Festival (but which I missed because documentaries basically got hidden in the afternoon), plays Thursday evening. An encore of last Thursday evening's film, Beneath the Blue, plays Sunday afternoon.

    (And if you like dolphins, the Aquarium swapped "Dolphins & Whales: Tribes of the Deep" into their IMAX rotation at the start of the month, at the expense of "Ultimate Wave 3D". "Hubble 3D", "Under the Sea 3D", "Sea Rex 3D", and evening shows of Inception also continue.)

  • The Harvard Film Archive has guests again this weekend: German filmmaker Harun Farocki on Friday and Saturday, with Portugese filmmaker Pedro Costa in town on Sunday with his new film, Ne Change Rien. Monday wraps up their Robert Gardner restrospective with Forest of Bliss.

  • And, finally, Emerson presents a weekend of auteur movie stars: On Friday and Saturday night, an episode of Godard's L'histoire du Cinéma follows Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons. Saturday afternoon and Sunday night, they shift gears and present Jerry Lewis in The Errand Boy.

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