- The Boston Sci-Fi Festival comes to its big conclusion with the annual 24-hour Marathon, starting at noon on Sunday and running until noon on Monday at the Somerville Theatre, in the big room. But first, the schedule shows that there are a couple more shows to go in the festival, and for the weekend, you get multiple showtimes (4:30, 7:30, and 9:30). Friday's program is Zonad, an Irish comedy from John Carney (who directed Once) and his brother Kieran about a dude in a jumpsuit who shows up in a small town claiming to be from outer space. It's gotten pretty good notices at various festivals, and will also play in the marathon. Saturday evening is The Revenant, which, despite anyone telling you it's sci-fi or a zombie movie, is a nifty-but-extended take on vampires. Then Sunday is the 'thon, with what looks like one of its strongst lineups in recent years. I'll likely be in the balcony; say hi.
- The 'thon isn't the only Presidents' Day tradition for the area; the Brattle becomes extremely kid-friendly for school vacation week with their annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival. Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday are the "All Bugs Review", while Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday are "Lovable Looneys". Even if you don't have kids... Aw, c'mon, do I really have to say that these are funny flicks made for the entire audience back in the day? Plus, after a lifetime of seeing them on TV, it might surprise you how good they look on film.
- The new film at Kendall Square this weekend is The Housemaid, Im Sang-soo's 2010 remake of Kim Ki-young's 1960 classic (reviewed here). I'm kind of excited for this, because all indications are that it's not a straight remake, but that characters who were innocent before are villainous and vice versa; it should make a neat companion piece. Note that Landmark only has it scheduled for a one-week run. Oscar season slows boutique-house turnover to a crawl, doesn't it?
- Speaking of, there's not much turnover at the Coolidge, either - they move the Documentary shorts to a the MiniMax (er, GoldScreen) and put the live action and animated shorts in the screening room. Worth noting - they stick around for a second week at Kendall Square as well, but the times are inverted, which is handy if 9:45 screenings are tough for you: You can hit live-action at 7:10 at the Coolidge one night and animated at 7:10 at Kendall the next. Or you can check them out at the ICA on Monday the 21st (matinees) and Thursday the 24th (evening shows).
Coolidge Corner also has a number of special events this week: The midnight shows Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th are controversial 1980 slasher film Maniac, with director William Lustig in person. The film will be playing late shows for another two weeks after that, but Lustig is only around for this weekend. Monday night is the latest entry in "Science on Screen", Death in Venice, with psychologist Dr. Nancy Etcoff, whose book Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty is quite relevant to this film. Tuesday is an "Off the Counch" screening of Another Year, where Dr. Judy Yanof of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society will lead a post-film discussion, and an IFFBoston preview screening of Win Win.
- A couple action movies and a couple comedies show up at the multiplexes. The action comes from Unknown, in which Liam Neeson regains consciousness after an accident to find his wife doesn't recognize him - and indeed, believes someone else to be her husband, and I Am Number Four (also hitting the IMAX/RPX screens), in which a kid whose actually an alien must fight people trying to eliminate the rest of his race, but must do it in numbered order. Funny things - I could have sworn that Unknown was a remake of some foreign film, but it's apparently not, though it does adapt a novel. Number Four is an "adaptation", in that the young-adult novel was written for the express purpose of being made into a movie (it was downright weird that the publicity mailing lists I'm on offered me a chance to review the novel before it came out, when the movie must have already been filming).
The big comedy is Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, and let's be honest - Martin Lawrence's character must like dressing as an overweight grandmother, because you don't do it three times otherwise - there are other, less ridiculous disguises to maintain. Fewer screens are going to Cedar Rapids - it's only playing Boston Common and Harvard Square - in which Ed Helms plays a small town guy over his head in the "big city". It stars The Other Guy In The Hangover, but might be interesting, as director Miguel Arteta has done some interesting things, and the cast includes John C. Reilly, Sigourney Weaver, Anne Heche, and other fun character actors.
- Emerson's programs this weekend are both family-friendly: Friday and Saturday evening, they present Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (along with an episode of Godard's Histoire(s) du cinéma); it's lovely in its own right and also a clear influence on Disney's later version. Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening is the Mel Stuart version of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder in the title role. I'm guessing it's pretty spiffy in 35mm.
- After a retrospective of his films started last weekend, Patricio Guzmán visits the Harvard Film Archive in person for Friday's screening of documentary featurettes "Chile, Obstinate Memory" and "Madrid" and Saturday's screening of Nostalgia for the Light. Though he leaves after that, Jorge Ruffinelli will introduce Sunday the 20th's screening of The Southern Cross. The series concludes on Monday the 21st wtih "A Village Fading Away".
- The MFA's Cinema and the City series continues with Chinatown (L.A.) tonight and Los Olvidados (Mexico City) playing single screenings on the Friday the 18th through Sunday the 20th and again on Thursday the 24th. Also starting tonight is Uzbek Rhapsody: The Films of Ali Khamraev; it opens tonight and runs through the 27th.
- Two Indian features with English subtitles open at Fresh Pond this weekend. 7 Khoon Maaf is in Hindia and stars Priyanka Chopra as an apparent black widow who goes through seven husbands (the title translates to "Seven Sins Forgiven"); it plays all day Friday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Saturday through Tuesday, it shares a screen with Nadunisi Naaygal, which is in Tamil and appears to be a thriller of some kind; it runs Saturday through Tuesday.
- The classic double feature at the Arlington Capitol this weekend is apparently the last in the series, and pairs a couple of pretty good ones: Start (or finish) with Orson Welles's Touch of Evil, a film noir that hits a lot harder than you might expect and features pretty good performances out of Welles, Charlton Heston, and Janet Leigh. The art on the Capitol's website indicates that it's the restored version, cut from Welles's notes, but there's nothing in the text specifically saying that it's not the original theatrical cut (pretty good for 40-odd years). The other half is David Lean's Summertime, an exquisitely shot story of lonely Katharine Hepburn visiting Venice and perhaps finding love.
- The Capitol takes part in the second-run shuffle this weekend as well, but just barely, picking up a single matinee of Yogi Bear in one of its 3-D-capable rooms. Their sister theater in Somerville picks up 127 Hours and No Strings Attached (and maybe something else once we nerds vacate), while Boston-shot The Company Men also shows up at Stuart Street and the Studio Cinema in Belmont (add that to Somerville, and I think it may be playing wider second-run than it did when it first opened). Also, The Aquarium finally has retired Inception in favor of showing Tron: Legacy in genuine IMAX during the evening.
My plan? Well, the long weekend is more or less spoken for: Zonad tonight, the 'thon Sunday-Monday, and trying to buy Sox/Yankees tickets on Saturday. Around them, I will likely try to see The Housemaid, Unknown and the short films, and then likely catch up on sleep all week.