Thursday, December 02, 2010

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 3 December - 9 December

Do you like Korean cinema? I do, as anybody who has seen my Fantasia dispatches can attest. Here in Boston, there an unusual number of films from the Korean peninsula popping up at almost every moviegoing venue, covering nearly seventy years of cinematic history.

  • Heck, the week's widest major release is Korean, more or less. The Warrior's Way has a Korean star (Jang Dong-gun) and writer/director (Lee Sngmoo), although it's most in English, shot in New Zealand, and set in the American west. It's a weird combination of what appears to be a first-time filmmaker and a decent cast that apparently sat on Rogue's shelf for a couple of years. Still, cowboys vs. ninjas (and, yes, I know ninjas are Japanese instead of Korean).

  • Of course, that's not the only thing opening in theaters this week. Regal Fenway is actually going to have matinees of Waiting for Superman, which is showing pretty good staying power and multiplex penetration for a documentary. The biggest deal, though, is Black Swan, Darren Aranofsky's much-anticipated ballet thriller with Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis. It's on multiple screens at both AMC Boston Common and Landmark Kendall Square, but it is also scheduled to open at the Coolidge Corner Theater next week.

    Also opening at Kendall Square is Marwencol, a deserving award-winner from this year's IFFBoston, and one of the most unusual artist documentaries you're likely to see. It's got the one-week warning on it, and that may stick, with three new films opening there next week, so go see it this weekend. It's excellent.

  • The Coolidge is waiting a week on Black Swan, but in the meantime, they've got some special events. The documentary Budrus, about a village literally being torn in half by the Israeli/Palestine barrier. It's playing in the video room, and filmmakers will be attending six screenings over the weekend. Two each on Friday and Saturday night, and another two on Sunday afternoon. Monday evening, there will be a Q&A with director Julia Bacha co-presented with the International Documentary Association.

    The midnight movie this weekend is John Carpenter's The Thing. Sunday morning (5 December 2010), there are two special presentations - the German film My Words, My Lies - My Love and an Aardman Retrospective for the kids - Aardman being the guys who do "Wallace & Grommit", among other brilliant animations. Monday evening has "The Sounds of Silents" returning with the Murnau classic Sunrise, with an all-new score by students at Berklee College of Music's Department of Film Scoring. Members can get free admission, but buying advance tickets is advised.

  • Speaking of Murnau, and silents, the Harvard Film Archive continues their series on the films of Weimar Germany on Friday night with Murnau's The Last Laugh, followed by a 16mm print of Whither Germany? (separate admission). Saturday night is another silent, a long one, G.W. Pabst's The Joyless Street, which features an early performance by Greta Garbo.

    Monday night is another special event, with director C.W. Winter presenting his "post-documentary", The Anchorage. Sunday night, on the other hand, is a pair of Korean films from 1941, among the earliest surviving films from the "colonial era". That's actually part of a larger colonial-era film program put on by Harvard's Korea Institute that runs from Sunday to Wednesday, although during the week many films will be in smaller venues and at difficult times.

  • The biggest Korean Film program going on is at the Museum of Fine Arts, which starts a New Korean Cinema program tonight (2 December 2010) with Like You Know It All. Unfortunately, it appears one of my favorite films from this year's Fantasia Festival was dropped from the program, but this weekend's screenings contain at least one film I can wholeheartedly recommend, Bong Joon-Ho's Mother. Also playing this weekend are selections from the Boston Turkish Film Festival Film Competition, what looks to be two separate programs.

  • Had enough Korean cinema? Well, there's still one more to go - ArtsEmerson presents the original Hanyo (The Housemaid) at the Paramount Center on Saturday evening (4 December 2010). A recent remake has also been making the rounds of festivals, but this is the 1960 original, in crisply restored black and white.

    Friday afternoon and evening, the Paramount Center hosts the opening of the Boston Latino International Film Festival with three films, Cooking up Dreams, Argeninian Soccer Club, and El Muro. The event actually bounces around three different locations - a Harvard facility, the Paramount, and the Zumix Firehouse Auditorium - with a full program available at the festival's website.

    Sunday evening, Emerson presents a film by one of their own, Powwow Highway, directed by Video and Media Arts chair Jonathan Wacks. The writer, Jean Stawarz, is also part of the Emerson faculty and both will be on hand for a discussion after the film.

  • The Brattle Theater spends much of the weekend with the Bithar Human Rights & Sex Trafficking Film Forum 2010, an event that starts tonight and continues on through Sunday afternoon, presenting a series of short films, features, and speakers. More information is available at their website.

    After that, the week is filled out with a series of fun events. Sunday Night is another "Hooked On Who" night featuring "The Triump of the Master", with Tom Baker's last turn as the Doctor ("Logopolis") at 7pm and David Tenant's swan song ("The End of Time") at 9:30. Monday is a CineCaché preview screening of I Love You Phillip Morris; tickets are free but first-come first serve (except to subscribers, who can RSVP ahead of time). Tuesday is a "Sugar & Cinema" special featuring Joanne Chung of the Flour Bakery signing books and serving desserts before a screening of Kings of Pastry. Wednesday and next Thursday are still as-yet-unannounced, although Thursday is on the schedule as "Celluloid Heroes: A Music & Film Festival". Keep an eye on the Brattle's website, Twitter, and Facebook for updates.

  • Multiple Indian movies in multiple are crowded into one screen at Fresh Pond, so you may want to check Aap Ka Manoranjan's website to see what is playing on what day if that's what you're in the mood for (especially since I'm only listing the ones with English subtitles). This week's big opening is Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, a thriller set in the Indian Independence struggle of the 1930s. Another film with the same leading lady, Break Ke Baad, is playing late shows sporadically over the next week, though not every night.

  • And finally, holy crap, the Stuart Street Playhouse is opening a first-run movie! The film, Nora's Will, is apparently a black comedy about a Mexican Jew who finds himself having to bury his ex-wife the day he finds out about her suicide. An odd-sounding duck, to be sure, but it's not often that Stuart Street has stuff that hasn't played elsewhere (although the film is also opening at their sister cinema in West Newton), so it may be worth supporting as a means of encouraging them.

My plans for the week? Lots of Korean stuff - The Warrior's Way, Brand New Life at the MFA, The Housemaid at Emerson, and the colonial-era offerings at the HFA. Heck, I may break out some of my screeners left over from Fantasia just to keep in the swing. I'll be at the Brattle for I Love You Phillip Morris, and will probably try and fit some of the holdovers - White Material, Made in Dagenham, and The Social Network (honest!) in around them.

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