Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 24 November - 2 December

It's Thanksgiving weekend, which means, in chronological order, (1) travel, (2) turkey, (3) pie, (4) more pie, (5) more travel, and (6) a couple extra day to see the mix of popcorn and award-hopeful fare that are being released into theaters this weekend.

(And, of course, seeing the family, although that's a bit of a fizzle this year, as a couple of my brothers are traveling to their spouses' folks this year. It's rough being the accommodating family!)

(Which is not to say that my in-laws are selfish or... Oh, there's no digging out of this, is there? Let's just get to the movies playing Boston this weekend!)

  • Four fairly-wide openings this week, with Tangled looking to get the most screens, including some of the 3D ones. I'm looking forward to it, although it looks like it's gone through an absolutely ridiculous development and marketing process - the first concept art looked like gorgeous watercolors, but now the look seems a little more cartoony-CG; the name was changed from the more straightforward Rapunzel in an effort to appeal more to boys, and now there's talk that it's Disney's last princess/fairy tale movie for a while. Fortunately, it looks like fun in the Hercules or Emperor's New Groove mold, and every clip I've seen makes me think I'll really adore the Rapunzel character.

    For those not willing to hit Disney animated features, there are a few movies being sold on more conventional star power. Faster and Love and Other Drugs both look pretty by the books, but, hey, I like Dwayne Johnson (and this is his first straight-action role since Doom) and Billy Bob Thornton for the former and Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway in the latter. I'll probably see both at some point. There's no chance on Earth I'm seeing Burlesque, though. I'm not going to say Cher and Christina Aguillera can't make for an enjoyable viewing experience, just that I'm not going to bet $10 on it.

    Not really an "opening", but 127 Hours expands to Boston Common and some of the suburbs. Nobody appears to be taking a chance on the utterly insane-looking version of The Nutcracker scheduled to be released today. I suspect that releasing a 3D family movie on the same day as Tangled is not what you'd call great counter-programming.

  • The Brattle opts to go with classics for the next week, starting with the first half of 20th Century Fox's 75th Anniversary Series. It kicks off tonight with Leave Her to Heaven, which is where I'll be tonight before the weekly trip to the comic shop, because Gene Tierney is lovely and Vincent Price in a normal supporting role is always cool. Check the full schedule for times; other highlights are Alien for Thanksgiving dinner, a Friday double feature of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and All About Eve, Big Trouble in Little China Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, and a Sunday double feature of Butch Cassidy and Raising Arizona.

    Special screenings take over Tuesday - Thursday, including a World AIDS Day show (Sex in an Epidemic) on Wednesday and Harvard' Archeology Department presenting Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on Tuesday and Wednesday. Note that this is a change from the printed calendar, apparently a decent print of Raiders of the Lost Ark is tough to come by. To be honest, though, this isn't really much of a downgrade.

  • Kendall Square staggers their openings this week. Made in Dagenham opens today, with Polly Walker as an unlikely labor leader in a 1960s London suburb. Spiffy supporting cast, too: Miranda Richardson, Bob Hoskins, Rosamund Pike, and Rupert Graves. Friday gives us the movie with the one-week warning, Claire Denis's White Material. The description on Landmark's site makes it look a lot more interesting than the preview I've seen before nearly every movie at Kendall over the past couple months (which gives off a "white people trying to stay in charge of Africa" vibe).

  • It's an extremely quiet week at the Coolidge, with no midnight shows and 127 Hours and Fair Game continuing their runs. Waste Land moves to the digital room from Kendall Square, though it will also have a special "Green Screens" screening on Monday evening. There's also a preview screening of Budrus next Wednesday (1 December 2010; the film will open its regular run two days later), and a "Social Work In Progress" screening of Carried Away.

  • The Regent theater in Arlington has a couple of film programs - Sing Along Mary Poppins runs Friday to Sunday, although only matinees on Saturday and Sunday, as there are comedy shows those nights. Those looking for something 180 degrees away from Mary Poppins will find it Wednesday night with Total Badass, a documentary by Austin filmmaker Bob Ray about local underground personality Chad Holt. Both will be there for the screening, and there will be door prizes.

  • As you might expect from a venue that mainly exists to serve a student/faculty population, the Harvard Film Archive takes Thursday and Friday off (and ArtsEmerson's screening room has nothing all weekend), but kicks a Cinema of Weimar Germany program that will run through December off on Saturday with the first part of Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler, an early Fritz Lang triumph (the second part runs Sunday night). I'm not sure who is doing the musical accompaniment for that and Monday's The Adventures of Prince Achmed (the earliest surviving animated feature), but it's sure to be worth it; Mabuse is an operatic, silent epic which I loved when the HFA showed as part of a Lang series a few years ago. There will be more Lang later in the series, and the newly reconstructed Metropolis is out on Blu-ray. You want that.

    The last free VES screening of the year is on Tuesday, and is, depending on whether you check the website or the printed calendar, the 1952 noir The Narrow Margin or its 1990 remake Narrow Margin (with Gene Hackman and J.T. Walsh). I'm a big fan of the latter, so I'm down for either.

  • The MFA kicked off a series of New Films from France this afternoon; it seems to mostly focus on comedy, crime, capers. The one I'm most looking forward to is Inspector Bellamy, which teams director Claude Chabrol and Gerard Depardieu; I'd recommend staying away from Heartbreaker.

    Like the Brattle, the MFA is having a screening for World AIDS Day on the 1st; it's 2004 documentary short "Kids Living with Slim" ("Slim" being what many in Africa call HIV/AIDS). They'll also be starting a New Korean Cinema series next Thursday (2 December 2010) with Like You Know It All.

It's potentially a very busy week(end); the only new release I'm sure I'll hit is Tangled, although Faster and Love and Other Drugs are both likely-looking. Prince Achmed and The Narrow Margin are likely at the HFA, as are Leave Her to Heaven, All About Eve, and maybe a Little Murders/Big Trouble combo at the Brattle. Maybe Inspector Bellamy and Joy of Singing at the MFA, and the new releases at Kendall.

In short: A lot of good stuff playing this week, and it's a darn good thing we've got extra days to watch it!

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