- Movie opening patterns get weird around awards season. Take The Fighter, for instance: AMC is opening it on three screens in their Boston Common location, but it's not opening anywhere else in the greater Boston area this week. Maybe next Friday. Also opening at Boston Common is I Love You Phillip Morris, an entertaining crazy-love story featuring Jim Carrey and Ewan MacGregor that has sat on the shelf for a year or two because those two playing a gay couple apparently makes it radioactive.
The stuff showing up everywhere will likely have fans, but I'm not feeling them. I skipped the second Narnia movie, read the books in elementary school, and don't cotton much to the religious undertones, so I'll be giving The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader a miss. If you do go, the general consensus is that director didn't have 3D in mind when shooting the film, so it may make more sense to save the $3-5/ticket. The trailers for The Tourist are doing pretty much nothing for me - Angelina Jolie's accent seems ridiculous and Johnny Depp continues to be an annoying parody of himself - but, damn, it's from the maker of The Lives of Others, which is genuinely fantastic, with Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes collaborating with him on the screenplay. And a cast that includes Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, and Rufus Sewell. If Depp ruins this for me I may go from being disappointed in him to outright disdain.
- In further. "weird opening patterns", Black Swan makes its way to the Coolidge after opening at Boston Common and Kendall Square last week; I'll be going there because I like to buy local at Christmas. They've got a few special treats to make it worth the wait - tonight (10 December) and tomorrow, the 7:10pm shows will be preceded by short performances of holiday songs by the Brookline Chorus, and Tuesday night's 7pm show is an "Off The Couch" screening with post-film analysis by Dr, Michele Baker of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society.
Another noteworthy guest his week is Dr. Dennis Hong, a roboticist who will introduce and discuss The Day The Earth Stood Still on Monday (13 December) night. Sunday morning, as journalist Laura Blum moderates the post-film discussion of Blue Valentine as part of the "Talk Cinema" preview series. Plus, there are midnight shows of Elf tonight and tomorrow, and The Room Saturday at midnight. And if you, like me, missed Made in Dagenham in theaters, that's playing in one of the little digital rooms.
- I Love You Phillip Morris also opens at Kendall Square, along with Queen of the Lot, a screwball-looking comedy about an actress trying to get her big break despite an ankle bracelet. It's directed by Henry Jaglom, whose name sounds vaguely familiar despite his filmography leaving me blank. The one-week warning is on Tiny Furniture, which I saw at IFFBoston this year and found pretty bland.
- I'm kind of down on the show anchoring the Brattle's weekend, too. Do It Again played IFFBoston as well, but I'd already seen it at an Eye-Opener screening (I avoided talking about it about a year ago). Maybe it has changed significantly since I saw it, but I kind of doubt it has changed enough - the rough cut I saw was pretty painful, an almost textbook example of how a filmmaker can take an interesting subject (the poor relationship between the brothers who formed half of The Kinks) and completely derail it by making himself the star. His talking to random celebrities and musicians and having them play a Kinks song with him is painfully awkward, although it does suggest that Sting is almost unnaturally good at handling such things.
Other musical films will be playing alongside it, including "Kinks Party", a two hour package of clips and performances by said band. Saturday and Sunday at 5:30 is The Knack... and How to Get It, a Richard Lester comedy from 1965. The buried treasure may be Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?, playing one time, Saturday at 9:30pm, a new documentary about the brilliant singer/songwriter.
Other special features are the annual holiday screenings of It's a Wonderful Life (Saturday and Sunday at 12:30pm, Monday at 8pm), a Tuesday preview of Julie Taymor's take on William Shakespeare's The Tempest, with the unusual casting of Helen Mirren as "Prospera", and Wednesday screenings of Helvetica to celebrate local design magazine GLIMPSE's special typography issue.
- Believe it or not, Casablanca is screening at somewhere other than the Brattle! It plays the Somerville Theatre at 9pm, with Boston Globe "Love Letters" columnist Meredith Goldsteain and film critic Wesley Morris talking their favorite love stories and giving out prizes. Also playing the Somerville Theatre, at least on weekends, is Christmas burlesque show The Slutcracker.
- The MFA finishes up their "New Korean Films" series with some films I've seen at festivals over the past couple years: Kim Ki-duk's Dream plays Saturday Morning; I found it weird, sometimes in a good way, but other times not at NYAFF last year. Breathless plays Saturday at 5pm; it was one of the best things I saw at Fantasia 2009. And Sunday afternoon's Rough Cut, seen at the same festival, is right up there with it. Pity about Castaway on the Moon disappearing from the schedule, though.
Also running this weekend is the Reel Access series, spotlighting fictional films and documentaries about people living with disabilities. Two new series start on Wednesday, The Films of Lou Ye and Isabelle Huppert and Great Directors
- The Harvard Film Archive continues their Decadent Shadows: The Films of Weimar Germany series this weekend, with a 1930 talkie Friday night and silents Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I'm particularly looking forward to the two-part screening of Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen.
- ArtsEmerson only appears to have one movie screening this weekend, a Sunday night presentation of Let Each One Go Where He May with director Ben Russell in person to introduce and discuss his documentary of two Surinamese brothers recreating their ancestors' escape from slavery.
- Once again, the single screen of Indian films at Fresh Pond seems to be stuffed to bursting. Break Ke Baad has a matinee Saturday and an evening show Sunday; Guzaarish has evening shows tonight, an early show on Saturday and Sunday, and afternoon shows Monday through Thursday; new release No Problem bounces around the schedule a bit; and unsubtitled Telegu-language films pop up here and there. There doesn't seem to be a lot of information on No Problem; it appears to be a screwball caper comedy of some sort.
My plans? Well, I've got time blocked out this weekend for other things ("Christmas at Fenway" Saturday; another craft fair thing on Sunday), but I'll probably try to fit Die Nibelungen in Saturday and Sunday night. I'll probably go for the cheap show of The Tourist Sunday morning, a Coolidge Screening of Black Swan tonight or Monday evening, and The Tempest on Tuesday, unless it fills up before I can get there (I'll know this blog has arrived, locally at least, when I try to get into a preview showing and am turned away because too many people read about it here). Normally, I'd say I'll try to fit a screening of The Social Network in somewhere, but that's become a running joke by now and, besides, that's not leaving Boston until at least a month after the Oscars.