Thursday, February 03, 2011

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 4 February 2011 - 10 February 2011

I'm writing this unusually early this week (and grumbling about Stuart Street and Aap Ka Manoranjan taking forever to put their showtimes online), because... Well, the alternatives are watching my work queries update without nodding off or reviewing Zenith. I can only speak for myself, but I strongly suspect paid critics don't enjoy writing negative reviews any more than I do. Sure, you get to use fun words, but crapping on something a whole bunch of people worked on for months (if not years) is no fun, and I think most people would rather try to spend their time recommending something great than warning people away from something bad.

Besides, it's not like people seemed to need warning away from Zenith; I was the only guy there on Monday. Still, it doesn't appear that the humdrum-looking stuff that comes out this week will have the sort of obscure booking that movie had.

  • The major openings at the multiplex this week are Sanctum and The Roommate. Both are aiming to be thrillers of a sort, with what are pretty nondescript casts: The Roommate takes young ladies from a variety of youth-oriented TV shows and puts them into a story that sounds an awful lot like Single White Female, only in college. Honestly, filmmakers, that's lazy - trust me, there are many, many roommate-from-hell plots to use without cribbing from the most famous, and that's just from real life. Sanctum puts together some vaguely-familiar English and Australian character actors, but the star appears to be producer James Cameron's 3D cameras. Which I'm fine with. There are a couple theaters showing it from non-stereoscopic film, but, honestly, why? That's not what this movie is for. For those looking for premium eye candy, it opens on the RPX screen at Fenway and the digital-IMAX screen at Boston Common, but not the genuine-IMAX screens at the furniture stores, where Tron: Legacy appears to be hanging around another couple of weeks.

  • The movies opening at Kendall Square are more interesting: Barney's Version is Oscar-nominated for Best Makeup, presumably for aging its cast over a long period of time. That's its only nomination, but it looks like an enjoyable-enough story with a cast that includes Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, and Rosamund Pike. It's mainstream enough to also open at Boston Common (Biutiful also expands there). The one-week warning is for Undertow, a Peruvian ghost story with a rather nifty conceit - a married man in a very traditional town is literally haunted by his love for another man. It played well at festivals and is up for both Best Movie and best Cinematography in the Chlotrudis Awards (so if you're voting for those, you've got seven days to see one of the contenders).

  • Another thing likely penciled in for just a single week is the Chinese remake of What Women Want, which opens at Boston Common the same day as its 3 February opening in mainland China (actually two weeks before it opens in Hong Kong). If you remember the Mel Gibson/Helen Hunt flick from a few years ago - reprobate gains the ability to hear women's thoughts, uses for his own advantage, eventually becomes better person - it looks like it's basically the same, except with Andy Lau and Gong Li and with everybody speaking Mandarin.

  • Something made much closer to home is running for a week at Showcase Cinemas in Revere. The press release I received says the one-week run of Oxy-Morons is a preview, but that's no guarantee it will ever show up anywhere else. It's tough to get a read on; it's listed as a suspense film, the press seems to push it as a sincere drama about the epidemic of Oxycontin addiction made by people with first-hand experience, but the title, let us say, doesn't give the same vibe.

  • The Brattle has a relatively straight-forward schedule this week: William S. Burroughs: A Man Within opens Friday and plays through Thursday. Director Yony Leyser's film is a documentary about the famed Beat author, digging up rare footage of the man as well as focusing on his influence as an artist. It's narrated by Peter Weller, who also stars in Naked Lunch, David Cronenberg's adaptation of one of Burroughs's famous novel. It plays single shows at 9:15pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

  • At the Coolidge, the Sundance Shorts finish their run, Inside Job moves to the tiny screen, and On the Bowery takes up residence in the screening room. It's a partially-scripted documentary from 1957 that shows three days in the life of New York's skid row, apparently a revolution in its time and said to hold up. It's short (just over an hour), so the Coolidge is also showing a 45-minute "making-of" featurette after each show.

    The King's Speech and Black Swan continue to own the two main screens, but they do give way to others for midnights Friday and Saturday: Pink Flamingoes plays both nights, and since it's the first weekend of the month, The Room pops up on Saturday. If you want something completely different, they're also showing The Muppet Movie Sunday morning at 10:30am as part of their kids' film series, but unaccompanied adults are also welcome.

  • Emerson has the other great show for kids, a 35mm print of A Boy Named Charlie Brown that plays Saturday at 2pm. Peanuts was already nearly 20 years old when this feature came out in 1969, would continue for another 30 years, and remains fantastic to this day.

    Unusually, Emerson carries the same programming through the entire weekend otherwise - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings all see it playing Man of Aran, director Robert Flaherty's 1934 depiction of life on Ireland's barren Aran Islands. Like On the Bowery, this is also supplanted with a making-of feature, George Stoney's How the Myth Was Made, which revisits Aran forty-five years later. It also ties in with some of Emerson's Irish Festival programming, as The Cripple of Inishmaan on the Paramount Ceneter's main stage takes place around the shooting of Aran.

  • The Museum of Fine Arts begin a "Films and the City" series (as noted last week); this week spotlights San Francisco with Hitchcock's Vertigo and New York City with Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing and a package of three short films by Rudy Burckhardt.

  • The Harvard Film Archive concludes their Hong Sang-soo series, "Play It As It Lays". Director Hong will be on-hand Friday night for Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors and Saturday night for his most recent, Oki's Movie. After that, he presumably returns home to Korea, but the Archive will play On the Occasion of Remembering the Turning Gate on Sunday and Night and Day on Monday.

    The VES screenings are not part of the official HFA program, so there's little information available, but might be interesting for those looking to increase their film knowledge. Tuesday is a program of experimental shorts by Stan Brakhage and others; Wednesday is the controversial but massively influential Birth of a Nation.

  • I missed the double feature at the Arlington Capitol last week, which is too bad, since it was two by Kurosawa. This weekend, it's two by Fran├žois Truffaut - The 400 Blows and Jules et Jim. They're playing in high definition and run Friday to Sunday (4 - 6 February). Their sister theater in Somerville, meanwhile, goes big starting on Wednesday, when 35mm prints of GoodFellas and Casino play back to back on their main screen.

    Not affiliated but also in Arlington, the Regent Theatre has IFFBoston/Fantasia alum Lemmy for one night - Friday 4 February at 8pm. I didn't see it at either, but folks seemed really excited going into this documentary on the Motorhead frontman.

  • Another thing I forgot to mention last week (and didn't realize until arriving at the theater) is that while the Somerville Theatre is playing two films which are already out on video (The Social Network and The Kids Are All Right), one ticket gets you into both. This week, in second-run but not double-feature news, they pick Rabbit Hole up as it leaves Kendall Square. Sofia Coppola's Somewhere also leaves Cambridge and winds up at the Capitol, where it will play as part of a double-feature with The Social Network. Finally, Stuart Street moves The Social Network down to a half-theater, with The Way Back taking the early-evening slot (except on Wednesday, when a live show uses the theater).

My plans look to be along the lines of Sanctum Friday night, What Women Want Saturday (because I'm still getting a bunch of hits for If You Are the One 2, and I will ride that "only guy reviewing these movies in English" train), and maybe heading out to see Oxy-Morons on Sunday because, hey, local and that theater out in Revere is still playing Tangled in 3-D. Maybe Nuremberg and The Illusionist, the casualties of Sunday's projector problem as I rearranged stuff. I've also got to make use of some reward-program tickets before they expire, which seems like an ideal way to see Blue Valentine and/or The Mechanic.


bail bonds las vegas said...

Can't say I'm excited about any of the crap being produced right now.

Las Vegas Bail Bonds said...

Yah especially Transformers 3 coming out soon. The 2nd one had me sawing logs.